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Byrcha
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

So, have you heard about Chronicles of Elyria (CoE) yet? I have to say I haven't been quite this interested in a new game since, well, ever; especially during the development phase. Could they really solve all those annoying complaints or profound disappointments I've had about games over the years?? Read on!


Or not ... TL;DR: Main page, w/ short video: https://chroniclesofelyria.com/


While the timeline for release is still lengthy (current estimates are late-2019 or sometime in 2020 for full release), there is considerable collaborative game- and community-development ongoing, along with updates from the developers on the scope of the game. Alpha release is coming soon(tm). Players are able to gain access to pre-release components through a crowdfunding mechanism.

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Summary

CoE projects as a combination of ALL of the following: a persistent-world (your character is still active while you are offline), class-less skill-based character development, permadeath from age/combat, PvP-all-the-time-everywhere (settlements are safe zones and there are in-game mechanics for responding to griefing), roleplay by definition, empire-building, political/social simulation, global economic simulation, world simulation (weather, ecosystems, flora, fauna, geography, geology), discovery of new continents, and an evolving 10-year epic fantasy story. Suffice to say: your character’s life is unique and meaningful with a sense of urgency. CoE is terribly ambitious, understandably complex, and yet elegant/realistic in design. The preliminary graphics also look impressive to me. But the realism is what appeals to me the most.

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Some Details

For example, in CoE slaying some furry critter in the wild won't drop a piece of armor as in other MMOs, but it might drop a pelt that is useable. There is no static concept of quests, piles of loot, or character classes, though you do get to advance your skills through your actions. Similarly, if some group runs in and pillages a dungeon full of monsters -- those monsters are permanently slain and that dungeon will be empty next week (unless something else moves in). No end-game in the way we think of it, where you reach a max-level plateau. And no character levels either. There’s no floating number over a baddie's head to tell you how dangerous it is. Oh, and if you're unprepared, you could also starve in the wild or succumb to the elements. And there’s no travel from one end of the continent to the other in mere moments -- if it would take a year in a real-life medieval-type world to get there, it would take a year in game-time to travel that far in Elyria. The timeframe is compressed in Elyria such that one RL year is approx. 50 game-years (this is how characters age and pass away). And yes there will be mounts/wagons and sea travel and coastal trade and eventually voyages of discovery. There is a dynamic system for researching technologies that do not exist yet, but it isn’t a linear type system. Even crafting-failure can lead to innovation.

Players get to choose how to play the game in a sandboxy, choose-your-own-adventure manner. You don't know the future-history before it has happened (spoiler alert: in LOTRO, you know that Frodo is going to reach Mount Doom and destroy the Ring). While there is some overarching story/history, players’ decisions will create/add-to the history as it evolves. Players voted on the continental maps that each server will use, players will build-out towns and infrastructure prior to launch, and player-run kingdoms are already making/breaking alliances and plotting with/against each other. In that way each server will be unique and each server’s history will diverge from the others as time goes on.

I've been waiting for a game like this for a very, very, very, Very Long Time!

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But, what about ... ??

Now, this all sounds fantastic right? But maybe you're thinking what I was thinking at first: ‘PvP everywhere'?!?! How could that possibly work?! Are there no safe zones?! What is to stop griefers from simply steamrolling unattentive/unsuspecting players?! There are consequences to all actions; there are in-game laws to protect characters (hence the feudal hierarchy); e.g. murder is illegal in peace-time and settlements are relatively safe from wildlife. Player reputations affect how the game reacts to them. And the player community has tools for responding (e.g., notifying the authorities, hiring bounty hunters, declaring wars on bandit-kingdoms, etc.) and there are a bunch of active/observant NPCs whose roles include guarding settlements etc. The NPCs (and offline PCs) see and react to their surroundings; if someone is attacked in the town square, everyone nearby will hear it and react accordingly. The challenge the developers have is allowing for PvP on a scale of warring kingdoms and highway banditry, as well as allowing for internal political treachery, while keeping griefers from rampaging through the game world just for laughs. NPC relationships are such that a griefer-reputation precedes someone and NPCs might decide not to deal with them or even attack them on sight. Permadeath entails the concept of a spirit, which can get reincarnated; if you run out of this currency, you have to buy more with real-world money. As in: no free-to-play (though you can earn extra spirit through in-game participation in the story). As in: griefers too have to pay to play and risk losing their time/$$$ investment in their characters; e.g. a lengthy-sentence in a prison could literally keep someone out of the game for months, or an infamous death at the hands of bounty hunters could push the griefer’s spirit to the point of having to pay to play again. The current model is that each spark-of-life would cost $35. For someone who doesn’t take inordinate risks and eventually dies of old age this amounts to approximately one RL year. For someone who rampages through the countryside doing stupid stuff, this could be only a few months or less before needing to pay again. (Note: your heirs can inherit your stuff, and your skills can transfer as something of a bonus for your next character.)

I will say though that until the game has moved into the advanced-testing phases (with PvP) it won't be clear how well it might handle griefers. That said, I am willing to commit to it at this point so as to begin building a community of interested players there. As in: I have invested in the crowdfunding mechanism, which will allow me to build-up a settlement during the pre-release phase, where interested LMBers can start if they like. There are certainly advantages to gathering together with folks one trusts. You can of course choose a different kingdom/tribe/family/whatever if you want, or a different server. They currently caution that the lag could be significant and recommend choosing a server in one of four geographic regions, but you’re not restricted to that. The servers are: North America-East (I am likely to choose this one, as I live there), North America-West, Europe, and Oceania. Also, each server will have a unique map, various kingdoms, and separate histories once the pre-release phase begins. The maps are being finalized and server selection is currently ongoing.

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Too bad it doesn't have a music system ...

Oh, did I mention that they will have some form of in-game music system, still to be determined? Now is the time to lobby for the music system you want to see. I've already seen a suggestion to allow ABC files, and followed up on it myself. No promises though -- it could end up being something very different than LOTRO's music system, and might not be available at launch (they allow for in-game research to drive the direction of development) -- still, an opportunity currently exists to contribute to the music system and there will be bards/music in some capacity in the game. And yes, we can create a guild; though these are more like medieval craft/trade or mercenary guilds. A settlement full of LMBers might be more comparable to the kinship setup we have in LOTRO; items/property are shareable, families have an in-game chat channel, mutual defense, etc.


To me, this sounds like a combination/culmination of various separate games I have spent loads of time in over the decades such as LOTRO, Civilization I-IV, various economic/war simulations (SimCountry, Paradox Interactive's strategy games such as Europa Universalis IV, and the Total War series), as well as The Sims (which I haven't played but have read about). It also sounds much like the open-ended concept and framework found in the original paper-and-pencil D&D game I first played back in, uh ... [wheeze] well, a very long time ago. If they can pull this off it would be one of a kind. I'm willing to find out if they can do so.

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Yeah, but what about ... ?

Now, you might also be thinking: "I don't want to rule the world, or discover continents, or PvP all the time, or die in some mad-king's wars; I just want to relax in my house or roleplay or craft things for friends." Well, you can certainly do that in Elyria, whether just occasionally or all the time. Roleplay is implied: you interact with NPCs in a meaningful manner, rumors spread about you, the community eventually knows your reputation, you have an in-game family (of PCs and/or NPCs). Yes, you can have a house, or a room above a tavern, or a spot in an alley in the big city, or a hut in the woods (hint: possibly illegal as well as dangerous), or a rich villa, or a castle -- if you can afford them, or get appointed to have them, or steal them and not get caught. Crafting is essential to the economy; actually, crafting *IS* essentially the entire economy. As in, you can't just go buy something at a vendor unless someone has crafted things and supplied that vendor (and the vendor may well be another PC). There are no resource-nodes in every field. But you can farm a field, or cut down trees for lumber, or find ore to mine somewhere (but not *everywhere*). You can then craft things, if you have the skill, or sell/barter it to someone who has the skill. There is no copious pile of vendor-trash from mobs; you couldn't carry it all anyway (all storage is what-you-see-is-what-you-get – no more horses stored in backpacks), though you can have packs and mounts and wagons for hauling stuff, and can store stuff in your house or at a vault somewhere. So there is a finite world economy based in reality: if you live in a desert or mountain or tundra area, you might have difficulty farming temperate-weather crops, but you will have some other resources which temperate areas lack. Once a forest is cut down, it has to regrow. Ore mines could become depleted. The pre-release phase will set this economy in motion so there will be some surpluses and not everyone will be a homeless vagabond with few options (you can choose a family to be born into and benefit from their life situation, or become a ward of the state). Also, the environment is destructible (and buildable too): siege engines can destroy buildings etc., but the RL effects of fire will be mostly disallowed (so that griefers can't run around torching everything for laughs).

Lastly, there are two more general features which provide depth lacking in other games: tribes (akin to LOTRO races) and religions. CoE tribes have advantages/disadvantages due to the biome they became accustomed to. E.g. there is a tribe that is at-home in the tundra and doesn’t get affected by cold weather the way the others do – but they would be adversely affected if they traveled to a tropical climate. Some tribes resemble dwarves or elves/hobbits, all are human-like. The tribes adhere to certain religions and cultures, based on their ancient history, such that all tribes do or do-not like some other tribes and/or may not even be able to communicate directly with each other (so yeah, language is a thing too). The possibility for religious and/or tribal conflict beyond that inherent in the feudal kingdom structure is clear.


Hopefully this has peaked your interest rather than scared you away! If you're curious, here are some more links ...

Overview: https://chroniclesofelyria.com/game/overview

FAQ: https://chroniclesofelyria.com/game/faq

And yeah, they have copious Discord channels.


If you want to sign up for the CoE forums and/or buy-in for the pretesting phases, you can give them my friend code: C38E5E.

I've not committed to a server or kingdom quite yet. You can find me on their forums/Discord as Byrcha. I've not chosen an in-game family surname yet. Currently I am registered to become a mayor at launch, so there will be some kind of settlement to live in; ideally in a temperate climate with a cosmopolitan/progressive nobility in power (no guarantees on any of that at this point, of course). You do not 'have to' do the crowdfunding thing either, there seems to be plenty of time still to decide how you might fit into the game, and you can of course wait-and-see until actual launch.

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Disclaimers, Apologies, and other legal-type stuff ...

Like many of you, I have indulged in other games over the years. I do intend to remain in LOTRO and in LMB. I thoroughly enjoy our weekly concerts and other events, and can still relax a bit with the festivals and the legendary servers. The game itself doesn't hold the same appeal to me it did when I was new to it, or when they were adding big new systems (warsteeds, epic battles, etc.); I enjoy the comradery and creativity of LMB most. Elyria is effectively a year away, maybe longer, anyway.

I do think Chronicles of Elyria could be a dream come true, and I'd like to share it with like-minded folks! If you have questions, do let me know. And if you do sign up, please share.

[Disclaimer: since the game has not released, details I’ve given are subject to change but currently this sounds like how things will work. You can decide for yourself by reading the developer diaries and the forums/discords.]


P.S. Sorry for the massive wall of text, but I wanted to give a thorough overall synopsis. It sounds like the next generation of games is almost here. wink


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Carica
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

It sounds like the medieval version of EVE Online with elements from Wurm Unlimited & Runescape.
A little iffy on the business model and possibly too expensive for me to play but interesting enough to pique my interest.
Only time will tell. Thanks for putting it in my radar.


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

This to me looks like a repeat of the Shroud of the Avatar business model. Spend years in beta getting people to invest, and buy from a store everything they need in the game. Then go FTP and hope to sell more store items. I think for now I will wait and see where this is going, but I am happy with Lotro.

Thanks for sharing the info Byrcha.


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

This sounds very intriguing, Byrcha-- thanks for posting so much information about it. I would consider signing up to live in your town (*salutes Mayor Byrcha*), if the game lives up to its promises.

Here's another one whose development I'm following: https://sagaoflucimia.com

Coming back to LotRO after a break, with one character at level 118 questing in the Dale-lands, and a dozen others scattered down the levels, what interests me most is the creativity of other players. The game has so many sub-systems, just boring (to me) mechanics of gear, etc., but the stories are interesting and sometimes really inventive.

And then there's the warmth of the LMB and everyone (almost) on Landroval. I don't know if these other games will have that! That's what makes for an enduring experience. :)


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

I heard of another project that includes a builtin music system: pianos. Who woulda thunk it? Unfortunately, it appears they they might still be pretty early in the development process, because currently you have to key in all the notes by hand while you play (no support yet for playing from transcribed files). Hopefully it'll be more complete before release time. I'm curious about the graphics. I saw a few pics that I assume were screenshots, but they were mostly black and white.
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

Thanks Byrcha--it sounds wonderful and super intriguing. My issue is time, not enough to do 3/4ths of the things I want to do, but I will keep my eye on this. But as mayor, will you pay only in pie? Or something more? wink
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I tried to sign up for the forums to keep an eye on the project, but never got confirmation email. Perhaps it is a holiday thing going on, will try again Friday.


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

After my miserable experiences in World of Warcraft, I just can't play a game that's PvP everywhere, always. There were supposedly consequences in WoW, too, like calling in your guild to punish the offenders... but I'm mostly a solo player, so that never worked.

In this game, I feel like I'd be saying, "Well okay so you killed his toon in retaliation, but that doesn't get me back my character and the limited free time I put into her."

I'd love to hear how you all do in a PvP world after the game launches.


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Agreed there Kira, I am not a big fan of that sort of pvp system.


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

The PvP aspect is the biggest concern for me also. From what I gather on their forums/discord there are many more folks who are looking forward to building a community, rather than tearing one down. We'll see what mechanisms the developers come up with for handling the latter.


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That would be a real plus in its favor B.


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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

This is one of the games on my watch list. Pantheon Rise of the Fallen is at the top but we shall see if it ever launches and how it will be.
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

I'm loosely associated with this group on COE.

http://kingdomofalesia.com/

They seem like very cool people. I haven't done much but hang with them in chat, but they are very community minded types.

What appeals to me (surprise!) is the player driven econ/political aspects (which are a bit like an embodied sword and sorcery multifaction Eve from what it looks like).

Also I find the rogue-like aspects really intriguing. You die, and your next character inherits some of your characteristics.

And in PVP? People can mess with this. So it rates as a ruler or highly skilled person to have minions, lol, and not just go around slaying newbs, because the lucky newb can mess you up bad in terms of risk more than the other way around. The penalties for a highly invested player being a predator are steep. It's really interesting, and I want to see how it plays out.

At worst, the bandit kings will have to be charismatic and send their newer minions hunting, and multi-boxing is against AUP I believe, so would risk loss too. A lot of different solutions have been attempted to this problem, and I like the idea of seeing each one exercised.
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

Coincidentally enough, I was already gravitating towards the Kingdom of Alesia due to their helpful/friendly/mature forum posts, RP atmosphere and mention of supporting music. I officially joined them over the weekend (committing to the North America-East server, at least for my landed/titled character). I joined the Duchy of Zylphania, which has an interesting setup and nice people so far -- and this morning they were discussing food and sharing food pix in discord. :-)

I upgraded to the county level, so if anyone would like to join me there please let me know. Disclaimer: the game is likely a year away from open release, though alpha/beta/etc. appears to be coming sooner(tm).
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re: Chronicles of Elyria (CoE)

I'm also returning to LotRO after time away, and just paid for a year in advance, in hopes of motivating myself to not let my attention become divided between many lesser alternatives. The community and lore of LotRO really are second to none.

Both CoE and Saga are reminding me of Wurm Online too, which I dabbled in for a year. Even ran into Astleigh there! I liked Wurm at times, though was not fond of the permadeath mechanic, and I did join a PvE server so as to stay out of getting murdered. Dying to a pack of wolves was already quite likely just going for a walk to pick herbs. The "everything is made by players" aspect was wonderful and I enjoyed it very much, but crafting and skill advancement were incredibly slow. They have a newer product called Wurm Unlimited which lets you operate your own service and allows for customization of the rate of skill advancement, PvP interactions, and so on. Might be something for those of us who fancy this sort of thing to look into.

Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to be back in LotRO, and back among you. I'm also in the situation of having no characters at level cap. There's still a lot of content unseen by me, and I would welcome questing companions if any of you are so inclined, remembering the old saying about how shared joy is doubled joy. I'd be willing to try one of the new progression servers too if someone would like to meet up regularly.

A new game could be intriguing, and getting in the door early is always good idea, but I think I will play the waiting game a little longer to see how CoE and Saga develop.


Molly Bayberry wrote:
This sounds very intriguing, Byrcha-- thanks for posting so much information about it. I would consider signing up to live in your town (*salutes Mayor Byrcha*), if the game lives up to its promises.

Here's another one whose development I'm following: https://sagaoflucimia.com

Coming back to LotRO after a break, with one character at level 118 questing in the Dale-lands, and a dozen others scattered down the levels, what interests me most is the creativity of other players. The game has so many sub-systems, just boring (to me) mechanics of gear, etc., but the stories are interesting and sometimes really inventive.

And then there's the warmth of the LMB and everyone (almost) on Landroval. I don't know if these other games will have that! That's what makes for an enduring experience. :)
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