Meet the Founders
Some of you know me. I’m sorry. Most of you don’t. You’re the lucky ones. If you wish to remain that way… STOP READING NOW!!! You’ve been warned!!!
My name is Layenem Atyerfete. I started playing MMORPGs with the first EverQuest, though I missed the launch by about a year. I was an active duty Marine at the time with two deployments, so leveling up through the game wasn’t nearly as enjoyable for me as playing the game at any level. I kid you not… I spent two years between Orc Highway in GFay and Crushbone. Yep. It was a blast, too!
My first max level character was a level 65 Necromancer named Incubuz. After a few raids I realized how much I loved raiding and how much I loved Bards. The capability to fully adapt throughout the fight and attempt to provide a bit of support to a weakening pillar was something that appealed to me beyond measure. So I put my Necromancer to the side and leveled my Bard, Layenem.
Before leaving EQ1 in 2007 I spent quite a few years learning more about the ins and outs of guilds, guild leadership, MMO strategy concepts, and some rather unique ways of approaching different mechanics. One time myself and a buddy, Brummaden, were actually banned for a week for exploiting a pull and providing an additional 30% of players with a key to Crystallos. The GM hut was very unhappy with us but we wound up testing the next few expansions for pull exploit potential that would break their desired player progression. It was fun. I got to meet some cool people and do some really fun things.
When I decided to leave EQ1 it was with the belief that there would be more out there in the MMORPG world. My brother, Dubah, and I enjoyed FFXI for about a year, then EQ2 for a couple years, some Rift, a bit of TERA, about six months of SWTOR, and then finally we landed at ESO. During this long trail of bloodied and beaten MMORPGs (not beaten as in we completed the games) we were simply worn out. Back in 2008 my brother and I began flirting with the thought of making our own game but realized that we didn’t know enough about it to do more than dream. We’ve all been there… the dream.
By the time we’d reached Elder Scrolls Online™, however, I had my own experience running a business and we had both learned an unbelievable amount about the gaming industry and its players; the players being the most important part of that equation. Nearing the end of our time with ESO we had begun to discuss the concepts of a new game with two of our friends, Kraive and Ahdora, and I quickly realized that between the four of us we had quite a bit of insight and information. I drew up some documents to see how much information about game systems we could come up with and a month and a half later we had an entire game hashed out. I’m talking from the ground on up.
We created names, a company, and found a few highly interested parties who were inspired by what we’d presented them and chose to aid us in our endeavor… and here we are. Now it’s time to bring the MMORPG industry back to where it should be: focused on the people!
Many developers out there now have been doing it for a very long time. These talented ladies and gentlemen have created some of the best games I played over the years, but I have been playing games for a very long time now. For me it’s time to put the power back in the hand of current gamers. MMOs of the 90s were fun and enjoyable; they’re where I cut my teeth in MMO gaming. Creators of recent MMOs have missed something. Many are so caught up in recreating the success of one title or another that they miss the mark when creating a fun game to play.
Basing games on lore and canon that already exists seems like a lazy approach to me. Titles like Star Wars, Elder Scrolls, Lord of the Rings, and others don’t draw inspiration from books, movies, tabletop games or single player titles they simply copy over into an MMO space. They confine themselves to fitting into a pre-existing mold. Any innovations in these titles are minor. They start with a concept of “let’s place an MMO in this setting.” Then they try to build from there. The player and the gameplay aren't even a secondary thought, but rather placed way down on the list of priorities.
I for one have become very tired of the decisions MMOs have made over the last decade or more. No game is perfect, and no game can please 100% of the players 100% of the time. This isn’t what I expect from any game... even less so in an MMO. Personally I’m a long term player. Many can look at the sheer number of titles I’ve played and assume I’m one of the locusts, travelling from game to game until the next one comes along. I played Everquest for 6-7 years, I met my wife during a short break but I had intended to return to EQ. I had tried the other titles of the time but EQ was where I always returned.
I met this woman who enjoyed many of the console games I had grown up playing. She knew the difference between Link and Zelda. Rather than drag her into a game I had been playing for ages, I decided we should start one fresh together. Everquest 2 had been out for a little while at this point and I hadn’t really gotten into it; after beta testing it and WoW I returned back to the original Everquest. So it was still new to me. From the start she was hooked. Was such a cute noob. With the intelligence that attracted me to her in the first place, she set out to learn. And when we moved to a PvP server, the sheer joy she felt when fighting other players was beautiful. We raided on a PvP server and thoroughly enjoyed our time playing. Then their target audience changed. It quit being its own title and tried to be another one. The game lost its identity because it tried to entice as many new players as possible.
Over the years we tried most other titles. I’m a big fan of beta testing and so I signed up for any and all titles going into testing. I took and still do take beta testing as a serious part of the game creation process. Time after time I watched as titles missed the mark, not just in the game they were aiming for but in creating a game that would be enjoyable for years to come. When you think of successful long term fantasy MMOs there are a few that stand out, but the majority don’t. That’s the game I want to make, that title where the player says “I’ve been playing Sacrament for eight years now and I still love it.” I personally don’t care if we sell billions worldwide, I’m more interested in making a quality game so that the people who enjoy it can do so for a long time to come.
I want to make a game for the disenfranchised gamer. For the disillusioned gamer. For the fed up and tired of it gamer. For the smarter than the publishers gamer. For the gamer tired of being treated like a second, third, or fourth thought. For the gamer that is tired of easy. For the gamer that enjoys a challenge.
Challenge IN Everything because, Challenge IS Everything.
Gaming is my passion. From the first time I picked up a SNES controller and popped in that Zelda cartridge, I’ve been fascinated by video games. It goes far beyond enjoying the act of playing a game… I’m amazed by the unique ability that games have to make the player feel something, to make them feel involved in the story, in control of the journey, and thoroughly entwined in the mystery. It wasn’t long before I began to grow curious about how games were made and the thought processes that went into creating them. I quickly became intrigued by the business of gaming, its impact on society, and the medium as a true and standout art form.
My husband, Kraive, introduced me to MMORPGs back in 2005, via EQ2. I was hooked pretty much instantly, as one of the things I hated most about my preferred PC and console games was when the stories came to an end. How awesome, I thought, to have a game to play that never ended. As we moved from MMO to MMO, and sometimes back again, we always played around with the idea of creating our own. It was just ideas back then... a fun little distraction between games. We'd discuss the pitfalls of the last game we played, and how we'd correct them if it were our game. We talked about what was missing in the last few MMOs we played, and how we'd add those to our game. We went so far as to create races, classes, and basic concepts. It was all a game, though. Just a dream. We never thought it would go anywhere, nor did we pursue it further.
Fast forward to 2014, and we are beta testing ESO. We met some great friends there, and all of us were eventually disappointed in the direction in which the game was going. We stopped playing. To my surprise, shortly thereafter I was asked by one of those friends if Kraive and I would give input on an idea he and his brother had for an MMO. I was even more surprised to find that it matched so closely with my own idea about the direction in which a game should go. Thus began a whirlwind collaboration on concepts: the beginning of what was to become Sacrament. In just a few short months, we'd hammered out the vast majority of our core game concepts. Things went from a dream to very real, very fast.
This game is going to be amazing, and not because it's my "baby." This isn't ugly baby syndrome (ask Layenem if you don't know what that is). This game addresses concerns that have been expressed by the gaming masses for years. Concerns that have heretofore either gone unanswered, or have been given only lip service. Sacrament offers so much to so many different kinds of players. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this project, and I cannot wait to share this with everyone. Consider Sacrament nourishment for your starving gamer soul.