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Critical Hit

It's time to explore new concepts in the MMO industry. It's time to *gasp* "innovate".

Author: HumbleHobo

Reward: Supreme Jockstrap of the Whale

Posted by HumbleHobo Wednesday July 30 2008 at 11:48AM
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Snark EggSucker in the Grindlands wants you to kill 40 Elder Boars, and bring back 25 Baby Boar Tears from the newly orphaned piglets.


Elder Boars Slaughtered 0/40

Orphan Boar Tears Collected 0/25



So, you perform the dark deed, and Snark now wants you to talk to his buddy half-way around the world, who just wants you to go back and collect Boar Livers(and for some infuriating reason most boars are walking around without livers), which you bring BACK to Snark's buddy so he can make a soup or something.


Rinse and repeat until you've hit the level cap, at which point the "real" content finally begins.



There is something seriously wrong with the above.  I simply can't understand why we haven't moved on from this model of questing.  And if you've played WoW (and many others), you've had to do these quests.  By the end, all you care about is killing that last stupid boar so you can run back and make Snark fork over a couple thousand exp and some gear you can't use.


I am vehemently opposed to the "Roller Coaster" Questing structure.  Now, you don't have to quest.  You could just go kill stuff on your own, but that would be like breaking off of the rails, and sitting in your little coaster car in the middle of a field for an hour while all the other players are doing loop-de-loops.

Sure, it's fun for a while, in a mindless sort of way.  But eventually an MMO starts to feel like work, and that should never happen in a game.


But fear not!  Surely, we the players can think of another way!  How would you do quests (if at all), and what would be an example of a "fun" quest in the generic fantasy MMO?


For me, I would love to see more meaningful objectives.  I know each round of boar slaughtering has some lore reason for doing it, but seriously, no one reads quest text.  So, perhaps next time there is a pirate camp outside of town, or bandits on the road, or some cult brewing up evil stew, you could defend the town from real attacks.

Now, if you hate reading and just skimmed up to this point, this is a good spot to skip to:

Right now, the only action the town guards see, is if some idiot mob wanders accidentally into camp.  What if, there were legitimate attacks on civilization made by the trash mob fodder that we usually kill for their livers?  Quests could be spawned on a need-basis.  If the general picks up some intel that bandits are about to attack, 50 quests pop up around town, NPCs rush to battle stations, and you can help!

If you have any crafting skill, you can construct barricades that have collision detection.  Alchemists can mix together explosive liquids to pour from the walls.  People can operate cannons, or blast arrows/magic from fort walls or towers.  You might get cash for each invader that you kill, and It would all end with some elite boss mob with phat loot!

If a town is taken, a small army will be dispatched from the main city to quickly reclaim it.  There are plenty of possibilities.  Temporary quests that appear only under certain circumstances.  That's one improvement I would make.


What about you?

Ascension08 writes:

Yeah that's a good idea - WAR is taking a semi-step towards that with PQs.

Wed Jul 30 2008 12:12PM Report
HumbleHobo writes:

 After all I've heard about WAR, I think they are definitely going in the right direction.  There are great open PvP objectives, but I've not read anything about the public quests.


I'll have to check that out now.

Wed Jul 30 2008 12:15PM Report
HumbleHobo writes:

 Now I feel rather stupid.  The PQ sounds very much like what I was talking about, except with a far better system of reward.


Dunno about you, but I just keep getting more and more excited for WAR!  It sounds like just what the doctor ordered!

Wed Jul 30 2008 12:28PM Report
littlextiger writes:

WAR is going to be awesome. But I feel I should mention Tabula Rasa. Many towns and outposts in TR are frequently under attack. Sadly, there are no "need" quests associated with this, but it does break up the grind when you are trying to pretect the city so you can continue to shop and return all the grindy quests.

I'd start up my TR subscription again if only I wasn't so jazzed about WAR.

Wed Jul 30 2008 5:06PM Report
Death1942 writes:

as a quest hater and a lover of the only other alternative (grinding, perferably with a friend) i can say i agree 100% with that article.  until quests are changed i wont touch them unless i need to (gear or to advance the storyline (now those quests i enjoy))

Wed Jul 30 2008 5:43PM Report
HumbleHobo writes:



Glad I'm not alone.  I'm a veteran MMO gamer.  I don't need clearly marked and simplistic quests to hold my hand while I grind, and hopefully the market has grown enough so that people are ready for a more sophisticated system.

Wed Jul 30 2008 6:55PM Report
Cursedsei writes:

Doesnt Tabula Rasa give tokens for when you help a base or take one over? Just asking. I tried the trial, got bored after hitting 10, so i never messed around too much. The tokens would be at least a bit of a replacement for quests lol

Wed Jul 30 2008 7:09PM Report
HumbleHobo writes:

 I think that TR, much like Planet Side, lends itself to that style of 'questing' or objectives.


TR is set up more like an FPS, I think.  With regular waves of dropships of enemies, the objective was clear.  I believe that WAR is going in a good direction for this kind of open questing in a Fantasy setting.

Wed Jul 30 2008 7:12PM Report
Mysk writes:

Your post mirrors my own thoughts over the last however many years, and no matter how many times I've posted it...

What it boils down to is that the folks in charge of making MMOs (not the devs themselves) do not care to farts about you or I.  They care about the money.

"I simply can't understand why we haven't moved on from this model of questing."

Agreed. Logically, one can reason that they are already going to spend those millions of dollars and countless hours developing the game, so they may as well produce good quality work.  Right?

The bottom line though, is the bottom line.  They can pump out a nearly endless supply of "Kill 10 Whoozits and Collect 25 toes", and this allows them to put big numbers onto the back of the game box or into the game's PR on their website.

NewGenericMMO has 125,000 quests and 700 hours of game play!

Well, you get the gist.  That sells boxes, or so the boss thinks.

This in turn - in the eyes of the shmucks running the shoe - appears to be a better investment than actually producing a good quality product.

Now you would think that a producing a good quality product would be a no brainer because people would be happy to buy it, but as we all know, these suits are idiots and they will continue to churn out low quality trite that brings in lackluster subscription numbers AND... all the while they'll be blaming everything, including YOU the customer, for the product's terrible performance.

That will be the way of things until someone, somewhere, gets their heads out of the rectal areas and actually produces a quality product.

Then they'll get a bright idea:  Let's create quality products!

...and they'll swear that they thought of the idea.

Wed Jul 30 2008 9:02PM Report
Mysk writes:

Epic typos.  My apology for the mess folks.  I'm fairly tired at the moment but I hope that the point of my post comes across well enough.

Wed Jul 30 2008 9:05PM Report
HumbleHobo writes:

 @ Mysk - Dead on, mate.  I keep getting the feeling that we're not alone in thinking this.  I mean, how many thousands of ads have you seen on websites like this, where the only tagline is "Free MMORPG", as if those words alone will bring in waves of customers.


But companies are learning!  After almost 5 years since WoW launched, companies are finally learning to pump up the quality before shipping.  I see great things on the horizon.

Wed Jul 30 2008 9:31PM Report
Alamor0 writes:

I'm designing an MMO.  And have people helping with programming.  It has everything you mentioned and fixes everything and is the best MMO that will ever be made.


Hehe.  Just saying that IF my ideas EVER come to the computer.  And IF my ideas happen to become the best MMO...   Cause then I can point to this and say to people: "see, I knew what i was talking about twenty years ago!"




But yeah, I agree with everything.   I need a REASON to help this goddamn peasant who looks and sounds exactly like this other stupid peasant  who are both asking me to do endlessly repetitive tasks!!  BLARGH!

Wed Jul 30 2008 10:30PM Report
Azmaria writes:

I personally think that the worst quests are the ones that are repeatable 'kill' quests.  Like go kill 50 of these rats and come back to me...just so that I can tell you to do it again and again.  With the non-repeatable quests, you at least feel like you've sorta accomplished something and made some poor NPC's day a little better. 

To be fair, I'm also one of those people who always reads the quest text.  Makes the game more fun, and a lot of the time, the game dev's spend a decent amount of time writing up interesting reasons why you should go "find x, kill y, and return with z". 

Sat Aug 02 2008 9:26PM Report
HumbleHobo writes: There was a time, when I made a character in WoW, and decided that I would read every single of word of quest text. I even turned on the auto-fade text so that I wouldn't be tempted to just click accept right away. I completely loved it, but there were some times around 30-40 (I wanted my mount) where I just desperately wanted to get the objective, go do it, and return as fast as possible. That said, WHY are there boars in westfall running around WITHOUT livers?! Seriously, the drop rate for boar livers is around 25%. HOW DO THEY LIVE?! Same thing with Spider Eyes in Dustwallow marsh. Shouldn't they all drop 8? Most drop 1 or 2. What I despise more than a kill X quest, is a collect X from Y quest with an agonizingly low drop rate. How could anyone enjoy that? It's just pure grinding with a reward at the end! Mon Aug 04 2008 11:39AM Report writes:
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