Opinion – The Frustrations of Early Production

Screenshot showing the town of New Haven in the snow in Chronicles of Elyria.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece, if you are looking for facts and details this is not the article for you.

You might have noticed that this site has been rather quiet as of late. I wanted to talk about why. It is not because I have lost interest in the game, far from it, it is simply that the information we are getting at the moment in the game updates is pretty straight forward. Here is a new image, here is an update to the store, they are not topics that I feel need much discussion. That means that Chronicles of Elyria is in that tricky middle phase of development. The ideas have been shared but the details are not ready yet. That can cause frustration in the community, and it is that frustration and my thoughts on it that I want to talk about today. Continue reading

Chat Log – The Story of Elyria

A monster in Silverrun in Chronicles of Elyria

Layers. They make things better. Be it trifles, cakes, other desserts, oh and stories. Story is something that takes many different forms in a game. It can be the driving force, a tacked on addition, or some games even leave it out completely. This week we were treated to an explanation from the Developers about how they intend to tackle the story in the Chronicles of Elyria. You will not be surprised to hear that they are crafting a deep, layered system to permeate the world.

One of the places the Developers often give the community extra information about their plans is their IRC channel. That was the case last Monday where we had some great monologues from Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh on the topic of the story. While the majority of this article is a description and discussion of the topic I cannot resist one quote:

It’s my goal that I’ve added enough layers of complexity, that whether by your own choosing, or by seemingly random events happening around you, that every single time you log on you feel like there’s something for you to do that’s fun.

So what are these layers and do they help reach this goal? Continue reading

Character Ideas

With new information thin on the ground, I have been spending time reading and rereading old information we have. Not only is it intriguing seeing the occasional subtle shift in design over the last six months of the games development, but it is also inspiring. There are so many concepts that they hope to put into this game and they all fuel my desire to make character concepts. The combinations, the possibilities, the background stories and future paths. It is what has kept me (somewhat) sane over the festive period without more Chronicles of Elyria news to chew on.

I am not the only one who has character ideas either. In one of the past Q&A answer sessions we actually found out that Caspian himself has ideas of the character type he would like to play.

I’m going to be Robin Hood. Rob from the rich and steal for the poor. In order to do that, I’m need to have a certain level of survival skills associate with that. I also need the ability to stay out in the woods for a long period of time. I also need the ability to fight so I need some combat skills in there as well. When I’m resting I’m going to play my lute, because I’m a musical bardish kind of character in addition to a being a warrior / champion / survival character.

This shows the variation we can expect, and highlights that a single profession might not be the best bet in this game. Rounded characters with a purpose and a story are likely to be the ones that keep you logging in and keep you having fun.

So here are a few more to get your creative juices going from the list of many characters I have been considering. Continue reading

Echo – Development Management

A lot of us at this stage of a games life are not just interested in what is being developed but also how they are developing it. Especially if the company are asking for our backing it is good to know their approach to delivering the final product. So it is interesting to see Soulbound Studios talking about their management and development system.

 We prove out a concept and then move onto proving out the next difficult concept, rather than rabbit-holing all the details of a single system this early in development.

If how the games development affects what we get to see and the decisions they make is something that interests you then you can find out more over at this thread.

Echo’s are a new idea I am trying out for content you need to know about, but don’t really need me waffling on about! Please let me know is this is something you find useful. Either in the comments below or over on twitter @ElyriaEcho.

Echo – Public Access Plan

Alpha? Beta? Gamma? Delta? What is the plan for testing and releasing Chronicles of Elyria to us the, ever patient, public? Well Caspian has let us know with a great breakdown over on the official forums. We can expect:

  1. Offline Demo
  2. Closed Alpha
  3. Open Alpha
  4. Beta
  5. Early Access

For some actual descriptions of those stages, who will be invited, what sort of non-disclosure agreements might be in place. Head over to the thread here.

Echo’s are a new idea I am trying out for content you need to know about, but don’t really need me waffling on about! Please let me know is this is something you find useful. Either in the comments below or over on twitter @ElyriaEcho.

Journal Discussed – Technology and Research Part 2

An indoor sceen including a clock in Chronicles of Elyria.

Patents. They are a familiar concept in our world, with large court battles between the biggest technology firms. Could that work in a computer game? In a world where technology progresses, and players are the ones progressing it, patents could well make sense. However, combine that unusual idea with the cruel word count in the Developer Journal and it leads to a difficult concept to get your head around. The idea to day is to gather up all the other information we have found out and hopefully understand patent a little bit better. But first if you haven’t caught up on the Technology and Research Developer Journal yet then you can check out the Journal Abridged, or if you want to know a bit more about technology in Elyria part 1 of this Journal Discussed will help you out.

Firstly let’s look at the basics. Patents are a law created by an individual or group that protects a technology they have discovered from being crafted or processed by others in the Kingdom without breaking that law. It is in effect for three weeks after being issued unless an extension is granted, often at a cost, which lasts an additional three weeks. Sounds simple enough but let’s break that down a bit! Continue reading

Chat Log – Player Created Content

Personality and individuality matter in an MMO. This is a world where people either feel they are being represented by their character, or they want that character to have their own personality. Either way people want that character to look good, to stand out, to be that little bit different. To me character customisation is important for that reason. However, that is only part of a jigsaw. On top of that character you wear clothing, that needs to be customisable too. Then their home, let’s make that customisable too. Basically everything should be! But what sort of control will we have over that customisation?

One thing we learnt from the question and answer session this week was related to user driven content. How much could we as players add to the world, and in that way customise our characters and the world around them. Richard, one of the community members, asked if players would be able to create works of art to tell the tales of the world? We actually got a really interesting response which you can hear in the Q&A video hosted by DM21 Gaming. Continue reading

Chat Log – Concerns, Part 2

We all have concerns about the game. We are all human after all. At the beginning of last week the developers took the opportunity to take the time to address as many of the concerns that were being posted on the forums as they could. This lead to two and a half hours worth of Live Chat between Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh and community member BicycleWalrus on his channel DM21 Gaming.

Carrying on from Part 1 posted yesterday this chat log is all about bringing you my Top 3 Topics from the second part of the live chat as before the video can be found here, and the transcript made by community members Xilana and Maygus can be found here. Lets get started! Continue reading

Chat Log – Concerns, Part 1

Do you know what I like when a game is in development? It is is developers that actively address the concerns of the prospective player base. No, I do not mean bow to their demands. Just listen, given feedback, talk about the possible problems. Even if that talking is just, “Actually we think it is better this way, and we hope you agree when you get to play.” That is great, it means they heard. At the beginning of this week we had two live stream conversations addressing posts players had made on the forums in a thread of their biggest worries about the game. It was glorious!

The live chats comprised a total of two and a half hours of conversation between the  Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh and our lovely community member BicycleWalrus on his youtube channel DM21 Gaming (he also does a lot of other CoE videos so well worth hitting subscribe). Part 1 of the Live Chat can be found here and Part 2 can be found here. There is also transcripts made by community members Xilana and Maygus, with help from Rhaegys and Howl, so if you prefer to read rather than watch check those out here.

There is so much information to cover in those two videos that it has taken me most of the week to realise I can’t do it! If you want it all head to the links above. What I can do is bring you my Top 3 Topics covered in each part to bring some attention to the parts I think everyone should know! So lets get on with my Top 3 from Part 1. Continue reading

Chat Log – Grand Vision

As well as communicating through Developer Journals, the official forums, the forums over at MMORPG.com, Twitter and Facebook, the developers also use live chat. Yes they really like to talk to us all that much! Now the ‘official’ live chat hours are every Monday, after a Developer Journal, from 10am to 11am PDT. However, you will find the developers are willing to share information far more often! This series brings things from the live chat out into the world.

This post is about connecting the dots. Taking the features we have heard about and putting it together to give you an example of how everything is intertwined, everything works together. Jeromy ‘Caspian’ Walsh explained how those mechanics add up to great things. How great? Well I will let you decide:

Congratulations. Welcome to player-generated content. You’ve just build your first dungeon/raid.

Continue reading