Hey Reddit! We're a new team of game developers looking to shake up the MMORPG industry.

After years in the game development industry our CEO Jeromy Walsh quit his job at Microsoft in October of last year to start Soulbound Studios. It began with 4 employees in his basement and has quickly grown to 16 employees and actual office space.

Now, 7 months later, we're into pre-development on the MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria, with a live Kickstarter campaign that has surpassed the USD$900K goal.

So, ask us anything!

Everyone currently at the office is available for questions:

  • Jeromy "Caspian" Walsh (CEO & Creative Director) <-- Posting as /u/SoulboundStudios
  • Eddie Smith (Co-Founder & Lead Concept Artist)
  • Lindsey Walsh (Director of Outreach) <-- Posting as /u/SoulboundStudios
  • Van Ong (Character Artist)
  • Mark Dygert (Animator)
  • Brandon Carpenter (Technical Artist & Character Animator) (he's not in office today after all)
  • Jason Welter (Game Designer) <-- Posting as /u/8_Bit_Gamer
  • Nathan Hitchcock (Client Programmer) <-- Posting as u/tripnull
  • Miguel Sierra (Technical Designer)

Proof: Imgur

EDIT 11:42AM PDT: Thanks everyone for all the great questions! The team has a lunch schedule to keep, so our answering will slow down a bit at this point. We still have a lot of questions to get to, so expect more answers throughout the day and weekend. As long as you see the live flair, you know we're still answering and watching the thread.

Comments: 740 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

TimothyTierless27 karma

The number one criticism I've seen about COE is the deadline, what makes you confident you can hit what so many consider a short turn-a-round?

SoulboundStudios34 karma

Hi Timothy, great question!

The answer has to do with my specific development paradigm, which is to develop features as thin, vertical strips. Or as I like to say, we implement our features as "rope bridges", that is, the minimally functional version of something that allows us to test and validate the integrity of our designs and systems.

As an example, we need to be able to walk around in the world in order to test many of the features in the game. We could have spent time getting the male and female models rigged, animated, and equipment made for them, however we only did the male. The female has been modeled, but she remains unrigged and unanimated. We did this because we didn't need her to test the animation system, combat, etc.

By implementing only what's necessary to test our assumptions, it allows us to tackle the hard problems early in development, rather than at the end. Then, once we know we have working solutions for all the tough problems, we can go back in a stress-free, confident way and flesh out the systems we've already laid down with more content.

So I guess the short answer is, by doing all the hard stuff at the beginning.

Zunjin24 karma

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time. :)

Since the game will have different biomes and cultures from the start, does that mean we will be able to build different themed houses and craft different themed clothing / armor too? Like arabic looking stuff in the desert, or eastern looking stuff around asian influenced regions?

SoulboundStudios23 karma

@Zunjin: Of course! Different blueprints/designs require different materials to construct. Those materials, ie. clay, timber, stone, etc... define the look of the buildings. Similarly, the animals and plants in an area will allow you to construct clothing that's conducive to the environment. Sheep, wolf, fur, cotton, etc. So wherever you go, the characters and buildings should look like they belong there.

TimothyTierless23 karma

Will we get to see your engine/server tech in action before the end of the Kickstarter?

What is the biggest test (players/bots/either or both) you have ran on it internally?

Are you confident you can attract developers when other inde studios have struggled with that? If so how?

Are you using voxel tech or something else for building and destruction?

At what scale is your building and destruction compared to other games?

What is the big announcement that has been rumored?

SoulboundStudios17 karma

@Hey Timothy:

We'll be revealing more about our engine / server tech next week. As for seeing it an action? That's hard to say. It's difficult to demonstrate a lot of what's happening on the back-end when the client functionality isn't there yet to demonstrate. But, we will be answering peoples' questions about the tech.

Yes, we're confident we can attract other developers. Our team is primarily built up of people who have worked together over the years, and we'll continue to be bringing on people we know that are excited about our project. We will be doing hiring as well, but where we're located, Bellevue, WA is a hot-spot for development right now, especially MMOs.

We are not using voxen tech currently for building and destruction. We're using component-based construction with destructible elements. However, we've been looking at a few pieces of voxel-based middleware, so that could change this summer.

I'm not sure you mean by what scale.

The big announcement that has been rumored, is rumored to be announced early next week. ;-)

derekbooleander21 karma

Hi guys, thanks for doing the ama. I'm really looking forward to the being able to play CoE. One thing some friends and I have been wondering, will we be able to not only hire npcs, but be able to direct them with commands?

For instance, if I was a duke, would I be able to have my npc guards follow me around?

SoulboundStudios21 karma

@derekbooleander: You will definitely be able to issue the NPC commands. However, NPCs in CoE have attitudes and personalities. Depending on the situation they may or may not listen to you. For example, you won't be able to just click and tell someone to "move here". It's more of a "hey, can you go to this location and await my next instruction?" To which they may respond with "Sure!" or it could be "I've got better things to do than sit and wait around." The better your frame and reputation with the NPC, the more likely they are to do as you ask.

ChiaPet102121 karma

Hi SBS, thanks so much for this AMA.

There have been some questions, comments, and concerns about the studio's server and networking tech and staff experience being able to support such an ambitious game. Destructible environments, fully action-oriented combat, no instancing, etc. What makes you confident in being able to make such a game, especially since something of that level of technical complexity has been avoided even by large MMORPG development studios to this point?

Thanks again!

SoulboundStudios25 karma

Hey Chia! Thanks!

There's two answers to this question. First, I (the CEO), spent the last several years building scalable, distributed, service-oriented architectures for Microsoft. During that time I came up with an architecture which I believe works really well when applied to games. Part of the secret is the use of .NET for our back-end, which allows us to create new processes that do the things we need them to do very quickly. Interaction with web services, databases, etc. is readily accessible and with cloud APIs like AWS and Google Cloud, it's possible to easily scale up the processes managing our world dynamically.

The second answer is, we're leveraging as much middleware as we possibly can. We don't believe in re-inventing the wheel, and where others have made progress and have license-able technology available, we'll be looking to leverage that.

AlwaysForever1919 karma

I know it is a focus to make this game accessible for those of us with families and work, etc. So with day seasons and night day cycles, how will people with limited play time ensure that they are able to play during daylight hours? I am worried that crops won't get planted because with limited play time I'll somehow managed to login and have it be dark. Will the cycles be regular (9 am pdt is always daylight)? Or will it slowly change?

Also will livestock be the typical chicken, cow, etc, or game specific?

SoulboundStudios22 karma

Hi Always,

The day night cycle is 1.5 hour of day, and 1.0 hour of night. We made sure it was 2.5 hours instead of a multiple of 24, so that each day if you log in at the same time it'll be a different time of day.

As for the seasons being a day, this is one of those concerns that keeps coming up. Seasons being a day is a great starting point for us, as it works well with the survival system, it means farmers have something to do every day, and it also means that the bad stuff "like being stuck in a snowy environment" doesn't last for days at a time.

But, this continues to be one of those systems that will require a good amount of play testing. Mechanically speaking, it's very easy to change the rate at which seasons change. We'll just have to wait until Alpha 1, get feedback from players, and then make updates as necessary.

There will be typical livestock, as well a Elyria-specific livestock.

SoulboundStudios17 karma

Our day/night cycle is 1.5 hours day, 1 hour night (with twilight and dawn in there). Given a real-world day of 24 hours, you should see differing day/night periods if you log on at the same time each day.

We will have some of the typical livestock, but our concept artist really likes to create mixed animals, so I wouldn't be surprised if he throws a few things in there.

eMeLDi9 karma

Wow, two answers to your question. The Devs must be sleepy.

SoulboundStudios11 karma

Haha. Nope. Someone just didn't refresh before answering the question. (Likely me!)

Franstein18 karma

Hello to the team of Soulbound Studios!

My questions:

  1. Do you have an idea what the ratio of player to (human) non-player characters will be?

  2. You stated in a Dev Journal that on a continent there could be up to 200k people on one continent. Could there be multiple continents per server?

  3. What are your plans for very high interest from players in your game? Do you introduce new continents to the existing server or do you add new servers? If you add new servers do they get the same exposition phase the original server had or are you copying geography/history from the original server?

  4. For Kickstarter backers you are offering the option to purchase an extra copy of the game. Are these extra copies a cheaper version of the pledge for $35 or do these copies get the same access as the original purchasing account (as in acccess to Alpha, Beta, Exposition phase)?

SoulboundStudios16 karma

Hey Franstein -

  1. We plan to seed the world with 100K characters per server, so the ratio will really depend on how many humans join the game. We imagine at the start it will be closer to 30K humans and 70K NPCs, but that will change over time.

  2. I think the max we've ever mentioned was 100K per server. Right now each server is a single continent, but we will consider multiple continents per server.

  3. If we end up taking up all the 100K spots with players, we'll create new servers for new players.

  4. The extra copy of the game as a Kickstarter Add-on is just a basic game without any additional access levels. If you want a second copy with access, you'd need to back with a 2nd Kickstarter account because of the way KS works.

lithraviel18 karma

When do you anticipate (or want) pre-Alpha/Alpha testing to start? How long do you expect to run Alpha testing? Same questions for Beta.

I know exposition is 3 months prior to game launch but at current plan (end 2017/early 2018) with a game of this size, it seems extremely optimistic to only have ~6 months each for Alpha & Beta testing at that timeline.

Edited for formatting

SoulboundStudios19 karma

Hey Lithraviel, we want pre-alpha (Alpha 1) testing to be as early as possible. The sooner we get feedback from players, the more time we have to make sure their feedback is addressed. We're hoping to have Alpha 1 available as early as Q1 2017, with Beta beginning in the summer.

As for how optimistic it is, I spent the better part of the last 5 years developing automated test infrastructure for Microsoft. The plan is over this summer to roll out a similar system of automated testing so we catch a lot of the more common issues way in advance, and not have to rely on live testing to discover.

eMeLDi18 karma

We are all very excited. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

What are the mechanics of exiting or transferring vassalage from one's leige?

Is a secessionist county obligated to join a neighboring friendly duchy?

Can a duchy declare independence and become a Kingdom of one duchy?

Can two or three duchies seceed, merge and start their own archduchy?

Can independent entities of the county and duchy size exist, and would they get their own "kingdom" interface?

Again, thank you! Looking forward to hearing all the questions and answers!

SoulboundStudios21 karma

@eMeLDi: Thanks! Glad to be here. Transferring vassalage, or really transferring anything in CoE is done through a contract. A county that secedes from its current county becomes a new county under the same duchy. To become a duchy of their own, they must secede from the duchy as well. And so on. To be declared an independent Kingdom, you'd have to potentially overcome the military force of the entire Kingdom. It's do-able, but as in our world, difficult. We don't want hundreds of kingdoms popping up every day. Finally, two or three duchies seceding from their current kingdom would form a new kingdom.

Currently it's not possible for an independent "city-state" the size of a county to exist as its own "kingdom." However, it's something we'll probably introduce as the in-game story continues.

malador51117 karma

Several questions from me:

How easy/hard will it be to acquire tools and workstations of various trades? Will I be able to use my own crafting skills in other professions to help me craft what I need to get started in another profession and will I need to get a pattern or recipe for the tools?

How does the parcel of land that you receive when you get a T2 or T3 profession kit work? Do you get to claim some land for free within the bounds of a settlement or is usable for claiming land in the wilderness as your own? Does this advance your social class at all?

I am considering buying and combining several of the prebuilt IP commercial/residential buildings, can I turn this into a guild hall for me and my friends in some official capacity or do we just use it like that? Can guilds be created by anyone anytime or do you have to register them somewhere?

What sort of things should I expect from the tinkerer profession? Is this primarily for interactions between other professions or a specific profession in its own right?

SoulboundStudios22 karma

Hey malador511,

It's fairly easy to purchase crafting stations from people who build them. And you can certainly use your crafting skills in carpentry, smithing, etc. to create your own crafting stations for your other interests - or create crafting stations to sell. To construct a crafting station for the first time you'll need to have developed sufficient skill and learned how either through observing others, reading a pattern, etc.

The parcel of land you get from the T2 or T3 profession kit can be used to claim any unclaimed land. This will generally be outside of a settlement, as land in a settlement had to belong to someone to become part of a settlement.

To be a proper Guild Hall requires a specific workstation to allow you to manage your guild. However, you can construct the building however you like, including purchasing several building types and then combing them with the construct of additional rooms between them.

Tinkerer profession is mostly for mechanical things, ie, things that require gears and wheels.

malador5119 karma

Thanks for answering my questions :) I am incredibly excited for this game to come out and intend to play the hell out of it when I can :)

When you claim the land outside of settlements does it then follow the standard rules for land ownership/management?

Will you still have to pay taxes or some form of land rental if its close enough to someones settlement?

Does owning this land elevate your social status at all or are you still a good old peasant if land is acquired this way?

SoulboundStudios10 karma

All land is within a Kingdom, Duchy, and County even if it is outside of a town or stronghold. So when you acquire land it must be from the Count who presides over that land. Note that the Count does not initially OWN all of the land, but is still the manager for creating purchase contracts. So, yes, you'd need to pay taxes to the Count upon acquiring land.

PokerFaceMoose16 karma

Hello! I am excited for this game and have backed the Kickstarter.

I was wondering what kind of post-launch support should we expect? Will the game continue to get content/feature updates regularly or will we be left to our open world with most patches being focused on bugs/exploits? Do you have an explicit plan for this or are you waiting to see what parts of the game need some love the most?

Thank you for doing this.

SoulboundStudios23 karma

Hey PokerFace! Glad to hear you're excited. So are we! And thanks for your support.

Right now one of the business models that is growing in popularity is the "Buy to Play" mode, similar to GW2 where you buy a game and/or expansion, and then play for free. We really like this system, but the problem is it encourages the developers to hold onto features and new content until the next Expansion, so they have something to charge for.

We use a B2P model where people buy Sparks of Life instead of expansions, specifically so we can detach the rate at which we release new content from the money. So yes, you will continuously get new content from the moment of launch until we end the game. This will come in the form of new story arcs, more and more capable and intelligent NPCs, new technology being introduced in the world such as mechanical things, and things which require a power source.

Viktor_CoE15 karma

Thanks for the AMA. Few questions here.

  • 1.) When can we expect to see a finalized layout of world/kingdom layouts?

  • 2.) Can kingdoms EXPAND into other kingdoms or are borders permanently set?

  • 3.) What are your thoughts on player controlled banking?

  • 4.) How hard will it be to grow a city/county with just NPC's until more players join a county?

SoulboundStudios18 karma

  1. While this might change based on feedback, we were planning to have a finalized version of the world map available near Beta 2 and Exposition. The amount of alliances forming so quickly now, may require that earlier.

  2. Yes, borders at any level can expand.

  3. We think player controlled banking is a fantastic idea. That's the kind of meta that the contract system was developed for. Imagine a group of people deciding to rob that bank, and the conflict that would ensue. That being said, we also think many people will choose to store their wealth themselves, thus creating intricate player run dungeons.

  4. It depends what your ultimate goal is. If you want to run a city with NPCs, that would be possible. If you're talking about growing it, that might prove more difficult. You'd have to buy all the land and build out houses and commercial buildings, plus the roads to the town, to draw in more NPCs.

jcurt200614 karma

As a count, who also would have a baroney, would I need to use my IP initially to purchase buildings? Or can I use property that already exists in the Town/Village etc. that I've chosen?

EDIT: By property that exists I mean buildings specifically that exist in the pre-formed "town".

SoulboundStudios16 karma

For both your County (via Count title) and Town/Stronghold (via Baron/Mayor title), you'll get to choose some of the pre-developed parcels of land within your domain as your own. Those parcels of land could be ones within towns which already contained buildings such as houses or crafting stations. From there you could use your IP to purchase other buildings, more land, resources, animals, etc. You could also use it to modify the buildings that are on your chosen land, to add rooms or floors, change the materials, etc.

DamienMartin2114 karma

This Question is for Brandon Carpenter -- Recently, DM21 Gaming has led a campaign to make you famous. What have you, specifically, contributed to Chronicles of Elyria (so that we may make a meme of it)?

Further -- With everything being so innovative with CoE, can you speak to the ways in which you innovate in Character Animations, and Art, to make CoE the best game it can be?

SoulboundStudios30 karma

Ummm...Brandon actually ended up being out of the office today (I need to edit the original post), but I will definitely pass that along to him.

Brandon is definitely famous in the office for getting shot in the eye with our Nerf darts. He was the first casualty of war and had to see the eye doctor to deal with swelling in his retina. We're a very dangerous place to work apparently, so now he (and several others at SBS) wear protective glasses during our wars. Beyond that Brandon has been responsible for the cloth physics, body dynamics, character movement, and thus has starred at a whole lot of naked character butts in UE4.

Zunjin13 karma

We have a heard your ideas about the "punishment system" ingame, like warrants, prison time and higher death-lifeloss penalties for PKer etc. Things that will work if the player cares about his char, the reputation, if he is kicked out of cities or the money he has to spent.

But what about Griefers who don't care if they waste a character. How are you going to handle them and the damage they might do, especially if the damage is done to the economy (Exploiter using early bugs)?

SoulboundStudios16 karma

It is certainly a factor we'll have to balance out. We have a pretty good min/maxer with some griefing tendencies on staff to help us with that during Alpha/Beta. We know that this is really key to a fun game, so expect us to put a lot of work into this.

As you mention, we have the real world financial penalties. Secondarily you can be blacklisted from cities/Counties/Duchies/Kingdoms based on your reputation. So you could basically get shut out of interaction and places where you can cause the most damage. We also know there are several guilds and organizations already forming which have the intention of hunting down those types of people, so there's that part too.

abrielmcpierce13 karma

If people have IP but aren't going to participate in the 3 month exposition, will there be a system where they can buy items before it gets converted to SP?

SoulboundStudios12 karma

Hi Abrielmcpierce,

IP is specifically for using during exposition. At the end of exposition, just before the game launches, all remaining IP will be converted to SP. We'll give people plenty of notice of when that will occur.

abrielmcpierce9 karma

Only those who've pledged at 120 or more can be in the exposition. Doesn't this mean that those under that pledge level shouldn't bother with upgrading or contributing more in order to get more IP?

SoulboundStudios15 karma

You will be able to earn your way into Exposition by having enough IP. Right now that sits at around 1K IP, however we hope to get everyone with at least 100 IP into Exposition with a rolling start so that they can use their IP that they've earned or bought.

Sjatar13 karma

Will cartographers be able to make our own stamps or even draw free hand to create unique maps? This is so that even if a thief takes your precious map he still needs to know your symbols, this is also to grow the usages of maps over the extent implemented by you guys.

Second question:
Will we be able to make maps on the fly or do we need some kind of special workbench. If we can make them in the wild will this reduce the quality of the map made?

Edit: Third question:
Will tents be a thing and do you haft to be at a tavern or other house when you log off to be able to survive?

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Hey Sjatar -

  1. For creating maps, we need character skill to play into map quality in addition to player skill, so freehand wouldn't allow that (you could simply trace a printed map). You will be able to create your own stamp (for example, if you wanted to mark a well, but no stamp is currently available). As for the thief, they'd need certain cartography or forgery skill to be able to copy your map.

  2. You can take notes and do some stamping in the wild, but can't actually draw the map and lay of the land until you're back at your crafting station.

  3. Yes, tents will be a thing. You can survive as an OPC in the wild, but you need enough food & water to do so, and we'd recommend guards as added protection.

jediaelthewise12 karma

To what extent do you plan to allow us to 'script' our character's actions when we are offline?

Do you have any kind plans for two factor authentication for our accounts?

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Yes, we'll provide options for 2-factor authentication. It would be kind of stupid not to!

Our goal with scripting for offline player characters (OPCs) is to allow you to do basic tasks such as:

  • Survival - eating, drinking, staying warm, sleeping
  • Defense - fighting back, running away, staying hidden
  • Skills & Crafting - training, practicing, and learning skills + crafting
  • General - movement, running a shop, taking care of animals, etc.

-Antaryon-12 karma

Thanks for this opportunity, to ask questions so here goes my two questions.

  1. Will it be possible to hold multiple same rank titles such as 3 counts or 2 kings for example. Also how would it work?

  2. Will we be able to mark our exact location somehow (when we happen about a nice location in the wilderness) to be able to find the exact plot to Buy at the county table?

SoulboundStudios11 karma

Hey Antaryon -

  1. Nope. 1 title per rank per character. Yes. you could marry someone of the same title rank and consolidate the Counties with your children. Or you could use Casus Belli to invade and conquer someone of your same rank, thus also consolidating the 2 titles together.

EDIT: To clarify, I (Lindsey) was wrong on the original post. I was thinking of Counties that were next to each other being consolidated, but Jeromy & Jason both pointed out that you could have 2 titles if you marry or take over a County that isn't adjacent.

  1. That goes back to the cartography & navigation system. Two things will impact your ability to pinpoint your location - the quality of the map and your skill in navigation. So don't buy a map from just anyone on the street, and learn how to use a compass, and you should be pretty good.

SoulboundStudios12 karma

Hey folks, this was an internal miscommunication. I've edited it. As it says, if you inherit multiple titles from your parents, for example, multiple counties, you can in fact hold those titles as distinct counties. That is, in fact, the default. Work must be done to consolidate land into a new region.

flaard11 karma

Will counts be able to restrict access to the property table to prevent people from taking advantage of adverse possession, and what other consequences will that entail? What are good games to practice combat for COE? Thank you for your time.

SoulboundStudios13 karma

No, you can't restrict access to the Land Management Table. For parcels of land that are unowned, the Count can limit the number of parcels available for sale. For parcels that are abandoned (28 days without the owner or family on the land), the Count would get first right of ownership, which they could use to either help the people gain their property back or could decide to develop the land for themselves. Then the land would automatically go to the Land Management Table so that people could choose to use Adverse Possession. But even then the Count could help or hinder that process.

The responsiveness and ability to respond to combat moves would come from fighting games. As far as mechanics, Dark Souls or Bloodborn.

Ambrosevelt11 karma

I'd like to thank y'all for doing this.

So, when we discover new, uncharted lands (on this continent or another) will there be indigenous NPC/players for us to communicate with?

Thank ye.

SoulboundStudios12 karma

Possibly, or there might be no one at all. There will definitely be NPCs who hold towns where no player has been, particularly since the world is so large - it will take 48 real-world hours to walk across the continent.

Zarcuthra10 karma

With many online games dominated by the type of gamer simply interested in ruining other peoples days, what steps are you going to take to prevent hordes of basic tier players from becoming the rampaging hordes of murderers and looters that you see in other sandbox games? I understand your proposed jail system and its effect on character longevity...but unless this is VERY strict..like 3-4 murder violations and the character goes POOF! strict requiring the player to re-up another $30, I do not see it as being an adequate enough deterrent to prevent the type of behavior many of us are concerned about...especially with our characters and hard earned property persisting in-game even when we are logged out. Please elaborate on how you plan to reduce rampant murder and destruction, and shouldnt crimes against the aristocracy and nobility carry stiffer penalties...just like they do in reality...they have the most to lose and set the laws and punishments...do they not?

SoulboundStudios16 karma

Hi Zarcuthra!

Our system of preventing griefing isn't a single solution system. It's many systems combined. In response to "basic tier players", combat in CoE is skill based, not (just) number based. So in order to become that rampaging horde of murderers, you also need to be a good horde of murdering players. Otherwise, you're just going to get slaughtered a lot.

Second, as you pointed out, when someone dies, there's a 2.5 hour lock on their spirit loss. So they can only lose 2 days of play-time per 2.5 hours. However, there's no cap on spirit loss for committing crimes. So if you kill someone 3 times in a 2.5 hour period of time, and are caught, you'll suffer at a minimum 6 days of spirit loss to their 2.5, and again, that's assuming you could beat them to begin with.

Next, this is a survival game. People need to eat, drink, etc.. or become fatigued. So being out in the wild is a time-limited thing. But if you become known as a griefer, that is, if you develop a very negative in-game reputation, people will simply refuse to let you into their settlements. Now you're stuck in the wild with no food, no water, and no support structure. That will quickly make the game un-enjoyable.

Also, "re-up'ing" the $30 happens when your character has reached their max lifetime. This starts at around 12 months (354 days) and goes down each time you die by 2 days (capped to once within a 2.5 hour) period of time. So in most cases, even getting killed a couple times won't have a noticeable impact overall.

And yes, the punishment for a crime is related to the spirit loss of the person whom you wronged. If you kill a King for example, and then are caught and sentenced, you'd lose the same (or more) play-time as they would. The punishment for killing a king and being captured and sentenced is roughly two months of game time. So criminals must be either very clever, or very brave.

wrymenigma10 karma

What kind of server test have been performed to validate the idea of fully destructible environment even being possible?

It is common for even single player games to have the save file (aka the world) to take longer and longer to load to due to change state. Given there will be more and more objects to keep up with.

Thanks, look forward to the game! <proud backer>

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Hey wrymenigma,

The main complication with the destructible environment is the need to update all the clients with the new state. However, the way we maintain state makes it so there's very little data that actually needs to be transferred to the client when a building is removed/destroyed. The animations, etc. are all handled on the client, and aside from any large, physical objects which get spawned and added to the physics system, it's relatively in expensive to destroy stuff.

As for the world file taking longer to load, we use streaming technology to make sure you only have to load the stuff immediately around you. So regardless of what's happening a county away, your load times should be consistent.

Torque080810 karma

Greetings. Thanks for doing this.

First simple question to come to mind. Will you allow players to coup their NPC noble during Exposition?

Second question, how are you going to keep players (esp nobility) from making themselves virtually unkillable? E.g, locking themselves in a small room when offline with no windows, and 20 soldiers paid to stand right next to them?

SoulboundStudios9 karma

Hey Torque! Thanks for having us here!

Exposition will come in three phases. Phase one there won't be any combat that's not mutually agreed upon (dueling). In the second phase there will be combat, but no coup de grace and no Casus Belli's. In the first third phase, we allow the players to do as they will, even attempt to overthrow their NPC overlords.

We have no plans to prevent the players from making themselves virtually unkillable. That creates the challenge for those people who want to kill them. It becomes a game of chess. Can players find the right time to assassinate their targets?

We feel that locking their NPCs into a small room with no windows and with 20 paid soldiers sound like a great puzzle to solve, and also means the OPC isn't doing anything beneficial while offline.

eMeLDi6 karma

Is that a typo when you say we can overthrow NPCs in pahse one? It looks like you might mean phase three in context.

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Thanks. Fixed.

CountRuko9 karma

I read that it's possible to sale or lease land, will that be the same with homes and inns?

Will scripting your player to craft as an OPC give you the same amount as skill leveling as it would do without OPC?

How far will the game evolve in age?

When will be the testing phase?

How many duchys to a kingdom?

SoulboundStudios8 karma

Hi CountRuko! Yes! Inns, etc. are very important, as is simply controlling access to rooms in guild halls, etc. Players will be able to specify which rooms people can access and rent their rooms for the night.

No. OPCs can only craft things which are considered no longer challenging for you. Ie. you wouldn't advance in skill from crafting it.

We have no idea how far it will evolve, however as an estimate, the game is planned for a 10-year story, which each real-life year being about 90 years. So consider it's roughly 900 years worth of advancement. While Elyria isn't Earth, and technology will develop at a different rate, it's at least one measure to go by.

Testing will come in various phases. Read over the AMA as we've talked a few times about when Alpha will be.

The number of duchies to a kingdom is random, based on geography size and some RNG'ing, but the average is 8 duchies to kingdom, with the range being somewhere between 4 and 10 (weighted on the high side).

Phabin9 karma

A couple questions related to there being multiple servers and how different they will be from one another.

1a) With the continents being procedurally generated are the starting continents for each server going to be different or will there only be one continent created that all servers use? 1b) I imagine the answer to this ties in with the answer to 1a but will each server have it's own exposition? or will there be a single exposition that each server will start the game with?

2) Since technology discovery will be player driven then will each server progress their technology separately or when someone discovers a technology will it get sent to the other servers as well (NPC discovering it on other servers)

3) Now the question I'm most interested in? Since the goal is to have the story be player driven, how flexible/branching is the overall 10yr main story going to be? After 5 years (half the main story) of time have passed will I be able to look at each server and see a completely different story with similar highlights? or will I see the same story on each server with slightly different outcomes that don't greatly impact the next part of the story when compared to different outcomes?

SoulboundStudios9 karma

Hi Phabin!

1a. Each server will have a different starting continent.

1b. Exposition will start for all servers that are available at launch at the same time. If we're fortunate enough to need to add servers post-launch, we'll likely use another world as a seed and then let players migrate from one server to another, halving the population and allowing both servers to continue independently of one another.

  1. Each server will progress through their own technological discoveries. Discovery of something on one server doesn't make it available on other servers.

  2. That's a great question. As the number of servers will likely be small, we anticipate that each server will completely different, with similar highlights. Of course, it largely depends on the decisions of the servers. If they follow a similar route, as human-nature dictates, then the servers could look more alike than we imagine. But the important thing I think you're looking for here is, the potential for difference is there.

ozbeneli9 karma

Hello Soulbound Studios!

Love everything that is coming out with these QA and DJ's. My question is Will we have the option of being able to smith/craft mount and pet/follower armor? I saw the War Trison and it looks fully decked out in armor which appears to have come from a gifted blacksmith.

Follow up question, How customizable will armor be? Could we add like golden tips to armor spikes or will all crafted armor look the same?

Thanks!

SoulboundStudios9 karma

Hey Ozbeneli!

Yes for mount armor. We haven't discussed armor for pets yet.

We really need to release more info on armor customization since we have such a great system here. Our goal with blacksmithing (and all crafting really) is to be able to make things unique. Not only will you have to size it for the character you're creating (and people can size out of their armor), but you will be able to change individual components. Yes, you can decorate sections with spikes or jewels. We also have a layering system so you can be wearing a padded piece under your breast plate. Likewise, if you're wearing a ring you won't be able to equip your gauntlets, but you could do so over leather gloves.

meyade9 karma

Thanks again for doing this! ^

The two things I wonder the most are: Are you guys having second thoughts on the one day one season [edit] cycle or are you confident it will work well?

And, is the companion API on the to-do list or can we forget about it?

SoulboundStudios12 karma

Thanks for being here to ask questions! We love talking with you guys and gals.

  1. We feel pretty confident that one day, one season will work. However, we're not tied to it. We wholly expect during Alpha 1 to get player feedback one way or the other, and will use that to make decisions going forward. It's possible that variable length seasons or longer seasons could occur, but it would require enough feedback that feel it's worth re-balancing all the related mechanics the are associated with seasons.

Companion API? Are you referring to OPCs or something else?

Roarer_Lightbringer9 karma

Finally a chance to lower my stocklist of questions, I guess it is not appropriate to unleash them all:

1) How many crafting / gathering skills are done with their design phase? Are you open to community suggestions on mini-game design for crafting ?

2) Chronicles of Elyria introduced itself as a world that will constantly change depending on the interaction of the soulbound engine with the players' decisions. The players' experience heavily depends on the success of the soulbound engine, and the development for the engine has started 8 years ago. How will you show the community that the soulbound engine is working as intended, without giving away the story? Or do you expect the community to simply have faith in your words?

3) Soulbourn engine tempt players to go further & further to the extreme of an soul affinity. Say three years after the game is launched, most early souls reached extreme affinity. What decisions will the engine provides to souls of extreme affinity? Will the engine tempt players to keep themselves from absolute good & absolute bad?

4) Can we make delivery contracts to a specific coordinate / location instead of a person?

5) How will the soulbound engine interpret the contract term : "we share 50% of the loot from this treasure map"? How will the engine decide if the players have fulfilled the terms?

6) If I witness someone picking others' pocket / assassaining others, how can I call guards?

7) If I do not know that person's identity (cuz he never introduce himself to me), am I any use in a trial ?

8) It is easy to imagine multiple champions co-operate to fight a monster, or multiple architects co-operate to build a monument. But are there activities that require multiple explorers / gatherers to tackle? (Besides mapping the world)

I got a friend who is on the fence of pledging, and I brought his questions with mine : )

a) How will religion affect a player's day to day life?

b) How will religion affect a player's combat style & profession/ crafting progress?

c) How will the effect change "from the beginning through out the progress of the 10 years story?

So, I guess, enough questions for now. Keep up the good work!

SoulboundStudios8 karma

  1. None of the crafting skills are fully through the design phase, and, yes, we're always open to community suggestions.
  2. We'll test the Soulborn Engine during Alpha & Beta, asking players to take actions that will change their alignment to show that certain quest chains or opportunities are open to them and not people who changed their alignment the other direction.
  3. Extreme alignments or affinities would be presented with the most rare and dangerous opportunities to advance certain elements of the story (things that are dependent on light or dark). In order for you to have an extreme, you'd have to continue acts of that sort, otherwise you'd shift back toward the middle over time.
  4. We haven't discussed this specifically, but I imagine yes.
  5. We'll have to test those areas of contract specificity. Those elements aren't yet coded.
  6. We would suggest shouting or running for the nearest guard. ;-)
  7. If you saw the person you could act as a witness based on appearance...assuming they aren't using an alternative identity.
  8. Absolutely. We envision both guilds of groups together doing gathering work, clearing areas of a forrest, running a mine, or charting out where the local stock of herbs grows. 8a. Religion is a part of the lore of Elyria and so will have some elements in the larger story. Beyond that, from a practical standpoint, we've proposed statues that could be placed in a city to provide buffs to those residents or visitors when people worship at the statues. 8b. Religion will not effect combat or crafting. 8c. You'll have to wait to find out. ;-)

Dyaeblca9 karma

  1. I'm wondering about the mechanism behind the character spawn location when he/she first enters the world. If I create a character in a specific npc family but I also possess a stronghold/town, will I have a choice to claim my land away from my family location? And where would my character start - at the family location or my land location?
  2. Will joining a family through marriage grant the same spirit walking help benefits as being born into one?

SoulboundStudios8 karma

Hi Dyaeblca,

  1. We're actually revising the system for getting into the world a bit based on player feedback. Going forward, it's best to assume that if you own a settlement, you need to select from a family within that settlement.

  2. Joining a family by marriage does grant the same spirit walking benefits as being born into the family.

Vanderhagast8 karma

Greetings, from House Darkholm.

  1. Could other players join as part of an existing family without having to be children of the current main player. I mean, could they be brothers, cousins, without title inheritance?

    If so, to what extent? Could we have let's say 5, 10, 20 players join?

-Rowena Darkholm, Queen of Black Hearts

SoulboundStudios7 karma

Hi Rowena,

We recognize there are lots of groups out there that wont to role-play larger families. During exposition people will have the opportunity to join as extended members of the family by becoming NTCs. It's also possible for players to join families as siblings, etc.

As for 5, 10, 20.... a single family is limited by the physical size of its noble house. But get the houses large enough, and be willing to extend to cousins, etc.. and it should be possible.

Hyoil_Han8 karma

What seperates this game from every other MMORPG?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Hi Hyoil_Han, CoE has features unseen in any MMORPG before, and other features players have seen before but never done in this way.

We have: a brand new business model, aging & character permadeath, dynamic body systems, survival mechanics, souls & reincarnation, a fully skill-based profession system, player-created contracts/quests, a dynamic story engine, player-families & genetics/bloodlines, skill-based combat, etc.

And that's just a short-list. In other words, we're one of the few MMOs that have been seen in a long time that's created the game we want to play, not the game we see being successful. This is our vision for what an MMO should be.

Baron_Zeemo8 karma

Good Day! Hope all is well going on with the game. A few question : 1. I believe in a previous Q&A it was said talents wouldn't appear in the first 3 months, if that was correct when can we expect them to begin manifesting? 2. About building, When erecting a new shop, home, hideout, etc what will all of this require, I assuming the blueprints will we be done by an architect will we need to hire carpenters, masons, and the like to actually construct the buildings? Also dealing with the ip buildings will it just be blueprints and you have to build it, or will you get to place it and it already be built? 3. We've heard of and seen of a few creatures in the game can we get any hints or sneak peaks on more? 4. the player pets such as the Leffit, will these have a purpose or are they just for looks? 5. When it comes to warfare and armies will there be npcs you can hire or raise from your npc families or will they just be of player chars? 6. When the topic of natural disasters came up what kind of them could be experienced Tornadoes, Hurricane, flooding, tidal waves, earthquakes, maybe even a zombie apocalypse? Thanks for your time!

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Hey Zeemo!

  1. We haven't talked about this further, so I'm going to stick with the 3 month timeline. Talents will be rare and only added as needed in the story.

  2. When you add a new building in-game (not with IP purchases), you will need blueprints from architects and manual labor for building. Whether that is yourself and friends or a skilled laborer, we're not sure. You will also need the resources to build the item (wood or stone, windows, doors, etc.).

  3. I think we've already released all of the chimera creatures that we've created: Canis Rabbit, Trison, Ursaphant, Leffit, Conifer Rat.

  4. Each pet will have an impact on your stats and skills.

  5. You can hire NPCs for your army, but depending on pay, they can always refuse.

  6. Natural disasters at this point are just a concept, so we don't have any hard yes or no on any particulars.

Omner_Garamonde8 karma

What are the plans regarding 'Item Durability'? Will equipment slowly degrade over time, or only when the user takes damage? If it is a thing, how difficult will it be to get things repaired?

SoulboundStudios8 karma

Hi Omner!

Buildings places in the wrong climate will slowly degrade. Beyond that, we expect items will reduce in durability through use. We don't have a concept of rust at this point. Though I can see value in adding such a system at some point the future.

Xizzib8 karma

Can i assign an Acting Count/Duke for when i'm on vacation IRL?

What size building is included in the 400 ip profession starter kit?

Will passive learning also apply to people crafting?

Can i apart from titles also change other rewards into IP?

*Will my crafting profession chew and spit everything out for me, or can i discover items myself. I.e. a Bow that no one else has ever made and with it, keep the 'recipy' for myself and have an 'exclusive' item until someone else finds out how to make it?

Edit: Extra question

SoulboundStudios6 karma

  1. Right now we don't have an official way to do this, but it sounds appropriate so it's likely when we design the system that this would be in.

  2. The 400 IP tier 3 profession kit provides a small wooden building from the commercial building list.

  3. Yes, passive learning will apply to all skills, including crafting.

  4. Only titles and merchandise credits from reward tiers can be traded into IP.

  5. You will be able to use research to help discover new technology and versions of crafting items. When you craft something you'll be able to commit to a sliding scale of either high quality or research which will let you decide if you're looking for something new or to produce the best possible version of something.

Bcole0338 karma

The IP Profession Kits (tier 3) come with a wood building (crafting station and building). can we upgrade these to stone or add a level to these like the commercial buildings?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Yes. The Profession Kit tier 3 building is just a small wood building from the commercial buildings list. So you can upgrade with IP to add a floor or improve the material.

Moonlynx658 karma

I am so looking forward to seeing the game. It looks amazing from the videos that have been made. Any ETA on when the alpha 1 will start? When will we get to learn more about the lore?

SoulboundStudios9 karma

Alpha 1 will start as soon as possible. Ideally Q1 2017, but we'll know more as time goes on.

As for lore, we will be releasing more and more lore beginning soon. I'm even planning a Kickstarter Update next week that introduces players to some of the lore. Also, Heat (Eddie Smith) has begun working on some concept art of the different gods, etc.. to share with people. Including some we think will really excite people.

LKinoss7 karma

I know most of the lands will be randomly generated with some areas being specially crafted by your team. Will the tools you use to craft unique terrain areas also be available to players to beautify other areas of the world? Similar to how you have a architectural blueprint system.

SoulboundStudios6 karma

It's unlikely the steps we take at the beginning to create specific story scenes will be available to players. Primarily because it generally requires creating custom meshes and models for the terrain, etc..

What's more likely is that as time goes on, and our tools improve, we'll start to use the tools we provide players for world customization ourselves, instead of hand-creating assets like we do today.

MFuqua0137 karma

Will groups of friends that pledge to be Barons together be able to combine their towns and forts into one location so they are able to play together?

SoulboundStudios8 karma

Hey there! Friends who pledge at the baron level to govern settlements together won't be able to combine their towns/forts into one location.

During settlement selection the mayors and barons will get to select the pre-established settlements to take control of, and then take over management of that settlement from there, including adding new buildings, etc.

We aren't planning to have settlements close enough together that you could easily build them into a single settlement during Exposition. Though, doing so isn't impossible, and as long as the contracts are in place, you could combine your towns and create a city if that were to occur.

Hades08157 karma

hey SBS thx for your time

  1. Will pets/animals be able to learn commands? like "doggy search" and he searches for unusual smells or what ever I trained him to search, like blood, corpses, ruins,.... could I order a pack of wolves that I tamed that they should assist me with hunting, like round up a deer? or a falcon that gives me a signal that he saw something aproaching ahead?

  2. will there be electricity from the start? like can I build a lightining rod (long metal stick) and place it at my neighbors roof but not earth is properly, and so set his house on fire?

  3. will there be magnetism? and if so could I build an induction or asynchronous motor early on? like with a windmill?

  4. or will I be able to use lightning to electrocute someone? in the sense of a trap?

  5. What will be the limit for breeding? like how often can I breed like a Trison and what will be the effect on the female while pregnant?

  6. will a Trison, because it can stand on two legs and has opposable thumbs, learn to throw rocks or barrels (Donkey Kong ;)), or even throw big spears, or use a shield?

  7. Will I have to test poisons/potions on test subjects like rats first to find the right dose and effects? so do I have to set up a lab?

  8. how will my real life skill of riding on horse back be reflected ingame? I mean simply put the skill of riding is to not obstruct the horse while moving, so you acually learn to do less, so how will this be reflected in skill challenges? Will the real life skill of handling horses, or any animal therefore, be represented? like will I be able to get closer to a wild horse because I know how to get closer? (what angle, speed I approach, how often I look at the horse directly, ...)

  9. Would a player, most likely a king be able to imprison Anara Starsong? He lets his men search for her and and after a long time she is found and imprisoned in a tower, where she is forced to write her chronicles only for his eyes, or killed. how would the game handle that?

  10. How many men will a baron have in the beginning in a Stronghold? let's say a 10 parcel stronghold?

  11. With tunneling, can I build a ditch and fill it with water or do we need terraforming for that? or like build a watering system for fields?

  12. there will be colission right? like ride an armored trison into the enemy troops, would they at a certain dmg point be CDG? like hitting them exactly with the horn in the head or torso, or would it still need an intentional extra blow, I mean I'm riding straight at them, so it's pretty intentional ^

  13. Will I be able to have multible pets? like lemur + phoenix? or even all of them?

  14. Will there be wind? in reference to archery, like will wind influence the trajectory of projectiles, like arrows or siege related amunition?

  15. will the asian/japanese culture be found on another continent and then distributed and made known so we can build in this style? And will ppl be able to spawn there after it is discovert?

thx that's all for now ;)

SoulboundStudios3 karma

That is...a lot of questions. Well, let's see if we can get through these!

  1. Likely yes, but we haven't discussed the specifics of pet commands yet.
  2. Nope.
  3. Nope.
  4. Animals will have certain breeding cycles, much like Elyrians with their 4 day wait period. They will not show pregnancy either.
  5. Trisons will be able to stand on their back legs and swipe at things. As for actually gripping things, we're not 100% sure.
  6. We don't have poisons designed or implemented yet, so unsure.
  7. The use of player skills (vs. character skills) in the game isn't that specific. It's more about your twitch reflexes, your ability to focus, memory, speed, etc.
  8. I can't give away any parts of the story having to do with lore characters.
  9. We don't have decisions on NPC #s in starting towns/strongholds/counties/etc. It will likely have to do with distance from larger cities, size, available homes and commercial buildings, roads, and surrounding resources.
  10. We don't have the tunneling system fleshed out yet, so I don't know if irrigation ditches would be part of that or terraforming.
  11. Yes, we detect for collision. Within a city it would cause people to be shifted aside. During battle, especially with a massive mount, the idea it to include collision damage, but we have to balance it out before deciding.
  12. Yes you can have multiple pets.
  13. Yes, wind, weather and distance will have an effect on ranged projectiles.
  14. Different cultures, including Asian & Arabic will potentially be available on the starting continent. This will effect building styles, clothing, weapons and fighting stances, etc.

Dweller20007 karma

If you marry someone of the same gender and get a child contract, will the have different genes if so will you be able to choose the genes?

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Hey Dweller2000 -

As you state, you can absolutely marry someone of the same gender. However, just like IRL, babies in Elyria are born from opposite gender parents. So you'll need to seek an opposite gender player or NPC willing to enter into a Child Contract with you, and their genes would play into the child's genetics.

Jeynoi7 karma

Can you designate a non-related character as your heir? I believe I have read that if you marry an NPC you would not be able to have children with them. Could you then start your next life as a Ward to whom you will pass your previous character's land and worldly possessions?

If you marry an NPC Baron/Count/Duke and are not able to have children with them, does the lineage end when your character dies of old age before their NPC spouse? If the NPC spouse predeceases your character do you automatically inherit all land and titles and would be able to re-marry and produce offspring?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

You can choose an unrelated character as your inheritor for wealth, possessions, land, and titles. However it needs to either be an existing player or your heir because Wards don't exist in the world until they are created.

You can't marry an NPC because of the issue of inheriting titles this way.

PBosley877 karma

Hello! First of all Thank y'all for doing this, you all rock. Chronicle of Elyria, as detailed in the Design Journals, is almost identical to my group of friends long-time idea of the perfect game so we are super hyped about the possibility of being able to be messengers, merchants, and shopkeepers without ever having to wield a sword.

I have so many questions, but the biggest one is concerning the mechanics around beasts and monsters, whatever would be considered a "mob" in a traditional MMORPG. How will their entry into the game world work, and what will their behavior be like? I know that once something has been killed, it's gone forever, implying no respanws. When I read the line in the maps and navigation DJ about the spawning grounds for a den of Dire Wolves I got really excited. I've never been a fan of the spawn points plus aggro radius mechanics used traditionally and I would love to see a game that introduces mobs into the world in a more realistic fashion as well as giving them some level of realistic behavior. I would love if it was possible to have a scenario where a rancher player has to hire adventurers to protect their animals from nearby wolves or something like that.

Again, thank you all so much. This could very well wind up being the perfect MMORPG. I'll be contributing to the kickstarter for the first time today because I really want all of the features you've mentioned in the Design Journals to be realized and implemented.

SoulboundStudios7 karma

We think you guys rock too! And you wouldn't believe the number of people who have said similar things about designing similar games. I guess it makes sense since Jeromy had been doing the same for 15 years.

You have the right idea on creature spawning. Since all animals can breed, age, and die naturally, it is important to have space for that to happen. For canis rabbits it might be in a hollow, wolves in a den, and horses in a field. Animals will regularly breed based on different schedules for each type of animal. We don't yet have those rates set out as it will require a bit of testing to get the balance right.

Ironside817 karma

Will there be fishing? If so, will we be able to construct fishing docks at launch, which can be later upgraded to harbors that port large ships? Will land ownership include waterways?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Yes, you can fish in Elyria. As you state, it will need to be from land at the start, and then from boats once the research makes them available.

You can own certain types of waterways - coves, rivers, lakes - but not oceans.

cptnkeith6 karma

Hello! Will it be possible to live a truly nomadic or gypsy lifestyle? I see gypsy and merchant wagons in the IP table but could these be used as mobile homes? Children need to be born into a house with an extra room, is there a way around this for a nomad, ie extra gypsy wagon? also will any crafting be mobile? obviously you can't bring a forge and anvil on the road but could you be a tailor, leatherworker, fletcher type crafter in a gypsy wagon? basically, do you need a house to be able to full function? thanks. can't wait for my ursaphant!

SoulboundStudios6 karma

We have a bit of a compromise for someone looking to live a nomadic lifestyle. While you can caravan around the world and use that as your crafting base for many skills, you cannot use a caravan as your only housing for children. You must have a stationary house with enough bedrooms for your family. And, because of the Adverse Possession rules, you (or a family member) must visit that house every 28 real-world days. That doesn't mean you really have to live there, but that you must own it.

draxdeveloper6 karma

how will work the sensory map? It will use all five senses? If you are implementing senses it can be used in other stuff? Like combat?

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Since we don't have a mini-map to let you see visually around your character, the sensory map is partially meant to give you a sense of your surroundings using sound and smell and also the senses of your pets. The other senses don't really make sense except for sight, but that would make it a mini-map.

The sensory map would be used to alert you if someone was sneaking up on you, provided your senses are good enough to either hear or smell them. It probably wouldn't be useful in a live combat situation because weapons tend to move faster...and you can see them anyway.

Yevgeni6 karma

A few questions. Not sure if they were asked before.

First, thanks for taking the time to answer this.

Second, here goes: 1)How strong will NPC guards be? Will there be "tiers" for guards (tougher guards costing more, that kind of deal)?

2)Who will have the power to hire NPC guards? Can an honest merchant hire one or two guards for his wagon? Can an innkeeper get a strongman at the door to keep order? Or just noblemen?

3)What can a Foreign Invader (not in your Kingdom) do to your lands if you're, say, a mayor or a baron or any landed gentry?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

  1. Yes, NPCs will differ in strength & skill, but that won't necessarily be apparent (ie, no visible levels). As a result, you'll need to evaluate who you hire using recommendations (Yelp for CoE anyone?), tests, or reputation.

  2. Anyone can make an offer to an NPC (guard or otherwise). It will be up to them (their AI) to decide if the offer is good enough.

  3. It doesn't matter if someone is foreign or local, they cannot invade without Casus Belli to provide the authority. If they do have authority, they can destroy buildings and such toward their goal.

Grimmy3476 karma

Other than funding, how all can I help support this project? I have been waiting for a game like this every since Shadow Bane and would like to help see this MMORPG come to life.

SoulboundStudios7 karma

Thanks Grimmy! There's the obvious - tell people about the project, whether that's IRL or on social media. Remember that you can earn Influence Points (IP) for doing so if they use your CoE friend code. We really want to reward people who are excited about the game enough to tell others.

deffcon_15 karma

What happens to children that are reserved for a friend, but then are never used? Do they enter the world eventually or are they lost forever in limbo?

SoulboundStudios5 karma

They would disappear from the world, much like a dead character that doesn't sign on for 28-days.

XifosSirrace5 karma

how long will it take architects/crafters to get the level of skills to required to build large stable and durable buildings? and how skilled does a person have to be to build their own dungeon without anyone knowing? thanks Sirrace Friend Code: DD7F8B

SoulboundStudios3 karma

Hey Xifos, our goal is for the time required to be some multiple of the time required in our world. We're not sure what the exactly multipliers are yet, and will have a better answer for that after play-testing.

But for the same of argument, if we assume it takes someone maybe 5 to 10-years working as a home builder before they had the necessary skill to build a home for themselves all by themselves, then you could expect (for this example) that to take 20-40 days of using your craft in different way.

But again, that assumes a 1:1 ratio, however that may not be true. It could be +/- depending on play-testing.

Ironside815 karma

Question: How much realism is being placed into combat? If I sustained a wound what would take my leg off, would a tinkerer be able to give me a prosthetic limb (for example)? Or I will be able to drink a bottle of red goop and make everything better in the middle of the fight?

Question: How much home and property value is being placed into COE? If I have a home on a beautiful beach in the middle of busy capital city, will the value be higher than a home in a small village in no-wheres-ville? With this in mind, can I build several homes and become a real estate mogul (not just selling land)?

Question: Will Coffee be in COE? If not, you shame Washington State as a whole and all descendants living outside her borders…please represent us well.

Question: Reference crafters being a player talent driven system. If I have no real-life artistic drawing ability, will I still be able to be an Artist in CoE or would that be a pipedream?

SoulboundStudios9 karma

  1. For combat we want there to be targeted shots & wounds to certain areas of the body. These will have an effect on the amount of damage inflicted. We won't have amputations (causes problems with the character mesh), but there will be limping and such which can be target healed.

  2. Property values that fluctuate by location will be dependent on players, not us as devs, since they'll be the ones re-selling land/houses.

  3. Yes, coffee is totally a thing, as is alcohol given how much I like a good rum.

  4. All character skills do require player skills, but not as a 1:1 relationship. We use Skill Challenges to test for things like speed and accuracy. So, yes, you could be an artist in Elyria.

what-would-reddit-do5 karma

I'm very much looking forward to this game, so thanks! My fiancee brought up a good question; what will keep a group of powergamers from being unstoppable (like cornering the resource market, or stealing from newbies)?

My other question is how crafting and minigames will work - if I really want to craft swords, but I suck at the associated minigames, am I out of luck?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

Hey WWRD:

To answer your first question, nothing initially. CoE is a skill-based game that grants players the ability have infinite jobs/professions based solely on their imagination and the contracts they create. Having players or groups of player corner a market resource creates interesting challenges for other players and is really what the game is all about. With 10's of thousands of players, however, if something gets out of hand, there's systems in place to allow players to overcome those challenges.

And if all else fails, the story engine can always drop in plot hooks that encourage players to intervene in things that are going too far.

Crafting "mini-games" are undergoing revisions right now. We used the term "mini-game" early on and quickly changed to "Skill Challenge." But even still, what we're really trying to create are user experiences where crafting a sword feels like crafting a sword.

As a result, it requires a degree of player skill. That's always been the objective. So if you (hypothetically) really sucked at black smithing, you'd be less effective at it than someone else who didn't.

abrielmcpierce5 karma

Will Kings, Dukes, and Counts be given a password of some sort so that trusted allies can settle into their respective lands or will random people be able to claim territory without permission?

SoulboundStudios10 karma

We're going to have to work that out. I know there is a great conversation about that happening on the CoE forums right now. Our original intention was to allow people to create alliances, but given the limitation of the number of Duchies per Kingdom, we have some concerns about people creating an alliance that is too big for their potential Kingdom, especially since the number of Duchies varies. We need to figure out the right balance of encouraging alliances and also creating a natural amount of conflict in the world from the start.

Belemrys5 karma

Mac/Linux/VR support is a stretch goal that is pretty far out. How large of a base do you guys calculate would be attracted to CoE based on support for those platforms?

Would your VR support be after launch or at launch? While Unreal does have VR plugins I wonder if locomotion and systems like that need to be taken into account to make CoE a truly immersive MMO experience we think it can be!

SoulboundStudios10 karma

Hi Belemrys,

We know there are a growing number of Mac users and some Linux users who are interested in the game, and we will grant them access to the game at some point. It's just a question of whether it'll happen at launch or not. The Mac/Linux/VR support is fairly far out, but we don't feel like any of the stretch goals are so far out they won't be achievable before launch.

We think it's naive to assume all we need to do to add VR support to the game is to enable the plugins. The reason we set it as a stretch goal instead of just adding it by default to account for any modifications that need to be made to support that perspective. However, given that we do already plan for 1st person, it shouldn't be too difficult.

SirStumps5 karma

Will King be purchasable after the KS? Will there be land that isn't a part of a Kingdom? Also, if the dev team had to choose one of the original starter Poke'mon which one would they choose?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

King will be purchasable after KS via our on-website payment system. Also, keep in mind that the real currency is Influence Points. We want to reward people for helping to make the game successful, regardless of how they do that. Those that work hard to share news of the game, provide support on the website, etc. will earn IP to make purchases with.

Is it possible to raise 100k IP to become King? Yes. But it would be extremely difficult. But, becoming a Mayor/Baron or something is well within the realm of possibility if you're willing to put in the time and effort.

malleusmintaka5 karma

so, the game you are developing wants to be kinda Medieval Eve Online where your character can die?

And maybe could you talk about on why you think a permanent death is so important for your game?

anyways, it looks freaking amazing!

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Good question. We actually wrote a design journal (our first, in fact) about why permadeath was important to the game: http://chroniclesofelyria.com/blog/348-Design-Journal-4--Incapacitation-Spirit-Walking-and-Permadeath

TL;DR - To change the focus of the game from killing and griefing, plus to avoid the inevitable level cap and end-game content.

kaaari4 karma

hey team, congratulations on successfully funding a brave and original game. Do you think the lower barrier to entry to this game will become a standard practice in the MMO industry, or will these types of games always be for the hardcore crowd (those that have a lot of time to invest in a game) ? For context, the low barrier to entry Im referring to is the buffing of players in groups and the references to leveling and power not being so tightly intertwined.

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Hey Kaaari! We certainly hope this becomes standard practice. The audience of MMO players is getting older, we have different needs, and responsibilities than we did in the late 90's and early 2000's. The industry needs to change with us.

TimothyTierless4 karma

COE has broad appeal but am I correct that you seem to especially be focusing on the Role Play, Pen and Paper and MUD players?

Can you tell us anything about Dragons in COE?

Which feature in COE do you feel creates the most emergent content?

Do you plan to license your engine to other studios?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

Hi Again!

We're targeting an older audience with CoE, and indeed our analytics suggest we're most popular with the 25 to 40 year old audience. That audience tends to have an interest in RP, P&P, and old text-based RPGs. So while we're not specifically focusing on those players, we are making a game we'd want to play, and we like those things, so it stands to reason we'd attract that audience.

Dragons? Never heard of them.

We feel the contract system creates the most emergent content. Letting players define their relationships with others, create their own jobs and professions, and write their own laws will result in things being created we never imaged.

Yes. We plan to license parts of our engine to other studios at some point.

Torque08084 karma

Simple question:

Will you be able to kill player's children? I ask for two reasons. If you had a CB, then killed off all of that nobles children, then assassinated them (made their character actually die), would you immediately get their title?

Also, children killing may make CoE rated for a more 'mature' audience (not that I really care).

SoulboundStudios5 karma

First, your heir doesn't appear in the world until you reach permadeath, so a person's title can't be taken away in this way.

Second, there will be NPC children in the world starting at age 9. Those children cannot be targeted, nor can they attack. As for player characters entering the world at 13 (Wards) until 15, these characters can't be coup de graced or do that to others. These characters can be incapacitated, but not 'killed.' This provides some learning period for the game and handles some of the 'mature audience' concerns.

oddly_creative4 karma

Is there any chance we can see the current development progress via a stream before the kickstarter is over?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Quite honestly, we'd love to. The limiting factor is taking the time to figure out how to set up a live stream, figure out who to stream and what to show, etc. We have lots of things going on, so it's a constant balance during this limited period of time.

That being said, it has always been our intention to do more interview videos and livestreams. So after the KS ends, that's a definite.

TurbanatorUK4 karma

Okay, I'm going to ask a question that will make me come off as a Negative Nancy, but I feel it has to be asked.

What is going to happen if/when things go south in terms of the game development and prolongment?

Your concept, Crusader Kings 2 in 3D essentially, sounds impressive, but I personally feel it will fly over the heads of most people. Lately we've seen many games just fail to live up to expectations for the long term, especially for multiplayer on PC.

I Kickstarted a promising FPS zombie survival game, The Dead Linger, and then the company went under, leaving the game half-finished while it was still in Early Access, I'm not bitter, since I've gotten used to games dying, even from AAA studios.

Evolve is famous for being a failure, now only having around 150 players online, during peak hours. There was BRINK with new ideas, Titanfall was praised, but now has under 900 people playing, even Battlefront has under 5000. It's only a matter of time before Battleborn and Overwatch die out.

Though I named FPS shooters, which are commonplace, but there were many MMORPGs toting new fangled ideas that had crashed and burned; Auto Assault, Hellgate: London, Tabula Rasa, Archlord, Age of Conan, and many others.

If, touch wood, the game gets so few takers, or permanent players, you're making a loss, etc, would you be providing tools for private servers in future (a la WoW which Blizzard famously took down one recently), offering IP or SP points for completing in-game tasks or rewards etc, or increasing them if you already have it in place, or something else to that effect?

I'm not asking this just to sponge off the game if/when it goes free, but what usually happens when an MMORPG goes down, customers feel hard done by having lost their money and future enjoyment. I'll admit, I'm not an MMORPG player, I tried to get into WoW, Everquest 2, EVE Online, and played in the Auto Assault beta, but still didn't find any 'pull' to keep me subscribing. I prefer short bursts of excitement for these old bones, which Rocket League does for me in droves. Maybe I'm just not the target market.

I apologise in advance for posing this difficult question, and I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't answer this; even if you did have a strategy if this happens, it wouldn't be in your best interests to publicly declare it now.

I'm not trying to put your game down, since I do really love the concept, but past experience with watching good games die out has made me jaded at seeing nice ideas fade away, and I think I'm not the only one out there who feels that way, so a part of me can see potential customers not wanting to join your game for fear of the above happening.

Thank you for your time, and again, no hard feelings please, I only write this as a concerned gamer. I wish you all the best in your endeavour.

SoulboundStudios9 karma

Hey TurbanatorUK -

Thanks for taking the time to ask a question...and for the tone, even with a difficult subject. Of course we're going to answer it.

First I have to say that we have an existing fan base of 50K gamers. There's no promise we'll get those players (or hopefully more) or that we'd be able to keep them, but we at least have that going for us.

Second, the honest answer is that it would be difficult to plan for a potential failure of a game that we're starting to develop. If we thought it would fail, we wouldn't be putting our own $500K into the project in addition to the KS funders and other investments. And if it did fail, we'd have to deal with that at the time, trying to make the best of a bad situation for all involved.

pylock4 karma

How will player abuse be handled not talking about cheating but, lets say there is a mechanic of the game that allows for an unintended situation and players use it as a loophole to skirt around the intended function of the game, such as exploiting the contract system to prevent all in game methods of enforcement? example: player refuses to uphold their end of a contract, the court/count rules in favor and tries to use in game means to enforce but, due to condition X,y, or Z all the in game methods are being circumvented by an unintended feature?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

We have a really good min/maxer and 2 devs with griefing tendencies who, in addition to the community, in Alpha/Beta will help us root out these loopholes.

That being said, we'll be on the watch for that after release and can modify rules as needed to catch this in the future. We don't want to go to a full GM route since they can add their own biases which we'd like to avoid.

white9354 karma

Hello! Question How is the Mayorship handled from the KS title, is it elective per life, per x years, or can you're heir inherit the position as a heritable position? We've got both styles in the old medieval from mayorship being inherited (appointed) to it being a elective.

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Mayors and Barons are inherited positions in Elyria.

melibabe4 karma

Question regarding buildings, now that we have the residential and commercial IP graphics out. Will it be possible to have a small commercial building as my shop with a second floor used as my bedroom? (i.e. can I "live above my shop" or is it not possible to mix residential and commercial purposes in the same building.)

SoulboundStudios5 karma

Yes, that's definitely possible and even likely. Each room can only have a primary purpose, but a building can have multiple.

Luk3ling4 karma

Is your company looking for a moderately skilled, remote intern by chance? :p

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Haha! Hi Luk3ling, we look for either moderately skilled local interns, or highly skilled remote interns. :-)

Trendane4 karma

Do you have any plans for voice acting within the game?

SoulboundStudios3 karma

Hi Trendane, we've already had some voice acting done for our lore video, and will continue to have voice acting for key, cinematics that we create as part of the ongoing stories.

Beyond that, the sandbox nature of the world without pre-scripted quests, etc. makes it very difficult to do voice acting beyond the "Hello there!", "What can I do for you?" type voice acting. But we will have actors for those.

kefaire3 karma

Hello guys and thanks for taking your time. As a big fan of the fantasy/ medevil genre i was quit dissapointed that there is no magic/ or the lack of magic in your mmo. Is there any reason to that or do we see magic implemented in another way?

SoulboundStudios5 karma

As the others have said, magic is a gifted talent based on world need and your activity. That being said, magic is a part of the larger story line, but as a dangerous thing in the world, not just common magic seen in 'fireball, fireball, lightning bolt'.

Tessa_Nikola3 karma

Hi! I was curious about the 90 in-game years per 1 meta-game year. Will you have a Game of Thrones-esk X number of in-game years of Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall? Or will the seasons change meta-daily?

SoulboundStudios5 karma

As said in other comments, we currently have 1 real-world day seasons and day/night cycles of 1.5 hours day, 1 hour night (with twilight and dawn in there). Our reasoning for 1 day seasons is to allow for farming, with daily harvests or planting, etc. And it means that you can plan for seasonal changes to the weather and resulting game mechanics. A thief might avoid stealing during winter days so their footprints wouldn't be tracked in the snow. While an entertainer at the local pub would find those days desirable.

LKinoss3 karma

When can we play the PAX combat demo?

SoulboundStudios5 karma

It wasn't ever meant to be distributed. We didn't put any networking code into that demo since it was all local connections. We do have plans for a larger offline demo, though, but we don't yet have a release timeline.

ErrlyGamer3 karma

I believe you guys said upon death you lose a bit of stats but gain them back slightly quicker. My question is after you make a new character are you going to go through the same areas and the same quests all over again? Would this not be a bit of a chore? Do you have ideas in place to make sure each time you come back to life it is still a fun and fresh experience rather than a repeat of what you did on your last character?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

SoulboundStudios5 karma

CoE doesn't have any starting zones or repeating quests, so there would be no way to do the same quests all over again.

When you create a character you do so as a part of a family (NPC or player run), and that is your starting place. So if you choose your second life as your own child, you would start in the same place...your home.

That being said, quests are created as tasks by other players, NPCs running shops who ran out of reagents or the farmer who needs help with his crop. We also have story line quests, but it isn't a repeating story that everyone experiences. What you do effects the world around you, thus moving along the story for everyone. If you kill the big dire wolf that has been hunting around town, those villagers may throw a party for you and send news to the local Count, who could invite you to visit him after hearing of your heroics. That dire wolf wouldn't respawn so another player could do it again. You would be the only hero of that particular story.

Silverdacari3 karma

Is it possible to own a parcel of land and lease/rent it out to someone, so that they may build on it, but with the land still remaining in your name?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

Yes. You can use the Contract system to allow a tenant to build on the land you own.

AlwaysForever193 karma

Sorry, another question. What percentage of creatures are going to be tame able? I think after the Facebook comment about the canis rabbit being untameable this has been a large concern.

SoulboundStudios5 karma

What we meant by it not being tame was that the canis rabbit is a very vicious creature. It is unlikely it would react well to being captured or any attempts to tame it. It would be like someone in our world trying to take a wild wolf or crocodile and attempting to domesticate it. While it is technically possible, it is unlikely you'd see good results from the attempt.

Tcharly3 karma

Hi!

  • Are you planning on supporting the development of communities of foreign languages on your servers with for example an option in family selection about language?

  • I have some concerns about music. How will we be able to play it? Will it be possible to import midi files? Is it an ingame system?

SoulboundStudios6 karma

We will have certain options that can be used for filtering original families - hardcore vs. casual, time zone, etc. We'll consider language and RP if the community wants it.

We don't have the music system worked out, so not sure if we'll go with midi files or an ABC system. There are several games' music systems that we're looking at to find the one that will work best for CoE. We want people to be able to play music as a group and compose their own songs. That will likely require offline coding which can be imported.

MuffinTheKid3 karma

Hello SBS,

First of all, thanks for doing the AMA. Its awesome to see how committed the whole team is to interacting with the community. On to the questions!

I really only have one question, but I have a feeling that it can be answered in several ways. So, my question is about the combat system in CoE. Now, obviously players will have a plethora of weapons to use to defend themselves, their county, etc. What I am curious about isn't the weapons that are available to players, but more so if there will be a fight style system in place for these weapons. Such as, will a player using a long sword be able to take different stances and be able to perform thrusts, overhead swings, etc? If so, how in depth do you plan on taking these fighting styles?

Thanks again guys!

SoulboundStudios5 karma

Yes, absolutely. This is one of the things that makes creating your own fighting style so interesting. Each weapon will have associated stances and thus combat sequences. When attacking someone familiar with a weapon's combat style, they'll (depending on player skill) be able to interrupt your combos. If they aren't familiar, it will be more difficult to parry, disarm, block, etc.

Also, certain weapons are more effective against others. Yes, a 2-handed broadsword can do some wicked damage, but you'll get tired faster, and thus someone with a rapier may be able to slip in and swipe you across the face.

DukeDriscoll3 karma

Hey! Just a question about relics from the Artificer Tier.

1) What would be considered just above what is considered "too powerful" and what would be considered a comfortable level of power for a relic?

2) What is meant by "story significance" in regards to the unique relic crafted?

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Sure thing.

  1. We'd probably have to discuss the details with you to give the answer you're looking for. Message us on Kickstarter. But to give a general sense, we are ok with some magical abilities on relics, but nothing OP.

  2. The real goal of a Relic isn't about the item itself, but rather what it means for the story. Relics are items tied to the story to trigger a special event. You won't know what the trigger is, but it could be destroying the item, giving it to the Queen, or traveling with it to a location. Upon being triggered the Relic would initiate the next step in the story. This could be the appearance of a world boss, a sudden natural disaster, a new epic quest chain with a big discovery at the end, etc. Think of it on the scale of the LoTR ring or Inigo's sword and resulting journeys.

All that being said, our goal with any Design Experience is to tie it to your character and plans for the game. So if you want to be the best jeweler in the Kingdom, we wouldn't send you on a great adventure to fight a baddie. Your Relic would more likely be a great necklace that you might gift to the queen, only to find her wasting away because of a curse placed on the gem.

6GMydis3 karma

Hi thanks for answering our questions :) 1:Which profession kit would someone pick if they wanted to make traps? 2:The leffit reacts to peoples personalities, and the conifer rat can hear people approaching, do any of the other pets have abilities? 3:If i discover an island will the king/queen know automatically? or would i have to report back to them? Thank you

SoulboundStudios5 karma

Thanks for asking them!

  1. We don't have a 1:1 association of profession kits to skills. You won't be choosing your actual IP purchased buildings until you get into the world in Exposition, and there will be many changes before then.

  2. Yes, the other pets have abilities. We just haven't revealed them yet.

  3. There is no automatic communication, so, no one would know about a discovery until the news was conveyed.

spurx3 karma

I am seeking clarification regarding the tunneling feature in regards to the developer journal about player created dungeons.

Is tunneling required for any building underground whatsoever? And what impact does the luck of a tunneling feature have on that particular developer journal?

SoulboundStudios4 karma

Without tunneling you won't be able to dig into the ground to create underground rooms, so a basement wouldn't be a possibility. That being said, the concept behind player-created dungeons still stands. We have features for rooms hidden behind bookshelves and other ways to conceal your stash. So players looking to defend their wealth can still do so with the ideas here: http://chroniclesofelyria.com/blog/1365-DJ-15-PlayerCreated-Dungeons

CallumFinlayson3 karma

The $250 tier comes in two aristocratic versions -- mayor/town and baron/stronghold. Is there any scope for a gentry-level version of comparable value where the bundle is based around residential/commercial property rather than either a stronghold or a whole town? Or are the only options to either take a lower tier & buy IP, or get a barony and sell the title (for IP) and the stronghold (for gold)?

SoulboundStudios4 karma

The 2 options you mentioned would be good ideas. If your goal is to be a landowner with property, then you should focus on just that via the IP purchasing. Or, given that a Mayor title comes with the choice of certain parcels of land and the buildings on them, that would be an option.

abrielmcpierce3 karma

Are you able to bind someone with rope and drag them? Will you be able to drag an incapacitated person in general?

If someone walks into my city and tries to kill someone, is jail really just a reduction of their soul's life? Are they still in my city? Is there really not a way to jail someone in a physical sense?

SoulboundStudios7 karma

Currently you can only drag someone a short distance, and only if you have a Bounty token to do so. The exception is family members who can move your body as needed.

Before answering that question on jail time, let me expand a bit. First, if someone commits a crime you must have a witness or someone to research it so you can get a Bounty Token for that person. With the Bounty Token you must then find the person to take them to 'jail.' Right now jail is mostly a reduction in lifespan with a small holding period. We're looking to expand that further, but need to find a balance between imprisonment and no penalty.

JackAttack283 karma

Thanks for doing the Ama.

I have a question regarding tameable pets. Will we be able to wander out and tame more animals/creatures we come across? Or are we limited to the 5 that we're posted as part of the beastmaster tier? If so what's the tame process going to be like? Can I use them in combat or to carry a small amount of resources? Thanks

SoulboundStudios4 karma

All animals can be tamed and bred, so you can certainly find one in the wild or from a breeder (NPC or player). We don't yet have taming designed or developed, so I don't have an answer there. Yes, you will be able to use pets in combat, but some will be much less effective than others.

Abotag3 karma

In CoE, will you be able to design houses by yourself or will you have to choose an existing design?

SoulboundStudios8 karma

When purchasing with IP for Exposition, you'll be choosing from pre-designed and pre-built houses and buildings. Once placed you'll be able to hire an architect and gather the resources needed to make modifications. Same goes for building from the ground up except that you have more control because you're not limited by existing walls.

katamba12 karma

If we have purchased a title on KS will we have those titles during alpha and beta?

SoulboundStudios4 karma

No. None of the in-game KS rewards will be available during Alpha or Beta. Those periods are for testing, so different skills, titles, land ownership, animals, etc. will be enabled and disabled based on our testing cycles. Depending on time, certain things won't even be present in the world.