Hail and well met, Elyrians!
With Domain & Settlement Selection in full swing, and with the Settlers of Elyria Dutch-style auction coming up, it brings with it an entirely new phase to the Dance of Dynasties. Let's talk about what it is, what's already happened, and what to expect as we continue through to the next phase.
Simply put, the Dance of Dynasties is the great political game of favors, alliances, and power played by lords and ladies and the highly ambitious. Political intrigue abounds when you play the game and the only way to win is to play. If you are a titled landowner, you're in the game already! When the nations of Elyria vie for dominance - whether through diplomacy, economy, or warfare - it is part of the Dance. When assassination plots and marriages are arranged, it's part of the Dance. When heirs are named and lineages ended, it's part of the Dance. When favor is given or owed, it is part of the Dance.
Chronicles of Elyria is a world where there is more to do than hunt monsters and get loot (but you can always go pursue the life of an Adventurer if that's what you're after!). There are layers to the gameplay that take place at the individual level, community level, governmental level, and world level. At each level, there is danger and drama. Heroic effort, skill, and the power of one's reputation will be the difference between survival and an early death! At every level!
Domain & Settlement Selection, and the auction following it, mean that titled players are now real landowners in Elyria. Each one is a Dynasty waiting to thrive. Each one a potential threat or ally to another. Though people have been plotting and planning for months or years, it's hasn't been tangible or real until now. Now is when the Dance truly begins!
As this community continues through these events, and the lands meted out to players with an interest in governance, the members of each Kingdom, Duchy, and County will become its own roster of what are, in a way, guild members (as in the more traditional concept of a guild in an MMO): a group of players who are signing up to work on specific in-game goals together and who benefit from the size and quality of the collective. While there isn't raiding or grinding dungeons for rare loot in Chronicle of Elyria, there are plenty of objectives that will take large numbers of people coming together to coordinate and achieve a desired outcome. For characters who hold titles and lands, these might come in the form of the Sedecim, a royal wedding, or a conquest into neighboring lands.
Though there are communities that have already cropped up in the Forums and on Discord based on the promise of a great nation, no nations have previously existed. That's all changing, now that claims are being made on the lands of the starting continents.
While folks may instinctively cling to the communities to which they've already become a part, the relationships created thus far will not be enough to play the game. Much like in Texas Hold 'Em poker, you have some cards you were dealt (your own lands, your liege, other allies), but those alone are not sufficient to win. Only with the community cards that are played randomly on the table can you assemble a winning hand - just as it will be when unclaimed duchies, counties, and settlements will be picked up by new or newly-upgrading players! Don't think of those members who join your domain now as intruding on what you already have. Instead, think of them as the missing cards to an otherwise incomplete set.
Names and places are being written into the Chronicles as we speak. The final shape (in both borders and citizenry) for each kingdom, duchy, county, and settlement is still being penned. Old allies and new faces are being joined together in a way no other online game has attempted. By the time the ink is dry, a swath of land-bound communities will be able to begin playing the Dance together and preparing for the road ahead.
Each Kingdom, Duchy, and County is a grouping of duchies, counties, and settlements that are owned by real people who all share an interest in the more gubernatorial and political elements that Chronicles of Elyria has to offer. Though many found a community to join or swore allegiance to a liege before (unofficially), claiming land on the Elyrian map is the true and official way that Soulbound Studios always intended for these communities to be founded. The Dance of Dynasties is no longer a voluntary interest - it has officially begun!
As we continue toward launch, each set of liege and vassals will be able to plan and prepare for these planned events:
During the first part of Alpha, those with access will be playing an early version of the game and providing feedback. The features planned in Alpha 1 are primarily around the plight of the individual. No governmental features will be in, so it will be the interest of titled landowners to pay attention to the quality of the natural environment, the architecture and arrangement of settlements, the Contract system, and the Knowledge and Gossip systems. All of these areas will be of import when it comes to supporting the economy and citizenry at a national scale.
In the second part of Alpha, the land management features will be coming into play. While the characters and events that are experienced in Alpha (and Beta) are not going to be written into the Chronicles, this is the time to really put those systems through their paces to ensure that Chronicles of Elyria is the real deal, and provides title-holders the ability to rule the lands of Elyria in a whole variety of ways!
When Kingdoms of Elyria opens up, the scribes will be picking up their quills and recording the events. By this time, the features that support both individual advancement and gubernatorial play will have been tested, validated, iterated, and approved for elements of the real game to begin. Those communities that are just forming their roster of members through land selection now will be able to put their plans into play in Elyria's pre-launch history. Taking the reins of one's nation or settlement as one's ancestors, the conquests, alliances, treaties, and more that arise from gameplay during Kingdoms of Elyria will modify the starting circumstances of each title-holder once Exposition begins.
Finally, in Exposition, the stage is set and anyone with access is invited into Elyria to give it its final shape. New buildings, new roads, new characters, and more will be popping up as Exposition Points are used to buy special Exposition Kits and Items. Don't like the primary industry of your settlement? Change it to another one that you have the resources for. Wish you had more Blacksmiths? Add more workshops with forges. Need to turn a small dock into a commercial harbor? Magically poof one into existence like it had always been there! Exposition is when vanilla Elyria is customized by players. On launch day, new players will be joining a world forged by Soulbound Studios and molded by your hand!
The Dance of Dynasties, which started early on the forums and in Discord, is now a tangible part of Elyria because the promised nations are becoming official. We're going to see a lot of new names around, so please welcome these newcomers with the same enthusiasm that initially drew you into the community. Help catch them up on the wealth of information and help them navigate the Domain & Settlement Selection and Settlers of Elyria Events. More players, more landowners, is only going to make Chronicles of Elyria a better, more dynamic, and dramatic world in which to play in.
We're very excited, here in the studio, to watch you play the Dance and see the shape of the world over the next few months. You all owe it to yourselves to enjoy it, too, and join in with us in raising a glass to the true beginning of the eternal Dance and the unwritten future of Elyria!
Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,