World Story Design

Artix Krieger | Friday, January 24, 2020

You are the the architect of your own future... written and directed by us O_O.

So how about a little story time about... story time?

You have not met the vast majority of AdventureQuest 3D's villains yet. Of course, none of them actually think THEY are the villains. Why would they? From their perspective, they are just living their life (or un-life if they are undead) and doing their thing.

We have had A LOT of villains and monsters across our video games. Some, very unique (like Ziri from AQWorld's Throne of Darkness) and some more traditional (like Sepulchure the DoomKnight from DragonFable). Coming up with wicked villains and their motivations is one of our favorite things to do. (Yours too? Weird how much we have in common) Which is why, this is not at all the topic of today's world story post. (What a twist!)

Story Structure

To properly tell the story where you cross blades and spellbooks with AdventureQuest 3D's VoidKing (and his fascinating rogue's gallery of minions) we need to change how we tell the story. At any time and from any place in the game, you should know what you have done and what to do next. (And also what fun bonus things there are to do) The obvious answer? Three little words... "BOOK. OF. LORE."

Three little words... "BOOK. OF. LORE."

Last year we introduced the Rune Gate (those floaty ring of runes above the travel crystal in town) with the intention of using it as a visual indicator of our World Story.The idea was straight forward enough. Travel to a place, do the adventure, get the rune, return. But in practice, this ended up being extremely limiting. It did not account for all of the adventures in between that connect the main story points. Also, our main Villain is not behind every problem in our world. For example, the AdventureQuest World's villain, Drakath, was purple and chaos themed... leaving the vast majority of the game purple. We would like to use a different strategy here XD. Also, in that game we introduced a book called "The Book of Lore". At any time, you could use this book to see your progress through the game. It was such a good idea that you have to wonder... why did we not impliment it in AdventureQuest 3D from the beginning? (Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.) But then, Rabblefroth said....

(Pictured above it Azella. She is one of my favorite characters from the upcoming storyline.)

Rabbflefroth said, "Do you really need a book? I mean, you could just improve the existing menu right?"

O_O He was 100% right. So, last week we re-layed out the entire main game menu with a few goals.

  1. The menu should never have to scroll
  2. The menu should not be too deep (less clicking = better)
  3. We should be able to show it to a non-gamer and they should be able to "get it" without explanation.

...and that is exactly what we did. Secret-- I originally wrote this post last Friday. But our super stupid *the name that shall not be mentioned* content management system swallowed the post into the abyss. >_< So, I am re-writing this today after the meeting with Cysero (writer), Yergen (lead), & Zhoom (programmer) where we finalized and started building it.

Eventually... I would still like it to look like a book  >_>

(Villains are often surrounded by things even more powerful than themselves... such is the case with Skarn, the Alchemist of the Void.)

Story Structure 101

We created a new top menu item called "ADVENTURES". This is an unlockable list of stories & quests that will move you towards your ultimate goal of defeating Vane and his minions. Waaaaaaay cleaner to understand. Of course, you do not have to do these in order. In fact, you do not have to do most of the game in order with the way we are restructuring it. Freedom of adventure (do what you want to do) and freedom of class (do it how you want to do it) has always been one of the guiding rules of the AdventureQuest games. But you will have to do all of the main story events to inevitably unlock Vane's stronghold (The Hollow Keep) and the ultimate confrontation.

Going to save you an hour of reading (TLDR;) and say... this change will make it very straight forward for us to tell the story and interconnected side stories. In the previous "what story post do you like best" an overwhelming number of people said "The Dragons of Ashfall!" This new system will make it much easier for us to creates adventures like that for you... and for you find your place in the story if you forgot.

Map vs Adventures

I think it is extremely important to have a world map. When building this new system we noticed that the Map and the Adventures were nearly the exact same thing O_O. We are still working on this, but in general... the maps are locations that you unlock when you go there. The Adventures are things that unlock as you level up giving you new things to do... which happen to take place on maps which you will unlock when you get there. (Less confusing to do than to talk about.)

Scaling Adventures, Loot, Gear, and XP

We currently have our new scaling system on the PTR (testing server). If you are able to check it out, please do! The idea is simple. Our "scaling system" will work exact opposite way that it does in game now. That is... instead of you scaling to the map, the map scales to you. This will make random dungeons & special/holiday events better to run with friends. It also allows us to group a cluster of areas into a level range-- and allow you to quest through them in the order of your choice. We are making these changes in baby steps. Next we need the universal loot system to always drop weapons and gear at your level, and for quests rewards to scale to your level too.We are aware that there are currently a few places in the game where gear is sparce... or hard to get. We will be filling in those items in the mean time. (A lot of stuff urgently needs fixed)

Putting the Adventure Together

2020 kicked off a lot of changes for AdventureQuest 3D. We have several big things in development at the same time. This new adventure system, Heartwood (the result of player feedback on whether we should be making new stuff vs fixing the most broken things), a new Battle Concert, and the retro-fitting of our existing game into the new story structure. This week's release includes a new level up system which now shows your stat increases and gives you a treasure chest for each level over 3 , unlimited pets & travel forms, a ton of particle & soundFX fixes, and a bunch of other quality of life improvements. Oh, and yes... if you are already a high level, oh boy, you are getting a truck load of treasure chests tomorrow, LOL!

The thing I am most scared about, is how we will link some of the older sagas into the main storyline. Would you be OK if you needed to return to previous areas to do an extra quest or two to unlock a story thing?

Also, for some of our areas which have stories that go all over the place... like Greenguard, which spans a lot of zones but does not have a clear villain, how would you feel about us gutting it and converting it into a number of smaller self contained adventures, that when completed unlock a bigger story adventure? (Sorta like a mini version of how the overall world story works)

I have really enjoyed and appreciated reading your feedback from the other posts. The team and I have been talking about it and taking it to heart when making decisions. So, we will be continue to be open with you about things like this as we build it. I know we are all looking forward for the content heavy releases to continue. Implementing the story structure we talked about above is the solution.

 

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