October 4th, 2012
Cities and structures in MMORPGs play an important role. They provide ambiance, shops, meeting places for characters, banks, and simply a place to call home. They also provide land marks and represent places of safe haven, including a place to log off or exit the game safely without risk to the character. Let’s take a closer look at the individual structures of Trials of Ascension and how they will be built.
All structures in ToA will be player owned and maintained. Other than the pre-existing structures within the starting cities at the launch of the game, all structures will be made by the players themselves. The cost of building structures in terms of time, resources and skilled labor will be prohibitive, requiring players to work together to build their homes and cities.
First the plan of a structure is drawn on a parchment by someone with the necessary skill. Using this parchment, the footprint of the structure must then be placed in a proper location. A proper location is defined as being within a settlement, on a plot of private land the placer has purchased from the settlement, and within terrain tolerances (suitable terrain type, slope, etc).
Once the footprint is placed properly then a 3D model representing the first stage of a structure’s construction is placed on that spot. A number of flags are then visible around the structure indicating the locations where building materials may be applied to the structures. The location of these flags will be random, requiring the builders to move around the structure. Furthermore, some flags may be inaccessible without the use of scaffolding. Anyone close enough to one of these flags can attempt to do the task as required. Each flag will represent one of various crafting skills needed such as carpentry and stone-masonry. The building owner can place a “contract”, stating how much he will pay per task completed to any craftsman willing to put in the time, materials and skill. As the contract is filled, the structure begins to take shape, actually changing its 3D model as completion progresses until the structure is complete.
We will purposely throttle the number of flags available at any given time so as to organically limit the maximum speed at which a structure can be built. This is to prevent unrealistic growth of a settlement. We don’t yet have the numbers finalized but you can expect a small house to take many hours of effort while a keep could take you weeks or even months.
It is our hope that this design will further encourage community cohesion, give crafters even more to do, and give a real sense of progress as a settlement grows structure by structure.