Arkanlor Initial Gameplay Plans
Note, that the Arkanlor name is a placeholder and is originally the name of the engine. If ever a playable game erupts from the work engineering the parts behind the scene, it might be a different name, it might be even in engines. Arkanlor is co-developed with another custom server engine focused on vector based 2d play, however, as the dream of an UO world working this way, this game plan is one milestone in many which seem at this moment worth reaching. Note, that my shard name will be Weltenfall, which is also the name of this site.
Since the world can be procedurally generated, the player begins in a random starting position, amongst vegetation, able to explore the island or continent around him. Which kind of world he starts off, is defined by the server he is playing in. Of course he can also start off in a fixed environment, like a pre built entry room. But a default setup would take him to a mid sized island he gets a random position to, and all players joining, entering the same area.
This means, that the island itself might be randomly generated in its whole speeding up the initial gameplay.
Playing one character can be fairly easy at start, in contrast to UO. PvP of course is hard, without basic weaponry, forges, etc. Monsters will not be occupying the world by themselves, making predators and players the worst enemy at start, maybe followed by stranded pirates or other mischiveous npcs. But as the island evolves, and the players explore the possibilities of how to build settlements, maybe even their own kingdoms, maybe even explored by other players, risks can be taken higher, by anchoring the world (which is possible only if the island is fully explored), building up ships, and moving to other continents or islands, maybe even awake magic, and search for other ways to improve their kingdom - at costs of bigger threats, like maroding monsters, and the bitter taste of the power of corruption.
Players have characters, they use to move the center of their attention. Imagine using your town guard character to look over the city's business, seeing players and npcs moving about, or imagine the famous hero traversing dungeons after dungeons, or imagine the roleplayed spy who actually comes from another kingdom, sitting in disguise amongst the chatter of your allieds in the pub.
Basic working skills, but also extended skills in the manner of social interaction with others, forming groups, training fighting or crafting skills - every character you create has a passive skilling enabled. You can increase the skilling process by playing for a while, but the system also rewards you for making breaks. Your characters usually dont die by age, and you have all the ways open to transform the world around you from rocks, stones and grass to castles, marketplaces, weird cultures or conquering empires.
The player can interact with the world: fauna and flora are lootable, but here the AI system comes into play.
Instead of limiting the player of changing the world, which he sees from a 2d perspective, the limits are in maintaining the AI.
Animals can be hunted to extinction and follow natural patterns. They have different behaviour, like deer travelling in small groups, wolfs building packs, cats hunting at night, and so on. If an animal cant find food resources of its habitat, it does not procreate well, if it does not find food at all, it dies.
Some things, like ores, are only accessible through mines being built. Other islands can be reached by ships or boats.
The player might soon establish a base camp, explore the area, might even go for a settlement. He might find stranded NPCs, with different skills and personalities, he can hire, take in his group, or even try to fullfill their own quests. Some NPCs might even have darker secrets, and following their ideas might lead to deeper quest plots.
AI Figures evolve, they might even change loyality, or have hidden talents you can uncover. They can be tasked to dig, hunt, build, guard either areas or possessions, or make up their own mind. They can be skilled up in an ordinary learning by doing style, like UO had. Note, that the player advances differently, his skills evolve passively, too, making a player character not stronger in numbers, but more skilled overall.
Note also, that npcs taken into the group of handled characters can benefit from the players passive skilling by doing it the same. Building up trust to NPCs is a path to take for a selected few, which at some point can be even formed into a playable character on their own. NPCs traverse a set of changes expanding their skillset to match more and more the one of a full player character.
This in later meta-play means of course, if an enemy sends a spy, and you foster him generously, even not knowing what was behind the character, you can take it over or make your influence bigger, and use him either as a counter spy, or a new played out character with ties to your enemy - or one day being intrigued as an enemy player takes him finally over and plays out a giant betrayal - endless possibilities.
NPCs however get older and can die of natural causes, and they can also form families and procreate, enabling you to build up a working economy, increasing lifestyle, and more workers, artists, scientists, clerics, even magicians to your disposal, by establishing schools which bend the interest of your npcs.
Terrain grows flora, influenced by its type, the weather, the time of the year and the humidity. In caves you can find deposits, which you can mine, or dig deeper, by establishing mining shafts. Trees can be lumbered for small wood, sticks, etc. but also cut down to give you more bigger materials. to keep woods up, of course, you also have to replant trees, but of course they grow by themselves.
There are only a limited set of basic materials, which can be refined into more complex materials, however basic tools might be also found in different sites around the fresh island.
Again, the world adds chance of dropping goods by sending in AI events, reacting to your actions on the island.
Woods and Ores lead to more buildable materials. Bigger buildings can be planned, and the player is presented with the raw cost of materials needed, and the time to build the building up. It becomes useful to let NPCs do the work, since they can also work while you are offline, finish your projects and forge your materials.
You can of course always let your own character be logged in and to the work, but if you log off while doing this, your character becomes npc controlled and might be threatened or lured away.