So today, I’d like to talk about Exploration Areas.
Below is an image of Kagure Forest, the first exploration area that the players will have access to.
As you can see, its a gigantic mess. The wrapping of the edge makes the map a lot more confusing which contributes greatly to the whole “lost in the forest” atmosphere.
Exploration areas are generally large maps that has multiple side objectives for players to explore. Taking Kagure Forest as an example, the players will first enter Kagure forest due to an event. During the duration of the event, the player will be unable to explore other side plots, and will instead be forced to complete the linear plot first. After that plot is completed, the access to the Exploration Area of Kagure Forest is granted. In this particular area, there are instances to enter, events to trigger, locations to discover, and maybe items to obtain as well.
How random encounter works in these Exploration Areas is that when a random encounter is about to spawn, an exclamation mark will appear on top of the player character’s sprite. If the player presses Z, the encounter is skipped completely. This will allow the players who wish to explore the area undisturbed to be able to do just that and at the same time provide other players with a way to grind, if they wish to do so.
Exploration Areas are different than instances in the sense that you may leave whenever you want and return at whichever time you wish. Keep in mind however, that exploration areas will likely not contain any healing shrines like instances do.
The primary design objective of Project Helix has always been to provide players with choices. With the Exploration Area and Instances, players will have a choice on how they wish to proceed with the game. As exploring the area and finding objectives / instances will grant exp as well, it is entirely feasible for some players to just do these sidequests and never have to grind.
The first instance located inside Kagure Forest is 80% complete. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share the concept and some screenshots in the next few days.
Until then, thanks for reading!