Well, there was some darn big news this week that has stolen most of the air time, and rightly so. If you have not watched the pre-alpha first look video and caught up on the KickStarter news, then you really need to do so. However, the Muster is still here to pull together a few of the other news stories that were missed in all of the excitement.
Videos were not the only new media this week, we have a whole host of new screenshots to look at and some members of the community began to question exactly what it is we are seeing. There was also a magazine interview over at Gaiscioch which covered a lot of interesting topics, including some information about changes to the skill system. Finally, is starting with high influence ruining the fun of the game? Spoiler: Only if you treat Chronicles of Elyria as a typical MMO.
The Media page has been updated on the website with a lot of new images. Scenes you might recognise from the video along with a lot of other shots that show some of the detail of the world.
One thing I suggest doing is having a good look at the new Astral Plane screenshot and then scrolling down to the concept art it is based on. It is pretty inspiring to see how closely they match up. While you are down in the concept art section we now have images of Trison, a three-horned bison, and Trollmouths, which are disgusting and creepy at the same time. Though in this case disgusting is a good thing as we need variety in the world.
How closely did you watch the first look footage? How closely have you studied the past Developer Journal screenshots? Who amongst you has noticed the strange room that looks like it might be a place for religious sacrifice? Well, it turns out Silaven spotted it. What exactly it is, what it is used for, and if it is as creepy as we think it might be is still up for speculation. Though it was interesting to hear Caspian say:
It should be even more surprising how much we’ve already hidden in plain sight from you folks. [Source – Forums]
As the same room, from a different angle, actually appeared way back in the Developer Journal on Dungeons. So exactly what are they hiding? If you have any other speculation head to the comments below or take it to the official forums.
A magazine about games development Gaiscioch is all about looking at design and construction of the titles we ant to play. Of course, in an edition all about dream building, it was only right for Chronicles of Elyria to take the cover. Inside there is an interview conducted with Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh which is certainly worth taking time out of your day to read. Though there were two parts that particularly stood out to me.
Firstly their proudest engineering achievement, so far, which is how our characters appearance and physique can change over time and actually being able to engineer this:
From an engineering perspective, I think the team is proudest of the aging and dynamic body mechanics. These are closely related and basically, mean that as time passes, characters are constantly aging and changing. Their faces, skin, and bodies slowly show the passage of time. It’s very subtle, and often times community members are surprised to see the difference when they go back and look at what the character looked like decades previously.
The dynamic body system means your character’s leanness and weight changes dynamically. So you could end up with a fairly portly character, or the next Conan. The combination of the aging mechanic, and the dynamic body mechanic means characters look radically different. [Source – Interview]
That is so many animations that need adjusting, armor all needs to be able to fit and look right on that range. It really is quite the engineering feat.
The other that stood out is a much longer section about changes to the skill system:
Now, skill development is largely a cooperative mechanic. To first learn a skill, you can either read about it or to expedite the process you can observe others performing the skill. This is true whether the skills are some kind of crafting skill or a combat technique. By partying up with someone and either adventuring or becoming part of the crafting process, you gradually learn a bit more about the skills they’re showing you.
After a while, you’ll be able to practice the skills yourself with the guidance of others, and then finally be able to execute your skills on your own. This whole process firmly creates a master/apprentice model and creates a new reason for players to go out and interact – to find masters who have skills they want to learn. [Source – Interview]
The article explains more about he hows and whys but it is interesting that this is a multiplayer game that really requires you to think in a multiplayer way in order to progress. Not only is it dangerous to go alone you are not going to learn much by doing so. Get a master, become the apprentice and learn. Then when you get yo your gold years become the master yourself.
However, it does not end there. Playing with friends is important, however, it can also be tricky if you are all online for different lengths of time so end up at very different skill levels. That is where the mechanic of bolstering comes in:
So what we’re doing to remedy this is allowing family members (those in the same in-game family as you) to bolster their siblings/children, etc… If you’re in a group together, the weaker individual’s stats are brought up in parity (not equality) with the stronger character. [Source – Interview]
Yes, you actually get a boost from playing with stronger family members. After all, a family that plays together stays together!
Do you want a high starting Influence?
There was talk this week about starting from the bottom. Working your way up. Ignoring influence in favour of doing it the old fashioned way. However, it was pointed out that while some enjoy the story of the underdog that is not the only story you can play:
Remember that Elyria is a world with a much larger story. So while there are Kings, Dukes, Counts, crafters, guild leaders, mayors, etc… those things just occupy what you do, and how best you can fill a role in the story. But “winning” in Chronicles of Elyria is really just about experiencing and being a part of the story. [Source – Forums]
The goal is not to become King, working your way up is not required here, it is not the aim of the game. Some people will be Kings but their goal is to keep their Kingdom content, to expand their borders, to avoid assassins. It is not that they are better than the great blacksmith, it is just a different story. Of course, it might be your story is of one of rags to riches, but that is just your story not that of everyone. We all get a story here.
Chronicles of Elyria is a multi-player game and many of the systems have been designed to work with that in mind.