Most people have played at least one MMO in their gaming life, be it Runescape or World of Warcraft. These games all have one thing in common, killing mobs to progress the story. Chronicles of Elyria is more about the bigger picture and working with other players to achieve a common goal while creating your own story.
You may be asking yourself “what makes this MMO so special?”. Well, it’s the fact that your character dies, forever. But worry not, for it is well balanced in how long your character lives and dies naturally. The average life of a character is 10 to 14 months, which is quite a lot of time to progress. This lifespan can be altered though, if you find yourself in the middle of a forest with no food, water, or means to defend yourself. Keeping your body well nourished is very important since you can die of starvation and dehydration.
While there is a catch, each life does cost money, it is relatively cheap to buy: only $30. To compare, a World of Warcraft subscription costs $66 for 6 months. Even if you go on a series of suicide missions after 3 months playing, it would still be cheaper compared to other MMOs. That doesn’t mean you should waste your life so willingly; if you throw your life away you may end up spending more yearly compared to other MMOs.
When creating your character you have an option to be born into a family, such as a peasant farming family or a noble house, or be a ward of the state. Being a ward gives your more options for your skills and starts you at a younger age, but does mean you start with no money or influence. The bonus of starting with a family means you already have a foothold within the world to begin, making it a little bit easier in the beginning, especially if you have no idea how to play or what to do.
On top of this, from the beginning the world is completely uncharted so cartographers must map the world. Cartographers can also leave points off the map, such as dungeons and caves. This map charting also seems like it will only be an experience people who start playing from the beginning will get to enjoy. As once the world has been explored maps will be widely available to buy. Unless something catastrophic happens to the environment, cartographers would become redundant after the first year or so.
Learning skills is also an interesting process, since you learn skills by physically doing the task to improve or you could get a mentor to teach you. The best part is you can learn a skill by observing someone doing it. For example blacksmithing could be learned by watching your mentor hammer out a sword on an anvil and then copying what your mentor did. It is tough to learn a skill by just observation. I assume this is because the developers don’t want people learning skills by just standing in front of an anvil while AFK and hoping to be carried by their mentor.
“But what happens when I die? Will all my progress be lost?”. Not completely. While you will lose the skills you learned and the progress, to balance it out you learn the skills quicker in your next life. This means you can reach the point you were at before your demise and advance further. Personally I wouldn’t be turned away from the game if I lost my progress, it would mean that I can learn another profession from the beginning. With this system I can master my past skills and learn new ones if I so desired.
It may seem like a waste of a life to be killed off the bat by a thief or beast so the developers plan to implement a system where if your health reaches 0 you are knocked unconscious. When this happens your screen goes black and a timer tells you how long you are unconscious for. If someone is more skilled in the killing arts they can deliver a ‘Coup de Grace’. This is where you are actually killed and your character enters another realm between man and God; you must get back to your body before your connection grows too weak and forced to leave your body forever, resulting in a permadeath. If you do return to your body the ‘spirit walk’ does take time off your lifespan. Only other players and extremely dark beings can deliver this killing blow though.
So I’ve spoken about blacksmithing but haven’t spoken on what you need to set up shop for any profession once you have been trained by your mentor. Just setting up a store or house you need help from many people, as architects and carpenters are required to build a house. On top of that, they need to be able to get resources to build and furnish the house. So that includes lumberjacks and miners to gather the basic resources. While it may seem overly complex for a game, it adds to the realism and the sense of reward when you first open up shop to customers or put your feet up by the fire in your new home.
You may discover something much darker than blacksmithing though. While rare, there’s a chance you may be born with a trait that affects your game forever; you may discover you were born with the ability to shapeshift. While this may not affect others much, a darker, more deceptive player could use this to get their own way, could attack other players when they are walking through a forest or even pretend to be royalty. Shapeshifting isn’t the only rare trait, but it is one of the more interesting in possible implementation.
This game has to be one of my top most anticipated games so far. The fact that it deviates from the norm of most MMOs these days is great; who wants to play just reskins of the same game? The gameplay shown so far is beautiful and highly detailed, even including accumulation of snow. The fact that you pay per life adds value to your character, a sort of insurance against recklessness. Overall the game adds a sense of community and cooperation that others attempt in the form of Raids and Dungeons, but in concept it does it 100x better.
The Kickstarter for this amazing idea of a game begins on May 3rd and the goal will be $900,000. While this idea is very different compared to other MMOs, it may make some people suspicious, but the developers stated that they wouldn’t set up a Kickstarter until all their funds had been used and had some footage showing progress of the development.
You can find out more info on Chronicles of Elyria on the game’s website.