As I'm telling the tale of The Seven Realms of Steel meets IRL in short stories, there really isn't room to cram in all the details about the actual game's mechanics. So, for those of you asking for more information, I'm happy to oblige with another Game Info segment.
Regular readers fear not, this information is bonus in that you don't need to know it to get the main story-line (that'd be crappy of me to do). This is all just to enhance the reading experience.
What I can share so far about leveling in The Seven Realms of Steel (7RoS) so far...
Last time I talked about 7RoS and described it's overall leveling system. Players level up their bodies, ki/soul/mind, and their techniques in order to break through to different realms of martial ascension. These levels are things like the Sky-realm or the Moon-realm. Leveling up one's body and techniques are all good, and there are many plots where players fight to gain points and new techniques, but the hardest part of 7RoS is the KI.
Ki is developed through a methodology called cultivation. In lore terms, it's all about growing and investing in one's ki development. In game terms, it's about racking up ever-increasing amounts of Soul Energy Points to gain ki levels. Said levels are numbered 1-100 and Ki Level resets to one when a character breaks through to the next realm. While a level 1 Moon-Realm character has way more Ki power than a level 100 Sky-realm character does, Moon-realm levels are all way more expensive to get.
What I find most interesting is how the KI is cultivated.
First and foremost, there is daily meditation. Just like the gardening metaphor implies, warriors' ki grows naturally and they are encouraged to spend some time each day tending to its growth in order for it to be smooth, healthy, and optimal. Inner balance is highly stressed by the lore. In game terms, a character has a daily maximum of free cultivation points they can get simply through thirty minutes of meditation. There are also meditation locations (like magical waterfalls and such) which are hella camped as they provide +% bonuses when used.
The player body is split on meditation. By which I mean that a large number of players who hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. They feel that they are forced to sit around doing nothing for thirty minutes a day because the company running 7RoS is trying to push some "Asian agenda" on them or it's some F2P daily-login BS in a game they are paying a subscription for. There's a lot of players, even high-level ones, who cannot stand it and skip their mediation points each day in favor of grinding the more fun forms of cultivation.
(Though I personally want to believe that there's a significant segment of players who've learned the real-world benefits and gladly meditate in-game-- not just for points but for their own mental well-being. Meditation is good ya'll. ^_^)
Speaking of more exciting forms of cultivation, the biggest source of points are treatments and absorption. These are scarce sources of Ki points and they are what a lot of Seven Realms of Steel revolves around as a game.
Treatments are things like mystic acupuncture, magical teas, chakra-alignment therapy, medicinal smoke rooms, "drug" induced vision quests, magical medicines which remove impurities of the ki, and so on. Think traditional Chinese medicine stuff but hyper-magical (things glow).
The crappy version of treatments cost a ton of money and they provide measly points. The better forms, which provide meaningful point gains, are all locked behind faction reputation grinding systems, dungeon token systems, and limited quantities.
For Example: if you want the [Heavenly Dragon's Medicinal Smoke Therapy] today, you have to bring the doctor 15 tokens of victory from the Fallen Palace -- or an equivalent dungeon.
Treatments, like everything in 7RoS are competitive. The good ones aren't just non-cash gated, but they are limited each day. (No one wants the over-priced weak stuff.)
For example, the secluded sect which offers ki-boosting acupuncture treatments only does twenty procedures per day. If a line forms, then the NPCs will start up various quests to thin things out. Players might have to duel each other in an impromptu tournament or they might all have to race to the top of a nearby mountain and the first five who return with snow lilies are allowed to stay, and so on. Almost all such competitions are open PvP as well.
Absorption of external ki or soul energy is the final, and most major means of gaining cultivation points. Players can gain up to 50% of each ki-level's points via absorption. A simple example of this would be killing monsters and using the soul-eater technique on their energies. This is a very popular method, especially for guilds who can routinely down the biggest, tastiest enemies. Another source is gear. Magical items can be stripped of their energies via the Item Sublimation technique.
It's popular because it's easy, but this also means that gear in 7RoS is always selling for a high price as there's far more demand than even an MMO can supply. (A guild with a member trying to reach Star-realm might buy out the entire auction house). Item Sublimation is hella expensive if used exclusively.
Much more popular are Soul Gems which are simply crystallized magic. They come in a million forms, flavors, sizes, and so on. They are the loot everyone in 7RoS wants the most as some are seriously OP - like [The Obsidian Serpent's Precious Memory] gem, which not only provides a crap ton of points when absorbed but provides bonus points every day for a month afterward.
Some of the biggest competitive events in 7RoS happen around these absorption items. Some gems might only form once per week, and they might also spawn an open-world dungeon around themselves. Players who are nearby will have the chance to participate in a free-for-all race for the first-come-first-serve gems at the center. Guilds and parties have an advantage here, but the game developers have taken measures to make life less clear-cut for them. Open events like this often spawn in areas with low player density, forcing large groups to arrive late to the event. Others will have monsters which are attracted to large groups over individuals, so bringing more people isn't always the best idea.
Not to deter guilds and parties though, there are also many events which specifically target them and have great rewards for the winners. These epic competitions tend to keep the more organized player groups busy and not trampling on solo or small group players doing their things.
A fun fact about absorption items - many cannot be used quickly. They require a safe location (no incoming damage) and five to ten minutes in order to properly use. Most also come with a drop window. As in, if their current owner is killed, they drop into the killer's inventory. Pros will tell you that getting the item is often only the first half of the battle. Getting away and using it is the second half.
Overall, cultivation of one's ki is required to advance and getting enough points is a constant driver of game-play in 7RoS. Players are encouraged to employ a wide variety of means to get their points, but almost all are fiercely competitive and loaded with PvP. Though one can get by on the lesser methods available, it just takes a lot longer to progress.
Though 7RoS will be happy to sell you cultivation point boosters... (+10% to all absorption points for 24hrs for only 500 Jade Talons! Buy more Talons at our store with real money!)
That's all for today. Look forward to part 3 in a week or two!
"The Seven Realms ring with the clash of steel as warriors strive for their dreams. Whose dreams and wishes are strong enough to propel them to the Throne of the Heavens?" -Ad from the Game.