Permadeath and player-economy in MMORPGs? Yes please, Chronicles of Elyria! [Top Hats and The Game]

Player driven economy and permadeath in an MMORPG? Yes please, Chronicles of Elyria! [Top Hats and The Game] Cheers, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Top Hats and The Game, the show on Top Hats and Champagne that is all about the hobby that only serial killers and virgins and serial killer virgins and serial virgin killers like: gaming! Today, I want to talk about Chronicles of Elyria, a MMORPG that at the time of the release of this video, has two days left on Kickstarter, and that I have just backed with me own money, which is a first for me.

Now, before you moan and laugh and point at me, let me say that I’m very much aware that some of the promises sound too good to be true, or rather very, very ambitious in the context of a persistent game world. But hey, I’m a sucker for innovation, and I’m a sucker for permadeath, so here are my reasons for backing this particular game: ‘Characters age in-game over the course of 10-14 real-world months. During that time your character will grow old and eventually die, leaving their mark on history. But while alive you must choose your actions carefully, as each in-game death reduces your overall lifespan (by approximately 2 days) and brings your character that much closer to permadeath. However, if you’re an influential player (the king perhaps), each in-game death is more impactful, leading to permadeath in just 4 or 5 times.’ This feature stands out the most for someone like me who is starved of choices and consequences in games. I love having to pay a hefty price for mistakes, because it makes online adventuring that much more exciting and meaningful.

I think the development team is trying to strike a good balance here, since most modern players are bloody carebears, and can’t deal with loss. By designing permadeath the way they plan to, they will perhaps be able to entice a few people who would otherwise not touch a game with such a harsh premise. I also really really like the idea of my character aging, and leaving a legacy for the next one – in a way, this should alleviate the pain of inevitably losing your progress. And even then, thanks to what they call the family, land and housing system, your new character might just inherit lands and other posessions of your previous life.

Another very interesting feature: ‘Non-Repeatable Quests | Tired of killing 20 bunnies destroying a farmer’s crops, only to see 50 other characters complete the same quest? We’re doing away with NPC quest hubs by enabling other players to give out tasks. That same OPC merchant may run out of reagents, leading them to ask you to bring 10 elixirs back from a far off city, utilizing the contract system to ensure delivery.’ Or how about: ‘No World or Mini-Map | Map makers and cartographers have a place in CoE, helping players navigate their world. But watch out, because treasure maps can be faked and locations may be renamed, leading NPCs to refer to a town by the most used name.’ Still not convinced? How about this then: they are planning to implement hunger, thirst, freezing, noble ranks with attached legislative powers, skill- and twitch-based combat, leveling by actually USING skills instead of automatic level-ups, and contracts between players in order to drive the economy.

I couldn’t find concrete info about this, but it seems like they plan an EvE Online-like economy that is majorily, if not entirely driven by the playerbase. I also find their business model promising and innovative: instead of a classic free to play model that includes an ingame shop, and instead of a subscription model, Chronicles of Elyria will charge you money once when you buy the game, and again whenever you wish to create a new character after your old one dies. Since a character is supposed to live between 10 and 14 real life months, and since a new character is supposed to cost $30, this seems like a very fair deal to me. Additional characters can be bought for the same amount of money, which I interpret as them focusing on a single-character experience. Which again, is something I very much favour. Altoholics will have a mental breakdown though. I know some of you might say that because characters lose real-life time when they die, this is unfair – but hey, it’s YOUR fault if you die too often – if you play cleverly, 14 months for 30 bucks sound like a good deal.

I for one am experiencing very mild enthusiasm right now, and hope that the devs are going to be able to pull off what they promise. I have backed the game with 25 dollars, and invite you to check out their kickstarter page and homepage that I have linked in the video description, especially if you wish to support an endeavour that obviously strives to innovate a very stale genre. Oh, how much I long for a proper permadeath game. I thank you very much for watching, cheers ladies and gentlemen, and I see you soon!.

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