29/08/2017

Feature Spotlight #2 – Universe, Planets And Travels


Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! The August hiatus is finally over – welcome to the second, much awaited Fractured Feature Spotlight!

If you’ve been with us for a while, you should remember our first developer journal – Three Races, Three Gameplays – where we have explained how we want to revolutionize the concept of “race” in the MMO genre and use it to cater to the needs of peaceful/cooperative and aggressive/competitive players alike. If you haven’t checked it out already, we highly suggest you do it now, since it is a necessary preamble to what we’re revealing today.

In the first part of this spotlight, we’re going to describe the universe of Fractured more in detail – how it came to be, what it looks like today, and what are the characteristics of its three planets Arboreus, Syndesia and Tartaros.

In the second part, we’ll unveil eclipses, recurring events that have a huge impact on the lives of Demons and Humans.

Last but not least, we’ll discuss the idea of “travel” in Fractured and drop some hints regarding the survival elements that exist in the game.

Ready? Let’s discover together!

The Elysium System

After the Fracture, the One Planet, Elysium, was split into the three worlds you should be already familiar with: Arboreus, Syndesia and Tartaros. Put into motion by the same magic that created them, they started revolving around the sun, giving birth to a proper solar system that was to be known as the Elysium System.

As one might expect, the amount of magical energy required to perform the Fracture was beyond imagination and impossible to harness faultlessly, not even by sorcerers endowed with quasi-divine powers. As Elysium was torn apart, countless fragments of its own mass were scattered around the universe – some as small as a little hill, others as large as a whole region of the planets to be. Over time, pulled by the gravity of the sun, they started aggregating in the space between the orbit of Arboreus and that of Syndesia and Tartaros – and so the Elysium Ring was formed.

Time Cycles

The choice to have a proper solar system was not random, of course, as it gives us not only a perfect environment to develop three different gaming experiences, but it also opens up a myriad of possibilities to introduce challenging game mechanics such as seasonal cycles and events related to the position of planets and the exploration of asteroids. The latter is quite of a big chapter in itself, and will have a whole feature spotlight dedicated to it.

When it comes to the time cycles of the three planets, their behavior is quite similar – 1 day (a full rotation of the planet around its axis) lasts roughly as long on Arboreus as it does on Syndesia and Tartaros, and so does 1 year (a full rotation of the planet around the sun). Below you can find a table showing the duration of different time cycles in Fractured compared to real world times.

Real Time Fractured Time
2 hours 1 day
2 days 1 month
1 week 1 season
1 month 1 year

Day/night cycles behave realistically on each world, with half of the surface of a planet being in day time and the other in night time, sunrise and sunset moving smoothly along the surface. Seasons act in a similar way, being opposite in the two hemispheres, but less noticeable at the equator, where temperatures are more or less constant.

Beastman Planet: Arboreus

Arboreus Mood Painting

Arboreus is the largest planet of the Elysium Ring, with a surface twice as wide as that of Syndesia – although the area of continents above sea level is roughly equivalent to that of the other planets. Other than being the largest, it also lies furthest from the sun, travelling the same orbit that once belonged to Elysium. Notwithstanding its distance from the star, the damp atmosphere of Arboreus allows it to be a warm and verdant world, covered with dense forests and plains of lush green grass, crossed by rivers and lakes aplenty.

Compared to Syndesia and Tartaros, Arboreus is the planet that most resembles its father Elysium, especially given it’s the only one that still retains Elysium’s primal energy, which manifests itself into ever-growing deposits of magical crystals, coveted by all the creatures of the System.

Crystals aren’t the only resource on Arboreus that stirs the greed of the people who don’t inhabit it, however. The planet is rich in wood, stone and minerals, although beastmen usually don’t take an interest in mining and blacksmithing. Indeed, the homes of beastmen are mostly made of wood, while stone is usually kept to erect public buildings.

After the Fracture, Arboreus was put under the protection of three of the Six Gods: Elysium, which is thought to be the source of Arboreus’ primal energy; Tyros, god of light and justice; Nelena, goddess of the wild and mother of all beastmen.

Demon Planet: Tartaros

Tartaros Mood Painting

Tartaros is the smallest of all the planets of the Elysium Ring. Notwithstanding its size, its walkable surface is similar in area to the one of Arboreus and Syndesia, since it is mostly covered by land. It’s a hot, arid world, plagued by a constant volcanic activity and scarce in edible resources.

Stone is common on Tartaros – sandstone, granite and obsidian in particular – and frequently used by demons to erect the buildings of their unholy cities. Metals besides iron are rare, but weapons made of the latter have already taken the life of thousands of creatures, in Tartaros and outside.

Due to the lack of water, agriculture is practically unfeasible on Tartaros, which forces demons to get most of their food by hunting the fearsome creatures that inhabit the planet. Whether demons would be interested in agriculture is doubtful anyway, considering patience is not exactly a virtue of theirs – if they have any virtue, that is.

Demons usually wear clothes made of leather crafted from the skin of their preys, since wild plants are also rare to come by – and when they can be found, they’re only suitable to be harvested for wood or hard fibers to make strings and ropes.

After the Fracture, Tartaros became the prison of the dread Babilis, left to be the only god watching over the planet and its demonic progeny.

Human Planet: Syndesia

Syndesia Mood Painting

Syndesia, the cradle of human civilization, is a medium sized planet, boasting the largest environmental variety of the whole Elysium Ring. While the lack of Elysium’s primal energy makes its vegetation not as lush as that of Arboreus, it is still a fertile and resource-rich world, providing favorable conditions for the development of the human race and its ambitions.

On Syndesia, humans are always busy harvesting wood and stone to build their homes and castles, and mining different metals to craft their mighty weapons and armors. Coal and oil are also common, and much cherished by humans as fuel for their industries and their technological devices – a kind of knowledge rejected by Beastmen and Demons alike. On top of that, cultivations and pastures are widespread, leading to a level of environmental exploitation which sadly knows no match as well.

As always in the universe of Fractured, such an abundance of resources is not equally spread throughout the planet. Some regions are overall richer, others poorer, and even in the ones most sought-after some resources are hard to come by, which stimulates inter-planetary commerce to a great deal.

After the Fracture, two of the Six Gods decided to watch over Syndesia: Iridia, goddess of fortune and mother of all humans, and Galvanos, god of knowledge and keeper of the nine paths of magic, who always showed a great appreciation for the human persistence and fascination with progress.

Eclipses

Eclipse Demon Attack

Since the Fracture, the fates of humans and demons have been inextricably tied to those of Syndesia and Tartaros. As punishment for having plunged Elysium into chaos, the two new planets have been designed to orbit each other around a common barycenter, giving birth to what in astronomy is known as a binary system. This peculiar structure leads the two planets to regularly obscure each other through long eclipses, which have a deep impact on the lives of demons and humans alike.

Not much is to be said regarding the eclipse of Tartaros – the time when the planet is shadowed by Syndesia. The latter possesses no aura, being neither good nor evil as the human race that inhabits it, and casts no influence on Tartaros during an eclipse.

Entirely different is the fate of Syndesia when the planet is obscured by Tartaros. The event, which lasts for several real-time hours, sees the human world plagued by the demonic aura of Tartaros and the desire of Babilis and its progeny to taste human blood. Thanks to the aura, demons don’t suffer the usual penalties when walking the grounds of Syndesia, retaining all the powers they have on Tartaros, and being able to haunt humans until the eclipse is over.

During the unnatural dark times, several Stargates are spawned on the two planets, allowing demons to effortlessly invade Syndesia. Such portals can be closed, but it’s an incredibly strenuous task for even the largest human armies, since the locations are infested not only by demon players, but also by AI-controlled demonic spawns.

More often than not, the only chance of humans during an eclipse is to lock themselves up in their towns and villages and try to hold off the invaders, praying for the Long Night to be over soon.

Travel And Exploration

Exploration is a staple of the Fractured experience, strongly tied to the progression of your character. In Fractured, you’ll want to travel to faraway lands to discover every inch of the world to extract all the knowledge hidden there and expand the options given to your character.

Of course, such a unique type of progression – all part of the Knowledge System – requires travelling to be more than what you’re used to in other MMOs – which typically boils down to walking or riding from point A to point B (without getting murdered on the way if the game supports Open PvP). Indeed, on Fractured survival mechanics come into play to spice things up, requiring a greater deal of preparation the longer your travel takes and the more extreme the environment is. Let’s have a look at them following the (mis)adventures of a player whom for the sake of simplicity we’ll call… You.

  • Food and drinks. You start your journey to the largest town of the realm. Just like fighting, travelling accelerates the need to feed yourself. While some regions are rich with edible resources and you can hope to find food on the way, this one is quite bare and requires adventures to plan their trip wisely. You open your bag, and realize there’s only a slice of hardtack in it – and this is not LOTR. Damn!
  • Clothing. This time, you’ve brought the perfect quantity of food and water with you and you’re sure you’ll reach your destination with ease… but you’ve forgotten you have to cross a mountain pass in the meantime. Your journey ends up with a new human popsicle on the way, reminding travelers that on Fractured equipment doesn’t matter in combat only.
  • Rest. You won’t get fooled this time. You have plenty food, water and all the clothing you need. A little too much, in fact. You’re heavy, and you’re tiring quickly. When your legs refuse to move any longer, you set up a makeshift bed, feast aplenty and close your eyes for a shirt sleep – but your lame camp offers little protection, so a pack of wolves ends up feasting on you. Too bad!

As you might have understood from the examples above, the safest route for a new player is to to move from one inhabited location to another, get some rest at local inns and explore the surroundings. Once you get better equipped and experienced in dealing with the wilderness, you’ll be able to create safe camps to take naps and dive into long and perilous travels through remote locations.

If you engage in the merchant profession, things get even more complex, of course. In Fractured, there is no magical “stash” or “bank” that makes your items easily available everywhere you go. You can earn some warehouse space to store your items in a village, but such space is not free – and even if you unlock it, what you deposit in the village stays in the village. As your character inventory on Fractured is quite limited, you’ll need wagons to move resources – which means animals to drag them, and a proper escort to see that your bounty doesn’t fall to unwanted hands. This is once more a wide topic though, which will be given further elaboration in future feature spotlights.

Teleportation

A MMO without fast travel allows for exciting open world adventures and guarantees true profits for merchants, as we discussed above. On the other hand, having to walk or ride long distances just to meet up with your friends or reach your favorite dungeon can become unbearably cumbersome in the long run, disregarding how exciting the travel is.

Is it possible to get over this ostensible dichotomy? We think it is! Here are the three main fast travel options available of Fractured.

  • The easiest fast travel option, Gateways are magical doors located in a few key locations of each planet. When you enter one, you’ll be able to instantly teleport to any other Gateway located on the same planet that you have already discovered by physically travelling to it. Here’s the catch, though: you’ll be subject to various limitations when using one, including the inability to carry resources. They’re a good option to group faster with your distant friends, but not suitable for merchants!
  • Teleportation Magic. In Fractured, you’ll have the chance to learn a few spells that will allow you to teleport yourself to other locations on the same planet, subject to limitations similar to those of Gateways, including what items you can carry and the need to discover the destination first. When casting one, you’ll be drained of your energy and severely fatigued for a while after teleporting. Moreover, while more flexible than Gateways, earning access to certain destinations through teleportation magic won’t be an easy task.
  • The prime way to travel to other planets, Stargates require a great deal of group effort to be summoned and don’t last for long. After crossing one, the time you’re allowed to stay on the new planet is limited and varies according to your race, your alignment and your destination. Demons are a notable exception to this rule, having been gifted by Babilis the ability to travel to other worlds more easily to bring terror to the other much hated races. However, the penalties they’ll be subject to are no smaller than those suffered by the other races… and sometimes, actually worse.

DISCUSS