Forum Finds – Aging

Edit: I have seen things, beautiful things. Things that make you run up and down your house it the middle of the night silently squealing because they are everything you hoped for. So as well as a the normal Forum Find you can also read my response to an animation of the in-game aging I have been lucky enough to see, to jump straight to that click here. Or read on for the full experience:

The thread that keeps on giving is the topic for today’s post. Chronicles of Elyria community member Tom started a thread about aging and over the last week a number of interesting responses by the ever present Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh have dropped some serious information.

Tom’s primary question was how does age affect our characters physical abilities? In order to answer the that you have to know what in-game mechanics, there are to effect. Let me introduce the base attributes, okay as normal it was Caspian who introduced them, but never the less here they are:

Physical – Strength, Agility, Stamina
Mental – Will, Reason, Focus
Social – Persuasion, Intuition, Leadership

So does age have an effect on these attributes? Yes, it does, but there is, as always seems to be the case with this game, that bit more to it. It is not as simple as you get weaker as you get older, there are benefits too: 

As your character ages the physical attributes will naturally atrophy at a quicker rate, requiring more effort to keep them at higher values. In contrast, the mental attributes all become easier to raise as you age. Finally, the social attributes are about half and half. Persuasion will atrophy (nobody listens to their elders), while Intuition and Leadership will increase more easily.

Getting old isn’t necessarily a hindrance, you might find yourself excelling more if different avenues. Adventures may retire, well, at least the good ones who do not maim themselves on every outing. Character play styles may change over time. I am sure there will be some that fight on to the bitter end, putting more time into their physical skills rather than hanging up the sword, but a mechanic in place forcing them to consider that choice means we are looking at a deeper world than the normal combat only MMO.

Attributes are not the only thing affected, age impacts your characters appearance too. Skin texture and hair colour will be adjusted and also slight skeletal changes that will make it clear you are getting older. The discussion turned to when this visual aging should occur and how death will affect your appearance as you move closer to perma-death. Well, it turns out that the majority of the community did not want death to add to your visual age. Bad adventures should die young and old age should be a sign of a long life. Luckily it turns out that Souldbound Studio had the same idea and then some:

Your character ages and looks older based on your Age. Dying consumes Spirit, the life force that connects your Soul to your body. When your Age is >= your Spirit, you’re at risk of permadeath.

In this way, dying repeatedly, or things that consume Spirit, will not cause you to age prematurely.

However, there will be visible indicators of your deaths (scars, etc..) as well as other ways to determine your remaining spirit while walking about in the Astral Plane.

So not only do we have physical aging we have battle scars to boot which are an absolutely fabulous idea. Your characters mistakes will have a visible effect. This will effect how some people approach their characters, especially role-players. With visible consequences for their actions, it is going to be harder for role-players to separate their ‘in character’ and ‘out of character’ actions, something some may find a bit different to how they normally play. However, so much of Chronicles of Elyria is so different to how we all normally play I think a lot of us are going to be getting used to a new approach.

So what does it really look like?

You might note a comment from Caspian below telling me to check my emails. I did. To be clear, I am not a journalist. I am a community member who was fascinated by the game and wanted to write about it, something I do as a hobby, not a living. I, therefore, have no training at all to deal with what I found in my inbox so please excuse me if I mess this up!

Caspian sent me a ‘rough draft’ (his words, not mine) of an animation showing a male character aging, from a young man of 25 to a middle-aged man of 55. While I can not share the animation with you, cruel I know, I can tell you a polished version is due out in the next few weeks. Until then you will just have to rely on my opinion.

It is better than I expected. Far better. For a small studi,o this is just beyond what I thought we could hope for when it came to the art style, I am sorry for ever doubting you Eddie ‘Heat’ Smith. The games visuals are clearly going to live up to its lofty ideas.

The art style of the character itself is spot on. Realistic with a gritty style, though that might be due to the wear and tear on this poor fella. It looks like he was maimed a few times before his 25th birthday, and he bears the scar. Proper scars that look a part of his body rather than just added on top. Several different types, though I do not know if they will relate to the way your character is maimed or not, the variation certainly allows scope for that.

With the aging, I think the most important thing to note is over the 30 year period I have seen it is subtle. Noticeable yes but subtle to the point you don’t realise quite how much the character has changed until it jumps from 55 back to 25. It is not a comedy aging process here. It is not sticking on some grey hair and leaving everything else the same, in fact, his hair changes only a little. It is the eyes, the cheeks, the tone of the skin that age him. The attention to detail in it is just outstanding.

This is going to be a gorgeous world. Even though we will age and we will bear the scars of our battles, trust me, we are going to look damn good doing it.

5 thoughts on “Forum Finds – Aging

  1. Exciting stuff! Looking forward to seeing the animation 🙂

    In the article you say “slight skeletal changes”, which made me wonder if there will be varying effects depending on your characters lifestyle…


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