The world of Elyria will be different to that of a lot of MMOs we are used to. From what we have heard, it will be far more alive. Non-player characters (NPCs) moving around the world going about their business, even setting up camps in untravelled places so they are a surprise to stumble across. Offline player characters remaining in the world following a huge host of behaviors, that really could mean they appear just like any other player character. However, as well as the characters of the world we also have the animals, materials, and resources. Will those feel as alive?
From the looks of it, yes! Miguel ‘Souzou’ Community Manger at Chronicles of Elyria gave us this small, but very tasty, morsel in a thread by Quiyn asking how the animals and plants of the world will move, develop and interact:
No fixed nodes. Animals will exist within their own ecosystems, and there will be a finite number of them. If you kill a wolf, that is one less wolf in the world.
Now that first sentence might need a little explaining so let’s start there, it is the beginning after all. In some games animals, plants, and NPCs will appear in the world, they will then stay where they are and await death. Once they have been brutally murdered, or in the case of plants harvested, after a set period of time *poof* they appear back in the world stood in the same spot, or node, again. Sometimes they do patrol over a small area, but normally on a set path so still not that engaging. What Souzou is telling us is that will not happen in the game, there are no nodes that mobs stay on, or reappear at. It suggests a much more organic and natural movement to animals and having to search for plants rather than just running back to the same five spots you went to last time.
Ecosystems could mean a couple of different things. It could mean that different areas of the world have different climates, and, therefore, different plants and animals. It could also mean that plants and animals interact with each other within an ecosystem, reliant on each other for survival. Of course, it could mean both! However, the fact there is a finite resource is interesting. It could be that, while finite, they can replenish themselves if given the right conditions. Using the wolf example, as long as their numbers are not reduced too drastically in an area and they still have habitat they could repopulate over time. Or it could be far more drastic, there are 100 wolves once killed there are 0 wolves in that area. My money is on the first one!
Overall it suggests that the feeling of a living world will extend to all parts of it. That we will have to care for it if we are going to make the most of our resources. I just hope that resource management is interesting and engaging rather than limiting, or even worse preachy about the state of our own world. (Which sucks, you really should sort that out.) I think it is likely that the developers will get the balance right, however, it is something that they are showing a tendency to actually reach out for community opinion on. So if we let them know if they do not quite hit the spot, adjustments can be made.