Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wishlist for Lords of Xulima 2, Part 3

To offer a bit of distraction from the main plot and to offer the opportunity to earn a few extra coins and experience points, many RPGs offer secondary quests for the player to solve. They greatly vary in quality, from a simple fetch quest to an additional elaborate storyline within the game world.

A job board in Lords of Xulima.
Side-quests are handed out by the local instructor in Lords of Xulima. This may be a matter of taste but I found it to be super-convenient.

4. Side-quests

The side-quests in LoX are very basic. Find this guy, find this ring, collect these items. This would have been totally OK 10 years ago, but games of today bombard you with quests like that. People are extremely burned out on this questing style and want something more original. This can range from good to evil solutions to a quest, different approaches (diplomacy) or tough decisions that affect the game world and the people´s reactions depending on your decision. Or the quest could develop its own storyline that can even reveal more insight into the main plot as you go along. 

More words directly from the developers about questing can be found in this update on

The evil witches and the cursed hounds in Lords of Xulima were examples of more elaborate and intricate side-quests. They both have connections to the main plot, for example, the witches influenced the Impious Princes, who make up your antagonists for a big portion of the game. By talking to the witches you can discover more of the story behind Prince Ovengel and his sudden madness. One of the witches is also skilled at fortune-telling and can give you vague hints about what awaits your main character at the end of the game. Both questlines also confront you with unique enemies and challenging mechanics. Everyone who played Lords of Xulima will agree that being stalked by the Cursed Hounds can be very frustrating at times, but they will also agree that it is a very unique and memorable side-quest.

Want to read more about the Cursed Hounds directly from the developers? Check out this update on!

An encounter with the Cursed Hounds in Lords of Xulima.
This will probably make you rage-quit the game a few times.

In the constant effort to make side-quests more unique, making up borderline absurd things has gained widespread acceptance. It has become a part where game designers can really let their imagination go wild. Let´s look at the first quest of Lords of Xulima and how we could shake it up a bit. By talking to the trainer in the first town, you can get the task of finding Dobrick´s ring in a nearby rat cave. You go in there, slay the enemies, get the ring and return it to the trainer. That´s it.

Description of side-quest "Dobrick´s ring" in Lords of Xulima
The mission to retrieve Dobrick´s ring as described in the journal.
 So let us spice it up a bit: imagine if the skeleton at the end of the cave is not guarding the corpse with the ring. Instead the skeleton is wearing it, giving you the hint that this undead was once the poor guy Dobrick. When you defeat him, you take the ring but you can also decide to take his bones so his wife can bury him. Being an undead, his head is still capable of talking. This is quite a shock when you show it to his wife. The game now confronts you with a decision. Give the bones to the wife so they can be together again (kind of…) or keep them and destroy them as there is clearly some dark magic going on here. If you decide to give them to her, you will find two skeletons in the house on your next visit and you have to fight against them. This bittersweet ending will teach the player to be very cautios with the undead beings in this game as there is nothing good left in them. On the other hand you can keep the skull and don´t give it to his wife. Like the other talking skulls in the game, his main purpose would then be to throw various insults at you. An amusing little toy for your journey ahead…  

Conversation with a talking skull in Lords of Xulima.
Talking skulls can be already found in Lords of Xulima. And they like nothing more than insulting you.

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