When deciding upon the features we felt would distinguish us, we came up with the following list.
Games in Pubs and Inns
Because many players are tired of the widespread “hack & slash” titles, we decided to add a dimension that might appeal to many. We are adding a variety of games available for play in various Pubs, Inns, and Casinos (casinos will only be available in the underground city). All of the games will be Medieval in origin and reflect the games of the times.
The games themselves will be divided into 2 categories, Luck and Skill. Luck games are exactly that, winners will be determined by the turn of a card, the roll of dice, or spin of a wheel. Players will be able to wager against the house or another player.
Skill games will include choices such as 9 Man Morris and others popular during the Middle Ages. Once again, players will be able to play against the house or other players. The full list of games for the live version of DS has not been finalized but we will continually add new and more challenging games.
The key will be that experience will be gained or lost by winning or losing at the Pub games. In theory, a player can advance to the highest levels without ever leaving the gaming tables. We may even offer a profession of “professional gambler”.
Adjustable Intensity Levels
We are going to allow players to select the level of their playing intensity.
Normal – this setting will gain experience at the standard rate. There will be no loss of items or experience upon death. Resurrection and/or relocation will occur as a result of a menu pick after dying.
High Risk – Unlike the normal setting, this mode will cause loss of an item and experience upon death. Winning under this mode will cause a more rapid experience advance. Opponents must be of equal or greater skill in order to qualify for the bonus.
Pulse Pounder – The ultra high risk mode can result in the loss of multiple items and significant experience upon death. The reward for winning will result in greater loot and faster experience gain. Opponents must be of greater skill to qualify.
All paths lead to Erudite
Many MMO’s seem to culminate when a top level is reached. Players are often faced with the decision of retiring or advancing another character. In DS, we are channeling all of the profession paths to the ultimate level, Erudite.
We envision the Erudite to be the highest achievement in the game. Once a player has advanced through all the levels possible in their chosen path, they reach a point where they are given a choice. They can remain at the top level of their profession, or they can go through an "ascendancy" to Erudite. If Erudite is the choice, the changes will be both a physical transformation and a new skill set. There will be special areas reserved for fellow Erudites, special shops, clothes, and even beasts to hunt. There's more but we'll leave that for the first Erudites to discover.
Castle and Keep Storming
Castles will be initially occupied by a group of game supplied bad guys. There will usually be around 25 of the villains and the castle can be stormed by an equal or lesser number of Guild members. Once inside, the fight to the death will be on. The drawbridge will raise and will only lower when all of one side in the conflict prevails. If it is the attacking Guild that wins, their insignia will be raised above the parapets and they will rule the castle until 30 days pass from their last victory or they are defeated by another attacking Guild. If those 30 days pass and the occupying force is not challenged, they will be gracefully evicted by the game and the castle will once again be occupied by those nasty villains that once held the fortification. All Guilds that successfully hold the castle will make the Hall of Fame.
For those players that prefer solo play to that of an affiliation, smaller Keeps will be placed around the land. These will be held by up to 6 bad guys. The same rules will apply as with the larger castles.
The Underground City
We’ve not examined every MMO on the market, but from what we can ascertain, very few have underground cities. There are caves, dungeons, and even a city or two but we have created a subterranean world where many of the above ground rules do not apply.
When the Gods first wrought the Dark Solstice on the lands, many of the citizens moved their homes and families underground. Over time this place became a self contained world without need of sunlight or rain. But along with the darkness came the lawlessness and chaos. Eventually it was ruled by a government of thieves and rogues led by a despot named Eros. Players should only venture there only if their life and their purse hold no value to them.
Players can be robbed on the streets, shopkeepers often try to sell cheap imitations of goods and supplies, and the casinos will try and cheat. Why would anyone venture there? It is because there are certain rare and valuable items that can be found there that exist nowhere else in the game.
There are more, but the items listed above are some that we believe will set Dark Solstice apart