Into the Wilderness!

Samera gives us a look at Solas's thoughts on developing Wilderness Areas

Solas' Dev Dairy: Wilderness Quests

Prior to launching DDO we really focused on building great dungeons and
I’m very happy with how the dungeons turned out. However, this left the
wilderness areas of Xen’drik less well developed. A few months back, I
set out to build a new, better kind of quest model for our outdoor

What are wilderness areas?

When I talk about wilderness areas, I mean places like Tangleroot
Gorge, Three Barrel cove, and the Menechtarun Desert. These outdoor
areas usually lead to some dungeons – the way that Tangleroot leads to
Splinterskull, for example. Wilderness areas don’t really have a true
quest – just “encounters” which give a bit of XP. Unfortunately, they
tend to be underplayed, because the XP and treasure for encounters are
(in technical game design terms) crappy.

How could wilderness areas be cooler?

Ideally, DDO’s wilderness areas add exploration and variety in the
game. Different settings are good – dungeons seem more creepy and
ominous when contrasted with the natural light and vibrant colors of a
wilderness setting. If done right, wilderness areas really make the
world seem more vast and real. If done wrong, wilderness areas are
nothing more than annoying travel time.

So, the task at hand was to make these outdoor areas more interesting
for our players. Adventuring in the wilderness should stand on its own
as a cool activity. This required something completely different than
the old “encounters” model.

Three kinds of new wilderness quests

To solve this problem I created 3 kinds of new quests:

    * slayer quests

    * explorer quests

    * rare encounter quests

All three quest types are bestowed to you automatically as soon as you
enter a wilderness area.

Slayer Quests

(see the first attached screenshot below)

Slayer quests are simple. They count how many monsters in the area
you’ve killed. Your first goal might be to kill 10 monsters. Once you
kill 10, you get some XP right then and there (no need to talk to an
NPC), and get a new goal – kill 25. The higher you go, the more
lucrative the XP and you will never lose your progress. You can kill 23
of 25 monsters one night, then log in a week later, kill 2 more, and
get your XP for finishing all 25 kills.

Slayer quests have many goals to kill higher and higher numbers of
monsters. It is technically possible to eventually solve a slayer quest
– but you’d have to kill a lot of monsters to get there. We set the
monster kill numbers really high so that players who like this
free-form hunting activity will always have a new goal ahead of them.

Slayer quests can be a fun activity for smaller groups. They’re also
great if you just want to login for a few minutes of play, without
having to commit to finishing a long dungeon.

Smaller areas will generally have one slayer quest which counts all
monsters. Larger, high-level areas might have several slayer quests –
each monster will only count towards one.

Explorer Quests

(see the second attached screenshot below)

The objectives of an explorer quest are twofold: to discover the lore
of the area, and to find all of the dungeon entrances. Explorer Quests
are solved by wandering the wilderness and finding their locations.
When you find an important point of interest, you’ll see some DM
narration and will be rewarded XP. Discovering all of the explorer
objectives in a particular landscape will give you a final, big XP

Rare Encounter Quests

(see the third attached screenshot below)

The objectives of a rare encounter quest are hidden at first. Scattered
around the wilderness area, certain unique NPCs or powerful monsters
have a chance of spawning. Solving the objective usually involves
combat, but not always. Similar to explorer quests, you get XP on the
spot when you complete each rare encounter, and a big XP payoff when
you complete the whole quest.

Where are the wilderness areas?

In Module 4, you will see the new slayer, explorer, and rare encounter
quests in:

    * Cerulean Hills: a new outdoor newbie area in the
Harbor, replacing Postern Gate Wilds.

    * Gianthold: A new high-level sprawling mountainous

From then on we’ll be creating other new wilderness areas, while also
going back and retrofitting some older ones (such as Tangleroot Gorge,
Three Barrel Cove, and the Menechtarun Desert) to use the new
wilderness quests.

Wilderness quest summary

    * auto-bestowed when you enter the area

    * don’t involve any NPCs

    * reward XP automatically when you complete the

    * good for short play times

    * good for small groups

    * summarized on your objective panel

    * details available in your quest journal

    * non-repeatable: you can only do them once (slayer
quests go up to really high numbers, so there is lots of XP available.)

    * persistent: your progress is always saved when you
reenter the area.

    * level limits: there are some broad level limits
your party must be within to advance on a wilderness quest.

In closing, we're all very excited about this new system. We love the
new freedom it gives both us as the designers, and you as the players
and we can't wait to see this system in the game.

Attached Images

File Type: jpg      href="">slayer_quest_2.jpg
(261.8 KB)

File Type: jpg      href="">explorer_quest_2.jpg
(243.2 KB)

File Type: jpg      href="">rare_encounter_quest_2.jpg
(272.0 KB)

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016