COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
Is that the next generation MMORPG
-35

I'm impressed by the risk the developer of HoE takes. But I also have significant concerns. In the past decade the MMORPGs are in stagnation. Yes, the graphics and the engines improved significantly, but the rules of the gameplay did not. Just look at The Black Desert - amazing world, amazing graphics, amazing physics. A terrible gameplay.

So the innovative rules of the gameplay here looks great, but are they right, and could they be implemented, and how they will work?

The aging system is kind of risky. Many players will not want their characters to become old. And as that is a part of the marketing model - maybe you should think for a better lore, than aging. Also it is a very complex and in general pointless. Nobody really wants to play with a child (except some perverts and the fans of anime) or with an old man/woman - a weaker character.

I feel you put a great effort into a wrong direction - the solo role playing, instead into the multiplayer part.

Also the penalties are absurd - 2.5 hour lock on the spirit loss - nobody will play with such a rule.

The P2P business model sounds good. But you will need more sources of income.

The contract rules sounds good in general - the example with the rabbits is terrible - but how you will guarantee the execution?

The land and ownership rules are total mess.

Honestly it seems to me you are focusing on the role playing too much. And at the end that will lead to very complex and ineffective systems. The right approach is the opposite - first you should create technically working systems, and then, with the lore, to make them role playing if it needs.


... ...
10/2/2016 11:17:19 PM #151
+0

AresAdvocate so the game will punish more the warriors, but will they get also bigger rewards? I mean everything is a question of balance. And jeebs67 keep playing a role even here :) How the sheriff will stop the Vikings?


10/3/2016 5:22:54 AM #152
+0

Posted By Ikcen at 11:33 PM - Sun Oct 02 2016

Posted By Wolfguarde at 3:58 PM - Sun Oct 02 2016

One of the game's three core engines is built as a story generator/processor, tracking both individual and collective story progress and providing triggers for each that catalyse world events according to what a player - or group - chooses to do.

That is simply impossible. This game should use a supercomputer with AI to do such a thing, and even then it can't be done in the scale of a MMO.

And I really have no idea what you are calling engine. The gaming engine is a suite of tools and software pipelines that allow the game to be developed and to work - the physics and the graphics.

But the rules are not related with the engine, neither the story and the lore.

Go and read about the Soulbound Engine. It is the product of 10 years of work by Caspian and one of the core pieces of software that will enable this game to be what it promises to be.

http://chroniclesofelyria.com/blog/2/Dev-Journal-2-Introducing-the-Proteus-Engine

What I originally saw taking AI-level software and supporting hardware is having everything loaded in the world at once in real time, but SpatialOS (one of the other core engines) covers that base.


To touch Divinity, one must be prepared to brave Reality.

10/3/2016 6:46:10 AM #153
+0

I haven't been able to read through all the posts, but I agree with OPs overall skepticism of the game as I'm a salty mmo vet, who as been disappointed countless times.

I just think there's too much hype train behind this game and the game is most certainly not going to be what most imagine it will be.

That said, I am buying on launch of store tomorrow to support the game as I want it to succeed, but it does feel like a roll of the dice, whether we get a good game or not. However, if you like being on the hype train by all means that's your right, but from experience I can't let myself do so.

10/3/2016 7:11:38 AM #154
+40
[Featured]

Hey Ikcen

Welcome to the Chronicles of Elyria forums and thank you for your interest in the game.

A lot of systems depend on each other and need to be thoroughly understood before one can dive into evaluation. I'll try to explain some game mechanics for better understanding.

As you can see there is a lot to talk about – mainly because the topic of your choice is rather of general nature – so please don't hold the number of words against me as you seek many answers.
Also note that if I get anything across in an aggressive tone – for example when talking about how feasible the implementation is – it is in no way against you in person but because I feel strongly about those issues at hand.

01. Does CoE focus on roleplaying too much leading to ineffective and complex instead of effective and deep systems? And why is the design process not considering game mechanics first to provide a basis on which RP and lore will somehow find it's place?

While you want to know about game mechanics, you can see that there are some unknowns to the big picture. We know about design principles and the content, but good designs sometimes require many iterations to become truly robust.

Therefore, many people have presented the overall ideas instead which sound similar to RP (role playing), because CoE aims to present a dynamic believable world that has resemblance with the real world.

By no means CoE will create a world that is on par of complexity with the real thing, but it includes many aspects that you will find in good stories from fantasy novels.
The very main design principles derive from to allow for that to happen in the game. It is merely a different approach than yours:

While yours decides on game mechanics first and builds a story and lore around that, CoE decides to focus on story telling first and then introduces game mechanics that are integral from there on.

02. MMORPGs are in stagnation because gameplay doesn't improve.

I agree that MMORPGs are somewhat in stagnation, but I do see a lot of different combat systems and arena types coming up (which can cater to specific groups of people). The reason for why I consider there to be a stagnation however is more because of how static the worlds are.

We've seen many reskins of the same game mechanics over the recent years and only a few innovative concepts that change the way you play. CoE is actually taking on a lot of those problems, analyzes them and improves on designs from ground up, adding also new ideas that can change the way we will look at MMORPGs in the future.

Now let me jump right to your questions throughout the thread because it will take some time to cover them all:

03. Can CoE be implemented and will it work?

Even before Soulbound Studios has been established, CEO and creative director Jeromy Walsh aka Caspian has spent about a decade of game design and programming for this project of his.
Primarily focusing on the game design (because it costs but time) and programming the Soulborn Engine (previously known as the Proteus Engine). Since his professional background had him programming those kind of engines in the industry before already, he was able to come up with a functionality that can bring a static world into life by introducing dynamic story telling.

Now is that impossible?
No, the basic idea is actually quite straight forward:

You research or come up with a set of generalized stories that don't go into detail with placeholders for entities that participate in that plot and find out about where 'story hooks' can be at. Those hooks are points within the story that allow for another story to be added or an already existing matching story to be connected to.

With about 36 types you will be able to have formal descriptions of all kind of dramatic stories you will find in western literature. They will be fairly general, but adding to the system with more data of what the specifics of the plot could be and what kind of players or objects in the world could be used to turn the general plot into an explicit plot, will make it come to life.
In practice this is not a trivial task but it's not impossible to do.

Actually, other games have clung to boring mainstream story lines that every character (or character class or race) has to go through instead.

This story engine will be active and reactive in that it interacts with the world and the players according to what is happening. A story writer will be asked to develop an ongoing branching 10 year story arc for the world with major events (with the possibility to add new branches that haven't been considered before).
Additionally, every player character (PC) will have an individual set of dormant stories with hooks that can be triggered through player actions, providing him with a unique story next to the big world story, which could potentially even have a big influence on the 10 year story.

This is where the game mechanic of Talents can come into play which grants an potentially imbalanced ability or set of abilities that can drive and support the story telling.
A very small percentage of the players characters will get Talents (1-5%) and not all of them will find about having one (which then can be moved to a different player that interacts with the story more closely with no drawback whatsoever).

Also note that deciding not to use a Talent in a story also matters:
Imagine you can for some reason heal a plague that is tormenting the world. Now, if you don't go and help people, it will get worse.

And maybe someone else will gain a healing ability, but as long as you don't, there will be consequences.
Now this design has got negative aspects to it, but the vast amount of positive ones make this a very compelling design for a lot of people who are bored of reskined, end-game-only, gear&level-grinding static PvP variants where when logging back in after a week you are presented with the same never-changing world.

In CoE the game will by dynamic (ever-changing) and every player will leave his mark on the world. For the client the Unreal Engine 4 is being used (to great visual effect in my opinion).
It conveys believable visuals that are supported by animations designed to make you feel to actually be part of the world instead of floating above it or around the objects in the world.

The Soulborn Engine will operate on the back end (servers) to try to win against the players and manage individual and arc-spanning major story lines that interconnect depending on what players, objects and other elements are available in any place at that given time as discussed above.

The third major component to CoE will be SpatialOS which is a distributed system that will also runs on the server side.
The major functionality of SpatialOS is to provide a platform for the Unreal Engine 4 to make it scale incredibly well over a big amount of (virtual) machines in the cloud. It will allow to write the code for UE4 as if it would be a single player game.
SpatialOS will recognize what classes to manage in what way and what logical components (behaviors) and physical attributes an entity (character, object, anything visible) will have. Then the work load will be dynamically distributed over the servers in a way that is very efficient:

So-called workers will be assigned to an organically shaped space within the world. Algorithms will make smart decisions on how to change that space for every worker dynamically according to the load in that area, while avoiding low-performance reassigning of entities between spaces.
If a battle occurs in a location, more workers can be created and put to an area to compute, and later on put to sleep or assigned to different areas.
Workers can be specialized to handle only logical physical tasks exclusively and be assigned to machines that are particularly effective due to specialization (e.g. very good GPUs).

With this system SbS does not only safe a lot of time network coding but can actually create a very big seamless world that scales incredibly well along the horizontal line in space and focus on design choices.
More advantageous players look forward to:

  • Number of players and objects can scale indefinitely with the server hardware provided (which works not only for groups of trees but for individual trees that are all managed separately).
  • Objects without behaviors come pretty much without costs on the servers, and when a player cuts down one tree, that tree will stay cut down when he returns, unless it has rotten or be removed by something else.
  • Objects don't have to be copies of one-another, but can be checked and operated on separately.
  • AI on animals and monsters become more efficient to handle for servers. It will be a collective AI which is significantly more efficient than what you are used to in other games.
  • The distributed nature of SpatialOS allows to scale indefinitely to the size of a supercomputer used for tracking stories as well.
    • On a puny 1TB of disc space you can safe over 10 billion positions of objects if you use floats (3 coordinates * 32Bytes).
    • How does the server determine how close you are to a positions?
      By running a simple Euclidean distance formula with 2 inputs in O(1).
    • How does it determine if you are within a certain area?
      Using computational geometry algorithms that run in O(n log(n)).
    • How does it determine weapon hits and collision?
      All behaviors will be handled on the server. Workers can be specifically assigned to behavior logic only.
    • And collision handled like in other games:
      By using the Unreal Engine 4 on your computer and sending that information to the server, have it validate if that is correct and react accordingly. Has been done for years with many MMOs.
      Alternatively, SpatialOS also provides physics and calculations on high numbers of object collisions.
    • Is there a difference in if you cut a tree or slay a beast?
      There sure is. For example that the tree has got way less behaviors to load and operate for the workers. When no player is near that area, the cost is the same: Disc space only.
    • A side note on story tokens and matching story with tokens:
      That can run as an evaluation with logic languages such as Prolog. You would be surprised at how efficient that can run on a regular machine at home. Especially because Tokens don't need to be updated as often and accurately as information on combat.
      A token can be as small as a byte and still diverse enough to identify it among other tokens.
    • Robst distributed systems have been created and used for real time banking which demands accuracy, excat timing and as minimal delay as the network can provide. I'm studying Computer Science (aka Computational Informatics) which is about software and hardware solutions on a scientific level (with mathematical proves, run-time analysis and so on).
      One domain of study is logic programming, Prolog in specific (which is what I believe is used for the SoulBorn Engine). Can you back up your claim that it is impossible to run with the setup you don't know in any way?
      Sorry if it sounds rude, but this is also how it sounds to other people when you deny that it would be feasilbe.
  • SpatialOS comes with robust fault-tolerant canonical states which is one of the most challenging parts to get right with distributed systems and networking.
    It safes time for the developers to concentrate on the actual design of the game. And this also means that little errors that can happen in any system in a network will be able to be recognized and handled without crashing the whole thing.
    If one machine in the cloud were to crash, the backup system from SpatialOS could easily copy the workers (which essentially are processes managing resources running on a machine) to a different machine within seconds.
    This would cause a small lag in one place of the world. Many other MMOs require a complete reboot while the SpatialOS runs 24\7 without downtime.
  • Patches and additional content can be easily streamed in by creating new workers and Apps as well as by changing and adding data (instead of being driven mainly by code).
  • Improbable (the creator of SpatialOS) will create an interface for the Soulborn Engine together with SbS to enable it to draw lots of information about the world from it and scheme from there.
  • Worlds can be bigger in general due to better performance and smart work load distribution.
  • It has got an extensive monitoring tool which will allow the Soulborn Engine (and SbS) to detect unusual and extreme behaviors as well as ill-performing bottle-necks and inconsistency errors to tackle in a straight forward manner.
    In a worst case scenario the whole system would go down, and there will be lots of data to bring it back up exactly as it was before.

There are experienced and talented staff members in SbS that understand software in a more in-depth way than many pure game-developers.

As for the long-term plan there will be an Alpha1, Alpha2, Beta1, Beta2 leading into an early exposition of 3 months of time to test, stabilize and improve on the overall-system.

Also, there will be text-based programs that interface to the back end called “Kingdoms of Elyria” and “ElyriaMUD” for testing core functionalities along the way of bringing the full game to life. This will provide backers with an opportunity to influence the initial setup of power and social structures at early exposition.

Operating own servers is very expensive, running on rented servers is a widespread practice.

04. Is running a world with SpatialOS too expensive?

There is a reason why players will pay for character lives:

It correlates in that once a character is alive, he will cost computation power on the servers. On the other hand, millions of objects that are in areas not visited by players will cost next to nothing aside from disc space (which has become quite cheap over the years).

SbS will be have estimated costs (since that is what they do with other software planning, too), they know what servers cost and they will know exactly how expensive it will be once we'll have a test version.

05. How vulnerable will it be to hacking?

Games are usually prone to hacking attacks when the game-program on your computer has got too many permissions, or the data received from your computer is not validated to see if it contains data it should not contain.

According to an employee of Improbable, he expects hacking to be quite difficult to do. And I'll try to explain why I think that is likely so:

SpatialOS is a distributed system which means that it runs on many (virtual) machines but makes them operate as if they were one big machine. A lot there is to it can be data-driven, but for hacking with benefits you would encounter various issues:

  • The server will validate the security-sensitive packages you send.
  • Teleport hacks would immediately pop up on the monitoring interface that comes with SpatialOS.
    The system is very sensitive to local displacements because it is based on spatial localization and assignments for workers take into account how entities move in the world.
  • Gold hacks would - in addition to that – require you to somehow
    • open a communication channel to the cloud without being ignored
    • get permissions to pass
    • find the one machine that contains the data of your character and your very inventory (among of 10k-100k player accounts), or alternatively find a location close by for creating gold coin
    • find and get access to a GM command that allows for actually spawning items (remember items in game are always converted)
    • use that command at the correct location or character account before you were to be detected by the network security
    • and do all of that before the data is moved to a different server in the cloud due to work-load balancing.
    • But that's not all there is to it:
      SbS could easily see items being created and GM commands being used.
      There is not a fast-transaction functionality in game either to search for 2 accounts and make a transaction; so again you'd need to use a GM command.
      Obviously, SbS as having a background in software development outside of game development as well, having dealt with security issues for many years, they will know what methods to add for a security system that prevents hacking of some lucky guy that somehow go everything of the above right. Note: I use hacking in the way most players would use it in order to not confuse people.
  • Age hacks: All of the above really.
    Your character information is never saved on your own computer for obvious reasons.
    Remember that SpatialOS does not run on your computer but in the cloud and that objects of any kind – everything you will see – will be registered on the server with a unique ID and properties.

Throwing in a question about it:

06. If it is that great, why has nobody done it before?

As with a lot of innovation there are a couple of factors that limit it. Here are a few for using SpatialOS:

  • SpatialOS was still being developed and while distributed solutions have been widely known for many years, nobody was willing to invest ~$50 million to develop an easily accessible platform for it.
  • Many AAA studios have developed their own take on for server sided software, improved on them for their particular needs over the years (gameplay that needs to only support the run-of-the-mill designs). Scraping them would set them back by quite a bit.
  • Many non-AAA studios and publishers don't want to change from copying designs that generate income to risky but rewarding explorations in software design when nobody has done it and no SpatialOS was available.
  • There are a few games that use it now and they work and we can see the trend of MMO games going towards gigantic seamless worlds without loading screens already.

07. How is EveOnline different?

The entire architecture is.

  • EveOnline uses instances (nodes on the galaxy map), disconnecting you from one server to reconnect you to another server while you use fast travel mechanics.
    In CoE there will be no instanced zones, but parts of the world will be streamed seamlessly using a smart algorithm that has been used many times before.
  • You cannot travel from one zone to the next by using the normal ship engine only:
    You have to warp in some way. There are very few objects to handle whereas in CoE there will be millions or billions of objects to keep track of individually and no instanced zones that cannot effect one another.

08. Why not go for a different business model and scrap the entire Aging System?

Before we can talk about whether a change to the current model would be a good idea, we should first have a look at the central design principles, how they tie in with the current business system and why the aging system needs to be considered in this context as well.

Here is the link, but I will sum it up just in the next lines just in case:

The Design Principles

  • Goal 1: If something in the world can change, whether through player interaction or naturally over time – it should.
  • Goal 2: Heroic players should feel truly heroic.
  • Goal 3: CoE is a Skill-based Action RPG.
  • Goal 4: Instead of being a theme-park or sandbox MMO, the Soulborn Engine is event-driven.
  • Goal 5: Realism in that the game mechanics should feel more like a simulation than a game.

(The idea with realism is not to add realism for the sake of realism but to draw ideas and understanding of concepts from the real world IF it introduces value to the game, not boring or tedious things. It is a game after all.)

09. The Aging System

All characters, creatures and plants in the world grow older (Goal 1&5).

  • 1 real life week = 1 Elyrian year
  • 2-8 real life days = 1 Elyrian season
  • 2.5 real life hours = 1 Elyrian day
    • 75 real life minutes = Daily Elyrian (bright) daytime
    • 45 real life minutes = Daily Elyrian (darker) nighttime
    • 2 * 15 real life minutes = Daily Elyrian dusk/dawn time
    • (Time frames for splitting days changing slightly throughout the week)

A character at creation starts at the age of 12, 15 or 18. If a player takes over an older NPC, we call that an NTC (non-traditional character).
Character creation requires a Spark of Life with Spirit.

Every character will live for 52 years on average depending on how he lives his life and what his genes are like. So success in life depends on how how skillful you are and what choices you make, rewarding for smart play and embracing that character lives have got a start and an end which therefore due to time restrictions instantly becomes meaningful (Goal 1&2&5).

You can only do so much in one life time and everything you choose to do has got an effect on what is to come in the next generations (within the family) or other characters (not from the family), because when the Soul of your dead character enters the new body, the slumbering potential (named skill ramp) will allow the new character is able to surpass the dead character in that skill.

Incapacitating

When you incapacitate (knock out) a character (PC), he will merely have a black screen for a short period of time and can only listen to the sounds around him.
This is a type of impact you will encounter a lot more often than actually being tried to be killed, also when loosing in combat against most animals.

Spirit Walking

When you are already incapacitated and someone tries to kill you with intent, your Soul will be separated from your body and find itself in the so-called Astral Plane, which does not resemble the place your physical body is at in any way.
Finding your way along a silver cord back to a corresponding point in the Planes within a certain time limit will bring your Soul back into your body for you to control as before.

Permanent Character Death

If you run out of Spirit or fail to return to the marked destination in the Astral Plane, your body will die permanently and the Soul, that has drawn a specific collection of experiences in that life, will be available for you to put into your next body (e.g. your heir).
The experiences will provide you with a skill ramp again that is calculated with your most recently lived life as being the most impacting one along the lines of lives you had.

  • Side note: Non-Player-Characters (NPCs) don't get to spirit walk but die right away.

This will introduce a world of characters at very different ages and points in there life that comes with strengths and weaknesses:

Before you turn 18 you will have additional speed at learning skills and therefore a period of time to further customize your character to better match him or her to your desire.

Young characters have got higher Physical Attributes (Force: Strength, Reflex: Agility, Endurance: Stamina, but rather low Mental Attributes (Force: Will, Reflex Reason, Endurance: Focus) with the Social Attributes (Force: Persuasion, Reflex: Intuition, Endurance: Leadership) being more on the middle ground.

This will make younger characters physically more fit and suited for actions that require those Physical Attributes to a higher degree (such as running and fighting), but introduces disadvantageous for tasks that concentrate on mental aspects (such as mapping or translating).

These changes throughout a life will introduce a dynamic shift in that you will not indiscriminately do the same at any time, but find new interesting things to do, which we will have a look at indirectly later on.

10. PCs OPCs NPCs and a breathing world

PCs (player characters) will live in a world together with NPCs (non-player characters) that never shuts down.

When a player decides to log off, his character will switch from PC to OPC mode (offline player character). You can configure the AI script for your OPC to make him do various tasks (of which none surpasses the capabilities of control and range of tasks you could do when playing).
This can be a task to follow a road to the next town, crafting simple items, taking care of selling your produced goods or simple taking a rest for your next journey when you take over again.

11. Business model overview

With this we've got a basis with which we can start talking about the current business model and later on - together with those other systems – to see what changes would actually do.

The Current Business Model

There are but two things you would buy after launch:

  • Soul Packs
  • Sparks of Life

Soul Packs provide you with an additional set of Souls for you to use for more choices at the beginning of the character creation. Since the game will already provide you with 3 Souls at the very beginning, Soul Packs are purely optional.

A Spark of Life is needed to put a Soul into a body of a character of your choice (either a new character in a family of your choice or a ward in an orphanage of your choice; in rare cases you may take over an older NPC).

Once that is done, you will be able to enter the world and play as that character for approx 52 Elyiran years minus the time you lose due to the choices you make along the way and your genes.

  • Side Note: Incapacitating by itself doesn't affect anything with Spirit but trying to kill someone who is incapacitated will drain Spirit and therefore life time.

52 Elyrian years are roundabout 1 real life year of time the character can exist.
If you have enjoyed playing the game, you can buy a Spark of Life to get another “round” of playing the game, similar to arcade games:

  • You pay again if you want to have a new gaming experience.

Costs of the Soul Packs and Sparks of Life are yet to be decided on, but for a Spark of Life the estimate is at $20-$40 each, which – even with risky play and many Spirit Walking – will be less expensive than most subscription based MMORPGs.
F2P games usually come with a cash shop which would spawn items and currency into the world violating the Goals 2&3&5 while also messing with Goal 1&4. Those cash shop usually tend to introduce a p2w component and break the feel for otherwise believable worlds.

12. What if one were to change this casually?

Say to a subscription model, because it is stable and has worked in the past (nowadays you won't find many successful titles that still use it aside from one we all know quite well):

The idea of subscription is that you pay a fixed amount of money for playing the game over a fixed period of time. So regardless of what would happen to any character of mine, the price would not change.

Thus, experiencing Spirit Walking and ultimately permanent death would have only effects within the game.

Does it still matter if I lose Spirit?

Well, to an extend because I'd lose out on character progression, and I'd still spend some time on performing the Spirit Walk, but I have no longer committed to a character life. I merely have committed to playing for a month, or even worse – not even caring or remembering having spent money because the subscription runs automatically.

It detaches from caring about the value of a life right away and blurs a central part of the game:

That every new generation within my family continues the legacy of the previous characters.

This directly violates Goal 2 because I no longer commit a fixed amount of money consciously to a heroic player character; it takes away from the idea of things being event-driven and blurs it while a character death after months or a year of playing should be quite the event to a player (Goal 4); and finally it takes away the idea that life is precious and special and that death and life comes with a cost, conflicting with Goal 5.

And before we discuss why one would want to scrap the aging system, let's discuss reasons for and against it.

13. Pro and Con – The Aging System

Pro:

  • It emphasizes and visualizes that everything changes (Goal 1)
  • It brings higher value to achievements you have obtained within a time limit (Goal 2)
  • It translates your skill of playing the game well to actual success as well as provides different life phases that change the way you act and use skill.
    It also provides a great basis for RP (Goal 3)
  • It supports the event system because it can be more diverse and the everlasting immortal characters that at some time caps out on skills (Goal 4).
    Alternatively, with systems that allow for instant skill tree swaps, it is in conflict with a believable world where choices and skill challenges matter and can make you heroic (conflict with Goal 2&3)
  • It creates a world of mortals supporting Goal 5 and other design principles.
  • Time passage will feel more apparent and you'll start to care how you manage your time
  • It creates a dynamically changing competitive environment for all roles etc.

Con:

  • Some people may not like aging but let's have a look why and if it's really a problem:

14. Will people dislike the Aging System?

Let's break down what people may not like about the aging system without spending much more time on the nature of it in the context of other aspects of the game:

  • People may fear to lose all progress.
  • People may fear that they've grown attached to the character and don't want to let go.
  • People may dislike the idea of playing an old or very young character because of several personal preferences and general fears.

How much impact does the permanent type of character death have in regards to progress?

15. Let's cover the basics of skill progression real quick to understand the importance of death:

New characters will base their skill proficiency on the skills the family they come from.
So if you take over an NPC, he will already have a more developed skill tree, whereas as a new character from an orphanage you'll have more choices on your initial skills.

There are 6 major skill trees (Combat, Survival, Crafting, Gathering, Deviant, Bardic), but no classes as you choose from as to what to focus on in those trees.

The skill proficiency ranges are Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, Artisan, Renowned, Master, Grandmaster, Legendary.

If your skill proficiency is 0, you will always fail at the correlated task. You improve on your skills

  • by reading about it in books (up to Apprentice for common texts)
  • by observation
  • by practicing them until they get too easy to do (learning from failures)
  • by being taught by a character (e.g. a player) who has got sufficiently high proficiency by teaching characters (which is important to hit higher proficiency levels)

Let's have a look at how effective actions for progress in traditional MMORPGs would be:

  • Grinding of mobs –
    Animals and beasts outside of settlements are dangerous, you also have to consider setting camps and retrieving supplies when you're that far out in dangerous zones.
    Animals will avoid you, they move and act on needs such as hunger.
    However using your weapon on them will certainly help you train those skills. Once you've killed one, you'll need to move on to find others, because they won't respawn.
    You say this is impossible to implement, but it actually is being done: There is a food-chain for every biome with predators and herbivores, assigned natural enemy relationships and reproduction by mating.
    Yes, they could go extinct, but that is highly unlikely due to the area they cover, how dangerous it would be to go to all those places, the way they move and have to be found first and that player will safe them from extinction if it ever comes close to it.
  • Doing quests –
    Although there are no quests in the traditional sense, there are tasks NPCs and other players will want you to do for them.
    Those tasks arise from the circumstances of need and will, once completed, bring change to those circumstances. That means other players will not do that exact same task right away, because you've taken care of it already.
    Traditional MMORPGs try to simulate character grow with the challenge on their journey they take on to complete the task by assigning experience points as a reward.
    In CoE you will actually be able to experience those things while trying to clear the task, and failure will also have consequences because the world is ever-changing and progressing.
    Contracts add a new dimension to how tasks can be assigned and rewarded for.
    So how effective will it be to complete tasks?
    That depends entirely on what or who you encounter and decide to do while you are on the task.

Conclusion to be drawn: All those methods for skill progression require time, some more than others.

16. Explaining the mechanic of skill ramps briefly:

Skills and their proficiency obtained in your previous lives will be weighted to provide the next character you use the Soul on with skill ramps (most recent life with highest weight).
Without those skill ramps you will not be able to progress to higher proficiency in skills. The legendary proficiency is designed to take several character life times to be reached.

The progression curve is designed to have a certain percentage of all players reach particular proficiency as follows:

  • Novice: 100%
  • Apprentice: 70%
  • Journeyman: 60%
  • Expert: 50%
  • Artisan 40%
  • Renowned 30%
  • Master 20%
  • Grandmaster 10%
  • Legendary 1%

Quickly dropping an answer to your question because it is related:

“How do scribes progress in their profession?”

They will most likely practice writing, study law from books and get better by actually writing contracts. And they don't do that all day long, they are not no-lifers. They do other things, because they are more than one of the roles they take on.

  • How will they know how good I am?

People will know because of the ingame mechanic of gossip and players talking and chatting about who is good.
The ingame mechanic fame determines how well known you are to other people (even if you haven't met yet).
This fame comes with a reputation that can be good or bad.
Markings on products showing your name or heraldry will help people find out about you.

  • But why do scribes need gear?

Because they use feathers, inc and various types of paper for writing (There is the profession of making paper).

  • What to do about better competition?

For once, if there is a better scribe, you have invested less time in improving your skill as a scribe and the game will not penalize the better scribe for that.
Scribes with higher proficiency will be called for handling more complex contracts such as laws and long ones with many clauses. This might not be the kind of contracts that people buy from you, so there's that.
However, if you cannot change your business strategy (lower cost contracts, extra services such as arrangements and finding contract partners), then you may want to consider to move to an area where there are less scribes. For example to a village or newly created town some miles down the river.
A higher proficiency does not render lower proficiency useless in any way, because they have got different purposes.

And why would anyone want to become a scribe in a region where there are too many of them in the first place?

Going back on topic with:

Skill Progression Continued

Apart from that, the progression curve will be lowered if players don't make enough progress.
This does not mean that once 10% of players are Grandmasters, nobody will be able to be a Grandmaster, but that with the rate at which the player base is progressing in that specific skill, it is ensured that 10% will be Grandmasters.

So you can always put in extra time and effort to become a Grandmaster if you train harder than the other Grandmasters, even if there already are the maximum amount of Grandmasters.
Likewise, Legendary proficiency players will need to keep training in order not to drop.

This will create a system in which the number of players taking on certain professions will automatically be balanced by delivery and demand.

In contrast to many other MMORPGs where you max out on a profession and stay at that level, here you can actually feel accomplished and proud of reaching high proficiency because it is an ongoing process.

With that being said, people at lower proficiency will still be needed and asked for their services, because you wouldn't want to have a Legendary swords blacksmith craft all blades for your big army. Cheaper services and middle-ground quality are not dispensable.

Even Novices – Journeyman proficiency will be useful for players that want to craft their own items that don't have got high requirements to be met.

Finally, the quality of results from skills – in crafting, combat and other skills alike – will be based on player skill primarily (that is how well you can play), then how high your character proficiency is and how your character attributes contribute to it.

Conclusion on skill progression with aging

So even though you won't be able to play your perma-dead character, death helps you progress. The nature of starting from lower proficiency is expected to be not repetitive but rewarding because:

  • It usually takes many months to a year for a character to die permanently.
  • You gain the higher tier proficiency more quickly (improvement through skill ramps).
  • You can explore different skills without a magic skill swap.
  • Players can specialize and become important to the world in that way.
  • You can for example be a Master blacksmith but at the same time a Legendary swordsmith.
  • Crafters can also mange resources, tools, customer bases and research.
  • Combatants will not only fight but also observe, spar, teach and be taught. They can incorporate fighting stances/styles from other weapon types to create something unique.

17. Will people want to play old characters?

While to some old characters might not be visually appealing, age adds a whole new dimension to diversity in what characters you will see in the world making it more believable and alive.

Old characters have lower Physical Attributes but higher Mental Attributes. This shift adds an interesting gaming experience though:

You will be more careful and try to compensate lower Strength, Agility and Stamina with higher skill proficiency. Intellectual demanding professions such as that of translation, contract writing and navigation will become better the older you get.
And at around the age of 75 all attributes will decrease.

Good teachers will be sought after while also providing important progression to your character and the Soul's future skill ramps. Therefore, committing suicide to go back to a young body can be done but costs more money (for the Spark of Life) and hinders your character progression to higher proficiency (especially Grandmaster, Legendary).

And there is more to an old character:

  • You will have established a network of trust between you and other players, may it be individuals or organizations.
  • Your skill proficiency is high, and you have learned a lot of skills to choose from.
  • Finally, there are many activities you may want to do that don't require high Physical Attributes to perform well.

There are other questions that might be bugging you though:

18. Will old people be excluded from groups?

Will old characters slow everyone down?

Well, within families there is a new system called Bolstering and while it is mainly designed for players with less time and different progression to play together while still being fun, it has got an effect that will you help a little bit.

When you are with your family members, your Stamina attribute that determines for how long you can endure going beyond your limits physically (e.g. for traveling) will be raised to the highest number of everyone's Stamina attribute.

Please don't judge the concept of Bolstering before having read the reasoning behind it .

19. Will people want to play very young characters?

New characters can be 12 (ward), 15 (family) or over 18 (NTC) years old.

And while you may first have to gain trust and skills over time being that young, this range from 12 to 18 is more about customization.

When you are young, you will get additional speed for picking up and learning skills, giving you more control on what to become like.

Young heroes are depicted in fantasy novels very often and most readers seem to find that attractive seeing a young character work towards personal goals.

If you are in a family, you'll already have those people to interact with. If you are a ward, you might make friends there or have an interesting gaming experience making about your life in a settlement of strangers, until you build your own network.

20. Will very young characters be excluded from groups?

In a world as big as this you might think that there will be plenty of characters for organizations to recruit and one player won't make much of a difference, but I would have to disagree:

There will be power in numbers as there is in real life and certain organizations may not have high recruitment standards for an easy entering. And since we've got the possibility for specialization in skills, every single dedicated player can make a difference as he grows over time.

21. Will an immortal Soul make the game unplayable in the long term because of repetition?

The whole purpose of designing a dynamic world is that nothing stays the same. There are many factors that change the context and therefore completely destroy any feel of monotony:

(Example with a player doing a lot of blacksmithing)

  • If I always play as a blacksmith with every life, I can get really good at it, however the game experience with a more skilled older blacksmith and a younger inexperienced blacksmith is very different, because I can craft different things at different qualities for different customers that have got different requirements.
  • The competition changes because master blacksmiths die and aspiring younger blacksmiths get as good or better than me.
  • Resources are limited and there are no nodes that regenerate them which changes what I craft or if I move my business etc.
    (This does work because of how many resources there are. There also is recycling, and this topic has been discussed on the forums in lengths.)
  • New ways of forging swords have been researched for me to use.
  • I can focus on a different weapon type in this life: Aim for high proficiency with spear heads instead of sword blades.
  • My shop and contracted blacksmiths have become better and more extensive over the generations.
  • Etc.

One short one for combat:

  • I can never learn all the combat techniques and regional combat stances that exist, but styles can be integrated to my fighting style. Therefore, I will have to go and search for other masters.

Ultimately, you have got a lot of different things you could do. But if you choose to go out of your way to repeat a certain task over and over again, then that isn't really an issue with the game.

22. Will solo play be viable?

Well, what does one consider to be viable? I will go with my definition here for now:

Viable means that the objectives of discussion can be performed without spending a ridiculously high amount of time on them.

Now, CoE focuses a lot on player interaction and is designed as a massive multiplayer game. Therefore generally speaking, objectives are a lot easier to achieve if a group of people is working on it (which is quite natural actually).

However, you will still be able to build your own house or use management interfaces all by yourself. The key difference to look at is if solo play means not to interact with players at all, because that will be quite difficult and time consuming.

You will need many different materials and professions to build a house for example, but you could also gather all materials and learn all professions to a sufficient level by yourself to a degree.

Nevertheless, trading goods you produce or happen to receive by other means with other players will greatly reduce the time required for objectives in game. You may want to have people guard your goods against bandits or use bank services from other players.

Rejecting any interaction with other players will be what I were to call not viable.

  • Side note: I use the word 'objective' here with the original meaning, unrelated to game concepts you may think of when hearing it.

23. Are penalties having a good effect overall and what if I'm a criminal and don't want to be locked up?

To answer this question, we will first need to have a look at some design choices:

CoE promotes freedom of choice and the risk vs reward approach.

Hence there is open world PvP and as a logical consequence conflicts rising that have to be considered for penalty systems for players that are interested in a game like CoE:

  • Players have got divergent opinions on what is fun and socially acceptable.
  • Players like risks vs reward system but hate instant annihilation of their characters.
  • Players won't enjoy the game if the world and it's inhabitants are fully annihilated either.
  • Players should not feel restricted by magically appearing hammers of justice from the sky when they commit crimes.
  • Magically enforced body control that prevents a player from performing actions in certain places or situations without good reasons feels gimmicky and doesn't match well with the design principles of the Soulborn Engine.
  • Etc.

The gist of it is to allow for criminals to be evil, for other players to have enough tools to go against crimes and for griefing to be minimized.

24. What happens if you do something illegal? How will PKing be penalized? How will incapacitating be penalized?

Although the legal system design is still being iterated on I'll draft the basic ideas of where the design is at right now. The game developers have had a look at what positive and negative aspects of legal systems in other games there are and how to improve on that.

You commit a crime as listed by player-made law in the region you are in.

  • If this crime is of physical nature (hitting, incapacitating, killing, theft) you instantly become flagged for the victim and bystanders around you to be attacked without legal consequences (allowing incapacitating). If this crime is breaking a contract there will be no flagging.
  • If you manage to escape, your victim will be able to go to the public sheriff's office and obtain a bounty token. The victim can chase you down or ask a bounty hunter to do that in his stead.
  • If finding you is more difficult, your pursuer can go to the crime scene (if there is any) and try to find evidence using forensic skills that can generate a token that proves that you are guilty of the crime – if his forensic skills can match with your deviant skills.
    In case the pursuer is not a skilled detective, he can ask for another player to cover that part.
    Tracking might also be an option (not confirmed yet).
  • Having evidence and rights to incapacitate you if found, the pursuer is allowed to take anything you owe him at his own expense (repeatedly until everything has been covered for).
    For physical nature crimes, he'll be allowed to incapacitate and tie you up.
  • You will remain captive and the rope will hold strong as long as the pursuer walks into the general direction of where to hand you in for further legal procedure.
  • Once handed in, one of two courts will evaluate your guilt or innocence and the degree of punishment in a trail based on local law. The commoners court handles petty crime whereas capital offenses are tried by the Kings Court.
  • The punishment might include high spirit loss (higher than what you have inflicted to your target) and would scale with your fame (a number representing the degree to how well you're known), but there will be no jail experience that effectively would make the game suspend you from playing.
    If there will be a jail, it will be an interesting experience.
    Escaping from jail might also be looked at.
    It is important to not hinder any player from experiencing the game in an active manner.
  • Laws the court bases it's decisions on have been written by a highly skilled royal scribe as commanded by the king.

The developers don't want to make being a criminal easy.

That would be chaotic and frustrate a lot of players. The percentage aimed for may be around 15%.
Players that like the role of the criminal will contribute to story telling and have a lot of fun being good at being a criminal.

So better be a smart criminal and don't get caught. Choose your victims, time and locations for crime wisely. Put on disguises and create fake identities when needed to make it more difficult to be found.

  • Side note: There are skills in the Bardic Tree to go about seeing through disguises and other options.

25. What if a player frames me for having committed a crime I haven't done?

Detectives can investigate and find evidence on the scene that you are innocent. Depends on skill levels, but is generally much easier than to prove that someone is guilty.

26. What to do about corpse camping and body blocking?

As has already been mentioned in this thread, the 2.5 hour grace period exists to protect player characters from dying permanently when they are in a bad spot (near a monster, near a corpse camper).

Within 2.5 hours of time after returning from a Spirit Walk, no further Spirit loss will be applied to that character.

Sometimes people assume that the Astral Plane you perform your Spirit Walk at has got the very same structures, trees and other obstacles that you find around the place your body is at, but that is not true.
However, you will be able to choose a location within a few meters of radius around your body to come back to. This works very well against corpse campers that try lock you into a disadvantageous position.

Body blocking doesn't work because, although players have got collision boxes and cannot stand at the same spot, you'll be able to walk past them which will be animated like hustling someone on the streets when walking too close to each other.

Also, with the current design, upon returning to your body, you will be fully restored due to the deep slumber/coma you enter when Spirit Walking, making it more difficult for a camper.

He doesn't get more rewards (from what he could steal from you when send on a Spirit Walk) other than on his first successful assault. Within that 2.5 hours of time any additional crime will add to the criminal's punishment if caught.

27. What about dishonest players that break contracts?

Partly covered above, let's talk a little bit more about contracts and players breaking it.

Contracts for important or valuable things should not be made and signed without much thought to it:

  • Let the contract state that the reward will be payed x% at start and (100-x)% at completion of the task.
  • Create double-contracts that go both ways to ensure both parties would suffer equally from breaking the contract. If they don't want to sign it, they probably are dishonest.
  • Get to know who is trustworthy for your task at hand by asking players or going by famous organizations that have got a good reputation for being honest and reliable.
  • If the other party still breaks the contract, send a bounty hunter after it to legally retrieve what the party owes you at it's own expense.

28. What if a player tries to aggravate me to give him rights to attack in self-defense?

Just don't get aggressive, or give in to it, but be accountable for the consequences. It's your choice.

There usually are more ways to go about solving a conflict. We'll have a look at some options below (as described in the resource encounter).

And the world is gigantic with many places to be at. In towns city guards will probably help you.

29. What about players using contracts to cheat NPCs?

NPCs won't sign any contracts you offer them.
But they can write contracts for you to sign.

30. What about players that hinder you out in the open by taking away resources?

This conflict and competition is much appreciated for a story to start.

  • Will you remove your rival with force ignoring law?
  • Does the region have got no laws at all?
  • Are there not enough people in that region to enforce the law? Do you take that chance?
  • Do you try to talk to him and convince him to leave (via chat)?
  • Do you suggest to him to sign a contract to work together and then to split or cheat him, running away from the law and bounty hunters?
  • Do you continue to go about your business, gathering the resource at the same time as he does and try to ignore him?
  • Does he try to get rid of you or talk you into leaving?
  • Does he threaten you with his guards or by other means (influence in his guild to make people not interact with you anymore, send bandits he knows after you, etc.)?
  • Etc.

The scenarios are plenty and complex with many tools (game mechanics) to go about them.

31. What to do about bandit players?

If you carry something valuable, be prepared and have an escort with body guards.

Or see if you can get away (Players do not have got name plates if they haven't introduced themselves with an identity unless they have done so before and you've interacted regularly.)

32. What to do if someone tries to raze your building?

Razing buildings will be quite difficult.

You'll need siege equipment and some time to do so.
You wouldn't want your villa you've spent days or weeks to build in ruins the next day you log in.

People will try to stop the criminal.

  • You will not be able to put fire to a building with a torch or a fire arrow – anything short real siege weaponry will not do the job.
  • Fire will not spread rapidly and burnt houses and goods won't do the invader any good. This is a design choice to prevent a random or overlooked apocalyptic burning world.

33. What if someone wants to kill off my heirs to prevent me from inheriting my noble title in my next life?

This is a valid strategy that can be part of an interesting story, but it's not that easy to do.

The richer you are, the more rooms you will be able to afford in your houses. More rooms for more children.

If all of them die anyway or are too young to take over, you can still use Story Points (SP you earn by contributing to the gaming experience in game through your character and scale on the fame level) to pass on your inheritance to an uncle, brother or cousin that is old enough.
Chances are your dynasty (network of families your family is part of by marriage) will allow for enough characters to pick from. Those characters over the age of 18 will be NTCs (non-traditional characters).

So not only would the adversary have to kill all related characters in game without being caught, but first identify every single one of them (in a world where players have got no name plates unless introducing themselves to you).

34. What to do about a king that wants to dethrone me when I am a duke?

A higher nobleman cannot just remove you from your position or take away your title.

Those occasions only occur when you decide to go against your loyalty towards those you have sworn loyalty.

For example you don't support your king in a war, the king wins anyway and then punishes you. Or you try to dethrone the king and fail or support the enemy in a war against the king.

35. What if players spread misinformation about me via the in-game gossip system?

This is an interesting part of the game, and unfortunately we don't know enough about how you can counter a canard yet, but it may involve finding out who is spreading it or setting records straight with whoever is spreading it (as in spreading the correct version).

Ok, let's move away from griefing and penalties now for a bit and talk about gear very briefly.

36. What is gear and how much customization is there?

Inventory space is restricted by the size, the shape and the weight of the item you want to carry in correspondence to your Physical Attribute Strength (lifting) and Stamina (going on when exhausted), making you slower when carrying too much.

The slots of layering system are the following:

  • Head – Used for helmets, caps, coifs, and * hooded cloaks
  • Face – Masks and cowls
  • Neck – Necklaces, cowls, and holsters
  • Torso – Clothing, armor, and holsters
  • Back – Backpacks, capes, cloaks, and holsters
  • Arms – Bracers, gauntlets, bracelets, and bucklers
  • Hands – Gauntlets, gloves, knuckles, and rings
  • Waist – Belts
  • Legs – Garters, trousers, skirts, and leggings
  • Feet – Boots

(Additionally, there will be ways to add hidden pockets as well as hangers for additional slots.
Wagons and bags have got containers for storage.)

The inventory system is build around the design What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get in that all items require physical space and when looting someone, you won't find previously unseen full plate harnesses or pull long staffs out of a small gold purse.
Items (and even coins) have got a weight, size, shape and don't teleport.

There are 3 different types of looting:

  • Quick Loot (The victim is incapacitated aka KO): Cut the purse with money, take everything held in hands (including mounts).
  • Inventory Loot (The victim is Spirit Walking): Also unbuckle belts with what is on there, jewelry, items from the backpack.
  • Corpse Loot (The victim is permanently dead): Everything.

The reason why you cannot take armor off for Inventory Loot is that you won't have the time to do so. Undressing an armored person is a non-trivial task.

37. How important is gear?

This really depends on the application as it does with many things in life.

If you want to scout in a desert, you will do well not to wear full plate armor, because it will be too hot. Overheating will negatively impact you in game because of the ingame mechanic in place to do so.

Mail won't be a good option if you want to perform actions unnoticed at night time. Different types of armor will have different effects on sound.

  • Side note: There also is a sensory map that displays sources of sound and smell with indicators for survival purposes.

Gear protects certain body parts against directed attacks. The effectiveness depends on the type and material of both armor part and weapon. Attack moves might also contribute to this, but we've got not too much information about the action combat just yet.

  • Side note: Success will be determined mainly by how well a player can play with soft restrictions based on the character skill proficiency and the physical attributes.

Armor and weapons have got no magic +40 Strength or +7 Stamina. They don't magically infuse your body and change you.

  • Side note: Body changes are depended on training and nutrition instead.

This also means that plate armor – while useful in some areas and situations and match ups – won't be THE armor to get for “end game” (as you've stated already there is no end game).

So armor and weapon choice will depend on the biome, available resources, research done by crafters, match-up, cost and many more factors. By no means will an armor crafted using ordinary materials be superior to other types of armor in general.

38. Will the survival aspects about eating, drinking and fatigue hinder the player?

As already mentioned the developers are well aware of the danger of turning survival mechanics into tedious tasks.

Survival is meant to add to the danger and credibility of the world. It is meant to be a challenge when out in the woods where you may not know what dangers lurks. Therefore, it has been incorporated with the game mechanics:

  • Hunger, thirst, fatigue decrease outside and inside of settlements.
  • Hunger, thirst, fatigue has got negative impact on your character when it is too low/high.
    This can be getting sick, inefficient in combat and movement, being incapacitated or even sent to a Spirit Walk in more dire situations.
  • Inside of settlements (excluding hamlets), with an available tavern that stocks food and drinks, you will not experience those negative impacts. However, if you want to go outside, you better prepare by resting (sleep is more effective but not necessary), eating, drinking, getting provisions and make sure your mount is in good shape, too.
    (Note: Having to take a rest is a very humane game design that allows you to go to the toilet, grab a drink or something to eat, or take care of anything really in real life.)
  • With the survival aspect of food and navigation your choices matter even more and the more bad choices you can make, the more accomplished you will feel when you do it right. Other players will give you credit.
    We expect more players not to be a champion (the term we use for the role of combat oriented character). Crafting and gathering in safe areas will be what a lot of people will want to do as we've seen on the forums.
  • Going about survival in a group of players helps greatly and promotes team play.
  • With very minimal cooking skills and a bow you will be able to provide food even when you're out in the wilds.
  • The further away you go from civilization, the higher the chance to find something unexplored and more dangerous beasts citizens don't encounter.
  • Canis Rabbits (kind of wolf-like creatures) and some other animals will likely notice you before you will notice them.
    They can plan an ambush or retreat.
  • Etc.

39. Are the game mechanics for pirates and knights the same?

Apparently, they share sets of common mechanics:

Combat mechanics Aging mechanics Fame&Reputation mechanics Survival mechanics Contracts, stories etc.

But the game experience is very different:

The pirate

  • fights for himself and his riches
  • tries to stay safe and away from jurisdiction and therefore won't be able to use the benefits
  • sails on water on a custom boat or small ship with ranged siege weaponry for naval combat, which makes for a unique way for traveling the world and what parts of it he will see
  • has to pay more attention to his followers because of the risk of mutiny
  • will network with criminals you have to be very cautious about; changing the way you plan and go about things
  • etc.

The knight

  • fights for his liege lord (there is an actual game mechanic for knighthood)
  • will likely not risk committing crimes because of the penalties and being with more players, in terrain more accessible than on water (Although the story of knight that commits crimes to please his lord may be quite an interesting story.)
  • travels mostly on foot or on a mount providing a very different way to explore the world, while engaging in mounted combat
  • will be able to find an order or organization in general he can learn to trust because they might also strife for justice
  • will probably network with a wide range of people on the continent, including trustworthy folk; changing the way you plan and go about things
  • etc.

The overall gaming experience and atmosphere as well as play styles are divergent. The mindset is different, the motivation is different and both players are looking for a different experience in the world.

A game can be more than combat mechanics.

40. Will selling Sparks of Life and Soul Packs be sufficient to keep running the servers and introducing new content?

At a fundamental question like this and over 10 years of designing on how the business model could work and all the work being put in over the years, I very much doubt that the developers has not thought about this.

The goal is to make it possible and the more people who will play the game, the less expensive those products will have to be.

Since it is a new approach, we will have to wait and see.
The developers will know a great deal more about how well it will cover the costs.

Also, remember the section at the very top about why the business model is substantial to the overall design.

41. Why will NPCs give tasks?

Well, mainly because an NPC is part of the world and has got needs and things he does as you do.

Also, it provides new characters with a good way to increase their fame and raise the trust people have got in them for preforming more demanding tasks. It makes the world feel more believable and alive.

NPCs will not be static anymore but dynamic.

42. Can I conquer kingdoms?

Yes, there is a mechanic for this called the dance of dynasties, but I don't want to make this post longer than necessary. The brief description which will be not very precise:

To become or challenge a nobleman you have to be of certain noble title or be rich or famous enough. Nothing stops you from waging war without this requirement, but it would be way more beneficial to you to fulfill it.

Once you have met those requirements, you have got what is called a Casus Bellus – a state of war in which you and the other nobleman or challenger will try to take over your seat of government or make you give up.

It is similar to capture the flag in which the government seat is your base and the ring granting the divine right to reign is the flag.

While you can win by occupying the government seat for 28 days or killing the other governor/challenger. If you win you will take over his territory and title. If you are a king and defeat another one, you basically have become an Emperor with that title in game and power in game.

If you want to know more about what is means to be a duke for game mechanics and game play, shoot another question about that please.

43. Are land and ownership rules a total mess?

Well, you tell me. If we can discuss specifics, that will help greatly.

44. But how do I win at CoE?

As mentioned in other posts already, winning is of very subjective nature.

While we've been made to believe winning in a traditional game means to dominate other players in PvP with legendary gear sets, weapons and the most efficient skill distribution, this is clearly the only way those games can appeal to people.

It is quite interesting because we see MMORPGs that often develop extensive stories and lore, only to remove or reduce them later on, because players want to be max level to participate in end-game where all the "fun stuff" happens.

Role Playing Games have been about playing a role that goes beyond the stereotypical warrior, magician or thief. A character is believable if there is more to him than doing one thing, and fighting can only tell a very limited range of stories without supportive features.

And this is where CoE is going:
You no longer play the typical run-of-the-mill stereotype, but you start to think about what your character will do aside from being a blacksmith and crafting swords.
Maybe you will want to pick up that sword and fight, or get into writing contracts for people to help your village grow.

You no longer have a Raid vs Raid setup where the story is only there to make you kill that other guy.

You start to think about choices and consequences within what limited amount of time your character has got. And on top of that think beyond having only a character:

There is a legacy from your first character to the characters of your family as well as to your disciples that are part of other families.
This only adds to you leaving a mark on the world and this is what gets people excited about the game:

Personal story forged by meaningful choices in the midst of a 10-year story arc the whole server will experience.

45. What about all that IP you get to spend and isn't that shop p2w?

SbS rewards IP for players that they think contribute to the overall success of CoE and covers but is not limited to:

  • Inviting other paying/contributing members to the community
  • Providing valuable information on the community forums or Wiki
  • Asking intelligent questions in SbS's Live Chat thread
  • Posting website, chat server, or game bugs
  • Creating new journalistic content via blogs, YouTube videos, etc.
  • Providing valuable feedback on design choices which alters SbS's course
  • Creating valuable game content via SbS's content tools
  • Providing impressive fan art or fan fiction
  • Backing CoE financially via Kickstarter or other

IP is a currency that can be used in early exposition, but will be converted to SP at official launch.

You can buy many nice things, but in a dynamic world nothing is permanent.

Some aspects such as noble titles and houses are more safe than most other components, and some design patterns can be recreated.
However, none of the above cannot be achieved in game, and while becoming a nobleman is very challenging, it is not out of reach.
There is no premium exclusive content that other players cannot get through playing except for very few designs (that will not make the player invincible).

It is meant to be a way to support SbS to create CoE and to get items that help you do what you want to do in game (work towards what your goal in game is).
This might range from being a famous bladesmith, a well-known bard, a loved governor, a feared warrior, be part of the richest or most beautiful city ever, exploring new continents or ancient ruins, finding out about the lore and hints at future events, promoting a certain religion, building an Empire or being the assassin or thief of legends.

Therefore, I think it does imbalance the game, but it does so in an advantageous way as far as story telling and multiplayer experience is concerned. Or as some people say:

Someone has to be the king, someone has to be the duke or count and someone has to be the baron to manage fortifications. Best have players in those positions.

And the imbalance makes the world interesting.

46. How do people know if the game is not for you?

Well, I think it's not that the game is not for you but that you had to understand what the game is about more clearly before we were to draw any conclusions.

However, people are under the impression that you dislike the main game design principles that are about telling stories.

Many games have made us believed that good games all about something rather narrow.
The game is very much enjoyable without being a role player in the sense of having long In-Character conversations.

It actually already makes you role play in your actions because of how it draws from the real world of how things work.

A PKing bandit is a criminal and adds story to the game. His actions are risky and bring rewards, and he doesn't need to throw In-Character phrases at you to be an interesting part of the world.

You say that you consider yourself as a casual player and you like gameplay around guilds in other games. Let me list why CoE caters to this type of gaming:

  • Bolstering allows you to play with your friends in your family even if they progress faster than you without you or your friends feeling like they are loosing out on content or fun.
  • You do not need to play catch-up with gear and weapons the same way you would in many other games (especially unlike those horrible f2p-p2w games).
  • You can progress at your own pace and find your own niche for combat, crafting, exploring and/or gathering. Nothing you do is pointless, and it contributes to the world in a meaningful way.
  • Even if you cannot progress in combat styles as well as other people can due to lack of time, you can still put up a good fight and win against those players within a margin if you are a good player and have got a good understanding of combat tactics and outsmarting your opponent.
  • 3 types of meaningful organizations:
    Guilds (for a specific purpose such as crafting, very much unlike guilds you know from other games but more like guilds in medieval times)
    Schools (about enhanced research and sharing knowledge)
    Associations (for groups of players with a specific common goal in mind and resembling the traditional sense of what a guild is in game the most).
    All of which entirely player-build and player-run (Plots, buildings, hierarchy, clothes with tons of custom crafts, networking and services provided by your group) and it's reputation stay in direction relationship with yours.
    I'd even say other games don't have got proper guilds. They have but a common chat and party options with instancing using guild tags for putting players in the correct parallel world.

47. So what has been worked on already?

  • Unreal Engine 4 is finished.
  • SpatialOS is finished but needs interface integration.
  • Soulborn Engine has been worked on for years and therefore will require not too much work anymore (mainly adjusting it to the actual design decisions).
  • Various assets (including but not limited to houses, trees, walls, gates, fences, benches, some in-door furniture, rapiers, armor parts), animals, male and female player character, technologies to make characters age and become more muscular or fat and complementing armor adjustments.
  • A couple of soundtracks.
  • Animations for various animals and player characters that feel like they're part of the world.
  • Quite a bit of game design with focus on reiterating on various more involved topics.
  • Etc.

48. And what will be left to do (apart from what was stated above)?

  • Coding to bring the game designs to live.
  • More assets for more diversity.
  • More awesome soundtracks and sound engineering.
  • Getting silent investors on board.
  • Marketing for bringing the word out there on how awesome the game will be.
  • Launching the game.

Of course any financial support will help the developers in all of this.

Keep in mind that this is but my personal opinion on where CoE is at right now, having read public accessible sources about the game and are in no way official.

I hope this has given you a small insight on a portion of the systems and information you can find in the Design Journals and in the Question&Answer sessions in the Newcomers Pack.

Hope this helped to clarify a few things.

TL;DR: You have to read it if you want to have answers to the questions. They ask for a lot of information that has been covered in more details and words in the official design journals to be found here.


10/3/2016 7:19:53 AM #155
+7

Jaw hits floor ... Jaw remains on floor

10/3/2016 7:28:16 AM #156
+3

Posted By MoonChaser at 03:11 AM - Mon Oct 03 2016

Hope this helped to clarify a few things.

LOL. A few ;)

Thanks man.


10/3/2016 7:35:01 AM #157
+12

-looks around before slowly closing StealthWire's jaw-

Can I feature this? I'm gonna feature this. Don't you dare unfeature this until the end of the week, Caspian!

Props to you, Moonchaser, for your spectacular response and reducing me to tears.


10/3/2016 7:38:21 AM #158
+3

bruh


It's not a problem, it's a plot hook!

10/3/2016 7:48:19 AM #159
+3

Moonchaser, could you create a seperate thread with that post as the OP? I can't read it in its entirety at the moment, but I'm a quarter of the way in and it looks extremely helpful. Definitely an info dump to pin.

Edit: Not sure where I got Lynx from :S Corrected


To touch Divinity, one must be prepared to brave Reality.

10/3/2016 7:49:33 AM #160
+7

@Moonchaser , that is one of the best posts I have seen from anyone on these forums. Well done! You may or may not have just become one of my favorite people in the community. :-)


"Pledged to the betterment of the Studio and CoE through realistic, open, honest communication about what players can and will do with the mechanics you give them."

10/3/2016 8:04:02 AM #161
+5

Happy to be part of this, guys :)

@ Wolfgarde I don't know about posting it seperately. Maybe once I make a more comprehensive take on. It barely covers all the DJ, but might give a player's perspective.

@Caeoltoiri You can feature it if you like.


10/3/2016 8:08:59 AM #162
+4

Moonchaser, this is the best post i've read. This is basically somethign that should be hard added to the FAQ section. It's well thoguht out, explains your side and the tech side. Absolutely amazing post!


10/3/2016 8:17:51 AM #163
+0

Thanks for the post, but maybe you should make things more concise or more bit size so people can absorb the information better, before you copy, paraphrase everything devs have released. =P

Thanks though, will look through this one.

10/3/2016 8:31:52 AM #164
+5

Posted By Sev at 10:17 AM - Mon Oct 03 2016

Thanks for the post, but maybe you should make things more concise or more bit size so people can absorb the information better, before you copy, paraphrase everything devs have released. =P

Thanks though, will look through this one.

Well, to present a more general picture, I just went over every question. But for the sake of getting across the key points of so many concepts, I had to use many words. Of course the design journals are even longer and I encourage everyone to check them out, because they are more detailed, more precise and more organized.

The main purpose of answering the questions in this fashion is to explain to Ikcen, not to create a standalone version for looking up information.


10/3/2016 10:17:00 AM #165
+1

It might be specifically for this thread/poster, but you've covered a lot of vital points that have been recurring concerns in the community, even just in the first quarter of the post. Definitely something that could be used as a forum resource.

Having said this, I might have a few questions to pose to you by the time I finish digesting your post. The main one that pops up for now, though, is regarding hacking - not clientside hacking, but actual attacks on the server to steal information/leak the backend code. With CoE's game/story structure, such an attack could critically undermine the story and talent system by giving hackers the information they need to create effective measures to speed-test, find, and sell/abuse accounts with latent talents or other elements that set them apart from normal souls/accounts. What's your take on this? Does what you've posted regarding the cloud state of the servers also apply to this sort of attack, or would the circumstances/result be different?


To touch Divinity, one must be prepared to brave Reality.

... ...
Log in to post