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The Lunch Break Blog

For those of us who would rather be leveling right now.

Author: cmagoun

Two Example Dynamic Quests (Incursion and Fire!)

Posted by cmagoun Friday June 5 2009 at 1:46PM
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Last post I described the basic ideas behind a system of Dynamic Quests that would hopefully take the grind out of the quests we see in current MMO offerings. I am firing off a quick post now to give you two simple examples of what these DQs would look like. Hopefully, these will give you enough to judge the idea. There will be more to come in later posts.

Goblin Incursion

Where It Occurs

The Goblin Incursion DQ occurs in the newbie zone and should scale for the characters there. Similar DQs could run in higher level zones, but with different antagonists appropriate to more powerful players.


How and When It Starts

The Incursion DQ is started by the server on a random timer, but on average it occurs once every 1-4 hours. I think ideally, I would want any new character coming into the game to experience this at least once, if not multiple times while he is in the newbie zone. Alternately, the timer could be tied to the killing of a particular boss somewhere else in the game. So once Boss X is killed, a timer starts and within 30-90 minutes, the DQ is activated.


What Happens

The game spawns multiple goblin "war camps" in the newbie region (with random locations). These war camps consist of a number of tents, campfires, supplies, and possibly a treasure chest. The camps periodically spawn war parties of goblins that patrol the area around the camp, and occassionally head toward the closest village to terrorize anyone there. War parties vary in size -- some are soloable, others require a party or a very careful soloer (who can pick off enemies and run, perhaps) to defeat. War camps are defended similarly, in that a few are small enough to be managed by a lone player, but others would be amazingly dangerous to handle without a group. In fact, some camps might require multiple groups working together to destroy (a mini-raid).


How Players Get Involved

Players familiar with the game will stumble upon the "organized" goblin patrols, or the war camps and understand what is happening. New players will likely be in a village or a town and will be alerted to the situation by the alarm bells, or the cries of the city watch. Talking to any of the NPCs in town will point the players to a town guard, and any guard will tell the players that the region is under attack and that they must help the war effort by destroying the goblin war camps.


What Players Do

The goal of this DQ is to destroy the goblin patrols and ultimately, the heavily guarded war camps that have spawned throughout the region. Travelers through the region, gatherers and crafters will have to be vigilant, as there will be many nasty patrols wandering the area. Characters shopping in a village might be pressed into service when a goblin patrol charges into town and starts killing NPCs. Characters capable of tracking would be a great help to their groups as they could reduce the searching required to find patrols and camps. Characters capable of stealth could approach a camp and possibly steal its treasure without retribution.


When Does It End

This DQ ends once all goblin camps are wiped out.


How Players Are Rewarded

During the Incursion, towns would offer small bounties on goblin teeth. Powerful goblin lieutenants would carry some decent loot, as would the treasure chests in every war camp. Killing goblins and camps would earn players points and at the successful conclusion of the DQ, groups with high scores would gain some reward -- either an item, or a temporary buff.


Possible Variation

When patrols reach a village, players in the region have to get there in a certain amount of time, or the village is raided. If the goblins successfully raid a village, more camps will spawn, or players in the region will suffer a small debuff for the duration of the DQ. Fighting off a raid will give those participating a boost in score and a temporary buff.

 

Fire!

Where It Occurs

This DQ occurs in any town, engulfing a building that has a walkable interior.


How and When It Starts

The server starts the Fire! DQ on a random, long-spawning timer. Generally, a player will not see a fire when he is visiting a town. However, if he visits the town a dozen times, he should probably experience this DQ at least once there.


What Happens

The server spawns dozens of Flames in the building interior, as well as various victim and bystander NPCs. The flames are non-moving regions that cause a small amount of AoE damage, but quite a bit more if a player walks into them. Victims wander around asking for help, yelling, etc. Victims don't take damage from the flames' AoE, but will take damage from entering a flame region and will only do so if following a player. Flames can be damaged and thus "put out" by water and ice effects (as well as other effects as per the designer's ideas). They can also (on a random chance) spread, spawning a new flame next to themselves. Occassionally, rubble spawns from the ceiling, damaging characters standing under and creating a debris pile that blocks movement. Debris can be destroyed by normal attacks to clear the path.


How Players Get Involved

Players in town will see the burning building and possibly hear cries for help.


What Player Do

The goal of the Fire! DQ is to rescue the trapped citizens. Talking to a trapped citizen causes them to follow the player who will then have to lead the citizen to safety. The citizen can take damage from walking through fire and so the player must be careful in how they lead the NPC, or need access to healing magic. While in the burning building, players will take continual low-level damage from fire AoE, as well as walking through fire. Healers and buffers will likely be positioned outside the building to help.


When Does It End

The fire burns itself out some time after it starts (20-30 minutes?), or when all citizens are rescued.


How Players Are Rewarded

Players get a small number of points for each flame doused, each pile of debris cleared. More points are awarded for each citizen rescued. Top scorers are given a reward which they can collect in the Town Hall, a temporary shop discout in that town, and possibly a title.


Possible Variation

Every so often, the normal flame regions would be replaced by "Raging Fires". In this case, the fire will not burn itself out over time, but will continue to spawn new Raging Fires until so many exist and the building collapses, killing all inside (players included). Players can successfully end the quest only by dousing all of the fires inside (or by the collapse of the building). If the building collapses, it is unusable for a day and all of the NPCs and functions that were housed inside are unavailable.
 

MMORPG.com writes:
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