Trials of Ascension is a sandbox MMORPG set in the ever-changing world of TerVarus, where the primary focus is the story of your character's challenges and triumphs. It is in development for the PC and Mac by the team at Forged Chaos using the Unity Engine.
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES
In Trials of Ascension, you will have the power and freedom to mold your character and shape the world of TerVarus with as few artificial restrictions as possible. Master your profession within a community as a Human, evolve for the hunt as a Raknar, or defy all odds to grow as a dragon to dominate the entire world of TerVarus.
We’re putting the "RPG" back in "MMORPG," and it’s up to you to find your niche and decide your destiny.
- Unique Racial Experiences: Each of the three starter races offer different play experiences: Humans rely heavily on cooperative play, the spider-like Raknar focus on predatory combat, while Dragons offer the solo-player the ultimate survival challenge.
- Innovations: We will introduce new content in an organic manner, using our Innovation feature where unique skills, actions, objects, as well as new game content can be unlocked by players with the appropriate prerequisite.
- A Living Changing World: Migrating animals, expanding forests and plant-life, and a constant GM presence brings TerVarus to life.
- Skill Based Advancement: No classes, no levels, just individual skills that you improve through regular use.
- Unrestricted Combat: Players may engage each other anywhere using an attack/block combat system without auto targeting.
- Real Risk vs Reward: With real loss on the line, player actions are now significant and more rewarding.
- Cooperative Crafting: Crafters must work together to make the very best items, including all manner of structures.
- Full Loot & Theft: Stealthily steal items from other players, or simply loot all their equipment after you've defeated them.
- Siege Warfare: Settlements must face the threat of hostile take-over.
- Customizable Spell System: Players who dare to dabble in the deadly arcane arts can customize their spells in a variety of ways to alter their effects and power.
- Live GM Events: The Game Masters will interact with the player base using our large variety of dynamic tools, ranging from simple random encounters to world-changing scenarios.
Trials of Ascension will not require an initial purchase. There will be a monthly subscription along with a free trial that never expires.
TerVarus is a living, breathing world where flora grows, forests expand, animals migrate, and weather patterns develop regionally across the world. This is all possible thanks to our dynamic spawning system. Quite literally, nothing is stagnant, nor will be in one place forever.
Combat is fast paced and brutal. Control your aim and your timing to land your attacks on enemies and avoid harming friends. With no targeting system and no artificial strength indicators, you must also use visual clues to determine the strength and difficulty of an opponent.
In addition to needing to eat and drink, you will face many environmental dangers throughout your character's story. Extreme temperatures can be deadly, while changing weather events can land an ill-prepared character in dire straits. Even the dark of night is something to fear, as countless dangers can hide in the suffocating gloom.
LIVE GAME MASTER EVENTS
Forged Chaos will employ a team of game masters that will use the dynamic spawning system and direct control of NPCs to provide live events for the players to uncover and participate in. These could extend to bandit raids on human settlements, monster attacks against a raknar hive, monster slayers hunting a dragon or even something as subtle as an unfamiliar face on the side of the road asking for help.
In addition to live events, GMs will cause dungeons to randomly appear across TerVarus. Plundering their depths is sure to bring players in contact with incredible dangers, but some treasures outweigh the risks.
BACK FROM THE BRINK!
Brought to near extinction by the Raknar, the humans are now ready to rebuild their lives. Their strengths lies in their diversity, community, and an uncanny ability to adapt and overcome.
YOUR CHARACTER, YOUR WAY
With over 60 skills to cultivate and wield and no restrictions on how you combine them, Trials of Ascension is a great place for dabblers! Each skill is trained by simple usage in the game. In the end, your character’s unique skill make up will emerge during the natural course of gameplay and reflect your choices.
Humans are a clever race and talented characters of all professions can discover innovations that improve their situation in life. Innovations can be anything from new items to craft, new ways of making goods, or entirely new skills altogether. Innovations your character discovers are uniquely yours and cannot be discovered by anyone else. However, you can share them voluntarily, or risk having them interrogated from you!
Players can use the resources they gather from the world around them to craft nearly every item they can imagine; from weapons and armor, to food and potions, to buildings and bridges. And those items will be in demand, as everything outside of the four starting settlements will need to be crafted by the players themselves.
FREE MARKET ECONOMICS
With regional scarcity of resources driving individual player-set prices, trade between settlements could prove lucrative for the daring. Hire an NPC vendor to buy and sell goods for you while you are away from home. Master your local economy and become the richest person in the settlement!
THE MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP
Take leadership to a new level by establishing a kingdom! Work with your citizens to raise settlements and construct civic buildings. Extend your domain and appoint Lords and Ladies to govern settlements in your name and enforce your laws. You can even go to war with neighboring kingdoms and conquer their settlements to expand your empire!
A PLACE ALL YOUR OWN
Settlements and kingdoms aside, be the ruler of your own domain by building a home to your own specifications! Buy blueprints from drafters to determine the aesthetic style of your structure. Configure your layout then begin construction or hire skilled tradesmen to do the labor for you.
THE CRIMINAL UNDERGROUND
Reject society and its morals by living outside the laws of a kingdom. Murder, steal, pick locks and practice subterfuge while keeping a safe distance from the eyes of law enforcement. Live a double life by using disguises to hide your true identity from your victims and protect your reputation.
TerVarus is a dangerous world without magical healing, so players with medical skills will be in high demand to prevent untimely deaths. Employ a plethora of healing skills to perform first aid, treat wounds, cure illness, and remedy poisons. Utilize medicinal potions and other tools to promote natural healing when out in the field.
EMBRACING THE ARCANE
Magic in Trials of Ascension is rare and reserved for only the most clever and dedicated among the human race. But what magic lacks in ease of availability, it makes up for in sheer power. Though many will endeavor to make the long and treacherous path to arcane mastery, few will attain it.
THE ANCIENTS WAKE TO RULE AGAIN!
Little is known of the origin or history of the mighty winged beasts but one thing is for sure; their power is unmatched ... for those that can survive long enough to obtain it.
FIRE AND ICE
There are two breeds of dragons found on TerVarus: the sleek Frost and the rugged Fire. Frost dragons prefer the colder, northern territories; while Fire dragons call the hotter desert and jungle regions home. All dragons start out as weak little hatchlings, but if the player is clever and cautious they can reach the pinnacle of power as an Ancient.
FOR THE HOARD
Dragons have a physiological need for scarce minerals, so they collect them into a hoard. In ancient times these hoards were made of materials in their raw form, but since contact with the humans in more recent times weapons, armor, and other goods crafted of these minerals are collected as well. Hoards can be placed in any defensible location, including dungeons!
PROTECTING YOUR TREASURE
Since they contain rare minerals like gold and silver, dragon hoards are often targets for looting by humans or even other dragons. To protect their collection while they hunt, adult dragons are able to create proximity traps by imbuing gems with the power of their breath weapons.
GROWING UP BIG AND STRONG
Dragons require a vast amount of raw meat that they must hunt themselves to grow. Eating meat that was too easily killed or that was gifted to them by another will not satisfy their hunger sufficiently to allow them to molt. Dragons have six growth stages; Hatchling, Young, Juvenile, Adolescent, Adult, and Ancient.
STRETCHING YOUR WINGS
Dragons are the only player-controlled characters that can fly. Flying will require a great deal of skill and attention on the part of the player, as there is weather, stamina, and other conditions to manage. Bad landings can be fatal to a careless dragon.
SET THE WORLD ON FIRE
Upon reaching adulthood, the dragon’s glands have matured enough to use their innate breath weapons. Dragons possess three types of breath attacks and must ingest rare minerals to fuel them. Fire dragons have a fire-based breath weapon, while Frost dragons have an ice based breath weapon.
Due to dietary needs and scarcity of rare minerals, mature dragons are solitary creatures. Because of this, the species has never had the need to develop a language. Instead they rely on a variety of bestial sounds and elaborate displays to convey their intentions to one another when necessary.
NATURAL BORN KILLER!
Erupting from the depths less than a decade ago, these predators are near perfect hunter-killers that seem to have no fear or mercy.
THRILL OF THE HUNT
Raknar are a fearsome species that have evolved to become the perfect killing machine. Equipped with deadly, scythe-like raptorial claws, poisonous bites, sticky webs, and the ability to see in extreme low-light, the raknar are a serious force to be reckoned with in TerVarus.
CLIMBING THE WALLS
Raknar possess the unique ability to climb on nearly any solid surface. They can climb sheer cliffs, up mountain sides, and even on ceilings! This allows them to reach areas unheard of to other land-bound creatures and set up ambushes for their prey.
HIVES AND DRONES
While many raknar prefer to hunt alone, the more social of the species can come together to form a hive. Hives act as a respawn location and provide the arachnids a protected haven to hatch their spiderlings. Hives also unlock the ability for the Raknar to hatch out NPC drones to guard their nests.
ITSY BITSY SPIDERS
Raknar possess the ability to lay eggs in the uneaten corpses of their prey. These eggs hatch out spiderlings, the color of which depends on the type and relative strength of the prey. Raknar can evolve their abilities and attributes by consuming these spiderlings.
EVOLUTION IN ACTION
As a Raknar consumes its spiderlings, their abilities and attributes are adjusted. These adjustments accumulate and begin to influence the appearance of the Raknar in subtle ways. This can include a thicker chitin, stronger limbs, serrated raptorials, and other natural augmentations.
Despite their impressive appearance and terrifying arsenal, Raknar suffer from two weaknesses; fire and water. Raknar are incapable of swimming and will immediately sink in any water they find themselves submerged. Their impressive chitin exoskeleton excretes an oil, making them especially flammable.
We want playing your character in Trials of Ascension to feel like telling an epic story of trial and triumph. We also recognize that all great stories have a beginning and an end. In TerVarus, your character’s monumental journey will end upon their 100th death.
We hope our players will come to see this as both a landmark accomplishment and a great opportunity to experience life in TerVarus anew from a fresh perspective. Best of all, you will continue to build on the wisdom and skill you’ve acquired as a player, an indelible currency that is highly relevant to success in your next adventure. Players are free to pursue a similar path with their new character to that of prior characters, or seize the chance to embrace undiscovered aspects of the game and pursue new goals.
Character mortality serves many practical purposes in maintaining a healthy virtual world, including limiting top-tier player congestion and content stagnation.
It also facilitates real risk and reward in a way that will make Trials of Ascension challenging and exciting. Have you ever witnessed a true act of bravery in an MMO? Not likely, as such an act cannot exist without something meaningful to lose. Attaining great heights for your character will not be a matter of simply accumulating requisite experience, but doing so cleverly enough as to preserve your character’s life counters. Even so, no character can stay on top forever, creating opportunities for other characters to shine.
While your character will die eventually, a legacy will be left behind in the minds of the friends, compatriots, or nemeses that bore witness to your acts of bravery, cunning, diplomacy, or infamy. The structures you’ve erected will still stand; the crafted items that bore your maker's mark will still live on in the hands of those who wield them.
We’ll provide tidbits of information about your deceased characters’ accomplishments on your character selection screen, from the noteworthy to the mundane. If your character attained sufficient standing within TerVarus, they will also have a chance of being immortalized in the mysterious Monolith’s coveted listing of past characters.
We want to change the MMORPG paradigm with Trials of Ascension, and while that involves adding many new and innovative features, it also entails removing some “standard” features that don’t feel right for what we’re trying to achieve.
NO mini-map - We want to foster true exploration and discovery in Trials of Ascension, so we knew the standard mini-map had to go. Navigating without a mini-map requires players to pay attention to their surroundings and take note of local landmarks to find their way back from their adventures and makes navigational knowledge a thing of value. Our world map will give your character a very general sense of location and the relative positions of known settlements, but be prepared to thrust yourself into a bit of the unknown when exploring TerVarus.
NO repetitive, mundane, lifeless quests - Static quests are what define today’s modern MMOs (ten wolf pelts anyone?). Trials of Ascension is about player interactions and working with one another to achieve mutually beneficial results that do not recur on a daily basis. Every login will be a unique experience. An example of this would be a friend asking for your aid in curing wounded soldiers or helping him fight off invading orcs.
NO floating names/enemy information – In Trials of Ascension, we want you to have to make some of the same kind of judgment calls about people’s capabilities and behavior that you would make in real life. Mousing over a character will only provide a name after you name them, and will provide no other information such as level or abilities. You’ll have to make your best guess about that based on visual cues and act accordingly.
NO fast travel - In Trials of Ascension, the risk associated with discovery and exploration is a big part of the game experience, and as such we will not have any “fast travel” or teleportation system in place. This also helps foster dynamic and localized settlement economies, wherein goods or materials that cannot be procured nearby a given settlement will sell at a high premium within that settlement due to the investment of time and risk associated with importing them.
NO global chat - We want the focus in Trials of Ascension to be on localized interaction as much as possible, so we’re not including global chat or private direct messaging. Text chat will appear as an overhead text bubble and in your chat log only when you’re within range of the speaking player, and we’ll have a whisper option that reduces the audible range significantly. We know many players will make use of outside voice or text chat and that’s fine, but we want the most immersive experience possible available for those who choose to use it.
Trials of Ascension was first conceived in 2002, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. We formed Shadowpool Studios LLC and, with no external financing, we slowly and methodically built a prototype that received several funding offers, but in each case the prospective investors demanded radical changes to "mainstream" the design that we weren’t willing to make and so the project was indefinitely suspended. Fast forward to 2012. Crowdfunding was coming into its own and we knew right away it could be our best chance to bring Trials of Ascension to life by circumventing publishers and giving MMO players themselves the ultimate vote in whether our vision should be brought to life.
We formed a new company, Forged Chaos LLC, put together an admittedly very rough prototype, and presented our first Kickstarter in late 2013. While we didn't meet our goal, all indicators showed that backers were interested in Trials of Ascension but wanted more confidence in our ability to deliver on the game’s features. Regrettably, our presentation did anything but instill that confidence. In retrospect, it was the wake up call we needed.
ToA fans rallied and asked if they could help us return to Kickstarter by seeding our efforts. We opened our website for donations and have received over $67,000 to date. The money was initially meant to build a technical demo we could present to you here on Kickstarter. However, it quickly grew into so much more.
We have a playable prototype on very stable network code along with a solid server infrastructure. We have successfully completed a number of testing sessions, most of which have included a long list of our most faithful backers.
The foundations for a number of vital systems are already in place. These include dynamic spawning, combat, harvesting, crafting, modular building construction, bestial player race controls, local chat, day/night cycle, armor/weapon swapping, inventory system, and, to a lesser extent, character customization and our unique naming system.
We also have a functioning custom-built game launcher and patcher, a login system, account creation, world databases, lag compensation, and an open world non-instanced easily scalable server regioning system for minimal lag during those large scale battles.
The plan is simple. Should you afford us the opportunity, we will keep right on building and improving on the foundations we've already created, and we want you to be there with us every step of the way!
We constantly ask testers to try out new builds because we know how vital player input and feedback is. During our tests, we communicate with our testers by inviting them into a voice chat program for real time conversations. Join us and let your voice be heard!
Use our referral system to help us increase our visibility and earn cool stuff in return! Register for a unique referral link that you can share across the web. Every person that clicks your link will earn you 1 point. The more points you earn, the more you get!
Add the following prices on to your pledge using the Manage Pledge button at the top of the page. Please note that all add-ons require a base pledge of $35 or higher.
When the Kickstarter campaign concludes you will receive a survey allowing you to select which add-ons you would like.
Risks and challenges
A project of this scope and complexity comes with inherent risks. We've minimized many of those risks by having already built and tested many core foundations that Trials of Ascension will be developed around. Even with our very limited funding, we have been able to build enough to show you not just an idea or fancy concept art, but a real playable version of what's to come.
The biggest risk we face would be falling behind schedule. We are building a lot of new features not seen in our genre, and with that comes considerable research and development. This is why we will develop the core features of Trials of Ascension first, such as innovations, combat (already off to a great start), and dynamic spawning (whoops, already built!). This will ensure that even with a schedule slip, the core features that make up ToA will still be released.
In the event we have to do a limited launch due to scheduling, we are organically introducing everything into the game anyway (no expansions to buy!), so the features we couldn't get to would simply be put at the top of the list to introduce post-launch.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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