Our last article explored some of the design thought processes that are going into expanding and updating the story campaign in Lost Ruins of Arnak: The Missing Expedition, but we have so much more to show you!
Adding in more layers of replayability, and giving players the opportunity to make choices that can unlock surprises, is an important piece of the puzzle in the upcoming expansion. That’s where the all-new meta game elements come in. They introduce more weight to the choices you make as you navigate story cards and other objectives throughout the campaign. With every decision you make, you’ll work towards more opportunities to uncover interesting story branches and gain rewards to help you in future chapters.
Adding story unlockables
The original PNP version of the Search of Professor Kutil campaign includes story cards that give you a snippet of story and a choice between two options that provide some benefit you can use. We’re adding more story card options and expanding the impact they have on your campaign with a new meta game progression mechanic that carries over across multiple games.
Each choice you make when encountering story cards will also earn you a special thematic symbol that you’ll mark off on the corresponding track of your campaign score sheet. You’ll also earn symbols for any bonus achievements you complete, too. Over the course of the entire campaign, you’ll progress along these tracks based-on your choices from chapter to chapter. When you complete a chapter, you’ll check the progress chart and potentially unlock special multi-part story events and rewards. This can make for some interesting considerations in the moment — for example: perhaps you could really use a particular reward that one option gives you, but the other would also give you the specific symbol you need to unlock the next piece of side story (and a potential carry-over surprise) at the end of the chapter.
The goal of introducing the story cards was to immerse players in a theme in the moment and give them a dynamic reward for the choices they made based-on each situation. But Arnak co-designer Mín notes that in the original free PNP version there wasn’t anything that would stay with you beyond those momentary choices.
“And I really wanted that to be a part of it…to let the players experience finding mysteries and connecting the dots,” she says. “If you keep meeting different and strange occurrences then maybe one day you will actually find out what it was all about. I really like that approach.”
Note: we’re also adding new sites and guardians that let you use story cards in a regular multiplayer game of Arnak, though they won’t connect to the meta game when used that way.
Creating story and playing around with the way storylines are revealed was one of Mín’s favorite aspects of working on the campaign. “The idea to add the meta game element came about because I wanted to have some way to connect the campaign,” she says. “I wanted to add weight to the choices you make, so it’s not just ‘right now I need gold or I need compasses’ it was more about ‘I could really use the gold but maybe this sounds like an interesting story I could unearth’”
Chapter bonus achievements have also changed a lot in The Missing Expedition. In the free PNP chapters, achievements were basically some extra goals to strive for that would give you victory points. This time around, they have a more thematic twist and more interesting rewards.
“Imagine that the main goal is the basic thing you can achieve, but the achievements further that and give you a lot more rewards,” explains Mín “For example, they can give you a card immediately and then that unlocks it for the next time you play, but also it unlocks more of the story. It also serves to make the game a little bit harder. Playing the lowest difficulty would be just playing the main goals, and then if you’re really feeling tough you can try going for all of the achievements.”