The Muster – PvE, Welcomes and Fame

Join me as we gather up all of the highlights from the last week. We are pulling from all sorts of sources; from forums and the Q&A to discussions had on the IRC. Aiming to bring together a whole host of information and point you in the right direction to find more. As always, well as since last week, ending with the Muster Point, the one thing you really ought to know from this week’s collection.

So what have we got for you this week? Well, last week we spoke a bit about PvP so only fair we address the balance with a look at PvE. We are also welcoming some new staff members over a Soulbound Studios, talking about fame, guild tools, how you know you are going to die, and some interesting battle mechanics. Oh, and I have included something Jeremey ‘Caspian’ Walsh told us about Liches in the IRC…

PvE

The term PvE, or player versus environment, doesn’t seem to come up much on the Chronicles of Elyria forums. It might be because it is a little taken for granted, that there is some sort of assumption that it will be there. But will it? Are we going to see NPCs, are we going to be interacting with them? Well, it is actually a two-way street:

There is a lot of NPC interaction. We will be using our AI to let you hire them and fire them and send them to do tasks, similar to what they would do to you. You can go up to an NPC ask if there is anything they need you to do and do it for them. [Source – YouTube Q&A]

You do tasks for them, they do tasks for you, perhaps it turns out it wasn’t an NPC it was actually someone’s offline player character and they stuck a notice on a board asking for help… there is a lot more possibilities in this game than in others for that sort of interaction. However, Caspian also confirmed that it was not just people to talk to but animals and monsters that we could fight in a more traditional PvE playstyle. Though how traditional that is:

As far as “traditional play”, most everything will be done with a purpose, because of the risk/reward. So if you need supplies like leather, cotton, etc… you’ll go out and get it. If there’s a criminal on the lose, you may investigate or track them down. But what you won’t find is people just going out of town and finding a camp, eliminating it and waiting for it to respawn, and clearing it again.

So yes, there is PvE. No, there in not running around killing respawns.

New Staff

Welcome aboard Aurora & Reaventil! The newest members of the growing Soulbound Studios team. A team who are moving into a new office at the beginning of next month to make room for even more staff members!

Aurora is our new Outreach Coordinator, that means she is there to try and bring more members into the community. Promoting the game and getting the word out. She has actually been with the team since November, however, that was as an intern where she obviously made an impression because she is now a full member of the team.

Raevantiel is an environment artist who has just joined the team… or so they say! I have my suspicions because if you look at some of his portfolio there are environments that are just made for this game. It just fits so perfectly with how I imagined the game to look it is almost like he has been there forever. But really, I have been assured that is just coincidence and he is just that good!

Fame

We found out in the last Developer Journal that the more famous you are the more spirit it will cost you when you die. There were some questions about this on the IRC such as how do you avoid fame, perhaps you are playing a more ‘unsavoury’ character and do not want everyone to know you name. Well, your name spreads by people seeing your actions or by hearing about it through the gossip mechanic, so if you use a different identity you will not have people pointing at you in the street. You can, therefore, keep your fame low, there is a big ‘but’ though:

If the goal is to prevent spirit loss on death, it doesn’t work. Spirit loss on death is based on your actual fame/impact to the story, not perceived fame. In short, if you have fame, if people know who you are – on any identity, you have the ability to have impact on the story.

You kill the king, you are a big deal. It doesn’t matter if people saw you or not, you have just impacted the world hugely, they know ‘someone’ did it, and even though they do not know your true identity the engine recognises our contribution. However, do you want to keep such as achievement completely to yourself?

Though to be clear, the goal shouldn’t be to keep your fame low. Your reputation is ultimately what opens doors. Even underground assassins look for reputable assassins.

If you do not claim responsibility, at least in the circles that matter, maybe someone else will take the honours, take the spoils, and take that next lucrative contract.

Guilds

Guilds, schools, and associations are going to be a big deal in the game. With there so much player interaction the organisations we are a part of is going to really shape the game for us. So what is interesting is how much of an early emphasis Soulbound Studios are putting on the system:

We are going to be talking more about guilds in our upcoming design journal. But our goal is to try to get a lot of these guilds into the game early, and buy into the game I just mean into the community, doing some content stuff on our website. I am ultimately looking for some forum games and some other things we are looking at fleshing out to allow guilds to start to assert their dominance on the website, the community website, even before the game launches. [Source – YouTube Q&A]

So look out for that Developer Journal, work out what you want to be a part of, then jump right in to take on the others in the world to build a name for yourselves early. While, making friends like this can be a real boon for anyone starting out, especially if you do not bring a pre-made friendship group with you into the game, often it doesn’t work out. Guilds struggle to make it to launch as there is nothing they can really do together for the game. Forum games could solve that, which would be great to see.

Buff after Death

This is a tough topic. It is one of those that makes you tilt your head on the side and ask if you read it right. It is not what we are used to. Because of that, I will caveat it by saying this is a game that is in development. They have said time and time again, even when discussing this very topic, play testing is something they will respond to and ideas might change. So…

When you are spirit lost and roam the astral plane while you are working your way back to your body, it is in this rested state, a coma state. When you get back to your body you become higher vigilant after being rested at that deep level for long a period of time. Chances are good when you come back you will have more energy than you had beforehand, but you might also be slightly faster, slightly stronger than you were before you became incapacitated or coupé de graced. [Source – YouTube Q&A]

Yes, rather than a resurrection sickness we are used to in other games, a disadvantage for your death, they plan to give a boost after you return to your body. In a battlefield situation, you now have someone more powerful running around. Powerful, and perhaps reckless. In the last Developer Journal, they spoke about death toll caps. If you die on a battlefield you will get a much larger spirit loss penalty the first time you die, but then nothing again for 10 hours. How does that work with the buff?

As people start to fall, they come back from that first death and now they have that buff I just mentioned so they are a little bit stronger, a little bit faster. Now they effectively do not have anything to loose, because they know that no matter how many times they die during that battle at this point they have already taken that loss so they need to take as many people with them they can. So it creates a kind of battle rage almost. Where they are going to just dive in. So that is going to accelerate the battle rapidly after people start to fall.

My main question is, why? Why would you want to move from a cautious tactile affair with people trying to preserve their own lives to an all out bloodbath? Doesn’t that seem like a too big of a shift, appealing to very different players.

We think it is going to make the movement of the battle, the back and forth, to be interesting.

It might well be, but at the moment, I am in the ‘we will have to wait and see’ camp.

Signs of Death

The ever advancing end will always be present in this game. Normally as you age you will see your characters appearance change, you posture shift, taut skin start to sag. You know you are getting old and the end approaches. However, some might find the end coming far before any of those signs if they forget to play nice! So how do you know when your end is nye?

You will notice that your vitality bar, upon waking up the next day, has a slight sliver of black in it. That black sliver will advance over the next [seven] days, until it accumulates and consumes your entire vitality bar. When that black shadow hanging over your vitality reaches 100%, your character is dead. [Source – YouTube Q&A]

The shadow hangs over you, it is time to make your will. Time to make those last-minute funeral arrangements. Hand your heirloom on with a tear in your eye. Make plans for a new character.

Lich

So finally, so more news about Liches was dropped in the IRC by Caspian…

Yeah. Lich isn’t a Talent. There’s a specific process for … Never mind. 🙂

Gosh, darn it!

Muster Point

Fame, it is not something you can out run. You can hide from the waggling tongues but you can not hide from the story.

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