It has been a packed week for Developer Journal with a double bill landing this week. Luckily with the topics being so linked it is easy enough to talk about them together, so that is what we are going to do. If you haven’t caught up yet then the Journal Abridged for Character Roles and Skill Advancement covers how we might decide to build our characters from the wealth of skills available. Whereas Crafting and Professions focuses on how we are going to perform some of those skills if we choose to take on a Producer role, and some of the information Suppliers might want too.
With a lot to get through I think this is one of those times were we are just going to have to jump straight in, so lets get started!
Character roles was the initial topic of Monday’s developer journal. The idea that there will predominately be four roles players choose to focus on Supplier, Producer, Explorer and Champion. This made some people concerned, including TeshiKO over in the comments at MMORPG, could those who took on a Supplier role effect the game for everyone else by controlling the cost of resources? Luckily Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh is all over the internet and is in the comments too!
It’s possible, but unlikely. Suppliers need equipment like everyone else. If they raise their prices, people won’t be able to afford them, won’t have the suppliers they need, and the Suppliers will find they can’t get the equipment they need.
Chronicles of Elyria ensures that all the roles need each other. Suppliers can price everyone out of the market, but then they are going to cause themselves problems. They are going to need well equipped Explorers to seek out new locations of resources, they are going to want strong armoured Champions to clear out the area so they can harvest. This hopefully leads to balance in the economy, though I imagine there will probably still be those that try to corner the market!
One important thing that was raised during the live chat last Monday, (well at least I thought it was important because I raised it!), was limits on the number of players able to reach each skill tier. The skill advancement journal stated that the all knowing Soulborn engine that will power the more unique features of the game will keep an eye on skill advancement and actually effect how much of the population can reach each tier. How does it do that without locking people out of content?
The algorithm works off of velocity. We said, if someone were to spend every waking minute of every day, how long would it take them to level a skill to max. We set that so that it would take them a couple lifetimes. … we adjust the advancement velocity such that those people who are advancing the skill “the most” become the new maximum. This means that the top 10% will be the ones who reach the top 10%, while those who are less, will get [less]. In any event, if the top 10% were to say, stop leveling that skill, and you were to continue, you’d become the new metric and would eventually out-level them.
The play style of community as a whole determines the rate of learning. This is an interesting approach and seems very logical. They have said that due to the very high starting point, it is more likely that system will end up giving players a boost to reach the higher levels then hold us all back. Unless someone is online all the time… So please do remember to go out side after launch if not for the sake of your sanity, but for the sake of our skill advancement! There is also the important factor of skill resets to consider. While someone may have got to the top level at some point they are going to die, harsh facts here in Elyria. That means that they start back at the beginning. Sure they are going to get back there far quicker than someone starting a new but it does give everyone else a chance to get to those higher ranks.
Lets jump onto the next developer journal. This one hasn’t been out as long and there hasn’t been the same level of in-depth discussion… yet! However, we already know some more interesting bits and pieces. The first was a helpful clarification of something that appeared in the Developer Journal. Strangely Godiva asked about item durability in last Mondays live chat before the journal even went live (do we have psychic community members?), while the developer journal stated items in Chronicles of Elyria suffer durability over time, this was clarified in the live chat:
Items have a durability. Using an item will eventually force you to replace components. We don’t have rust. Unused items don’t decay over time. We want people to be able to pass their stuff onto their heirs… not for their stuff to die with them.
Which is a bit of a relief as we do want to be able to keep items for our heirs, or loot items from forgotten tombs. It is reassuring to get it confirmed that it is only in use that loss of durability occurs.
One of the topics that has sprung from the crafting journal is regarding the Skill Challenges, or crafting mini-games. I will tell you now this hasn’t got a developer response yet so if that is all you are after you can stop now. However, it is an interesting conversation and I think it is worth discussing. The mini-games sound fun. At least at the start. However, several members of the community are worried that if you are focusing on a Producer role you are going to end up repeating the same games, over and over. Are they still fun? It is a fair question, and possible one that is not going to be answered until we get hands on.
I hope there is enough variety with the Skill Challenges due to Producers being able focus on a finished item, swords for example. That one item actually covers multiple professions and therefore multiple mini-games. However, I can see people focusing on trying to be the very best at a very small niche, just sword blades. Dedicating all their time to that would only involve one or two challenges, how fun will that be? Though on the other side is that the fault of the game? Doing anything over and over, however fun it is gets dull eventually. If you choose to avoid variety then can any game avoid getting repetitive?
What do you think? Why not come over to the official forums and join the debate and through your thoughts into the ring. This is the point in the game where every thread on the forums is a suggestions thread from us to the developers so now is the time to get your voice heard.