One of the issues with MMORPGs is that the story can often feel railroaded or set in stone as a player goes through the game. No matter what type of profession they are or race, they end up playing the same story. MMORPGs aren’t at the point yet of, say, Detroit Become Human, where every option creates a myriad of other options and endings. However, Mystic Riders has a couple ideas in mind to allow the player to have more ‘control’ over their adventure.
One of these is our faction system.
In Mystic Riders, there are two groups of magical riders; the Light Riders, and the Shadow Riders. They’re at odds with each other and don’t know how to get along. The Light Riders control the mastery of the elements and some say thought itself, while the Shadow Riders control things such as petrification and decay, and they’re rumored to control fear and nightmares.
Why there are two factions is something of a mystery. Once upon a time, there didn’t seem to be Light or Shadow magicians at all. There were simply magicians. No one knows what happened. Now, it is what it is, and the Light Riders and Shadow Riders vie for control of the Mirror World.
Nobody is sure what would happen if one side gained more control of the other, though both sides are determined to try.
During the game, the player will be given choices on what side they want to be part of: the Light or the Shadow. And from that point on in the story, they will experience different story quests as they proceed in the game (until they’re prompted on whether or not they want to switch sides again). The player is allowed to choose and decide their own motivations for doing so. Do they really believe one faction is better than the other? Maybe they’re a spy?
On top of having different story quests, each side will have different areas of the Mirror World that they can enter and exit safely. A Light Rider better be stealthy and quick if they want to enter an area of the Mirror World controlled by the Shadow. If not, they’ll have to hope they can race back home without being caught. The vice versa is also true.
The appearance of the “My Glade,” the Mirror World section of the “My Farm,” will also change depending on whether or not the main character is a Light Rider or a Shadow Rider. And when the main character has enough experience to open up a gate to a Mirror World town, what town they have will depend on which faction they’re part of.
Of course, it is a horse game so there are different special magical horses for Light Riders and for Shadow Riders. In Astranar, there are whispers of unicorns and pegasi if someone can enter the Mirror World and win their trust. However, white unicorns only come to riders of the Light, and dark unicorns are attracted to riders of the Shadow. The same can be said of the pegasi. White, pastels, and true colors love Light Riders. While black, greys, and muted colors adore Shadow Riders.
While there are other magical horses, one doesn’t truly care about alignment and a couple only come around a very special lucky holiday.
There is also one special pet for each faction. Light Riders can keep rabbits of all varities for pets. While Shadow Riders can keep certain species of the weasel family including weasels, stoats, ferrets, mink, and pine martens. These pets ride along in the saddle bag, can be held by the main character, or run along after the main character while they’re walking. And if the player has more than one pet, they stay at the “My Farm/My Stable.”
Each faction has their own special equipment and gear for horses and humans alike. For those in the know, wearing these special styles can hint what side they’re on or have been on in the past.
Hopefully, by adding factions to the game and giving them different rewards will encourage replayability and give the player more freedom and customization in how they choose the play their story and craft their own adventure.