Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ever, Jane: The MMORPG dedicated to the life and world of Jane Austen is a thing now

Imagine an MMORPG where stats like Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, weren't a thing.  Instead, they're replaced by Happiness, Duty, and Status.  In this world, you wouldn't carve mobs to pieces with your +4 Sword of n00b Slaying but instead use gossip to eviscerate your (social) foes.

This is the world of Ever, Jane, an MMO based on the Regency Period of England in which Jane Austen set her books.  And thanks to 1,600 Kickstarter backers, it's totally a thing now.

Everything about Ever, Jane is simultaneously familiar and foreign to the world of MMOs.  Your stats increase and decrease based upon the choices you make in-game, and your Status (social standing, think renown/honor) can fluctuate daily.

But the Status fluctuation isn't caused by your success in the PvP arenas - oh no - it's affected by your affectations, the gossip surrounding your good name, and the number of times that you bow or courtesy to the correct NPCs.

If you're given to gossip yourself, you'll have to pick and choose your moments correctly as there are no "shout" or "whisper" commands in-game.  Instead, you can simply talk and anyone within earshot can hear you (and thus label you a gossipmonger).

So while you won't be spending 7 hours of each weeknight grinding for epic-level gear, you might easily lose a few hours doing damage control to your sullied name or arranging for a clandestine meeting to spread a poisonous rumor about the young mayor's extramarital indiscretions.

And instead of raids and instances, there'll be balls, fetes, soirees, and all manner of social activities for your characters to develop their skills at. Sounds kinda cool, right?

Well, it gets better.  Ever, Jane creator Judy L. Tyrer made the intriguing - and laudable -  choice to strive for historical accuracy with the MMO, meaning that women and men will be as socially different in game as they were in the early 19th century.  Thus, Men can hunt, fish, and invite women to dance while ladies can sew, embroider, or politely accept/defer when asked for a whirl.

More intriguingly, the social stratification of Regency England will be reflected in the (tiered) subscription system. For example...
  • $5.00/month earns you the rank of merchant/farmer, where the best you can hope for is your child to marry up into the gentry as you die peacefully in your bead.
  • $10.00/month (standard MMO subscription fee) casts you as the second son or daughter of the gentry. Work is beneath you, but the upper crust is just out of reach.
  • $15.00/month and you're the first son.  You get a stipend, some land, and marriage offers a plenty.  
  • $25.00/month gets you a title and estate.  Squire Kawaiian, at your service!
  • If you pay $50.00/month, you get a royal title, estate, and - oh yeah - your own goddamn town.
The Unity-powered Ever, Jane just wrapped up its successful Kickstarter, but you can still contribute to the project to help bring it up to its stretch goals or just check out the progress at