Chronicles of Elyria is an MMORPG, currently being developed by a talented team known as Soulbound Studios.
The main way to describe this unique and upcoming game, is that it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before when it comes to open world online games. It’s an MMO, with RPG and Survival traits, that’s based within an enormous virtual world bursting with life, action, people, commerce and adventuring.
You may well be thinking, “oh ok, well other popular MMO’s say the same thing”, but Chronicles of Elyria is truly immersive, alive and changeable, with the possibility for having up to 100,000 player characters living within each server/world.
Features of Chronicles of Elyria
Let’s break it down for what CoE has to offer -
- Dynamic Storytelling (Player Conceived Lore & Quests)
- Immersive and Alive
- Aging & Death
- A Destructible Environment
- Offline Player Characters
- Crafting & Professions
A bit of a mouthful, but it’s the easiest way to explain it. The lore, history and quests found throughout the world of Elyria is created, conceived and preserved by you the player.
Through the use of “Kingdoms of Elyria” and “ElyriaMUD”, two connected, yet independent ‘minigames’, the world lore and history within Chronicles of Elyria will be created.
These two ‘minigames’ will be released to the game's backers, pledgers and Kickstarter's months before the release of the full CoE game. And within these two smaller games, every player (whose account/pledge allows) will be able to play and write a part of history for the main game.
In the minigame, you could find a partner, create a family, buy a house, start a farm and these actions will be recorded and preserved as history and lore, which could then be turned into the events and history that occurred in Elyria 50-100 years prior to the full game being released. So in effect, the players get to write the history and lore for the main game!
Once the full CoE has been released, in-game quests can be initiated by anyone through the use of ‘Contracts’. A contract, similar to real life will state that if XX player does a certain task, or finds XX materials, then they will be rewarded XX gold in or reward return. These contracts can be used between two players, between a player and an NPC or between a whole group. Why would an NPC need a quest you might be asking? Well, because NPC’s also need to work, eat, find a place to call home and even possibly marry and start a family of their own. So if you’re able to provide a decent amount of work, you could get both real players and NPCs coming to you to complete contracts.
Immersive and Alive
In Elyria, the world is truly alive. There’s not just weather systems, changing seasons and immersive graphics, but the entire ecosystem is pretty realistic to that of real life.
Animals and creatures in the game have their own life cycles, so for instance birds eat bugs and insects, certain mammals eat the birds, other mammals eat the smaller mammals and so forth, creating a circle of life. Some species of animals even migrate across the world and in the case that an animal's normal feeding grounds are changed (maybe players cut down an entire Forest which used to be the home of multiple creatures), then those animals are going to get hungry and find a different way to eat, whether that be to brave human settlements in search of fresh meat or wander through the planes looking for a new home.
Going back to NPC’s, you won’t find the same NPC standing in the same place for all eternity like in other MMO’s. In CoE all NPC’s have a set of needs and aspirations. Firstly, they require food, drink and shelter, so just like players, they’ll be scouting the world for jobs and quests which can be presented by other players. Need iron ore for your blacksmith shop? Create some job contracts. Need protection from bandits while moving your supplies from one town to another? Create a contract with a bodyguard. Both real players and NPC’s can negotiate with contracts (quests), and they can get pretty extensive so practically any lawful job, quest or task can be negotiated through lawful means.
Aging & Death
Can you truly experience a virtual world and life without going through a natural ageing process?
Can you truly care about your actions without first thinking about the consequences?
CoE’s developers are serious about creating an almost-lifelike world, so for this to really happen, aging and death must be fairly realistic and make you think about your actions beforehand, rather than thinking “oh well, if I die then I can always respawn back and try again”.
Let’s cut to the chase, there is permadeath in this game… OMG sounds crazy right?! Yes, yes it does, but after you’ve read into how the system actually works, you’ll feel a lot better about it.
Permadeath is real, however… this will only happy if:
1) Your body is unrecoverable, such as you jump inside a volcano (wait, what, there are volcanoes in the game? .. .that’s a story for another day.) or you run out of fatigue and drown at the bottom of the ocean.
2) Your character is too weak for your soul to make it back to your body - most commonly occurring when your character is of an old age (80+).
Otherwise, if you die of other, more normal causes, then you’ll have to walk the astral planes and regroup your soul with your body, ‘respawning’ your character with a small amount of temporary fatigue.
However, you should know, that each time you die and have to reconnect your soul and your body, your spirit reduces and actually reduces the lifespan of your character. For a normal citizen with no title, each time you die and need to walk the astral planes, you’ll lose 2 real life days from your character’s lifespan, with the average lifespan expected to be between 10-14 months.
Although, even after permadeath, you can start a new character as an heir to your original character, who can then inherit your first character’s land and buildings...as long as you created and stored safely the required Will and Inheritance contracts during your first character's life.
A Destructible Environment
Even though it's against the law to break into someone’s home, commercial property or damage any of their buildings, most things in the world can be destroyed (or even stolen).
Doors and windows can be broken into by thieves, so you better make sure that your home is protected inside as well as out, which can be done by utilizing an array of in-game mechanics such as training a pet or hiring a soldier to keep guard, placing traps and tripwires to sever unlawful folk mooching around within your home, build hidden safes and vaults to hide your precious items and gold or even dig underground and build a failsafe dungeon.
Above ground level, if your Kingdom is unlucky enough or underprepared enough to face a war with another Kingdom, then the use of Siege Weaponry, such as Trebuchets and Catapults could be used to flatten buildings entirely or cause them to set on fire, with wall by wall being burnt to the ground.
Tunnelling will hopefully make it into the game upon the main release, although currently only a ‘stretch goal’, but either way, it’s a planned game mechanic that will be added at some point.
With tunnelling, players will be able to create their own tunnels and mines, into the sides of mountains for example in order to try and find precious metals.
As the world develops and learns about new technologies, there may even be a way to dig a large enough area underground for an entire settlement to live within and call their home (Ironforge anyone?).
Offline Player Characters
Within the world of Elyria, you'll find 3 types of characters, those are; NPC's, PC's and OPC's.
Now, we all know that NPC's are artificial in-game characters who are controlled by the server through AI and scripts. But in Elyria we also have PC's and OPC's, which aren't as well known definitions to many MMO players.
Basically, PC's are Player Characters - those are the characters which we play as, they're your own character. But then we also have an alternative version called Offline Player Characters (OPC's).
An OPC is your character, when you're offline. Although you may not be physically controlling your character whenever you're offline, your player still exists in the game world. Your character doesn't just despawn when you log out, it stays within the world, which offers a whole new dimension to the way you play, while also giving advantages to those who can't play for as many hours as others.
You can tell your OPC what to do when you're offline through the use of Scripts. Many scripts will already be precoded and ready to initiate, so you can simply select the script you wish your character to do and when you're offline, your OPC will perform the tasks set out within that particular script. You can even create your own custom scripts if you wish, to really customise what your player does and doesn't do when offline.
While offline, you could get your player to watch over your shop and buy/sell items to passing players. You could send them out to certain areas to collect resources (if you know how to get your player there that is) or do other mundane tasks which you dislike doing when online.
This feature is built in such a way as to give your character a full life and complete tasks when offline, but not in a way that'll become overpowered. If you wish to send your player out in the world, then you'll have to tell them exactly where to go. For example, if you wish for them to leave the village and go chop down some trees, then you'll need to tell them exactly how to get to a Forest area... "Walk 100 paces North, Turn Left, Walk 100 more paces, then when you see the Monument turn right".
You'll still need to know how and where to guide your OPC, but once set up, you'll be able to script your character to do hundreds of day-to-day tasks while not even being online!
Crafting & Professions
Unlike other MMO's, crafting and professions in Chronicles of Elyria offer a more 'involved' feeling rather than spam clicking a button 50 times to craft 50 swords.
This doesn't mean to say that crafting will become a tedious, time-consuming job, but more of an immersive experience. For those players who just want to be a baker and own a cake shop, be a blacksmith creating tools for the city folk, or be a farmer raising livestock and breeding animals - If a player wanted to, then their profession could become their full-time in-game vocation.
Other MMO's would only ever treat professions as a side job, whereas in Elyria they're a lifestyle choice. If you're not keen on becoming a fighter or adventurer, then nothing's stopping you from having a profession you admire and doing that until your heart's content. In fact, hundreds of other players eagerly awaiting for CoE to be released have already decided on what profession and lifestyle they want for their first character, from creating the best cakes in Elyria to being their Kingdom's leading sword maker.
There's also no set professions, so we're pretty free to do whichever trade, activity or job we desire. And os it's a real open world, they'll need for a great vast amount of jobs such as: Farmers, Couriers, Blacksmiths, Architects, Military Roles, Law Enforcement, Government Roles, Horse Breeders, Bankers, Teachers, Builders, Contract Writers (Solicitors), and really any job role similar to those in real life.
As mentioned before, Professions aren't just done through the click of a button. If you want to be an Architect then there are in-game tools and Sim-like building design tools to draw architectural plans. If you wish to be a Blacksmith then a little real life knowledge in metals would be handy, letting you mix certain ores together in certain percentages to create new, stronger variants. Even being a Farmer can get scientific, being able to breed certain animals with the best traits in order to breed pedigree versions of a specific livestock.
Professions aren't just a side thing anymore, they're a way of playing and living within the game world!