When we made our roadmap public, I sure as hell did read all the feedback on the forums, as I was eager to see on what our community thinks about all the great features that we planned to improve Grepolis.
Actually, that was pretty funny because when you develop the concepts for these features, you will automatically have an assumption on the community’s opinions and feelings. To be honest, I was wrong about most of the features. But luckily I was right about the Island Quests. The feedback was rather positive and many didn’t really know what to expect and how the Island Quests would turn out.
I guess it makes sense to point out that this is the reason for this blog post. I would like to explain the Island Quests and what we want to achieve with this new feature.
So, before I go on, I want to explain the issues with the game that led me to think of this new feature. Prior to becoming a game designer for the Grepolis team, there was a time when I didn’t know the game. When I got to know it and made my first steps, you can guess that I tried to analyze the game as early as possible. I played on a speed 1 world and I came to the conclusion that during times of waiting there were too few things to do to influence my progress. In short, there was too little decision making involved.
And as a human being, I love making decisions that are meaningful!
The idea for the Island Quests was born.
Now, the Island Quests will tackle several issues at once:
- It will speed up the gameplay in the first days
- You will have more interesting things to do while waiting for your buildings to complete
- You may even fight (NPCs) in times of peace (to satisfy your thirst for blood)
- There are more interesting rewards that you can acquire, which will open up new strategies
Well, quests in general aren’t particularly new in games, but we still wanted something that suits Grepolis and has a special notion to the game. If we come to imagine that each player represents a ruler with his own empire it will make sense to develop quests that underline this circumstance. Usually, things won’t go as expected when you lead an empire, and thus the Island Quests represent those random occurrences. Also, you will decide whether to take the dread or the nice path when tackling an Island Quest.
Island Quests spawn once every set amount of hours, whereas the timeframe depends on your progress in the game. You will see Island Quests more frequently in the beginning of the game compared to a later stage when you already have dozens of towns. This is because players with many towns already have a lot of other stuff to do. But don’t worry, the rewards will scale in power so you won’t miss anything from having Island Quests more seldom.
If an Island Quest emerges, you will see something like this on your island:
This is an Island Quest marker indicating that an Island Quest has spawned on this island. Each quest has its own marker, so you will know beforehand what type of quest there is. You will also have an overview on where Island Quests emerged by opening the city list. If you click on such a marker, you will see the actual quest window:
Let’s analyze the anatomy of this screen:
- You got the title, a storyline description, and a quest-specific image at the top.
- Below the image, there are two buttons.
- One will center your map to focus the quest.
- The other one will let you pick another random quest instead (in case you don’t like the spawned quest) for 50 gold.
- The two boxes at the bottom represent your possible reactions on the given situation.
- The icons within the buttons will indicate the kind of challenge that needs to be done.
- There are also tooltips on the buttons to get detailed information about the challenge.
- Also, each decision will provide it’s own reward. In this case, gentrifying the slums will give your city a recruit time boost, whereas leveling the slums will force your farm villages to not lose any mood for the next few hours (even if you loot them). There’s also a number on each reward, displaying the level of that reward (more on this later).
Now, since I really love enforcing the loyalty of my farm villages, I will decide to level the slums and build a new aqueduct. The quest-view will slightly change:
Since I’ve made my decision, I won’t be able to go back. I can now either take the given challenge or ignore the quest for a while. If I would ignore an island quest for too long (24 hours to be exact), it will vanish leaving space for a new Island Quest to spawn.
It’s time to smash in the heads of the poor people that want to defend their slums. We really need to do that in order to get our desired reward.
In order to achieve this, I click the button “challenge”:
As you can see, we get a challenge-specific overlay that lets us interact with the Island Quest. The defenders of the slums are weak slingers and defeating them will not be an issue for my bloodthirsty army. Killing NPCs from an island quest is similar to attacking a farm village. Also, whenever you kill some of the defending units, your quest progress will go up. As soon as we killed all 35 slingers, the quest progress is at 100% and we are free to collect the reward, which will also cause the Island Quest to disappear.
The number of units to be defeated depends on the number of points of all your towns on the island where this Island Quest has been activated. I’ve already mentioned a “level” for rewards. The more points your towns accumulate, the higher the level of the quests get. Most of the rewards become more powerful by having a higher level, but keep in mind that the challenge will scale as well. In this case, a weak player would only have to face 5 or 10 slingers.
We have a lot of interesting rewards that can be collected by doing Island Quests and also a variety of challenges. In future, we will expand the Island Quests by adding more stories and probably even new rewards and types of challenges.
I hope you are now a little more curious to play around with the Island Quests yourself. In that case, why don’t you visit the beta server and get a glimpse before everyone else? Feel free to drop your opinion on this feature in the comments below.