“I’m busy!” Seriously. I am. I’m walking around, eating, sleeping, washing, looking at art, practicing strategy and swordplay, or pursuing daily work goals to keep my moodlets up. And if I have time between all that, I’m chasing after quest goals or chatting up a potential bride-to-be. She’s a pointy-eared druid. Hawke’s getting over his fear of elvish waifs with magical tendencies at long last.
What any of this means, after the jump
In Sims Medieval the entire point of the game (yes, there’s a point — this is something new I think) is growing a kingdom. To do this you employ heroic sims to complete quests. The only active sim you control is the one currently on a quest. In some cases multiple heroic sims can be involved and you can toggle between them.
When you complete a quest there are rewards that strengthen the basic traits of your kingdom (well-being, knowledge, security and culture) as well as points you can use to buy new buildings. Buildings add to the potential maximums for each trait and most come with a new type of heroic sim attached. Each different heroic sim can take on different types of quests, or approach the same quest in new ways. They’ll also have different daily work goals, making for varied play experiences, and abilities (only knights, spies, and monarchs can fight for example).
Each new game comes with a victory condition for your kingdom. So you’ll want to raise traits or build a certain number of buildings or conquer foreign lands or improve the levels of your heroic sims (the traditional level grind is what folks mean by RPG usually and here it is too) or many other things. Once the victory condition is beaten, the kingdom reverts to a freeplay mode. Or you can start a new kingdom with new victory conditions: old or freshly unlocked.
But really, most of the time you’re in the shoes of one hero and trying to keep his life in order. Though much of this daily grind is mundane there are times real magic shines through. Much of that comes from setting your own goals in between the forced ones or just making time to let the sim AI take over and entertain you. It’s the most elaborate idle animation in the world in a sense. Once you take the leash off your little computer person he’ll start getting ideas of his own which is what traditional Simsplay is all about. The social antfarm. But it’s so submerged under the focused and goal-oriented gameplay in Sims Medieval that some traditional Sims players aren’t quite certain how to feel about it.
Brian Rucker is a long time gamer and it will probably say “Roleplayer” on his tombstone. He’s known for harrying folks in various gaming forums as OddjobXL and keeps an occasional blog called “The Roleplayer’s Redoubt” at mmorpg.com.