An MMO Where Your Character Can Grow Old And Die

An MMO Where Your Character Can Grow Old And Die

No one lives forever. In Chronicles of Elyria, even video game characters' days are numbered. In this age of survival games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Rust, plenty of large-scale multiplayer games have made death a thing of grave consequence. Usually, though, it's pretty binary: you're either alive or you're (perma) dead. In Elyria, even if you decide to tend a shop for the whole of your existence (TOO REAL), you'll eventually drop dead.

Here's how it works:

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.

Ageing changes your appearance pretty dramatically. Skin wrinkles. Hair recedes. Muscles wither. You gain some weight. Your back even hunches, making you appear slightly shorter. It's an interesting prospect given that most popular fantasy MMOs exist in a state of almost dissonant perpetuity. Kill the baddest villain in the history of Azeroth (and its neighbouring dimensions)? No worries, he'll be back next week, same trans-reality dragon time, same trans-reality dragon channel. Not so, apparently, in Elyria.

That's not the only way Chronicles of Elyria is seeking to be different. The game world is dynamic, meaning that environments can be destroyed, quests will be based on NPCs' actual needs at the time (some aren't repeatable), resources will be finite and national conflicts will continuously arise. You'll also be able to forge contracts and families with other players, and your character will persist (and continue to age) running a shop or training skills even while you're offline.

Even the business model at least gets points for ambition. "Chronicles of Elyria utilises a new business model never before seen in MMOs," the game's creators wrote. "CoE hearkens back to the coin-op arcade model where, for $30 [$AUD40], players buy a Spark of Life that grants a soul the opportunity to live for between 10 and 14 months, before establishing your Soul in a new character of your choosing. Note: 1 Spark of Life comes with purchase of the game."

"The Spark of Life system also helps reduce griefing," they added. "If you kill another character in-game, your face goes up on a wanted poster and a bounty token is created for you. This not only keeps you out of cities, but also means you can be taken to 'jail' which significantly reduces your lifespan, adding real financial repercussions to your in-game decisions."

Will it all work out like that in practice? You never know when actual human beings are added to the mix. We'll see.

Chronicles of Elyria sounds like a fusion of traditional fantasy MMOs, EVE Online and the still-unreleased Camelot Unchained. It comes from developers who have worked at places like SOE (now Daybreak), Bungie and Pandemic, and they're asking for $US900,000 ($1,201,611) on Kickstarter. That's, pardon my French, une tétrachiée (a metric shit-ton, sorta), but they're already well on their way.


    That header image makes me think of the giant in Enders Game.

    Sounds too ambitious. Not gonna back this one.

      Yeah. I've been following this one for a while and I really want it to succeed, but there are warning bells everywhere. Their mention of risks in developing an ambitious MMO is basically "Yep, we understand there are risks", and there's nothing on the Kickstarter page about the development experience of any of the people involved, only a bunch of pictures of game company logos. They might have all been interns for all I know.

      I'm going to back it, but only for a low tier, and only because I've wanted an MMO that makes crafting and non-combat first class roles since Star Wars Galaxies got screwed over.

      Edit: I also rather hate their 'influence points' system. Referral systems are fine in general but they should be targeted, not just 'spam an imgur gallery with your referral link and get actual valuable non-cosmetic rewards for a game that isn't even out yet'.

      Last edited 04/05/16 4:37 pm

        Yeah. Not to mention their staffs are nobodies, seems like people that have not lead a studio before and doing such a huge project.

        Don't even know who they are and their achievement are only credited/uncredited of very very mediocre games.

        Too risky for me.

    My WoW characters have already grown old and died.

    This has Peter Molyneux levels of overreach. I'll believe it when I see it thank you very much.

    Sounds a lot like a graphical version of Faery Tale Online where you go through an entire life from birth to death.

    My Facebook keeps getting spammed with ads for this game...

      Actual ads or posts by other people? Because their stupid influence points reward system has been encouraging people to spam the hell out of it to the point where it's super obnoxious.

        Proper Facebook ads, I don't have any friends who play. The sad part is that the ads don't do a very good job of selling it, looks as bad as any other crappy facebook game

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