Breed Spotlight: Astranar Wild Horse

Breed Spotlight: Astranar Wild Horse

Astranar Wild Horse

Your starting horse, the Astranar Wild Horse is a unique breed with plenty to offer and secrets that the locals are careful to keep away from the rest of the world.

Physically similar to the Fjord horses of Norway, a possible sign the two breeds developed independently in similar fashions, the Astranar Wild Horse can only be found on the continent of Argentum, with the wild herds only being sighted in the country of Astranar. Some horses paired with a rider will travel the other countries on the continent, but most wild horse sightings in Zablana or Nospos are written off as false sightings.

Fjord 2

Curiously enough, this breed is well known for only bonding with female riders. While occasionally one will tolerate a male rider, it is usually with ill grace and doesn’t last long. Locals have stopped trying. But when they find the right person, these horses are the most loyal mount one could ask for, and they will always try their hardest for them.

The biggest secret about the Astranar Wild Horse is known only to locals or their riders: they are the only breed of horse that can cross between the barrier between our world and that of the Mirror World. On our side, they are handsome horses, but on the other, they reveal their real, bright colors…and snarky comebacks. (Yep, they talk, and they are bursting with opinions.) Herd hierarchy can get a bit biting at times, but really, you get a group together of anything that can talk, and gossip is going to follow.

Because of their magical traits, Astranar Wild Horses are considered a banned export–they rely on the magic of the Mirror World to exist, so they can’t leave the continent. This makes them highly sought after mounts by new arrivals who don’t always realize what they are getting into. They learn.

                   Fjord 1           Fjord 3

Breed Characteristics:
A solid all-around horse, the breed comes in all shades of dun, with a thick mane and tail of usually a mixture of a lighter color and a darker color. (Exact mixing and matching will be customizable by the player at start up.) Their manes can be cut into patterns similar to a Fjord, or allowed to hang loose and mixed, depending on theirs and their rider’s preferences. While the occasional blaze or sock can be seen, most horses have solid coats. Because they are a such a rare breed and require as high of genetic diversity as possible (at least on paper), geldings are not available. (Players will be able to pick between mares and stallions.)

Starting Stats: *
Speed:                    3                                              Discipline:       3
Endurance:         3                                               Agility:             3
Strength:             3

* Note, these numbers aren’t set in stone. They are Becca’s way of trying to reduce her knowledge/research of breeds and their particular skills and traits into numbers so when animators and programmers have to look at these horses, they can go, “Oh, this horse can’t turn worth beans but this one can on a dime, noted!”

Statistics! The Game Character Sheet

Statistics! The Game Character Sheet

Every good RPG has statistics. These statistics are numbers assigned to the player that determines their various levels of expertise in different skills. They’re assigned points when they first create their character from the type of racing they chose in their placement quiz, and are given more as they ‘level up.’

One of Mystic Riders goals is to have as much customizable content as possible and one of the basic customization types that we want to give players over is their own statistics. That way they can choose what type of rider that they’re going to be! They will also have control over the statistics of their horse, and how they want their magic to work.

Statistics are the game version of a character’s player game sheet in a table top RPG. They determine the strengths and weaknesses of the character. But instead of rolling dice, they are applied to how well the character does things in the game.

The player has five basic ability stats: Speed, Stamina, Strength, Command, and Agility.

Speed is how fast can your character move at a walk or a run. Stamina is how long can your character ride without eating, run, or withstand the heat and cold. Strength is how much can your character lift or pull. Command is how well do animals obey them. And Agility is how quickly and how tight does your character turn.

There are three magical ability stats that the player also has control over and can change when they level up; Accuracy, Cast Time, and Power.

Accuracy is how on target the cast spell ends up being and if it works or not. Cast time is how quickly the player can cast the spell. And Power is how much oomph goes into the spell.

The horses also have five basic stats that the player can customize: Speed, Endurance, Strength, Discipline, and Agility.

Speed is how fast can the horse go. Endurance is how far can the horse go without care, and how well do they adapt to heat or cold, and how far can they walk through a boggy marsh. Strength is how much can a horse pull or carry, and how high can they jump. Discipline is how well does a horse take commands and how fast do they change their paces or stop. Agility is how quickly and tightly can the horse turn.

Certain breeds of horses will have higher stats in different things depending on if they are good showjumping horses, or good western horses, or good dressage horses, etc.

When the horse levels up, the player will be prompted to put the new points they’ve earned into the different horse statistic slots.

The player will have skill tracks that level up as they do things in the game. For instance, they have three skills that are related to horses. Ride, Jump, and Care. The more they ride, the better they’ll get at it as the more points they’ll accumulate. The more jumps they take, the better they’ll get at jumping with their horse. And Care, the more they clean stables and care for their horses, the faster they’ll get at it. Arts and Crafting skills falls under this kind of leveling.

The player’s statistics and the horse’s statistics will be able to work together to do certain things in the game better than others. A player with a good level of command is going to get better results out of a horse with low discipline and outstanding results with a horse with high discipline for example. Better ride stat, the more balanced you are on the horse and the faster it can go.

Players will be able to create characters with vastly different skill sets and abilities by playing the game in different ways. A player who spends more time in crafting is going to be a lot faster at it and have more items to craft than a player who primarily plays for racing. Creating a more customized and hopefully enjoyable experience that will want to make them play the game again so they can try out doing different styles of play and different story lines.

The Core Game Loop

The Core Game Loop

The core game loop is the backbone of gameplay in any game. It’s what the player is going to experience and how the game progresses. In an MMORPG, the basics of a core game loop is the player receives a quest from an NPC, they leave to fulfill that quest, and return to the NPC with the objectives. This gains them experience and unlocks more quests.

There are main story line quests and there are side story quests, and these quests may have different requirements for unlocking.

A lot of time in MMOs, especially if they are combat oriented MMOs, quests end up being one of two types. There are the ‘kill’ quests and the ‘fetch’ quests. Then a third type, the occasional ‘escort’ quest gets thrown in. The kill quests are quests where the player is asked to kill so many NPC enemies. The NPCs may be threatening something or they have drop items the player needs to fulfill the quest. The fetch quest is the player is asked to go from one place to another to acquire an item. The items may be with another NPC or they may be scattered around the map. The escort quest is when the player is asked to accompany an NPC and protect them from enemy NPCs.

This obviously gets tedious after a while. Thus, there are sometimes a few castle defense quests to hold a particular spot. As you can see, a lot of quests in most MMORPGs revolve around violence.

With Mystic Riders being a non-combat oriented MMO, this takes any type of combat oriented quest off the table and ends up leaving mostly fetch and escort type quests. Having played an MMO that is mostly fetch and escort quests, these can get boring rather quickly. In Mystic Riders, we desire to create new types of quest requirements within the greater game loop, basing them off of mini-games and platformer adventure mechanics. (Like Guild Wars 2 has incorporated jump puzzles into their environments.)

The main question that we’ve asked ourselves while we try to develop quest type ideas for this game is what should an MMO look like five years from now? Bearing in mind that there is a very set idea in this day and age on what a basic MMORPG looks like and what features it should have.

Because Mystic Riders is a horse themed game, there is going to be a story line and an entire subset of quests and mini games that are devoted to racing and leveling your horse. Thus, in the core game loop there would be races against NPCs, and races to get from point A to point B. These races can be tailored to the specific race specialty of an areas.

Meaning, if you’re in a Western racing area, your races from Point A to Point B may have super sharp corners and having to weave through trees. Or if you’re in a show jumping area, the race may loop over itself and there will be lots of jumps. In a dressage area, there would be less running and jumping and more having to follow a set pattern at a set speed in order to make it out of one area to another in one piece. The clock wouldn’t be the biggest factor.

Proposed Mini Games include using environment shaped puzzles like platforms, ledges, land types, and even magic to manipulate the game in order to get places or find out clues to the story. Platform style mechanics are a more interactive style of game play and give the player more control and ability to play with their surroundings. Thus leading to more engagement from the player. See Okami or Sly Cooper.

Other mini games are games can be considered games on their own, like bubble shooters, jig-saw puzzles, pattern matching games, fishing, and stop and go style games. Using magic itself is a mini game where the player would use their mouse to trace a pattern on the screen to cast the spell.

These mini-games would hopefully be built into the game in a seamless style manner that they would make ‘sense’ to the player. And that there would be enough variety in the mini-games that they wouldn’t get bored. In fact, we’d want them to want to replay the game over and over again because they find it exciting and/or challenging. (Plus, it is a non-linear choose your own adventure style story where their actions and reactions can shape how the story plays out and what side they are on with them choosing their own character’s motivations. More enticement to play again.)

Hopefully, by using platformer mechanics and mini-games there will be exciting and new ways to proceed through an open world style MMO in the core game loop.

Mystic Riders: The Proposed MMORPG

Mystic Riders: The Proposed MMORPG

There are certain features in MMORPGs that are considered standard and no longer optional (unlike back in 2006). If you want your MMO to be a full AAA type product, you can’t skip on these features. It’s more than having a full story (and in a combat MMO it’s having a good combat and PvP system). So, here in brief are some of the features we want Mystic Riders to have.

A Mount System.

Mystic Riders is a horse themed MMO focused on story. We have to have mounts for our players. These will be horses based upon real world horses, and horses that are completely magical! We want the horses to come in three types: ponies, regular warmbloods, and draft horses. The horses would come in different coat colors and each breed would have their own set of basic statistics based upon what their breed is well known for doing because we have skill system.

The Skill System.

The Skill System as it pertains to horses is the type of rider your player character can be. There are four horse based skills that correspond with different racing type minigames. Your player can be a dressage rider, a western rider, a showjumper, or a jockey type. Or, they can balance their stats to be an all around rider. As they player gains levels they will get points to put towards skills and be able to customize their character and story.

There are also different skills that go with a crafting and farming system.

Crafting and Farming System

We want the players to have the ability to make and customize their own items in the game. Different items would have different stats and would be available for different seasons. (You don’t want to wear a summer blouse in the winter!) The player could use these items to decorate their house and some items would only be available to different factions or professions.

Housing System

In a housing system, or as we call it in Mystic Riders, My Farm/My Stable, the player has control over customizing and growing their own little farm area. They have a house, rooms inside the house dedicated to different types of crafts, and a stable to house their horses. The more they learn, the bigger their stable and house will be, the more animals and gardens they’ll have, and thus the more horses they can own.

Factions System

The players have to make a choice in the game, what type of magic are they using. Are they Light Riders or are they Shadow Riders? There are exclusive items, horses, and pets to each faction. And they can only learn the magic of light or shadow depending on which faction they choose.

Magic System

There are two types of magic in Astranar, Light Magic, the magic of the elements and thought itself, and Shadow Magic, the magic of decay, disease, and depression. (Death keeps out of this.) Once the player advances beyond basic magic in the tutorial, they can learn spells associated with their faction and depending on what area of Astranar they are in.

Professions System

Once the players reach the capital zone of the Diamond District, they can choose a job. These jobs come with extra quests and more items that they can buy, craft, or grow.

Reputation System

As the player goes through the story they will be given options on how to respond to the different quests. How they respond will affect the NPCs and their groups view of the player, thus earning them reputation. If they don’t earn enough reputation with a certain group to advance that story, they will be given ‘catch up’ type story quests to get enough to proceed.

Pets

In Mystic Riders, we want the players to be able to own one or more several cuddly pets. They can keep their extra pets at the My Farm.

Map

We have several plans for the map. We want our map to be a 3D style Google earth map with the options of having a Randy McNally style roadmap to go over it. That way the player can zoom in and zoom out of the map and be able to find directions to where they are going if it is hidden by ‘fog of war’ because they haven’t explored the area yet.

We also want to have free map travel from train junction points that once the player discovers them, they can travel between them instantly and for no in game money. These train stations are manned by the Station Master Cats. You may feed the kitty, pet the kitty, or take the train.

Riding Clubs

In the game, the players will be able to form their own riding clubs. In their riding clubs, they can have club gear and equipment, their own club house, and do club events as well as participating in club vs. club racing and eventing PvP.

Player Versus Player

PvP in Mystic Riders is completely optional. All group races and championship style events are up to the discretion of the player whether or not they want to participate. PvP can include races against your friends in groups. Or racing in large championships that you can only enter once you’ve beaten the racing story line of your area and are a “champion.”

Chat System

In the game there will be a chat system for players to be able to talk to each other. The Chat system will be locked for players under the age of thirteen. We hope to have a system in place where if you try to use a word that would be censored, it will turn red and you won’t be able to send the chat without changing the word. This will help with compliance with acts such as COPPA.

There is one system that we won’t be implementing into the game and that is an in game player economy. Players will be able to sell items to NPCs but they won’t be able to sell them to each other. As this is one of the  most tricky systems to work into a huge game, and is one of the most easily abused, we don’t want to get into it.

These are a good many of the different systems that we have hopes to implement in Mystic Riders MMO, along with our mini-games, in order to make it an enjoyable and fully realized gaming experience.

Tumbling Down in Amethyst District

Tumbling Down in Amethyst District

We keep mentioning our wonderful districts, so now we’re going to start introducing them. Astranar has eight districts, each with their own individual flare, and they can be quite competitive with each other. In Astranar, the districts are named after gemstones. This week, we’ll be discussing Amethyst, where Consciousness magic is the end-all be-all.

tumblr_ojvusfa4rl1uz4wmko1_540

Set in the very center of Argentum, Amethyst is mostly mountainous and bordered by Sphalerite, Ruby, and Emerald, as well as both Zablana and Nospos. Ginny used the Swiss Alps as inspiration for Amethyst, looking for ways to situate towns and farms into the mountain side that goes vertical more than it does horizontal. With pocket valleys creating ideal places for villages and high steeps covered in snow for the rest, Amethyst is great for everyone who enjoys their snow year round.

In addition to the villages and high hills that lead into Ruby, Amethyst is home to winter sports of all varieties, particularly ice skating. In fact, a huge Olympic-sized facility has been built in Amethyst to try and attract ice skaters of all types. With all those twisting roads, though, travel can get tricky and there’s always someone who is in need of rescue. Perhaps as a nod to the home of winter weather, Russia, there is a definite imperial/military inspired style in Amethyst.

tumblr_plocyvUfeg1vrz6y9o4_540

With all those mountains and the specialty of dressage, you might need a new horse. While Amethyst doesn’t provide you any funds for new horses, there are some to take a look at if you don’t mind spending some of your own cash. The Vyatka and the Akale-Teke are horses built for extreme weather and elegant looks, both being considered rare breeds. If something a little more solid is your speed, there is also the Orlov Trotter for your consideration.

vyatkahorse

Consciousness magic resonates with Ti on the solfege scale. Consciousness is magic of the mind and will, with many of its abilities similar to that of psychic abilities. Magicians of Consciousness will push their minds and their bodies as hard as they can to achieve their goals. While they are usually empathetic enough to pick up other’s emotions and maybe manipulate them, they aren’t as wise to their own feelings and can come across as a little cold. On the small scale, Consciousness magic is telekinesis and emotions or thought sensing, relying on the environment or others as well as their own will. On the large scale, it can grant its users knowledge of the past, the present, or the future, and even allow for astral projection. However, you have to be careful about going too far from your body or into time–they don’t play fair–and if you push yourself too far, you’ll get a nasty headache for your troubles.

If you following Ginny’s twitter blog, you’ll know that all of the districts, including Amethyst, have their own little specialties and symbols. I won’t bore you with all of them, and I want you to get to enjoy finding them out on your own! (The name is one giant clue to one of them, fyi.) I will mention that the Amethyst mentors depend on which side you choose. If you go with the Light, you will look to Isidora Silvertreble (profile pending), and if you go with the Shadow, you have options: Vivian Streetbeat (profile pending) and Victoria Blackpiano (profile pending).

Want those profiles to come sooner? Consider buying us a ko-fi.

Shine a Light in Morganite!

Shine a Light in Morganite!

We keep mentioning our wonderful districts, so now we’re going to start introducing them. Astranar has eight districts, each with their own individual flare, and they can be quite competitive with each other. In Astranar, the districts are named after gemstones. This week, we’ll be discussing Morganite, where Prism magic shines.

FRANCE-Provence-Vineyard

A combination of lush beaches, sweeping fields with craggy water ways, and one very boggy marsh, Morganite is on the southwest side of the country on the coast on the border with Nospos, and it is also surrounded by Sphalerite, Ruby, and Diamond districts. With input from Becca, Ginny looked to southern France for imagery for Morganite. Fields of lavender are home to wild horses, the big bulls needed for Sapphire, and wineries. There are bits of French charm around every corner or stream.

Unfortunately, all that water historically leads to problems in the spring and summer, as the influx of rain can cause flooding. The locals are used to it, but preparations still have to made. Equally unfortunately, the local nobility, in particular the baroness, and the local higher class merchants aren’t seeing eye to eye. (Beware of sandwich jokes, there’s hidden meaning around here…) The only help for all of this? An elderly knight, tucked away in his tower among the marshes. If only you could reach him, you might be able to get everything ready on time! Despite the weather, the atmosphere of the hamlets and the beaches have brought out the classically cute style in terms of fashion.

Girls-font-b-Uniforms-b-font-Long-sleeved-T-shirt-Piece-Fitted-Skirt-Student-font-b

Seeing as how there is a huge marsh to deal with, you’re going to need a second horse if you hope to navigate it. Morganite is home to the special quest that gains you in-game currency to purchase a draft horse. If you’ve only unlocked Morganite at that time, your option is the Percheon. In addition, the area’s specialty is show jumping, but there are a handful of ranches that raise cattle or horses, so a good all-around horse in the Selle Francais is available. And considering how adorable the rest of the district is, of course there’s a pony running around: the Welsh pony, specifically.

percheron

Prism magic resonates with La on the solfege scale. Prism is magic of the light, literally, and is the definition of jack of all trades, master of none in terms of spell range. If a person aligns with Prism magic, they tend to be very transparent, but watch out because that doesn’t mean there aren’t hidden depths. They are the definition of optimism, and always see the best in others–even where others can’t. On the small scale, Prism magic summons light–from that of the stars, the sun, or the moon, or in different colors with each color being capable of a different thing. On the large scale, it is the power of illusions, making the mind believe something is there that isn’t or appearing different. It’s very handy for some quick costume changes! However, perhaps to balance it’s versatility and stable nature, very little Prism magic directly impacts reality.

If you following Ginny’s twitter blog, you’ll know that all of the districts, including Morganite, have their own little specialties and symbols. I won’t bore you with all of them, and I want you to get to enjoy finding them out on your own! (The name is one giant clue to one of them, fyi.) I will mention that the Morganite mentors depend on which side you choose. If you go with the Light, you will look to Charlotte Mistwaltz (profile pending), and if you go with the Shadow, you have options: Vanessa Ribbonmelody (profile pending) and Victoria Blackpiano (profile pending).
Want those profiles to come sooner? Consider buying us a ko-fi.

Gears Are Turning in Sapphire

Gears Are Turning in Sapphire

We keep mentioning our wonderful districts, so now we’re going to start introducing them. Astranar has eight districts, each with their own individual flare, and they can be quite competitive with each other. In Astranar, the districts are named after gemstones. This week, we’ll be discussing Sapphire, where Ether magic brings out the power of the celestial in us all.

A twisting hill land of grasses and sand that is close enough to the Highwind Desert to affect the local climate, Sapphire is on the northeast side of the country up against the foot of the Whistlebacks, and sharing a border with the Ruby, Emerald, and Citrine districts. Southern Spain was the inspiration for this district of Astranar (which makes sense considering the location of the equator for both countries). With tall, gleaming white buildings set in mazes among hills and winding dirt roads, Sapphire seems a lot more sparse than it is, with a rich history and ancient runes that hint at the past for Astranar. Of course, if you can find them is the trick there, since some of those ruins are quite out of the way.

Granada

The nobility find Sapphire a welcome change of pace, and so there’s a heavy collection of them around. Some are lords, there’s a count and a local knight… Why so many flock can also be nailed down to the “exiled” prince, Sebastian, who makes his home at his family’s estate in Sapphire. Why he was removed from the line of succession is a mystery that the royal family has kept private… Some of the lords may also be by because Sapphire has a large bull fighting arena. (For those of you who have read Emerald‘s entry, you can imagine how big of a problem that can be!) Fashion in Sapphire is just a bit kooky–steampunk is the name of a game, perhaps as a nod towards formality for the gentry?

casualsteampunk1

With all the grassland hills and beaches, horses that do well on the straight and on sandy terrain are best suited to Sapphire. Good thing they have the breed books for Arabians and Barbs! In addition, they have the Hackney Horse for those who might be more inclined to their high speed trotting and delicate lines. The racing specialty around these parts is the straightforward flat race, though of course nothing is ever that simple, right?

barb

Ether magic resonates with So on the solfege scale. Ether is magic of the spirit, and in many ways is closer to “traditional” forms of magic. Those of the Ether don’t really take the beaten path, as they serve as bridges between Earth, the heavens, the spirit, and the body, though they value safety with their independence. They are deep thinkers who you can often find holed up in a lab of some sort. On the small scale, Ether magic can tolerate dualities, like hot and cold, have higher endurance of thirst, fatigue, or hunger, or converse/interact with spirits or ghosts. On the large scale, it is the power of alchemy, changing one element for another among other things, and space magic. Be careful not to form a baby star in your backyard!

If you following Ginny’s twitter blog, you’ll know that all of the districts, including Sapphire, have their own little specialties and symbols. I won’t bore you with all of them, and I want you to get to enjoy finding them out on your own! (The name is one giant clue to one of them, fyi.) I will mention that the Sapphire mentors depend on which side you choose. If you go with the Light, you will look to Minna Opuswright (profile pending), and if you go with the Shadow, you have options: Veronica Highflute (profile pending) and Varteni Heatforte (profile pending).

Want those profiles to come sooner? Consider buying us a ko-fi.