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Thread: A Questing We Shall Go

  1. #11
    Moderator Asmodai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Fredericksburg, VA (USA)
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    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.
    In my experience with Turn Based Strategy games it doesn't take but so long before the various factions have explored all the ruins, etc. in the game. Once all 7 pieces (I would suggest you only have this victory condition when all the planes are in play.) are located they should be difficult to attain. Whatever is guarding could perhaps be a VERY powerful (unique?) creature of the appropriate plane. So you may know pretty quick where they are but it's not so easy to get them. Even in the late game when the factions have powerful armies the artifact pieces would count as magic items that only a hero/champion can carry and it's unlikely that one faction is going to be able to collect all 7 from their initial ruins. Instead the pieces will be split between different factions, carried around by heroes. Having such a powerful magic item wouldn't be something people wouldn't hear about so maybe the heroes that carry them have some sort of indicator. So assuming a heroes magic items drop when you kill them then for that victory condition you'd be hunting the heroes carrying the pieces you don't already have. To actually win maybe you have to get all 7 pieces back to your wizards tower so even when you have all 7 the other players know and will try to prevent the heroes carrying them from reaching your tower.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Portland, OR
    The nice thing about MoM was that even though it wasn't long before all the players could see everything, it was pretty uncommon for everything to be cleared. Some ruins and nodes were damn near unkillable even late game, and they spewed a steady stream of roamers.

    The bad part of that, of course, was that the AI would keep spamming those nodes with unwinnable forces, constantly throwing resources away pointlessly. MoM AI was a little basic, shall we say?

    I hope WoM has a decent scale of world features to leave something open for late game other than bashing the hell out of the enemy cities, and this is where quests will shine. Yes, the map has been explored, yes, the dungeons have mostly been cleared, but lo and behold! A new line of quests is now available that you simply couldn't do at the beginning. Mid-game content galore.

    Tie it in to world events for additional fun. Oblivion gates open, anyone? Now we have a quest to close them. Mana surge? It surged because a powerful other-worldly being just entered the plane. First wizard to kill it gets a juicy reward. Bountiful harvest? Better fight off those locusts on the horizon.

  3. #13
    I would agree that in some TBS games not all the ruins are instantly cleared. All it takes is a sufficently powerful guardian (or a set of, individually, less than sufficently powerful guardians) and the ruin stays closed off till the late game. (Provided there is no 'Obliterate target' spell. =p)

    Anyway I wanted to talk about two things. First the idea of collecting 7 artifacts to assemble into another artifact (which incidently rubs me up the wrong way) could work if it was related to one (or two, or more) race's ultimate goals.
    I recall playing Imperium Galactica 2, which had a simple 3 faction mode:
    Faction one was Human (Solarian, traders) who, for some reason, were they only people who could assemble these four crystals, which you found out about in the early-mid game, but only came to fruition in the late game. Their first quest involved recovering a crystal from an asteroid field, with a simple 'Do you do this or this?' 'Oh then you take this much damage' style.
    Faction two was Shinari (researchers), who got a quest after the Humans found one of the crystals, and soon had collected a crystal.
    Faction three was Kra'hen (fighters), who had the overarching aim of exterminating all life in the universe. After discovering that the others are looking for the crystals (Which basically detailed that all races were descended from X, or something, I forget and the internet has let me down, the upshot was that everyone would unit behind to defeat the Kra'han)

    So after a while the Shinari, Kra'hen and Solarians were actively searching for the crystals (along with the non-playable factions), while also handling their empires and dealing with other quests (Pirates stole my daughter and rigged one of your planets to explode if you don't recover her (A Likely story!)). So innevitably what happens is you find some pieces, but since no one knows what the crystals do, and you have the option to share the crystals and pool your knowledge, get involved in sneaky stealing, or all out destroying the people who have them.
    I also recall an episode of Star Trek TNG with the same plotline, except the Federation didn't go genocidal at the end of it.

    If the same sort of thing could be applied to one of the races (possibly selected at random) then it would make for an interesting end to the quest line...Everyone gathers the pieces of sword, thinking it is a powerful sword, when actually it relays a message that YOU ARE THE UNSPEAKABLE DEVIL, and your diplomatic approach of sharing the sword fragments has got the rest of the world to permenantly declare war on you! (Or one of your allies, or more helpfully one of your enemies.) Likewise if you build the sword yourself, and turn out to be the great devil, you now have to guard the sword desperately or face a coalition of everyone. While if you discover it is someone else you could try to make a deal with them to share power (Like that will last) or show it to the others and gain their agreement that they must destroy the devil.
    Success might mean you win the game (Care should be taken not to have the devil as the weakest player).

    Another "quest idea", again stolen from IG2, is that there should be this trader who comes along every so often offering to sell you "The Death Laser" (Read 'Staff are the Archmage'), or the "Planetary Engine" (Read 'Spell of City Levitation'), or "Blackhole Gun" (Read 'Sword of Eternal Night'), all of which turn out to be impossibly infeasible. The Staff turns out to be a staff of such poor design that its only function was to blow out a candle at 5 paces, and left you feeling visable tired. The Spell of City Levitation works...unfortunately it levitates the city for precisely 4 seconds before failing entirely. And the Sword of Eternal Night does what it says on the makes the wielder go blind.
    I leave it up to you to decide whether you should just be poorer and wiser, or left with 0 mana/a broken city or a blind hero.

    Final idea was stated in the Planes thread, though I may as well restate it here.
    On the Death Plane (Or one of the other planes, or all the other planes and just congregate on the Death Plane) the dead come back as 'Darkhearted' individuals when they are out of sight of everyone(Keeping an non-looted equipment and skills). They immediately set about killing each other/asserting dominance, and then head off to a suitably strong location to built a fortress, getting a sufficent quantity of loot from wherever the ancients always got their loot from.
    If the Death Plane already damages units not 'acclimatised' to it, then roaming around looking for these Darkhearts would be unwise. With the added penalty that settling a city in the Death Plane results in the Darkhearts growing even faster (Cause of the people who die naturally, you see), the Death Plane should remain a reserve of the Darkhearts for a long time.
    This, of course, does not, however preclude Bob the Adventurer from roaming about and going 'Oh my, a Citadel full of Darkhearts and loot, I must tell the King', who then returns, tells you, and volia. Instant quest, with an enemy which (hopefully) scales with you, without being totally undefeatable. Some sort of Armaggedon conflict, which leaves you and several other powers shattered might result in several new citadels 30-40 turns later, rather than 1 impossible to take citadel.
    The Citadels might be 'Tactical Combat Environments' or just take place on the main map. On the one hand throwing a large army at this army of the detritus of the Death Plane cities might cancel out neatly, leaving it as just a battle between you and the anti-heroes. I mean relatively few of us desire a battle between our 40 units and their 40 units, and have it turn out that our great hero was killed by a pitchfork thrown by a clumsy peasant. On the other hand, taking 2 peasants armed with a pitchfork between them and saying 'Yeah, it cancels out' (Or worse a vast regular army that disappears when the battle ends) seem like a poor design decision.
    You could combine the two into a canceling battle, and the surviors (and the heroes/anti-heroes) fight it out. I have never trusted auto-resolve engines though. So it could simply be the case that you need an army of a certain size to besiege the citadel, and then the Anti-Heroes sally out, you take them on in small combat, on the world map(or not) (taking a penalty of some kind if you use your main army to destroy them). If victory the rabble flee the citadel and you take no losses, if defeat your men conduct a fighting retreat with your heroes bodies (or without =P) and an auto resolve engine states the outcome of your losses, the Anti-Heroes disappear back inside the citadel and you are left with your large army in the middle of the Death Plane, to flee in ignominy.

    Pepper with some 'real' quests, and maybe a few plot arc stories (Either racial or tailored to the heroes) and you have a good mix of heroics, straight up battling, and interesting character development.
    Alternatively combine it with the diplomacy engine, as already suggested by the others. My experiance in Civ 5 and the Omnicidal City States gives me a very dubious view of that, as does my experiance with other games which claim to fuse diplomacy and questing. My experiances in Civ 4 are better, with the 'Build X number of X before the Industrial Era', though frequently it was an about-face from what I was doing/planning on doing...And I rarely needed by 7 swordsmen, or 9 cities built on 9 different continents. Game to game, though, there was enough to not feel like a drag. (Sometimes the reward felt too tiny though).
    The National Objectives (I think) from Europa Universalis III could make a small appearance (You need to raise your relations, you need to build X number of ships, and so on), though I have a feeling its implementation would take more after Civ 4's system than EU3, due to the fundermental differences in the type of game.

    Second to final idea (Yes, I lied)

    The main issue seem to be that the game needs a way of creating problems, which it then provides solutions to. Because the game is largely static (you build a city and then it doesn't move and becomes a hub around which everything else rotates) there are limited objectives to follow. Likewise a system for rewards needs to be developed which doesn't leave the player going 'Was that it?' Civ 4 deals with that by giving the quests sparsely, and frequently you don't fulfill the quest because you needed to do something else.
    GI2 few quests usually resolve in taking control of one, or more, of your cities because pirates. If you view my post in the City Spam thread this might be difficult if we are trying to avoid city spam...Though if the Townships were adopted then they could, concievably, become minature cities with peasants/mercs taking them over, adding to what is otherwise a way of concentrating defences and resources at a single strong point. If a tactical combat system was adopted (and not overused) it could be that your hero, while visiting the township, gets wind of a coup against the mayor. He then either sides with the rebels or the mayor, taking control of the procedurally generated armies and fights a battle over the township...possibly with the idea of keeping casualties down else it reduces your cities' population. While not bad its hardly the stuff of 'Champions'.
    Another of GI2's quests involved ships going missing at a certain point, and you later discovered it was an invisibility field generated from 3 stars. Something like that could be adopted somewhere, but unlike GI2, with the vast open spaces, if the map is full of 'stuff' then it becomes ever harder to add those moments. Additionally if you, like I do, send a scout on an optimised route, you don't actually tread in every square, so it could lie undiscovered for the whole game. (though that is part of the point of the invisibility field =P)

    Final thought (no, really): Tournaments. If a tactical combat engine/procedural system for it then it might as well be used to its fullest extent. Holding a tournament could be a triple edged sword. On the one hand it could be a chance for your heroes to prove their mettle and move up to champions, on the second it might spawn new heroes from the waves of mooks sent against your heroes and on the third it might kill your heroes if you don't control them with significant vigor (while some say, "even if there was a 1% chance my hero wouldn't make it, I wouldn't do it", if the chance is not clear, but measured on your and your heroes' ability you will take the risk, sometimes). A tournament could be international, inter-planer, or simply your Kingdom. The first being able to draw and measure yourself against the other nation's heroes, while the second against the monsters which you may face on your journies, and finally simply to gain XP and tactical insight. Obviously these tournaments should be limited in occassion, and maybe require your heroes to gather at a certain location, attending other nation's tournaments too.

  4. #14
    Okay, so Part II of my suggestion on quests. Just as a quick recap, I suggested two broad kinds of quests, “mission quests,” which are global/national in scope and “adventure quests,” which are hero-only quests. Another way of looking at this is that mission questions are largely at the strategic level, while adventure quests are largely at the tactical. Now I’m suggesting ways in which both could be implemented in as a true complement to the 4x experience, throughout the early, mid, and late-game period. [That is to say, I'm not opposed to the idea of quests for the sake of quests, and would love to explore what kind of quests would be fun, but the ideas behind this post are focused on meshing quests within the framework of the other game systems] I’m using examples and story rather than abstract ideas to get the concept across, and this is more of an idea starter than a comprehensive "quests do this and not that" blueprint. I apologize in advance for the long, but hopefully enjoyable, read.

    Early Game

    MISSIONS: Let’s look at the early game first. In the early game, your civilization is about exploring and expanding. Early mission quests will be designed to aid in this endeavor. For example, when you first begin a new game, you may stumble upon a farmer with a wolf problem. Dealing with the wolves may earn you a map of the surrounding area, meaning you have less Fog of War to unveil. Saving a young man from some bandits may grant you an extra scout or settler unit. Aiding a merchant in need improves the gold production of the nearby city by 50%. These kinds of quests have been featured before in other games, and they just aid in getting your civilization going. Little bonuses here and there to make the cities you’ve got better and give you the leg-up in founding new ones.

    ADVENTURES: Early adventure quests are similar, but what missions do for a kingdom, adventures do for heroes. If you or your hero starts the game as a level 1 warrior with a club in his hand, these early quests are focused on leveling you up and putting some artisan (or dare one hope, even magical?) weapons and armor in your hands. By the end of the Early Game, your heroes hopefully are well equipped and leveled for the challenges that lie ahead.

    Mid Game

    MISSIONS: Now mid-game is where the meat and potatoes of quests really are. In the mid game, exploration and expansion are largely done (excepting, perhaps, the planes), and the exploit part comes into play. You’ve met most of your competitors by now, and now you’re starting to define who your allies and enemies are in your bid for ultimate victory. We’ll look at three major parts of gameplay: domestic challenges, diplomacy, and war.

    Carrying over from the early game, there will still be quests focused on developing your empire, but now they’re for higher stakes and putting you up against your opponents. A neutral town needs saving from a skeleton horde, and will pledge themselves to the king that can save them. On turn 57, you (and your opponents) learn that Englebard the Scholar will pledge his services to the most enlightened kingdom: the first kingdom to build 6 libraries. Completing that quest will raise your entire research output, but only one kingdom can come out on top. So the quests are no longer insular quests that will wait for your leisure, but may be snatched up by your enemies first.

    Up to this point, you’ve been getting quests from your advisors and people and events you’ve uncovered on the game map. But here’s where the cool thing comes into play. Quests can also interact with your diplomacy. For example, let’s say you’ve just discovered the Elven city of Mellon. Mellon may automatically develops a mission quest that, if completed, would aid the city (literally, they’d get a short term boost from your actions) and prove you to be a worthy friend. Or you let the mission expire, or reject it, and the city suffers (again, literally) as a result. Their king will likely not approve of such actions. Similar quests could also spawn as a result of interaction between countries, like dealing with raiders after opening a trade agreement (with the reward going to the ally that takes them out). [The cool thing, by the way, is that this dynamic would naturally work in Multiplayer, too. You get a random event risking the temporary productivity of your city, and the only one who can stop it is Human Player #2. If he does it, you’re going to be pretty happy about it. If he doesn’t, you might be a little ticked. Just like the AI in a single-player game.]

    ADVENTURES: In the mid-game, you’ll still be getting quests to develop your heroes, but on a grander scale. For example, Krakizbad’s idea of upgrading heroes to champions, I heartily approve of. It would be really cool if each hero had their own quest, tied to their backstory (that would give them loads of character), in order to advance to the arch-class, but at the least, if each class has two or three possible quests to upgrade to their arch-class, that’d be great. And hopefully you’re finding epic-level adventures in the quests as well.

    Competition outside of combat is, in my opinion, awesome. But what happens when relations take a turn for the worse? This is where adventures comes back into play. Let’s take another look at the Elves. We didn’t complete that quest for Mellon, and we haven’t exactly been best buds twenty turns later. Now, they want war. Fortunately, our heroes are ready. We want to know what kind of things the Elves are producing at Mellon, so we sneak our heroes over to Mellon and attempt to infiltrate it. This starts an adventure quest which, if successful, will allow us to see what they’re producing (and indeed, we get to keep watching until they complete an adventure quest to root the spy out). A little later, our army has arrived, led by one of our heroes, and we’re sieging the city. We can starve them out, or break down their walls... or we can initiate an adventure quest in which our hero tries to climb over the walls and open the gates for our army. [By the way, it’s worth noting that Adventures don’t always require a new map, like a dungeon. Some only take place on the regular strategic map, while others start and end on a tactical battlefield.]

    And what happens if we’re a neutral party, watching the Elves and Dwarves duke it out? We may get a message from the Dwarves, asking us to disguise our heroes as bandits and go on an adventure to disrupt the supplies of the Elves, or put a spell on one of their heroes, or infiltrate one of their cities, etc. It’s a real opportunity to advance our heroes and improve relations with the Dwarves, and if we pull it off without a hitch, the Elves will be none the wiser! (If we don’t pull it off, well... that’s a different story.) Whether an AI will ask for help, and what kind of help it will ask for, will depend on its personality.

    Late Game

    MISSIONS: Late game, quests become weaponized. You’re basically done exploring and expanding, and there are fewer and fewer resources to exploit. Now, it’s all about exterminating, which is to say, crossing the finish line first. Let’s say we’re going for a scientific victory, and we notice our Dwarven competitors are getting close to a win themselves. If we don’t want to take more direct action against them (or in addition to taking direct action), then our mighty wizard can actually start throwing negative mission quests at our enemy! For a significant cost, we can throw a quest at them which, if they fail to complete, will spread plague and disease throughout their army, or sap their mana stores, or convert a city, or destroy their libraries, or wreck their productivity (etc.). IE, the sabotage introduced in the Mid-Game, brought to a much grander scale. Now of course, it’s not a guaranteed thing. The Dwarves can still complete the quest and keep the calamity from happening. But perhaps you know they’re too busy (say, fighting the Elves) to deal with two issues at once, or perhaps you know they’re just too weak to deal with the challenges the quest will throw at them.

    So how does a weaponized quest work? Well, you go into your quest window and choose the weaponized quest you desire. For this example, let’s say “Darthur the Plague Lord,” which if successful will poison all of the enemy units. You get to decide how difficult the quest is. At the bare minimum, it will require 200 mana to summon Darthur and his dark minions, and 300 gold to spread the keys to his defeat across the land. Additional gold and/or mana may be spent in order to grant even more NPC enemies to the quest, or even to force it to be an adventure (that is, heroes only. Dwarves can’t use their army to help them). And if you REALLY want this quest to succeed...

    ADVENTURES: By now, your heroes are top-rate warriors. They aren’t going to advance much further than they already have, seeing as the game will be ending soon (or at least you hope so). So you want to commit them to winning the game for you. Well, you’ve got options. You can put them in an army, but we’re looking at quests. So instead you decide to send two of your heroes, G’wain the Cleaver and Marian Deadeye, along with your NPC allies in the Darthur quest. They were garrisoned in your capital, so when clicking through the quest menu, it was as simple as clicking on their names and adding them in alongside the gold and mana investments. If the Darthur mission is completed without the Dwarves even trying to stop you, then the heroes will just reappear at the capital, extra XP in tow. But hopefully, the Dwarves will confront Darthur only to find G’wain and Marian at his side, providing an even harder boss fight than they were expecting.

    But of course, you’ve got to be careful! Once you send off a hero, you can’t get them back until the quest is done, one way or another. And if the Dwarves succeed even in spite of your heroes, well, that means G’wain and Marian are either dead or languishing in a Dwarf prison. And if all of your heroes are away on missions or deep in enemy territory, then what happens when YOU get hit by a hero-only negative adventure quest?

    So in addition to the usual end-game antics, quests provide an additional way to mess up your opponent. They could really help make traditionally non-combative victory conditions, like research and culture victories, far more directly competitive and tense (and therefore fun) than simply declaring war or watching numbers stack up on a spread sheet.
    Last edited by Iron Kaiser; 02-21-2013 at 03:22 AM.

  5. #15
    I am largely in favour of all of the above, if a few exceptions:
    1) If heroes have a predetermined backstory, and you happen to get (say first 5) heroes which have a backstory at odds with your general playstyle, then you either need to change that playstyle, or suffer weakness.
    2) Suppose I have five cities, and due to a series of events am now enclosed on all sides by 3-4 different enemies, and the quest for 'Build 6 libraries and get a hero' comes along. The ebb and flow is decidedly against anyone trying to build less than 6 cities.
    3) The competativeness quests would depend on the diplomatic system being robust. (I would like to see Governors of Cities as individuals, rather than just dealing with the Empire at large. Naturally a city 200 squares from you has no interest in invading you, while the city, who's borders you are touching, does.) After all if I am playing a pretty peaceful game and suddenly one of my friendly allies invades me (or fires a competative quest) simply because they can (or worse 'to spice things up') then I am naturally miffed at the game's AI.
    Likewise if I get a quest to save my ally, which is entirely beyond my ability to do (Build six graneries in your 5 cities) and they then go off in a huff when it failed, I would be annoyed.

    I do especially like the idea of getting quests from your advisors (Ability to choose your advisors would also be fun), since it might reflect their personalities...maybe a few backroom quests could go on too, which your spymaster informs you of and you have the opportunity to (in)visible intervene. For instance your Head of Armed Forces thinks 'It is entirely impossible for man to fly' and so the option to research flying men (which could be (im)possible game to game) might be grayed out. Your Head of Science thinks it is possible, and so gathers allies, while your Head of Armed Forces does the same. If they are evenly balanced the matter is layed before you, possibly opening up new avenues of research, or leading you down the garden path (losing time and effort). If, on the other hand you have stacked your cabinet of advisors full of theoretical scientists (or hardnosed soliders) then the matter never reaches you, and maybe there is even a coup to remove the HoAF/HoS as a troublemaker.
    Of course you could wade in and put him back in (unless he was assassinated!), but it would break up the monotony of 'Next turn', 'Next turn', 'Next turn' to have a little group of people who worked on their own to make your life more interesting (and present you with options you hadn't considered).
    You could have it as Knights of the Roundtable, Union of Guilds, Burgemeesters, The Council of Cardinals, the Inner Cabinet, The Imperial Diet, The Three Estates or whatever...either depending on its composition, the choices you make in the early game (The merchant you help joins your council and brings his friends, or your first hero needs a retinue and hires them), by your race in general (Which I like less since it locks you into a style of playing that race(unless the name is just a name =P)), or by simply naming it yourself, picking a flag (I imagine you could design one in paint and have it uploaded into the game, if you didn't like the presets).
    So the council provides you with quests, which change the situation in the council, which provides new quests, and so develops as you play.

  6. #16
    Asmodai, that's a good 7 piece quest layout. I like it. We could also mix it up and have it happen in some games and not others so you would never know if that quest was a win option until the first piece had been found. It's just a thought.

    Krakizbad, we plan to have a good easy to almost impossible spread for the world features. Some will almost certainly still be around late-game.

    I also like the idea of hell gates opening and having to be closed and things like that. It is a combo between a quest and a random event IMO.

    Archimage, I remember that episode! I would have killed that hologram! “You hid all this in our DNA and that's all you have to say? Mr. Worf, phasers on kill!” Anyway, we might be able to make the artifacts race specific, but that would add quite a work load to the concept. I'm not saying it couldn't be interesting, it might just be a bit too much.

    I'm not sure about con artists selling you bad merchandise. It could be fun (funny), but I imagine a lot of monitors thrown into the yard in a rage, lol.

    The idea of the Darkhearts is an interesting one. Especially if we look at them from a “random faction”
    point of view. At least IMO.

    Build x units or cities or buildings strikes me more like tutorial quests, lol. I'm open to other opinions, however, and if people want it we could put it in. It just seems to come across kind-of like “Person [Random] wants item [Random] from location [Random], reward is [Random].”

    We are going to be using a tactical battle map. (I plan to give the auto-calc a combat log. If you think it cheated you then you can read the log, lol.) Tournaments are an interesting idea. I'll have to contemplate it.

    Iron Kaiser, I like the ideas. I really like them. I don't think I need to say more than that. You said plenty, lol.

    Now, sadly, I have to say I'm not sure we can fit ALL this (face it, it's a lot) in the initial release. I certainly want us to have some of this in the core game but we're lining up more and more we want everyday (which is GREAT) and we have to consider what falls within the realm of the “feasible” for the moment. Some stuff is just going to have to be moved to the DLC shelf. It can't be helped.

    I think the best way to start would be to implement the early game quest hooks, both mission and adventure (as they will be called henceforth) and see where it goes from there. I think we have a firm grasp on the concept. I need to start a thread (or several) where we can discuss specifics for each quest type/level.

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