The reason for this update is a new internal feature: an improved runtime asset-management system. (Well, it's not entirely new -- much of the code was written back in early development, when we were using Unity 4, but it broke in Unity 5. It just started being viable again in Unity 5.4+).
This system reduces memory usage by hundreds of megabytes. It also improves startup time for the game. But the main benefit is for players with low-end PCs and [non-gaming] laptops. They were crashing from running out of memory, and that hopefully won't happen anymore. In fact, you may be able to increase your graphics settings from "Fastest" to "Fast" or "Simple", because you should have more texture memory to spare. But it will depend on the individual machine.
Players that comfortably ran the game in the highest graphics level before will only see minor improvements (a few more FPS in some cases). And those players may notice that it actually takes a few seconds LONGER than before to load a new area. But it's for the greater good, people. Deal with the pain.
Known Issue #1: There are some FPS hiccups when you first enter a new area. The problem should correct itself a few seconds later when all assets finish loading. (We will eventually do more of this loading during the "loading screen" so that the loading doesn't impact your gameplay.)
Known Issue #2: You may see plain cubes instead of real graphics on the character selection window and the stable master preview. This is temporary and will fix itself after you login or load your pet, respectively. There may be related error messages on the screen; these can be ignored unless you have other problems in the game.
- Monsters played their death sounds multiple times.
- The Next/Previous Player keyboard commands didn't work.
- The orc flags in Gazluk were pink. (Their shader doesn't work in Unity 5.2.2, so the flags have been temporarily removed until the shader can be rewritten.)
- The bathtub in Eltibule Keep could not be sat in.
- You could learn Push Onward 7 without knowing Push Onward 6.
- The bard loot mod "All songs restore armor to YOU every 4 seconds" was instead restoring health.
- Added a new gem for Bard skill. (Azurite, found via blue mineral surveys.)
- Upscaled the textures on bears to their intended resolution. (They were still at "web resolution" from pre-alpha 1... poor bears.)
- Various other minor monster-graphics fixes.
The next client snapshot will improve the group-monster-locking system -- we just didn't have time to work on it this week. It will also have some new content...
PS - By the way, April 1 is the real-world anniversary date of Citan and Srand. We do not condone April Fools' jokes! (But that's mostly because April Fools is such a tired meme.)