28 April

Design Journal: Communication

By Vye

What do we mean by Communication?

At its core, communication can be boiled down to the transmission of information. In real life, we can communicate ideas, knowledge, memes, diseases, data, intention, desires, meaning, and more. In Elyria, we want much of the same!

Communication between players is at the core of any role-playing game, whether you're online or huddled around a table with dice. Table-top RPGs have always had ways for the players to separate their character's thoughts and intentions from the meta or mechanical parts of the cooperative story they were a part of.

Player: "My character runs up to the guard and shouts frantically, 'The orphanage is burning down and totally not on purpose!'" Game Master: "The guard notices you are carrying a lit torch in the daytime. Roll Persuasion..."

At the dawn of online gaming, through newsgroups or teleconferences, players set rules about what was in-character versus out-of-character similarly to in-person gaming. It was simply stated along with the message.

When MUDs came along, they allowed players to actually "exist" in a game world beyond their own imaginations. The server dictated where they were and what they were doing. Commands like /say or /shout would communicate with other characters based on their proximity to yours, while private message commands such as /whisper or /tell could communicate directly with a player regardless of where they were.

Modern MMOs adopted these early chat commands and added even more: general channels for zones, trade, guilds, and so on. Enter the trolls, spammers, and gold farmers who made no effort to immerse in the Role-Playing part of the genre. As MMOs became more popular, hundreds and thousands of other players created a signal-to-noise ratio so intolerable that many players now choose to mute or ignore these channels - suppressing the Massively Multiplayer part out of the equation. We're left with just Online Game, these days, and even that is debatable.

Chronicles of Elyria aims to mitigate many of the pitfalls of contemporary MMORPGs and bring back some of the benefits (or side effects) of older games by enacting a few, relatively small changes to the way people communicate.

Communication Mechanics

In order to help players immerse in Elyria, and to allow all-new play styles to emerge, we've added a number of communication-dependent mechanics to support the kind of in-game experiences we want to give players! Starting with...

In-Character Chat

Much like in real-life, when you say something, people know it was you who said it. People around you will see you and think of you as a person, not some puppet being controlled by space aliens or cosmic predetermination. Most communication in Elyria is the same. When your character speaks, other characters (PCs and NPCs both) will be able to react to what you say without needing to think about the player behind the curtain. All in-character chat will come from your character's name, not your player name. This creates opportunities for intrigue and dramatic storytelling that can enhance your character's personal story, and allows for things such as fake identities to be truly used. We're not saying you have to participate in Live Action Role Play or brush up on your archaic forsoothery, but we'd like to help players to immerse themselves in the world of Elyria and appreciate their character's journey as it unfolds. Having a conversation is the first step!

Proximity Chat

The most common form of character-based chat will be through Whispering, Speaking Discreetly, Talking Normally and Shouting. When you choose which chat command to use, you'll really be choosing how many people in your general proximity will hear you. Talking Normally, you'll be able to converse with other players and NPCs without calling attention to yourself. Speaking Discreetly will be more obvious, but you can converse with multiple people and has the chance to be overheard by a spy listening closely, so characters may want to seek some privacy before sharing secrets. Shouting, as expected, will allow you to communicate over farther distance but a lot more people can hear you. This means that you may want to coordinate a flanking sneak-attack on some bandits with your party before you move into position. If stealth is not your thing, your bold cries could embolden your allies or make you the liveliest person in the tavern. A Whisper is, effectively, you leaning over and cupping your hand to whisper directly in another character's ear. It's totally private and cannot be overheard by others, but is restricted to a single target.

This also provides a reason for Elyrians to create public and private spaces, to create meeting halls and schools and keeps, and to actually travel around the world in order to coordinate efforts or learn new information. In fact, the spread of information is exclusively done through character-based proximity chat! If you want people far and wide to hear of your accomplishments in order to increase your fame or reputation, you'll need to make sure it's said out loud and in-character. This simple system could be the single-most important brick in the foundation of a living and breathing world we are creating for Chronicles of Elyria.

Family Chat

One of the great advantages of family is their closeness. Love them or hate them, they are your family. Unlike Earthlings, Elyrians share a special bond with their families that allows them to communicate beyond physical limitation. Essentially, close family automatically shows up by their Character Name on your Friend's List, which allows you to coordinate from any location on Elyria. Great for getting a rescue party if you are trapped in an avalanche or getting someone to bring you more crafting supplies when you are running low. You don't need to break the Fourth Wall to reach your family!

Wards of the State (orphans) won't have family chat, which could be seen as a disadvantage or not depending on how you enjoy playing. Conversely, some tribes may have larger-than-normal family circles and have a unique way to communicate with their entire settlement.

Identities

A character and their identity are two separate things in Chronicles of Elyria. The character represents the physical body, while the identity represents the intangible parts such as the character's name, reputation, and persona. An Identity is a piece of knowledge that can be shared between characters through our communication mechanics.

When you approach a character you've never encountered before there's no floating nameplate above their head that identifies who they are, what "class" they are, or any other information. The same is true for you. When you first enter a new town, nobody around you will have the slightest idea who you are! Yet...

Introductions

When you talk to another character you can either introduce yourself, or ask them to introduce themselves. Both of these can be done through the UI in a way similar to how you challenge someone to a duel in most MMOs. If you ask someone to introduce themselves and they accept, you'll be shown (for a short while) the information they were willing to share on your UI. If they decline, they'll continue to be a nameless stranger on your screen.

When introducing yourself, you determine whether you want to convey your first name, full name, full-name and title, or additional information such as the organization you're a part of. The more information you share the more comfortable a person may be with talking to you - and the more likely they are to remember you later.

Once you've talked to another character enough, or have done business with them a couple times, you'll eventually begin to recall who they are automatically. Once you know a character well enough, you'll perpetually see the floating nameplate above their head. It won't fade after they are out-of-sight and out-of-mind. If you know a great tailor, and someone asks you for a recommendation, you can trade to them the name and information of that tailor. It's all about who you know, right?

Anonymity

While characters are typically anonymous by default, there are times when you want to become anonymous. even among those who know you. Maybe you're a famous bard and you want to get from one side of town to the other without being accosted by fans. Maybe your boss plays CoE too and you called in sick and want to get through the guild hall without being caught. Or, maybe you're about to do something... deviant and you want the ability to say you were "nowhere near there."

Whatever the reason, characters can hide their identity by wearing a hooded cloak with the hood up. Of course, walking through town with your hood up may raise additional suspicion but, if it's your nameplate you want hidden, this'll do the trick. If someone doesn't recognize you because you're anonymous, they can't share that information with the authorities, now can they? It's probably for their own good...

Fake Identities & Disguises

Just like changing equipment, you will be able to change your identity (provided you've previously developed one). This controls several things such as which name you'll provide when you introduce yourself, which title - if any - you wish to use, and, most importantly, which disguise you want to use.

Before you can select between multiple identities you first have to create additional identities. Identities are created by forging the appropriate documents and having the appropriate disguise. This involves both the Forgery Skill, as well as the Disguise skill. Both are in the Deviant skill tree and both are typically illegal. If you're caught with forged documents, or your disguise is seen through, you could be on the hook for everything you did while under the guise of your alternate identity. And that's in addition to any jail time you face for creating false identities!

So what are the good, legal reasons to create a fake identity? Well, there aren't any...probably. At best, you may be using an alternate identity to commit corporate espionage and steal trade secrets from a reputable guild. At worst, you may be a famous assassin, bouncing between identities to avoid being caught. In either case, having multiple identities generally means you're up to no good. Similarly to being anonymous, having a fake identity can keep you from being identified by others and comes with the bonus of not looking like you're up...to...something...

Whenever you assume a fake identity there's a chance others will recognize it as a fake. The chance that someone can see through your identity is based on how familiar the two of you are. The more times you've encountered someone, the easier it is to recognize the lie. If you're not wearing a disguise, it may only take a couple times interacting with someone before the fake identity is discovered. Putting on a disguise will help with your charade but, even still, the more you interact with someone in different identities, the easier it will be for them to recognize that those identities belong to the same character.

It's possible for another character to steal your Identity using these mechanics. If they can dress up as you and provide enough evidence that they are you, it could be a problem. You'll want to be careful when revealing information to other characters. Just how paranoid you want to be is up to you!

Reputation & Fame

It should be clear that you don't want someone stealing your identity and then committing a bunch of crimes. Not only could that end up in punishment if you can't clear your name, but there's a subtler, yet equally important reason why you want to keep your identity intact. Your reputation and fame.

Your Fame is a measure of how well your name or identity is known. The more famous you are, the more people (NPCs and PCs) will recognize you if mentioned in conversation. The more famous you are, the more likely your reputation is to spread.

Your reputation is the public information or opinion about you. Reputation and Fame work together but each one can be adjusted on its own. This creates four possible combinations:

  • Famous with a good reputation
  • Famous with a bad reputation
  • Largely unknown with a good reputation
  • Largely unknown with a bad reputation

In general, your reputation - good or bad - is a function of the things you do that people know about. It's important to emphasize that this is based on the information people know about you. It's entirely possible to have a dark affinity, but otherwise appear to the public as an upstanding citizen, and thus have a positive reputation. And of course, if someone you want to work with has a dark affinity, or is a criminal, having a bad reputation can actually be a GOOD thing!

Similar to your reputation, your fame changes over time as a result of the things you do that affect other people or the story. Completing achievements, finishing tasks, and even just crafting or selling items can all have an impact on your fame.

It should also be noted that your reputation and fame are not yours alone. When determining your final reputation and fame, groups you’re affiliated with, your family, and dynasty are also taken into consideration. The opposite is also true. Things you do can have an impact on the reputation and fame of your family or organizations!

Information

All that talk about what characters know about you...but how? Information is a commodity in Chronicles of Elyria, you see. It acts very much like a physical item in your character's inventory, but in your character's memory. Events and people that are encountered are added to a character's chronicle - much like an RPG's quest log or in-game glossary - only these entries can be shared with other characters through the gossip system. Both players and NPCs will be able to trade information this way. Any time you interact with NPCs you have an opportunity to gossip with them. This gives you the chance to learn things about other characters in your area, and to share things that you've witnessed as well. Depending on the openness of the NPC you're talking to, they may turn around and pass the information along to other NPCs and PCs as well.

Actions you take and choices you make will reverberate throughout Elyria this same way. If you are notable or notorious, your deeds may become known far and wide if you make a big enough splash. Depending on how you feel about that, you may choose to silence those who know your dark secrets before the information can get out, or contract a traveling bard to sing your - or one of your fake identity's - praises throughout the realm. By binding your deeds to your identity, by giving players the opportunity to cloak their actions in anonymity, and by immortalizing your actions in the words and minds of other Elyrians, players can concretely answer questions about whether their in-game life has meaning in Elyria!

Gossip

Gossip is great. Better than facts, in most cases! Not only do you get some juicy information, but it tends to be shared and shared without ever being fact-checked. Characters will be able to share information they've learned through the gossip system. When conversing, like during introductions, you can choose to share a bit of Information from your inventory. This could be something you witnessed, something you heard from someone else, something you misunderstood but think is true, or even an intentional lie. Information given to the right person at the right time can topple nations, break up a marriage, affect the market price of goods, or cause an innocent Mann to be arrested.

Not every piece of gossip is good enough to share though, so don't be surprised if your attempts to exaggerate your reputation never make it past the folks you tell.

Gossip isn't limited to just individual tidbits. The reputations of organizations, families, and governments can spread far and wide as well through the gossip system. When people talk, they're going to share information. It's up to you to try to manage what information you want to get out, and react when stuff you didn't want known eventually gets out! Just like in real life, you don't get to have total control, so prepare for some fun drama!

"Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." - Benjamin Franklin

Opinion

There's a difference between facts and opinions in real life (no matter what they tell you!) and it just wouldn't be fair if it were impossible to tell them apart. In real life, we have many clues to gauge whether something we are hearing is a plausible fact or merely an opinion: familiarity with that person's personality and beliefs, tone of voice, how animated they get talking about something, eye contact, citing references, what they think of you, etc. Many of those just don't translate into a game. We've got two - count 'em, TWO - ways that we can convey information to you, the player: visual and audible. And even then, there are restrictions. For example, even though it is visual in nature, we're not going to animate every possible gesture or posture that a person can have and then provide a way for players to select them while conversing. Instead, we'll be providing other cues for you to learn things.

One such thing is an opinion indicator. When conversing, you'll have a way to get a sense for what another character feels about you. Along with your familiarity with that character, you will have a good sense of how to perceive the information they are sharing with you. Cultural, religious, and societal differences will cause this to be more challenging so don't expect to be able to cold read the first Waerd you ever meet. Unless you're Dras or To'resk whose tribal advantages make them more able to detect intention or deceit. There is a reason they are considered shrewd negotiators. This isn't just flavor text, folks!

Witness & Evidence

Say someone broke the law. Obviously not you! Definitely not you...

Now say someone saw that person break the law. How can that person be brought to justice? Witness testimony and evidence!

Not all governments in Elyria will have the same laws, so there's some variability in how much weight these things might have but know that the Soulborn Engine is not the one identifying law breaking. Our game engine will be responsible for finding and punishing players who take advantage of exploits in the code, but not for doling out justice. Only our players can do that! So when a law is broken, we'll know, but it's up to players to do something about it and gather evidence enough to persecute the deviant player.

What kinds of evidence can you get? I'm glad you asked! There are two major categories: direct and indirect.

Direct evidence includes:

  • Actual physical evidence. Example: the knife the King was stabbed with.
  • Clues. Example: footprints on the windowsill.
  • Reliable witness testimony. Example: the guard who watched the assassin climb in the window.
  • Rumors or hearsay. Example: the innkeeper who overheard an assassin talking about a contract.

Indirect evidence includes:

  • Circumstantial evidence. Example: a piece of fabric with a rival kingdom's crest found at the scene.
  • Unreliable witness testimony. Example: the maid who saw a cloaked figure in the courtyard.
  • Rumors or hearsay. Example: Someone overheard Haelgror bragging about killing the King.

Each of these things are like items that can be collected in-game. Put the evidence before a judiciary and you could get a bounty created. Arrest the culprit and you could get a verdict. Hopefully you got all the evidence. Hopefully you got the correct culprit...

Social Standing & Criminal Status

This brings me to something else that characters can communicate: status! If you witness someone breaking the law, your testimony can become direct evidence. You can also incapacitate the criminal without needing a bounty first, depending on the region's laws. That way, if you see something bad happen, you can do something about it!

Also, when that information is shared through the Gossip system, the other characters that learn about it will change their opinion of that person. A good example is if Fleyt steals a loaf of bread from Prithieria's inn, and she tells Sephryana about it, Sephryana is probably not going to want Fleyt to be in her smithy unchaperoned and might even call the guards. Even if Fleyt is never arrested, his social standing has become that of a criminal. Consequently, that may open as many doors as it closes!

Other Knowledge

There are other pieces of information you can accumulate and share (or not) with other characters that is less subjective. Crafting recipes, combat techniques, flora and fauna information, and more are types of Information as well. Each can be learned from others or from written sources, in varying degrees. Libraries will have a very practical use - whether they are personal, public, or organization-only - as a way to store and share knowledge. Books are also quite portable and, while they can degrade over time, don't have a tendency to die and return to the Akashic Records (but I'll leave the option open!). Since characters need to acquire information in order to learn and grow, the written word has more power in Elyria than other RPGs where they're mostly just there to provide a couple quest hooks or world lore to those who take the time to look.

Again, your character needs to discover information in-character in order to make use of it. So finding a sweet crafting recipe on a wiki or FAQ site may provide you, the player, some insight on that item but it won't teach your character how to make it or be good at making it.

Contracts

Contracts are agreements made between identities. A contract will include specific clauses and conjunctions that are possible through the game mechanics, what responsibilities people are agreeing to (including the timeframe, if applicable), what happens when the contract is completed, and any penalties if the contract is broken. This system is a core component of Chronicles of Elyria as the basis of player-run governments, player-run economies, player-generated quests, player-run laws, player-run organizations...you get the idea. Everything you've read about so far is a vital element in the contract system. Information, Identities, and In-Character Chat will fill in much of the content in a given contract. There are two types: Implicit and Explicit.

Implicit

Implicit contracts are ones that don't need to be signed by both parties, such as laws, rules of succession, or bounties. They tend to work on a one-to-many scale and can affect anyone involved. It's possible to be unaware that you are being affected by an implicit contract, so learning about a region you intend to travel to is highly recommended! We see mistakes like this all the time on Earth: not knowing which side of the road to drive on in the UK, not knowing about harsh penalties for littering in Singapore, being unaware of modestly laws in Dubai, etc. Being unaware of the rule does not mean you are protected from punishment! It's up to the players to determine how lenient to be.

Explicit

Explicit contracts need to be signed by all parties involved and include alliances between sovereignties, trade agreements, property leasing, or wills. This should go without saying but it's a really good idea to read the entire thing and make sure you understand it! While the contract system provides in-game mechanics to provide recourse from a broken contract, you'll still want to be careful about who you make agreements with. Characters sign the contract with their name when they explicitly agree to it and, if someone fails to uphold their end of the contract, it is the identity written on the contract that people will be looking for. If a player successfully dons a fake identity before entering into a contract with another player, they might be able to dodge responsibility, trick the law, or even frame another character! Seeking out the services of a contract underwriter or notary is a good idea.

Forgery

If someone steals your identity, it's possible to become embroiled in a contract you didn't sign. If the contract is not upheld, the bounty would be for you! Now, a bounty does not mean "dead or alive" in most cases, and certainly where contracts are concerned. If you find yourself the victim of a stolen identity, you'll need to rely on witnesses and evidence that can clear your name. Because Information is a real in-game item, this will frequently be possible, but oh, what a story you'll have to share!

"And then they said someone claimed I was bragging about killing the King! Me! I wasn't even in the city that day. Luckily, Keveth, Armélus, and Rilehya saw me on the road to Silver Run and Baron Andry attested that he'd tasked me to deliver a missive that morning. I tell you, I was sweating like a pig when they questioned me, even though I knew I hadn't done it! If I ever find out who accused me...I'll...I don't know. Tell them I really did not appreciate it and to be more careful next time!" - Haelgror, after being accused of regicide.

Languages

Now all of this is interwoven with one more important thing: language! You can only learn information from in-character chat if you speak the language. It's much easier to understand and agree to a contract if you speak the language it's written in. The barrier to understanding local laws is much lower when you can read posted notices! Elyria has many languages and, depending on your family and starting location, you will start playing your character with knowledge of at least one.

Starting Languages

There are nine languages that will be known throughout the starting continent in Elyria. The list below is in order of prevalence on the starting continent.

Neran - The language that is historically spoken by the Neran and has, through their prolific trading, become the language-of-choice for business and mercantilism beyond the borders of predominantly Neran settlements. This language's alphabet and phonology is effectively identical to English.

Croçais - The language of diplomacy, Croçais originated with the To'resk tribe but, like Neran, has come to be known far and wide. Sometimes called the "Neran of the South", it favors a softer, more flowing phonology. This language includes the characters ç and î, but not p.

Denhørt - Spoken predominantly in the frosty mountains of the north, it is usually dropped in favor of Neran when its speakers come to the lowlands because the subtle distinctions between many sounds are seen as overly complicated to non-native speakers. It includes the letters ä, ö, ü, ø, and ß.

Pyqsi - Coming from the same root language as Neran, this approachable and mellifluous language has evolved to be very contextual, which is ultimately why it didn't become the language of choice for commerce. It can be heard among the treetops of the great forests and in the great academies founded generations ago by Kypiq masters: the Kinothian and the Arkyn. It also includes the ß character, but not c or x as in Neran.

Lazu - A peculiar language found only in the freshwater swamps, this language is spoken predominantly by the Dras. Though speakers are more than happy to teach outsiders, it suffers from a similar fate as Denhørt and is dropped in favor of more dominant tongues in the southern regions. The Lazu alphabet includes ç, ó, and ÿ, but the letters b, c, f, and q do not feature in it.

Næroth - Gruff and grating, the traditional tongue of the Hrothi rarely makes it out of the mountain. Scholars hoping to study from illuminated manuscripts in the Great Libraries often learn to read, but not speak, the highly-embellished language. In addition to the letters of the Neran alphabet, it also includes the characters æ, à, è, ì, ò, and ù (which have a distinct pronunciation from their un-accented counterparts). The letter x has been omitted.

Jenu - Stubbornly against learning other languages, you'll encounter Jenu in the Janoan rainforests. Those wishing to negotiate or trade with the Janoa may pick up enough of the staccato vocabulary to get by, but most will seek the services of a translator, usually Drasean. The letters á, é, í, ó, and ú all indicate a stress when speaking but have the same vowel sound as their unaccented counterpart. The following letters don't feature in Jenu: c, f, q, or x.

Isshek - This language, like the Waerd, is mysterious and misunderstood. Considered to be hereditary, it's not taught to others. Beyond the Waerdic settlements of the semi-arid desert, it is rarely heard and, when it is, its susurrus vocalization tends to make others uncomfortable. The alphabet has no extra characters, but also further omits f, p, q, and x.

Forest Cant - Spoken only by Kypiq and never taught to outsiders, this special form of communication mimics the sounds of the forest and travels well under the forest canopy. There is no written alphabet.

Learning

"That's great, there are languages. So what? Who cares?"

Well, me, obviously. But you, too! You just don't know it yet. Your character will begin its career with at least one language; the one predominantly spoken in the settlement you are born into. Depending on the type of life you lead and your interests, that might be enough to live a long and full Elyrian life. As mentioned above, it is possible to hire a translator or insist on using a more common language when crossing paths with foreigners. There's no need to learn a new language if it never comes up. It will not be expected or required for characters to learn languages unless they find a need.

When settlements are at a crossroad between regions, are popular destinations for trade, or are a melting pot of cultures then you may have a stronger reason to learn another language. If that's you, then here's the gist of how that will work!

Whether you learn from a companion, family member, or school, the first step is to pick up some basic vocabulary. This is the easiest stage of language learning and, for the vast majority, will provide you the ability to communicate very basically in that language. If all you need to do is simple barter in the marketplace, this may be all you need! You may be able to add some information to your inventory at this stage, provided it's a word you know. You probably won't be considered a reliable witness in court but, with other evidence, could help out the case. You can also share your information as gossip.

The second step will take more focused effort and, as you learn, you will begin to understand more and more of the language. This will happen gradually but, at the end, you'll be able to read anything in that language and understand any in-character chat in that language. For some, this will be enough! You will be able to gather new information from chat you overhear and written things that you collect, which can be shared as mentioned above in the Information section. You can give reliable testimony, provided you have a translator, and you'll certainly feel a lot more comfortable about taking foreign contracts at this stage.

The last step is speaking and writing that language. Easier than step two, but harder than step one, you can either wait until your reading and "listening" comprehension is capped or learn it simultaneously. This represents your character's ability to form sentences, pronounce words correctly, and write legibly in that language. With all three parts complete, you'll be fluent! If you want to work as a translator, diplomat, or scribe this will be crucial.

Just like in real life, it'll be easier and more productive to learn a language when there is a need and an opportunity to use it. It will also be easier to learn languages in the same root as a language you already know.

Gestures

There are some occasions where your words fail you or are unnecessary. Flailing your body around in (hopefully) recognizable motions is a great alternative! Emotes are a totally common inclusion in most online games and Chronicles of Elyria is no different, except in all the ways it is different. For instance...

Emotes won't always be targeted at a person. An exception is Paired Emotes, which will include things like partner dances and handshakes where both parties get a say in whether to participate. One person will initiate the emote, and it's up to the target to accept or deny the request. Nearby characters might see:

Keveth and Armélus shake hands.

Sometimes you won't need participation to perform a targeted emote on another character:

Keveth taps Rilehya on the shoulder.

Other emotes won't require a target because you're just gesturing, not doing anything to anyone. Nearby characters will see:

Keveth claps his hands.

If you were talking to Keveth, you might know why he chose to clap. If you weren't, some guy is clapping and you don't know why or to whom. That's how gestures work in real-life and, largely, what we'd like to have in Chronicles of Elyria. What better way to totally misunderstand a situation and cause drama?! Was that punk looking at you? Does he feel lucky? Well...does he?

Why this is all worth having

In short, if it wasn't clear from all of the above, these communication mechanics will:

  • Encourage travel, construction, and trade
  • Create new roles for players, such as spy, notary, or translator
  • Support social gameplay like diplomacy, religion, and deviancy
  • Add relevancy to different forms of communication
  • Create intimacy between characters and their associations
  • Allow drama to unfold ALL OVER THE PLACE
  • Encourage immersion in the world of Elyria since there are gameplay benefits to being in-character
  • Allow connections and relationships to form naturally (in-crowd/out-crowd kind of stuff)

And more! As stated earlier, this is one of the most pervasive design pillars in the game and hopefully this journal begins to shape your understanding of its importance. As with all our mechanics, they are meant to enhance your experience, not be a total drag. You might be worried about how your fun will be affected by such a breadth of mechanics meant to constrain you. Here are some scenarios that might put you at ease.

Getting Around

Using words and gestures can come in pretty handy when you want to participate in life. With all the above tools at your disposal, navigating a foreign market can be as easy as:

Keveth points to the apple.

Keveth says: "Cost?"

The Waerd holds up two fingers.

(Remember, without an introduction, Keveth doesn't know the merchant's name.)

Directions can be easily obtained this way as well:

Haelgror waves.

Haelgror says: "Salix where?"

The woman says: "Ail't het twe trait närd indayn thyu eroughddø herdä røtr. Vaen thyu rasch dä yrte ve dä erörstr taka dä deaerl erärs."

Haelgror shrugs.

Haelgror says: "Salix where?"

The woman points north.

Haelgror bows.

Making A Living

Getting work and building trust with others is easily done:

Baron Andry says: "I'd like you to take this decree to Silver Run's mayor, Haelgror."

Haelgror says: "I think I can do that. Can I see the contract?"

Looks over the contract.

Haelgror says: "I can do it by 2pm, but not noon."

An unknown man says: "I can deliver it by noon."

Baron Andry says: "I don't know you, stranger. Thanks for the offer, but I'll stick with Haelgror's services since I know him. Okay, Haelgror, I've updated the terms."

Haelgror accepts the contract and Baron Andry's payment is put into escrow.

Haelgror delivers the decree according to the terms and can receive his payment back in New Haven.

Even working with those unfamiliar to you is approachable:

Pirthieria creates a contract for the bulletin board at her inn to bring her 2 barrels of mead and 5 chickens for 10 silver marks.

Lonz'ma, Schesden, and Mècheìr look at the board.

Schesden can't read the contract because he hasn't learned Neran writing, but can speak it so goes to the inn to try to negotiate in-person.

Lonz'ma and Mècheìr can read Neran and both try to take the contract. Mècheìr takes it first and it is now in her inventory. Lonz'ma misses out and moves on.

Schesden finds the inn and introduces himself to the innkeeper.

Pirthieria introduces herself in response.

Schesden says: "I saw a contract on the board but I can't read it. I am looking for work. What does it say?"

Pirthieria says: "I need 2 barrels of mead and 5 chickens. I'm paying 10 silver marks."

Schesden says: "I can get those for you. Yes?"

Pirthieria: "Sure, as long as no one else has taken it. Bring me the contract on the board and I will translate it for you."

Schesden goes to retrieve the contract from the board, but it's not there.

Meanwhile, Mècheìr gathers all the items from around town, spending 3 silver marks to do it quickly.

Schesden returns to the inn.

Schesden says: "Contract missing from board. Can I still take it?"

Pirthieria doesn't want to pay for things she doesn't need.

Pirthieria says: "No, but I can give you one for getting 2 hams from the butcher. I'll pay 5 silver marks, but they'll cost you 2 to pick up."

Schesden says: "I will do it for 6 silver marks."

Pirthieria agrees and writes a contract for Schesden in Næroth, a language they both read.

Mècheìr delivers the mead and chickens to the inn according to the contract. She receives 10 silver marks.

Schesden delivers the hams to the inn according to the contract. He receives 6 silver marks.

Lonz'ma waits for Mècheìr outside the inn and pick-pockets the 10 silver marks she carelessly put in her pocket.


See? Fun!

Are you getting the idea? Whether it has to do with law and order, or war and peace, communication is a key gameplay feature that will allow players to manage their in-game affairs, build a reputation for a character or family dynasty, make money, and handle deviancy - all without needing to roll dice, create rules about what's in or out of character, involve a GM, or put oneself at the mercy of another player (as long as one takes certain precautions). Interactions can be long and dramatic, or fleeting and just-business. The depth of the interactions is up to you, we are merely providing the tools to make them meaningful and allow for a huge variety. So, what scenarios do you see taking place, given all of the above?

Discuss

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LapantinoPT - 3 months ago

We need more gameplay and less text, texts anyone writes, we want to see action

HerbLord - 3 months ago

When players type "lol" , which many of us are used to typing now to signify a "ha ha" when communicating online

my idea/question is when you type "lol", Instead of the "lol" appearing on chat... what if an emote automatically be triggered of the character laughing...? maybe it can have variations in intensity with "lol" "LOL" "LMAO" "LMFAO"... shortcuts for emotes... plus they dont appear in chat breaking immersion.

We are so used to conveying emotions through chat itself ":/", ":(", ":)", ":D", "lol", "lmao" , It would make sense for these things to be shortcuts for emotes.

Zsiledifyshk - 3 months ago
@HerbLord:

This would be fricken awesome!

The Zectorian - 3 months ago
@HerbLord:

I thoroughly agree. Either that or just replace it with laughing text

draxdeveloper - 3 months ago

i just don't get one thing: "Haelgror says: "Salix where?"

The woman says: "Ail't het twe trait närd indayn thyu eroughddø herdä røtr. Vaen thyu rasch dä yrte ve dä erörstr taka dä deaerl erärs."

Haelgror shrugs." The woman is a npc? If it's a pc how the language would affect my in character chat? Taking that example of asking for directions, maybe i don't gain the in game knowledge, but i can actually follow the directions even if someone is writing without the proper letters

zimmah - 3 months ago
@draxdeveloper:

Posted By draxdeveloper at 05:57 AM - Tue May 08 2018

i just don't get one thing: "Haelgror says: "Salix where?"

The woman says: "Ail't het twe trait närd indayn thyu eroughddø herdä røtr. Vaen thyu rasch dä yrte ve dä erörstr taka dä deaerl erärs."

Haelgror shrugs." The woman is a npc? If it's a pc how the language would affect my in character chat? Taking that example of asking for directions, maybe i don't gain the in game knowledge, but i can actually follow the directions even if someone is writing without the proper letters

the chat would be translated, like a google translate. So you won't see what they type directly.

HerbLord - 3 months ago

Is there any idea in the design to be able to do emotes while having something equipped in hand such as a bow or sword. Emotes to threaten/mock/invite with weapons? invite with music tools to join the campfire, painters emoting to join the frame?

Lorgaff - 3 months ago

Excellent job !

KipFoE - 3 months ago

Snipe: Will evidence degrade over time? If a crime is committed Day one, could someone start the investigation two RL years later?

Are items of evidence linked to a particular crime? Example: 👣 Footprints: If a rich merchant gets a lot of stuff stolen by many robbers, will the system say footprint x is linked to crime y?

Gan Xing - 3 months ago

I'm extremely excited about this!!! I enjoy languages (despite not being very good at them). Will other characters know of your ability to speak certain languages? Could you keep your knowledge of a certain language secret? And will keeping that language secret be helpful, say in a heist, where, by using that secret language that you know, you can misdirect the authorities and any witnesses, who overheard you.

HeartOverBlade - 3 months ago

When commiting a crime, will you generate evidence pointing to you even if you don't carry any incriminating evidence?

Like if you're a hairless naked mann who cant possibly leave incriminating fabric, items, or hair at the crime scene, and we assume you're not spotted by a sole, is there any way to link you to a burglary with on-scene evidence? Will "dusting for fingerprints" be a thing for example?

Snipehunter - 3 months ago
@HeartOverBlade:

Posted By HeartOverBlade at 8:36 PM - Thu May 03 2018

When commiting a crime, will you generate evidence pointing to you even if you don't carry any incriminating evidence?

Like if you're a hairless naked mann who cant possibly leave incriminating fabric, items, or hair at the crime scene, and we assume you're not spotted by a sole, is there any way to link you to a burglary with on-scene evidence? Will "dusting for fingerprints" be a thing for example?

The short answer is yes - you will always leave some evidence behind. However, let me dive into the longer answer here for a moment:

Think of commiting a crime as the first step in a duel between you and an investigator. You might outclass your opponent to such a degree that the duel is over the moment it began. In the case of the game of cat and mouse between criminal and investigator, this might mean that the evidence you leave behind is nigh impossible for all but the best investigators to find, due to your diligence while committing the crime, your skill in various devious arts, and your overall careful planning.

On the other hand, and what I suspect will be the most common case, your opponent likely will be at a similar skill level and thus able to tease at least one lead out of the evidence left behind. If they do, they can follow that lead to discover other evidence, or if they already know who to look for, they can begin to try to locate you either by using literal tracking or by using investigation skills to canvas the area and learn your whereabouts from the folks living there.

If you were clever, maybe you did a few things to confuse potential witnesses, or maybe you artfully created a false identity so no one in the region knows who you really are, making you hard to catch. But maybe, somewhere along the line, you made a mistake, and someone knows what's up. Or maybe the investigator is simply brilliant and sees through your efforts to begin a real pursuit.

That's when the duel begins in earnest. Maybe you'll catch wind of their search - one of those locals might be a friend who lets you know you've got a tail, for example. Maybe they'll catch you unawares instead, in which case a literal duel may begin as you fight for your freedom.

That's the "form" of crime as pvp and there will never be a way -- on either side -- to guarantee you're free of it, completely. You can be good at what you do, requiring any potential opponent to be at least your equal to try to counter you, but like any good pvp balancing strategy, the systems won't let one side have 100% advantage over the other: Any such advantage will come from your own skill vs. thiers, not the systems themselves.

Hope that helps! :)

HeartOverBlade - 3 months ago

I like the idea of asking NPC bartenders for information on a person, then hearing local gossip. It'd be a great way to get a feel for someone's trustworthiness.

Also Notarys are going to be important for verifying contract signers aren't faking an identity. Or atleast a known friend to vouch for them.

Andariel_Forodae - 3 months ago

This is pretty much everything I have ever wanted, as far as communication goes, in an MMO. Keep up the great work!

Wolfguarde - 3 months ago

This one's a great point of interest for me, and I'm happy to see that language will as be complex and challenging as it deserves to be. I do have some questions, though:

  • Will it be possible to start false rumours? The DJ mentions rumours must be drawn from one's memories. Are we not able to lie where this is concerned, for the purposes of slander or propoganda?

  • Disguises and false identities are spoken of seperately. Is it possible to give someone who knows nothing about you a false name in your information panel without having the chance to be busted for doing it? In short: Can we lie and get away with it in the absence of accurate information?

  • In the event that one's moving through a noisy crowd:

    • Will there be noise pollution? If there's enough noise happening in an area, will comprehension in that zone be difficult beyond a certain radius? Will I have to shout in a crowd to be heard at a distance of five or ten metres?

    • If five different people within hearing range are speaking five different languages to me and I know them all (ridiculous example, I know, but for the purpose of the question), how do I respond to them? Will I need to select a language for each response and then give it? Or can I simply speak once and be understood by all of them, on the implication that because I know their languages, I'm translating the same message five seperate times? Or would I need to type in each translation's language in order for their native speakers to understand me?

  • The body of the contract: In the event that a large trade agreement between several nations is agreed upon - with clauses replicated in several different languages to cover the known languages of those nations - will the contract's physical form reflect the size of the contract? Are we going to have our criers standing at the head of the room with the contract rolling down the walkway/walking around with what is effectively a brick's worth of paper pages, or for efficiency's sake, will contracts simply have a static physical size and form?

  • Guild identity: In the event that a guild or other organisation wants to operate with a single known identity but not individual faces (an assassin's guild, for example, whose members are known only by their guild's mask), is it possible to replicate a single, artificial disguise many times and have all fame for that disguise apply to the disguise itself instead of (or also to) the individual wearing it if they're caught?

Teland - 3 months ago

The first thought that comes to mind is, a killer may be donning a disguise when they kill you. Also, unless a person introduces themselves to you, you likely won't have much to go on to report. So, while you may have witnessed your own CDG, your description at the time may end up being less valuable. A detective would come in handy then.

Zalx - 3 months ago

I love all of this! Great work!

Question: Since we almost always come back from the 'dead' in this game environment, how do you plan to mitigate the following scenario:

If you kill me, my 'resurrected' self is the perfect witness to your crime in court.

Kastivi - 3 months ago
@Zalx:

I´m just taking a wild guess here, saying that when you die, your character certainly won't have the same memories as the deceased one. Therefore, your ressurected character woudn't have any evidences/witness because he simply wasn't born yet. OF COURSE you could just tell people about it, but that would be Metagaming.

Lady ShyHeart - 3 months ago

I’m confused, are you guys not factoring in other communication tools like Discord?

Or is the information in game somehow not able to be useful if taken out of game and blasted on the internet..?

Or are you assuming that your in game communication features will be more convenient and better than platforms like Discord?

YukiAkuma - 3 months ago
@Lady ShyHeart:

Posted By Lady ShyHeart at 9:25 PM - Tue May 01 2018

I’m confused, are you guys not factoring in other communication tools like Discord?

Or is the information in game somehow not able to be useful if taken out of game and blasted on the internet..?

Or are you assuming that your in game communication features will be more convenient and better than platforms like Discord?

"Information" is an 'inventory item' in this game. Say, the recipe to make a straight blade - you need to learn that in-character to be able to craft it, even if you know the ingredients and method OOC.

This also incluides knowing someone commited a crime, characters' names, random trivia you want to spread via gossip so people you don't even know can hear about it, etc.

Coldhart - 3 months ago

Awesome read! Everything sounds amazing especially since the article seems to be a bit bias towards the shadier side of CoE (which I love! lol).

I do have a question that keeps coming to mind that stemmed from the first paragraph...Diseases?! Does this mean if we spend too much time with the wenches at the tavern that we can take home an STD to the wife? Asking for a friend

Kastivi - 3 months ago
@Coldhart:

My friend told me to ask here if those diseases are letal, or can be seen in your character.

Talmanes - 3 months ago

Oh oh oh Can you make the text transparency character location based? If you whisper it grows faint and eventually disappears AND it is right and left ear based! Maybe have some kind of indicator in the text which side you are hearing it from. Then you can kind of help the text give away position. This should be set right when the words are spoken and not stay dynamic after.

Talmanes - 3 months ago

Localized voice chat with speech filters (ability to change your voice to match your character), first game that gets that will have the communication edge. Biggest immersion aspect is not typing when in action AND using sound to located someone in game. It’s huge.

For immersion I’d recommend changing all non local chat (whisper, normal, shout) to some kind of Hub based chat that is location based like a town crier, raven nest network or something like that. Make it a way to communicate with OPC and NPCs to request aid and make the birds difficult but possible to capture. Keep it as realistic has possibly with no global chat, the people that want fast communication will be using a third party anyway so don’t design the game chat with that in mind.

Good stuff. Hope someone takes the advice about global/family/kingdom chat. For a world without magic that is pretty magical and we can’t pretend discord, esc aren’t going to be preferred.

I bring it up cause I care.

Noryn - 3 months ago

The letter X itself can easily be replaced by KS, it would look a bit funny but still sound the same. However, if tribes have problems pronouncing X/KS, they would probably say the words with an S-sound.

Those who can't make an F-sound, would most certainly say W instead, because some children in RL mix up those two letters/sounds when writing.

kajoreh - 3 months ago

Great DJ...lots of very interesting info. 2 questions... one serious, one not:

First. If I am a minority tribe member that is "born" within a predominantly other tribe area, do I have the inherent native tribal language as well as the "native" language of the region? For example, say I am a Janoan who is born into a clan that is, for some reason, already within a T'oresk city, would I know both Jennu by family and Crocais by proximity? A real world example might be a Frenchman being born and raised in England. They can and will learn French at home but would probably also be fluent in English as it is around them every day.

Second. What do you people have against the letter X? Is there some reason most Elyrian languages don't have it? Is it cultural? Or was it just the easiest one to delete? How will my character tell someone else to feed the lox to his fox in the box so it doesn't get the pox?

Ravenlute - 3 months ago

If someone is destroying posted contracts repeatedly then gather evidence against them such as eye witness testimony or fingerprints and let authorities know. Even if they don't have a law for it in-game, the players responsible for maintaining order may want to do something about it.

It would make sense if some contracts had multiple copies, one for each person taking part in it.

Many will have time limits imposed on them and once that time has passed a bounty token can be issued. Doesn't matter if your real life got in the way or not. At that point it will be up to you to make nice with the person you made a contract with. By being late you are probably costing them time and money.

The time limit also makes it possible for contracts to be posted on billboards and such. If they aren't completed at a certain time, they just expire and are made void.

Ironside - 3 months ago

What is to stop someone from just taking all the contracts and continually throwing them in the fire? That is considered griefing in my eyes. It could be an employee from The Walmart Emporium trying to ruin the little inn keeper.

Would mayors be able to make this action a crime under a management tool?

Is there a ‘magical’ notification of failure if you dont do the task in time prescribed? If not, how does it work if you’re 30 minutes late. Your real life cat could have peed on you...

How does the inn keeper know who took the contract outside or is that part of the game? Seems cool.

As a mayor, can you make it legal to kill on sight pickpockets and thieves without “knocking them out”. Just keep stabbing. I do see problems with this, just curious.

Noryn - 3 months ago

Great DJ! It's been a very interesting read with plenty of new information. Thanks, Vye, you did a superb job!

As usually, more information is a source for more questions. Many that came into my mind while reading have already been asked by others. I'd like to add one, that I've been wondering about for quite some time because I am quite interested in learning at least some of the frequently used words of the Elyrian languages.

From what I understood, as long as a character doesn't know a language, the player will be shown the words in this original language. Now I asume that once a character has picked up some words in a new language, these words or bits of sentences will appear in English for the player. So the more a character learns, the more words will be replaced by English. This is good for the player's understanding of a conversation or a contract.

BUT if all words of the other language would simply be replaced by English, for the player, over time this language would totally disappear and be lost to him/her. A player's only chance to pick up new words would be to learn faster than the PC. I don't know whether it is planned like this.

I would appreciate an option to read the original language and the English translation of what my PC understands side by side.

And it would be nice, if we could ask NPC members of other tribes for translations of words, too. Like asking a Janoa "How do you say 'Good morning!' in Jenu?" or "What does 'ztápbi' mean?" Probably they would refuse to tell a stranger but would teach a friendly neighbor or business partner.

Pteroguin - 3 months ago

This DJ is profoundly helpful. I appreciate the last two DJ's the most. We get to see more of the goals and well mechanics that are looking to be applied. I can see a lot of Vye's heart and soul went into this and it's absolutely amazing! Thank you for taking the time to explain what we can expect from Communication. This coupled with the Crafting DJ makes for a new bar of expectations. Hope the future ones can live up to such a high standard! :) Thanks for the hard work Vye, and team!

darkynighty - 3 months ago

I really liked all the details and aspects of this DJ. One question though, in one of the examples, a character offers to translate a contract for another who is unable to read Neran. Is it possible to deceive someone through mistranslation? Would the contract be legally nullified if this was the case and it was found out?

Adrien_Philippe - 3 months ago

Will there be anything in place to prevent spamming of requesting of information. Like perhaps will it be on it own chat bar so I can ignore it?

Radeth - 3 months ago

Great Journal, I love languages and communication a lot. A few questions came to my mind while reading:

  • While standing in a crowded place like a square or a market, so that you can be close enough to hear your friend talking to you, but you can also overhear other groups of people talking, will you be able to gather information "items" from all the conversations you're in range of at the same time, or, more realistically, you'll be able to "focus" on a very small number of conversations (maybe depending on some mental stat more related to attention?) before going nuts and not being able to understand any discussion at all (spreading your attention too thin)?

  • Let's say for example you're able to speak 2 or more languages and the person you're talking to speaks the same ones. I imagine you'll be able to choose the language in which to speak, how will all this be visualized? How will the recipient know what language you've just talked in if, having a few in common, they would all be displayed as Earth's English (supposing this is how it works)?

Having grown up in a multilingual family, I can think of many situations in which you'd need some depth in the linguistic system of a game like CoE, two examples:

  • Jim is Neran and speaks fluently both Neran and Naeroth, he lives in a Neran majority town and stands next to a group of Hrothi speaking Naeroth. Why are a bunch of Hrothi in a Neran town not speaking Neran? Do they have something to hide? They can very well suppose Jim is standing there without understanding a word, so they'd speak to Jim in Neran if they wanted to interact with him. How will Jim be able to differenciate when the Hrothi are talking each language? When Jim answers he has to make sure to answer in Neran, so that the Hrothi don't discover that he was understanding everything they were saying in their "private" conversation.

  • Jim (the same guy as before) is talking to Tim and Carl (sorry for the lack of fantasy in the names XD). Tim speaks only Neran, Carl speaks fluently both Neran and Naeroth, same as Jim. Even if it could be considered somewhat rude by Tim, Jim could at some point of the conversation switch and say a few words in Naeroth so that only Carl can understand, and then switch back to Neran and continue the conversation. Was Jim making fun of Tim with Carl? Tim will never know for sure. Will Carl be able to visualize in which part of the discussion Jim switched language? Because if not he would assume that Tim got everything Jim said, even when he was making fun of him right to his face, which would lead to some embarassment for Carl.

Sorry for the long and convoluted message, but as I already said (and as I think is very visible XD) this is one of the parts of the game that intrigues me the most.

Lizybeth_Eros - 3 months ago

I can think of several good, legal reasons to have an alternate identity. The bard you mentioned would be an excellent example, both to avoid fans, as well as to adventure in the world to gain new stories to tell. With the increased penalties for death on those of nobility, it might be wise for Counts and higher to have an alternate identity when traveling between cities, Counties, or even Kingdoms to avoid being targeted. The Princess might want to see the world she is going to inherit someday, without everyone catering to her as "the Princess".
So hopefully there will be a legal route for the famous, or nobles, to be able to dress down and blend in.

Now as far as impersonation goes, yep, totally illegal outside of a theater.

zimmah - 3 months ago
@Lizybeth_Eros:

Posted By Lizybeth_Eros at 11:57 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

I can think of several good, legal reasons to have an alternate identity. The bard you mentioned would be an excellent example, both to avoid fans, as well as to adventure in the world to gain new stories to tell. With the increased penalties for death on those of nobility, it might be wise for Counts and higher to have an alternate identity when traveling between cities, Counties, or even Kingdoms to avoid being targeted. The Princess might want to see the world she is going to inherit someday, without everyone catering to her as "the Princess".
So hopefully there will be a legal route for the famous, or nobles, to be able to dress down and blend in.

Now as far as impersonation goes, yep, totally illegal outside of a theater.

Who exactly is going to prosecute the king for breaking the law?

Posted By Wolfguarde at 09:39 AM - Wed May 02 2018

  • Guild identity: In the event that a guild or other organisation wants to operate with a single known identity but not individual faces (an assassin's guild, for example, whose members are known only by their guild's mask), is it possible to replicate a single, artificial disguise many times and have all fame for that disguise apply to the disguise itself instead of (or also to) the individual wearing it if they're caught?

From what I understand, yes.

If one person creates an identity (real or fake, doesn't matter, an identity is an identity). Then the identity can be forged.

As far as I understood the DJ, the scenario you described should be possible.

YukiAkuma - 3 months ago
@zimmah:

Posted By zimmah at 12:11 PM - Sun May 06 2018

Who exactly is going to prosecute the king for breaking the law?

His own Dukes? If a King breaks the law his Dukes might decide one of them would make a better King...

zimmah - 3 months ago
@YukiAkuma:

Posted By YukiAkuma at 3:30 PM - Sun May 06 2018

Posted By zimmah at 12:11 PM - Sun May 06 2018

Who exactly is going to prosecute the king for breaking the law?

His own Dukes? If a King breaks the law his Dukes might decide one of them would make a better King...

I don't think a duke would go to war with a king just because the king committed a petty crime like staying anonymous, something a king is likely to do anyway, to protect his own safety.

Ail't het twe trait närd indayn thyu eroughddø herdä røtr. Vaen thyu rasch dä yrte ve dä erörstr taka dä deaerl erärs

I wonder if we can crack this. It seems to have some elements of germanic languages (Norwegian, danish, icelandic, frisian, etc).

I think "two trait" may be two units of distance (two paces, two leagues?) närd is almost certainly north

Clueless on Ail't

I hope we'll see more pieces of language so we have more to work with.

røtr may mean "right" so herdä røtr may mean turn right. (not sure on this)

indayn could potentially be "and then" or "if" (similar to dutch "indien" which is a somewhat archaic word for if)

"Vaen thyu rasch dä" could potentially be something along the lines of "when you reach the"

No idea about the second part of the second sentence.

gtox - 3 months ago
@Lizybeth_Eros:

I had the same thoughts when reading that section, however I reminded myself that breaking the law itself is meaningless without the justice system behind it.

If the Princess wants to see the Kingdom without being hounded by the commoners and decides to have a fake identity made for that purpose, then she is free to do so - legal or not. If she is caught then it is up to the King/Queen and/or the justice system to decide what a suitable punishment is, if any. It is possible that the King gave her permission to do so, which makes the punishment nullified. Perhaps the King chooses to punish her equally as a commoner in order to set an example as a fair ruler.

The game is simply setting the mechanics by which actions are legal or illegal, but in the end it is not concrete until the justice system decides to act on the illegal actions.

Ravenlute - 3 months ago

All of these contracts are physical objects that are carried around and can be stolen, traded, etc.

So what happens to them when they are completed? Are they destroyed or do they remain so that you can keep a record of them stored away somewhere?

Ilyria - 3 months ago
@Ravenlute:

Posted By Ravenlute at 7:38 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

All of these contracts are physical objects that are carried around and can be stolen, traded, etc.

So what happens to them when they are completed? Are they destroyed or do they remain so that you can keep a record of them stored away somewhere?

I don't think it's smart to throw completed contracts away. I personally will keep them all for future references. Ofcourse there will always be made copies of each of them.

chipla - 3 months ago
@Ilyria:

Posted By Ilyria at 6:42 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Posted By Ravenlute at 7:38 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

All of these contracts are physical objects that are carried around and can be stolen, traded, etc.

So what happens to them when they are completed? Are they destroyed or do they remain so that you can keep a record of them stored away somewhere?

I don't think it's smart to throw completed contracts away. I personally will keep them all for future references. Ofcourse there will always be made copies of each of them.

I dunno some contracts you might want to destroy (ones that implicate you in things) but in general, I do think that keeping contracts in a secure place will be better.

Town/County/Duchy libraries could be a cool place to have completed contracts stored. The issue would come if people could use contracts to assist in 'identity theft' (by learning to forge your signature etc)

Ilyria - 3 months ago
@chipla:

Posted By chipla at 10:32 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Posted By Ilyria at 6:42 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Posted By Ravenlute at 7:38 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

All of these contracts are physical objects that are carried around and can be stolen, traded, etc.

So what happens to them when they are completed? Are they destroyed or do they remain so that you can keep a record of them stored away somewhere?

I don't think it's smart to throw completed contracts away. I personally will keep them all for future references. Ofcourse there will always be made copies of each of them.

I dunno some contracts you might want to destroy (ones that implicate you in things) but in general, I do think that keeping contracts in a secure place will be better.

Town/County/Duchy libraries could be a cool place to have completed contracts stored. The issue would come if people could use contracts to assist in 'identity theft' (by learning to forge your signature etc)

All contracts are already signed, so it's much easier to just rob the person who you want to steal the identity off, instead of go through hundreds or thousands of scrolls. You see John Doe, you want his identity, you just kill him and go through his items. A Duke or Count probably has better protection for his belongings and it's less likely that you find what you want. And, it is confirmed, that in order to steal someone's identity, you also need something that belongs to that person. Best option is just rob the person and steal it. You have the belonging and very likely also the contract.

Just playing advocate of the devil :)

Ilyria - 3 months ago

All information, we already had, in a single post. I bookmarked it. Very handy for future references.

Kudos Vye :)

OilyTrout - 3 months ago

For each non-existent letter in an alphabet, there must be a substitution letter for foreign words. For example the V doesn't exist in Greek alphabet, but they might need to talk about a trip to Vienna. I think in that case the B replaces the V.

@Vye you told us about letters missing from some alphabets, but not how people cope with those letters missing. Are there some existing substitutions?

Serpentius - 3 months ago

We always appreciate everyone's feedback, positive or negative.

Community input is tantamount to us succeeding in the long run, so we take your words seriously.

But it is also important to remember to be constructive, and to heed our Code of Conduct when contributing to these forums.

If you have a concern about moderation, you can contact me or email support, but please do not derail or discuss it in this or any other thread as it would be off topic and does not belong.

Thank you for your support!

Daynen - 3 months ago

Surprise ending. Love it. My main hope is that all of this emoting, switching volumes, etc. is going to have a nice, tidy, elegant UI, rather than a bunch of slash commands. I've got a pretty decent WPM, but I'd rather not go through more than a keyboard a year, thanks...

Axalion - 3 months ago

For anyone wanting to use characters mentioned above and don't have a foreign keyboard or type on a smartphone. You can make all of the symbols using the "alt" key and a string of numbers. Here are the relevant ones below, though there are a ton more!

Croçais

ç = alt+135

î = alt+140

Denhørt

ä = alt+132

ö = alt+148

ü = alt+129

ø = alt+0248

ß = alt+0223

Pyqsi

ß = alt+0223

Lazu

ç = alt+135

ó = alt+162

ÿ = alt+152

Næroth

æ = alt+145

à = alt+133

è = alt+138

ì = alt+141

ò = alt+149

ù = alt+151

Jenu

á = alt+160

é = alt+130

í = alt+161

ó = alt+162

ú = alt+163

Gan Xing - 3 months ago
@Axalion:

Thanks! On Mac computers, most of these letters are more easily available.

MotherofCats - 3 months ago

Great information but when are we going to see something of the actual game showing this off? Appreciate the wall of text but I want to see something for my money.

Axalion - 3 months ago

Whoa! I'm super excited to see how language ends up working! Will there be any resemblance to the original words spoken, or will the characters just turn into random gibberiah if you don't know the language? Or if you're at the first step, will you see words you recognize bit not in any meaningful order?

Emotes have always been one of my favorite parts of a game as they show off the personality of the game. What kind of things are important to show and what kind of things deveolpers need npcs to be able to do. Will all emotes be paired with a visual or audio action? Or are there going to be some that we'll just have to imagine ourselves based on text?

Malkaven - 3 months ago

I'd be very interested in more detailed information on the languages. Specifically relating to how names including characters not present in a given language will be handled/translated, whether they will be allowed at all in certain instances, and how players who have already locked in a surname will be impacted.

If your surname includes characters not pronounceable in a certain tribes native language does that preclude you from creating a character in that tribe? What about settlement/location/ect. names? Will names that do not fit within the parameters of a players regional/tribal/known language(s) be allowed at all when naming things (specifically in exposition)? Would such names even have a chance of sticking (since place names are said to be changeable based on popularity of usage)?

I think it's great that each language is so distinct, and am not arguing at all to change what is laid out in this journal. I'm just curious so that I can better adapt my plans for exposition. Character omissions kind of threw a wrench in some of the names I had planned for my characters, settlements, and even county. If I need to go back to the drawing board completely I'd like to be prepared for that. (Of course there is no guarantee I'll end up with the tribe I'm aiming for, but that may still require contingencies since it seems many of these languages drop characters).

SirApetus - 3 months ago

Awesome! I was so excited for this DJ and I was not let down at all. Thank you for the information :)

DPierre - 3 months ago

oooooooooh man I love this. I'm definitely considering my Waerd noble concept where everyone pays taxes with information.

Two faced - 3 months ago

Cloak & Veil welcomes this Dev Journal!

Thankyou for this comprehensive write up! We will certainly analyse the information in our quest to be the premiere providers of disguises and forged identities on the Selene server!

Aeryn Suun - 3 months ago

All of these sounds wonderful and well thought out. Hope we be able to implement these mechanics by getting something in the hands of us backers, sometime this year. Great post.

MalevolentFiend - 3 months ago

Excellent DJ! So much information to sink our teeth in to.

The different types of local chat really make an impact. Some of my fondest memories are from role playing in Neverwinter Nights and the secret meetings we'd have. We'd slip in to whisper and have people on watch as there was always the concern of a stealthy sort sneaking within range and listening in.

The_White_Mask - 3 months ago

Such a juicy and lengthy design journal. I really enjoyed it.

However, my question from a year ago is still unanswered. I'm wondering if I can don a disguise and false identity into a new area, live there, and if they will believe my donned disguise and identity are me? Will they ever suspect I'm really someone else?

Ravenlute - 3 months ago
@The_White_Mask:

Posted By TheWhiteMask at 04:38 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Such a juicy and lengthy design journal. I really enjoyed it.

However, my question from a year ago is still unanswered. I'm wondering if I can don a disguise and false identity into a new area, live there, and if they will believe my donned disguise and identity are me? Will they ever suspect I'm really someone else?

If you remain in that identity, and no one has seen or interacted with your regular one, then no, there is no reason for anyone to believe you are anyone else than the one you've been presenting.

Abigor - 3 months ago

you know DJ is gon be good when Vye starts with mentioning memes ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

DJ was great!

...However I'm not sure I understand one thing, before it was mentioned that hrothi and brudvir share same "northern" language...to'resk and Janoa shared same one as well iirc, now we have each tribe more or less having their native one, so, do some tribes have common language they share besides most common one (Neran)?

Unless I misunderstood, and Denhørt is the "northern language" and Næroth is just unique/old language known by hrothi because it appears in their texts

Raziel - 3 months ago

Edit : I removed the first part as it doesn’t belong in here sorry Serp 😉

Dear SBS, stop writing walls of text with absolutely nothing to show to the public. It is great to explain game mechanics, but now it’s the time to start proving the people there is really a game in which we will see those game mechanics.

This is 2018, we need videos and ingame screenshots with every news form the studio. We did not pledged to a board game here.

MotherofCats - 3 months ago
@Raziel:

Posted By Raziel at 03:30 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Dear SBS, stop writing walls of text with absolutely nothing to show to the public. It is great to explain game mechanics, but now it’s the time to start proving the people there is really a game in which we will see those game mechanics.

This is 2018, we need videos and ingame screenshots with every news form the studio. We did not pledged to a board game here.

I agree, seems like lots of foreplay and no action. A girl will eventually get disinterested and move on. I often feel like SBS is a used car salesman trying to sell you on the best deal of your life only to find the car isn't even on the lot.

chipla - 3 months ago
@Raziel:

Posted By Raziel at 11:30 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

This is 2018, we need videos and ingame screenshots with every news form the studio. We did not pledged to a board game here.

Yay lets take screenshots and videos of chatboxes...

While in some cases you may be correct (and SbS are actually pretty good about adding screenshots and vids to some of their more recent journals (like that crafting one)). This design journal is talking about talking - something that probably is only implemented in a very limited way atm because it doesn't need to be implemented in-depth at the pre-pre-alpha stage.

I'd have liked some shiny UI pics of the gossip system but luckily I'm an adult and am able to comprehend what they intend to do with the system (that probably isn't implemented yet) in the game so I don't need pictographs.

Now I may have more free time to sit and read huge swaths of text than you and may have a better reading comprehension and collect tabletop RPGs so may be more used to extracting mechanical information from text than you but I find I really didn't feel the need for large amounts of pictures and videos for this DJ as opposed to a DJ on crafting or on combat because it would have just been a bunch of chatboxes.

My main criticism of the DJ is that contracts (for such an important part of CoE) were glossed over rather quickly. I hope this is because we're going to at some point in the future get a proper DJ on them and have a QnA and really get into the meat of contracts and what we can do with them

MotherofCats - 3 months ago
@chipla:

Posted By chipla at 04:00 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Posted By Raziel at 11:30 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

This is 2018, we need videos and ingame screenshots with every news form the studio. We did not pledged to a board game here.

Yay lets take screenshots and videos of chatboxes...

I'd have liked some shiny UI pics of the gossip system but luckily I'm an adult and am able to comprehend what they intend to do with the system (that probably isn't implemented yet) in the game so I don't need pictographs.

Now I may have more free time to sit and read huge swaths of text than you and may have a better reading comprehension and collect tabletop RPGs so may be more used to extracting mechanical information from text than you but I find I really didn't feel the need for large amounts of pictures and videos for this DJ as opposed to a DJ on crafting or on combat because it would have just been a bunch of chatboxes.

He inst talking about this specific dev journal but just in general. Yes, we would all like to see more about the game than just walls of text describing whats going on. Yes, we understand its under development. We are not looking for huge video clips and large amount of pictures - stop exaggerating. We are, however, looking for something showing what they are describing, whether its combat or whispering... give us more than a wall of words. "Now I may have more free time to sit and read huge swaths of text than you and may have a better reading comprehension " Statements like this makes you come off like a pompous jerk and doesn't really help your case. You just insulted people who do want to see more for the money they have invested.

Gromschlog - 3 months ago

awesome!

Jongatown - 3 months ago

Very RPIMUD'ish, good stuff!

Leonardo_Loriano - 3 months ago

So much information! Took a bit of time to get trough all of this.

Esoba - 3 months ago

Love waking up to have something like this to read over. A few things grabbed my attention, like the mentioning of jails and escrow. Anyways hype train boarded.

realGhost - 3 months ago

Does the game engine save/read most/every action performed by an identity at all times ? Do such actions get forgotten after a certain time ?

Heartagram - 3 months ago

No photos or videos of actual chat in game or work in progress? Really?

Moonlynx - 3 months ago

Now, this brings up the question that I had posted for the Q&A but was so far down the list (#59) that it never was seen.

How persistent is gossip? Will the fame/infamy influence on how long the gossip lasts? Can you use gossip to counter gossip?

I played on a mux for nearly 10 years and it had an amazing gossip system. It was amusing to listen to all of the gossip about the characters and in game events. It was how my in game character discovered that her in game husband was cheating. Great scene!

Fenrer - 3 months ago

Wish i'd known about the extra or missing letters in the different languages before choosing a surname. Guess I could figure out how to write the odd looking c thing..

zimmah - 3 months ago
@Fenrer:

Posted By Fenrer at 10:48 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Wish i'd known about the extra or missing letters in the different languages before choosing a surname. Guess I could figure out how to write the odd looking c thing..

use dutch keyboard layout and type ' first, then folowed by a c (works for other accented letters too, even though the dutch language itself doesn't use most of those letters).

çîóÁ one of the easiest ways and doesn't require remembering any codes.

Axalion - 3 months ago
@Fenrer:

So this might make knowing alt codes really useful! If you already know these I'm sorry for the overexplanation. Maybe it will help someone else!

Most symbols can be typed using the "alt" key plus a number string. The ones for the characters mentioned above are:

Croçais ç = alt+135 î = alt+140

Denhørt ä = alt+132 ö = alt+148 ü = alt+129 ø = alt+0248 ß = alt+0223

Pyqsi ß = alt+0223

Lazu ç = alt+135 ó = alt+162 ÿ = alt+152

Næroth æ = alt+145 à = alt+133 è = alt+138 ì = alt+138 ò = alt+149 ù = alt+151

Jenu á = alt+160 é = alt+130 í = alt+161 ó = alt+162 ú = alt+163

VioletWinterlynn - 3 months ago
@Fenrer:

Posted By Fenrer at 02:48 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Wish i'd known about the extra or missing letters in the different languages before choosing a surname. Guess I could figure out how to write the odd looking c thing..

If you're talking about surnames with the c -- It all counts as the same letter. So:

Black, Blaçk == The same name when typed out

So someone woudn't have just Black, they would have all the variations of the name was well like:

Black, Blàck, Bláck, Blâck, Blãck, Bläck, Blaçk, Blàçk, Bláçk, Blâçk, Blãçk, Bläçk

So if you did pick a surname that had the funky c, people would still be able to use your original surname that has the normal c

randys22 - 3 months ago
@VioletWinterlynn:

No it looks like certain one omit letters.

"In addition to the letters of the Neran alphabet, it also includes the characters æ, à, è, ì, ò, and ù (which have a distinct pronunciation from their un-accented counterparts). The letter x has been omitted. "

Replacing and omit letters are two seperate things.

Sir_Skylos - 3 months ago

Lots of interesting information (maybe a little too much for on DJ), I'm still trying to digest it all but one question that sprung to mind.

"A ward of the state doesn't have access to family chat"

Does this mean they never have access to family chat or will they still gain family chat when they marry/when they have children and therefore gain a family?

VioletWinterlynn - 3 months ago
@Sir_Skylos:

Posted By Sir_Skylos at 02:13 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Lots of interesting information (maybe a little too much for on DJ), I'm still trying to digest it all but one question that sprung to mind.

"A ward of the state doesn't have access to family chat"

Does this mean they never have access to family chat or will they still gain family chat when they marry/when they have children and therefore gain a family?

As far as I know yes, they just don't start with one because theyre giving all that up to start how they want to start as they want to start from scratch/at the bottom. As they move up and create a family they should be able to gain the family chat/make a family chat.

Oracle - 3 months ago

Looks awesome and great detail :)

Augustus_Aquila - 3 months ago

Respect 👊 Vye.

Fenrer - 3 months ago

Mentioning of them emotes and gestures gets me all giddy!

I will most likely be the asshat who points in the wrong direction when being asked directions, not on purpose, I just have no sense of direction ingame or real life..

Contracts seem bothersome to me, hoping they are easier to handle than what I imagine, I understand wanting the security of them but still.. meh, guess I am too easy going and used to trust people even without shaking hands on a deal.

Looking forward to see fake translators, just speaking nonsense (with or without the proper letters or avoiding the langiuage excluded ones) then just making up some bull about the reply to their contractor.

HerbLord - 3 months ago
@Fenrer:

Posted By Fenrer at 11:58 AM - Sat Apr 28 2018

Looking forward to see fake translators, just speaking nonsense (with or without the proper letters or avoiding the langiuage excluded ones) then just making up some bull about the reply to their contractor.

or a real translator mistranslating to his own benefit, a translator could very easily manipulate a situation if he's smart enough. Deals between kings would definitely require multiple translators on both sides just to make sure theres no trickery.

Zakarus - 3 months ago

Also a king would want a fake identity as to walk outside of his holdings to hear about himself and how the town folk are living under his rule and law so sweet. As a mayor this will open up so many possibilities in day to day life in CoE.

Reikan - 3 months ago

There are many legal reasons to have a fake identity. Ever hear of witness protection? Decoy?

To fool the anti authority rather than the authority

TR3LON1ST - 3 months ago

Wow.. that is. A LOT! :)

Prof_Griz - 3 months ago

We have names for the languages! Sweet!

Drun Redforge - 3 months ago

Couple of questions:

  1. Will NPC family members be able to utilize family chat? Will they talk to you about things without being prompted or asked questions? Will they be able to understand things you say or are there commands you can give them through family chat?

  2. Say Schesden from your example is fluent in the language of the posted contract but does not take it. He instead goes out to fulfill the contract first to see if it's worth it, then comes by after he has everything for the contract but it is missing. If he has the proper skill, would he be able to forge the contract and remake it from memory in order to complete it and turn it in to the person who put the original contract out? Would they notice? (I have concerns with that type of aspect of the contract system as I will be utilizing it heavily to run a delivery service in Elyria. Contracts and languages are my biggest concerns.)

  3. If I marry someone from another tribe, will my offspring automatically learn both languages? Will they have to be around the parents to learn the languages? Do To'Resk children automatically know the other languages from birth or do their parents have to teach them?

Salvador - 3 months ago

New information is always appreciated!

Amberic - 3 months ago

Want.... to.... play.... more with each design journal!

Drefan - 3 months ago

I really enjoyed this DJ, I like how the game is unfolding.

StrawHat - 3 months ago

Hats off to you guys for this DJ, was a great read!

Devilkyn - 3 months ago

Fantastic! Well worth the wait, thanks so much Vye :)

Varhukan - 3 months ago

Drama everywhere, cool let me do my stuff over there where it's quiet. I found drama here as well, maybe there with the kypiqs won't be any drama. Lol

Where's I'll smash it with a hammer guy, show that drama whose boss.

Great work and thanks for all that wonderfully awesome info! Looking forward to RP for the first time in a long time

Edit: also very cool having a log that can maybe auto update without having say using a scroll interface and writing or pasting into a text doc, if say you overhear detailed gossip about a specific thing

Sport - 3 months ago

Great examples! Thanks for the update!

1mmaculateDeception - 3 months ago

This is great, this is really great. I had hoped for the gossip system to be talked about in this DJ and you talked about that, but you talked about oh so much more that I didn't even think to think about!

The question that comes to mind on this for me so far is whether or not we will have to learn to use all those extra characters in the languages or will that likely all be "translated" into text for us?

If someone can type all those symbols and they have literally learned the translation that you have figured out in order to make this system then will they be able to act like they are speaking in that language even though their persona hasn't?

Eurickdm - 3 months ago

Nice, i wonder how mutch diegetic the UI will be with these systems.

Taradyn - 3 months ago

This is fantastic, Vye! Including all those examples really brings it home re gameplay and relevance. Thanks so much! <3

Malkraz - 3 months ago

How are players meant to actually interface with the chat? Is it all going to be contained in chatbox(es), or will there be visuals such as speech bubbles above player's heads? If something like speech bubbles are utilized, how will distance and direction be handled?

mystichaze - 3 months ago

OMG, I am so excited about this DJ. It answered so many questions I have had in regard to how things were going to work. And damn, I never even considered that information was going to be treated like an item in the game. It not only makes an amazing game tool but it also deters a large portion of the Metagaming.

You guys have amazing ideas... Big thumbs up

HammerStrike - 3 months ago

Woot! Nice! :)

Johan Housel - 3 months ago

Love me some Design Journals, thank ya very much!

Nightfinger - 3 months ago

Ok, this is great Vye & co. This is MEOW. This is where the genre is going

Thackeray - 3 months ago

How easy will pick-pocketing be? Will it be difficult/unsuccessful enough to deter people just waiting around all the time for the hard workers to get things done?

Teland - 3 months ago
@Thackeray:

Posted By Thackeray at 6:59 PM - Fri Apr 27 2018

How easy will pick-pocketing be? Will it be difficult/unsuccessful enough to deter people just waiting around all the time for the hard workers to get things done?

Oh my. Vye writes one of the most impressive, thought-provoking, and juicy DJs about communication, and we get a question on pick pocketing?! Brilliant!

PP will be a skill just like anything else. You will probably start off by failing a lot, getting caught a lot, and gradually become quite good. But, it will be tied to your observation as well. Did you see where the coins were stored on the person? Are you good enough to open the person's backpack while it's still on them and dig through two layers to find the coin pouch? Or the hidden slot in their belt? It won't be like other games where you just click a key combo on a body and get a random thing.

HerbLord - 3 months ago

Posted By Vye at

. And that's in addition to any jail time you face for creating false identities!

prisons confirmed.

HerbLord - 3 months ago

question: keeping track of a conversation between multiple people

If a large group of people gathered together for some kind of meeting or maybe a pitstop in a long journey and other travellers are huddling around a camp fire, and you don't really know their names (they are all strangers to you), what is currently in this design that makes it easy to say who says what?

will a speech bubble or anything of the sort appear above your head to show that your characters body said it?

  • Also will what you said be on a timer and disappear after you said it or will it be forever on display for anyone who heard it? will there be such a thing as scrolling up a chat history?

  • Also How does one go about trying to learn proto- neran or any other ancient laguage? would you have to learn both neran and pyqsi to be able to attempt comprehending proto-neran? would you have to be a multi linguist to be able to comprehend scrolls/books/tablets with ancient languages? Is proto-Neran the only ancient language in the game?

XSDevastation - 3 months ago
@HerbLord:

One would assume that any group of people gathering for an actual meeting would introduce themselves to each other. Even if only their first name.

HerbLord - 3 months ago
@XSDevastation:

Posted By XSDevastation at 2:47 PM - Sat Apr 28 2018

One would assume that any group of people gathering for an actual meeting would introduce themselves to each other. Even if only their first name.

One makes no assumptions. One might be in a meeting with a cult with other hooded cultists preferring to remain unknown. Do not judge one.

Would you like one to list other scenarios, apart from meetings, where one might strike conversation amongst a large group of people where one knows not who they are?

Silence Will Fall - 3 months ago

I'm only half way through, but I still need a break to change my pants.

Aves - 3 months ago

Disguises are /typically/ illegal? My high hopes for being able to play a bard with a stage name have returned, even if only a little !

This was so fun to read- the communication system in this game is the top reason for how excited I am to play it. So looking forward to interacting with these systems in the future!

Snicoalot - 3 months ago

Always love reading about future plans. Keep it up!

Xarkfleur - 3 months ago

much <3 - in fact oozing oodles of it!

VioletWinterlynn - 3 months ago

♥_♥

Deftly - 3 months ago

Is a way to have an legal alias or nickname? I want to name all my characters something lore friendly but when I work I want to do it under the alias Deftly..

Jezzda - 3 months ago
@Deftly:

In that case, considering creating an association that you could put all of your characters in and name it Deftly. That way you can still have lore friendly names, but your association that you can introduce yourself with as well, will be called Deftly. :)

Swordwalker - 3 months ago

sweet, loved it. SBS always has the best information.

Spinam - 3 months ago

Perfection!!

Avialus - 3 months ago

Shiny

Matriarch - 3 months ago

Amazing!