We just completed the first beta stage, and now a second beta is available. We hope that this version won't suffer from the old flaws, such as a really bad economy, boring combat, monotonous gameplay, nearly invincible high level players, etc.
So we took our time and had a retrospective look on the past 6 months, in order to see what was bad and what was good. After all the errors we identified, we spent almost 2 months to correct them, and make the game much more fun.
In this new version, pretty much everything changed.
For example, we added the concept of knowledge.
This means that in order to make items, harvest resources and summon animals and monsters you will need to have specific knowledge. This is done by reading books or scrolls. Some of them are available in stores, while some are rare, and can be only obtained by killing powerful monsters.
Books will be 'one time' items, meaning that they will disappear once you start researching them. Each book has a certain number of research points needed. The more complicated a book is, the more time you will need to research it. To prevent people from being AFK while researching, a food level over 0 is required. As soon as your food level drops over 0, the research pauses.
In addition to knowledge, manufacturing items requires food as well. A positive food level is required, and attempting to manufacture items (regardless of the
success) will usually subtract some food points. To make the system even more interesting, each time you fail you have a 30% chance to lose the ingredients.
The skills requirements to make various items was also changed, and now it is possible to make items even if you don't yet have the required skill. That's why we changed the name from 'required' to recommended.
Recommended means that if you are at that level, your chances to fail are 50% (and the chance to lose the ingredients is ~16%). If your level is lower than the recommended skill, then the chances to fail are higher.
The economy suffered many improvements as well. For example, NPCs will not buy high level items anymore, thus reducing the massive money influx in the game.
NPCs will buy raw materials (such as flowers, ore, coal, etc.) at 1/10 of the price they sell them, which encourages a more player based economy, and also reduces the money influx in the game.
One of the biggest change is the combat. Now many maps allow multicombat. That means, you can attack a target that is also attacked by others. This encourages people to group against enemies, and strengthens the bounds between players and guilds.
All the weapons, armors, shields and medallions were changed to make the game even more interesting. For example, some weapons will give you more damage, but lower accuracy, and/or lower chance to do a critical hit. The best weapon in the game gives you only bonuses (no penalty), and it is VERY rare, and very hard to manufacture. Therefore, the players who can manufacture that weapon will be very busy.
The shields won't give you any armor bonus, like they did before, but, instead, they help you not to get hit. The heavy armors will usually have an opposite effect (giving you an armor bonus, but also make you more likely to receive a hit in combat).
Some armors, like the leather armor will give you more mobility than others, but less protection. Leather armors also give you a thermal protection bonus, as opposed to the metal armors that give you a thermal protection malus.
The attributes (strength, dexterity, intelligence,
etc.) system was totally changed. Before this update, it was a mess. Everyone had basically the same attributes, because it the way to get attributes was very standardized. Just complete a few quests, and then buy them from various NPCs.This was very flawed, and had to change.
So we introduced the concept of 'overall level'.
Basically, this works like any other skill, except that it's the sum of all the experience gained in the other skills. Each time you gain one level in the overall skill, you get a 'pickpoint'. With the pickpoints you can chose to increase an attribute, a nexus, or get some perks. The perks usually take more than 1 pickpoint, depending what they do. We also have some negative perks, that will give you various disadvantages, but will give you more pickpoints which you can invest in other things. Example of positive
perks: Poweraving (allow you to keep the food level positive, if you are not doing anything), Mirrorskin (10% chance that the enemy will take the hit that was meant for you), etc. Negative perks include Hellspawn, which gives you a 20% chance to land in hell each time you enter/exit a building or map, Antisocial, that prevents you from buying/selling things to NPCs, and so on.
This way, people can specialize on various 'professions', such as choosing to be mainly a fighter, or a trader, or a craftsman.
Nexuses are something between a skill and an attribute. They are required for various things, such
as: making items, wearing better
weapons/armors/shields, gathering resources and summoning animals.
Finally, there is a new skill, called 'crafting'. With this skill, you can make various powerful rings and medallions, which either allow you to teleport to some predefined spots in the game (1 ring for each major map), or increase your armor, evasion, etc.
The client was improved as well, making the user interface less clumsy, adding status bars for mana, health and food level, fixing many bugs, and many other nice improvements. The client is still beta quality, but given the fact that it is an Open Source Software, many people help us improve it, and that shows each update.
Eternal Lands is a free mmorpg (download for free, play for free), with an Open Source client. We are working at a paid version as well, which will contain many new improvements, such as an enchanter skill, some unique items, more monsters, more maps, more resources to gather, more perks, etc. However, the free version will not be limited, as in, we won't remove anything from it, we'll just keep adding more stuff to the commercial one than to the free one.
Radu Privantu and the EL Development Team