What is Trials of Ascension?
Trials of Ascension (http://trialsofascension.com/guide/) is a fantasy MMORPG currently running a Kickstarter campaign. The thing that makes ToA different from the majority of MMOs you see is the decision of the devs to do away with the "theme park" design mentality. The developers at Forged Chaos don't believe that gamers want to have exactly the same experience as everyone else. It's hard to be proud of the character you leveled to max today when you roam around and see dozens of carbon-copy Paladins who are identical to you.
There are several mechanics in ToA designed with the purpose of creating realism and fostering cooperation between players.
The Kickstarter video for ToA:
Below I'll talk about some mechanics mentioned in the video and some that aren't but are still confirmed to be in the game once it is finished.
Permadeath? In an MMO?!
That's right! When you make your character in ToA, you get one hundred lives. That's it. Use them all, and it's time to create a new character. Every fantasy story character ends his or her journey eventually, and player characters in Trials are no exception. This also forces players to be more cautious, since rushing headlong into dangerous situations has lasting consequences now.
Is there combat between players or just versus monsters?
Not only is PvP possible, it cannot be disabled. At any time, you may draw your sword and take a swing at someone nearby. There will be repercussions for doing so, but you can do it if you really want.
So what's to stop the high level players from continually attacking weaker players?
There are quite a few reasons this won't happen very much.
- No player levels. You do not gain experience and level in ToA the same way you would in an MMO like WoW. Combat in ToA is quite simple. (For a melee weapon w/ shield) Left click to attack, right click to block. There is no locking on, and if you don't attack in the right direction, you're not going to hit. That's that. Simple, yet it allows for player skill to become much more important in combat.
- No "conning." If you meet someone on the street in real life, can you tell their name and talents just at a glance? Of course not, and ToA is no different. For those who just want to fight underleveled players all day, I say good luck figuring out who the new players are when they don't have level numbers floating above their heads.
- Small discrepancies in arms and armor quality. You aren't going to find weapons that completely invalidate weaker weapons. Items that do not occur naturally will almost be exclusively made by players, and while the skill of the craftsman does determine the quality of the weapon, item quality will always be secondary to player skill.
- Crime and Punishment. Each player may belong to one settlement if they choose. If a you commit a crime against a citizen of a settlement, then your reputation in that settlement will decrease, and the guards of that settlement will act accordingly. If your reputation is low enough, the guards will attempt to kill you on sight.
I always choose a wizard(paladin, rogue, etc.) as my class in MMOs. Can I do that here?
If you become a wizard, it wasn't because you chose it as your class. Classes don't exist in ToA like in other RPGs. If you want to be a Warrior, pick up a sword and fight. If you want to be a Thief, then pick some locks and pockets. No player will ever be unable to do something merely because they made an arbitrary decision when they made their character.
So everyone can do everything?
Yes, everyone can do everything, but anyone who tries that will find out that they have become a jack of all trades and a master of none, since a well-rounded character will be woefully inferior when compared to a master of a skill. The learning rate of skills slows down as more skills are learned, in order to promote specialization and cooperation within a settlement.
But I can still make a wizard, right?
If you want it badly enough, yes, but magic probably works much more differently in ToA than in any game you've seen. A world where everyone can sling spells willy-nilly trivializes what magic is, a mysterious force of great power. Harnessing magic in ToA will require extreme dedication, patience, and the willingness to fight through failure to reach your goals. The majority of players who try to learn magic will never cast a single spell. However, for those who persevere, a fully-customizable spell of immense power will be their reward.
Settlements? Does that mean houses?
You bet it does. Every settlement has a player who rules the settlement, imposes taxes, funds the city guard, makes contracts with citizens(for example, a blacksmith might be paid by the settlement to arm the guards), and builds civic structures like barracks and a treasury/bank for the citizens. Any citizen can own a house in the settlement, assuming they can pay the property tax. Shops are created in much the same way as houses. Anyone can construct a building in their settlement if they can find an engineer to draw a blueprint and some builders to construct the building.
Will there be expansion packs or anything like that?
No. Everything new that will be added to the game will take the form of an innovation or a free patch, if it can't be an innovation. Innovations are skill-related discoveries that are only known to the player who made the discovery. This can take many forms, such as a way to make swords sharper or more durable, a new swordfighting technique, a cure for a deadly disease(that's right, diseases exist), or any number of other things.
Sounds like there's a lot you can do. How many skills are there?
Forty-one, unless I miscounted. ;)
ToA will be subscription-based and there will be a method allowing you to pay X dollars for Y hours of playtime. (Exact prices are yet undetermined.) There will not be microtransactions of any sort.
Wow, this has gone on a lot longer than I anticipated, and I feel like I've haven't even covered half of what ToA wants to be. As of right now, the Kickstarter is riding along on the backs of the most active of about 2,300 forum members. We definitely need to spread the word and get this game off the ground. What do you guys think? Are there any game elements here or on the main site that you are unsure about? Anything you're really excited to see?