Ilysia is an upcoming VR MMO currently in the final days of its Kickstarter campaign. After initially launching with a meager $60,000 target, the team has far exceeded that and is already over double the original asking amount.
As of the time of this writing, Team 21 has just over $125,000 in Kickstarter pledges. Admittedly, if you know much of anything about what it takes to make an MMO, that isn’t very much money. However, the team is small, reportedly very efficient and lean according to themselves, and has clear goals. Time will tell if they can deliver.
We first reported on Ilysia last weekend after I spoke with some of the founding members of the project. Needless to say I’m impressed with what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, so I’m eager to dive in for myself and see how it stacks up.
One of the main things I’ve been most curious about is the gear and equipment system. In games like OrbusVR, which is the first actual MMO in VR, character models are extremely simplistic and all of your gear is managed and seen in a floating flat menu. Same with Skyrim VR without mods and so many other RPGs with VR support.
But in an MMO, especially a VR MMO, I want to be as immersed as possible. Ideally, to really capture that Sword Art Online meets .hack//sign meets Ready Player One vision, we need everything to be interactive and to have gear and equipment visible on a fully-tracked body — not floating hands and torsos.
In some brand new exclusive Ilysia assets provided to us by Team 21, it looks like they’re doing their best to deliver on that front. In the GIF above you’ll see the equipment menu — this is shown to manage what you’re wearing and see what you look like, but once you equip weapons you’ll grab them physically on your body. There are slots for: head, shoulder, chest, arms, legs, hands, feet, rings, neck, back (that means capes! woo!), belt, house key, and mount. Gear will also be tiered based on color, such as: grey (Poor), white (Common), green (Superior), blue (undisclosed tier name), and orange (undisclosed tier name).
There will be one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons, ranged weapons, offhand items like books, relics, and totems, and consumable items like food and potions. You can also choose your character’s gender, race, facial preset, hairstyle, and skin tone. All standard fare for the most part.
Here is the belt slot weapon being drawn in-game as an example:
According to the developers you’ll have two hip slots, two back slots, and two belt slots for weapons and items. Additionally, you can see in the featured image at the top of this article every character is wearing full armor with varied styles, donning a multitude of weapon types, and showcasing a diverse set of character styles.
Since it’s a free form class system, it looks like you’ll be able to have a very open-ended progression system, as shown in this menu:
Finally, here are some in-game screenshots that show off the world, various characters in-game, and some battles.
As of now, backers have unlocked 11/14 stretch goals after hitting the $125,000 threshold. This includes full-body VR tracking, mount breeding, a battle royale instance, pet breeding, additional starting zones, and more. Plus, this glorious mount named Handsome Joe’s Prized Pony for all backers:
The remaining stretch goals include a PvP Honor Rewards System ($150,000), Guild XP and Leveling ($200,000), and expanded player-owned Inns / Shops with Skills and XP ($250,000).
What I like about this art style (which I’ve been told is not final and will be improved) is that it reminds me a lot of old-school EverQuest. To me, those are still the glory days of MMOs and the developers claim to be intent on rediscovering that sense of wonder for VR.
Ilysia is slated to eventually release at some point next year on PC VR, PSVR, and Quest with full crossplay between all platforms. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!
[Disclosure]: The author of this story, David Jagneaux, pledged to the Ilysia Kickstarter at the $50 ‘Alpha Squire (Early Access – A1) tier. This has not affected his coverage of the game.