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Beyond Warlords 2-type of "quest"

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I have a strategy game where I decided to add ruins and caves that originally were intended to work like the quest locations in Warlords 2.

For a quick review, this was basically a random encounter against a hero's strength (only heroes could enter) and a bit of randomness. What you could uncover if successful was some sort of magic item. If failed, then the hero died. A quest-location could only be "defeated" once, after which it was empty for the rest of the game.

Now in my case you actually have the player's "character" walking around with the army, so it's that character who will enter the quest. For obvious reasons it's not very welcome to have a random chance of a player losing the game because their character died in a quest (that's more or less only intended to add atmosphere).

 

Another issue is that the number of players will vastly outnumber the amount of ruins and caves.

I've implemented various variants (more or less complicated), but none has felt "right", so now I'm looking to see if there are some other games that has similar features that I could use for inspiration.

 

Recommendations?

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Why does the no of players have to outnumber the ruins? Typically you have no more than 8 players in a multiplayer strategy game and you can have at least 20 ruins on a moderately sized map.

 

The quests/ruins doesnt have to be a minigame. It depends on how much other stuff player have to do in the game. It can just be a bonus such as finding some gold or item to buff the army. I didnt like that in Warlords 2:

 

You enter a ruin

1. Most often: You kill a monster. Get a bonus which is helpful

2. Sometimes: You just die. Your hero is slain which is a disaster, at least in the beginning.

3. I cannot affect or predict the outcome.

 

Loosing a quest could instead damage the hero (requiring rest to come back to action) and the risk/outcome should be monitorable.

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Why does the no of players have to outnumber the ruins? Typically you have no more than 8 players in a multiplayer strategy game and you can have at least 20 ruins on a moderately sized map.

Maybe I should have clarified that this is a vastly different game from Warlords 2. Typically 100+ players running on a map that is 80x80 tiles.

Loosing a quest could instead damage the hero (requiring rest to come back to action) and the risk/outcome should be monitorable.

Yes, that is how it works currently, but it's not ideal for several reasons. It's a bit hard to explain why without going into the details of the game - which is hard to do as it doesn't quite fit into an existing genre. Best summary would be "Trade Wars 2002 in a fantasy world" :)

That's why I'm more interested in references than solutions.

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what is the payoff (risk vs reward) for having whatever loot these caves may have in them ??

 

If its a god weapon, then it might be to skewing of the rest of the game

 

what are the odds for obtaining 'it' and what odds for dying  when attempting

 

If a minor incremental,  then it might be simply NOT worth the risk (of losing whatever abilities/advangates the hero remianing  alive will provide)

 

Perhaps the payoff ratio shifts if the players side  has been losing resources(defeats) and it becomes viable to try to gain some major powerful asset (go back and try to get it if the player was doing lousy - otherwise they are probably gonna lose anyway   ?? )

 

DO these 'caves' have to be searched for ?  (how much activity the 'hero' wastes when even interested in 'going for it')

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what is the payoff (risk vs reward) for having whatever loot these caves may have in them ??

 
Since it is your own character who does the questing, death is actually off the table.

Without going too much into details, a player should be awarded for being first in investigating a cave/ruin. The resources are mainly actions turns, army and possibly one's own health.

To elaborate a bit, I'll use the Dragon Caves as an example that already is balanced:

- A player may attack a Dragon with their army. There are then two possible outcomes:

a) The dragon is stronger than the army: in this case, around 20% of the army is decimated, but they steal away with parts of the treasure, at around 80% of the value of the dead warriors. There is a slight chance to get an item or a spell, which is larger if a larger army is used.

b) The army is stronger than the dragon. In this case the dragon will die and a large part of the army will die. The reward is 80-150% of the lost army in terms of gold + a chance for a magical item or spell.

For dragon caves, each "try" will lose you around 4% of your army's value, plus the cost in action turns to make the attempt. Collecting a sufficiently large army will defeat the dragon, but will often cost more than the gold gained. However, there is the chance at a magical item, or that the dragon horde might actually be larger than the armies lost.

(There are other things to do in a dragon cave, but they're not relevant for the discussion)

A ruin/quest is similar: you try to defeat the monster to get an award of a magical item or spell. However, it differs from the dragon in two very significant ways:

a) It is intended that a weak character should be able to win against the weakest monsters
b) The army should not be used for questing.

It's especially b) which makes it difficult, and yet it's also this that makes it different from the dragon cave.

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