In my previous articles on Soulbound Studios’ MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria, I discussed everything from in-game death to identity theft to body dynamics. With the substantial amount of info available on the Chronicles of Elyria website, I’ll be changing gears this time around to touch upon how equipment and inventory factor into this innovative project, with an emphasis on the game’s WYSIWYG policy.The elaborate acronym stands for something blatantly simplistic—“What You See Is What You Get”. In Chronicles of Elyria, a harmless looking peasant packing nothing more than a rusty ol’ kitchen knife won’t suddenly pull out a broadsword should you end up engaging him in combat—he’ll be relying on that rusty ol’ kitchen knife. This also ties in to the subcategory of “introductions”, which I covered in both of my previous posts. As with the aforementioned kitchen knife-wielding peasant example, you’ll be able to gauge roughly who you’re up against in terms of skill and definitely in terms of strength. This is especially handy with Soulbound Studios’s omission of the level/nameplate display, and you’ll most certainly end up falling back on intuition to take care of your own precious behind.
This applies to loot as well—if you loot an animal post-hunt, you’ll dig up the poor animal’s body parts (teeth, claws, fangs etc.) and not much more. “You won’t kill a giant brown bear and loot a pair of chain boots,” as Soulbound Studios explains in their design journal. “You’d get hide, meat, bones, and maybe some teeth or claws.” This is a far cry from other RPGs on the market today such as Diablo III, Divinity: OS or World of Warcraft, where you can carry tons (literally, “tons”) of weight, and stash (also, literally “stash”) the rest away for safekeeping.In Chronicles of Elyria, excess loot can be loaded onto “pack animals, carts [and] wagons”, all of which will help in unburdening the load. But even then, you may end up carrying too much. Once you cross a certain weight threshold fatigue will begin to set in, and you’ll be forced to rest to catch your breath from time to time.
In addition to loot excess, your character’s movement and health are affected by a multitude of other factors. Similar to Skyrim, different armor weights—heavy armor, for example—have a detrimental effect on your movement speed and sprint duration, but will conversely, I presume, boost your health points and strength. The environment is another factor. Unlike any other RPG I’ve played in the past, you can actually overheat in Chronicles of Elyria if you’re wearing too much (Soulbound Studios cites “metal armor” as an example) on a particularly sunny day, and vice versa.The realism is truly uncanny, and doesn’t end there. Weather and terrain conditions such as fog, mud, wind and rain have an adverse effect on your character’s movement, also unlike any other RPG I’ve played in the past—I, for one, do not recall being bogged down by torrential rain in the Witcher 3. But Chronicles of Elyria is of a new breed of RPG, one that intends to implement as many survival mechanics as possible—hence the implementation of potential encumbrance if you spend too long “trudging along through a muddy swamp.” Oh, not to mention that you could potentially drown if you’re wearing heavy armor in water. Yeah, that’s possible too. Or as Soulbound Studios put it much more eloquently than I, “Failure to appreciate the laws of fluid dynamics and gravity could result in permadeath.”
Speaking of heavy armor, let’s delve into equipment: different types, layering, and unisex gear—the latter being long overdue in the RPG world. Various equipment can be crafted, sold, traded for, and looted in Chronicles of Elyria, much like any other respectable RPG preceding it. What separates Chronicles of Elyria from the pack is in how this equipment fits on the player, aka, you.
Certain pieces of equipment fit certain body parts, which makes enough sense—you can wear belts on your waist and and boots on your feet—the catch being, certain types of gear cannot be worn in conjunction. As Soulbound Studios elaborates in their design journal, “hands can have either gauntlets, gloves, or rings, but it is not possible to have all three simultaneously. Furthermore, gauntlets act as both arm and hand items. So if you equip a gauntlet, you fill both item slots.”
This isn’t just relegated to limbs, “if you equip a coif, you can’t wear anything on the neck. Likewise, if you equip a hooded cloak, you can’t put anything on your head.” This all seeks to add to the realism perpetrated by Chronicles of Elyria—it simply doesn’t make sense for someone in real life to wear, say, a hoodie and a hat simultaneously. Well, to be fair, it does happen from time to time. But Soulbound Studios wants nothing to do with those shenanigans—as they put it so tersely, it “[serves] to identify purpose and functionality.”That being said, you can still wear multiple layers of clothing, much like you might in everyday life, but only on your torso and legs. Sorry, still no hoodie and hat combo. The torso is divided into three layers while the legs are divided into two. For example, on your legs, you can slip into your undergarments and then put on a skirt, or put on some trousers and wrap yourself in armor. It should be noted though, that “it’s not possible to wear garters and armor. Sorry ladies. Armor on the bottom half always looks like trousers or a skirt.” That should quell any strange fantasies out there about, uh, “chain bikinis.”
But yes, unisex equipment is most certainly a thing in Chronicles of Elyria, as well as the conventional male and female gear, if you’re looking for that instead. Equipment comes in three sizes, small, medium, and large, and this also has an effect on your player; you may not fit in small armor period, on the contrary, wearing a jacket two sizes too large can not only weigh you down but lower its effectiveness.
Stay tuned for further coverage on MMORPG Chronicles of Elyria. The game is only a few thousand dollars away from its goal of $900,000, with still three weeks to go; you can keep track of its progress on our Campaign Calendar.