Book of Travels is a game that has been on my radar ever since I first heard about the Kickstarter that launched in October 2019. Created by Might and Delight (creators of Shelter and Meadow), Book of Travels is a tiny multiplayer online RPG with roleplay elements built into it from character creation and a unique way of communicating with other players.
And I would be lying if I tried to convince you all that I wasn’t excited about this game. The more I learn about it, honestly, the more excited I become.
So today, I wanted to take a minute to talk about this game and why I’m excited about it.
What is Book of Travels?
Quite simply, Book of Travels is a fairly unique social roleplaying game. In Book of Travels, you take on the role of a Traveller, exploring a land called the Braided Shore. Some might call this game an MMORPG. However, the developers do not.
In some ways, it bears a few similarities to a traditional MMO. You have an assortment of classes (here called forms) and skills to play with. You will explore a variety of biomes and encounter enemies in places. And yes, there will be other players playing with you and you will be able to communicate with them.
However, in Book of Travels, actually seeing those other players may be a rare occurrence.
Might and Delight Studios refers to Book of Travels as a TINY multiplayer online RPG, meaning that each server is only going to have a maximum of ten other players on it at a time. Running into other players is going to be a rare experience, and will be necessary for a few encounters in the world, but communication with other players is going to be limited.
Communication appears to be limited to be a series of emotes that players will need to discover as they progress through the game. This is not too dissimilar to another work of Might and Delight’s, Meadow, in which players were also restricted to communication with others in this same way. According to the developers, they saw that in Meadow, this allowed players to still share powerful feelings.
In a way, this style of communication reminds me of the game Journey from 2012. In that game, when you encounter another human player, communication is limited. You can mostly only just communicate with each other through the tones you emit, but you still were able to communicate. Two players could still share the same profound and incredible experience.
Communication in this way is also a good way to remove language barriers, allowing the game to reach a larger audience. Because the emotes and such will all be symbols or easily recognizable expressions, players will still be able to clearly communicate ideas with each other, and the way those symbols are used will evolve as the game progresses. Players of Book of Travels will essentially be creating their own language through these emotes, and I’m here for it.
Too often in other games, I’ve seen text-based chats used negatively. Sure, there are occasionally some good things there, but I have some very distinct memories of early ventures into major cities in other MMOs and being told by a friend to turn off certain chat channels for my own sanity. Often, people can be very disparaging or hurtful when given larger avenues to communicate with each other, and this tends to breed a level of toxicity that I don’t anticipate happening with Book of Travels.
That’s not to say that an emote-based system of communication couldn’t be used negatively, too, but I’m personally hoping this will encourage a welcoming and friendly environment for players overall.
Roleplay from Character Creation
For anyone who may not know, I’m a roleplayer. I LARP, yes, but I was a play-by-text roleplayer before that. I’m also the sort of person that will create entire backstories for my characters in video games if you give me the ability to customize them in some way.
It doesn’t matter what sort of game it is, either. It could be a single-player game (such as in Skyrim), or an MMO. And yes, I’ve even roleplayed in MMOs. I used to have a blog entirely dedicated to talking about that. Regardless of the game I’m playing, I want my character to feel like they’re a part of the world I’m playing in.
So I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I discovered that Book of Travels had a way to do that built right into the game.
Book of Travels‘s character creation is constructed to make your character feel like a part of the world before you ever hit the button to start your adventure in the Braided Shore. Like most games at character creation, you can choose your class (here called Forms), gender, and a bit of your character’s appearance. and gender, but you can further customize them by selecting personality traits and creating a background for them. Unlike other games, however, you can choose a background for your character. You can choose personality traits for them. And the game even gives you spaces to elaborate on that.
Each pane at character creation gives you a way to make whatever character you choose to play feel like yours and I love it.
As of this writing, I’m unsure how much of this information will be available to other players, if any, but I appreciate a game that allows me to do that in a way where I can have it linked with the character I’m currently playing.
I can’t talk about Book of Travels without at least touching on the art, as well, because the in-game art is honestly one of the things that drew me to this game in the first place. Unfortunately, I’m not sure any words I could potentially come up with would do the art itself justice.
“Beautiful” is a word I could use. “Stunning” is another. But unique is probably the best I could come up with as I don’t think I’ve seen art quite like this in a game before.
Tombs and ruins look and feel as though they’ve been where they’ve been for a very long time. Cities and towns feel individual while still being part of the same world.
And the woods.
I don’t think I’ve seen a tree-laden environment look quite this luscious in a stylized form before.
In a way, it almost reminds me of watercolors, but I’m not entirely sure that’s what they were going for. I love it either way, though. And it is stunning.
Am I excited for Book of Travels? Yes. Yes, I am.
I love MMOs, but I’m completely fascinated by the idea of a TMORPG, too. This might be a decent gateway to MMOs for people new to this particular type of game. It may even be ideal for players who want to participate in an MMO but get overwhelmed by larger groups of people.
In an environment that seems to encourage exploration and working together when you find other players, I’m personally looking forward to a game environment that may have minimal toxicity and a friendly atmosphere.
I also want to give a shout-out to Might and Delight studios themselves who have been incredibly transparent with potential players throughout the entire development process. On the road to Early Access launch, they’ve been sharing videos that outline how different game mechanics work and have been upfront about any potential delays they’ve encountered. They post these in multiple places, too, so you never have to go digging for them, which I always appreciate.
Book of Travels will be available on Steam and Early Access begins on October 11, 2021.
Will I be seeing you in the Braided Shore?