The dev diary gives some insight of the situation we are facing heading into this story. Book 10 will contain fifteen chapters and begins at the crossing of the Entwash, in the Sutcrofts (where Book 9 left off).
MadeofLions also went into some discussion of their previous attempts to add optional content into the Epic storyline such as the epilogue following Volume II.
Players who wanted the Epic to be soloable didn’t like it because they felt that this was a section of the Epic that wasn’t soloable. Players who preferred the original style where most Books ended with group content didn’t like it because it seemed to be happening after the real meat of that Volume was over. ‘Well, it’s optional!’ we said, pleasing no one.
With Book 10, we will be getting new set of optional session plays that unlock as you play. They are intended to give additional story and background to what is happening but if you don’t like session play, you can completely skip without feeling lost or confused.
You will take on the role of seven different characters over the course of the Volume III Interlude, beginning with Halbarad, the leader of the Grey Company. From a development perspective, these Interludes posed some interesting challenges quite different than the ones posed by a traditional Epic quest line. Each chapter needed to be a self-contained experience and provide up front all the necessary information to tell you who you would be playing and why you should care. A number of skills already exist for Rangers, and these will be familiar, but some new ones will help to flesh out the abilities of characters you play for the first time.
I’m interested to see how these work and it gives players an interesting option. Those of us engrossed in the story will likely really enjoy any extra meat to the story via the new session plays while those who skip the quest text to jump into the action of the quest will likely not want to engage. It’s not interrupting the storyline being told, it’s like footnote or reference to more reading material that you can choose to read or not. I certainly will be trying the session plays myself as that’s the kind of player I am. What about you?