Player Versus Player

Player Versus Player

The main thrust of Mystic Riders is a story driven single player versus environment experience. However, we aren’t against having Player Versus Player mechanics in our game as long as they don’t interfere or impede the story. Players can always experience the story together in groups.

But, we’re also willing to consider actual competitive style gameplay. This would be completely optional and wouldn’t tie to player leveling in any way. Player versus player in a mounted MMO is restricted to different types of racing.

Player versus player game play brings out some of the most competitive players and the players who are more apt to grief other players. These are the players who are more apt to try and break the game in order to gain a slight advantage and win a digital “prize” in order to be number one on the board. This type of play would have to be taken into account in the game mechanics so all players who can participate in PvP have a solid chance of winning if they have the right equipment and gear.

This is a game where you have to earn your way by playing story quests. Races, championships, skills and good gear are unlocked by playing quests and earning levels. A player can’t just play through the demo, buy the game, and go buy the ‘best horse’ in the game and the ‘best gear.’ That’s not going to work. There just won’t be one ‘best horse’ because different horses are better at different things. They won’t be just a fastest horse, there will be the most disciplined horse, the most agile horse. There may be an ‘all around’ horse but that horse won’t be the one that is the ‘fastest.’ Players must play quests in order to unlock districts, unlock horses, unlock races and championships and higher level of gear. They have to earn their way through the game. In order to run a championship race, they have to be a ‘champion’ of the competition in that district.

The players can form groups and participate in races together in competition races. This can give the player practice. Neither the player nor the horse gain experience for these races and they are purely for fun and placement on the leader boards. Competition races can be run as many times as the player and group likes.

Once the players have gone through the story racing section of their district and earned the title of “champion,” they can compete in Champion events.

Championship races are PvP races that can only be raced by those who have completed the story racing track that leads them to winning the district’s top prize. Thus, these are extremely difficult races that are for higher level players that have at least completed one district’s story. Every time a player completes another district’s racing story line, they gain another championship to compete in. All championships would be sorted out by player level. That way a low level 5 player wouldn’t be put up against a higher level 20 player with no chance of winning.

If a player wins the Championship and beats their own best score, they’ll receive a small monetary prize.

Or the players can form more formal groups called Clubs.

In order for the Clubs to have a purpose in the game, the Clubs could be divided into different categories or “divisions” by size. Division 4 could be 2 to 5 member clubs, Division 3, 6 to 10, Division 2, 11 to 20, Division 1, 21 to 30 or something like that. (I am not sure of the top membership number of clubs, it’s going to depend on player counts and the ability for the servers to handle them.) Where if anyone in the club participates (and there should be a minimum number of people who are required to participate per show) they get a point to put towards the Club “pot” worth of points. And if anyone in their Club places in the events of the show, they get a LOT of points to go towards the pot, the higher you place, the more points, and the Club with the biggest “pot” of points wins a cup to display in their clubhouse.

There would be several different events, leading your horse in a circle, show jumping, dressage, very formal things. Only one person can participate in one event. Each event has to have a new person so you have to strategize on who participates on who is the ‘best’ at each event or has the best gear. The more people the club has, the events the clubs have. Events of Clubs that only have 2 to 5 people, have 2 events, but a club with say 50 people, would have 10 events to participate in. Events are individual competitions.

Depending on how many divisions there are, and the upper limit of Club membership, will depend on how often these Club Shows Championships would be run, daily, hourly or weekly.

Leaderboards for all championships and races would be reset on a regular basis. Hopefully these limitations and restrictions will keep the PvP fair for all players and still make it fun and enjoyable to socialize.

Professions, the Game Mechanic!

Professions, the Game Mechanic!

In Mystic Riders, we have to include professions as part of the game. They’re fairly standard in MMOs. In most combat MMOs, professions are the system that determines what weapons you can wield and what spells you can cast. They are things like Knight, Ranger, Mage, Monk and every type of variation of there-of you can think of. (My favorites tend to be the ones where I can populate the battle field by summoning up dead things or ghosts!) However, Mystic Riders isn’t a combat game. So, why should we have professions at all?

Because story.

The story and the focus of Mystic Riders is about the player’s journey through their teen years and growing up. Part of growing up is the ability to put on different styles and personalities like they’re hats and, yes, trying out different jobs to see if they are something that fits your talents to make into a career.

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So, obviously, our professions in Mystic Riders are a little different. Outside of not being combat oriented, they work together with the different crafting and farming skills the player can learn in the game. We went over them in general in this post. The professions are jockey, farmer/gardener, archaeologist, fashion stylist, interior decorator, entertainer, chef, and spa owner.

Each of these professions will give the player the ability to customize their game, earn some in game cash, and give them access to items, gear, and equipment that are exclusive to that profession either in stores or making them by hand. (You want the really good cooking tools, become a chef.) These professions can also give them outlets for creating fan content for their social media like Instagram and YouTube. (I foresee interior designer, spa owner, entertainer, and fashion stylist being big social media hits.) And there are professions for those who simply want to get through the story as fast as possible (farmer, jockey) or on the other extreme have to know every bit of lore (archaeologist).

During the story of the Diamond District when the player arrives at the Royal Riding Academy, they will be prompted to start thinking about their future and be able to learn about the different professions from their original district’s mentor. From there, they’ll be directed to the appropriate mentor of that profession who will send them on quests to meet experts who will send them on more quests to teach them the skills and give them the tools to hone their crafting abilities.

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Like in the training week tutorial, the player should be allowed to try a basic quest of each profession offered once before they decide on what they want to be for this specific play through.

Remember, the more you craft, the better and faster you get at it and the more difficult things you can make.

This may, or may not, encourage the player to play through the district story of their profession’s mentor. Each district they unlock allows the player to learn different crafting and professional skills. (Until they’ve unlocked them all.) If they haven’t learned the core skills to the profession that they want to pursue, the mentor can gently suggest they take up a certain skill or craft. The professions allow the player to go beyond basic skills and earn those elite items.

Professions help us have a use for all those crafting and farming items we’re putting in the game too. And more chances for the players to use our proposed and hopefully fun mini-games.

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With having professions in the game, we can add prestige professions later that can expand gameplay and build upon the mechanics of the mini-Games already in place and provide a more real life story progression as they go from apprentice to master of their craft.

Professions are one of the mechanics that makes the most use out of every level of the game’s design. From races, to areas of the map that only archaeologists can unlock, to mini-games and set pieces that are designed to appeal to social media and story subplots that give the players yet again another way to choose their own adventure. Professions are part of the way of making the game a rich, dynamic, and replayable experience.

Character Spotlight: Rose Neptuna

Character Spotlight: Rose Neptuna

Rose Neptuna (Single)
Artwork courtesy of Ashante Johnson (@earthsong9405)

Name: Rose Neptuna                                                              Nickname: Rose
Age: Appears 17                                                                       Country of Origin: France
Birthday: Unknown                                                                 Pet: Unknown

Rose Neptuna is the biggest pop star in all of Astranar, and is quickly spreading to the other countries in Argentum too. Originally a rising star in France, she moved to Astranar last year after taking a summer sabbatical in Diamond District, and has been the biggest thing since then. Not only because of her catchy tunes, but also because of her sweet personality. She is a lady of the highest order, though her image seems to also hold a deep sadness, something that is echoed in her lyrics.

In addition to singing, Rose is well-known for playing the violin, even while she’s dancing! She says she looked to Lindsey Stirling as inspiration, and added that she is also classical trained in both violin and ballet. There’s also elements of Indila to her sound, perhaps because Rose is also a deeper toned soprano than most pop stars. She composes her own music, and this makes her widely sought after to work with–she can blend her sound with other music stars, even if they are different styles like country.

If you see her in parades and not on floats or around the city, she can sometimes be seen with her horse, a white Percheron stallion named Papillon Blanc. He’s a giant push over, though watch out if you are eating anything sweet by him. He has a reputation for stealing candy apples from those who come up for a photo op. While not the fastest horse, he’s trained in dressage and show jumping and is very careful with his feet, so he’s an excellent mount for the city streets and for a rider who deals with the public like Rose.

Her agent is Yvenne DuNoir, who came with her from France and often is your first point of contact with Rose before an event. A haughty blonde, it’s…hard to miss her. Otherwise, not a lot is known about Rose, such as who her family is, or even what her natural hair color is! She lives in the penthouse suite of the largest hotel in Diamond District, but good luck making it past security to see her there. There are also rumors of her attending AEFPA, but the administration is very hush-hush about it. But all that mystery just adds to her charm. The only one who seems to be upset about her being here is the hip-hop star, Hi-Fidelity.

Her summer tour is an anniversary special for her first year in Astranar! She’s touring all over Astranar, leading up to the big summer blow out with every big musical act in Argentum joining her. There’s also a competition to sing a song with her on stage that has some of the locals eager to impress her. Maybe the player will have to give one or two a helping hand…

Favorite Color: Rose pink
Favorite Horse: Percheron
Favorite Camp Activity: Dancing
Favorite Gemstone: Topaz, pink or blue
Favorite Race: Show Jumping

 

So, Boarding Schools Are a Thing Here…

So, Boarding Schools Are a Thing Here…

(In our defense, boarding schools is at least one of my favorite tropes, I am endlessly amused by them if they are done right.)

One of the goals of the core game from the player standpoint is getting a scholarship to attend the Royal Riding Academy of Astranar. It is considered one of the most elite riding schools in the world, and for good reason! Besides giving its students a quality education, it always turns out quality riders. (And you know, witches technically, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) So what’s up with this world-famous school?

Besides the collection of winners from the different districts and from the group competition at the end of the summer who win scholarships, other students are also able to attend, provided they can pass the entrance exam. Besides high-level academics, equestrian skills, and active recreational activities, the board also looks for what many think is an X factor for who will be allowed entry into the school. While you don’t have to have all three of the other requirements, you definitely have to have the mysterious factor that they look for. Some of the girls from camp make it in anyway, despite not winning the scholarship, and some locals also attend. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge of people, but that’s part of what makes the environment so much fun.

And for another thing, well, it takes place in a palace. Literally. The Old Palace, as it’s called, makes up a large portion of the campus, with sections being converted to classrooms, practice rooms, lounges, and dorms rather than the spaces they were previously, and the grounds being converted in some cases to courses and the stables deeply expanded. But some passages remain nearly inaccessible…except if the right person goes looking. Dating back to the same time period as medieval Europe, the palace was closed for a few decades after the new palace completed construction, which has not helped stop the rumors of ghosts at all.

(Don’t tell those stories to Lottie, though. She’ll go running to Ves, and that’s not someone you want on your tail.)

There is a uniform that you’ll see some of the characters modeling as we start to gather artwork, but the school does allow some personalization in the forms of accessories and hairstyles. Where the school gets a little quirky is for riding competitions–it’s easy to spot who the scholarship students and who are the normal students, because they get given specific colors to wear. Rather than the small clubs of friends you experience in the summer, the school has “official” clubs that are mandatory participation in at least one because they signify your equestrian training. They have dressage, show jumping, cross country, racing, endurance, agility, and all-around, with one member each being representation on the council that serves as the leadership for the competitions. At the end of last spring semester, Jim Westhorn and Lottie Mistwaltz were made President and Vice President, respectively, so you may see them away from their districts and around the school grounds trying to work out what they want to do this upcoming school year!

Your mentors from the light side and the shadow side of the divide both attend the Royal Academy, and are happy to show you around when the new school year starts. Some other noted teachers include Mademoiselle Whistlesteel, the Russian ballet teacher who has a private dance studio in the city as well, Adelaide Gemstring, the French violinist who teaches all the music classes, and several industry specialist from the fashion world tend to poke their noses into the classes.

If you make it to the Academy though, don’t think you won’t have rivals outside the school. There’s a second boarding school, and their requirements are much more simple. They seek to excel at competition–test scores, media industries, but especially horsemanship. Sponsored by the Astranar Equestrian Federation, AEFPS (Astranar Equestrian Federation Preparatory School) is a school meant for those who want to succeed. The follow the rules to a t, just to prove that when they win, it’s because they are the best. (Now if only they would stop driving their horses into the ground to do it…)

Much like the Royal Academy, they have a uniform that is much more universally applied. To them, it doesn’t matter if you are there on scholarship or not. You are there to compete, not to work together as a team. Because of their federation ties, there is no magic in the curriculum here, so they don’t know what you are talking about in that regard (even if some of the members do have magic, they just have their heads too deep in the sand to see it). For them, it is all about placing at competition, and in fact they’ll even sabotage each other if it helps them. As a result, how well the school actually does in competition versus what they brag… Well, we’ll let you be the judge.

Some notables who attend AEFPS? Well, Rose Neptuna can sometimes be seen walking around the Diamond district in their uniform, but actually confirming her attendance is nearly impossible, the same for her best friend, Loki Tenderlily. We can confirm that Hi-Fidelity is a recent graduate, and there are conversations about perhaps world violinist Renart Mistwaltz will come to teach a special class. And you may have interest in knowing that the secret leader of the shadow rider mentors also attends…

Funny story, we were trying to decide if AEFPS was an all-girl school, and then realized two characters needed separated or there would be a dead body, so there are boys in both schools! We have a small collection of boys, but they make there presence known. Sometimes, loudly… Hopefully you’ll enjoy getting to poke around the schools and meeting the different people. (We promise not to make you attend any classes, lol.)