Revival is a game developed in stages. Each stage adds an important element to the game until, in our final stage, the game will be a whole and cohesive experience. Most projects of this size would develop their early stages in secret, but Revival is a game literally about interacting with its players, so in that spirit we’ve decided to work in public, giving players a chance to see things as they develop and take part as early as possible.
With that in mind, we’re planning to develop the game in stages. Each stage will bring something fundamental to the game, building on the stage of production that has come before it to create the layers of complexity that together form the rich tapestry that is Revival.
STAGE 1: HOUSING - MAKE THELESTON YOUR HOME
We open the doors for the first brave settlers of Revival’s world, Theleston. With this release comes the ability to purchase houses on one of the world’s islands!
It starts with our very first milestone: The basic ability of players to move around the game space and interact with objects. Now, you might be thinking that this will be some sort of “basic run around a dungeon,” but how can players stake their claim in the world with that? We want our players to get involved early and we want that to mean something, but if the first goal is really just to get players moving around in gamespace, how do we do that?
For us the answer is real estate. Housing works differently in Revival from what many might expect: Houses exist in the game world itself and there are a fixed number available, based on the health, size and number of cities that exist in the world. We figure that the best way to make sure players who are with us from the start are rewarded for their loyalty and courage is to give you the opportunity to be the first homeowners in Theleston. Each house purchased is an investment in Revival’s future, and every dollar we earn in these first steps goes directly to continuing the development of our world.
So, to combine our first goal with something valuable for our first players, we will begin by selling the houses of Crown’s Rock, an island in Theleston’s eastern archipelago, the Blackwell islands. Crown’s Rock isn’t a large city by Theleston’s standards, so we will have only five thousand houses to sell at first, but those houses will range in size from simple townhouses and city apartments up to massive and richly appointed mansions. Once the Real Estate store is online, you will be able to reserve purchase a home and, once the client is released, hop in to explore it and customize it.
STAGE 2: THE CITY - TOUR THE NEIGHBORHOOD
In our second release, citizens of Theleston will be able to leave their houses for the first time, exploring their hometown in offline mode. This is the first chance to truly see the grand scale and insane detail we’re putting into Revival!
Once we’ve finished stage 1, it’s time to focus on stage 2: The city itself. When we launch stage 2, players will be able to exit their houses and see the full scope and scale of Crown’s Rock. The gates of Crown’s Rock are thrown wide and players can enter the wilds of Theleston for the first time. It’s at this point that players will begin to see signs of the lost history of Theleston and the dark influences of the Great Old Ones.
This is where players will begin to a sense of the scope of Theleston, as well as the time when players will be able to familiarize themselves with some of the basic RPG elements of the game, such as banking, inventory and resource gathering.
STAGE 3: ONLINE - BETTER TOGETHER
The world goes online in our third release, and players can experience it together for the first time! Walk city streets, show off your home to neighbors and see the hustle and bustle of a real world!
Once Crown’s Rock is built and its basic world simulation is running, it’s time to bring the “online” aspect of the game into the fray. When we launch Stage 3, players will finally be part of a larger, persistent world. Now, when players exit their homes into Crown’s Rock they will find all of its citizens going about their lives. And of course, with the ability for players to finally interact with each other, comes the ability for real commerce and trade. Character customization comes online at this point as well, allowing players to create their own unique characters to stand out from the crowd.
We’ve mentioned before that Crown’s Rock is a relatively small town for the world of Theleston, but because our world is more intricately modelled than most MMOs, the scope and layout the sheer hustle and bustle of the city will, we think, surprise players. When fully populated, Hundreds of the city’s over one thousand NPCs will be moving about the world at any given time, going about their lives.
Crafting gets a huge focus in this stage of development; building on the previous effort to bring carpentry online, players will be able to use the resources they’ve gathered to practice alchemy and other urban-based skills as well, opening a market for the sale of house goods, clothes and even magical potions. But, of course, the focus at this stage isn’t exactly about what you can do, it’s about what you can do together.
The city of Crown’s Rock isn’t just a backdrop. At this stage of release players will be able to work together to untangle its secrets, explore it’s politics and even just hang out together and have a good time at the tavern. Whether it’s a night of gambling at the tavern, or a slog through the midden to find where the bodies are hidden, Crown’s Rock will now offer players things to do together; the world itself will begin to take shape for players.
STAGE 4: CHOICES WITH CONSEQUENCES - A TOUCH OF EVIL...
More of the world of Theleston is now available to players and many new game mechanics are available to play with, including fully realized crafting!
This is the moment in development when truly magical things begin to happen. In stage 4, our storytelling and technical efforts work together in ways players can see. This is the time when things start to happen and the live storytelling team warms up for the truly epic events that will unfold across the wilds.
That's because the gods begin to show their influences at this stage, and the karma system comes online. The karma system is more subtle than the simple red/blue division it seems to represent and individual gods will have a karmic interest in players based on the actions they take. Factions, a sense of “us and them” will arise as a result and Crown’s Rock will become a more dangerous place… or will it? In the end, it’s the players that will decide, now that the tools are available.
STAGE 5: NEW LANDS - SOMEWHERE, ACROSS THE SEA...
It’s time for adventure! With our fifth release, the combat and adventuring systems, as well as our live storytelling system come online and players will be able to see a glimpse of the full splendor of a living Theleston. From the beaches of Crown’s Rock, you can see another island across the Grayshore sound, far too distant to swim to, but it is there, none the less. In stage 5 players will finally be able to explore that island, thanks to the addition of the ferry to Havensport. With this new island comes new opportunities and new mysteries to solve.
At this stage, players may want to group up or even form guilds to begin participating in city politics or to pool their resources for greater success in combat or trade. Regardless of their reasons, stage 5’s release will mean the addition of the guild system and coordinated play for players who prefer that gameplay style. We will also add banks and commercial real estate at this point, allowing guilds to purchase tradehalls and allowing every player the opportunity to store their valuables in the safest place possible.
This is also when combat comes online and the game reaches an alpha state. Players will be able to fight, craft and “quest” -- though players are in for a surprise with our questing systems -- throughout the island of Crown’s Rock.
It’s also the moment where death becomes a very real prospect. With the ability to fight comes the ability to die. As of this update, Animae’s plane of Death awaits those who shuffle off their mortal coil, and returning to the Living World is no simple task. Revival’s death system is an adventure unto itself; for most the experience of dying and returning to life will be completely new, but for everyone it will be a source of adventure and character development. Death is no simple respawn.
We’ve mentioned before that the new island brings with it new mysteries. Unlocking those mysteries will take players deep into the earth and to places stranger still, and all the while dangerous creatures will stalk them. This release will bring with it several new dungeons and ruins, each with their own hidden arcane knowledge to be learned, along with the consequences of disturbing such places.
In essence, stage 5 marks our beta release: At this point, the game itself has taken shape; the focus is on providing great content and executing the live story in conjunction with our players.
STAGE 6: THE FULL GAME EXPERIENCE - OUT IN THE LARGER WORLD
In our last major development release, the game really comes alive. The greater World of Theleston is now open for players to explore and discover. Dark powers move across the land and the planes of reality shift and warp in their presence! This is the game as it is meant to be!
Stage 6 is the ultimate goal: The full game world, with every system online and perfectly tuned thanks to our on going work with the players who have been with us through the previous stages. At this point, all the islands of the archipelago are open to players, along with new real estate options, dozens of new combat styles, spells and other secrets waiting to be found.
With the implementation of the game’s additional cities, We will finally bring the full commodity market and caravan gameplay online, as well. Players will be able to purchase commodities on the market and ship them via caravan to the other city for sale or use there. Of course, shipping large goods requires large caravans and they make tempting targets for raiders and less ethically pure players. A merchant who wishes to wield influence and build a fortune might want to consider hiring a swordsman, be that a player or NPC, to protect their investments.
Protecting merchants as they grow rich won’t be the only path to fortune or glory available to the combat-focused player. Every system in the game will have full content support at this point, no matter how small or esoteric. This is the moment when crafters and lore hounds will find themselves faced with a new challenge: deciding where to start their careers as there will now be something to satisfy every ambition they could hope to have in a game like this.
It all comes together here. Now traders, crafters and mercenaries all will leave their mark on the world in myriad ways, be it in the form of literal legends and lore that their actions create or in long standing success and political power. Perhaps, for some, the greatest potential of stage 6 will be in watching the world itself develop. If so, they are in for a treat as stage 6 marks the birth of monumental times. This is when Live Storytelling begins in earnest.
Elder Gods, Great Old Ones and Outer Gods all bend their will against Theleston now, each advancing their own agendas via the live storytelling team and changing the world as the players move to support, confound or alter those efforts to further their own agendas. As Stage 6 opens, you will know that Theleston is not a static world and that Revival is a game that plays back.