Journal Abridged – Maps, Cartography, and Navigation

This series takes the Developers Journals and gives you all the information broken down in to simple sentences. No waffle, or chicken for that matter. If you want discussion then you are going to have to wait for the Journal Discussed which will hit later week.

With the world of Elyria being on the larger side you are going to want to find your way around. However, this being the game that it is you are not going to be able to hit your ‘M’ key and have a perfect map of the world at your fingertips. No you are going to have to make that map, and then you are going to have to know how to use it (or of course pay someone to do those bits!). You can read the full version over at, then read it all again with the abridged version below.


  • They are items, so like other items can be bought, sold, traded, destroyed, stolen and also crafted.
  • They stack in your inventory.
  • If you do not have a map in your inventory, then you do not have a map.
  • Even if you do have a map you require a high quality map and also skill in navigation to pinpoint your location in the world.

The Map View

  • Looking at a map forces you into first person view.
  • There is no UI that shows the map, just the item itself. This can make it impractical to look at on the move.
  • Looking at the item puts the map into your hands, so you will not also be holding your weapons. If you are attacked you either have to drop the map or spend time putting it into your backpack before you can defend yourself.

Maps and Families

  • Parents are required to provide a care package as part of creating children.
  • This care package includes basic clothing, tools for the family profession (which could be weaponry), and a set of maps.
  • The set of maps will include more than one.

Map Scale

  • There are eight different scale maps that can be produce.
  • These are, from smallest to largest, structural, settlement, regional, county, duchy, kingdom, continent and world.
  • Each scale shows a different area, but also different objects:
    • Structural – Used for mapping castles, ruins, dungeons, caverns. Shows rooms, hallways, traps, items and also creatures. Though creatures are not static so may not be where the map suggests.
    • Settlement – Used for mapping hamlets, towns, villages. Shows builds, farms and crafting resources.
    • Regional – Used for an area larger than a settlement. Shows landmarks as well as points of interest. Commonly used to share information between Explorers and Suppliers of locations of resources.
    • County, Dutchy, Kingdom, Continent – All show in various scales and details the major locations and landmarks. Shows items such as settlements, trade routes, rivers, lakes, mountains, forests and borders of territory.
    • World – This is mostly decorative. Used to show the size of the known world.

Object Permanence

  • Maps do not automatically update to reflect the changes of the world. Existing maps can be edited but this must be done by players.
  • Reasons a map might be out of date include:
    • New settlements or points of interest appearing.
    • Old points of interest, resources or settlements being used up or destroyed.
    • The cartographer didn’t actually draw all the detail.
    • The cartographer didn’t draw what was really there, perhaps to their own benefit.
  • Maps can lead you astray, buy from a trusted source.


  • The game will ship with a partial set of maps, these will be incomplete, fairly inaccurate, and low quality with little detail.
  • Cartographers will have to create the more detailed maps of the regions and locations of the world.

Creating Maps

  • Creating a map uses ink, parchment and a series of drawing tools.
  • You must first select the scale of map you want to create the drawing tools you are given will suit the scale you choose.
  • If you are drawing a structural map you will get the tools for drawing various shaped and sized rooms and well as stamps that indicate where you might find things locate within those rooms.
  • If you are drawing a regional map you will get access to stamps for forests and mountains as well as a spline tool for rivers, roads and the like.
  • Stamps that are likely to be be used repeatedly, such as tress for a forest, will cycle randomly through a selection of appropriate stamps to give some variety and make maps look more pleasant.

The Power of Names

  • Any region the cartographer has identified on the map, by stamping, drawing or enclosing it on the map, can be named.
  • The Soulborn Engine keep track of the names used and the name that appears more frequently on maps is the name used by NPCs for that landmark and is used in recent in-game lore.
  • This has consequences:
    • If you have just taken over a Kingdom (or other area) and have decided to rename it the local NPC population are still going to be referring to it by the old name. This is true until such time as you have produced enough new maps and/or destroyed enough old maps to make your chosen name the most common.
    • You can stumble across maps that refer to places which no longer go by that name. This can make it difficult to locate such places, but it might be worth doing so if the map shows resources, or unexplored lands.
  • Cartographers can write the names on maps in any in-game language they know. Therefore you may not always be able to read the maps you find.


  • Navigation is the skill to use maps, and other tools, to find your location within the world.
  • To navigate you need to be able to locate north. This is done using either a compass, if you have one are skilled enough to use it, or the sun/stars depending on the time of day.
  • You can use a sundial to check the time once you are facing north during the day, or use the stars on a clear night to determine the time.
  • You can use your map once facing north to find your location, by selecting the items on the map closes to you on all four sides. This places a cursor on the map.
  • The more accurate the map and skilled at navigation you are, the more accurate the cursor placement.
  • Putting the map away means the cursor is removed and you have to go through the process again.

Sensory Maps

  • The game currently includes a mini-map however, this is a survival tool to represent your characters senses rather than a map used to navigate, so is referred to as a sensory map.
  • The sensory map shows things around you character might have heard or smelt, things you might not be able to hear/smell as a player.

Ever since I heard about Cartography back in July I was excited at the prospect of it as a feature. Now we can see how it works, how maps will be created, and the trappings of navigation thrown in I think this could be one of the most interesting features of an MMO. Finally, a true reward for exploration?

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