Chapter 22 blog thumb

It’s not long until Elvenar releases its highly anticipated Chapter 22, and we asked players in our official Discord server for any questions or curiosities they might have on the subject. Our Game Designer, Timon, has chosen a few of these questions and answered them for you today. Read along to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of Elvenar!

Can you talk about what design decisions in old chapters feel restrictive now? What considerations were made in ch22 for future proofing?

The more players play through our chapters, the more we learn about what was holding players back the most, and what was maybe even a bit too easy. And with this knowledge, we recently rebalanced the chapters 6 to 10, as you might remember. We will continue to revisit the other chapters as well, as we learn more about what made players stuck, since it is not our intention to create some heavy stumble stones and/or blockers for you. We do try to provide a decent challenge in every chapter, and there will be easier and more difficult moments. But when we spot overly difficult areas of a chapter, we will discuss how to improve them. We really hope that everyone who starts out their Elvenar journey progresses steadily up to the latest chapters.

Sooo… if we think about chapters that feel too restrictive or too difficult, we would maybe pick chapters 15 and 16, as these chapters are the first “extra large” chapters. And the step from 14 to 15, and then from 15 to 16 can feel a bit harsh for many players. Since chapter rework is not easy, it will take some time to get there, but we intend to revisit all chapters from 11+ and check if and where we can improve them.
In general, what we really want to work on, is the guidance through the chapters. When we release new chapters, there is always a big crowd of players discussing it and sharing strategies. This helps us a lot with getting through the new content. But for “older” chapters, it is definitely a bit more difficult for newer players to find tips and tricks. So it is only fair that we will give them a bit of more guidance, by e.g. refining our quests, to indicate e.g. how many buildings you need and what upgrades they should have. We hope that over time, we can equip all chapters with improved guidance, as we did it for chapters 6-10.

What exactly is the chapter about? Who or what exactly will be visiting our city? Will the storyline be continued or can we expect a completely new story? Do you think it’s a good idea to design something with floods, given that this has been happening more and more often in real life in Europe recently?

I don’t want to give away too much, but the story of chapter 22, “Harbors of the Deep”, while being kicked off by a heavy storm and a subsequent flood, focuses on rebuilding, on helping each other, on the friendship between people, and the bonds between a people (the Halflings) and its loyal pets.
The storyline that has been evolving since chapter 1 will be continued with every new chapter. But of course, I also try to keep it interesting and at times surprising, so you can always look forward to how the story continues. In broad terms, the story and how it will unfold further, is always thought ahead for a few chapters, to ensure that everything makes sense and is leading somewhere interesting.

I think it is a very important question that we have to ask ourselves as the creators of content, how to handle real life topics. As part of the gaming industry, we try to be unpolitical, we try to respect culture and tradition, we try to respect everyone’s feelings. As entertainers, we try to create interesting content and stories people can relate to – and of course a main way to ensure people can relate to it is by “being inspired by real life”. At the same time, we also know that people play games to escape the worries of real life. How can I as the story writer take all of this into account and balance it?

I can only give a very personal answer to this question. There are two things that I will always aim to do:
1. I am doing my best to take the inspirations of real life, which unfortunately involves terrible things like war, conflicts and disasters, and try to find a way to turn this into something more positive. e.g. in the new chapter, the flood is only the starting point of the story, and it creates an opportunity for the characters to engage in a helpful way, in a way that gives relief to suffering, and hope to despair. I don’t want to be naïve about the troubles of the world, but I want to show that there is always a path to turn bad things around, as long as we move forward.
2. I try to avoid dividing the world (and its parts) into the good and the bad. I don’t want to have entirely “good” or entirely “bad” characters. Especially the characters that do bad things will have strong justifications for doing so (like Peregrim in chapters 19 and 20) – reasons and motives that will make us understand why they did what they did. Conflicting parties will not end their conflict by proving one side wrong – different views are justified, and most conflicts revolve around missing information rather than bad intentions. You can see a good example of that in the story of chapter 16, where the Dwarfs and Fairies have a serious conflict. Eventually, it can be solved without one side being “proven wrong”, but with a compromise after they understand each other better.

How much space will be needed for the new guests? Will it be possible to accommodate it without teleporting buildings back and forth?

We always try to balance the chapters in a way that you need a similar amount of space for the new settlement as for the last settlement – but a bit bigger every time. But we also unlock new map expansions in the Research Tree and on the world map – which will give you way more space than the settlement size increase would eat up. So in theory, you don’t need to teleport your buildings. But of course, if you want to optimize your city at any given time and for any given circumstance, you might want to use the Teleport Buildings Spell every once in a while.

Do new resources (not chapter goods) come into play?

Yes, there will be a new resource that will stay in the game beyond that chapter. It is another step towards making your core city buildings worth the space they occupy, so I hope you will appreciate this small new challenge.

Will prosperity/social work play a major role in the chapter?

Yes, both resources are there to stay. Prosperity will again boost your Settlement Resources – if you use it to build and upgrade Settlement Buildings. And Community Work plays a similar role as Orcs, Mana, or Seeds in the sense that we will continue to use it for different purposes and challenges in upcoming chapters.

Will it be possible to upgrade Ancient Wonders beyond level 35?

It is not planned to add further levels to the Ancient Wonders. But maybe something else is planned… Well, not for the near future though.

Will we also receive game-relevant resources for selling settlement buildings due to the recent changes?

This is unfortunately not possible from a balancing perspective. Every building is sooner or later cheap to build (once you have progressed a few chapters), and giving out these resources would be an exploit at this point. Thus, we can only give resources as refund for Settlement Buildings that are relevant for chapter gameplay.

Is chapter 22 based on the mechanics of the previous chapters or maybe there will finally be something new, apart from the laborious production of several types of candies to create 3 types of lollipops etc…

We always try, when designing new chapters, to build upon what was introduced in earlier chapters. That way, we hope that new mechanics are easier to understand. Still, we often get feedback that not every player understands new mechanics, and therefore we also remain careful about what to add. We saw, for instance, that the new requirement mechanics in chapter 20 were not easy to understand, and some people struggled to upgrade the main settlement building of this chapter. Similarly, in chapter 21, it was not obvious to some players that the settlement bonus comes from the used Prosperity now – and if you sell buildings that used it, and Prosperity becomes unused again, this bonus would accordingly shrink again.

In this sense, we really try to find easy to understand mechanics that are either new or refreshing new takes of existing mechanics, and nothing that strays too far from what you know. We hope that you enjoy this challenge of finding out how everything works in new chapters – and we are looking forward to your feedback on how it felt for you. We always keep on learning!
And if you haven’t played Elvenar yet you can try it out here and get to experience all the wonders of the magical Elvarian world