The Foundry tool in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online by Cryptic Studios allows players to create their own missions (also known as quests in Neverwinter), which become accessible to other players once published. The tool provides all the art assets, though you can customize the look of NPCs and enemies, and you can combine 3D objects to build new creations. Players setup mission objectives, insert dialog trees with their own dialog, create maps (or use and redecorate Cryptic maps), and populate them with scenery, NPCs, enemy encounters, and light/sound/special effects.
My missions typically last 15-30 minutes and contain 3-6 maps. Each one tells a contained story, though I tie them into the existing lore and/or official Cryptic missions. Most of my missions contain special points of interest that lie off of the main path. Players who explore the map are rewarded with a fun scene or bit of lore that isn’t required for the mission. I arranged the dialog trees so that the shortest path is the default, for players who aren’t interested in the story, but I add extra exposition for those who want it.
My missions have over 148,000 plays collectively with an average 4.1/5 star rating. Two of the Neverwinter quests were Featured in-game by the developers.
A Kidnapping in Blacklake (Neverwinter)
Description: You’ve accepted a job from a mysterious patron in hopes of coin and adventure. But when helping a Neverwinter Guardsman with a simple Nasher-orchestrated kidnapping turns complicated, will you be able to stop the greater threat?
In this quest, I sent the players into an altered version of an existing map, as well as through several I designed. Based on feedback, I streamlined my maps for better player flow and less backtracking. I created a recurring boss that showed up 3 times. Each time, I made him grow in power, both by using increasingly intimidating costumes as well as by using more difficult enemy units under the costumes. Since there were no traditional “boss” encounters available in the Foundry, I gave the players multiple chances to fight him, from easy to hard, so the final encounter would feel more like a boss relative to the initial encounter. I also placed him in tight spots, to increase the level of difficulty by making it hard for players to dodge attacks.
This quest was featured in-game by the developers, won a contest at MMORPG.com, where it was featured in a video (see below) showing off the Foundry content, used in a walkthrough video on www.f2p.com, part of LightItUp’s YouTube channel (NSFW commentary), and was featured in an article on TenTonHammer.com (link broken).
Vermin in the Cave (Neverwinter)
Description: The mysterious man in grey has put you in contact with another client. This gentleman heard of your exploits at Sleeping Dragon Bridge, and has asked to meet with you at the Lazy Wyvern Tavern. When he hires you to take care of some pests, you discover that the “pests” are the ones who need help. Will you manage to save them from the persistent gentleman?
In this quest, I built a cave from scratch using rock assets in an open map. I also used the scripting tools to have friendly NPCs assist in some fights and then follow you once rescued later on. For the boss fight at the end, I arranged the room to look and feel like a cluttered treasure room while still giving the players enough space to fight. It required extra testing with various classes to make sure no one got stuck when dodging. I tested 5 different enemy encounters to find one that gave a good challenge in the tight space without being too frustrating for non-dps classes.
Lair of the Mad Psion (Neverwinter)
Description: Through intermediaries, the man in grey has contacted you again. This time the client needs help recovering her lost brother. It seems he wandered off, and she suspects he went to the ruins of their old home near the Cloak Tower. The brother is a spell caster with psionic power, but the trouble is that he lost his mind in an experiment gone wrong. Who knows what is real and what is just a figment of his imagination?
At the time I created this quest, there were no large, empty rooms to use. But through use of rocks, plants, trees, and spot lighting, I created the illusion of going outside while keeping the players inside a barn interior room tile as they traversed one map. I also created a small dungeon area that changed as you completed the 3 wings. Each time you finished a wing, I used scripting to remove the decorations and replace them with different themed decorations. The boss possesses psionic powers, and the decoration swapping helped confuse and disorient the players.
Back to the Ice Grind (Neverwinter)
Description: Prospect through the caves of Icewind Dale searching for black ice. Watch out for greedy Ten Towners and Arcane Brotherhood thugs trying to jump your claim. NOTE: This is a simple tongue-in-cheek grind quest. If you want actual story or hand-crafted environments, check out my other quests.
This quest was a simple one that I created while learning newly implemented features in the Foundry. Since the maps and combat encounters were straightforward, I made it humorous to keep it interesting.
Tomb of the White Dragon (Neverwinter)
Description: The Arcanists Institute wants to hire you to find their missing associate and help him bring back a bone from a long-dead white dragon. But will you be able to succeed before the Cult of the Dragon learns of the remains? Find the Arcanist Institute in Protector’s Enclave, and hurry. The race is on!
The highlight of this quest is the final map. Interior Foundry maps are largely constrained to a horizontal plane. To give the illusion of descending into a deep cave, I started with a tall empty room and had players zone in near the ceiling. Then they traverse through a level area until the final room There I used another tall empty room and made the final fight at the floor. I also used lots of triggers to give players a non-combat option to traverse the map and plenty of interaction with the environment and NPCs at the end. I also used triggers in out of the way places so that if players decided to short cut the map to skip content, difficult encounters would spawn on top of them.
This quest was also featured in-game by the developers and was reviewed on the West Karana blog.
Party Crashers (Star Trek Online)
Description: The colony you saved from True Way thugs on Goralis III invited you back to celebrate the new year Cardassian-style, but will the party happen when uninvited guests arrive? NOTE: This is a follow-up to the mission “Seeds of Dissent” which was in the Cardassian Struggle series of official missions before the recent revamp.
My goal with this mission was to work it into the existing mission chains provided by Cryptic. I took the primary map from that mission and added props to show how it had changed since the player’s previous visit. I tried to match the story and dialog style of a typical Star Trek episode and provide more content for the existing story arc.