Soulbound Studios has started its Kickstarter campaign earlier this month, and also released a few videos showcasing their new MMORPG, Chronicles of Elyria. In about ten days, they have raised close to $880,000 USD, with more than 7,000 backers.
Chronicles of Elyria has some really unique gameplay features, with a focus on a story that is bigger than just a single character and a single lifetime. Characters will age and eventually die, by using a permadeath system so that they cannot escape their fate of mortality.
The concept is to focus on a character’s legacy to make those days count, and how that one character’s years of life can impact the world, or the next character that comes into the world. If you have ever played Mabinogi online, it too used a similar system with their Rebirth character mechanics. The permadeath system isn’t instant however, it takes time and will stack based on life events. So the more you die, the shorter your total lifespan will be, knocking off days of your lifetime until you permanently die.
The difference between Mabinogi and Chronicles of Elyria, is that the aging system will also tie into their business model, using Sparks Of Life. Players will buy a Spark, and that will give them a lifetime of about 10-14 months of play time before their character gets old and die. But if you keep dying in combat, that could chop that lifespan down to just a few weeks.
Players who purchase the game will start with a single Spark, and if you wish to keep playing you will need to buy more. It sounds like you will keep your same soul, so your past skills will act as a booster so that your new character can quickly catch back up to where your last hero left off… At least, that is how I have pieced the system together based on what I have read so far. In simple terms, it will work as a yearly subscription service so the developers can earn some money.
Take a look at the aging and body modification tech video down below.
Chronicles of Elyria isn’t all about aging and letting your character’s body go over the years, it has a lot of other pretty cool features as well. The world is persistent, not only for the economy, building, and item creation, but also with your characters as well. It is a living breathing world that continues to grow, even when you are offline. In most games, you log off and your character magically teleports away, that isn’t the case in Chronicles of Elyria.
They are going for realism and immersion, so Your character will remain in the world at all times, and the NPC AI system will take control so that your character will continue to go on with their business, even when you log out. This COULD be a disaster, so I’m not sure if I like that system or not, but it does indeed sound quite unique.
To ensure your character doesn’t do something massively stupid, it sounds like the player will be able to create scripts for their AI counterparts to follow. CLU, CLU is that you?
Furthermore, Chronicles of Elyria combat will require player skill, not just gear and levels. Players will need to time their blocks, dodge and parry to win. The developers also say that crafting will have mini games, so it isn’t just based on chance or luck, but actual player skill and effort.
Another really cool aspect of the game, is what I will call the “meta-contracts”. It is a system that allows players to hire other players to carry out missions or objectives, essentially creating a questing system for the players, by the players. They give an example of an assassin being hired to eliminate a target, or perhaps hire a group of players as hired mercenaries to serve as your personal bodyguards. Of course you will also be able to open up your own shops and run a business, so perhaps you could hire a player to farm resources for you to keep your shop running.
There is also another system so that you can keep playing, without paying. If you complete enough story missions, you can collect Earn To Play (E2P) points, which you can use to purchase another Spark Of Life. I find this brilliant because it encourages players to sign contracts to earn points, so that they can buy another Spark of life to keep playing. It sounds like it is a system designed to keep the economy and world moving forward without becoming stagnant.
You can take a look at the early gameplay and combat trailers that I linked down below.
And yes, that was totally a reenactment of the Princess Bride sword fight. There are a lot of other options and a lot more content in the game, such as hunger and fatigue, thirst, drowning, and other elements that will force you to survive and work together with your fellow players, but perhaps we will cover those elements as the game comes closer to launch.
If you are interested in this concept, you can support Chronicles of Elyria by visiting their ongoing Kickstarter Campaign, as well as voting for them on Steam Greenlight. Full release is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017, with Alpha and Beta tests to help fill in the gaps leading up to that point. You can also keep an eye out for further updates and information as the game moves forward with development, by visiting their official website.