In my continuing search for MMO's off the beaten path, I recently discovered Aerrevan, created by The 13th Hour Studios located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They just wrapped up alpha testing a few days ago and are about to enter beta. So keep an eye on their website over the next couple weeks for anyone interested in signing up.
Aerrevan will consist of humans, elves, and orcs, on the continent of Lurris. At some point in history, a huge meteor crashed into the continent bringing with it excess amounts of something called Aer. This stuff begins to accumulate in your body and if you don't periodically cleanse yourself of it, you will begin to mutate. Two separate great mages rose to power, one working toward ridding the world of Aer, while the other wishes to harness its power for use.
The world is 100% seamless and there will be zero loading screens. They are introducing some sort of dynamic npc conversation system. You can communicate with npc's as you would other players. They are programmed to understand the English language and will respond back in meaningful ways. There will be no classes. You just choose which skills you wish to use. There will be player run shops, which you can hire shopkeepers to run for you.
The most important aspect to me and the first thing I scanned for was that there would not be forced pvp. You can pvp in hostile territories where you will receive a warning upon entering. And you may also be subject to pvp if your guild is at war with another guild. Pvp is not based on the three races, but rather which of two great mage alliances you choose.
There will actually be two types of guild structures, depending on whether or not you wish to participate in pvp. The first is referred to as a "guild". The guild and its members will follow one of the two alliances. Guilds will be able to take control of towers and capital cities. They also are subject somehow to corruption, which requires much responsibility from the guild leader to manage. Not sure exactly how that will play out, but sounds like a stressful job. For the pve players, rather than guild, their organization will be referred to as a "battlegroup". These are for players who have not chosen an alliance. They function as a guild, but they will not be able to take control of territories as the guilds do.
The screenshots look very pretty, but there are only concept drawings for character models. I discovered the site in a very roundabout way. Considering they intend to release this year, they definitely should be doing some advertising. And I'll definitely be keeping my eye out on this one.