Chronicles of Elyria dev blog: Character aging in MMORPGs


Announced earlier this year, Chronicles of Elyria is a startup sandbox in a sea of such sandboxes, but some of its features are rare even within the MMORPG genre.

Massively OP will be hosting a series of exclusive dev diaries from the CoE team at Soulbound Studios over the next few weeks to further explore the game and solicit feedback and questions. The second such blog written by the devs themselves is presented below and homes in on character aging, a game mechanic that is central not just to the game’s atmosphere but to its business model as we learned last week. Enjoy!

Character aging in MMOs

We spend the vast majority of time playing an MMO looking at our character (specifically the back of our characters’ head). As a result, it’s arguably impossible to create a dynamic, immersive MMO if your character remains static. For this reason, we feel it is vital for characters to visually age for a better MMO experience. No more running around the world with everyone looking the same. In Chronicles of Elyria you’ll see kids through elders populating the streets.


With that in mind, we wanted to give players a visual indicator that their character was growing, maturing, getting stronger, and yes, approaching the end of their life.

Thus, your character’s physical appearance changes as they age. Hairlines recede, bald spots appear, their skin will tighten and develop liver spots, and in the later years their height will even change. It is the attention to detail here that really makes you feel like your character is a living, breathing person.


As a character ages, they’ll encounter enemies, leading to a growing collection of scars and other indicators of their adventurer status. Those scars will stay with a character, leaving battle wounds you can be proud of throughout the years.

In Chronicles of Elyria, we’ve developed a timeline where your character will age from youth (starting at age 12 or 15) through to the end of life in a matter of 10-16 months. Your character will consistently age during that period, growing older both as you play and when you are offline. Thus characters brought into the world at the same time maintain the consistency of age instead of appearing decades apart solely because one player isn’t online as much as the other.

Additionally, NPCs are affected by the passage of time as well. NPC children you are introduced to will, within a little over a month, become young adults. The apothecary you frequent for your reagents will age into retirement and will instead be found working her loom. And thus over the course of a year, you’ll become attached to multiple generations of NPCs. Ever promised to take care of an NPC’s family line in an RPG before? This puts it in a whole new perspective.


We strongly feel that aging adds a dimension of realism, a dynamic & immersive feel, and a layer to the story that most MMOs today are missing.

Stay tuned for more dev blogs from the Chronicles of Elyria team over the next few weeks!

Previous articleGuild Wars 2 walks guilds through the process of getting their new home
Next articleLotRO’s latest patch tosses errant quest pies and bumps store town services to 6 hours

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments