You just couldn’t resist the bunny post, could you? The bunnies were there and your mind goes, “Aww, fluffy little hoppity hoppers!” and now you’re reading a post on Chronicles of Elyria. No, no, don’t leave, you might as well finish it while you’re here.
Anyway, the world of Chronicles of Elyria is coming together as the team prepares for the pre-alpha test. First up for this month’s efforts was getting the chat interface working for the VoxElyria client. “Chat in Chronicles of Elyria is a more complex beast than you might find in your typical MMO,” said the team.
The developers also worked on creating a stable and well-performing hardware platform and fleshing out the world with those adorable bunnies, shrubberies, oxen, and various bits of lore.
It’s not that common to see MMOs in development talk about the festivals that they’re planning to hold; that sort of thing is a post-launch affair, mostly. However, Chronicles of Elyria apparently deems that this is just as important as any other part of the game, which is why the team spent a good amount of space this week talking about Sedecim, a sort of farmer’s faire that also involves the nobility.
“Every 16 years (in game), a Sedecim takes place, where the nobility, aristocracy, gentry, and best craftsman of a continent all get together,” the studio explained. “They hash out the land boundaries and trade agreements, arrange marriages, and purchase and sample each others best wares. Weddings and festivities are held, and there’s temporary booths set up so merchants can show off their goods.”
While fans obviously can’t jump into the game and enjoy the festival right now, Soulbound doesn’t mind if they want to spend some money on in-game items this month. You know, for the spirit of it all. There is livestock to be purchased, a beer tent to be erected, and even some minstrel’s gear for the musically inclined.
Cute? Terrifying? Both at the same time? Chronicles of Elyria continues to experiment with mad science and interspecies breeding by creating an “otterbear” for the game’s store. “If the cub doesn’t make you say squeee, we don’t know what will,” the devs said. And just because they could, they put a saddle on this thing and assumed that it would be all hunky-dory with being ridden.
Catch up with the latest developments in this fantasy MMO with this month’s newsletter. It wasn’t all affronts to God and nature, either. The team talked about readying the world and creating different tribe clothing concepts for its various races.
The team also showed off some of the boats that it’s been creating for the title: “Since ancient times, waterways have been the epicenter of civilization and, to traverse these, Mann has relied on boats. So without further ado, check our the boats that we added to our repertoire of vehicles in Elyria.”
Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.
“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”
I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?
Feeling a little behind on Chronicles of Elyria’s progress? Scoot your little butt over to the May wrap-up community journal, in which Soulbound Studios sums up everything that happened over the past month. In short: Kickstarterversary, surname reservations, game world developments, subject matter experts, and tribal clothing concepts.
The studio also shared some of the best and worst surname reservations that players attempted to submit. You won’t be seeing “Gasm” or any Batman villain names running around, although you may bump into a DeSavante or Jearshald in your journeys.
Much of the rest of the post, obviously, was centered around the community itself. Memes were shared, guilds were introduced, fan art was displayed, and ambassadors were called upon. Soulbound said that it might be hosting a public Q&A soon and will be revealing the Mydarri story as part of the recent fundraising efforts.
WANTED: A medieval chemist, farmer, cartographer, and martial artist to provide input for an upcoming MMORPG. Expertise and unusual knowledge in obscure subjects required. Apply at Soulbound Studios if interested.
Apparently attempting to do a Google search one better, the team behind Chronicles of Elyria is reaching out to its fan base to see if any of them could be called upon to expound upon specific medieval topics including world religions, crafting, day-to-day tilling, and (why not) meteorology. These people will form a new volunteer group that Soulbound is calling the Subject Matter Experts.
“As the design team iterates further and builds more and more systems that will ultimately end up in Chronicles of Elyria, we get to a point where we want to ensure as much realism as possible,” the studio said. “We have specific areas of expertise that we’re seeking input on.”
Hope you’re ready for a combination of both nautical and amorous elements, because that’s what Chronicles of Elyria is dishing up for its “Kickstarterversary.” In other news, the English language just flipped over the table and stormed out of the room saying, “That’s it, I’m done with this foolishness.”
For this month’s one-year anniversary of Chronicles of Elyria’s Kickstarter campaign, the team is bringing back some old packages and deals. To rope in more players, there are several shared packages that include carriages, cottages, farms, and, you know, love boats.
“What’s better than being on a boat alone? Bringing a friend, of course,” the studio said. “Experience the romance and magic of a picnic for two, alone together on the calm waters of a picturesque lake. The Love Boat package provides everything you need for the perfect moment: The rowboat, the picnic basket loaded with sweets and affection, and an instrument to play beautiful music so you can woo your fondest friend and sweep them off of their feet, Elyria style.”
Make us proud, commenters. You know what to do.
Here is some exciting news for Chronicles of Elyria’s fans: The project is nearing its first alpha phase as the dev team lays down the foundation for VoxElyria. This will be the graphical MUD that will allow players to test the MMO’s systems with very basic graphics.
The team worked up a new blog post to talk about the various tasks that it is undertaking to get the game ready for 0.5.0. These tasks include developing proximity chat, working up a voting system for maps, procedurally generating the world, and figuring out a lot of the behind-the-scenes technical issues to make the gameplay smooth.
“With the impending pre-alpha release, Chronicles of Elyria will finally be growing up,” a Soulbound Studios dev said. “We’re going to be transitioning from having dozens of players able to be in the world at once … to thousands! To ensure that we’re able to scale effectively, I will be working more on our scalability, load balancing, and other platform solutions to make sure we’re ready to go.”
Can you make a swamp look beautiful? Chronicles of Elyria is doing its absolute best to do just that with its newest biome, the Freshwater Wetlands. The dev team gave players a hint at the possibilities for this region in a forum post that showed off this wet and wonderful place.
And because it’s the second year since the title ran its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Soulbound Studio is running several promotions during this month. New items and old favorites will be returned to the store and packages are being dug out of retirement to get you to spend some cash. There are community rewards (think “stretch goals”) during May, with the $500,000 tier unlocking playable Mydarri.
Bemoaning the current state of (non-)communication in modern MMORPGs, Soulbound Studios said that it has plans to bring back this essential interaction between people for Chronicles of Elyria.
“In order to help players immerse in Elyria, and to allow all-new play styles to emerge, we’ve added a number of communication-dependent mechanics to support the kind of in-game experiences we want to give players,” the studio said.
These mechanics include in-character chat, proximity chat (which comes in four versions), family chat, character introductions (and related identities), the ability to play incognito, wearable disguises, information as a commodity, gossip, an opinion indicator, collectable evidence of crimes, social standing, criminal status, contracts, various (learnable) languages, gestures, and character reputation and fame. It sounds quite complex.
“The depth of the interactions is up to you, we are merely providing the tools to make them meaningful and allow for a huge variety,” said Soulbound.
The crafting system for Chronicles of Elyria has been overhauled in the latest test build, and it is all about making sure that your characters do not have something so simple as filling up a bar to craft. That’s a commendable goal. But it also doesn’t want you to play a minigame to craft, either. Instead, you’ll be going through a process described as being as close as possible to actual crafting without requiring you to actually get degrees in any of this.
So, if you want to craft a sword, you’d better be prepared to dig up rocks, look for ore, smelt down impurities, hammer the metal, shape the metal, learn about quenching forged steel, and generally go through a wide variety of steps to get the basic weapon finished. It’s meant to be a game in and of itself, and considering the sheer amount of detail offered in the latest development dispatch, that sounds like a defensible claim from the design documents.
Now that Chronicles of Elyria has got a handle on its flexible character creation system, the team has switched over to working in the area of inventory management and equipment. The developers looked at some of their favorite inventory systems as inspiration for Elyria’s model.
“We are aiming for a relatively realistic feel to equipment and inventory,” the team said. “You can only carry what you can realistically carry, so no wearing eight backpacks or putting great swords in a belt pouch. That said, the type and number of bags or containers you have are quite flexible.”
The team also said that gear won’t be a ‘silly stat-fest” but will provide protection while a player’s skill will power offense. Even changing gear will take time, considering that Elyria’s models will have multiple layers of clothing.
SpatialOS: You’ve probably been seeing this name pop up more and more in the MMO sphere. Worlds Adrift, Mavericks, Fractured, Seed, MetaWorld, and Identity are just some of the titles we’ve mentioned that have sprung up to use Improbable’s platform. The company picked up more than half a billion dollars from Japanese company SoftBank, roped in MMO veteran Bill Roper, and got Jagex to announce its intention to use it in a future project. However Chronicles of Elyria recently noted it’s dropping Improbable’s baby, and both on and off the record, developers I spoke to at GDC 2018 had mixed reactions – assuming they’d even heard about SpatialOS at all.
What’s the big deal about the platform? What does it do? Why should developers care? Why should MMO players care? I attended a panel by Improbable and briefly sat down with CCO Bill Roper to try to figure it all out.