One of the features of the game that I've been really excited about, but unable to talk about yet since it wasn't done, is the Player Journal. This is a mechanic that we're really going to use a lot to bring the various parts of the game together.
Your Journal is a magical book that you always carry with you while you're playing the game. To use it, just reach behind your back (near your waist) and press the Grip button to grab. Your Journal will float wherever you place it, and you can grab the middle of it to re-position it in the world. You can also turn the pages by grabbing at the corners.
It's capable of doing some pretty incredible things; among its many uses it will:
- Serve as your guide to what quests your currently on, as well as keeping track of your progress on those quests.
- Have field notes on various parts of the game. For example, the first time that you catch a fish you unlock a field note about that fish, which gives you a little bit of lore and also keeps track of things like how many of that fish you have caught, and what your largest catch is. There are also field notes on class mechanics, for example each Runemage spell has a page along with the rune to draw to cast that spell.
- Keep track of your recipes for Alchemy and Runesmithing. These recipes are gained through both questing and through exploration. Once you've gained the recipe, it's in your journal so you can reference it whether you're trying to make it in your house or just need a reminder of what ingredients you need to get for it.
- Serve as a general 'achievements' tracker, for example with a page on your player indicating your time played, how many times you've died, etc.
- Be a general "help guide" to the game.
...and that's just the parts we have planned so far!
Let's highlight each of these uses and dive into them.
As you can see in the above video, now every time that you receive a quest you'll get a new page in your journal that keeps track of the summary of what the quest is, as well as showing you each objective of the quest and how far you are toward completing it. Once the quest is finished, the entry will be updated with a brief note reminding you where to go to complete the quest. Now that this is in the game, questing should be much more rewarding!
The field notes in the journal are basically enhanced lore entries. Not only do they give you a little background on various parts of the game world, they're also capable of keeping track of statistics, such as how many fish you've caught, or how many hours of time you've played the game. So they also serve as a personal "record book." After a hundred hours of playing the game, your journal will have many, many pages in it for you to peruse!
Related to this, you'll also get pages for each recipe that you learn, and many classes will also have pages on the game mechanics of that class (for example, the Runemage spell runes or the Warrior combo moves). This allows it to serve as an on-the-go training tool; for example, you can put the book in front of you and practice your Runemage spells by drawing directly over the page.
Achievements Tracker and Help Guide
Finally, some of the pages will just be general game information, such as reminders about what each of the settings in the game do, or a page on your achievements that you've unlocked. There will also be some pages which feature statistics about your character, such as total time played.
There are a variety of ways that you will end up acquiring pages for your journal. Some of the pages will magically appear when you perform actions in the game world. For example, the first time that you catch a species of fish, a page about that fish will appear in your journal with information about it. Other pages will be unlocked through questing. One early NPC, for example, will give you the recipe page for the Healing Potion after you help him with a task. Finally, many pages will need to be unlocked through exploration. As shown in the above video, there are some runes on pillars in the world that you can hold your book near to unlock a new page by taking a "rubbing" of the carved information. There will also be books that you can pick up and read (like your Player Journal) in various locations throughout the world -- reading some of these books will allow you to discover new information (such as a recipe) that will create a new page for you in your Journal.
Generally speaking, as you progress through the game you'll naturally find yourself filling your Journal with all sorts of new and useful information. We're still working on ways to let you quickly get to various parts of the journal as it becomes full, but most likely there will be some sort of index page which allows you to quickly jump to different sections (e.g. quests, Runemage spells, Alchemy recipes, etc.)
We're really excited about this new feature and the way that it really ties a lot of the game mechanics together, as well as making the game generally easier to keep track of and play. You'll be able to use your new Journal and unlock many pages during the next Closed Alpha test. See you then!