Curious Expedition – Guide to RIVALS Mode

What Is RIVALS Mode?

RIVALS mode is an asynchronous multiplayer version of Curious Expedition included with the base game. It can be accessed from the top right corner of the main menu.

It consists of a giant world containing a single golden pyramid which is explored by multiple players. Players compete with one another (and with recordings of previous players) to gain fame and discover regions, outposts, and the golden pyramid.

Rather than starting with a pre-built party, players can customize their start by selecting up to five crates which contain companions, items, and explorer perks. New crates are unlocked as you discover new map regions. When a crate is used it is removed from the inventory until it is re-unlocked.

Rather than starting from a pre-determined point on the map, the party can choose to start from any outpost which has been discovered. Outposts are the RIVALS equivalent of ships and are located throughout the world.

Once the golden pyramid is found, a 24-hour countdown starts. When the countdown runs out, the world is destroyed and a new world is generated.

Differences from the Base Game

The World

  • You start at an outpost instead of a ship. The tome page of homebound now transports you to the nearest discovered outpost.
  • You cannot return to London. Though your sanity is restored when you enter an outpost, you must pay a fee to heal your companions there and cannot recruit new ones.
  • Standing will gradually rise over time. The Good Reputation perk now increases the speed at which this occurs.
  • Prehistoric regions now feature a new enemy, the tyrannosaurus rex.

The Party

  • You can promote your player character to gain the perks you would normally get from completing an expedition.
  • You cannot recruit companions at outposts. There’s no reliable way to obtain London companions aside from selecting them at the beginning of the game.
  • You cannot upgrade the carrying capacity of your pack animals.
  • As the expedition slogs on the player will gain light, moderate, and finally severe mental exhaustion. Each of these ailments decreases your maximum sanity.
  • Every time the expedition leader’s mental exhaustion rises, all human companions will gain the faithless ailment. This causes their loyalty to drop continuously. The faithless ailment cannot be removed.

Goals

  • There are no quests in RIVALS mode.
  • When explored, seals no longer reveal the golden pyramid but instead tell you the cardinal direction in which it is located.
  • If you manage to survive long enough, your expedition will be declared a success and the game will end.
  • You can carry some progress forward to future expeditions by collecting medals and discovering new outposts from which your can start.

Balancing

  • There is no currency in RIVALS mode. You can still trade for London-made goods at outposts.
  • You cannot get free water at the beginning of an expedition.
  • Tents cannot be packed up. Once you establish a campsite you cannot move it.

What Are Medals?

Medals are earned during your expeditions. They can be used to hold crates, allowing you to use them repeatedly without needing to wait for them to cycle back in.

Holding a crate costs 1, 2, 4, or 6 medals depending on it’s rarity (indicating by the number of golden knots on the crate handle). They can also be used to store more player portraits (this is purely cosmetic).

Medals are earned by:

  • Discovering regions
  • Discovering outposts
  • Discovering the golden pyramid

Medals are linked to your player profile. They do not appear in your explorer inventory and the medals gained during an expedition do not disappear if your party perishes.

What Are Badges?

Badges are weightless items found in crates. Having one or more badges in your inventory allows you to interact with badge servants.

Badge servants are found in outposts. If you have a badge, you will also encounter badge servants roaming the world. The perks they will grant you depend on the particular badge(s) you hold:

Treasure Hunter Badge

  • Every badge servant you encounter will gift you three treasure maps and three shovels

Trophy Hunter Badge

  • Badge servants will purchase your hunting trophies at a premium
  • Badge servants will allow you to trade your hunting trophies in for fame
  • Killing animals will not decrease your standing while you hold the badge

A badge servant has appeared in the world due to the treasure hunter badge in the player’s inventory.

Strategy

  • The skulls beneath an outpost signify the difficulty of the surrounding land. Until you’ve unlocked better crates, it’s best to start at a “one-skull” outpost.
  • The map is vast and you won’t be able to explore every landmark. Memorize the terrain patterns to avoid wasting sanity.
  • Landmarks represented by a white question mark have already been explored, while those with a yellow question mark are untouched. This becomes particularly important when deciding which temples to visit, as temples cannot be looted twice. Most other locations (shipwrecks, abandoned campsites, elephant graveyards, etc.) will still contain loot even if they have already been explored.
  • Since there is only one world, maintaining good standing is much more important. Excessive looting at the beginning of the game can lead to you spending the rest of your expedition dodging increasingly strong native war parties and struggling to replace companions. On the plus side, your standing can now serve as a value storage of sorts; if you find yourself overburdened, dump you excess goods at a native village and you can reap the rewards down the road.
  • Stocking up on a few native trinkets in the mid-game is never a bad idea. After enough time has passed that your original companions have acquired the faithless perk, you’ll need to ply them with trinkets to prevent them from deserting. While you can always replace them with native villagers, it’s generally worth it to hold onto at least one or two or your originals.
  • Once you gain the severe mental exhaustion perk, your expedition is almost over. Focus on getting as many treasures as possible back to an outpost, mission, or polar station.
  • Save the medals your gain in your first few expeditions until you’ve had a chance to test out a variety of crates. The best crates require 4-6 medals to hold.
Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2688 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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