Playdom's Ben Liu discusses City of Wonder's future through Colonies [Interview]
What was the process like in arriving at the idea of Colonies for the next content update to City of Wonder?
Keeping with the idea of the game, which is to build your civilization and advance it through time, I think it was really [logical] for us to imagine the fans would want to take their civilizations and expand them to new worlds. It's something that's very consistent with what happened in history as well. Naturally, we looked at what the English did and what great empires like the Romans did. So, we definitely took that as inspiration.
Find the rest of our interview behind the break.
For the first time, players are going to have access to sea tiles. So, they have a small land area-basically about one fourth of the area of their new colony-and then access to three fourths of the area, which is basically sea. For the first time they'll be able to place not just land-based buildings but docks, boats, islands. We even have a school of dolphins, a blue whale-we have sea creatures that you can place as well.
We also made a change to the PvP (player vs. player) aspect of the game, which is the encounter system. You can do military encounters, cultural exchanges and trades just as you can do in the main city, but now there is a new statistic called naval power. Investing in buildings, ships and other structures with great naval power will improve your encounters with other civilizations.
So, these new islands and sea creatures that you can place on the sea tiles: How will they play into management?
It's similar to managing structures inland. Just like you have Goods buildings on land we also have things like a coconut grove that you can place on water that you'll be able to harvest coconuts from it and basically use that to generate-another thing I forgot to mention is that we have a new currency system. There's a new currency called Sand Dollars and you'll have to use these new structures to generate Sand Dollars to grow your colony.
You mentioned earlier combat changes with the new naval power statistic. How will that change the combat dynamic that's now just about Attack and Defense?
We got a lot of feedback from our fans that they love the current combat mechanic, so we didn't want to make a dramatic change to it. It's basically a bonus multiplier. The more naval power you have it will give you a bonus on top your core Attack and Defense. It will basically multiply your base stats to see how strong your place is in the colony.
We also made another slight tweak to the calculation. In your colony, land is more limited and the nature of encounters between civilizations is changing. So, instead of taking an aggregate of everything that's in your civilization we have a "Best Of." So, your best four buildings or ships will compete with the "Best Of" other civilizations.
And what becomes of those lesser items?
Because everything in your colony has naval power, they still play a factor, but they're less important than your four best.
The new plans aren't public yet, but this first colony is a sea-based colony. And when you unlock it, you will a larger map with different territories and you'll see plots for future colonies. I think the current idea is to have different themes and different gameplay in each of these colonies. This is the first of much larger kinds of expansion and many more colonies for your civilization in the future.
How do you think Colonies will change the overall gameplay dynamic of City of Wonder? Will players approach the game differently given new content to explore and later manage?
I think so, because it really changes it from managing one city to managing an empire, a collection of territories and cities. So, it goes from a game that's about managing your great capital through time to managing your empire and civilizations through multiple territories.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Ben.
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