Happy 2019 Elyria!
Following on the heels of our end of year event and promotion and closure of the studio for the holidays, we're back and energized to be the storm in this new year!
For more details and updates, check out our website at https://chroniclesofelyria.com
We consistently review surname reservations on a daily basis. Each month we like to share a few from the past period that caught our eye.
Most attempted: something "Phoenix"
Each month we'll spotlight one or two of our favorite memes that were shared via the forums or Discord.
A follower since Kickstarter, but only a recently active member of the community, Kynlo scored a win with this meme among the community:
Following up on something Caspian said recently, one of our OCE moderators, Dreamar was popular this month with both a chosen top meme and a submission to the spotlight. Nice going!
If you'd like to see your meme highlighted, share it with us in our Discord or forums and it may show up here one day!
We don't talk a lot about our customer service or support resources and how they perform, but we'd like to think we do a darn good job of resolving most issues quickly and efficiently.
In early 2017 we selected a new ticketing platform to manage our support@ and contact@ and other support needs. As a summary, our partner took our metrics and inserted them into a short video of our performance for 2018.
We're proud to show how much our performance improved via this channel, keeping in mind there are several other avenues of support we actively manage as well. It isn't perfect, but we've made great strides and look forward to providing even more stellar customer support in 2019!
Soulbound Studios 2018 Support report:
Building a ground-breaking game is no easy task, but creating a new genre within that space is quite the feat!
Thanks to modern technology, our fearless leader Caspian was able to inquire with one of the most prolific auto-bots on the planet, and here's what she had to say:
Our volunteer moderators are not only bastions of peace in our community; they are a helpful hand whenever you need assistance. They are very knowledgeable about Chronicles of Elyria and provide valuable feedback that helps keep our community amazing.
Each month we provide a little insight into who they are and what makes them tick.
Our interview today is with one of our Oceania moderators, Saebelorn! He represents half of our team from the beautiful continent of Australia.
"Nice to "see" you Sae! Let's have some Q&A."
Q: Tell us a little about your upbringing, what was it like and where?
A: "I was born in a town in New South Wales, in Australia, called Wagga Wagga, then stayed for two years as a baby in a place called Narranderra (just down the road from Grong Grong). After that, we moved into the city, where until recently I’d stayed ever since. I’d say that my upbringing overall can’t beat those names for remarkability."
Q: Are you still living in the same area?
A: "As of a year and a half ago-ish, we moved to the town of Ballarat. In Australia we’d call it a ‘city’, but being a very big country with relatively few people, I doubt that most players outside of Oceania would agree."
Q: Would you tell us a little about what you do for a living?
A: "Right now I’m studying science at university, and otherwise focusing on volunteering and casual work to build up my case for getting hired after graduation. While I don’t expect I’ll have graduated in time to assist Soulbound as a subject-matter expert, I’d definitely like to help out with my knowledge when I can. Outside of that, I like to get my hands on (and read) old books."
Q: When did you realize you were a “gamer”, what game made that decision for you?
A: "I didn’t have much of a choice – I think I was around three or four when we had our first DOS computer, and the first game I remember playing was Amy’s Fun-2-3 Adventure. The progression from there was gradual enough that I can’t really think of any specific point – I went from Duke Nukem II to Half-Life to Half-Life 2 to World of Warcraft to the myriad games now on Steam, and Chronicles of Elyria."
Q: Do you have any favorite games you are currently playing?
A: "I don’t play as many fully-fledged PC games anymore – my poor computer is about seven years old now, and can’t quite handle anything new unless it’s very simplistic. I mostly nibble at titles in my steam library (Arma 3, Hollow Knight) over time. The game I play most regularly right now, though, is a web-game by the name of Fallen London."
Q: What is your favorite type of dessert?
A: "I’m not very fancy – ice-cream is fine by me."
Q: Koalas or kangaroos?
A: "Definitely kangaroos – they’re resilient and prolific even after the impact of civilisation. Koalas get points out of sympathy."
Q: Haha, Ok. Back to the topic, how did you find CoE and what made you stick with it?
A: "I actually found Chronicles of Elyria on a recommendation thread on reddit’s r/MMORPG, back in mid-late 2017. I spent quite a while going through all of the news posts and joining up on discord, as I was suspicious of Kickstarter games following the glut of mismanaged or outright dishonest campaigns, but the amount of work done and the frequency of updates won me over. The game itself is what won me over – the concept was in fact exactly what I had been specifically searching for when I came across the recommendation post. I’ve always wanted a more down-to-earth multiplayer game with persistence and mechanics which model, but not copy, real life. I’ve been here ever since!"
Q: Do you have plans for when you get in game?
A: "As I’m sure the rest of players on OCE are tired of hearing, I have a single-minded personal goal – to foster an in-game library where all the books across the server’s kingdoms can be safely stored and passed down across the lifetime of the game. That coupled well with my appreciation for the Hrothi play style as highly defensible and very socially organised, so I worked with other counts to bolster the tribe’s presence on the server, ending up with our own duchy to our name."
Q: How does the OCE community differ from the others in Chronicles of Elyria?
A: "The most obvious is that we’re smaller – that was initially a cause for concern at the time I joined, though I joined after the worst of the alarm had passed. Since then we’ve grown substantially, and with the new kingdom of Caprakan we have a good spread across the kingdoms and tribes. I’d say of all the servers, we have the least and quietest drama – there have been issues, but nothing that has disrupted the feeling of neutrality that pervades most communities. We’ve got all four monarchs in our server’s discord, we often hop cross-kingdom to play games together (often, fittingly, Paradox Interactive games), we have a podcast which has hosted all our rulers (Oceanus FM) and there’s a lot of optimism about domain selection going smoothly. Time will tell if we hold it together in the future, but I’m proud of how far my server’s gone since I joined."
Q: Favorite moment so far being an Elyrian?
A: "While toward the end it was a slog, there was a real sense of banding together during the Searing Plague event, and on OCE we set up a cross-kingdom setup and set aside immediate goals for the bigger picture. It’s moments like that that make me feel like Chronicles of Elyria’s goals of setting up functioning player societies aren’t just a pipe dream. Otherwise, working together with my fellow Hrothi players has been a blast, especially as we grew from a vague idea into a genuine domain."
Q: What about being a moderator do you enjoy?
A: "I think my favourite part is being able to contribute to discussions. I’m mostly a soft-hearted type, and in most cases I’ll argue for clemency, but investigating and adding to talks in a way that gets to the bottom of a situation – whether that results in someone being moderated or let off the hook – is something I feel like genuinely helps."
Q: Anything you don’t?
A: "I’m still something of a newbie, and the fear of accidentally pressing the wrong button is still present to an extent, but for the most part I don’t think anything is truly unenjoyable outside of extreme cases. Though, sometimes it gets tiring having to tell you all to get back on-topic in the discord! :eyes:"
Q: If you could say anything to the community right now, what would it be?
A: "Get back on-topic! Okay, no, I’d say you’re all doing really good. This is one of the best communities I’ve been a part of, and I’ve been part of some very good and some very bad communities. Keep up the good work, and she’ll be right."
Thanks again for sharing with us, and thank you for all of your efforts!
As you may already know, our volunteer Moderators and Super Moderators spend countless, often tedious hours supporting and helping the community by ensuring peace and happiness across all of our platforms.
In January, we welcomed both Dreamar and SirApetus! If you haven't visited their welcome threads, they are still stickied in General Discussion.
Additionally, there are several projects, both new and brought out of temporary stasis, that the mod team will be working to complete in the next month so keep your eyes out for several exciting new projects that will absolutely benefit our excellent community members.
If you have an interest in becoming a moderator for our team, please; don't call us, we'll call you! There is no application process, we constantly seek out capable, kind, considerate, helpful, and supportive individuals who have a reputation in the community of being upstanding players who are honest and have integrity, If that sounds like you and you are present in our community, keep up the efforts and we'll find you!
Each month we spotlight an organization from our community.
We have many creative members who are building amazing groups in Elyria, and this is one way we can make sure you know about them.
Recently we learned about the Mercator Trading Company from their founder, Sir Arthur C. Mercator.
Official Organization name: The Mercator Trading Company
Server: Selene (EU)
Kingdom affiliation: Nirath
How did you form? "One of the things that really attracted me to this game is that we, as players, will be able to compete and cooperate on far more levels than mere force of arms. And when it became clear that Selene had no merchant organisations to speak of (this was back in 2016), I figured it was worth a shot now that I was part of an early community for once. I started bouncing some ideas off of friends, one thing led to another and now we have this huge, ambitious project that only keeps growing."
Leadership: "Mercator is governed by a council with the current dynasty patriarch/matriarch at its head, with each councilor governing a specific aspect of our company. Below that, there’s two separate chains of command: A traditional corporate hierarchy going from local employees all the way up to regional managers who report directly to the council, and a franchise-like structure for those who want to work with us but have already established their own business and value their independence."
Purpose of the Organization: "Ultimately, to boost the economy of the entire kingdom and to lead in an age of prosperity across Elyria. Practically, this means we will build a nation-wide network that connects merchants with their suppliers and customers, and using the capital we gain through that to set up various financial services that will further enhance the flow of capital. And of course, we plan to get rich on the side. :)"
Motto/Slogan: "Either find a way or make one."
Fun Fact: "Did you know that baby bunnies are called ‘kittens’? (This might not seem very relevant, but Maxwell politely insisted we do our part in ‘spreading their glory’, while holding a rather agitated canis rabbit uncomfortably close to my face.)"
Recruitment thread: here
Thank you Arthur for introducing the community to your Trading Company!
For January, we are introduced to the Kingdom of Alésia.
These kingdom details were shared with us by their Monarch, Phyllain.
Official Kingdom name: Alésia
Server: Luna (NA-E)
Leadership: "The Kingdom of Alésia conducts itself as a traditional feudal monarchy with a few, more modern, adjustments where necessary. The position of Head of State lies with our King, Phyllain Xeilias. He is advised by his Queen-Consort, Violet, and three distinct groups. The Ducal council, made up by the Dukes within Alésia, is the first of these, tasked to keep the peace within the kingdom's borders and project strength abroad when called. Second, is the Crimson Council, staffed by those recognized by the Crown as leading experts in a particular field. Lastly, the Conclave, a body composed of members from each duchy given the opportunity to assist the King in writing legislation, as well as to provide local perspective on larger kingdom issues. Each of these groups work together with local leadership to ensure that Alésia faces every threat, domestic or foreign, prepared."
Kingdom colors: "Black and White"
Kingdom crest: "Same as above"
Goals of the Kingdom: "As a central kingdom on the continent, Alésia will facilitate the trade of goods and ideas from all corners of the world. Acting as a trade hub for the continent will help provide the wealth required to ensure Alésia remains a strong, independent, and capable kingdom that explores the edge of the technologically possible, giving us an advantage in all endeavors."
Fun Fact: "Alésia differs from our counterparts in many regards, but one in particular stands out among them: Where other kingdoms are made up of those who purchased their packages outright, much of our nobility attained their rank via crowdfunding their titles. Along with Demonstrating the necessary drive and ambition to rule by making such an attempt, the would-be aristocrats were required to provide their goals, plans and other proofs of concept, in order to draw support from the community. The nature of our formation, coupled with the concept of a Conclave not based upon what package one bought, makes Alésia stand out from the other kingdoms simply and fundamentally by laying the foundation for building a culture of meritocracy."
Recruitment thread: here
Closing statement: "As many are quick to remind our community, Chronicles of Elyria has yet to release. When it does, there will exist many growing pains from the transition of theoretical to practical. The Kingdom of Alésia, since its inception, has done its utmost to counter the worst effects these pains may cause. We devote ourselves to a single, centralized government with a clear delineation of duties and powers. We chose to focus upon trade while being prepared for war so that our friends may grow prosperous along side us. Through strength or arms we bring peace is the motto of Alésia. We seek to embody those words in CoE so that Alésia will stand tall along side the other Kingdoms of Luna."
To be considered for this spotlight, submit your content here.
Thank you for continuing to send us your wonderful creations!
Important: Continue to share your creations. We need more of them. Please utilize the link above so we can show off your efforts to all Elyrians!
Remember, even if your submission wasn't featured this month, we may still use it in the future.
Dreamar submitted this lovely written piece titled: "A poem about Winterswatch, as observed by my County".
Tribemoji winner Elsy continues to submit her works of art. This month we received her take on To'resk Nobility.
NA-W (Angelica) Sunstone winner Huldric submitted this promotional piece for his Duchy.
We regularly receive works submitted to our Spotlight by Hellmoon, and this time was no different. Here she provides her beautiful envisioning of Ne'ran and Mydra's romance:
Thank you to all of those who submitted your fan pieces!
To help you get to know our team better, we try and interview one developer each month, or as often as is possible.
This month we are introduced to Vanimus Prime, a Chronicles of Elyria character artist working at Soulbound Studios.
(Van provided this drawing he made in his spare time, and NOT for Chronicles of Elyria)
Q: So Van, thanks for doing this little interview. Tell us, where are you from?
A: "I was born in Vietnam but came to the states when I was only 2 so I don’t remember anything from that time. I grew up in Seattle and moved to New York when I was 18 and lived there for 6 years before coming back to Seattle."
Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
A: "That list HUGE and continues to grow but if I had to choose right now….. I’d go to Peru and take some time to backpack the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. The landscape and ruins look amazing!"
Q: If you could choose, would you travel to the past or to the future? Why?
A: "That’s a loaded question. Can I peek my head into the future to make sure it’s not a dystopian nightmare or a post-apocalyptic wasteland? If all of the world’s problems have been solved then definitely the future. If not, can I choose who I am or at least what my social and economic status is. I would hate the scenario of being zapped to the past and quickly get burned for being a warlock or live as a poor starving peasant. I want to say I’d travel back to Rome at the height of the empire and be able to see at full construction what we today have only seen as ruins…. but a part of me just wants to travel back 15 years and make future me extremely rich."
Q: For how long have you been drawing?
A: "I don’t remember ever not drawing. For as far back as my memory can take me, I’ve always excelled most at drawing and art over everything else."
Q: Do you have any traditional art training or are you self-taught?
A: "Most of what I know is self-taught but with a focus on traditional life drawing, classical painting, and sculpture. I’ve spent endless hours studying and observing renaissance era masters, comic book artists, fantasy artists, illustrators as well as several contemporary works for inspiration. College gave me some professional direction and focus as well as peers to exchange ideas with but it’s been my own research and personal projects that I’ve learned the most from. I’m a big believer in foundational art skills being able to translate to nearly any tool you need to use."
Q: What was your first art piece you were truly proud of?
A: "That’s a really tough one to pinpoint. Growing up, our fridge was just a rotating gallery of my current work. I’m always looking to improve so the bar is raised every time I make something I feel proud of and the feeling only last a short time before I start seeing where I could have done better. I think the most proud I have been is not any single piece but actually the first time I filled every page of a sketchbook front and back with what I thought were significantly better drawings than any sketchbook that came before it. I still feel that sketchbook was the biggest leap I’ve made."
Q: Would you like to share your favorite CoE related piece of art?
A: "Eddie (Heat) is king when it comes to concepts and illustrations here so I only get a few rare chances to dig into that side of our production. I had a lot of fun making the Kypiq village concept."
Q: What attracted you to Chronicles of Elyria?
A: "The concept sounded amazing but also nuts to me initially. It’s a massively ambitious project. There’s really nothing fully like it out there. The talent, passion, and leadership I work with gives me a lot of confidence. It’s a game I can see myself putting a lot of hours in playing so I want to be a part of developing something I think I’ll be extremely proud of. I also love creating creatures and there is no shortage of those in this game."
Q: What's your favorite tribe aesthetic so far?
A: "Tough but I think I lean Janoa. Big, muscular, hot weather jungle brutes with stripes?! Yeah, I think that looks pretty cool."
Q: What are you planning to do in game?
A: "I want to say be a hero and adventurer but if the opportunity comes, riches and power is pretty appealing. I’ve historically been some sort of rogue in most RPGs I’ve played so I’m sure I’ll follow that pattern one way or another in CoE as well. I think I’d really enjoy being an elusive Elyrian ninja."
Thanks again for allowing us a little insight into Vanimus Prime!
The Chronicles of Elyria community has a Reddit community, lovingly managed by Hellmoon, Mickdude, and ImbuedGreen.
This month the team informed me of a change to their advertising policy for domain members. It reads:
"The Chronicles of Elyria subreddit has made big strides in adjusting their now loosened advertisement policy. While it is still against the rules to post for the sole purpose of advertising one's domain/organization/etc, the rules have been adjusted to allow constructive discussion regarding these player run groups."
"There’s a particularly fun kingdom meme up on the subreddit at the moment (that has also circulated through other communities) and I’m sure everyone looks forward to many more!"
"In addition, the subreddit user-flair has undergone its first change in quite a while: simplifying flair to the different class levels (instead of package tiers), as well as adding in servers and all kingdoms so users have a choice on what they would like to flair themselves."
Next, I'm excited to announce that we've added a fourth community moderator to the subreddit as SirApetus joins!! Welcome to the team and thank you for helping out!
If you are interested in joining our subReddit, find it here.
The Chronicles of Elyria community is a busy one, and has been for a long time now. It’s so active that there are many live shows hosted each month. To help you be aware of them, and attend these enlightening and often revealing events, we've summarized those we know occur consistently each month. If you host a show on CoE and want to be included here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning Elyria is the newest show on this list, it is "a series hosted by Jason and Ryan from Jbros (forum names Duyo and MeltedWater). We are a new weekly show that covers different topics from Chronicles of Elyria as well as starting a weekly lore show."
A CoE Talk show from and for German speaking community members is online, hosted by Olaf Biebelix, Loki and Creamas.
"In our CoE Talk we discuss the latest CoE news, previously prepared topics and answer questions from the viewers. All of that in a fun atmosphere. We want to bring this awesome game to a group that isn't able or willing to translate everything on their own so they can be a part of an awesome community. It's hosted every Wednesday at 8 pm."
A Pirate's Guide to Elyria. It is "an interactive Lore and RP based CoE Talk Show, hosted by Captain Seli and Zigsmash, where we casually dive into the world of Elyria and talk about its lore! Each episode will cover a range of topics from the Tribes of Mann and their Religions, to the solar system and everything in between. Chat from the audience is highly encouraged, and we'll discuss theories and fan lore as well!"
"Show times are determined by how much rum the crew has had the day prior, so stay alert for announcements of when (Generally Tuesdays around 2PM Eastern, but could happen any day and time)!"
Run by Anibal and co-hosted by our Spanish-speaking Ambassadors and long-time community supporters, Gammea and Daedhel, Taberna Elyria is "a monthly podcast in Spanish where they introduce Chronicles of Elyria and its news to spread the word to all Spanish-speaking gamers."
"Join Anibal, Daedhel and Gammea in this new adventure!"
The Arkadian Herald "focuses on creating presentation videos for CoE from the Kingdom of Arkadia in different European languages to help people that don’t speak English. or speak very little, to learn about the game and its major features. As of now the covered languages are : English, French, Italian and Russian. A new series of videos exclusively in English, focusing on debating on specific matters regarding the game are being worked on right now. We hope to see you soon to help us spread the world of CoE to the World!"
Conclave 360 is “a community based discussions channel that seeks to help people find their home in the larger Elyrian community. Videos focus on topics ranging from introducing local community leaders, guilds, associations, and schools to discussions on how the mechanics “as described so far” will impact those people and institutions."
"Free at 1pm PDT/4pm EDT on Sundays? If you're looking for a home in Elyria, tune in to Face the Conclave and find one!"
Oceanus FM is "a collaborative broadcasting effort hosted by Alleykat and featuring all OCE Kings including Aequitas, Lor Voskara, Caprakan, and Tylsia as regular co-hosts. The channel was created to provide an Oceanic time zone live stream and video series, to talk about issues relevant to the Oceanus server of *Chronicles of Elyria."*
"Oceanus FM does not follow a strict broadcast schedule due to shift work. Watch out for announcements!"
Cremoria News Network [CNN] "is a weekly CoE talk show brought to you by the Duchy of Cremoria. They do deep dives on CoE mechanics, interviews, and community news. Tune in every Sunday at 6pm Eastern / 3pm Pacific for this classy and sassy stream."
Vendor Trash is " two guys with a laundry list of gaming street cred dating back to the 80’s. It was first a failed dumpster diving blog, then they failed at motivational speaking, and then finally found their calling talking about Chronicles of Elyria. They are excited the game they've always dreamed of is finally being made. After many episodes they are still going strong, come join their throbbing obsession."
Find past episodes on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
TheoryForge. "This veteran team of streamers began a new show on Friday, May 10th, focusing on Chronicles of Elyria. The current hosts have all purchased packs with Alpha I access, and are excited to become more active members of the community. We are drawn to CoE because of its unique mechanics, and the migration of the Revival community."
Follow them at the link below, they are live every other Friday at 9pm EDT, 6pm PDT.
The BBC "(Bordweall Broadcasting Company) livestream deep dives into the latest developments from Soulbound Studios. Watch and discover what has them so excited about CoE, then join them and their guests in the CoE Discord voice after party and find out why they believe CoE is going to define a whole new genre in online gaming!"
They stream live every other Tuesday at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Watch the CoE forums for their announcements!
The Town Crier is " a live informational show/podcast featuring Morbis (Duke of Vornair), Adam (King of Vornair) and Mickdude (Count from Alésia). The topic is typically the latest goings on with the game or in the CoE community, theorycrafting about things Caspian says, or watching them blunder around with recurring technical difficulties with all the grace of a three legged giraffe. Super entertainment!"
You can catch them live every Wednesday at 3pm (PT)/6pm (ET)/10 pm (UTC).
We love running contests, promotions, and events for our players — but it turns out our players love running them as well! To help you keep track of all of the different contests and events at any given time, we've summarized them into one directory and stickied it in our General Discussion forum.
There are a ton of talented artists in our community, many who share their creations in our forums and on our Discord server. Recently, some of those artists (including our super awesome Hellmoon) have created an official Chronicles of Elyria group over at the ultimate web destination for all art, Deviant Art.
Explore the creations, add your own or just support the creativity of our members in the CoE Deviant Art group!
Each month we'll get to know one of our esteemed Ambassadors, as well as let you know the status of current nominations and votes!
This month we interview one more of our original Ambassadors and learn all about Imshada.
Setting up to watch the lunar eclipse (in obligatory thematically-appropriate attire)
On a personal note, I want to say thank you as not only did Imshada respond to this interview, he included all of the markdown! <3 you for that!
Q: Tell us a little about where you grew up?
A: “Sure! I was born in Dallas, Texas, and have lived in north Texas for my entire life so far. It’s probably a lot like it sounds, unless your idea of Texas comes from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. All in all, the city where I grew up probably wasn’t too different from your average American suburb, aside from the fact that we almost certainly say “y’all” more, as well as various y’all-based derivatives, such as “y’all’re” and “y’all’d’ve,” which y’all’d’ve known was a word if you lived where I do. (That’s “you all would have,” for those scratching their heads.)”
Q: Anything exciting happen between now and then you’d want to share?
A: “That depends very much on your definition of exciting, my friend. I’ll go with “yes,” although that’s probably open for debate.
I guess the first thing to know about me is that I’m a ravenous learner and a diehard jack-of-all-trades. I’ve never been able to discern any rhyme or reason to my interests, but I’ve had a lifelong habit of latching onto the strangest things on a whim, and trying to teach myself absolutely everything that I can about them. Most of the “exciting” things I’ve done in my life probably have something to do with one of the many hobbies or skills that I’ve taken to teaching myself over the years, so I guess I’ll list a few.
One of the more recent ones I’ve taken up is astronomy, which all started with my granddad showing off his new telescope to friends and family one evening, and now has me in training to become an observatory operator assisting with exoplanet research in conjunction with NASA. For fun. I did mention having crazy hobbies, right? I grew up in the suburbs where light pollution is absolutely awful, so the actual night sky was always “out of sight, out of mind” for me until recently. If you walk out my front door and look up, you’ll see nothing but goopy gray ugliness and like, maybe two dozen stars on a good night. Drive a couple hours south into the outskirts of the Texas Hill Country, though, and you’ll really start to see something. Turns out the stars at night really are big and bright out there. (Pee-wee fans, that one was for you.) Then add a telescope into the mix, or even just a decent pair of binoculars, and you’ll be amazed at what’s out there. There’s something truly surreal about being able to stare into the back of a big metal tube, and see light coming at you from a galaxy millions of light years away, that’s been barreling through space since before the dawn of mankind, only to enter your eye, out of all people, at that exact moment. It really puts things into perspective.
Some of my other interests include linguistics, whether it be conlanging (building fictional languages from the ground up — shout-out to the Elyrian Linguistic Society!) or just teaching myself Korean for no discernible reason other than that I find it really pretty, not to mention programming, CAD, creative writing, Dungeons & Dragons… the list goes on and on, but I think I’ll end it there for the sake of brevity. You get the idea.”
Q: I understand you are a programmer, can you tell us about it and your aspirations?
A: “I’m definitely a programmer/engineer at heart, if not by trade. I’d describe programming as the first “skill” that I ever developed; I’ve been doing it since I was in elementary school… nine, maybe ten years old? Somewhere around there. My first language was QuickBASIC, which was this relatively simple language developed by Microsoft back in the early 90’s. My dad is an engineer, and had it installed on his chunky work laptop which he had left at home one day. I think I complained to my mom that I was bored, and she figured it was something I might enjoy poking around with, so she pulled it up, showed me the few things she knew about it, and let me have at it for the rest of the day. When my dad got home, he showed me how to pull up the documentation for the language, and I used that to teach myself every day when I got home from school. Within a couple months, I probably knew more about it than my dad did. I was making my own little Zork-style adventure games, strategy games, some basic 2D graphics… it wasn’t much, but that was my first taste of working with computers, and I was hooked.
By the time I graduated high school, I had moved on to more “mature” languages, and was focusing pretty heavily at the time on web development. I had always planned on going to college, and needed to choose a major, so software engineering seemed like the obvious choice. I didn’t take many software courses my first two years, and the ones that I did take were honestly really boring, since I already had strong fundamentals in programming and there wasn’t any way to test out of most of the easy 101-level courses. I slogged through it, though, and when I finally got to the more advanced stuff… I suddenly realized that programming wasn’t even remotely what I wanted to do with my life. Funny how that works, no?
I took what I like to call a “gap year,” (even though that’s not what a gap year is, and it wasn’t a year,) during which I tried to figure out what I actually did want to do. I went through some tough times, struggling with family medical issues and trying to get my life pointed in some kind of direction, when the idea of becoming involved in medicine hit me. Honestly, it was probably the only field that I didn’t consider when I was growing up, but now that I was considering it, it stuck. I started making connections, worked in a busy hospital E.R. for a time, then eventually left to finish my degree, this time in nursing. Now I’m well on my way towards finishing nursing school and earning my R.N.! It’s not what I would have ever seen myself doing, but now that I’ve started down that path, I’m really glad I did.”
Q: Star Wars versus Star Trek?
A: “Oh, boy. We’re opening that can of worms? So, short story: Trek, at least for me."
The long story is that I don’t think you can directly compare the two on any sort of objective basis. Anybody’s answer to that question is going to be based 100% on their own personal taste, because Star Wars and Star Trek are fundamentally two entirely different beasts. Sixties Star Trek and original-trilogy Star Wars arguably have some common threads, but they were already on different paths at that point, and have only diverged since. Star Trek, for better or worse, is bona fide science-fiction that follows in the footsteps of the great writers of the 30’s and 40’s who effectively founded the genre as it exists today — Asimov, Bradbury, Huxley, et al. — and brings with it the gravity and moral introspection that make sci-fi what it is. Star Wars, on the other hand, is really founded on the structure of high fantasy, it just happens to be set in space. If you strip away the setting and look at its core, Star Wars has far more in common with, say, Lord of the Rings than it does with Star Trek. Jedi are good. Sauron is bad. Good and bad fight each other with magic (the Force?) in a world full of elves and other fantastic creatures (aliens?) Then Anakin is corrupted by the temptations of evil and becomes a bad guy… or was that Boromir? Until, of course, he redeems himself at the last minute by showing his true colors. These are all high fantasy tropes, and they’re what make Star Wars what it is. It’s accessible, easily understood, and appeals to audience expectations by drawing on the traditional ethos of good versus evil. For the most part, it’s done a great job of being what it tries to be, but it’s not something that will necessarily resonate with people who are looking for a true sci-fi experience. So there’s your long answer: Star Wars is a better fantasy franchise, and Star Trek is a better sci-fi franchise. And, although you didn’t ask the classic question… Picard. Definitely Picard.”
Q: You’ve been a part of the CoE community for a long time now, what initially drew you to the project?
A: “I first heard of CoE during the media blitz that accompanied the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, and backed at the Bloodline level almost immediately. By the end of the Kickstarter, I had upped myself to Count, and at some point later I upgraded again to Brewmaster.
To explain why I jumped at the idea of CoE so quickly, I should probably give a little background. Back when I was in 9th grade, I had a half dozen friends or so who were all interested in various aspects of programming, game design, 3D modeling, and whatnot. We’d get together after school and workshop ideas for an MMORPG, with the idea being that we’d team up to actually make it, or at least something resembling it. Of course, at the time, we were all 9th and 10th graders with limited skills and practically zero budget, so it didn’t end up going anywhere in the long run, but many of the ideas, things that we all agreed we wanted to see in an MMO, stuck with me. Years later, when I saw the Kickstarter for CoE and started reading over the details, my first thought was, “Oh my god, this is *that game.*
Obviously I don’t mean to say that my little group of friends came up with the idea for CoE first, but the things that CoE sought to address were the same things we had agreed we wanted from the MMORPG genre, that we just weren’t getting: true, meaningful persistence; player-driven conflict at the world level; complete freedom of specialization. When I saw that CoE was trying to achieve all these things, and that, unlike us back then, they had the resources and the skills to make it happen, I knew I had to come along for the ride. It’s sure been an interesting journey, and I've made some pretty good friends along the way.”
Q: You have been involved in many community efforts, including some graphical charts when the Tribes were first announced. What drives your desire or passion surrounding such works?
A: “Yeah, I guess I am involved in a lot around here. I decided very early on that I was going to try to cast a wide net, making friends everywhere I could and trying not to step on any toes. There was definitely a pragmatic element to that decision; I'm a noble, but I strongly wanted to remain undeclared until domain selection, because my tribe and biome preferences are really important to me. My greatest fear was to wake up the day after domain selection and find myself stuck in a kingdom with a bunch of strangers who all knew each other, and had no reason to trust me or value my presence. I wanted to make sure that, regardless of where I ended up, I’d be seen as a reliable asset rather than an intruder. The obvious solution was to maintain a high profile in the community and make sure that *everyone knew who I was.*
That said, the ways in which I've tried to do that are much more personally motivated. Many of them, like founding the Elyrian Linguistic Society or making my series of CoE infographics, come from my own personal interests and what I enjoy doing. Others, like serving as an Ambassador, an admin of the Elyrian Community Lounge, and a recurring guest on The Town Crier, come from a desire to engage with the community as a whole and make it a better place.
As for the infographics specifically, it’s just a nice creative outlet that I like to make use of when I see the need for a visualization of something (especially if I’m bored.) I’ve never been a very artistically talented person, but thankfully vector art is fairly forgiving for those who aren’t touched by the muses, especially if you’re willing to experiment and make a few mistakes here and there. It’s actually pretty cathartic, and allows me to use my technical side in a more artistic way. I’m always looking for more opportunities to do that sort of thing.”
Q: Ok, time for an opinion. Is 3D unnecessary? Do studios make films in 3D just to charge more money?
A: “I think that 3D film is an interesting medium that sort of got in the way of its own development by becoming too wrapped up in its own novelty when it was first introduced. I feel like it got abused for cheap thrills too much in its infancy, and as a result, a lot of people still tend to view it as this wacky Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!-style gimmick, where the only purpose of the 3D element is to enable a smattering of one-off “Wow, look what I can do!” moments, with stuff popping out of the screen or flying over your head. The concept of merging stereography and film isn’t a bad one, I just think that studios got so wrapped up in showing off the technology that it never evolved into anything more than that. There are a few films — James Cameron’s Avatar comes to mind — which actually tried to take the medium and do something artistic with it, but they’re too few and far between for me to really take 3D film seriously most of the time. I’ll almost always opt for the regular 2D showings in theaters, unless it’s clear that the 3D element is intended as an integral part of the production, rather than an afterthought or a gimmick. Otherwise, the whole 3D effect just seems to detract more from the experience than it adds. You might even say it falls flat. Sorry, I had to.”
Q: What are your plans for when Chronicles of Elyria launches?
A: “Right now I’m locked in to play as a count on Angelica (NA-W,) but haven’t formally declared for any kingdom or duchy. The most important thing for me is landing in Kingdom 3 so that I can claim my county in the desert and play as The Waerd, so I’m leaving my options open for now. There’s a decent chance I’ll end up joining Pteroguin’s duchy of Vandiir eventually, but I’d like to hold out a bit longer and see how things are lining up a bit closer to domain selection. I figure I’ve waited this long already, I might as well see it through all the way.
After launch, I don’t have too many concrete plans. On a personal level, I’m really interested in the architecture profession, which I’m sure will end up being incredibly useful for a Waerd noble. I remember the communal property mechanic of The Waerd being one of the things that drove many players away from them when they were first announced, but I think that it could actually turn out to be one of their greatest advantages, in the hands of the right people. The ability to pool everyone’s resources into developing highly efficient, specialized settlements that everyone can benefit from could become an absolutely killer advantage if used correctly, and having at least one person in your realm who is highly skilled in architecture (both as a player and as a character,) seems to be a likely requirement for making that a reality. I think people underestimate the potential impact of being able to call together a handful of random people from a settlement at a moment’s notice, form an impromptu plan of action together, and then immediately turn around and execute it, using not only the full resources of the entire settlement, but also having full family and bolstering bonuses with whatever random people you happen to be working with on that particular day. That’s not just good, that’s potentially *terrifying if coordinated well enough. I can understand why some people would be hesitant to buy into that playstyle, but as for me, I’m more than intrigued by the possibilities.*
Beyond that, I try not to make too many assumptions or look too far into the future. My strategy so far has been to make friends everywhere I can, make as few enemies as possible (or, at least, make sure that the enemies I do have, have plenty of enemies of their own,) and put myself in the best position I can moving forward. Staying on the sidelines and observing carefully has worked for me so far, so we’ll see how far it can carry me once the real game begins.”
Q: As one of the first Community Ambassadors, what do you like about the role?
A: “I think the parts that I enjoy most are actually all the things that I was already doing before there was an Ambassador program. One of the things that I told myself when the program was announced was that I didn’t want to put potential status as an Ambassador ahead of my ability to be myself and to do what I thought was best for the community, which I’m glad to say I’ve held myself to. I place a lot of value in being a trusted name in the community, and a lot of what I do around here is, at least partially, a means to that end. I’ll be the first to admit that my desire to build up trust and make connections isn’t entirely selfless — I play the Dance of Dynasties as much as anyone else — but I think that trust and empathy go a long way towards making a good Ambassador as well. I’m naturally a pretty empathetic and helpful person, so if I can make the community a better place while also playing the long diplomatic game, I’m all for it!”
Q: Least like about it?
A: “Having to know the answer to everything! I’m in awe at some of the other Ambassadors like VictoriaRachel and MoonChaser who always seem to be able to pull answers to the strangest questions out of nowhere. I try, but my Google-fu just isn’t strong enough most of the time. I’ll remember something being said at some point, but when it comes to finding the source… was it a Developer Journal or a Q&A? Or was it on Discord? I seriously don’t know how they do it.”
Q: Now, the most important question of all: Could Jack have fit on the door with Rose?
A: “Of course. But that wouldn’t have made nearly as good a movie. Maybe they should have used a smaller door?”
Q: If you could say anything to the entire community right now, what would it be?
A: "That’s a tough one. Be excellent to each other, even the Kypiqs. Take care of yourselves, and let those you care about know how much they mean to you while you can. If you’ve never seen Dr. Strangelove, it’s fantastic. Live long and prosper, and may the Force be with you, regardless of which you prefer, and never forget how incredible it is that, out of all the chaos and uncertainty in the universe, you turned out exactly the way you are. That’s all.”
We really appreciate learning more about you!
Speaking of Imshada, if you are at all into celestial observations on Earth, check out this lovely video he made of the recent lunar eclipse!
Late last year there were a couple of Ambassador nominations. Those that met the minimum criteria for nomination were put up for vote and for feedback by the community in January.
With all votes tallied, comments reviewed and everything considered, we're proud to introduce to you your newest Community Ambassador West, also known on Discord as Count Vestan Drake.
Please join me in congratulating him!!
Next month, we have several more Ambassador nominations that may result in more polls for you, so keep your eyes peeled!
If you want to learn more about this program, or know someone you would like to nominate, click on the link! Thanks for your support, as always.
I am now meeting with the Design Guild on a per sprint basis to ensure we are inviting and reviewing our SME candidates and engaging with our approved SMEs on a consistent basis.
With this new plan in place, expect more news on our 2nd round of invites, as well as more interaction with our existing Subject Matter Expert members.
Learn more about the SME program here.
There are a ton of projects being worked on by the studio and here’s a few of them that are coming up:
This isn’t all of the things we're working on, but it gives you an idea of some of the more significant projects we have releasing in the near future.
Until next time,
More to come...