Friday, September 13, 2019

Queen's Wish Is Out. Here's Why It's So Weird!

All new. All different.

Now that we've finally released our new game, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror, we're finally free to talk about it! Nerdy game-design talking!

We have been writing role-playing games for a very, very long time. It's what we do. One of the ways we stay sane while doing this is to change things. Every game or two, we like to change stuff: The graphics. The setting. The game system.

Doing new things inspires us and keeps our brains fresh. After 25 years, we want to innovate. Stretch the form. Take risks, win or lose.

The problem is that whenever you make a change some people will get mad. Whatever change you make, some people will dislike it. (Which is reasonable. People like what the like.) It is then the responsibility of the developer to earn new customers to make up for the ones driven away by the changes. (which is difficult and scary.)

Our newest game, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror, changes EVERYTHING. It's a completely new RPG, rewritten from the ground up.

Some of the changes, like the graphics and the storyline, will be pretty self-evident. Some people will like them, and some won't. I hope you're cool with it, but it's out of my hands now.

There Is One Way I Can Make Things Easier

There is one thing I can help with, though. I've changed a lot of rules and ways the game system works. For decades, we've set up stuff in a certain way, and now it's different, and it's caused some confusion among our testers.

So, for our long-time fans, this is a quick guide to the stuff we've changed. This will help you avoid confusion and kill monsters with maximal efficiency.

I don't want you to waste your time. Every dungeon you enter, you can WIN. You have to win. If not ...

1. Trash Monsters Don't Get Experience

This is the single change that makes people the most angry. You get experience with victories. Completing quests, defeating dungeons, these are what give experience.

Sneaking into a dungeon, killing two wolves, and running out doesn't reward you. You have to enter every dungeon determined to get victory. Coffee is for closers.

I understand the anger about this change. A lot of people play RPGs to get that constant dopamine drip of tiny rewards. I'm trying to do a different thing here, and it's going to cost us money. I don't want you to waste your time killing the same 3 brigands again and again and again. I want you to always be pushing forward, exploring new areas, defeating new foes, trying new things.

2. You Have To Do Dungeons In One Trip

Along the same lines as #1. Your enemies can get reinforcements. You can't dip into a dungeon, kill a few monsters, return to town to rest, and repeat until the adventure is whittled away. You have to use strategy and conserve your power to defeat dungeons in one trip.

Don't let this stress you out, though. We have worked really hard on balance. On Normal difficulty, the dungeons should be exciting and suspenseful without being punishing. If you want a true tactical challenge, on the other hand, Veteran and Torment difficulties are there for you.

3. You Don't Have Much Energy, But Effects Are Powerful

In our earlier games, you had tons of energy and cast lost of spells all the time, but they had less of an effect. In Queen's Wish, you have less energy (though killing foes refreshes it). The effects are quite powerful, but you will have to take care to use them when they can have maximal impact.

If character development seems to simple, remember that how you improve your forts is a major part of your character build. There's lot of complexity, but I don't hit you with it all at the beginning.

4. Healing is Weaker. Crowd Control is Stronger.

It is more important to control your foes than to just let them bonk you and heal the damage. You will have a full suite of stun and terror abilities to get your enemies under control.

A nice tip: Many of your ability make your next weapon blow have a special effect (like causing bleeding or stun). These abilities help attacks from bows and wands too. You can have your archer stun the evil wizards in the back row!

5. You Make the Best Gear In Your Forts

The dungeons still have good treasure, of course. However, your most important reward for completing missions is resources for your forts. Then you can build new smithies, alchemists, etc. The more smithies you build, the better the gear you can get.

Having trouble in a dungeon? Remember that the best gear is sold in your forts. Go back to one of them, build a new smithy, and do some shopping. It will help a lot!

There are over 40 base abilities. Some are core. Some are situational. Some dungeons on higher difficulties may require special character builds.

6. You Can Change Around Your Skills At Will

When you train your character in a set of abilities, you can unlearn those abilities in your forts at will. Some abilities are more useful in certain regions.

On Normal difficulty, this probably won't be necessary. In higher difficulty levels, you might need to change your skill loadout or switch to alternate characters to overcome certain challenges.

You may find the Queen's Wish system is way deeper than it appears at first. You'll have to make a lot of decisions about how to build up your forts and how to shift your skills around to deal with new foes.

7. No More Junk Items

For the last couple decades, there were lots of small incidental items (like spoons or bricks) scattered around to add flavor to areas. These aren't in Queen's Wish. Boxes only contain treasure. You don't get to collect a millions small items, but, on the other hand, there's no need to collect a million small items.

Your backpack is only for useful items. It has limited space, so you have to decide what to take with you into a dungeon. Fortunately, it's not hard to make your pack bigger.

And If You Hate These Changes?

Don't worry! We will still be remastering our old games, and we will leave the things you like in them alone as much as possible. Our next game will be a remaster of our beloved old Geneforge, and we promise to respect what you loved about it.

Anyway, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror for Windows and Mac is out. The iPad and iPhone version will be out late in the year. Thank you for your patience with this new world, and we hope you love these games half as much as we do!