Journal Abridged – Contracts and Player-Created Professions

This series takes the Developers Journals and gives you all the information in handy bullet points. No frills, lace or any decorative appliqué. If you want discussion then you are going to have to wait for the Journal Discussed which will hit later in the week.

Chronicles of Elyria is focusing on players interacting with the world, not merely being in it. This is highlighted by this week’s topic Player Contracts. Contracts unlock a huge range of character interactions, professions, even governments. With a lot to cover either run over to MMORPG.com to read the full article or jump into the abridged version below.

Purpose of Contracts

Contracts provide a basis for character interaction that removes some of the obstacles seen in other MMOs, namely not trusting those you are interacting with.

Initiating Contracts

There are two types of contracts:

  • Explicit Contracts are reviewed and signed by all members who are involved in executing the contract. This form of contract is discussed more below.
  • Implicit Contracts do not require the participants to sign them in order to take effect, for example laws. This form of contract is discussed more later on.

Both types of contract can be made one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many, allowing agreements between just two people or large groups.

Explicit Contracts

  • Explicit contracts are items that you will carry in your inventory. They can be bought/sold/traded/read etc.
  • There are several contract templates that can be completed with the applicable names, quantities, costs, items or activities during negotiations.
  • Some examples of contract templates available are deliver an item, activate an item, destroy an item or building, capture or retrieve someone or escort someone to safety.
  • These tasks are monitored by the Soulborn Engine. As your character carries out activities they generate Character Events, if you complete an Event related to the contract the contract will update with your progress.
  • You can track your progress against a contract in the same way you might do a quest in other games.

Authoring Contracts

  • Contracts can be used by anyone.
  • Contracts are written by players who have specialised in Contracts Writing part of the Scribing skill.
  • The higher the skill more clauses and conditions the writer can add.
  • Low skill (easy to write) contracts include trade contracts.
  • High skill (harder to write) contracts include guild charters, patents, marriage agreements and laws.

Breaking and Enforcing Contracts

  • Each contract has a set of consequences for breaking it written in.
  • If you break the contract the consequences can be enforced but either you, or someone on you behalf, has to actually enforce it. It is not automatic.
  • If you think a contract has been broken you can use a copy of the contract to generate a Bounty Token.
  • Bounty Tokens all the person possessing them to apply the consequences listed in the contract, this could be taking money or items off them or from their home, or even incapacitating them and bringing them to justice.
  • The consequences allowed in contracts depend on regional law. In some Counties you may have the right to retrieve goods yourself, in others it may require a Sheriff to reclaim them, or it might be the county you are in is utterly lawless and there is no way to enforce the contract at all.
  • If you do not have a copy of the contract to generate the Bounty Token it can not be enforced, it is like the contract never existed.

Implicit Contracts

  • Implicit contracts do not require you to sign up to them to take effect. For instances laws or enchanted or artifact items.
  • Laws are able to be written at different levels National, Regional and Local. Anyone in the area is bound by the implicit contract created by the laws for stepping into that area.
  • There are various contracts for laws for example tax, criminal, citizenship, land ownership, inheritance and even government systems can be all part of a contract.
  • Laws require a high level of skill in the Contract Writing specialisation so it will be worth keeping a skilled Contract Writer as part of your court, once written you can then institute the laws yourself (if you are in a position of power) using the regional management UI.

Item Contracts

  • By equipping/wearing an enchanted or artifact item you will initiate a contract.
  • An example is the Ring of the King, if you have sufficient claim and wear the ring you are now king, congratulations! You gain all the benefits of the role but if you break the contract you will face the consequences, in this instance that is death.

So that is Contracts, how these contracts will be used in game we will have to wait and see. I can imagine all sorts of uses and I am interested to see what other uses the community comes up with. The number of professions they can provide a basis for is staggering, an interesting system to use to build our characters place in the community. Or of course use for ill, with the fact the other person has to still have the contract to enforce means you might want to keep that safe. You might also want to consider not agreeing to any consequences too severe in case there turns there is some unfortunate reason you can not complete, hmm a plan!

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