At its heart CoS is all about the Quests, Missions and other types of personal Stories. Our goal was to create a system where every Quest was interesting, unique, and none of them were simple tasks to complete. A story is more than a task, it involves choices that matter to the player.
Example: You have been tasked with bringing a small Kingdom back under Citadel control. Right now the King of that country is fighting a revolutionary group, who wants to throw down the King. Do you back the king and kill the rebels? Or, do you join the revolution and take down the king? You can’t answer this yet; you will need to go into this story and learn things, so that you can try to make an informed decision on your actions, but whatever you choose there is no going back. Your choice will matter, and it will change everything.
But our quests don’t just have a single choice like this, they have many such moments. Not only that, but behind the scenes the game is making choices. This time the king is a minion of Morphael, and you can uncover that fact, but for another player, the King might be on the Citadel’s side, but the rebels are being duped by a Grim Spirit. The only way to know is to play through the story, make your decisions based on things you witness and discover, and arrive at the grand climax with a purpose you have chosen. This is a real story, not a task.
However there are many types of game play options in CoS, long deep stories, mid length, and short all depending on your mood. But if you don’t want those kinds of play, the game offers other things, like Monster Trapping, or Bounty Hunting, where you can seek a criminal (or that guy that knocked you out and stole your sword!). There are many types of stories in CoS.
Your story is very personal to your character and not the same for every player. We do this by using something we wrote called the TrueQuesting module. It works like this, a writer pens a story. They have NO limitations on their story, we tell them to just write a great tale! Next they must put it through our story system to make sure that it has the variety and changes necessary to allow the game to create multiple paths through. Next, that story is given to a Level Designer, who inputs a lot of data (though this does not take long) into the TrueQuesting module. After that, the LD then goes into the game and hand creates the portions of the story that hand work, about 20%, while letting the Enact Tools add the rest.
Example, the story calls for a possible ambush at some stage of the story, the LD does not have to build this. Enact already knows who the antagonists are (from the TrueQuesting module), and the LD just tells it they want an ambush in this portion of the story. Enact will then create that ambush, somewhere appropriate, using the right protagonists for this player (possibly different for every player, depending on their past history). Neither the Level Designer, Writer or Player knows where this will take place precisely, or who exactly will take part, but an ambush will happen, which will deliver the next piece of the story.
This example and many other elements handled by Enact, that we aren’t describing here, change the story details. This makes it different for every player. As for re-playability, if you ever did a similar quest on a different RW with another group, it would unfold quite differently. This is the power of our story system; we get well written, hand crafted, computer varied, non-linear stories, with re-playability, where player choices and game choices change what happens.
As you progress your personal story through the game, adding new chapters that seem to flow naturally from one to the next, you will also be progressing through the larger Epic story of the entire world as it evolves. The Epic Story is what drives the events of the world, with each player’s story being a unique thread in that tapestry. In the end, you will reach the Grand Climax of the Epic Story, and face a challenge based on what you have done throughout the entire game. The Epic Story ends in a massive climax, but your personal story will continue.
We had to talk about this, even though the words ‘End Game’ don’t apply to CoS. Our game play has no end. When the Epic Story of Citadel of Sorcery is completed your personal story continues. So there is no ‘End Game’ repetitive grind in Citadel of Sorcery, simply because you may continue to play quests, without level cap, and continue to advance your character for as long as you remain in this world. The climax of the first game in the Reflected Worlds is not the end for your character. As we create new games in this universe, your character may move on, and continue their advancement in new Epic Stories.
Here is a video on what it's like to write these amazing stories and see them come to life in Citadel of Sorcery: