Journal Discussed – Chat System

You may have noticed there was no usual journal abridged on Monday, that is because the developers have forsaken us. That, or they took a week off to concentrate on some other community features while MMORPG.com was focusing on PAX Prime. Either way, there was nothing new to abridge. “So what exactly are you going to discuss?” Well, I am glad you asked. Before the Echo started printing there were some Developers Journals that were published only to the official site, today we are going to blow the dust of one of them. Let’s talk about the chat system!

A skull cave from Chronicles of Elyria

As you may have guessed Chronicles of Elyria is not approaching chat, in the same way, you may be familiar with from other MMOs. So here are the five things you should about the chat system:

1. There is no default trade chat, or general, or guild, or well any of them.
But do not worry! While there are no default channels that are there to either be abused or ignored, you can make your own. Make your own for your guild, your flatmates, your kingdom, county, town, or hamlet. If you can think of a reason to have a chat channel you can make a chat channel. Additionally, from the forums we have found out a bit more about joining these channels or rooms:

There’s no limit to the number of players in chat rooms. You can either invite people, or they can join automatically if they know the password (if you assign one). There is also a channel index so people can find your gaming community’s chat channel when they sign in.

Again Caspian giving us all the information. With invites and an index, it is a versatile system Hopefully it will be easy to find channels that actually suit your playstyle rather than being forced into the defaults other games offer.

Oh and if you are worried about how new players are going to get help when there is no general chat for them to turn to for assistance, it’s covered. From the developer journal:

…there will be pre-registered, moderated chat channels for newbies. You can think of these channels like your direct access to the gods (or very helpful people). When you type, your messages will only be visible to the GMs or volunteers approved for responding. Someone will then reply to you with an answer. When that happens, both your request, and their answer will be visible to all in the channel.

I wonder what you have to do to be selected as a volunteer as I know there are a lot of community members that love helping new players. It will also be great for those of you who find the repetitive nature of new players questions enough to drive you positively barmy, as you can just turn this off!

2. Area chat varies depending on what sort of group you are in.
Area chat works in an area around you. You may well be familiar with some from other games, such as ‘say’ or ‘yell’. Well, Chronicles of Elyria has those two and a ‘whisper’, not to be confused with private messages or tells which are actually something different in this game. However, these three area channels behave differently depending on the type of group you are in. Alone, in a party, or in a raid:

Alone – Whispers only go to one other player in close range. Say is to all people in a small range around you and Shout is to all people around you but with a larger range.

Party – Say and shout are to those around you in increasing ranges, just as if you were alone. However, whisper now goes to all your party members in a close range.

Raid – None of the channels seem to rely on range if you are in a raid, instead it is all about talking to different groups. Whisper goes to your party members within the raid, say includes those party members and raid officers, and shout is to the full raid.

3. Player chat and Character chat is different.
If you are talking in one of those chat channels we mentioned in point one, you are talking as you – the player. You will be identified by your player alias, so if you were talking to me you would see VictoriaRachel. However, if you are talking in an area chat, like those in point two, you are talking as your character. You will be identified by your character name, so if you were talking to me you would see Erin Brown (maybe!).

The fun part is you might never have the information to connect the two:

If you keep your identity as a player separate from your identity as a character, it’s possible to have a conversation in the chat channel while also having a separate conversation in-game with the same person – and never know you’re talking to them!

Unless I, or someone else, chooses to tell you that Erin is my character you will not be able to find out. This all links back to things like disguises we have spoken about before. I might not really be Erin Brown at all, but the famous and wealthy assassin Countess Von Stabby trying to get close to murder you. Perhaps I have told you my character is Erin but I am actually being paid to lie by someone who you do not want infiltrating your guild meetings. There is much subterfuge afoot!

4. Private messages are for your friends and families ears only.
Primate messages or tells are not limited by distance like most area chats. However, they are limited by association. You can only send these messages to people on your friends list or people who are a member of your in-game family. These are your support system, your go tos, your help in dark times. Other games focus more on guilds providing assistance but that is unlikely to be the case in this MMO. One of the benefits of the limited system is you will not be getting messages from strangers, but your great aunt can hit you up anytime.

That is right ANYtime, because… saving the best for last:

5. You can talk to your friends/family and in chat channels while not in the game.
That is right. You can access your chat channels and private messages while out of the game. Basically, any chat you could access as a player (not a character) you can do while not logged in. The chat system uses a protocol called XMPP, now I do not know what that means. What I do know is you can get all sorts of clients that work with it. You want it on your iPhone there is a host of apps, want it on your Android, work computer, home computer, etc. you can.

Even more exciting is hopefully this system is coming soon and will be out and in testing well before the game. The plan is to open it up in stages to see how the community gets on with it and soon we will all have a place to chill, chat, and plan out our dastardly schemes.

So there we are the top five things you need to know about the chat system. The out of game chat is something I am going to be hooked on. It means that as the story develops, as things happen in the game, I can know about it where ever I am. Still a part of the world. That to me is great because, I am not sure once I get in to Elyria I will ever want to fully leave it.

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