Released in patch 3.2, Monolithic is the second of four main quests of the Rise of the Emperor event on Ziost. This quest involves the player trying to figure out a way to free the people of Ziost from the Emperor’s possession. To do this, the player travels to New Adasta and meets with an agent that has uncovered a way to break the mind control, at least temporarily.
The player treks across the city as directed by the quest, receiving transmission updates from intelligence officers trying to contain the crisis. Along the way, the player fights the possessed forces of the Emperor and witnesses the chaos wrought by them.
The quest comes to an end in a power relay station where an ancient, monstrous beasts known as a Monolith destroys any hope for the plan to work. The player must defeat the Monolith to escape and reconvene with intelligence to find another solution.
Along the way, the player can choose to complete two optional quests in the area, and there are two bonus objectives tied to the main quest.
My responsibilities included: scripting of all quests in the area, path finding, placeables creation, working with artists to create and implement special effects, all spawning related duties (including a miniboss), and bug fixing.
This was the first content I created for the Old Republic, and it had to be done in a tight schedule. There were a few design obstacles that made scripting this quest different than any other project I’ve worked on. For one, the quest is in a multiplayer space, so special consideration had to be done for scripted events and quest objectives. Another challenge was that the layout had already been done, which removed some flexibility I had in the pacing of the quest.
Since the story dictates the player must trek across the entire city early in the quest, I decided that both of the sidequests should take place along the way (as opposed to having one open up on the way back) to keep the player engaged throughout the journey. More objectives occur on the way back, so I didn’t worry about that part. I thought the artists had done a great job with the look of the area, and I wanted players to actually look around and appreciate it, so I chose to create a macrobincolulars sidequest. Both scan locations occur on the crit path, so it wasn’t out of the way and also gave players a heads up about the mobs in the area.
The second sidequest took place inside a building. This was suggested by the leads, but I had freedom to decide exactly what happens inside. There were no objectives in the main quest that involved using a quest item, so I chose that. The player scans bodies for codes in their cybernetic parts, opens a safe, then fights an ambush.
Since the story heavily involved electricity, I decided to incorporate that theme anywhere I could. I made environmental obstacles that electrocute you unless you disable nearby generators, effects on placeables that involved electricity, and at the end of the quest the player throws a switch that sends massive bolts of lightning to kill a Monolith.
As a player, I always had the most fun in MMOs when I was given tasks that didn’t feel repetitive, so I did my best to change the way the player completed objectives from quest to quest and step to step. I also minimized backtracking from sidequests by making sure things would progress as the player progresses through the main quest.
Most importantly, since this was new end-level content, I knew that tens of thousands of players would be playing this at the same time. During any quest step that takes place in public space, if there was a mob or object that players needed, I took steps to prevent players from excessively waiting or camping. For the mob objective, I made the quest-related mobs spawn faster the less of them were active, up to almost instantaneous spawning. So, if 18 of the 20 possible mobs were dead, they would be replaced within a few seconds. As for the quest-related objects (in this case, power dampeners that are scattered throughout the city), I also set them to respawn with a very short timer, and had enough of them scattered so that there was most likely one in sight.
This was a very fun to project to work on, and I can’t wait to see how players will react to what we have in store for Knights of the Fallen Empire.