One of the big things on my Elemental wish list, and the wish list of a lot of people, is major improvement to the game’s RPG feel. Some have suggested traits for heroes, while others have suggested special dungeons and quests which can only be conquered by bands of heroes. These are all great ideas, and I have one I’d like to add to the pile. It’s simple. It’s probably so simple that it could be achieved in a mod. But it’s also ambitious and potentially difficult to implement properly. I’d propose that each recruitable hero have their own personal quest to complete.
Some of these quests you would uncover when you first encounter the hero. Let’s say that, in our adventuring, we run into Marius the Archer. Stat-wise, Marius is a pretty impressive character, and we’d like to have him on our side. But when we talk to him, instead of demanding gold for his services, he gives us a quest. “I would gladly join you, mighty lord of Altar. However, I owe a band of rangers a debt for… some services they provided. If you will help me find the tomb of Renegon, I will gladly join your cause.” After finding the long-lost tomb (and fighting the spiders surrounding it), we inform the rangers of our find and earn Marius to our cause. We can’t help but take a look at his biography, and notice that he’s a part-time archeologist who tends to get himself into sticky situations with the wrong crowd. The quest makes all too much sense to us now.
Yet most of these quests would be uncovered after working with the hero for some time. For some, investing a certain amount of coin in personal inventory would unlock the quest. For others, showing them enough action on the battlefield would unlock the quest, and still others would need to be stationed in a city for a time. For example, we have a talented swordsman named Gareth. Gareth’s biography states that he has traversed the land looking for his long-lost younger brother, Achan, who was stolen away during a bandit raid. This background information doesn’t have much of an impact on gameplay until Gareth wins a battle while equipped with a double-handed sword. After the battle, we receive a notice from Gareth. “My lord, I found a note on the battlefield belonging to one of the slain knaves. My brother lives, a slave in the service of woodland thieves! I must go to his aid!” We decide to undertake this quest and send Gareth and some soldiers off to search several thief camps for Achan. After a long search and several bloody battles, we find Achan and earn Gareth a happy ending. Completing this quest earns Gareth a significant XP increase. Most quests would grant large XP bonuses, though some might grant a special unique weapon for that hero.
There are several benefits for implementing this idea. It would give a significant boost to the presence of lore within the game world itself. Right now, the character biographies have no impact whatsoever in the game world. Elena may be a wounded and jaded soul after being betrayed by her power-hungry brother in her biography, but she’s just as blithely eager to join you for cash as the optimistic Rickard in-game. Giving the heroes in-game personality would do a great deal to liven up the game. Also, it would encourage treating each hero as unique weapons in one’s arsenal. While one hero is currently inseparable on the battlefield from another, short of stats, implementing this would cause even the power-gamer to recognize Leo the mage as a unique hero, independent from Karl the mage, because of the gameplay bonus that doing so offers. Furthermore, this idea could create a fun game-within-a-game, as players try to uncover all of the hidden quests for each character.
What do you think about this idea?