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5/12/18 Blog Post - Daily Quest Changes & the Joint Magic Consortium

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#1 Duende


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Posted 12 May 2018 - 06:22 PM

All systems which grant rewards need oversight and limits. In the standard set of conflicts, man vs. society is channels, man vs. self is your problem to deal with, man vs. nature is what I typically set up for you to consume as content, and man vs. man may or may not provide some intrinsic reward. However, all of those interactions can also be manipulated to serve as cooperative stories- which is why there are not typically rewards for in-game content where the only meter of difficulty is provided by others.

Some of the daily quests which were designed to foster different styles of gameplay, or spur exploration of different subgames, like chess or the shelved CTF, were immediately (and predictably) subverted. Chess between friends is trivial to bot to a fool's mate, giving everyone quest credit with no thought, or effort, or interaction. Our modified Fischer960 chess generally prevents botting, but doesn't necessarily add fun. We're still working on that. The challenge arena daily quest functions the same, and trivially permits people to trade victories in ways that aren't fun but are inconvenient, the worst of both worlds. To change that, I(we) have chosen to move that quest’s setting to the Rune Arenathat quest's setting has been moved to the Rune Arena, which is both psychotic and public, which will probably deter the most obvious subversions of intent, as well as provide the occasional environment for risk-free PK experimentation.

We've also added a new area and accompanying daily quest, which will require a form of up to 4 to cooperate and solve a puzzle that involves more problem-solving than combat. The Joint Magical Consortium is located on Sepharia's Great North Road and is handily reachable using the signposts available outside every city on the continent. A combined effort of the various Magical Companies around the world, it is one of a few testing grounds for projectile spells.

Only one test can take place at a time, and each test is timed, expiring and restarting after 60 Alyrian minutes. Administrator Bramp ushers in formations of up to 4 and ensures that the same people do not hog the facility. Once inside, Velocimancer Vim keeps time and explains the specifics of the testing grounds. The testing grid is a 12x12 room full of obstacles. Projectiles come out of the launcher, must pass through 4 gates in any order, and then be caught in the receiver. The ignition console just south of the testing grounds can be PUSHed to start the test, or once started, PUSHed again to fire a projectile.

Projectiles are launched in a straight line perpendicular to the wall the launcher is attached to, and always travel in straight lines. If a projectile hits an obstacle or a wall, it is lost. As straight lines are not desirable, the projectile can be maneuvered with mirrors. Six mirrors are dispensed by the ignition console, and more can be obtained by fighting and killing a Vizra Demon nearby. If all projectiles are lost, the Umbramancer can be fought and killed for another. Both the Vizra Demon and the Umbramancer are accursed to work tirelessly for their masters, and as such, will respawn immediately upon dying. Mirrors will reflect projectiles in different ways, dependent on their structure- they can turn projectiles 45 or 90 degrees, either clockwise or counterclockwise.

The remaining time can be checked by talking to Vim or checking the ignition console. The ignition console is the only place where the full setup of the test grid is is viewable, the Umbramancer is the only person who can restock projectiles, the Vizra demon is the only person who can produce new mirrors, and of course, someone must be walking around the grid to set up the experiment itself. Good communication, teamwork and cooperative problem-solving skills are a necessity in order to successfully complete a test within the hour.

As this is new and is expected to be novel and difficult, we'll be monitoring peoples' experiences and tweaking the puzzle as necessary.



#2 Aesir


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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:09 PM

When I read "joint magic" my first thought was not solving puzzles.