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A look at the new MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria

A brief look at the new (pre-alpha as of May 2016) MMORPG, Chronicles of Elyria, being created by Soulbound Studios. It promises to be something completely new in the MMO genre and sounds, to me anyway, quite exciting.

Author: lunawisp

Chronicles of Elyria - Still Wavering?

Posted by lunawisp Saturday May 14 2016 at 1:53PM
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After spending over a decade working, in his spare time, on his Proteus Engine, Jeromy Walsh the owner/director of Soulbound Studios felt the time was right to unveil his project. One of the first things he did was answer the question "What is Chronicles of Elyria? "Put simply, Chronicles of Elyria is a new, Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game unlike anything seen before."

Jeromy decided to try crowdfunding with the Kickstarter Campaign for Chronicles of Elyria starting on 3rd May 2016. Less than two weeks later, on 14th May, the campaign reached it's goal of $900k. At this time, there are still 20 days left to increase the funding for this innovative MMO.

Kickstarter at $900,000

Obviously then, the fans are as excited as the Soulbound team. There will be some stretch goals which we will be hoping to meet. We got to vote on which ones we wanted the most and Soulbound Studios will be posting their list soon. So why are people so excited?

Unlike other MMO's in which all characters start at level one then progress to the level cap and sit there doing essentially the same as every other character, in Chronicles of Elyria, the player must take risks, be heroic, and repeatedly put their character's wealth, prestige, and even life on the line to achieve heroic status. In Chronicles of Elyria, it is possible to be the most renowned Blacksmith. It is possible to have travelled places where few others dare to travel. And yes, it's even possible to be the most powerful Sorcerer in the world. But such rewards always come with substantial effort, and frequently with great risk. Every action the character takes that requires a skill, requires some degree of player skill. The era of auto-attacking is over.

This is an MMO where the character can be essentially whatever the player controlling it wants it to be. But reaching the pinnacle of whatever skill sets are chosen will take a lot of effort and, unusually for a modern MMO, a lot of interaction with other players.

Players can choose to make their character good or evil aligned pure based on the actions they take and the game engine, now renamed to the Soulbound Engine, will present opportunities for the character to progress in its own personal story based on that alignment. The player can choose whether to complete that step in the story staying true to their alignment or go in the completely opposite direction.

Chronicles of Elyria waves goodbye to the idea of resource nodes that respawn for ever. In this MMO, such resources are finite and players will have to be careful with their hunting, felling of trees, etc.  It's quite possible to wipe out a species, clear a forest, totally deplete a mine.


CoE is basically a sandbox PvP MMO. There are no areas where PvP is not allowed but it's expected that players and npc's in towns and cities will do what humans in real life do, they'll band together to keep the bad guys at bay so it should be relatively safe for those who wish to go about their business banking, blacksmithing, trading, or whatever else the players can think of - the possibilities are almost limitless. Out of town, the gloves are off, however, and those who venture out will need to be on their guard.

Permadeath is, unusually for an MMO, a sure thing. Don't let that put you off though, it's not as bad as it sounds. I wrote an article explaining what happens with defeat, death, etc. which should help to put your mind at ease :)

For those who are brave enough to go out into the wilds, the rewards could be great. Who knows what's out there. The MMO starts with a blank sheet as far as mapping goes. Maps will have to be produced as areas are explored, and by produced I mean that players with the cartographer skill will be able to create the maps and sell/give them to others.

Back in town, others will be raising their characters skills in blacksmithing, etc. Weapons, armour and clothing has to be crafted. Resources for those will have to be hunted down or bought from other characters who will be able to make a very nice living gathering and selling items from the wilds. Interestingly, armour and clothing is three layered and I've directly quoted from the developers journal for this next bit.

In order to customize characters to deal with different climates and occupations, CoE uses a unique layering system for equipment. Certain body parts have the ability to contain multiple different pieces of equipment simultaneously. 

There are two item slots which have multiple layers. These are the torso and the legs. Depending on what you put in a lower level layer, it may limit what you can put in a higher layer. 

Torso: The torso is divided up into three layers.  

  1. Layer one contains shirts, blouses, and dresses.  
  2. Layer two contains jackets, jerkins, tunics, doublets, vests, and some chain shirts. 
  3. Layer three contains robes or mail. 

In this way, it's possible to be wearing a shirt, leather jerkin, and half-plate mail armor all at the same time. It is not, however, possible to put that all under a robe.  

Legs: The legs are divided up into two layers. 

  1. Layer one contains either trousers or garters. 
  2. Layer two contains either armor, a skirt, or a kilt. 

This system allows a woman to wear a garter underneath a skirt. Likewise, it allows a male to wear trousers with armor over top. Note, it's not possible to wear garters and armor. Sorry ladies. Armor on the bottom half always looks like trousers or a skirt. No chain bikinis.


This article is getting a bit long but if you're still wavering about supporting the project, take a look at this piece of concept art...

Armoured War Trison


The best place to learn more about the game is Soulbound Studio's Website. Take a look at their Developer Journals for far more information that I could provide here.

If you think that the game sounds interesting and you decide to register on their site, please consider entering my friend code: DE2024 :)

Kickstarter for the game started on 3rd May 2016. I'm really excited for this one. I think it sounds like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant MMO market and I hope it succeeds.

 

lunawisp - Reaching for the Elyrian Dream

Chronicles of Elyria - the MMO we're been waiting for

Posted by lunawisp Monday May 9 2016 at 3:30AM
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Every now and then something completely new pokes its head above the parapet. Sometimes people shoot at it, the idea dies away and that’s the end of the story. Occasionally, however, the idea is too strong to go away and just keeps growing until it becomes impervious to the attacks. At that point, others start to take notice and the idea becomes a physical thing, a reality.

Chronicles of Elyria, now on Kickstarter, is at that point. People are getting excited, and they should. This game, while very ambitious with its goals, promises to be a breath of fresh air (yes, I’ve said that before about CoE and no doubt I’ll say it again) and is, for a lot of us, the game we’ve spent years looking for.

Imagine an MMO in which there are no NPC's with question marks over their heads. No endless quests to 'go kill ten rats'. An MMO where the actions of the players have some meaning, to the extent of completely changing the game world and where the players hold all the tiers from monarchy down to the lowliest peasant. A game where every character has a place, defined by the person playing it. A game of politics and strife where the concept of a family is important with parents passing down genetic information to their offspring, leaving their wealth, etc. to their children.

Well, it’s here at last. Will you help us realise our dream? :)

Death in Chronicles of Elyria

Posted by lunawisp Tuesday May 3 2016 at 9:26AM
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There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding surrounding permadeath in Chronicles of Elyria. Here's a short article putting forward my view on death in the game (as I understand it).



Permadeath?
Yes, your character will eventually die. That's part of the game but it's important to remember that CoE is not like other MMO's. In CoE your character is just a vehicle to allow your soul to thrive. When the character dies (which it will, of old age or by some violent act) you move on to a new one, this is an essential part of your soul's progression.

I've seen lots of posts from people imagining that their character could be killed over and over and over by griefers resulting in them having to buy a new 'life.' There are a couple of important points worth mentioning here.

Firstly, normal defeats (without a coup de grace) just knock your character out for a short time. If your character is 'coup de graced', which is the only way for a player to actually kill you, you go into a spirit walk. The idea being that you find your way back to your body to revive it. When you get there, you have the option to actually revive some distance away from the death point so nobody can 'camp your corpse' and immediately kill you again.

Secondly, when you die, there's a 2.5 hour (not sure of this exact value) cooldown on the spirit loss you suffer when you spirit walk so even if you do die again quickly, you're protected from that loss. A spirit walk, when not on loss cooldown, costs you some spirit and shortens your character's life a little which is where the cries of woe are coming from.

The actual time taken for a spirit walk isn't yet known. it's likely to vary depending on the age of your character (it's a long time so don't worry about having to rush back!). We do know that the amount of 'spirit' lost in a spirit walk varies depending on the importance of your character in the game world. A shoemaker is likely to have a small loss whereas a king is unlikely to survive too many attempts on his life. Important characters do have other compensations though, for their life of high risk and are likely, by the very nature of their positions, to have protection against assassins, etc.

When your character's spirit is too low to make it back to the body, your character is regarded as permadead and you'll have to use a spark of life to 'inhabit' a new one.

It's worth noting that  your character is online all the time, even when you're logged out, and is thus open to attack at any time. However, the spirit walk timer stops if you're not logged in so you're not going to log in one day to a permadead character that got stuck in its spirit walk. There's a 30 day limit on this, however. If you fail to make it back to your body within 30 days, your character permadies - though Soulbound Studios are working on a way for players to advise them of upcoming holidays, etc. so the timer can be extended if necessary.


But new lives cost real money!
Yes, they do. That's how the game is funded. As of May 2016, it looks as if the cost of a new spark of life will be about 30 US Dollars.  Unless you're dying a LOT, e.g. a pretty incompetent Zorro wannabee, you're probably going to get pretty close to a years worth of play time from that (based on information gleaned from the developer journals) which is not bad at all compared to subscription games.

There are more ways than real money to fund your game though. As the story progresses, you can gain story points which can be spent on new lives later. More 'important' characters get more points which is one of the compensations they get for having a riskier life and a potentially shorter lifespan. It's said to be possible, if you work at it, to not have to pay real money for your next life at all.




Ok, sounds interesting. How do I learn more?
The best place to learn more about the game is Soulbound Studio's Website. Take a look at their Developer Journals for far more information that I could provide here.

If you think that the game sounds interesting and you decide to register on their site, please consider entering my friend code: DE2024 :)

Kickstarter for the game started on 3rd May 2016. I'm really excited for this one. I think it sounds like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant MMO market and I hope it succeeds.

Imagine an MMO in which there are no NPC's with question marks over their heads. No endless quests to 'go kill ten rats'. An MMO where the actions of the players have some meaning, to the extent of completely changing the game world and where the players hold all the tiers from monarchy down to the lowliest peasant. Well, that game is nearly here. Chronicles of Elyria is now on Kickstarter.

 


 

The following is my understanding of what I’ve read in various articles and the developer journals. Bear in mind the game is still (as of May 2016) in pre-alpha so all these things are liable to change.

 


 

The game is, largely, player driven. It uses a closed economy, that essentially means finite resources and, to paraphrase the developers, anything that can change probably will…

 

Closed economy?

In most MMO’s, ore nodes, wood nodes, source of food, etc. constantly respawn and can be collected by player after player. This creates a mountain of materials which then have to be destroyed in some way, usually during the crafting process.

In CoE, these resources are not infinite. If players discover plentiful supplies of ores (for instance) and build a town around the mine, the mine will eventually become depleted and the players will have to look for alternatives. The mine will not recover its resources, though if abandoned it might be occupied by npc’s of some sort.

The same thing can happen with wood (forests, etc) and animals used for food or fur. They can be harvested to extinction so they’ll have to be carefully managed by the players.

 

What do you mean 'Anything can change?'

Since the game is essentially player driven, it’s expected that buildings will be built (this can be done almost anywhere), some will cluster together and form towns and maybe later, even some cities. Mines will be opened up, forests cleared. Some terraforming will probably go on and, basically, the world will change depending on what the players choose to do.

 

About towns…

Safe havens. Well, safe...ish. Someone will own/run a town and, presumably, collect taxes in return for providing the amenities, security, etc. These are the places we’d expect to see most crafters working. People like blacksmiths, cooks, etc.

Towns are expected to have taverns in which tired and hungry adventurers can rest, eat, drink and be entertained by bards. Someone will have to build and own these taverns, of course, and only the best ones will attract the best bards. Bards are handy to have around, in a tavern they boost the tired adventurers recovery rate. You can see the dependencies players are going to have on each other.

Note, all these crafters are players. Whether npc’s can do these jobs isn’t clear. It’s possible that your character (in offline mode) might be able to carry out some tasks for you.

 

Offline mode?

Yep, you read it right! While you might log out of the game, your character never does.

When you log out your character becomes an OPC (offline player character) and carries on doing whatever you want it to do, within certain limits. There is a scripting language that allows you to make your character respond to certain events in certain ways when you aren’t logged in. Things like running away from trouble, maybe running a shop for you, etc. Within the limits set by the developers, your OPC can carry out anything you can think of in your absence...if you can write the script.

 

What else happens when I’m offline?

They’re working on alerts, maybe using twitter and/or other tools, to keep players up to date with what’s happening in the game. We’ve been led to expect smartphone/tablet apps to give us an overview of what is going on with our (offline) character.

It’s possible for your offline character to be attacked and defeated. If this happens, and you’re offline, the spirit walk (see the previous blog entry) doesn’t start till you log back in so you’re not likely to suffer permadeath while you’re offline.

 

Dying while offline doesn’t sound like much fun!

No, it doesn’t. But there are things you can do to protect your character while you’re not there to guide it.

You can write scripts to handle any situation you foresee. Running away from trouble, for instance. It’s not expected that an offline character will be able to defeat a suitable skilled player character in combat.

Your buildings can be laden with hidden passages and traps to catch out unwary thieves and assassins and you can hide your character safely within.

Don’t get too hung up on the assassin thing though, the potential penalties for getting caught after killing someone are sufficiently tough that only high profile targets are likely to be stalked in this way. Just don’t walk around with all your worldly goods in your backpack...if someone sees them they may decide they’re worth more than your characters life! Put a safe behind all those traps and secret passages and leave your valuables there!

Another thing probably worth mentioning is that you shouldn’t log out with your character in a bad location. If you can, you should always make sure it’s somewhere reasonably safe. It’s not only other players you have to worry about in the wilds of Elyria...

 


 

Ok, sounds interesting. How do I learn more?

The best place to learn more about the game is Soulbound Studio's Website. Take a look at their Developer Journals for far more information that I could provide here.

If you think that the game sounds interesting and you decide to register on their site, please consider entering my friend code: DE2024 :)

Kickstarter for the game starts on 3rd May 2016. I'm really excited for this one. I think it sounds like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant MMO market and I hope it succeeds.

Chronicles of Elyria - A new kind of MMO?

Posted by lunawisp Saturday April 30 2016 at 11:53AM
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What's the story Luna?

It seems to me that nearly all MMO's are going down the same track: kill all that is killable, gather all that is pickupable (is that even a word?), learn all that is learnable and I'm just getting a bit bored with it all. There are only so many times you can go out and kill ten rats without getting a bit jaded and I reached that point ages ago.

While I was out looking for something more interesting, along came Soulbound Studios with something completely new - Chronicles of Elyria. From their site: The most dynamic and immersive MMO to date, Chronicles of Elyria is the first MMORPG where your character ages and dies, encouraging you to think beyond your character to their role in a larger story.

That's pretty new isn't it? A character that ages and dies! Yipe! It's not as terrible as it sounds though. Characters in the game all basically grow up together, as they do in real life and yours can be part of a family. In CoE though, when your character dies, you get to take over another (soul less) character. Your soul brings something of your old character with it enabling your new one to learn skills, etc. faster and to a higher standard. This is basically how you make progress towards your goal.

 

Goal? What goal?

Pretty much anything you like. Want to run a band of outlaws? You can do that. Want to hunt those outlaws? You can do that too. If you prefer a more peaceful life making things for others or strumming your instrument in a tavern, you can do all of that and get very good at it.

Don't get the idea that it's safe out there though. Even peace loving characters will need to protect themselves, maybe by learning survival and fighting skills or simply employing someone else to protect them. Staying in a town will obviously be a lot safer than going on a long trek alone. This game employs the spectre of permadeath.

 

PermaDeath? I don't like the sound of that!

Neither did I really, but after looking into it a bit further, it turns out that it's nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Yes, your character can (and will) eventually meet its demise forcing you to create a new one but it learns from its last life.

A character can be 'killed' by other players and the environment. In combat, a killing blow doesn't actually kill you, it puts you in what they call a Spirit Walk in which you have a certain amount of time to find your body and revive it (the timer stops if you log out!). Each time you spirit walk, your character loses a bit of their lifespan. It's been estimated that a character living/working in a town who hardly ever has to spirit walk could last nearly a whole real life year. Those who live a dangerous life could shorten their play time quite considerably but would still manage at least 3 months.

When you run out of time, your character suffers permadeath and you have to start again with a new one. You do this with a 'Spark of Life' which you have to buy - this is how the game is funded. At present we believe a spark will cost about $30, so most people will probably get nearly a year out of a $30 spark - that's not bad :) More detail in the associated Developer Journal.

To understand the system, it might be useful to imagine that you're not actually playing the individual character, you're playing the soul which gets transferred to a new character's body when the old one is no longer inhabitable.
 

Anything for role players?

In CoE players are dependent upon each other. Nobody can do everything, there just isn't enough time to learn everything if you want to become better than a mediocre jack of all trades. Players have to interact with each other and make contracts with each other to provide materials, items, buildings, even food and entertainment. Doesn't that provide the perfect platform for roleplaying?

 

What's that about contracts for buildings?

Buildings, housing basically, require a multitude of skills from producing blueprints to glazing, stonemasonry, woodworking, etc. It's highly unlikely that one character is going to be able to do all that is required to build a useful abode much less a castle. This is where contracts come in. You can create contracts with other playres, and npc's, to build things for you. The contracts can be anything from going out and gathering wood to making tools, weapons, even buildings. You can even have contracts of marriage and a contract to produce a child!

In this game we start with basically nothing (or very little) and have to create/learn as we go.

 


 

Ok, sounds interesting. How do I learn more?

The best place to learn more about the game is Soulbound Studio's Website. Take a look at their Developer Journals for far more information that I could provide here.

If you think that the game sounds interesting and you decide to register on their site, please consider entering my friend code: DE2024 :)

Kickstarter for the game starts on 3rd May 2016. I'm really excited for this one. I think it sounds like a breath of fresh air in a stagnant MMO market and I hope it succeeds.