One of the things I’m a huge fan of in games is Exploration. RPGs also tend to be some of the most exploration-heavy games out there.
Exploration comes in many flavors. It can be about exploring the world itself. Learning new things about the lore of why the world is the way it is. Or exploring the characters both learning who they are from their past, and exploring how they change after new experiences.
Or exploring mechanics (I’ll admit that, despite considering myself a storyteller, that this one is a huge deal to me). Figuring out how all the gears fit together, and how to manipulate them into being the strongest I can. Or most fun. Or to best follow some kind of theme.
And different people will like different aspects of exploring the games. I tend to like a little of everything, but some just want to explore the story that is going on at this moment with these characters. They won’t necessarily also care about exploring background lore unless it pertains to the current story. Someone who loves exploring mechanics, will not necessarily enjoy exploring the lore, the story, or even the characters.
And some people will love exploring all of these things.
Exploring is about your game saying things to the player. Saying things about the world, the characters, the mechanics, etc.
So try to have your game saying new things for each of the people playing it. A bit of new mechanics, a bit of new story, new character development or revelations, new lore. Because the most important thing to remember about exploration heavy players, and actually, the specific thought that made me write this article: The moment your game stops saying new things to the player, the game is over. Whether you have reached your ending or not.
If it stops saying things 10 hours into a 50-hour game, the rest of the game is going to feel like a slog to an exploration-heavy player. They are not going to continue playing. The game, that they were interested in, the exploration, is over.
How do you keep exploration players satisfied throughout your game? Join us in the comment section below.