The Road Ahead

Hey Everyone!

Before reading further, be sure to check out Episode 3 of Inside Chronicles of Elyria for context on this update.

Ahead of detailing our plans for Kingdoms of Elyria it's important to stress that Kingdoms and CoE share a singular development roadmap, and development on the former directly “moves the needle” on the latter. As stated in Episode 2 of Inside Chronicles of Elyria, we've re-prioritized development of the domain, settlement, and land management features of CoE above the adventuring mechanics (which we will return to upon completion of KoE). In the interest of being as clear as possible, here's a few things to note, some of which were stated in the video:

  • Kingdoms of Elyria, while a separate product from Chronicles of Elyria, with a different user experience and user interfaces, is the implementation of the domain, settlement, and land management mechanics of Chronicles of Elyria, against a different client
  • The set of mechanics of CoE are sufficiently vast enough that we decided to take the work we're doing to develop those mechanics for CoE and provide it to the world as a standalone product. This not only provides a gameplay experience for those that may only be interested in the colony sim and grand strategy mechanics, growing the Elyria community, but also provides us a way to fund further development of CoE without having to rely on further rewards-based crowdfunding
  • As Kingdoms of Elyria has, almost from the beginning, been a critical part of the CoE development roadmap and a backer reward, it will be provided for free to all backers with an Elyrian Pledge Package or higher
  • While the client for Kingdoms is different, the server-side code which drives the gameplay is the same used for both games
  • Any feedback from the community on the gameplay of KoE, and improvements made, automatically represent improvements to those mechanics in CoE
  • The adventuring mechanics developed previously will be incorporated into the features and functionality of Kingdoms of Elyria in order to complete development of Chronicles of Elyria

With all that said, Kingdoms of Elyria is being divided up into four releases (an initial release with three cumulative updates), each focusing on a growing scope of gameplay. Going forward, I'll refer to the four releases as KoE: Settlements, KoE: Domains, KoE: Online, and KoE: Legacies for easier distinction.

The first release (KoE: Settlements) is planned for release late this year and focuses only on the colony or settlement sim mechanics. As mentioned in Episode 3, the experience is about managing a settlement as it grows from a small hamlet with just three parcels of land and less than a dozen citizens, to a thriving, capital sized settlement. In this release, there won't be any interaction with neighboring settlements or the county your settlement resides in, but there will still be plenty of things to do. At a high-level, KoE: Settlements focuses on the following:

  • Managing Citizens, including meeting their needs and dealing with their sentiments of each other and of you; made particularly complex due to tribal and religious differences
  • Constructing buildings & structures, including architecture and blueprints
  • Balancing the economy, including resource processing, crafting, and individual professions
  • Hunting & gathering, including harvesting different things from different flora and fauna
  • Developing agriculture, including managing soil, raising crops and orchards, and caring for and breeding animals
  • Gathering information, particularly knowledge about the different citizens of your settlement, their identities, and their professions, as that information isn't provided by default
  • Simplified settlement expansion, including a simplified method of attracting NPCs and purchasing additional parcels

Upon completion of KoE: Settlements we expect to have a fully playable, enjoyable, extremely deep colony sim with mechanics and features unlike anything seen in other such games. All this is made more unique by the need to control and sustain your own character and their family, ensuring you've always got an heir to continue with.

KoE: Domains, planned for 2022, expands upon KoE by incorporating the mechanics of CoE which are typically associated with Grand Strategy games. In the KoE: Domains update, the scope and scale increases as you'll now be able to interact with neighboring settlements, create trade agreements, and most importantly, specifically target and recruit citizens from other settlements that have the skills you're looking for. You'll also be able to travel to the other settlements to gain more information about different professions and the plans of that settlement. Moving up the hierarchy, KoE: Domains also allows you to begin the game as not just a mayor of a settlement, but also a member of the nobility, governing a county, duchy, or kingdom. Like other Grand Strategy games, each tier provides its own challenges. In short, KoE: Domains focuses on:

  • Revised & improved information gathering, including spying on other settlements
  • Revised & improved settlement expansion, including recruiting Non-Player Citizens (NPCs) from other settlements
  • Diplomacy, including forming alliances, non-aggression pacts, and trade agreements
  • Conflict, including wars, rebellions, and combat
  • Managing and improving your domains
  • Maintaining effective governments
  • Laws, including taxes, succession, and immigration
  • Crime & punishment
  • Advancements, including technology & research
  • Random World Events

KoE: Online, which is intended to enter beta around the same time as KoE: Domains releases to the public, adds the MMO element to Kingdoms of Elyria. Upon its release, you'll have all the same mechanics included in the previous releases/updates, but you'll also have the option of playing on a server with up to five thousand other players. While all players will begin as the leader of a hamlet or village, they'll also be competing for the same resources, recruiting the same NPCs from the larger settlements, and of course, vying for the opportunity to elevate their status to a point where they are governing other players.

The final update release, KoE: Legacies, takes the online experience in KoE: Online and ties it more closely to Chronicles of Elyria with the release of four, backer-specific servers, set against the landscapes of the original four CoE servers: Angelica, Luna, Selene, and Oceanus. On these four servers, players with a CoE title will be able to login and assume control of their chosen settlements and domains as they play through a simulated history of their server.

More details will be provided on releases two through four when the time is right. For now, development on KoE: Settlements is being broken up into 8 internal milestones, each focusing on a growing scope, starting with what you’d encounter the first few moments of gameplay, and ending with the mechanics most important for scaling the size of your settlement. The contents of these 8 milestones will be made available to testers in three stages of alpha testing, and a final beta testing stage. And of course, as part of the CoE development roadmap, we'll be leveraging our existing CoE alpha and beta backers for testing Kingdoms of Elyria.

The first opportunity to alpha test will include the contents of Milestones 1 and 2 and is expected to be available around April, 2021. The second opportunity to alpha test (KoE Alpha 2) will include the contents of milestones 3 and 4. The third opportunity to alpha test (KoE Alpha 3) will include the content of milestones 5 and 6. Finally, there will be a beta test made available to the CoE beta testers which will include all the previous, plus the contents of milestones 7 and 8. We’ve put the contents of each of these milestones in a nice infographic shown here. But for the visually impaired, or otherwise using a screen reader, we’ve also put the information in a bulleted list just below.

KoE: Settlements Roadmap

Milestone 1:

  • Environment (Terrain, Time, Temperature)
  • Fog of War
  • Settlement Types & Requirements
  • UI/UX
  • Player Citizens
  • Survival
  • Foraging & Hunting
  • Animal AI

Milestone 2:

  • NPC Interaction
  • NPC AI
  • Contracts

Milestone 3:

  • Architecture
  • Building Construction
  • Building Modification
  • Building Bonuses & Synergy
  • Building Upkeep

Milestone 4:

  • Families
  • Immigration

Milestone 5:

  • Interacting w/ Buildings & Stations
  • Crafting & Professions

Milestone 6:

  • Infrastructure
  • Currency
  • Tax Collection

Milestone 7:

  • Weather
  • Seasons
  • Farming

Milestone 8:

  • Dynamic Settlement Generation
  • Content for Additional biomes

This is a lot of information to digest at once, but we wanted to be as clear as possible up front with our plans for this year and beyond. Up until this point the Inside Chronicles of Elyria videos have largely been a look at our past, present, and future, with a bit of previous and current gameplay footage added so you're not spending the entire time looking at my face.

Going forward, the Inside CoE videos will be more like traditional dev blogs you've come to expect from our industry, with the focus being on the game, the work that's been done, and the results. And, despite having a small team, we're committed to showing our monthly progress regardless of how much or little it may be.

To wrap up, the restructuring of the Chronicles of Elyria roadmap to focus on the domain, settlement, and land management mechanics allows us to make continued progress on CoE, while designing, developing, and delivering on the gameplay elements most exciting to our active community members. At the same time, it will hopefully expose the world of Elyria with its tribes, religions, and cultures to a broader audience of players who don’t immediately think of a colony sim or grand strategy game when they hear “MMO.” And finally, by elevating the Kingdoms of Elyria test experience to a stand-alone product, we pave the way forward for us to continue development without needing to further utilize rewards-based crowdfunding.

Most importantly though, we haven’t given up. We ran into challenges last year - seemingly insurmountable - but we’ve overcome and remain committed to delivering the full Chronicles of Elyria game experience to our backers and supporters. KoE is just the first step on the road ahead and our path toward completing Chronicles of Elyria.

So, stay tuned for the next episode of Inside Chronicles of Elyria and more design blogs going into greater depth on the CoE mechanics being developed and expanded upon in milestone 1 of KoE: Settlements.

Until next time!