As we develop the Romans, we are showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and also why we are building them the way that we are. Though we have finally revealed every Roman Unit, Building, and Technology, we are continuing to present all of their miscellaneous extra features as we design them.
Last week, we were thrilled to officially announce that the Romans will indeed start at level 1 and will be launching with a proper dedicated campaign. Short of releasing the Roman civ itself, a Roman-themed quest pack is easily our most requested feature. Though we still remain bogged down these days in the minutia of the Romans, we finally agreed this week to make room for our quest design team to produce a Roman quest pack in time for release. Though most of our Developers are way too busy to worry about quests right now, we are so fortunate to have such a large and talented team of volunteers eager to spread the work around. It is really a testament to how well we are all getting along right now for us to be able to add a quest pack in the middle of this crunch.
As for the quests themselves, we don’t have a ton of details for you yet. Other than a few of the Age 1-3 tutorials, not a single map or quest has been made. We do not normally announce new content at this nascent stage, but we have so much confidence in the speed and quality of the quest design team’s work that we see no reason to keep this news from you. And in a way, the details being still undecided makes it even more fun to share. It gives you all a chance to discuss things you hope to see.
Here are the basics that we expect to have in the quest pack: First, we intend to follow the same model as the Greek, Egyptian, and Celt dedicated Questlines. They will be based in the player's Roman capital city as well as Capua and the Roman Army Camp. In addition to having 10-12 tutorial quests, we intend to have 25-30 Main Quests plus 12-15 Side Quests, 5-10 Challenge Quests, 3-5 Naval Quests, 1-3 Crafting Quests, and 5-10 Global Quests. Players will unlock exclusive capital city decorations, gear, and possibly advisors. All told, these quests will bring players to at least Level 20.
We aim to improve on the existing model of dedicated quests to appeal both to brand new players and veterans. We are trying to come up with ways to avoid the quests feeling grindy or repetitive. We are considering having more replayable quests that perhaps have increasingly difficult secondary objectives with increasingly valuable rewards. (It seems mighty wasteful for us to create quests that you can only play once.) We also will try to add a number of minigames, as those are often some of our most popular style of quests. However, we are very much in the planning stages of this gigantic questline, so we hope anyone with good ideas will share them with us now.
Though this quest line is not intended to feature Legendary or other endgame quests, there should be no secret that we very much intend to bring Roman versions of those kinds of quests, too. To that end, we would also like to announce that we intend to use the City of Rome as a hub of new endgame content, similar to Argos and Rhakotis. Though we have our work cut out for us and cannot promise whether we will have level 20-40 quests ready in time for launch, we want to share with you where we intend to go with them at first, too.
The Romans are such an iconic civilization that inevitably one of the most difficult decisions is to the period of Roman history to cover and the stories to tell. Roman military history is exceptionally broad and well-documented, and there are just so many classic Roman moments we will want to capture. Among them: the overthrow of the Etruscan monarchy and the founding of the Roman Republic, the conquest of Italy (the Samnite and Latin Wars), the Punic Wars, the wars of Marius and Sulla, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, the rebellion led by Spartacus (and crushed by Crassus), the Fall of the Republic and civil war between Caesar and Pompey, the invasion of Briton, the Parthian Wars, the civil wars of Augustus and Mark Antony, the conquest of Egypt, the Dacian Wars, and the Germanic Wars. It just keeps going. Since we intend to make plenty of Roman quest packs, we thought it wise for the first questline to lay a historical foundation for the rest.
Also, since our 3d team is obviously preoccupied these days, we won’t have the hero units (such as Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus) minor factions (such as the Samnites or Latins), or entirely other civs (Carthaginians) necessary to create many of those classic Roman quests.
Therefore, for the dedicated Roman quests, we intend to begin with the early days of the Roman Republic touching upon the conflicts with other local Italian people, such as the Sabines, Etruscans, and the Latin League. There should be plenty of material to work with to get players to Level 15 (when you finally unlock Age 4). And, again, we hope you will give us suggestions for the types of quests you would like to see in those Level 1-20 quests. But after Level 20, the real fun will begin.
After completing the dedicated Roman Questline, we then hope to pivot the single most important moment in early Roman history, and a moment the game has been hinting at for years: the Celtic Invasion of Italy and Sack of Rome. This occurred in 390 BCE and includes our old friend and Celtic hero unit, Brennos. Just like the Argos quests, these quests would be available to every civ in the game.
Since many players may not be familiar with this point in history, here’s some context:
Centuries before the Emperors controlled the Mediterranean, before Caesar conquered Europe, and before Scipio sacked Carthage, Rome was nothing but a backwater village on an inconsequential peninsula far away from the splendors of the classical civilizations of the Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians. Rome’s early history is shrouded in legend, but we know that after emerging as a tiny village by 800 BCE, it took hundreds of years living in obscurity under the shadow of the Etruscans before Rome slowly began climbing out of its shell.
Around 400 BCE, Rome was just a small city barely controlling the fields around its modest walls, but it had grown just large enough to disturb the neighboring city of Veii. Veii was one of the richest Etruscan cities and just 10 miles from Rome. As Rome expanded, it began feuding with the Etruscans over trade routes, farmland, and access along the Tiber river. Meanwhile, the Greeks were expanding into local waters and feuding with the Carthaginians, which cut off supply routes to both cities and exacerbated the situation for everyone. By 400 BCE, there was only room for one of the cities, tempers flared, and they declared war on each other.
After ten long and costly years, Rome finally broke Veii's defenses, and the Etruscan city fell, never to rise again. The victory over Veii marked the beginning of the end of Etruscan dominance in northern Italy, though it would take years to complete. But as the Etruscan influence waned across the region, Celts from central Europe began to pour down from the Alps into northern Italy, sweeping through Etruscan defenses. Led by Brennos of the Senones tribe in 390 BCE, these Celts would push south all the way through Etruria to the gates of Rome itself, where they would shock the Romans, handing them a defeat that would leave the city burned to the ground and its citizens debating not which Etruscan city they would attack next but whether to abandon their city completely.
The Barbarian sack of Rome would be one of the most traumatizing events in Roman history and leave the Romans in fearful awe of the Celts until Julius Caesar finally exorcised their psychological demons 350 years later. Rome would survive -- just barely -- and not without lasting damage. Yet Brennos's sack of Rome ushered in Rome's era of dominance. Until the sack, Rome was merely one city among many across Italy jostling for position and suffering occasional defeats. But after the destruction of Rome, both the Romans and their city were reborn. It would be a more determined, more consciously Imperial citizen body that would emerge. The Celtic victory humiliated, offended, and horrified the Romans, and they vowed to never let it happen again. And they successfully kept their word for almost 1000 years. During that time, the Romans would never again find themselves under the yoke of a foreign power nor their walls breached by an invading force.
Every other ancient city in the known world changed hands, was occupied, or expelled occupiers. This was the natural ebb and flow of ancient warfare. But Rome itself would be eternally free, granted special status by the gods. From a practical standpoint, the sack of Rome brought to an end the period of early Roman history about which we have no clear records or primary sources. Brennos's fires destroyed all the previous records. Therefore, it is at the sack of Rome that the legend of Rome ends and the history of Rome begins. And it is here that Project Celeste shall begin telling the story of the Eternal City and the Romans who would dominate the entire known world.
Not only do we hope to design quests that capture these moments, but we are hoping to do so in a way that allows players to possibly play it out from either side of the battle. So, for instance, perhaps in one quest you would assist Brennos and lay siege to Rome. But perhaps we create a different quest on the exact same map that allows players to play that battle from the perspective of the Romans defending their walls from the barbarian horde. Again, since all of this would happen after the dedicated Roman Questline, which we are still planning, this is all subject to change. We really would love to read your ideas for the types of quests we could make. So please comment below.
And, of course, since this is Age of Empires Online, plenty of quests in the Celtic Invasion of Rome will only loosely follow the history and focus instead on innovative game design, goofy characters, and all the rest. We also have ideas for new types of quests (that we will crowbar into our storyline one way or another), but would love to hear your ideas for those, too.
Finally, if you haven’t yet noticed the obvious, we will spell it out for you: the Celtic Invasion of Rome will not only be the first Roman quest pack, but it will also be our very first quest pack sequel, as it will follow and continue the Adventures of Brennos and Comontorios. Look for more information on that pending quest pack release very soon! For centuries, Brennos haunted the Romans. His memory stood for the very real possibility that Rome could fall at any moment. But after he sacked the city, Brennos and the Romans negotiated an end to the occupation of Rome calling for the Romans paying the Celts one thousand pounds of gold. To add insult to injury, when it came time to pay him, Brennos used heavier weights for weighing the gold, forcing the Romans to overpay. When the Romans complained, Brennos threw his sword and belt on the scales and shouted in Latin, "Vae victis!" ("Woe to the conquered!") It was at this very moment that Marcus Furius Camillus arrived with a Roman army, raised his sword, and shouted down the barbarians, "Not with gold, but with iron, will the fatherland be regained!" and attacked the Celts, driving them off and freeing the city for 1,000 years. Camillus drove off the Celts, saved the Romans, and is forever honored as the Second Founder of Rome. We can't wait to build this quest pack and tell this story. As you can see, we are oozing with ideas and excitement.
Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next time!
Project Celeste Development Team
What do you think about this week's blog? What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Missed the Roman Civilization's announcement? Find out about it HERE.
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By PF2K on Mar 28, 2020 at 9:13 AM
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