Let’s Make Something

Let’s Make Something

Now that the player has someplace to live and keep their horses, well, they’re own little farm. They need something to do on their farm. That’s right. Crafting.

In combat MMOs, crafting is now considered one of the basic features of the game. It doesn’t matter that in a combat MMO you’re probably just getting materials to make new armor or put together some potions, crafting is there and part of the experience. In Mystic Riders, crafting is part of what drives the story as the character chases after the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

As the player unlocks camp locations, they can choose to learn new skills. In the beginning, they can learn 3 different skills, one racing, one ‘craft’ skill and one ‘arts’ skill.

The racing skill they choose is determined by their district and the answers they gave to the quiz. (If they don’t like that type of skill, they can always take the quiz again to get a different district.) And then once they are at camp, they can choose two other skills from the different activities offered.

The Craft skills are hiking, running, swimming, gardening, cooking, photography, archery, and fishing. The Art skills are cloth crafts, leather crafts, wood/paper crafts, ceramics, and lastly, metal crafts. As the player uses their skills, they’ll get better at them. The more they craft, the better they’ll be at it. (Exactly the same mechanic used for riding, jumping, or caring for your horse.)


Some of the craft skills and all of the art skills have trees of knowledge that increase in difficulty. When you first start sewing for example, you’ll be learning to make curtains and pillowcases, but when you become more advanced, you can make tailored clothes! As the player increases in skill, new quests to learn more advanced techniques will open up for them to play, and new items will be available for them to make.

After you learn to hike, you can learn orienteering and eventually go onto geocaching and archaeology. Running leads to the skills of yoga, dance, and fencing or martial arts. Once you learn to swim, you can learn to row a boat. After you learn to garden, you can learn how to take care of animals, and mine responsibly. (I’d consider gardening to be the most basic skill to take and strongly urge players to get it started first.) Once you learn to cook, you can learn to bake, make candy, and brew things such as potions, lotions, and perfumes.

After you learn to sew square things, you can learn to make clothes, and then advanced more tailored clothes and knitting. In leather crafts, first you make belts, handbags, and shoes, and then you can learn to make bridles and saddles. In woodcrafts, you first learn to make paper items, and things such as picture frames. Then you can learn to make furniture and musical instruments. In ceramics, first you learn poured ceramics (like plaster) and slab style ceramics, and then you can learn the pottery wheel, and eventually go onto glass making. In metal crafts, you learn to make jewelry and simple things like nails and decorative objects, then later forging.

Some of this obviously is going to need to be worked out and is subject to change.


The crafting system is meant to tie in with the story, the professions, the My Farm/My Stable, and even the factions in Mystic Riders. During the story, the character will be asked to use certain skills. And how easily they manage them is going to depend on how much time they’ve put into that skill.

If you want to take part in a certain profession in the game and get the special items, you’re going to need skill and reputation with the groups related to that profession. The more work you put into your skills, the bigger and better your farm and stable can become. If you want better horse shoes, it’s going to be much cheaper to learn to forge your own than to buy them. And there are certain items you can only make if you’re with one faction or the other.

The items they make and grow can be food for them or their horses, it can be clothing or gear, or jewelry to help with their magic abilities. They can create items to decorate their My Farm/My Stable inside and out.

As the player runs around the world and does the quests and as they level up in their skill levels, they’ll discover, be given, or can buy different crafting recipes or patterns. These they can keep in their library at their My Farm/My Stable for reference later.


They can grow the items they need at the My Farm/My Stable, forage them from the world around them, or be able to buy items in shops if they’re pressed for time. Just because one player is going to want to make their outfit from growing the cotton to finished product, doesn’t mean another player is going to want to do that, and we can accommodate both.

Because crafting is going to be a large part of the game, we have set some limits on how long things will take to grow in the garden for instance. Nothing should take more than fifteen minutes and when the server resets, everything will be instantly ready. We don’t want to frustrate our players or make them babysit the game waiting for things to finish. Certain areas of the game will have items the player can forage. The items will be refreshed when the player leaves that area and returns. And so it’s not all drag and drop mechanics, we hope to use different mini games to liven up the experience.

For instance, in sewing you could trace the pattern on the screen. For forging, there could be a slide bar mini game where you need to hit the mouse at a certain time. For cooking, you could take the ingredients and make sure each row of ingredients has the right number of them and possibly in the right order.

We want people to have fun and hopefully relax during the game. Farming and crafting and using the items that result to decorate your My Farm/My Stable can be very relaxing activities! Crafting is yet another way we want to give the players more control over their experience to enjoy the game they want to enjoy it without making it a grind or tedious and mind numbing.

A Place to Live

A Place to Live

One of the main buildings in the My Farm/My Stable is the farm house, or, well, in the beginning, the farm cottage. When the player first sets up their My Farm/My Stable after purchasing the game, they receive what is essentially a 1 bedroom cottage. They have a choice over whether or not the cottage is on the ground or is a tree house and what architectural style the cottage is going to be or at least, grow into.

Because as they play through the game and go through quests learning different skills, the player will be able to upgrade and expand their cottage to have more rooms for different crafting skills. They’ll be able to buy or create decorations and plants so that they can choose how their cottage is going to look on the outside.

They will also have the option of decorating their cottage on the inside. This starts when the player gets a room or a cabin at camp. They are allowed to choose from the district’s basic colors and patterns on how to decorate their room. Once they buy the game, they’ll be able to choose from every districts colors, patterns, and mix and match from the different Victorian style wall paper and furniture themes available. And by learning crafting skills, they can make or buy at stores, drag and drop decorations to personalize their home even more.

The cottage begins as a small one bedroom cottage with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bath. Your living room may have a small area for whatever your first crafting specialty that you chose at camp. If you chose clothes, there might be a body form and a sewing machine for example.

As the player learns more about their skill they’ll be able to add onto the cottage by adding an entire room for the skill. They might want to add a wardrobe room to keep all of their clothes. (Like, they’ll want to add on a display tack room for their horse’s equipment in the stable.) They might want a room for paper crafts and wood working or to put in an art room for their pottery wheel and kiln or glass blowing supplies. Maybe, they’ll want to collect books and have a library. Or they need a case for all their findings in archeology. They might want to upgrade their kitchen so they have better ovens or more than one counter in order to do cooking and baking in one area, but making dyes, paint, and spa products (and other inedible things) on another counter.

One of the most useful rooms in the player’s cottage is their bedroom. The bedroom contains several mechanics of the game that deal with their inventory and game progression; the wardrobe, the vanity, the safe, the computer, the bedside table, and the bed.myfarmcloset

The wardrobe is where the player can keep their clothes, hand items outside of pets, and jewelry. The wardrobe will allow them to organize their clothes and to create outfits if they desire. When the player enters the wardrobe, they should be able to see themselves and their clothing inventory. They can either double click on items or drag and drop them to create outfits. There should be an option for them to be able to see their total stats depending on the outfit that they’re wearing.


The vanity is where the player can keep their hairstyles and makeup options. If they desire, they can play a mini game in order to do their hair, nails, and makeup, after they decide what they want to do, or they can opt out of the mini-game and do a ‘magical’ quick change.

The safe is where the player can keep extra credits and coins that they don’t want to carry around in their inventory. This lets the player save coins and credits beyond the maximum limit. The safe would have an extra password that the player would set as a double protection just in case. This way, if the player doesn’t have anything they want to buy and are almost maxed out on the credit or coin limit, they can store those currencies and keep earning until there is something they do want to buy in an update, or dare I say it, the next expansion.

The computer is similar to the phone user interface for the player. The computer does everything that the phone does, as well as gives the player options to replay story arcs for coins (not experience), keeps track of story progression, allows them to replay story cinematics, and gives them the option to change their My Farm/My Stable/Cottage/Dorm appearance. Here they can keep track of their skills and skill trees, have a database of met NPCs, horses, and district information, see the webpages for different in game riding clubs, and unlock game concept art. And because a computer should also be fun, they can also practice the mini games such as bubble shooter and whack-a-mole, etc.

The bedside table is important for its large stack of magazines. These magazines form a dress up game for both the player and the horses. These magazines are advertisements for clothing, hair styles, makeup, and horse equipment items that they can either buy in the shops or create themselves. They can use the magazines to plan outfits for them and their horses, and the magazines can tell them where to find the items, if they have restrictions, the stats, and how much the entire outfit is going to cost.


Lastly, there is the bed. The bed is simply a place for the player to sleep. If they’ve finished the quests for that day, and want to progress to the next day’s quests, then they can pay a fee to sleep and wake up “the next day.” When they wake up the next day, all their items in the garden will be grown, and they’ll be able to proceed in any story or crafting quests. Mystic Riders is going to be designed so the player will spend at most an hour every day doing horse care and quests. If they desire to spend more time in the game foraging or farming or shopping outside of quests, that is on the player and if they desire to do more quests outside of the 45 minutes to an hour, they can sleep in their bed to progress the game.

While the cottage at the My Farm/My Stable isn’t going to be a place where the player spends a huge amount of time, it is designed to let them have as much control over it as possible and assist them in their farming and crafting endeavors.

A Place of Your Own

A Place of Your Own

A large part of Mystic Riders involves the ability to grow and make your own items. And in order to do that, you need a place of your own to be able to grow your own ingredients or store things that you’ve foraged. Plus, you can’t keep all your horses at the camp forever. You need your own place and that is the My Farm/My Stable.

The My Farm/My Stable is available to players who buy a pass to leave the camp (or in essence, buy the game). Once they have a pass, the mentor of their camp will show them their own Farm and Stable and walk the player through choosing a set up for a Farm and Stable of their own.

The My Farm/My Stable exist in well, magic space. What the player needs to access their farm and stable is their magical key, and a special gate. When they put the key into the special gate, a portal appears to their bit of land in Astranar. They can either keep the key with them, or set it up in one of permanent gates on the map. (Going home to your stable is always a free transportation jump that doesn’t require using a train.)

The key to their farm and stable is a snow globe! (Snow globes are very magical in Astranar.) The player has the opportunity to customize their snow globe key by choosing one of the districts symbols for the middle and a color from the color palette. (These can always be changed later.)


When the player drags and drops their key onto the gate for the first time, they’ll be prompted to choose a style of farm that they want. While the player won’t be able to choose the placement of the buildings on their farm, they’ll be able to choose whether or not they have a cottage or a tree house and about a half a dozen styles ranging from French Empire, Queen Anne, Modern Eco Victorian, and so on and so forth to choose from, and they can choose if they want stone or stucco or painted clapboard. There will also be decorations to make or buy so they can decorate to their heart’s content.

The player will also be prompted to name their My Farm/My Stable.

The player will start with a small 1 bedroom cottage, a stable with 3 stalls that looks like a country church without a steeple, and a patch of dirt. As they do quests around the districts, they’ll be able to upgrade and add buildings and animal enclosures to their farm. Some of the first quests after the player acquires their farm will be to fill the stalls of their stable with a draft horse and a pony!

For example, as a player does farming quests around the district, they’ll be able to upgrade their patch of dirt so it has less rocks, or they learn how to improve the soil, thus letting plants grow faster or yield more. By learning about animals from farmers and veterinarians, they can build enclosures for bunnies, chickens, and an animal pen for bigger animals like sheep, cows, alpaca, and goats. (This is going to depend on their crafting specialty what animals they find more important. A player that takes up doing clothing is more likely to have an alpaca over say a goat, unless the goat is a cashmere goat.)

Once the player goes to the Diamond District and learns about hot houses, they’ll be able to build a conservatory in their farm if they so desire. When they learn forging, they’ll be able to build a forge on their farm. And if they want a pony cart, they can build a building specifically to hold their pony cart.


When they complete a quest to make friends or capture one of the fantasy horses in the mirror world, they’ll be able to open a gate to the mirror world from their farm to a magical glade. This magical glade will have a pavilion for them to take care of their magical horses, a garden, and enclosures for magical animals.

The My Farm/My Stable is intended as a place for the player to be able to continually improve as the game progresses. It is “their” space in the game to make it look the way they want. They can use the farm to grow plants in order not to have to buy them at the stores and as a place to keep extra inventory and pets. Lastly, the My Stable is a place for them to house the completely optional horses (outside one draft and one pony) they can collect in the game.

Light or Shadow: Which Faction Do You Choose?

Light or Shadow: Which Faction Do You Choose?

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 player is a Light Rider or a Shadow Rider. And when the player 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 you 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 player, or run along after the player 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 you’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.

12 Days of Christmas: Wrapped in Red (Day 5)

12 Days of Christmas: Wrapped in Red (Day 5)

Pippa opened up her journal to where she’d stuck the instructions. Her eyes tickled and the page swam until it formed a picture of Santa’s traditional red outfit. Pippa rubbed her eyes. There was a list of items she was going to need and she didn’t have any of them. Pippa sighed. She needed to track down the tailor. Maybe they’d know more about what was going on. Holda had said not to lose the instructions, not that she couldn’t ask advice on where to find the items on the list.

Pippa headed towards the tailor guild.

The head tailor was more than happy to see her. Pippa carefully explained the items she needed. The tailor frowned. “Those are some very odd items. What are you making again?”

“I didn’t say. It’s a very special outfit.”

The tailor’s lips moved back and forth. “You didn’t say. Of course you didn’t say. A special outfit isn’t very specific. A pine needle, cardinal dye, yule wool, baby angora down?” She sighed. “All of this is very hard to get and all just in season so I don’t have any in stock yet.”

“What am I to do then?” Pippa asked. “This is very important!”

“Do, Do! You’ll have to collect it yourself. Talk to the blacksmith about the pine needle. To collect cardinal dye, you’ll have to go to the 4 cardinal directions of the district and bring back what you find there. Yule wool? Well, you’ll have to go collect it. Yule wool doesn’t come any ordinary sheep. It comes from yule sheep. And they don’t let anyone near them.”

Pippa wanted to frown. If the sheep didn’t let anyone near them, how was she to get their wool? Oh, she’d figure it out.

“And baby angora down? Baby? That’s special. That’s so special, I can’t think of anyone with baby angoras right now.” The tailor tapped her foot.

“Do angoras live in the wild?” Pippa asked.

“Some do. Very well, you’ll have to go collect some wild angoras.” The tailor nodded. “I don’t know what the rest of your list has to do with anything, dried popping corn, chestnuts, fresh snow, mint leaves.” She waved her hands. “That doesn’t have anything to do with tailoring that I know of.”

“I’ll figure it out,” Pippa said. “Thank you for your help!”  Pippa beamed at her.

She went back to Vesper.

“Catch wild angoras?” Vesper asked. “Better talk to the vet. He’ll know what they like. Once you lure them, you can use your calm animal spell.”

“Thanks Vesper!” Pippa said. “I better hurry before it gets dark.”

The blacksmith was fortunately near the vets. She huffed. “A pine needle? A pine needle?”

“Yes, a pine needle,” Pippa said.

“I don’t know what you need one of those for. They’re a specialty item, hard to make, very magical and you can only use them once!”

“I need one,” Pippa said. “Can you show you me how to me make it?”

“All right, all right, but you’re going to need special ingredients. A needle from a white pine tree, cypress tree oil, fir tree sap, a bucket of feather ice, and lumps of Christmas coal.”

“That’s a lot of items!” Pippa said, typing quickly into her phone. It was a good thing she was going out into the forest to find angora rabbits! She frowned as she finished typing in lumps of Christmas coal. “What are lumps of Christmas coal?” she asked.

“Why the coal that Santa leaves to bad children!” the blacksmith said.

Pippa’s eyes widened. “How am I to get any of that?”

“You’re going to have to ask around,” the blacksmith told her.

Pippa bit her lip. Maybe Wodan would know who he’d given Christmas coal to in the past. It would be in his naughty and nice book, correct? She could go ask him. She made a note of that. “Okay, I’ll get right on it,” she told the blacksmith.

Then it was onto the vet.

“Baby angora wool? At this time of year?” The vet seemed confused. “Well, angoras like alfalfa and timothy hay. It may take a few tries to get the right type of rabbit though.”

“I’ll have patience. This is important.”

“Here, take these shears to clip the angoras with,” the vet said, handing her a small set of sheers. “You don’t want to hurt them!”

“Do you know anything about Yule Sheep?”

“Yule sheep? Who told you about Yule sheep?” The vet lowered his voice. “Those don’t live on this side of the world,” he said. “Those are Santa’s sheep and live in the Mirror World. They’re nasty too. Don’t let anyone but Santa and his sooties touch them.”

“Oh no,” Pippa groaned. “Then, how am I to get their wool?”

The vet’s face lit up and his eyes twinkled in mischief. “I hear though they like candy apples. Maybe if you make some candy apples, you can lead them through some rushes and get the wool you need that way.”

“Oh, that’s brilliant!” Pippa said. “I’ll get on it right away. Thank you!”

Pippa looked at her list. So, before she went off into the forest, she was going to need to get some timothy hay and alfalfa mix. That was fine. She had that at the farm. She was also going to have to make some candy apples. She didn’t know if she had the recipe. But she knew who to ask, the head baker!

With a wave and a round of thanks to the vet, Pippa was on her way to the baker.

The baker widened his eyes. “Candy apples for Yule Sheep! Well, you’re going to need my special Christmas candy apple recipe. No ordinary harvest caramel apple is going to lure those sheep away from their feeding.” He rummaged around. “Ah hah! My special Christmas candy apples with candy cane sticks, peppermint flakes, and white chocolate!” He waved the recipe around. “No yule sheep will be able to resist these!”

Pippa giggled. “Or any horse for that matter.”

“Yes, do keep Marbel from poaching,” the baker muttered. “These are for the yule sheep. Here, I’ll make you a copy of the recipes that you’ll need to make them!” He made copies of the candy cane recipe and the candy apple apple recipe. (White chocolate, caramel she probably already has in her recipe book.)

“Thank you!”

“There will be lots of recipes available for the season. So, keep your eyes open!” the baker told her. “Collect enough of them, and there will be coupons in it for you.”

Pippa widened her eyes. “Then, I’ll definitely be on the lookout.” She tucked the recipes away in her journal and made a note that she’d gotten it on her new Christmas Achievement list that Vesper had texted her. She waved to the baker and set off for her farm, Magpie Field.

On the way, she used her new Christmas spell to put lights on the trees along the road, giggling as she did. It was so much fun. After she’d done ten, her phone pinged to tell her that Vesper had a coupon for her! Well, there wasn’t much point in going back to Vesper for one coupon. Not when Pippa had so much to do. She kept decorating trees and tried not to bounce as her phone pinged every time she decorated ten trees.

At the farm, she collected timothy hay and alfalfa from her stores. She always kept it on hand for her own rabbits. She went into her kitchen and set to work making Christmas candy apples. She made candy canes and ended up having to smash half of them for her candy bits. She made white chocolate and caramel. And then mixed the crushed candy cane bits into the white chocolate. She dipped apples into the caramel, then the white chocolate, stuck whole candy canes in them and then drizzled white chocolate tinted red over it in swirls over it, and then while the red chocolate was still tacky she tapped red crystal sugar on it to make the red swirls look like tinsel. There, no Yule sheep was going to be able to resist those!

Pippa giggled, put everything she was going to need into her saddle bags, saddled up Marbel, and hit the road.