Chronicles of Elyria is starting to take all of the pieces that it has been crafting for its ambitious fantasy MMO and pull them together to make an actual game. The team announced that it is working hard on one of the most “critical releases” in Elyria’s development that is “all about breadth of functionality.”
“Release 0.4.0 is where we take the prototypes we’ve been working on over the last couple of years and begin integrating them into the code-base so that we have the game-play features of Alpha 1 (in some minimally viable way) all in one place,” the studio said. “By the time we exit 0.4.0, we will have iterated, in one way or another, on every major feature of Alpha 1.”
These features include refining the character skill system, improving crafting professions, iterating the combat system, building up the world and its biomes, and a new six-week event for this summer that will dictate some of the pre-history for the launch game.
Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!
Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?
J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained is in the home stretch before open beta. Yes, really, open beta. This is happening, people! Clear your 4th of July!
As for live Kickstarters, TemTem is up to $320K and counting, far past its original goal with still a week left to go. Most recently, donors unlocked Nintendo Switch play and the replay system. Clubs (guilds) are set to unlock at $400K. And yes, the game is now registered on Steam.
The Flower of Knighthood, on the other hand, abandoned its Kickstarter in its final hours, seeing it would not complete. The devs haven’t commented on their next move just yet.
Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar was hit with layoffs, EVE Online got its revenge on Star Citizen, Chronicles of Elyria posted lore, Albion Online rolled out a small update, and Crowfall admitted it’s delaying soft launch into 2019 but showed off its procedural world generation. Finally, Fractured prepped for Kickstarter – get ready to see that name a lot in this column!
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
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.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen continued inching its way toward alpha 3.2, as the latest build has hit the PTU for the early “Evocati” player testers. It’s got a few waves to go before it’s released to all backers, but that’s OK: People are leaking stuff all over Reddit anyway if you’re dying to be spoilered.
As for live Kickstarters, TemTem has nearly tripled its goal as I type this, reaching yet another stretch goal – mounts – with Nintendo Switch support on the horizon.
Meanwhile, Dual Universe dropped a new trailer ahead of E3, Ever, Jane updated with butlers, Camelot Unchained says its still just barely on track for beta next month, Project Gorgon whipped up a bugfix update, Wild Mage successfully completed its Kickstarter and promised multiplayer, Albion Online got a small patch to Lancelot, and Elite Dangerous fans are busy at this weekend’s Lavecon 2018. (Thanks, Colin!)
Finally, Ashes of Creation dropped this teaser in its last press release: “We’ve got some very exciting business developments in the works, and while it’s not yet 100% official, we can’t wait to share with you the news. Make of that what you will, but don’t worry – we promise it’s good news for our fans all over the globe.”
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
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?
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Temtem, “the massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure” that hit Kickstarter this week, is looking like a win, as it’s secured most of its $70,000 goal in just its first few days and will soon be on to stretch goals. It’s clearly inspired by Pokemon, with adorable graphics and critters, breeding system, housing, character customization, story campaign, and yes, a co-op online world to romp in. (With thanks to Jose on this one!)
“The days of traveling solo are over; in Temtem the world is a massively multiplayer one. Tamers from around the world can join and you will be able to see them around you, living the adventure with you and fighting to become the best Temtem tamer. Chill with strangers, make new friends and battle them or trade your goodies; the dynamic online world is full of possibilities.”
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.
Here’s a bizarre one for you: Greed Monger’s Jason Appleton is now being billed as a “crypto YouTuber” ahead of the launch of his 13-episode television series funded entirely by bitcoin – it’s called the Crypto Crow Show.
Greed Monger is probably the most famous MMORPG Kickstarter failure to date, having raised over $100,000 back in 2012 to build what the developers said would be a “crafting-focused sandbox MMORPG.” By 2015, the project imploded as devs abandoned it over a lack of funding, generating scam accusations from angry backers. Subsequent attempts to revive the game failed. Appleton resurfaced earlier this year, promising to reimburse Kickstarter backers with his newfound fortune, though a quick glance through the Kickstarter’s comments shows that currently there are still backers who haven’t received theirs, and Appleton has apparently closed down applications for refunds and is bashing donors still asking for their money back.
Sometimes, the title “survival sandbox” might seem a bit inaccurate or limiting. But then you get into stuff like Conan Exiles and Wild West Online, games that… well, pretty much place you inside of a box of sand to survive. And they both launched this week! Which means that we’re waving farewell to them from this particular column, but we hope everyone has fun in that box full of sand. Oh, there’s so much sand there, you wouldn’t believe. Sandy everything.
Other beta news? Hey, why not, it’s a free country. How fun.
Want more betas? Boy, you always want more. Good thing there’s a list just below! But do let us know if something slipped into proper launch without letting us know or if the developers seem to have dropped off of the face of the planet. That… latter one might be more likely.
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.”