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Emergence

Emergence Online

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Emergence    121
Hi all, and welcome! :)
Currently I have a domain name, but are still working on the website.

As of 5/15/2011, it is not up, but if today's date is awhile past this, here is the link: www.emergencemmo.com

The developer blog can be found on Facebook, [url="http://www.facebook.com/EmergenceMMO"]HERE[/url]
Twitter (empty as of 5/15/2011) can be found [url="https://twitter.com/#%21/Emergencemmo"]HERE[/url]

I wanted a way to keep track of information related to the website, get feedback, as well as a pre-website thread. (I'm excited, hahahaha!) Mainly to get feedback for the information put on the website, but also to share in the excitement.



Emergence Online is a 2D MORPG made using Unity3D engine. Depending on the level of success or fanbase popularity, it may or may not eventually turn into a MMORPG during development.
Being a low budget, independent developer, I have decided to fund the project myself, in addition to (future) donations, which will most likely be in the form of selling "Demo" versions, which are actually full games in their own right, albeit small mini-games. For ex. anyone who "donates" or buys a demo of, let's say, the Crafting System. It will be a mini-game all to itself, offline and singleplayer, but 99.99% of the "demo" will be the actual gameplay. This is a way to give anyone who "donates" or likes the game, something real-an actual piece of the real game, allows us to sell "games" to raise funding, allows people to see what is happening and get heavily involved in the "Alpha" Testing, make ourselves known and heavily involved with the community and our fanbase, and last but most important of all show that we are not vaporware, so when we perform a large "kickstarter" type of donation (in which we will open up access to ALL demo's, to everyone, for free, forever) as a "final donation plan" to raise a large amount of funding to rapidly finish the game (hopefully hiring more programmers, as the art assets and game setup will have already been completed by me). I have never seen a developer do anything like I am describing before, but I think this is due to the fact few developers get involved with the community, and many are obsessed with marketing strategy, letting people "taste" the game before release, etc. My goal is to NOT make money, but to produce and release a game, by gamers, for gamers, with a heavy developer-to-community aspect to it. With that said, I am still prototyping and have only 90% of the graphics finished (it is quite a large game, so 10% may still take awhile), and I'm becoming familiar with Unity3D and its scripting abilities and middleware.

2D, but fully equipped, animated sprites. It should be able to run on ANY computer (even netbooks) with high quality graphics, with low performance cost (because it is all 2D).
[img]http://emergencemmo.com/Portfolio/Outfits.png[/img]




[size="5"][b][u]MAJOR FEATURES[/u][/b][/size]

[list][*][b][size="3"]FOUR REALMS
[size="2"] [/size][/size][/b][size="3"][size="2"]There are Four Realms (Factions) in the game.
[/size][/size][list=1][*][size="3"][size="2"]Realm of Man, composed of Humans, Dwarves, Centaurs, Minotaurs, etc.[/size][/size][*][size="3"][size="2"]Realm of Unrest, composed of Skeletons, Zombies, Demons, Vampires, etc.[/size][/size][*][size="3"][size="2"]Realm of Ancients, composed of Elves, Fae, Shapeshifters, Elementals, etc.[/size][/size][*][size="3"][size="2"]Realm of Dragons, composed of Goblins, Ratlings, Trolls, Wyverns, etc.

[/size][/size][/list][/list][size="2"] Each Realm is an enemy of the other, and during Invasions, pick where to send their forces (Players). Invasions begin at timed intervals in GMT hours. This allows players to always know when a battle can begin, and how long they may have before one begins. This also allows for there to be multiple Battlefields every Invasion Interval, so that the hundreds of players split up across the game world, or possibly even all enter into the same massive battlefield composed of all four sides.

[/size][list][*][b][size="3"]Invasions
[size="2"] [/size][/size][/b][size="3"][size="2"]Invasions are my term for a combination of Realm Conflict, NPC action, Player vs Player Combat, World Events (a changing environment and world), and Territory Control. Invasions are a coin phrase to describe every aspect of the mechanic from large scale Realm vs Realm combat with hundreds of combatants, to small scale quests or mini-raids composing of as few as a single player against NPC or PC enemies in an open environment. [/size][/size][size="3"][size="2"]These Invasions are the core feature of the game world, in which an NPC settlement decides to wage war against another to assume control of their "zone" for the realm. Prior to an Invasion, there are a plethora of quests tailored to weaken the enemy or strengthen the ally, as well as quests tailored to quicken or begin an invasion.[/size][/size][/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Battlefields[/b][/size]
[size="3"][size="2"] Battlefields are created whenever a Large Scale Invasion begins, and NPC armies begin to march out along their path in the open world. Each Zone, which is an area of land that can be controlled by a Realm, has its own unique battlefield, with traps, navigation, and obstacles. Upon the Invading Army's entrance into this battlefield, they stop and create a War Camp, and a timer begins to count down. This is when the defending army begins to appear, in their own War Camp, at the edge of their side of the Battlefield. Players are informed of the beginning of a Battlefield via a Global Channel in the Chat.
Whenever a Battlefield is created, the Contested Area in which the Battlefield is located is isolated by "Battle Lines" which are represented by visible separators and flags of war. Upon walking through a Battle Line, the Battle Stats (what is happening, populations on each side, and the Battle Map are displayed) and the player is asked if they wish to participate. To avoid long and boring travel times and to insure instant action, players may "teleport" directly inside any battlefield in the game world, with the explanation that they are telling a different part of their character's story, as 1 week of game time is 1 year in the lore. Upon ending of the Battlefield, they continue the story they had prior, in a different part of the world.[/size][/size][/list]
[list][*][size="3"][size="2"][size="3"][b]Heroism[/b][/size]
Large Scale warfare includes anywhere from 5 to 100's of NPC's who are organized into groups and armies. The Players, as well as NPC "Bosses" and "SubBosses" take upon the role of a Hero. The Players are meant to be as powerful as multiple NPC's, ranging from 1 (newbie player and single NPC) to 6 (veteran player and group of NPCs). Battles are balanced in population, relative to both side's original NPC army's population. Upon a player entering, the number of NPC's in the War Camp (reserve, yet to be spawned) lower by the amount of power the player consumes. So a newbie PC entering a Battlefield subtracts 1 NPC from the Reserves, a Veteran (6) subtracts 6. Upon leaving the Battlefield without dying, the remaining power of the player raises the Reserve back up. (So a wounded veteran player of 3/6 powe[size="2"]r leaving the battlefield will raise the NPC amount by 3, his remaining power.)[/size][/size][/size][/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Objective Based PvP
[/b][/size][size="3"][size="2"][size="2"] Battlefield Victory Conditions are based on[size="2"] a Primary Objective, Secondary Objectives, and Tertiary Objectives. Primary Objectives decide which side wins the battle, and are often determined by defeat or retreat of the Invader's Army, destruction of the enemy Base Camp, or the retreat of the Defender's Army. Upon entering a battlefield, the four possible starting sides have nearby objectives. Zones & Battlefields are Square, allowing for four possible entrances (one for each of the 4 Realms, although a Battlefield needs only 2 Realms).
[/size][/size][/size][/size][/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Keep Sieges
[/b][size="2"]After the Invading army claims Victory in the Battlefield, [/size][/size]the second part of the Invasion begins. The Defender side (owner of the Zone), upon retreat or defeat, are all teleported into the Central Keep of the Zone. This Keep determines who has ownership of the Zone. The Defender's goal in the battlefield isn't only to defeat the enemy so that a Keep Siege doesn't happen, but also is to weaken the enemies, so that they have a better chance of surviving the Invasion during the Keep Siege. Our goal is to make a good portion of the battle happen in the Battlefield, but the real meat happens in the Keep Siege. If all Four Realms are involved in the Battlefield, the Defender attempts to weaken all three, and they battle each other out-- with their own goals. The Invading Realms' goal is to conquer the Zone. The Defender's goal is to survive the Invasion. However, the 2nd or 3rd Invading Realm can decide to change their goal to destroy an opposing enemy realm. Although none of the realms actually help each other and are always at war with one another, sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your friend! Or perhaps this is a 3v1 and you're screwed! :D Just better hope they hurt each other enough to beat, as only ONE can claim the Keep, and they will hate each other as much as you![/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]NPC Life
[/b][/size][size="2"] My goal is to implement Intelligent A.I. in every NPC, as they make up the core of the game. The quality of every mechanic is almost reliant on the intelligence of the NPC's. This A.I.'s goal is to be a NEEDS based A.I. where NPC's gather resources, craft those resources into products, and then sell the products. Every NPC has a job of some kind, even if it is King or Beggar. This "Life" includes NPC's who are spawned into the world, and begin building their own environments. Upon creation of the game world or capture of new territory, NPC's begin to Settle (via Settler Quests- the transport of NPC's to a new location) with a town starting with nothing more than a Mayor's home and the construction of a Fort.[/size][/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Diplomacy
[size="2"] [/size][/b][/size][size="2"]If left alone, the NPC's form their own towns, create their own buildings, and wage war on their own terms.[/size] However, the primary goal of the Player is to use Diplomacy (a mini-game) and Influence (similar to Gold, a collectable resource) to direct the NPC's into their personal direction. The Mayor of every town has a Current Objective and a Future Objective. The Current Objective is what the NPC's are working on at the moment. Upon completion, the Mayor then proceeds to the next task-- this is where the player may step in. The Mayor has a list of objectives and their priority, based on the variables and resources of the town. (ex. A new town's focus will be on food, and hard to convince them otherwise since they will starve.) The Player uses his Influence (resource) and plays a bartering mini-game, and depending on the level of his success and the difficulty of the objective he wishes to accomplish, the Mayor rejects or accepts the change in priority. (ex. A player wishes to make a Blacksmith, but the Mayor wants to build a Mine for ore FIRST. The Player uses his influence, storage of Ore, and negotiation skills to convince the Mayor to skip the Ore and allow the player to sell or give the ore to the town instead. This will allow the player to make a profit, the NPC's to have their ore, build a blacksmith, and then begin to increase their supply of weapons and armor, which in turn makes them stronger and thus more apt for an Invasion.)
NPC's who are not builders, perform their tasks regardless of the player, but once again the Player may influence them to do something different in the same way. (ex. A player convinces the NPC Blacksmith to begin crafting Steel Swords, instead of Copper Swords, because the player agreed to lend or give Steel Ore to the Blacksmith. This IMMEDIATELY makes the town MUCH stronger than they would have been, offensively. Another example would be to convince the Mayor to buy the Player's Copper Swords, which would then automatically make the Blacksmith do something else.)[/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Crafting Focus
[size="2"] [/size][/b][/size]The focus on Crafting is important to most sandbox players, or players of any type. Crafting Stations are Community Owned. A player may choose to craft for himself (using his own resources) or craft for the NPC town and Realm (using their resources).
The Process of Crafting is Harvesting, Refining, Crafting, and Market. (ex. a [i]Farmer[/i] produces wheat, a[i] Miller [/i]takes that wheat and produces grain, and the [i]Baker [/i]takes the grain and produce bread, and the [i]Merchant [/i]sells the bread in the market.)
A Player may, at any moment, harvest, refine, craft, or sell, being paid for their work (similar to a Quest).[/list]
[list][*][b][size="3"]The Merchant[/size][/b]
A player may set up their own shop in one of three ways. A booth in an Open market, a Tent in the open market, or "rent" a Shop (building). Players can sell their own items, or an NPC (if they have the quest). Shops have set "slots" where a player may enter, for a limited amount of time. Upon entering the slot, NPC's enter to buy from the player, negotiating with him (mini-game). The Player gets to keep the profits (if selling NPC gear, they get to keep the extra they negotiate out of the NPC customer). There are a limited amount of NPC's per hour which will buy from a merchant. If no player is there to sell in the shop, by the end of the hour, all remaining NPC's (100% if no one is in the game) automatically calculate on the server and barter by themselves, resulting in resources being adjusted for the town.
The prevent player abuse, there are soft caps to everything. (ex. A town already has a lot of bread in resource, which means the price for bread will be very low, allowing for Merchant Adventures, which allow players to buy in bulk, transport via a Travel Quest to another town, and make a profit. Selling food to a town which has bread will be more difficult than in a starving town. The more food a town has, the harder it becomes to sell food, and the fewer NPC's come in to buy food.)[/list]
[list][*][b][size="3"]Travel Quests[/size][/b]
[size="2"] Players who wish to travel across the world may do so, and quickly, but not without playing the game! This is a balance between instant travel (teleportation) and boring adventure (having to walk the entire way there, in a huge world). For example, Player1 wants to travel from the East to the West, across 5 Zones. That player begins the process, and must complete 1 Travel Quest per zone they skip. It is faster to do Travel Quests (not to mention more fun) than it is to walk. A travel quest is a randomized encounter, which is selected and then the player is placed (teleported) to an area of the open world, where an event occurs (spawns), and any outsiders nearby will see a Battle Line drawn (of a different color, to indicate it is merely a quest). Anyone may enter to help or view what is happening, but they must walk or encounter it themselves.[/size]
Travel Quests may be Nothing (instant travel), an enemy Encounter (ex. players are placed into a forest, if they walk North or South, wolves will appear "from behind the trees" (spawn in) to fight, if they walk East they exit the encounter, and if they walk West they encounter an abandoned camp, with some loot or a quest), Survival Missions (it is night time, and you happened upon an uprising of Undead. you cram yourself into an abandoned cabin as the horde of Sunlight Ghouls pound at the door... you know that the only way out, is to survive until morning. [Conditions: Survive 5 minutes while overwhelming Ghouls try to break in and kill you]) or Weather Conditions (ex. You are caught in a Blizzard and lost half of your rations during a wolf encounter. If you want to survive the journey, you will have to find something to eat. [Conditions: Find [x] Food Items] and cook them at your Campfire.[/list]
[list][*][size="3"][b]Random Encounters
[size="2"] [/size][/b][size="2"]Random Encounters is a blend between traditional console RPG's and modern day MMORPG's. Although the game world is entirely alive and every NPC existing in the world, this is not always in the game world itself but also in "Population" or "Reserves" (Battlefield term). For example, to gather meat and leather, one must harvest via Hunting. To hunt, one enters into an area (a forest) and clicks the skill action (hunt), a few seconds later, the skill fails (nothing is found), directs the player to another area ("You hear something north..." [a bear spawns outside the player's screen, but can now be found and shot at) or are surprised (a bear spawns on the screen, very close to the player.)
This simulates the sole reality that when going into the forests, there seems to be nothing there. You can walk around for hours, seeing very little. This is because animals hide, burrow, and camouflage. To simulate this, they exist in the real world, but are not visible to the player at all times. Only a portion of the population is visible at any moment, but ALL can be accessed.
During traveling, the world never feels empty, even though it actually (visually) is! This is because behind-the-scene dice are rolled, which determine random encounters. If off screen, the player is warned via a message that something happened. If on screen, it is a surprise or the NPC's spawn at the edge of the screen and don't notice the player. This means that a simple walk from Town1 to Town2 can result in encountering a group of goblins, or a nasty troll.
The goal is to seamlessly blend these encounters into the game world, so that they do not feel random, but feel as though the player is living through an adventure. There are some specific areas (such as bridges) which are a high-encounter rate, meaning that there is a higher chance of an encounter (once per hour, per player). To prevent player abuse, random encounters only occur at timed intervals, and have a soft cap for high chance encounter areas. (Meaning the more often you go to a bridge that can has a high chance to spawn a Boss Troll, the less often the chance will be for him to spawn, up to a point where he never spawns for you at all.) This means that out of 100 players who cross a bridge, only one of those, only once per day, will encounter that Boss Troll. If the player flees, the Boss Troll will stick around the bridge for [timed interval] unless the player returns to combat it. If the player leaves combat AND the timer is up, the troll will disappear upon fleeing of the player, to avoid abuse. However, a player CAN "try to survive" while shouting in chat to others for help, so that they may try to claim a reward. However, to loot, they must be a part of the player's group or do significant damage, healing, or effect on the Troll or Player.[/size][/size][/list]





That's it for now...there are actually tons about every feature, fully documented. However, I cannot simply overwhelm people, nor give out the game design itself.
These are glimpses into the features, without the heavy detail or abuse-countering that is heavily documented.

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Emergence    121
Here is a bit of the prototypes.

Prototype intro story video (the text MUST BE PAUSED to read, as it goes away very fast.)

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYKnTZ5nDNo[/media]

Some of the artwork can be viewed [url="http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/87722-At-what-point-should-you-ask-for-collaboration"]HERE[/url] (as well as some of it below).

[b]WARNING: [/b]The game will most likely be rated [b]MA[/b], due to the use of blood spewing particle effects, and ability to strip naked and streak through town (it's okay, as if you're "tagged" by a guard or player when streaking, you are teleported into jail, where you must pay a ridiculously small fee of copper to get out.)

[img]http://emergencemmo.webs.com/EmergenceRaces/Race_Minotaur_Sprite2.png[/img][img]http://2dsprites.webs.com/graphics/Race_Centaur_Paperdoll.png[/img][img]http://2dsprites.webs.com//-%20New%20Folder/Jeckle.png[/img]
[img]http://2dsprites.webs.com//-%20New%20Folder/Cleric.png[/img][img]http://2dsprites.webs.com/graphics/Race_Maniac_Paperdoll2.png[/img]

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Emergence    121
[quote name='LainaLainnn' timestamp='1305498402' post='4811237']
Damn....they all look like serial killers. o_O
[/quote]

Hehe, probably because I picked some of my favorites to show here directly, and started off with the Maniac, who IS suppose to give a serial killer vibe, lol.

Unfortunately, now after reading your post, even the Cleric/Paladin/Crusader looks like a serial killer, LOL!

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Emergence    121
[quote name='Emergence' timestamp='1305558073' post='4811450']
[quote name='LainaLainnn' timestamp='1305498402' post='4811237']
Damn....they all look like serial killers. o_O
[/quote]

Hehe, probably because I picked some of my favorites to show here directly, and started off with the Maniac, who IS suppose to give a serial killer vibe, lol.

Unfortunately, now after reading your post, even the Cleric/Paladin/Crusader looks like a serial killer, LOL!
[/quote]

The First Race being implemented into the game is a race of the Realm of Man. The primary race and most common: Human.

Among the Humans are four variants: Briton, the most common form of human. Highlander, the larger scottish cousins of the Britons. Normans, the Viking heroes of old. Saracens, the outsiders of the kingdom of Camelot.

[img]http://emergencemmo.com/Portfolio/awesome.png[/img]

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Emergence    121
I've postponed all work for over a month to focus on vacation, family, but also to figure out if I should continue on with Emergence Online (or pause development), so as to finish a smaller project to get some profits going. There have been several smaller games and concepts I developed to boost the game's (my own) revenue, but since even a small game can potentially set EO back as much as 4 months, it was simply not worth it and I decided to just take the loss as to not postpone EO any longer.
I started back working on the game and website yesterday. I decided to show off some of the in-game Player Races.

I'm beginning work today to build the prototype for the Battlefield PvP system. This includes the most important aspects of the game: Combat, NPC AI (relative to combat), Battlefield Encounters & Events, Objective-based gameplay,

[u][b]Realm of Ancients[/b][/u]

[i]The Golem
[attachment=4172:Golem.png][attachment=4173:Golem_Earth_002.png]

The Satyr
[attachment=4174:Satyr_Red_Paypa.png][/i] [attachment=4175:Red_Sprite_006.png]

[i]The Werewolf
[attachment=4176:WerewolfPaperdoll.png][attachment=4177:Werewolf_000.png]


[u][b]Realm of Dragons[/b][/u]

The Goblin
[attachment=4178:Greenest.png][attachment=4179:Greenest_Sprite_007.png][/i]

[i]The Ratling
[attachment=4180:RatlingPaperdoll.png][attachment=4181:RatlingSprite_000.png]

The Troll[/i] (Traditional)
[attachment=4182:Troll_Natural_Paypa.png][attachment=4183:Troll_Natural_001.png]

[i]The Lava Troll
[attachment=4184:Troll_Lava_Paypa.png][attachment=4185:Troll_Lava_001.png]

The Naga
[attachment=4186:Naga_Paperdoll.png][attachment=4187:Naga_Sprite_001.png]

The Dinosaur
[attachment=4188:Dinosaur_Monosaurus_Paperdoll.png][attachment=4189:Dinosaur_Monosaurus_Sprite_000.png]


[/i][b][u]The Realm of Unrest[/u][/b][i]

The Skeleton
[attachment=4190:Skeleton_Paperdoll_000.png][attachment=4191:Skeleton_Sprite_000.png]

The Demon (Wings Optional)
[attachment=4192:Red_Wingless.png][attachment=4195:Red_Wingless_002.png]
[attachment=4193:Red_Wing.png]

The Lava Demon (Wings Optional)
[attachment=4194:Burnt_Wings.png][attachment=4196:Burnt_Wingless_001.png]


[/i][u][b]The Realm of Man[/b][/u][i]

[/i][i]The Frost Giant
[attachment=4197:FrostGiant_Paperdoll.png][/i][attachment=4203:FrostGiant_Sprite_000.png]
[i]
The Fire Giant
[/i][attachment=4199:FireGiant_Paperdoll.png][attachment=4202:FireGiant_Sprite_000.png]
[i]
The Rock Giant
[/i][attachment=4198:RockGiant_Paperdoll.png][attachment=4204:RockGiant_Sprite_000.png]
[i]
The Air Giant
[/i][attachment=4207:AirGiant_Paperdoll.png][attachment=4201:AirGiant_Sprite_000.png]

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Emergence    121
Here is an updated description of the game, having every major feature in it (although not all are scheduled for release date, which is still 1-4 years away, depending). Also to note* while I am still developing Emergence Online, I am releasing other games in the process. These games mostly are a requirement (same engine) as Emergence Online, and are also designed to raise funding to hire additional programmers (don't need any artists) to speed up the process of the game, as well as to show off what the game will be like, as these releases will include many of the same features, to give people a taste for the game which is still quite a ways off.

-----------------
Message
-----------------
I have the majority of graphics and animation already done, and the scale is quite massive, but due to having the graphic resources already it's quite do-able.

Initially there will only be a few races to choose from, but I actually have planned over 40 playable races to choose from, across 4 separate realms. I realize this isn't like Ultima Online, but in the OP I discussed that the graphics are 2D / 2.5D like UO and some similarities (I love UO with a passion) but a lot of the mechanics are borrowed from Dark Age of Camelot, which had 3 Realms, 19 races (6 in each + minotaurs), and 45 classes, so adding 40 player races isn't anything new really, as there will only be 10 to choose from after you choose a realm.
The four realms are

Realm of Man (Humans, Warforged, Halflings, Dwarves, Merfolk, Centaur, Froglok, Giant, Angel, Minotaur)
Realm of Unrest (Skeletons, Zombies, Imps, demented cultist-humans called Maniacs, Scarecrows, Gargoyles, Mindflayers, Vampires, Demons, and Abominations)
Realm of Ancients (Elves, Faeries, ancient alien-humans, Gnomes, Werewolves, Satyrs, Earth Golems, Treants, Elementals, and Animal Shapeshifters)
Realm of Dragons (Goblins/Orcs, Gnolls, Ratlings, Barbarian humans, Lizardmen, Naga, Dark Elves, Trolls (LOTR style), dragon-humanoids, and wyverns/dinosaurs/dragons, as well as possibly harpies).

While I loved FFA PvP in Ultima Online, I dislike it in most scenarios, which is why I wanted to keep PvP closer to DAoC's RvR system. However, I think this could be much greater, and I loved UO's faction wars and guild wars, as well as shadowbane's city fights. For PvP, every area/zone is controlled by a castle, which has a main city within it. The owner of the castle/city, controls the entire area/zone. Outlying the castle are buildable structures which help to control portions of the area, and are upgradeable and destructible (Keeps/Towns, Forts/Villages, Towers, and Camps).

All but the capital cities of every realm are controllable, so each realm fights for control of every zone. The world is partially scattered, so every zone has all four realms inside of it, to varying degrees. Players and NPC's work together to influence zone control, by first getting a presence and population into the area through a camp, and then upgrading it to protect them up to a keep/town. So a single area/zone can have a castle as well as 3 other major forts, holding a good portion of every realm, or can be totally controlled by a single realm. Resources, Crafting, and Trade are a vital part of the game.

In each area, players can hire NPC vendors like UO to sell their goods, and player housing is temporary by renting a house in a city/village. Upon destruction of the city and thus house, the player doesn't lose any possessions, other than the house itself which was a first-come, first-serve basis. The design is for NPC's to bring life into the cities by conducting business themselves (including buying from the player if they need items). There are numerous variables such as Population, Villager count, Soldier count, equipment, etc. A city is controlled by a Mayor who determines what the NPC's build, and players can influence this by using a diplomacy skill/game with the Mayor to change his mind. This is how players shape the world. They do get to change anything in the world, but must do so by successfully convincing the NPC mayor, who has a priority. (It is difficult to convince a NPC Mayor to build a blacksmith, when he has not yet constructed a way to get ore from the local mine, but if the player offers to supply the ore by giving some in diplomacy, it is likely he will accept.) NPC's begin building stuff, but players can help, and by participating in helping construct a town, they grow in faction for that town (and thus hold more influence, buy goods cheaper, and can rent houses to live in the city).

Players Quest to lower or raise the defenses of their or an enemy's fortifications, town, population, etc. This lets players use their time, even if they have only a little, to help the entire realm. A single person can help to add NPC soldiers to guard a mine (making it harder for enemies to take over that mine) in an hour, while another player can help to take over an enemy mine by doing quests to kill or raid that mine's fort/tower. It is all quite organized in a well thought out structure. It is far from a FFA massacre, and more along the lines of "To do this, you must accomplish this first." To take over a mine, you have to take over the adjacent fortification. (Resource nodes like mines are like towns, in that they have their own fortification Keep/Fort/Tower/Camp.)

There are safe zones (no enemy fortifications or camps in the area) and zones with relative difficulty. (A realm's fortification / population determines how many PC's or NPC's can spawn in that zone/area.) So if there only a Level 1 Goblin Camp, most players don't have to worry about being attacked in that realm. The more beneficial zones (better resource gathering, better realm bonuses, etc.) the more likely it'll be a contested zone and thus riskier (due to players wanting these areas of interest). The safer zones will provide worse resource gathering.

When I say "zone", I am not sure yet if it'll be a seamless world like UO, or a zone based game like EQ. It is yet to be determined, but if at all possible we want to keep it seamless. However, the world might be big, and to encourage casual-friendly playing, players can (kindof) teleport from area to area, depending. For PvP, players can enter any battleground across the world, if there is active combat in that area. Otherwise, travel is done through questing. Instead of pressing NumLock and running forward and going afk for 10 minutes until you reach your destination like most MMO's, we want the travel to be interesting, so you take the same amount of time (5-20 minutes) but go through random encounters (Enemy encounter, traveling merchant selling rares, accidental discovery of a secret area, or a survival quest during a blizzard, etc.). The further you travel, the harsher the quests can be. Some zones which provide excellent rewards, might have a static non-randomized travel quest of some difficulty. We originally had seasonal change (1 week is an entire season, so 1 month is a game year) but that is too heavy on the graphics for now and probably won't happen.

Players can still goto an enemy zone and steal from players though, but this is done by accepting quests. Quests are very dynamic and randomized, but some (such as PvP quests) a player gets to tailor towards his desires. So a player can take a thievery quest, and choose his target, choose what he wants to steal, etc. I like to refer to these quests as "Adventures" as there are only a very small amount of quests, but they are dynamic and randomized for the most part with random encounters or specific tasks. Raid Adventures (players rushing into an enemy area and destroying/looting, and then running away), Trade Adventures (carrying large amounts of cargo from one "zone" to another, avoiding monsters or players), etc. Each adventure type can be PvE only or PvP, but the latter always gives more rewards.

I want to keep a fine balance, labeling everything that involves PvP, with a notice that it might or will have PvP in it, as well as PvE safe areas. For dungeons, they all range in difficulty. Some dungeons have no death penalty (newbie dungeons) and have PvE and PvP components (Newbie PvP dungeons so new players can bash each other without worrying about veteran players killing them easily) while other dungeons (such as Dragon Lairs with epic treasure) can cause severe penalty, or even permanent death.

My main design is focused around Risk vs Reward. You choose your risk, and the reward scales with that risk. Most content isn't extreme though, only a select bit.
Ultima Online's stat loss (or skill loss?) is something I am very interested in as well. With 40 races and a plethora of skills which can be combined (A Warrior + Support magic = Paladin, or Friar, or Bard-Warrior, etc. The player decides through a limited cap, customizable skill system.) I want players to be encouraged to have Alt-itus, which many players already have. While the player never loses gold, bank items, crafting/harvesting skills, fame, and most forms of progression, they can lose their character. Upon permanent death, a portion of the combat character's (only combat skills) points are lost, and the character creates a new character (or the same type) with character creation points leftover from their previous character. It's not actually permadeath, it's stat-loss, but the characters do die and allow for (but do not force) new characters. The player is given the choice to revive their character, adjust them through an heir (same character, different skill allocation), or create a new one entirely. This way players never have to respec or create an alt, as they can just change their race, adjust their skills, or try something different. (They can however have multiple characters, and are encouraged to do so). As such, skill progression is much faster than the typical MMO. Things such as Trade skills, gold, item accumulation, etc. are still slower to progress though. All items have decay, and items are lost upon death unless blessed (which is only for rare items to prevent "Valorite Plate Syndrome", and is not something a player can do. No insurance. No bless deeds. Only rare items having blessed to encourage their use and avoid bank collecting which isn't as fun as using them.)

Characters are allowed 5 "Focuses" of skill sets, and each skill set allows 10 skill points. Spells are bought using skill points, and a player can become a hybrid of any skill set (Warrior/Wizard, Wizard/Thief, Paladin, Shadowknight, etc.) but are limited to a choice in 5. Some skill sets can be trained x5 (A magic school, making a pure mage) while some can be trained only x1 or x3 (Armor x1 to x3, and each Focus of armor gives special defenses as well as removal of armor restrictions, so a Armor x3 Focus allows full movement, extra protection, and no penalty for plate armor. So yes, there can be platemail wizards, BUT a character only has 2 remaining focuses to devote to wizardry, and won't be as powerful a wizard as a player who is Magery x5).
Each skill set / Focus provides talent choices, similar to D&D's Feats. So instead of 7xGM which creates 2-3 archetypes (Warrior, Mage, Bard, Tamer), it's more like 5xGM but with each of the 5 being archetypes themselves. One archetype is a pet class, which can mean tamer/enchanter or commander/necromancer, etc.

That sums up the majority of the major features. There is plenty more (such as the various skills, as there are no classes) but that would make this book of a message turn into a novel. Skills, Combat, Trade, and living NPC life are the focus of release, followed by adding in the RvR realm war, and then additional features. Only 3-5 races per realm will be there at first, so all 40 won't be in at release unless it is easier than I think to add them. (Their art is done, but there's more to it than that.)


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Recent Screenshots & Pre-Alpha testing & Misc Images (Some are over a year old and nothing like what I currently have. Most recent is first.)
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Just for fun, I added the last image (comparison of my skill 9 months ago to now) which is just that. Over 1 year I focused entirely on learning to do the art assets by myself from various tools. After thousands of dollars and a year later, my artistic ability grew and I advanced from my original plan of making it a stick figure game, hahaha.

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