alfheim-basics

This is meant to be a shortened, simplified version of the main page's details, 'the basics' on what Alfheim Online entails.

Section One: Login and Character Creation

FullDive

Usable only by humans (or with factional R&D at work, anyone), FullDive overrides the portions of the brain used to control the arms, legs, and other muscles, and all senses, while leaving autonomous functions untouched. FullDive users can't move or perceive the world around them, but are instead immersed in the virtual world - an almost perfectly faithful reproduction of reality with only minor sensory differences. Most FullDive applications, including Alfheim Online, render pain as nothing more than a small 'zap' feeling akin to a static shock, and have difficulty reproducing what full liquid immersion feels like, etc.

FullDive devices include the NerveGear (modeled like a full head helmet), the AmuSphere (a headband), the Union's Kanto Bootleg NerveGear (ensurably safe and includes +gradio access with a mental toggle) and whatever the Confederacy thinks would be equivalent to the KB NG.

Character Creation

Upon first login users are brought to a circular room with a virtual keyboard and configuration screen to create a character, guided by an AI voice. Gender is set as the player's gender - whatever the FullDive device reports. (You'd have to fool the device to crossplay, and the results would feel very weird.) Avatar appearances are randomized on creation within an aesthetically appropriate pattern for that race, with customization available for a small fee.

Each race has its own color scheme, wing appearance, hometown, and specialties!

Note: Character names MUST be pronounceable in Japanese, English, or proto-Germanic style speaking! Leetspeak and bizarre unpronounceable characters aren't acceptable.

Light Races

The Light races have a lowish base Strength but their light bodies possess insane Agility. The Light races can also wall-Run!

CAIT SITH: Yellow. Recognizable for feline ears and tails, Cait Siths have impressive bonuses to eyesight and overall Intelligence. Their specialty is Beast Taming.

SPRIGGAN: Black. Treasure hunters and masters of illusion magic, Spriggans have bonuses relevant to dungeon crawling for spotting traps and locating hidden treasures.

SYLPH: Green. These mighty wind magic masters are considered the fastest of the races, and have phenomenal hearing. Their flight is a good twenty percent or so faster than any other race.

UNDINE: Blue. The aquatic Undines are masters of water and healing magics.

IMP: Purple. The Fairies of the Night, Imps have natural night vision and the unique ability to fly while indoors - until their flight timers run out and their wings need rest.

Medium Races

The Medium weight class races have higher base Strength, exchanged for being heavier so they find it harder to be speedy.

LEPRECHAUN: White. Skilled smiths and craftsmen, the Leprechauns are easily identified by the slightly mechanical aesthetics their wings display.

PUCA: Silver. Masters of buffing and debuffing through mystical music.

Heavy Races

The Heavy races have the greatest Strength but are also the slowest.

GNOME: Brown. The largest of the races, the stocky Gnomes gain bonuses to the Mining Skills and Earth, and their raw stamina exceeds all others.

SALAMANDER: Red. Physically strong and gaining major bonuses to Fire magic, Salamanders are great at straightforward military might.

Section Two: Character Build and Game Controls

Stats, Skills, Gear, Speed, Weight

Alfheim Online is levelless - avatars don't gain levels, and their HP and MP ranges are under a thousand, dependent on Skills, Race, and equipment bonuses. Characters grow only by leveling Skills to gain new abilities, access to better equipment, new spells, and so on. Each Race has a set Strength and Weight. Heavy races favor heavy equipment while light ones favor light gear loads and speed, but it's possible for light races to specialize in heavy gear - and some must, to pick up roles like tanking.

Characters have 12 slots with which to learn Skills, which covers everything from what kind gear they can equip ('One Handed Swords', 'Heavy Metal Armor', 'Boomerang', 'Medium Shield', etc) to benefits to physical feats and senses ('Acrobatics,' 'Running,' 'Night Vision') to Crafting ('Slash Weapon Forging,' 'Metal Armor Forging,' 'Carpentry' etc) and dozens of other things. These begin at 1 and raise to 1000 as they're used, at which point they're Mastered. Growth is slow, though.

As Weapon and Armor skills increase, better gear can be equipped - and even, at high enough levels over the Skill requirements, offset Strength requirements that would make weapons unwieldy.

Basic movement speeds for arms, legs, body, etc, while proportionally limited by relevant weight of equipped gear and avatar weight class, depend largely on how fast the player can command them to move. While most Players move at human speeds, extremely talented and/or experienced FullDivers accelerate from human-like speeds to blurry movements onlookers can rarely follow. As a note, while not all Multiversal Elites will necessarily be the best at VR, they will likely easily grow to be better than casual players.

Combat works identical to reality in that the system doesn't actually teach you how to swing a sword or punch - or do it for you. Actual, real combat skill and tactics means an awful lot in Alfheim Online.

Magic

All player races can use Magic, which is considered a form of Skills and uses up Skill Slots.

Spellcasting involves adopting a posture the system recognizes, and chanting out Words of Power to complete a spell. Words of Power are gained from increasing Magic Skills and sometimes other Skills. No formalized, official spell lists exist. Instead, spells are created by arranging the Words of Power to combine and define their meanings using Alfheim Online's own magical language.

Most spells are elemental assaults and defenses, but spells exist for every task a player can undertake, from recon to communications to stealth or crafting. Others boost speed, strength, endurance, or a variety of other things.

Words of Power are based on germanic language aesthetics (keying back to Old Norse and so on), thus while some words might have meaning in one or more real languages this rarely if ever coincides with their meaning within Alfheim Online. Each Element does have its own aesthetically distinct family of Words of Power however, so Magic-savvy players can often identify spells as they're being cast.

HUD, Menu, Communications, Inventory

Much like an RL MMORPG, players have HUDs. Instead of looking at a screen for it, it overlays your actual vision. There's displays for HP, MP, buffs/debuffs in the top-left corner, which expands to show those of any party members when in a party. The far right side of one's view shows a customizable shortcut bar for different tasks like view guild status, equip a weapon, configure a Skill, bring up the magic words dictionary, and view local map data.

Focusing on particular players, objects, monsters, and other entities makes the system bring up further details in pop-up windows. These are very context sensitive and extremely informative, showing relevant information. Monsters show names (but not players, until they've introduced themselves or done something noteworthy to reveal their name, like challenge you in a duel), objects show stats (if your appraisal Skill's high enough), buildings show names, etc. All players and monsters have colored indicators above their heads, giving information about them in relationship to you (party, friend, guild member, neutral race, overwhelmingly powerful monster, etc.)

Striking downwards with the left hand's index and middle fingers squeezed together brings up the menu. The Menu is where almost everything important's done. It contains displays and configuration data for your character (skills, equipment, magic, etc), relevant party or guild info, community features like guilds, friend lists or current race politics, the map system, game settings and configurations, and more. Players can only see their own menus, unless another player uses a button to reveal theirs.

Private messages are the only form of long-distance instant communication officially speaking. The superfactions have rigged their FullDive devices to have mentally-triggered radios, but this isn't a feature of Alfheim Online.

The in-game inventory can store pretty much anything you can pick up unless it's a monster, player, or other common sense 'this is not an item' situation. Provided you own it, that is. (ownerless items such as rocks on the ground are immediately marked as owned by you when picked up, while dropped items take 5 minutes to lose their ownership registration.) It's extremely intelligent when bringing things out - it knows to materialize items smartly, like putting a sword in its matching scabbard, and responds to gestures about where and how to materialize it, etc.

Flight

All players can summon their wings to fly through the world. Wings only appear when called upon, and are translucent, vaguely insectile constructs made of colored light. Wings only work when exposed to the skies - they are powered by heavenly light from the sun, moon, and stars, and tire after 10 minutes of flight. Imps may fly indoors, but even they must keep to the 10 minute flight timer. Wings recuperate at a roughly 1:1 ratio when not in use.

Two methods exist for controlling them:

Option One- ASSIST CONTROLLER
By extending the left hand and motioning as if gripping something, a player summons the Assist Controller. The Assist Controller resembles an ergonomic joystick with a single pressure-sensitive thumb button. Pulling it back in towards the body means 'ascend,' pushing it forwards is 'descend.' Direction's managed otherwise by moving the joystick about left and right. Pushing on the button is 'accelerate forward,' with speed determined by how hard one presses. Assisted flight can't manage any tricky or advanced manuevers, and tops out at about 200-300 kph based on race.

Option Two- VOLUNTARY FLIGHT
Though humans don't have wings, careful manipulation of arm, shoulder, and back muscles grants fine control of the wings, though it takes a bit to manage it without making obvious shoulder motions and arm twitches that would interfere with melee combat or Spellcasting. Voluntary Flight takes practice to perfect as it is literally akin to learning to using a whole new limb, but it offers several advantages. Voluntary Flight users are able to perform advanced manuevers such as controlling how fast one wing's moving while using the other to brake to perform spins, or execute loop-de-loops or hairpin turns, tease out the maximum speed of fairy wings, and frees up their left hand for other purposes. Voluntary Flight is the mark of an expert player, and allows experienced fliers to reach speeds double to triple that of what Assisted Flight can manage.

Section Three: The Land of the Fairies

Alfheim, or 'Elf Home,' is a straightforward fantasy world strongly influenced by Norse mythology, while shamelessly pulling from pretty much everything else however it likes. The island-continent is technically ruled by the legendary light fairies, or ALF, of which Oberon is King. Under the ALF are the 9 'false fairies,' the player races, each having their own hometown and allied towns and cities. These races constantly war with one another, all seeking to climb the World Tree Yggdrasil for an audience with Fairy King Oberon, who legend says will grant the wonder of true, unlimited flight to the first race to make it.

Alfheim Online is a heavy PVP game. The races are openly encouraged to war on one another and politic as they will, competing for resources, prestige, and every advantage they can wrangle.

Alfheim's a roughly circular island, with the 9 race hometowns spread across the coast in a ring. It's a roughly 50 kilometer trip from one capital to its nearest race neighbor - doable in roughly 8-10 minutes of flight for expert fliers - and roughly 75 kilometers to the island's center where you can find the World Tree Yggdrasil. This does mean that yes, the island's around 17,662 square kilometers.

http://images.wikia.com/swordartonline/images/9/96/Alfheim_Map.jpg

Cities, Quests, Housing, and NPCs

Each race has a Hometown where the system protects them - and only them - from damage. In the Multiverse, Elites walking in can bypass it with some effort but it does provide about 20-25 HP worth of protection before the protection breaks. For people logging in this defense is absolute, the law of Alfheim's physics. Towns also exist out beyond cities but don't provide any protection. In either case, cities and towns are full of NPCs - system controlled entities that converse in-character, dole out quests, run shops, and fill the streets. NPCs are intelligent to a degree, able to make minor observations and adapt dialogue, but they typically ignore anything not relevant to their purpose and only act 'in character,' pretending that the discussion about websites between two friends happening next to them doesn't exist.

Players can buy housing, though it costs oodles of Yrd. Housing can be constructed ALMOST anywhere, but the pricetag hits insane levels - millions of Yrd - for prime land and good housing. Players more often buy or rent existing areas in towns to run stores out of and similar enterprises, especially if they're higher level Crafters that need kitchens, forges, and similar amenities to ply their trade.

Wild Lands, Monsters, Dungeons, Bosses, PVP, Respawning

Outside the cities and towns is the wilderness, an enormous, lawless expanse of differing terrain filled with harmless 'critters' and far less harmless 'monsters.' Like in normal MMORPGs these monsters roam about, attack players based on mathematical algorithms and patterns, and inevitably respawn. Monsters drop Yrd and assorted items useful for all kinds of things, though not always useful to you directly.

Caves, old fortresses, and tons of other locales can be considered 'dungeons,' labyrinths filled with danger and treasure that often house powerful 'boss' monsters that require a concerted effort by small or even tremendously large groups of players to deal with, but are worth very phat loot when slain… and may take days to respawn after being killed.

Everyone is free to engage in PVP however they wish wherever they wish - except race hometowns where foreigners stand no chance - and nowhere is this more prominent than the wilderness. Slaying another player gives you 30 percent (chosen by Yrd value) of a randomly selected assortment of their non-equipment items, and a portion of this will be in Yrd if available.

Whenever a player dies, their body's enveloped in an explosion of light and turns into a small colored pyre called a Remain Light. That's what other people see, anyways. The player now exists in an 'astral state' bound to that location, able to manipulate their menu to log out and use other minimal commands, and look around, but must either await for the respawn timer to finish counting down or someone else to revive them with the item 'World Tree Dew' or a high-level healing magic Revival spell. Respawning invokes the Death Penalty - all progress towards leveling Skills beyond what they're currently at is lost. Respawn points ('Save Crystals') exist in all towns and occasionally some other areas, and binding to one costs a small Yrd fee.

Section Four: Community

Friends, Guilds, Parties

Players who become friends can send private messages to one another, see when they're on and offline, etc.

Up to 7 players may participate in a party, and up to 7 parties (max 49 people) can enter a boss room at once. Raid group HUDs display aggregate average HPs and similar statistics.

Guilds are elaborate groupings of sometimes hundreds of players that can define their own politics, rank structure, uniforms, and dozens of other things. They're really quite the same as any other MMORPGs.

The Great Fairy War

Put simply, the player races are political and military entities at war with one another. Each Race elects a leader every so often, who's in charge of managing the race's treasury, tax rates on towns, policies of NPC guards and investments in defenses, and numerous other things, and defining the social structure beneath them. Some players, known as 'Renegades,' stay apart from their race's politics, while some others even end up stripped of their racial rights and exiled from their hometowns. Fairy politics can be vicious.

Races can take over towns and impose taxes in military conquests every so often, causing the power balance to change and granting access to more resources, and it's hardly an uncommon occurence on the borders between racial territories. Taking down another race's leader brings great rewards to the victors, essentially a ten day conquering of the entire territory combined with a massive pillaging of their treasury.

Section Five: Miscellaneous

Crime in Alfheim

Crimes are offenses against other players that are within the rules of the game mechanics, but are nevertheless malicious, troublesome, disruptive, or harmful. The system works to prevent this. The Crime Prevention Code attempts to enforce a sense of ethics - for instance, preventing people from running around nude in public, and giving victims of sexual harassment the opportunity to alert GMs. Many lesser offenses will result in system warnings and possibly alert GMs. Since Crime Detection is left up to a Cardinal subroutine, it is very good at detecting what actions are and are not Crimes according to its parameters and recording them for review.

Aside from political shenanigans from the race conflict, player-based crime mostly doesn't exist. Looting and PK'ing is part of the game, for instance, and so Player Killers are not 'criminals' by default.

This doesn't mean that people won't think you're an asshole if you act like one, of course. It's never really considered more than a personal grievance if an instance of PVP conflict outside a town causes vendettas and the like. It's not a problem of the community, though races might decide to 'watch out for that infamous group of folk hunting our race, maybe we should pwn them and take their stuff.'

One particular is touching other players outside of battle. Harmless contact like fistbumps, high-fives, grabbing someone on the shoulder isn't really an issue, but it shouldn't need to be said what kind of contact will trigger a harassment warning - sexual harassment is an extreme no-no. The victim then gets the choice of whether or not to send a report. If yes, GMs are instantly alerted as the trouble ticket crops up. Players can also choose to add players to an ignore list so the system won't raise warnings about them.

Logging Out

To prevent abuse, safe logout only works in a few situations: when you are in a town or city claimed by your race (the Capital City of Aurun is considered such for all races), and when you're in an inn room you've rented. Other 'safe zones' where you can safely log out are rare, and mostly restricted to very special dungeon areas.

Logging out anywhere else works fine, but leaves your avatar still manifested and thoroughly vulnerable to attack for about 20 minutes.

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