The staff behind Chronicles of Elyria has been on a whirlwind tour of events, and you can read all about it in the most recent dispatch from the team. You can also learn a lot about booth layout, if that's something that you find fascinating. And you can also find out the latest plans regarding the game's server and kingdom selection, which starts with the fact that players are still going to be jockeying for space as predicted. Players will be selecting servers first, then selecting kingdoms in order of influence.
This is, of course, part of the problem, as the game's plans do not wind up including enough land for all of the people who paid to have kingdoms in the first place.
It's worth noting that servers are selected in order of seniority, not influence, so things become a bit muddier, and it's quite possible for you to have a later pick of server and an earlier pick of land within that server due to backing late but having a lot of influence. Players can also convert to a lesser package and receive an advance pick of their chosen duchy, although those picks will also be in order of influence. Check out the full rundown and the details on the upcoming Q&A session in the official entry.
If you decided to eschew the purchase of a reasonably priced car in favor of buying your way to a pretend throne in a video game, you would probably want assurance that your money would be well-spent. But what if loads of other players tried to buy their way to the top too? What if there were too many kings? What if you couldn't feel superior for having blown so much cash?
Soulbound Studios is dealing with the increased demand for Chronicles of Elyria's $10,000 monarchies by putting a fixed cap on the number of kingdoms (and hence, monarchs) for each of its planned four servers. The new number for this "pay-to-rule" is six: six monarchs ruling over six kingdoms per shard (with 12 dukes per kingdom and 24 counts per duchy).
We've finished rolling out all of our PAX East content this year, and we've put our MMORPG-addled noggins together to try to choose our favorites out of what we got to see in person and from afar. Read on, then vote for your own best-in-show!
I admit to my weakness: Despite years and years of games using it again and again, I still enjoy the simple gameplay benefits of jumping between ledges. I like parkour. Admittedly, I like it in a purely academic sense, as my actual vertical mobility is somewhere between "no" and "hell no," but I like games that allow you to dash hither and yon, springing from wall to wall, running along things, all of that fun stuff.
The pre-alpha build of MMORPG sandbox Chronicles of Elyria on display at PAX East did not feature that. It featured parkour that was more on the level of God of War's process of mantling ledges, jumping between them, and so forth. Still, that's a welcome change from the fact that far too many MMOs don't even grant you that degree of mobility. Even in games that encourage you to move about with jumping puzzles and the like, how many MMOs allow you to actually use your hands to grasp a ladder?
Chronicles of Elyria's devs recently streamed a "speed-run" version of their planned PAX East demo for players. But we think that to really get a feel for how convention demos work for press, players would have to also do the following:
- Drive around for a few hours. Overpay for parking. Stand in line, a lot.
- Run to a couple of appointments. Forget to eat lunch. Wonder what that weird smell is.
- Wait in another line. Run to more appointments. Get lost at least once.
- Crap, is it 6 p.m. already?! Too tired to go to any parties.
- Write all night and throw a pile of articles at the editor. Collapse in a heap.
- Wake up. Repeat.
Really, we should all just stay home and watch a demo video. The things we do for games! Check it out below, and stay tuned for our take on the real thing this weekend!
While the full MMO of Chronicles of Elyria is a ways off just yet, the developers want to get players involved and in the world "ridiculously early." This is why the team, in addition to making the MMORPG, is also crafting a trio of "pre-alpha experiences" for players.
In a new video Q&A, the dev team answers community questions about these games, which include a single-player prologue, the web-based Kingdoms of Elyria, and the text-based ElyriaMUD.
If you're more partial to reading, you can zip over to the main site to catch an overview of these experiences from late last month. "Put plainly, pre-alpha experiences are opportunities for players to jump into some form of the game as early as possible -- even before pre-alpha, to provide feedback," the team explained.
Interested in Elyria? Set aside a half hour to drink in the video below (there's also a two-hour version if you swing that way), and stay tuned for our meeting with the team this weekend at PAX!
The clock is ticking down to PAX East on March 10th, and the Chronicles of Elyria team is whipping itself up into a frenzy to get everything prepared for its public debut.
In addition to all of the hardware and booth decorations, the team is putting in a few late nights to get the demo done for the show. According to this week's dev blog, the demo will feature the Silver Run Mines and the countryside. Playable females, climbing animations, underwater filters, and damage filters are all expected to make an appearance.
Amid all of this hubbub, Soulbound Studios has added a tech art lead to the team. Dennis Price comes to Chronicles of Elyria fresh from Blizzard, where he worked on the cinematic team for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and StarCraft 2.
Ages ago on the MMORPG subreddit, a player made a bold statement: MMORPGs are designed for low-skill gamers.
"I remember being dazzled by EverQuest and Ultima as a child," he wrote, reminiscing about his memory of high difficulty old-school games. "I recently loaded up [Star Wars: The Old Republic] again, and I'm shocked. Piss easy. Everything. XP falling from the sky. Mobs dead in one GCD. Brainless. The same reason I quite every MMO. I never meet people, I never feel challenged. I just feel bored. 'Wait till endgame' isn't gonna cut it anymore. I'm over it. I'm done. I feel like I'm just hitting the 'Reward' button again and again and again, solitary and alone, like a stupid little rat in the cage." He then basically blames the perceived shift of the genre on people who don't want games to be "like a job": "The genre just seems to be fueled by mediocre, anti-social "consumers."
I wanted to pull this back out to see whether our staff and writers agree with the claims -- and whether we all have some advice for this fan, who concludes his rant by asking people to change his mind. Howsabout it, Overthinking fans?
Chronicles of Elyria is nothing if not bursting with interesting little ideas that you don't often see in other MMOs. One of these, apparently, is that your in-game activities can and will alter how your character looks: "If you eat a lot and exercise little, you'll get fat. If you do a lot of physical labor, you'll build muscle. If you fall in a lake, you'll wind up wet. If you don't clean your clothes, you'll get dirty. It's just like real life!"
It's good to know that we can be fat slobs in video games too, right?
Soulbound Studios reported that the work on the PAX East demo is coming along nicely and that a female character model has been introduced to the game. The studio said that it will be discussing its prologue experiences (the single-player game and the text-only MUD) with the community later this month.
The team recently sat down to answer nearly 40 fan questions about the game's settlement system in the game (alas, there will be no underwater cities, just in case you were hoping). You can watch the 30-minute edited version below!
The small but scrappy Chronicles of Elyria continues to pick up experienced MMO devs for its ambitious sandbox project. Earlier this month we reported that Soulbound Studios had hired on a previous City of Heroes animator, and now the studio announced that it has snapped up Steve Hoelle, a programmer with experience on SWTOR, Vanguard, and Warhammer Online.
Soulbound said that work is progressing on the offline prologue with an eye for the future of the online game: "The team is focused on the playable demo for PAX East, which is ultimately a subset of things that will be available in the Prologue [...] Something else that is in progress, but without an obvious way to show it, is our integration with SpatialOS. We are crafting an online game, and we are building our foundations now."
A nice surprise for fans is that even though the stretch goal was not reached for a map feature that will allow players to dig and bury, the team is going ahead and including it anyway.
In March of last year, MOP's Justin wrote a detailed guide to the most common death penalties in MMORPGs. Last September, Gamasutra pulled seven game developers together to discuss the most effective gaming "fail states," several of which involve death. Both articles came rushing back to me this week when Crowfall revisited the subject of its own death penalty, which involves a brief ghost period and a fast-track trip to the temple for resurrection.
This week, I've asked the MOP writers to consider MMOs and non-MMOs and propose their own favorite death penalty. Is it an old one, a new one, or one no one's done at all? What's the best way to implement death in a modern MMORPG?
Soulbound Studios has a new year's resolution for Chronicles of Elyria: "kick so much ass."
"The next few months will see us preparing a playable demo for PAX East and building more of the core gameplay systems in SpatialOS in order to make progress toward the Prologue, ElyriaMUD, and Kingdoms of Elyria," the team said.
The studio announced that it hired on two new team members, including Colin Brown. Brown is an animator whose resume includes City of Heroes and Star Trek Online.
In the January newsletter, Soulbound Studios said that it will retroactively beef up some of the Kickstarter packages to add housing so that fans would not feel cheated of their contributions due to the new store offerings on the website.
The world of Chronicles of Elyria is full of biomes. That has a bigger impact than you might be thinking, as detailed in the game's latest video Q&A session. It's a brief session, but that means it runs for "only" half an hour, whilst answering a huge pile of player questions along the way. Whatever you want to know about how the game's biomes will affect gameplay, you can probably find it in here.
A biome, of course, includes the environment, resources, and creatures found within a given region. But there's more going on than simply the animals you find to kill; players will be able to alter the biomes (say, by cutting down or planting trees), and the natural environment will affect things like food storage and safety. You can check out the full video just below.