Ever, Jane is a Kickstarter-MMORPG where social skills and decorum are more important than spells and armor.
Jane Austen has quite the fandom these days, and I’m not talking about people who ironically enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Her original romance stories, detailing the complex social lives of women in the 18th and 19th Centuries, are still widely enjoyed by academics and mainstream audiences alike. Many people simply adore Austen’s world of balls, tea parties, and so-called respectable society. Perhaps that’s the audience 3 Turn Productions hopes to attract with Ever, Jane, an MMO Kickstarter project that emphasizes manners, gossip, and social status above all else.
Unlike an MMORPG that defines avatars using physical stats, Ever, Jane adopts personality traits like Happiness or Duty to reflect characters from Austen’s novels. Personality traits can then be raised or lowered by completing daily activities, such as attending social events, playing mini-games, or spreading gossip about your rivals. Players can even team-up to form Families, adding a shared Family Status score to each individual member. Note that Family Status can also be raised or lowered based on personal behavior, encouraging players to be cautious of siblings who tarnish the family name.
What really stands our to me, however, is Ever, Jane‘s hierarchical subscription model. The finished game will offer multiple subscription tiers to users, with each tier placing players in a different strata of English society. Free-to-play characters start out as statusless peasants who must find work, legitimate or otherwise, before starving to death. Tiers increase gradually across merchants, farmers, gentry, estate-holders, up to a $50 subscription that gives characters an entire town. Presumably these high-paying players will have immeasurable status at their disposal, only to find themselves a bigger target for any gossiping rivals.
An alpha version of Ever, Jane provides an introduction to gossip and invitational systems, but if funded, the finished game will offer much more. Character customization, modular housing within each village, and pastimes like hunting or fishing are being covered by a $100,000 goal, nearly $30,000 of which has already been raised. Stretch goals even include player-run economies like farming, gardening, and animal husbandry to expand the role of players in supporting their villages. Whether the feature is added or not, with 25 days left on the clock, Ever, Jane has a pretty strong chance of becoming the next Regency Era MMO.