History of the Game Pt. I – Mechanics
This article is 95% fact checked .
This is one of the parts that most interested me. If you look at a battle near the beginning of the game versus one now… well, you can tell why QMs (even the original QM) make mistakes now more than they used to. The system that we play with is still relatively simple, but there is no doubt that it has grown. This part of this article will take a quick and hopefully (but no promises) look at the evolution of the game, mechanically. Even now there are constantly changes to the rules. Did you know that now, scrolls don’t count as a player targeting an enemy?
Where to start? None of us “normals” got to see the test quest, but we are assured that there were significant changes between that and the first quest of the true game. The evolution of the game being in the players’ hands is highlighted, even at this early stage. Way back when in the discussion topic, Sandy told us that we had Pandora to thank for the inclusion of bedrolls. Can anyone imagine a quest without them? Clerics would no doubt be in higher demand.
The first three quests of the game did little to change the mechanics. Sandy had tested them out already, and few changes, if any were required.
The fourth quest of the game was the first one hosted by someone other than Sandy, and so all the players held their breath. What would Brickdoctor deliver?
Quest 4 was a pivotal one in the game for a number of reasons. It stretched the number of guesties to eight, the highest that any quest has had to date, and proved that this could work too. He introduced a more free-form game style – night and days were included (something that has been sorely underused since this point), allowed the heroes to visit different villages in any order that they chose, and started a mechanic that is now common: the NPC in the party. It seems common-place now, but believe it or not, until that Brobric Elf joined the party, no NPC had ever travelled with the party before.
Quest 6 held a small surprise that was game changing, though not strictly mechanical. The heroes of Quest 6 were the first to fail a quest, and still gain a reward of some kind. Skrall, Haldor and Nur chose to allow Donny Dozenhands go, and “failed” the quest, although they did not lose a single battle. Failing quests suddenly became an option, and player’s choices were proven to effect the major story-line.
The next major change in the mechanics came in Quest 7, run by Zepher. This quest was the first to take away the inventories of the players, a technique not used again expect for shortly in Quest 23, and to a lesser degree in Quest 39. More importantly, Quest 7 unveiled the “side-quest”. Run in a PM, so that the main questies could not see it, Cronk and a number of NPCs fought against enemies and solved their own puzzles. This technique would be used in varying ways and for different purposes in other quests, such as Quest 16, 19, 28, and 30, to name a few. Some side-quests feature requests from NPCs, some contain puzzles, and some battles.
Quest 11 is arguably the quest that most changed the way that the game was played. The heroes arrived at the Eubric Freeport Apothecary, and saw items for sale that had never been seen before. Mead, Smelling Salts, and a Nostrum were the first of many status inducing consumables, and the three still most commonly used. How often, now, do we see a battle where one of the heroes (never Cronk though, who refuses to use performance enhancing drugs) is under the effects of one of these three consumables? WBD perhaps did not know that they would extend past his quest, but they did so, and have greatly increased the number of strategies and options open to the heroes. The strategy of a rogue using all three consumables was first introduced by Hybros, who nearly always won back the gold spent.
It was around this time that Sandy introduced a new strategy for heroes as well, most notably used by Arthur, the “Scroll Mage”. Elphaba rolled her cart into the Eubric Marketplace for the first time, and with her came her scrolls. Though some QM’s dislike the scrolls immensely… they certainly open up a new option for the players. The scrolls work in many ways as the opposite of the consumables introduced by WBD. Instead of enhancing the players, they hinder the enemies. In battles against large numbers or strong enemies, these scrolls are invaluable, stopping enemies in their tracks by putting them to sleep, sealing them, stunning them, or even causing them to act against an ally.
Quest 16 introduced the fourth of the major player effects, called blessed. After visiting a shrine of Ennoc, the players were given the blessed effect, which gave them a 50/50 chance of regaining health at the end of each round. The effect was seen again in Quest 19, given to Hoke by the Dragon Vipera, but the consumable Soma was introduced after 23, where a pair of Paladins were seen talking about transporting it into the city. By the time that Soma hit the shelves, the healing of 3 health at the end of the round was guaranteed.
Quest 17 by Brickdoctor once again introduced a new mechanic. It was here that we saw the first “tower defense” battle of Heroica, with a map that the heroes could navigate. Admittedly, in Quest 16, the heroes were tasked with defending a tower, though that battle ran very much like a normal one, while in Quest 17, the heroes were given a map to navigate and free range to improve their defenses. The navigable map would be used in later quests, though the improvement of defenses has yet to be seen again.
The game continues to grow. Quest 31 premiered the hex battle with troops to be commanded, a technique that has been seen once more in Quest 37. Only recently, a new permanent shop has opened in the marketplace, a testament to the rise of unique artifacts. One needs only look at Quest 35 to see that new creative battles are always coming into play, along with new scrolls and consumables.
The game will no doubt keep growing over the next year, and we are certain to see notable advancements as the years go on.
Up Next... History of the Game Pt. II – The Story (Quests 1-10)
Comments and thoughts may go in this thread, along with any other articles, which I will gladly index! Come all ye writers, I'm sure you want to remind us of our own greatness!
Edited by Zepher, 10 August 2012 - 01:29 AM.