Hello and welcome to another Deep Dive into Living Erenel’s design insight. As Living Erenel Season 3 comes to a close, today’s post reflects on Season 3 and delves a bit into Season 4. Much more for Season 4 will be revealed during the State of the Brew: July!
If you’re reading this and want to join our Living World: What is Living Erenel
As always, everything below for Season 4 is subject to change during play testing and development.
Living Erenel aims to provide a space for min/maxers, roleplayers, and those who fall in between, a place to enjoy an everchanging world driven by player ambition and story. Unfortunately, season 3’s balance tipped heavily to the combat side by introducing Archway Raids. Faction Dinner Parties were meant to balance the scales but didn’t quite pan out. While popular at first, Dinner Party participation wained midseason, and even with an increase in rewards, is unpopular at the end of Season 3.
The Giant Lord Season 3 storyline had glimpses of popularity, but it became difficult to keep up with outside of Giant Lord attacks unless a player actively participated in the Chronicle. In addition, once Archway Raids released, running 2 to 3 raids a week, mixed with world events, helped push the chronicle story to more of a distant memory.
I agree with player feedback about seasonal bloat and how it felt as if too much was going on at once. However, I also contribute a lack of random roleplay this season to this. Most players interested in roleplaying, especially those new to the idea, need direction. Living Erenel roleplay outside of adventures is sandbox roleplay. I had hoped to see random RP sessions of players “scouting” Giant Lords or chatting with one another in H’rasis. Maybe challenging in 1v1 duels, following the H’rasis tradition.
This sandbox approach is challenging for many, and due to most of the season becoming centered on raiding and world events, there was a lack of direction to spur discussions. Things need to happen for players to discuss them, and it is the prime focus of Season 4.
Season 3 Power Gains
Season 3 saw the introduction of Runecarving, a way for players to build their own magic items. Runecarving marks the last major system coming into Living Erenel for some time to allow for the current systems to breathe. With options such as runecarving, cohorts, property, and gemming, min/maxers have enough meaningful power choices and items to pursue.
All future system development, not included in factions, will bolster the previous downtime tools with more options as player levels increase. Now that the foundation is laid, development time can be spent improving.
Season 4 begins on July 8th, after a one-week vacation! Season 4 will be the longest yet, clocking in at a 4-month duration from July – October. A one-year time skip will occur at the start of Season 4, propelling Living Erenel into the year 626. Players will be welcome to post recaps of their character’s life events (if any) during the skip in RP channels.
Factions are being tweaked, with more info coming in the Living Erenel Season 4 patch notes. The goal is to make Factions more than just economic gains for players who want to participate in the RP side of Living Erenel. However, for factions to feel the way I believe most players wish, they must understand player agency is superior to the nudges Dungeon Masters can provide.
- Reworking of the Faction Renown Table.
- Faction Calamities. Random events can help or harm a Faction(s). It will be up to the Faction(s) to negotiate aid amongst other factions if calamity falls upon them.
- Faction Seasonal Currency. When members in a faction participate in the living world, the Faction itself earns currency, which the Faction Leader can spend.
- Season 4 story elements that can’t be revealed yet!
One side effect of running raids is it pulls from the season’s storyline. To combat this, DM Grizzly and DM IPA_Lot will be running raids in Season 4!
Each Archway Raid will have a 2-month duration, with only one raid night per week. Because of this change, the seasonal currency gain will be lowered to only 1 per raid night instead of the 1 per raid encounter of Season 3. The last encounter of the raid will continue to provide a World First Title and a unique Runecarving item upon completion.
This change adds weekly adventure options and prevents the bloated feeling of raid-only adventure weeks—more time to tell more stories.
A new Discord channel (#ooc-chronicle-recap) is now live for players who participate in Chronicles to recap what they learned in an adventure for the player base. Ideally, this will help update those who miss Chronicle streamed games or don’t have players in their Faction relay the information in roleplaying sessions.
Dungeon Masters will never recap adventures.
In season 4, Dungeon Masters can list games that last 4+ hours in length up from the standard 3 hours. Longer sessions not broken into parts provide Dungeon Masters more freedom when telling stories and may even result in more games at different start times. When playing in an adventure longer than the standard time, the GP gain for completing that adventure increases. (GP gain doesn’t increase if the adventure is labeled standard and players arbitrarily increase the adventure’s duration.)
A BIGGER WORLD
As Living Erenel enters Season 4, direction turns from full-time development of systems to story and increasing the total player base. My goal is to hit 50 active players by the end of Season 4. I encourage you to invite friends and family who you think would enjoy the Living World. Note that 50 active players means ACTIVE, not those who only jump in for downtime every other week.
Over the past few weeks, I have been more adamant about enforcing the minimum requirements to keeping a player active. This will continue moving forward. Things like factions, roleplaying, and the living world economy will all benefit from more active players!
An essential part of this idea is making Living Erenel more accessible. Living Erenel is not new player friendly, and to hit the active player goal, the game needs to do a better job at teaching new players the ropes. Sherpas and Factions help immensely in this process, but more can be done to help transition a new player into a veteran.
That’s enough rambling for today! I hope you’re looking forward to the finale of Season 3 and the start of Season 4.
Thanks for reading!