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Thread: A Questing We Shall Go

  1. #1

    A Questing We Shall Go

    One of the things that's been mentioned several times already (and let's face it, this is still early on) is the idea of having quests. I said (probably more than once) that I planned to start a thread where we could discuss the idea. Well, this is it. To open the discussion I'll touch three of the possible directions I feel quests could go. (Keep in mind that quests may take more than one form.)

    First, players could have the opportunity to “send” their heroes on a quest. Those of you who remember Fantasy Empires are familiar with the idea (this is the earliest example I can think of). We offer some mechanic that allows you to select a hero and send them on a quest. They become unavailable for a while and then show back up with loot, much like Star Wars The Old Republic (this is the latest example I can think of). Unlike in TOR however, your heroes can get themselves killed rather than return with anything. Players could be allowed to do this at any time with variable difficulty levels, or the opportunities could be fired off by a random event (risk a hero on it or loose the opportunity forever), or the quests might be tied to some World Feature like the Inn.

    Second, we could make World Features that were actually procedurally generated micro-dungeons. Keep in mind that this will mean writing another procedural generation engine and that will add some dev time to the project. (Of course, we can throw it in the DLC pile and try to get it out there shortly after the game is released.) One thing we'll need to address here is whether or not you can send normal units into these “dungeons”. If we allow it people are going to say “Dungeon? Ha! I sent an entire army in there!” If we don't allow it we're going to get “What? What kind of idiot sends a handful of guys to kill a dragon? I want to send my army!” So, it's going to require some delicacy of touch to do right IMO.

    Third, the quests could be for your sorcerer rather than for any of your heroes. They could come in the form of some opportunity you have x turns to take advantage of. Perhaps a bandit camp is plaguing a neutral town. The town offers to join your empire if you can destroy the camp in x turns. Or perhaps (depending on how diplomacy, loyalty and faction animosity works out) a dragon offers to join the ranks of the sorcerer who kills his nemesis. I think you get the idea.

    I'm fairly certain you guys are going to have even more suggestions and come up with things I haven't even considered. And that's great. That's why we're discussing all this

  2. #2
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with Fantasy Empires and such but I do not like the idea of sending a hero away and losing them for X turns at which point they either die or come back with loot.
    I'm not super keen on making a whole different kind of map that only heroes/champions can run around on either.
    What you already have is a tactical combat map and I'd like to see when a hero steps on world map structure like a ruin or dungeon it goes into a tactical map and you explore that map similar to if it were an enemy unit. (Perhaps the maps tileset or whatever is linked to the structure type). Depending on what you have planned for tactical combat this may or may not make sense. Also you should have the option of auto-exploring it just like auto-combat which effectively gives you the hero dies or you get loot option if you really don't want to run around on a tactical map (especially in multi-player). Again though I would think this would almost entirely leverage the existing tactical combat systems instead of being something entirely new.

    I'd also like to see Quests as events with various triggers (some even just random), neutral cities requesting you kill bandits for a reward is good. If you have a Paladin hero having them Quest for a holy weapon might be nice or as atonement for an evil act (this would apply to clerics, druids, etc. too). I'm not sure I like the turn limit part as it seems arbitrary but you have to beat others to it. If a rival faction kills the bandit hideout before you do then of course you aren't going to get the reward but you don't have to do it in x turns.

  3. #3
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    I also am not so hot on the idea of a hero just being sent off and then maybe coming back.

    Although having quests can potentially be a nice addition, the world map is already sounding pretty active as it is. Going with your cross-thread statement of champions, quests seem like a great place to do the transition from hero.

    Maybe if you want a champion, your hero has to go on an epic, multi-step quest across one of the splinter planes with several challenges and decisions to make. Success and good (or expensive) choices give you a loyal champion who now can progress in the champion tiers. Success and poor choices gives you the champion but he doesn't really like you all that much and may revolt and take half your cities eventually. Failure means death. Such an epic arc can really bring flavor to the champion class I feel.

    Also, epic arcs to access some really high level spells would be good for the wizard himself, but I don't like the idea that they have any direct impact on the world map. If I am the great wizard, I'm not going to care about the bandits plaguing the peasants, that's what I have loyal henchmen for.

  4. #4
    Honestly, if there was even a 1% chance my hero could get killed, I probably would never do it. Unless of course I could resurrect them...


    Now, there's been something I've been thinking of that ties into the AI, diplomacy, and this. And that is having a sub-plot \ motivation system that ties all these things together.

    Each AI (Be it a AI leader, a dragon, or a independent town), would have their own personality / motivation / sub-plot system.


    For example, lets say we have 2 AI's and a Red Dragon:

    AI Leader "Merlin"

    PERSONALITY:

    • Peaceful
    • Deceitful
    • Isolationist


    MOTIVATION (Generated From Personality Traits):

    1. Spell Research
    2. Mana Production
    3. City Defense



    AI Leader "Beowulf"

    PERSONALITY (Static):
    • Aggressive
    • Honorable
    • Expansionist


    MOTIVATION (Changes, but Generated From Personality Traits):
    1. Exploration
    2. Military Production
    3. City Settling



    Red Dragon

    PERSONALITY:
    • Greedy
    • Deceitful
    • Isolationist


    MOTIVATION (Changes, but Generated From Personality Traits):
    1. Accumulate Wealth
    2. Stay Hidden




    In this "ecosystem" you'd ideally the game would generate sub-plots / quests based on these various factors, for example:


    Merlin controls most of the island he is on, with the exception of a single town that Beowulf settled, thereby encroaching on his land. Even though Merlin is peaceful, his deceit and need for isolation drive him to want the town gone or in his control. However, his need for peace makes him want to do this under the table so that he doesn't risk war with Beowulf. Due to this, a subplot might be generated a number of ways:


    Player and Merlin on Good Terms: Merlin presents a quest for the player to get Beowulf's town for him under any circumstances. His reward might be good research, a shipment of mana crystals, etc. Player could do it through diplomacy, force, or even by creating quests for others (The Red Dragon) so that Beowulf doesn't know they were involved.

    Merlin met Red Dragon: Merlin presents a quest for the dragon, in trade for wealth, the Dragon will eliminate the town for him. In above scenario, player might use the dragon in the same way. If the Dragon sees that Beowulf has much more money than Merlin/the player, then it might actually betray Merlin/the player, and tell Beowulf of his plot in return for a larger fee. The dragon might even just demand the money from Merlin/the player up front, and then take the money and run due to it's deceitfulness and need for wealth and isolation.




    As you can see, there is a lot of potential for such a system. And since it would be generating some really cool events, you'd want the player to have some way of getting a glimpse at these things happening between the AIs, possibly due to a spy network, or maybe an advisor or news feed.

  5. #5
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
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    I kind of like the epic arc idea as an overall victory condition. Maybe there is an artifact fragment on each plane guarded by a powerful monster. One way to win the game is to collect all the parts and assemble them. Not sure it's a "quest" per se but it's kind of like launching the space ship to alpha centauri in Civ or the super winning spell you can research at the end of the spell progression.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_Brian View Post
    lots of stuff
    I'm not sure, but that sounds like it would be better handled by the diplomacy engine, rather than quests.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Krakizbad View Post
    I'm not sure, but that sounds like it would be better handled by the diplomacy engine, rather than quests.


    Like I said, the system would be for all AI's (Dragons, independent towns, roaming monsters, lairs, merchants, etc).

    But a system like this couldn't operate in a vacuum, so yes, diplomacy would play a part in these random events.


    Otherwise you're talking about a simple random quest generator.

    Person [Random] wants item [Random] from location [Random], reward is [Random].
    Person [Random] wants Unit [Random] dead, reward is [Random].
    Person [Random] wants location [Random] destroyed\razed, reward is [Random].
    Etc etc.


    You can't have anything more sophisticated without integrating it with other systems (diplomacy, Leader AI, Random Events, Independent Villages, etc.)

  8. #8
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    I'm going to go ahead and say that I'd rather you all spend your time with the AI and worldbuilding than adding quests in at launch in a "Person [Random] wants item [Random] from location [Random], reward is [Random]" form.

  9. #9
    First, to touch on Aaron's suggestions. While I have some experience with the Fantasy-Empires-style quests, I would suggest not going down that direction. That system is best used for games where you have heroes or partners who are basically sitting around, doing nothing anyway (IE, RPGs like TOR). That keeps them useful. But in a game like WoM, this system has a couple of problems. There would be no sense of accomplishment for the rewards achieved, it automates things that can be more enjoyable when done in person, and it will infuriate players who lose heroes to the random chance of the quest.

    Now that brings us to the other two kinds of quests. I think both are awesome and should be in the game. To differentiate between them, I'd call the second kind of quest type "adventure quests" and the third type of quest "mission quests." Marking this distinction can help us answer the question "whether or not you can send normal units into 'dungeons.'" Mission quests are more global in nature and involve your entire faction. Mission quests can be like "the first faction to build seven barracks gets four free swordsmen," or "destroy the bandit camps in X turns to aid a neutral town" or "negotiate a settlement between two warring tribes before they wipe each-other out" or "the first to circumnavigate the world gets a reputation bonus." Your army can help in these quests, and in fact heroes are not strictly necessary. These are nation-focused quests, with primarily nation-focused rewards.

    However, adventure quests are hero-specific and much closer to the kinds of quests we read about in stories. Things like "save the princess from the barbarian warlord," "scale the evil wizard's spire and defeat him," and "sneak into the dragon's lair and take the treasure!" These quests can only be performed by heroes, and while the rewards can still benefit your kingdom, you are more likely to find heroic rewards in these quests than in the mission quests. like magical weapons and accessories.

    Now, if those are our two kinds of quest types, global (mission quests) and personal (adventure quests), the question becomes "how do we implement quests into the game in a way that feels like a natural extension of the game?" As it turns out, there are a lot of really neat ways both types of quest can be implemented that will enhance and provide flavor to the rest of the game. I don't have the time to type it all out right now, but I'll post them up shortly. All I'll say right now is that I really like the concept behind both Krakizbad and the Captain's suggestion, and part of my suggestions will follow similar trains of thought.

  10. #10
    Wow! Alright, let me see if I can address all of this, lol.

    Sending heroes out for possible loot or possible death. Nobody likes it. That's good, I don't like it either. I just wanted to throw it out there as possible idea.

    Captain_Brian's system for creating almost procedural quest lines based on personality and motivation is very interesting. We'll have to see how our AI systems comes together to see if it's a real possibility, but we will keep it on the radar. This is going to produce what Iron Kaiser has dubbed “mission quests”. That is to say these quests take the form of missions given to your sorcerer for some reward.

    I'm also interested in hearing Iron Kaiser's view on how we could seamlessly introduce “adventure quests” into WoM.

    "Person [Random] wants item [Random] from location [Random], reward is [Random]" is not going to happen.

    Asmodai, I like the idea of an artifact set that wins the game. It's an interesting alternate win strategy. One thought: How could the player go about tracking down these artifacts? If it's just a matter of clearing out every dungeon (temple, tomb, whatever) on the map it comes across as winning by luck rather than strategy to me. There has to be some mechanic for tracking down the next piece and going for it. I'm open to ideas.

    Krakizbad, offering a quest that may allow a hero to become a champion is a cool idea. The trick is going to be how to actually implement the quest arc in game. How will it work on a nuts and bolts level. I'm considering it, but I don't have any firm ideas yet.

    It's been a very busy day and my mind is a bit frazzled. Sorry if I missed anything. You guys had a lot to say. After a bit of peaceful contemplation I hope the wheels will begin to turn again

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