Before I begin, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank you all for supporting Shartak - either by playing, donating towards server costs, participating in the forums or helping with the Wiki. I hope that 2007 will bring more players, more features, and most importantly, more fun.
Following several major outages of the unofficial forum at http://shartak.forumsplace.com/ it was decided that we'd setup an official forum at http://forum.shartak.com/ - this has only been running since the beginning of December but already there are quite a lot of regular posters and plenty of lurkers.
There are now several preferences that can be changed through the edit profile page. This include options for disabling icons, showing server time, hiding your personal details and opting out of some statistics.
In March 2006, a pirate ship was wrecked on the northern shore of the island and with it came hordes of bloodthirsty pirates. Even now the pirates are still causing chaos - chopping the jungle back to expose huge areas of bare soil near the beach and slaughtering anyone foolish enough to venture near what remains of their ship.
Also in March, we saw a number of traders set up shop in huts within each of the camps. Thanks to a number of enterprising individuals who regularly journey across the island, the traders often have supplies of rare items from other camps. Later on in the year, the traders decided to raise the value of rare items, both for the buyer and seller.
Despite not being valued as highly as some items, gold is probably more useful because you can give it to others and it uses no inventory space. Maybe you're just feeling generous, or perhaps you have to pay for services such as bounty hunting, assassinations or healing, you can give various amounts (inventory permitting) between 1 and 100 gold coins.
In May the ability to create clans was added - there are now over 75 clans to choose from and anyone over level 5 can get the Clan Leadership skill and start their own clan. Later on in the year, changes were made so that clans could be set invitation only or open to anyone. With these changes also came the ability to remove members and banish troublesome members so they can never join the clan again.
Contact list functionality was added in June. You can recognise anyone from your contact list as either a neutral, friendly or enemy contact by the small flags next to their names. If you have icons disabled in your preferences (for example those using screen-readers), the flags will show up as E,N or F in brackets after the character name.
Bottles and gourds are now refillable instead of single-use items. Poison darts actually poison their targets causing damage for a while after the initial hit. Gold coins can be given to other players as well as being used to trade for other goods. Ranged weapons can be unloaded to retrieve the ammunition before trading.
Most of the classes now have their own unique skills. These range from trailblazing for scouts, advanced triage skills and emergency first aid for scientists to exorcism for native shamans. Further skills are added on a fairly regular basis so even if you're the highest level possible, there's still going to be room to improve.
We've reached the end of this newsletter, hopefully the first of many. Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through this feedback page or on the official forum.