Welcome back to another article in our Lord of Rigel design series. This week we are going to talk about quests in 4x gaming and how Lord of Rigel will try to integrate quests in a less abrupt way than many other strategy games. At their core, quests are a great way to break up gameplay in a strategy game by providing a reprieve from the standard goals and objectives of the core game. Quests are often optional as players can choose to complete them or not with minimal impact on the game.
When designing Lord of Rigel we looked at the quest system and felt that while it did provide some good pacing changes that quest goals were often artificial and didn't fit within the world they were a part of. When looking for how to better integrate quests into Lord of Rigel we looked at numerous strategy games and saw two places where types of quests were readily present within the universe: random events and grand menaces. Both of these events types would be natural places to insert quests for the player. Random events, like planet axis shifting, pirates, or stars going super nova are all natural events that players would expect to happen in a large and diverse universe. Players would need to gather ships to patrol star systems against pirates and focus research on discovering ways to keep stars from going supernova. Each of these would provide quests for the player that provide meaningful consequences both positive and negative.
Grand menaces also provide another avenue for "quest" like events. Players may need to deal with grand menaces head on by assembling fleets to counter von Neumann probes threatening your star systems or you can focus researchers throughout your empire on how to communicate with or dismantle the probe and gain their technology and knowledge. Players may also encounter species that are invading from other parts of the universe. These invaders could threaten entire quadrants with the loss of numerous star systems for both the player and the AI players. You could use these invaders to forge new alliances or take advantage of the situation and gain territory from weakened empires.
The "quests" in Lord of Rigel will provide players with gameplay changes throughout the game that will seem natural because the events are natural. Players cannot expect to step out of their role as leader of an empire and lead a raiding party on pirate ships - however they can expect to rally the resources of an empire to tackle the challenges presented in an ever changing universe.
Join us next week!