i had a little code break earlier today.

i feel like its probably related to the image problems i was having yesterday (the tokens for allies and enemies were being replaced by random images that i had viewed earlier in my web browsing). what was happening was this: for a couple of my characters, if i tried to take an action or send a message, the action/message wouldnt go through in the normal way. instead, my browser would switch to a screen filled with code. (this turned out to be what you can see if you're watching the network chatter while you take an action)

this computer i use is many years old, so i made an educated guess that the problem was with my machine, since using a different browser fixed the problem. however, the display of code that i could browse caught me offguard, since just about everything is embedded in javascript nowadays. so of course, i stuck my fingers in and played around a bit.

i began by right clicking the screen and selecting "inspect element"

this gave me a sidebar that could be used to examine parts of the game that were displayed, or to monitor communication between my browser and conclave. my coding experience is limited to a couple of classes back in high school, so it took a while to decipher any of what i saw. in playing around, i managed to learn how to change what was displayed and what things looked like. i discovered that by inspecting elements, i could search for and identify the coordinates where hidden assassins currently stood. i could even make them temporarily visible again (though only on my screen, and until i refreshed the page). when i wandered back to the vault, i thought, "perhaps i can see hidden items, such as distinction locked items, or weapons from other skills." sadly, this turned out to not be the case. whatever determines what appears in my vault is not so easily found. 

heres how the messing with items went:

i isolated the information for the one of the items i could see. after digging through lines of code, i found something called an item_id, which represents each item. i havent looked much, but i've seen a range of about 40 to 170 or so. there is also a hidden authentification code that probably legitimizes whatever equip/aquire action you're attempting. at one point, i attempted to change the item id linked to a certain equip box from one item to another. the only time this managed to work, was when i changed the id to that of another item that i would have been able to check out anyway, renown and requisites and all. believe me, i tried all sorts of things to try to get around this, from copying code from other characters to faking authentification codes. i racked up about a dozen errors in the process, so i wont be surprised to find an email from 10x10 in the morning asking me what the hell i was doing. what i determined was that fiddling could not be used to get items or treasure that wasn't aquired legitimately. however, every item has a serialized id number, and with a lot of work, a list can be recreated. if a list is made with all the items we know of, it could help by exposing gaps that would probably represent either undiscovered treasure items (if its in the right range) or weapons of the axe or heavy blade skills

the potential discovery of treasure intrested me more.

i put the item_id's on my to-do list and tried to find another, easier method. i had seen how actions worked and hidden enemies on a battlefield. so i tried to find the mechanism that determined what loot is received. i went to ash and ember, and got to the skavies battle, right before finders keepers where you can get either the spiritwalker boots or the meirwood charm. within the page finders keepers, there is nothing but displayed text. it took some digging to figure out that nothing came from that page. the tricky part is that oftentimes, conclave skips through several pages to the next battle or vote, while the players may take time reading or backtracking. in order to isolate the moment when treasure would be determined, i backed out of elements and switched over to network. this tab showed all the information that came from conclave itself along a timeline (mostly updates in invites, party chat, and soundtracks). however, whenever an action was taken, or an event occurred, it would appear here as well. (using this to track down the offending action that started me on my afternoon of meddling, i found that through some bug, the action that was causing the break wasnt assigned an id for the action that would follow so i got an error instead of being able to continue, until i switched browsers.) once a combat is completed, the conclave assigns the quest a "passes_challenge" predicate, right before the next page is loaded. within this package is an "additional_info" value that returns either "null" if nothing is received, or all the object_info of the item that will appear in your stash.

finally, after several hours, i admitted defeat.

some things are locked safely away in conclave's home servers. the list of items can only be reverse-engineered with a lot of observation and work, the mechanisms for npc a.i. and treasure finding are visible only by their end products, and the conclave servers will always raise an eyebrow if you suddenly appear to have ten thousand renown...

in the end, all i managed to pull from the experience is how to see the invisible, and a promise of more work to come.

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