Quest Developer for the Middle Earth Roleplaying Project for Skyrim
@TheAnkka: Myself, and the other Co-Founders of Epoch Games, did work on the MERP mod previously. Very few of the original mod team are working on this game though.
You like LOTR? I would have never guessed :P. Actually, with Althas, I'd say we're trying to avoid a lot of Tolkien imagery ... still, you'll find influences here and there (I mean, all Fantasy fiction since the 60s have pretty much been influenced by Tolkien in some capacity).
@zippeykeys12: The MERP Team is disbanded. Those left from it (including myself) are working on our IndieDb game, The Lays of Althas: Sundered Order: Indiedb.com
Let me rephrase: the "lower then Tolkien" bit is probably incorrect ... Althas is probably around the same level as Tolkien's Mythos, it's just that the fantasy elements are focused in different areas then Tolkien's.
@Guest: Please read the Summary: "The Lays of Althas: Sundered Order is a single-player, medieval-LOW-fantasy RPG". When I say low, I mean low. Probably lower then even Tolkien (although there is magic, its just HARD to find (and learn) at the present time in Althas that the game is supposed to take place).
As for costumes: you would need to talk to our Concept Artists if you want to contribute any art of use to the team. EVERY faction is being given a different culture/style to one another. We do NOT want Althas to be just some generic, run-of-the-mill "fantasy" games, not in gameplay, story, or visuals.
Feel free to offer suggestions, but just know that there's already a lot of established lore to this game. We've revealed some of it, but I guarantee you that there is A LOT more we have not revealed to the public. I, and the team, however are always open to good and fresh ideas :)
As for "incentives" of exploration, of course there should be unique sites in the world, as well as quests/events that may ask you to go out to certain parts of the world that you may normally do. However, I would argue that such incentives to exploration do not need always be told to the player. Sometimes finding something you didn't expect (be it site, or event) should be its own reward.
Alright, this News post has been updated. Hope this format is preferable for everyone.
@Gandorf: Funny you should ask, since the team is discussing the details of this very subject right now.
As for the possibility of all NPCs being vulnerable to death, that is even a more difficult subject to discuss. The more important the character is, the more the game will have to change based on his death (particularly leaders of factions). For myself, I would only want it one of two ways:
1. You kill a really important NPC, its a Game Over. Maybe there could be some text of the consequences of your actions and what effect they could have on the world.
2. At best, there could be a couple killable important characters, with the game changing if they're killed. Perhaps you kill a King and then the game can simulate his son's rule? You can imagine the number of events that could be changed just by this one action, so it is something that will likely take us a lot of work to simulate.
As for just "walking in and killing him", well that should depend on the character. A King for example should be HEAVILY guarded, with proper admittance only authorized by the guards. A whole castle could have your head if you tried to break in, or they discover you've snuck your way in.
It will all take some careful planning. Don't worry, I don't like invincible NPCs either (well, invincible NPCs that can be attacked). We'll do the best we can to avoid this.
MERP Fans, its the Indie of the Year awards.
I know we haven't had an update in awhile (its coming, believe me), but I would like to ask that you please vote for our in-development game, The Lays of Althas: Sundered Order:
@ElfFriend: Not only a really cramped Middle Earth, but one where the Timeline system we were working on (where events in Middle Earth would correspond with the in-game date) would have been far more difficult to simulate (not the date aspect, but the event aspect).
Seriously though guys, I know you all miss MERP, but I really want to encourage you guys to support our original game "The Lays of Althas: Sundered Order." Many of the gameplay features that were planned for MERP we're trying to provide in our indie game, as well as a story that allows for a lot of originality I believe (well, in terms of fantasy worlds):
We also are no longer limited by the crap Skyrim modding engine, and have more freedom with Unreal Engine 4 then we ever did with modding.
At this time, Epoch Games is looking for assistance with Public Relations (as well as someone to assist with job recruitment tasks). If any fans here have the time to spare, we'd be grateful.
@sjoerddz: Several of Epoch Game's founders (which includes myself) formerly worked on the MERP mod for Skyrim. However, none of the work on Althas came from MERP (all of MERP's work was too iconic to Tolkien, we want our own style for Althas).
Yes fans, we are aware that our website and forums are down right now (since last night). Should likely be back up by tomorrow.
@Brotapfelinhalierer: No worries, I feel the same way you do about weapons and armor in fantasy games. Functionality is an important focus in our art style.
@ryanhr96: Read the News update. We're only losing out on minimal landscaping work. And to answer you about the quality of our models: I think some minimal work needs done, but nothing that's slowing us down.
@PaulyG: Boy, what great timing, huh? :P
@sctheriault: Yes, we do indeed need help. Please check your private messages.
@Guest: Return of the King sure, as well as the Two Towers game before it, and I'll give credit to BfME1 for being one of my favorite RTSs in the early 2000s (that's saying a lot, considering how addicted I was to Warcraft 3).
However, I would argue that The Third Age was a terrible Final Fantasy clone (although perhaps the bland 2-dimensional characters and story were somewhat befitting when compared to most of the Final Fantasy titles ...), and don't get me started on my hatred for how BfME2 absolutely butchered Tolkien's lore, and took out the two best parts of the original BfME1: the battle map, where you could take regions Risk-style and felt like you were in a proper war, and the wall gameplay (which weren't just hindrances that could only be destroyed, but in fact proper defenses that replicated some of the fun siege scenes from the films).
But I digress, I'm with you on how despicable I find the LOTR and Hobbit IPs in the hands of WB. Not only because of the C&D, but more so with how poorly they've handled it (and not just the games ...).
@Insanity: On a few job recruiting sites, I had to select a location for our team (it was mandatory). There's a reason why Winston Salem was chosen, but I would rather not say in this chat.
@PrezThompkins: As mentioned, we are a fully-online team based all around the world.
@Owen: Yeah yeah, you did a good job on the flag :P
@ElfFriend: Thanks for the compliment. A lot of thought has been put into nearly every concept we've posted here on IndieDb, including the flags (there's real-world heraldic symbolism to the shapes and colors ;)).
Hello ralph ... anything you'd like to say about the game itself?
@Brotapfelinhalierer: The name didn't come out of thin air actually. The game is drawing heavily from Medieval heraldry with some of it's creature designs. Look up "Dauphin of France" to see what I mean.
@pkyrkos7: Hey, long time no see :)
We haven't decided on the size of this creature yet, but keep in mind that bigger =/= better ;)
@ModderForLifez: We'd like to have character creation. As for how much customization, we're not quite sure how much we'll have.
@TheLastSilmaril: Not sure, it's merely a placeholder name.
@MarcusCamillus: Any heightmap larger then Skyrim causes a problems with AI outside a Skyrim-sized area. To the best of my knowledge, this problem has still not been fixed (it's a Havoc issue, which Bethesda doesn't give access to modders). There's also the fact that the Creation Kit is far more limited then we'd like (such as importing animations). Also the way that the First Age is handled wouldn't work well with what we wanted for MERP. Believe me, we did talk about this idea already, but it didn't interest many of us (including myself).
Several of us from MERP are working on our own original IP now (Lays of Althas: Sundered Order). Look it up if you'd like, it has a lot of the same design philosophies as MERP did, just obviously in an original setting (it's nice not having to worry about C&Ds).
@TKAzA: Considering the project was meant to be single player in the first place ... Or are you referring to the idea of developing the mod simply between us devs and not releasing it?
Sorry, but the MERP team was always interested in making a game for Tolkien fans everywhere, and not just ourselves. Also the Creation Kit engine itself has proved far more limiting then we initially imagined when switching to it from Oblivion. We're now working on our own original IP (Lays of Althas: Sundered Order) where we can finally be free of copyright restrictions and working on proper development software.
As you may have noticed, we deleted the news regarding our new project.
@Sasha5163: The project has officially ceased. Several of us from the old MERP team are creating our own original RPG now:
No way are we planning to quit on this new project.
@paliusz1997: MERP has discontinued. Please follow our new original game project called "Lays of Althas: Sundered Order":
Read the front news page! We're working on an original game now called "Lays of Althas: Sundered Order":