How We Role - the RPG Side of Hero-U
There's a nice article by Tracey Lien about us on www.polygon.com: http://www.polygon.com/2012/11/8/3612618/quest-for-glory-developers-bring-back-old-school-adventures-with-hero.
We are doing very well, rapidly approaching 3,300 backers and $208,000 (52% of our goal) as I write this. If you're following the project on www.kicktraq.com and are worried about our growth rate, not to worry. Projects like ours always get a large part of their funding in the last few days. We expect that we'll reach our goal.
Of course, it would be very helpful to gain momentum sooner. If we can raise a larger amount, we'll be able to make the project better and add more content. We also have some exciting stretch goals planned, but I'm holding off on those until we get a little closer to our base goal. Make sure all of your adventure and RPG playing friends know about Hero-U and can decide if they want to back our game.
In Update #8, I talked about adventure game puzzles and play in Hero-U. Now I'd like to give equal time to the RPG side of Hero-U. (Also see Update #3, in which I talked a little about both.)
Living In Exciting Times
On the surface, Hero-U plays much like a typical adventure game. Shawn wanders around a fantasy environment, talks to people, and solves problems. But there is a big difference between Hero-U and most adventure games, and that's progression.
In most adventures, your character is about the same at the end of the game as at the beginning. Your character is also usually a pretty ordinary person who can only solve problems because of things he picks up during the game.
Shawn has some rather unusual skills and abilities, they change according to how you play, and they make a real difference. These skills give you choices in how to solve problems. If there's a locked door, you can find the key or a crowbar, but more likely you'll improve your lockpicking skill until you can open the door.
Shawn also "grows" in the sense of a character in a "coming of age" story. This is a feature that should be in more games, but frequently seems to be missing. As Shawn learns more about Hero-U and the mysteries of the catacombs, he is also learning about himself. You will help define his personality.
Role-ing With the Punches
There are lots of different definitions of computer role-playing games on the Web. "CRPG Addict" - who has played a lot of CRPG's - included these factors in his entertaining blog (http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/03/what-is-crpg.html). Let's see how well we do on each of his criteria.
- Character identification
You could question us on this one. Unlike in Quest for Glory, you always play a Rogue in Hero-U, we name him for you, and you can't assign his initial stats. However, Shawn *has* stats, and they matter. You have many choices later in the game about which stats to emphasize and improve. You can also choose elective skills . You define Shawn's personality in the ways you choose to interact with other characters in the game .
One of the problems with many CRPGs is that they are too complicated and confusing at the beginning. Why should you have to choose a class, name your character, and set all your attributes before you know anything about the game? We tell you up front who your character is at the beginning of the game, then you refine that initial idea through how you play.
- Weapons, armor, and items
We'll have plenty of these, much more than in most adventure games, including Quest for Glory . Many items can be used for multiple purposes, while in a pure adventure game, each item is usually the solution to one puzzle.
- Combat at least partly based on probabilities rather than action
CRPGAddict goes on to explain that he wants the combat to be largely based on the character's stats, skills, and equipment rather than on how accurately or quickly the player clicks. I expect we'll be abandoning probabilities in favor of tactics, but our turn-based system is definitely not action-oriented . Shawn's current stats, skills, and gear make a huge difference in combat as well as the player's tactics. "Twitch" is not a factor at all.
- Game progression through combat and dialogue
Yes to both. Shawn will gain money and useful items, improve his skills, and win through to previously-inaccessible areas by fighting... or by avoiding combat. Our dialogue is designed to feel more natural than in most adventure games. You have conversations rather than exhaustively going down a list of things to say.
- Interaction with NPCs
This is one of the most important parts of Hero-U. We believe that characters are the heart of a story. Through interaction with them, the player advances the story, helps Shawn learn and grow, and discovers more about those characters' lives.
- Random encounters
We have less of these than in most CRPG's. Constant fighting is not the main activity of Hero-U, and we don’t want to encourage "grinding" to improve stats and income. The strength of randomness is in its surprise and excitement value. The weakness is that too much randomness becomes tedious. We're going to minimize it.
- Choice of actions, and changes in the game world based on your actions
As I've written in previous Updates, choice is central to Hero-U. Most of the problems you face can be solved in several ways using your skills, equipment, or dialogue. What you say, and how you act, to others affects relationships that can block or unlock parts of the game. What Shawn becomes is largely up to you.
All in all, I think we measure up pretty well to one blogger's definition of "What is a CRPG?" We don't have first-person, 3D dungeons, and you won't control a party of adventurers. But most CRPG players should feel at home in our game despite all that adventure game story and dialogue stuff.
The Best of Both Worlds
That's why we call Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption a role-playing adventure game. It has all the story, characterization, and puzzles that mark a strong adventure game. But we weave a richer tapestry by adding the character development, skills, combat, and multiple solutions that players associate with CRPG's.
In other words, Hero-U is exactly the kind of game we like to play. We hope that you are looking for some of the same features.
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Freshman: You will receive a DRM-free digital game download, access to discussion forums to help us improve the game, and your name will appear on the Hero list.Estimated delivery:
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Sophomore: Digital Reward 2: Receive everything from the Freshman level, the downloadable Hero-U Soundtrack, and the gorgeous Hero-U Art Book in PDF form. The art book contains production sketches, final art, and insider commentary on the making of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.Estimated delivery:
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Junior: Get a head start on your education by playing one of the development team's previous award-winning games. You will receive all of the Sophomore class benefits plus a digital key to your choice of MacGuffin's Curse, Jolly Rover, or the complete Quest for Glory collection.Estimated delivery:
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Beta Tau Initiate: All-Digital reward. Everything in the Junior package, including your choice of one game key. PLUS you get early access to the Hero-U Beta and Combat-Balancing tests. Help us shape and tune the game the way YOU want it!Estimated delivery:
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Senior: Get physical with a high-quality boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption containing the game on DVD and a printed game manual. You will also receive all of the Sophomore benefits (including an additional digital copy of the game). While you wait for your box, enjoy a preview with early access to our Beta and Combat Balancing Tests. All Seniors may add any of the Junior-level previous games at $15 each.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Big Man On Campus: (Super Digital Rewards) You're special, and everyone should know it. Your name (or your favorite character's name) will appear in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK along with a brief statement of your/their accomplishments. We will also email you the Secret Thieves' Guild Password. (Other players will need to discover this in the game.) You will also receive everything from the Sophomore level as well as early access to our Beta and Combat Balance tests. (NOTE: This tier does not include any physical rewards. It's highly International-Supporter-friendly.)Estimated delivery:
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Frat Rat: Halloween Special – You love Meeps, and that's why you will get your very own Toy Meep along with your boxed copy of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. That's on top of all of the Senior-level physical and digital rewards and eligibility for add-ons. You will also receive your own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK. International Customers please add $15 for shipping costs.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Graduate Edition: Unique Kickstarter-Graduate-only Collector’s Edition Box containing the game DVD, manual, a Music Soundtrack CD, your own Varsity Letter, Hero-U button, and everything in the Big Man On Campus digital reward tier including your very own entry in the in-game DIGITAL YEARBOOK.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Exchange Student: The *ultimate* all-digital package, perfect for international backers. You will start with everything in the Big Man on Campus edition. Then you will have the chance to follow the development of Hero-U with insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. To give you more insight into our games, you will receive digital keys to ALL EIGHT of our currently available previous games (Quest for Glory 1: So You Want to Be a Hero EGA and VGA versions, Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire, Quest for Glory 3: Wages of War, Quest for Glory 4: Shadows of Darkness, Quest for Glory 5: Dragon Fire, MacGuffin's Curse, AND Jolly Rover). NOTE: The previous game keys are part of this tier only; we are not adding them to the higher physical tiers.Estimated delivery:
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Research Assistant: You're practically a team member, so you will receive a very-limited-edition Team Meep Hat plus insider access to developer discussions and Alpha tests. You will also receive everything in the Graduate Edition, and your chosen picture (subject to team approval) will appear in the in-game digital yearbook.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Master Rogue: The rewards of your advanced education include a limited-edition art print of the school on Canvas, everything in the Alumnus package including the autographed premium game box and autographed yearbook. You will also receive a Limited Edition Kickstarter Superfan T-Shirt, and digital keys to ALL THREE previous games – the Quest for Glory Collection, MacGuffin's Curse, and Jolly Rover.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts): You will be featured on an in-game painting. When players click on it, they will see your chosen name, image (this could be you, a favorite character, pet, or other approved image, converted by our artists to look like other in-game portraits), and humorous description. You also receive all of the benefits of a Master Rogue, You will have a listing including your chosen image in the yearbook, and of course will receive an autographed copy of the physical edition. We will send you a canvas art print of your in-game "portrait" in addition to the school art print, and you will be one of the proud few to complete a graduate school education at Hero-U. We'll also provide you with the secret location and key to the Faculty Lounge. (Other players will be able to break in later in the game.)Estimated delivery:Add $40 USD to ship outside the US
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Art Collector: In this extremely-limited reward tier, we will send you an original, one-of-a-kind production painting that was used to create a Quest for Glory game. We only have a few of these paintings available. You will also receive all DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) benefits, including having your picture and biography immortalized in-game. The Quest for Glory artwork will be shipped separately in January or February.Estimated delivery:Add $80 USD to ship outside the US
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High-Roller: You're a serious role-player, or just really want to support our game at a high level. In addition to all of the PhD-level rewards, Corey and/or Lori will run a D&D game for you and friends at a convention anywhere in North America. Or add $1,000 for our additional travel expenses, and we'll join you anywhere in the world. Does not include the Benefactor reward – The school doesn’t have enough wings. Instead, you’ll have a large statue in the main wing celebrating your or your hero's accomplishments.Estimated delivery:
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