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Community Spotlight: Are Kill 10 X Quests Really That Bad?

Posted by MikeB Saturday April 14 2012 at 7:41PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we'll be focusing on the thread "The 'Kill 10 (x)' Conundrum" by jdlamson75. We often lament the prevalence of "Kill 10 X" quests, but are they really that bad? And if they are, what would you rather see? jdlamson75 elaborates:

Perusing the MMORPG boards as I do, I see a lot of hate thrown at the "Kill 10 of (X)" (known as KTX from here on out) types of quests.  These are in just about every game that has a questing system, they've been around forever, and, just maybe, the MMO players are just plain TIRED of seeing them.

I, on the other hand, enjoy at least the occasional kill quest, as it lets me just go out and beat the snot of of a group of mobs in the same area, head back, and collect my rewards and experience.  As long as I have other types of quests thrown in there, I don't even mind having the majority of them equate to KTX.  I know I'm in the minority here, but hear (or read) me out.

Instead of KTX types of quests, some games have created other types of questline, such as "Cut down the mightiest tree in the forest wiiiiiith...a herring".  Now, this would be great in theory, as the cutting down of said tree could trigger something wonderful (or devastating) in the world.  BUT!  In this quest, first you have to find the mightiest tree, then you have to go find the particularly rigid herring suitable for cutting down a tree, then actually cut down the tree.  With a herring.

In this day of instant gratification in MMOs, how many of these quests will gamers really want to see?  In the example given above, there would be no quest reward for the first step of finding the tree, nor for obtaining the herring, so the whole instant gratification thing goes out the window.

How about puzzle-type quests?  Bopping along in the Flajamada Desert, whence suddenly I happen along a tomb!  The tomb is locked with a complex puzlle, one that is ever shifting and is never the same when clicked upon.  Knowing there's got to be some good booty inside (minds out of the gutter, folks - it's a TOMB - nothing but dead stuff in there), I attempt the puzzle.   I'm not very bright, so I fail it.  And die.  Then I come back, attempt it again, and fail again.  On my third attempt, I get it right.  Woohoo!  I get inside, only to find a treasure chest with a decent item and some stale food.

The puzzle quest could work, but again, the instant gratification isn't there if I can't solve the puzzle.  And there's nothing to fight.  MMOs are about getting new skills, new combat abilities, super duper weapons.  I could be wrong, but I don't think there's a Sword of Puzzle Ass-Kickery out there.  If there is, I've never seen one.

My question to the crew is this: what would you rather have in place of the KTX quests?  Why?  I'm not putting up a poll, as that would limit the choices to those my feeble mind could produce.  Discuss away!

So how does the community feel about these quests? Read on to find out!

Quixote doesn't find these types of quests problematic, instead citing their presentation as the root of the issue:

The problem is not that there are KTX quests in a game but that most of them, if not all, are presented in a very boring fashion: we first must go to a quest giver that tells us this story about his farm/village/car/keep/city/family/plan-to-conquer-the-world and that in order to solve the problem at hand we must KTX. So off we go and kill said Xs and we come back to the quest giver for our reward. And this is repeated over and over and over.

It is the introduction of the quest-hub that breaks immersion and makes you realize you are quest-grinding. It doesn't matter that developers try and hide this making a progression between different quest-hubs.

After taking a break from MMOs for a bit I was gladly surprised when playing Skyrim by one tiny little detail: I was out in the field and a wolf attacked me, I killed it and suddenly a woman walked to and thanked me for saving her, she told me where a cave filled with these horrid creatures was located and off she went. That is a great way of delivering a quest, I completed the quest before it was even given to me. It felt part of the world I was in.

The question is not what other types of quests we could create in a MMO, but how could we deliver the same type of quests in a different fashion.

Zekiah feels randomized quests may be a better choice:

Random is so much better. How about random quests that just have you turn in the item if you ever come across it?

It really is retarded when an NPC tells you to kill X number of mobs to get Y. How do they know how many to kill? And why don't they just go do it themselves? It's ridiculous.

Where's the creativity? Where's the imagination? And why are you putting up with the same canned crap over and over again?

We all should demand better.

Edeus offers an even more interesting alternative:

What about no quests at all, just villagers or whatever complaining about certain monsters.  You go out and kill said monsters and the more/faster you kill them, the more bonus xp you get at each kill.  The more bonus points you rack up is also correlated to item drop rates, so after killing for 15mins you could have a few nice pieces of armor as well. 

Once you have proven yourself to the villagers, the real quest begins, involving the kill of the evil bandit lord/whatever riding around the outer feild of the village...  Killing him unlocks a larger overworld quest. 

PS: make sure you know to also kill the rare monsters that spawn in the corners/caves, as they are haunting some little kid's dreams...

I don't mind 'Kill 10 X' quests as long as that's not all I see. I also hate when games have you kill X amount of a creature and then send you to do the exact same thing when you turn it in. I recall this happening in TERA where I had to kill four of some creature only to be given a quest to kill 5 more once I turned it in. Why not just have me kill 9? I'd also like it if these quests tracked what you killed prior to you even taking them. This was something I think was advertised for WAR, but I don't recall if it ever made it in. Did I just kill 10 bears before I took your quest to kill 10 bears? Great! Now I'm done! Nothing is more annoying than being told to kill X amount of monsters that I actually just spent time killing for fun or on the way to the quest giver.

Do you feel 'Kill 10 X' quests should be abolished? If so, what would you replace them with? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Zylaxx writes:

I think Kill 10X quests should be illegal in 237 countries and subject to the lashing and consternation of the public.


On a serious note I loathe Fed-Ex style questing in the worst way.  Tera has this style questing indroves and it is the #2 reason why I never leveld higher then 12 in the CBT's.


Questing should be limited to lengthy storyline quests such as GW2 or SWTOR, Dynamic events, or broad based style of questing as found in Asherons Call.

Sat Apr 14 2012 9:09PM Report
dontadow writes:

It's not not very heroic sounding. It's the dumbing down of the game for people who don't like role playing games yet want to play a massive role playing game.  

Without question give me GW style quests. Don't tell me the number, don't let that be the only way I can complete the quest.  Just give me an objective, and let me have a billion optiosn to achieve that objective.  

If theres a guy who give me money for dragon fur, then let it not matter how many i give hime and don't make it a quest.  Why would he take my first ten and not my next, but yet take some other dudes first 10. 

Sat Apr 14 2012 9:49PM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

Yuck, the above ideas in that forum post sound as horrible as the KTX quests in their most dumbed-down state.

Here's what people need to understand, you have been doing KTX quests since Mario. Nearly every game can be boiled down to KTX, yes even Mario; you killed a specific amount of monsters in every stage, yes? How about Devil May Cry, there's a specific amount of monsters in every stage, often that need to be killed before a gate will open that leads you to...yet another area where you have to kill x amount of the mobs that have spawned to progress. Let's just go to an entirely new genre, fighting games! Street Fighter's arcade mode, you beat 10 people then a (phenomenally cheap, overpowered *eye twitch*) boss. 

Most of the times however, you never realize that this is what it all boils down to. It's not really what something is, ironically, but how it's presented. So yes, let's point out the elephant in the room, GW2; are you going to have to kill a specific number of monsters for an event to finish? Yap! Are you going to notice? Probably not, because you're focused on surviving, keeping people alive, dousing fires, saving villagers, and all that killing of x,y,z happens naturally. It is not the goal of the quest, it is a natural consequence of adventuring. It brings me back to the days of DnD where people were less concerned about how to grind exp efficiently and more concerned with the journey.

I really, really hope more developers look at that example and find ways to incorporate it into their games. GW2 is going to be a great game, but it won't be the only one; there are plenty of other genres, stories, and gameplay to explore. But if it's all presented the same way everything for the past 5-10 years has been, really, what's the point?

Sat Apr 14 2012 10:44PM Report
MustBeBad writes:

Its all about "how..." instead of "what ... "

I wish Gw2 succeeds, not just because i want, but because i think it will be great for futures mmos to re-think quests mechanics and bring even more great ideas.

VO in TOR was a great add, Combat Mechanics in Tera some ways, they did something new which will be used in futures mmo developments.

Sun Apr 15 2012 2:32AM Report
MurlockDance writes:

I liked the system DAoC had in place in its original form. It had very little questing, but, before level 20 (I think it was) you could go get kill tasks from guards of your realm for extra cash and xp. There was no huge story behind it, just go out and find a creature and kill x amount for an extra boost.

They also had bounties. If you handed in 10 bandit ears, or whatever, to one of the NPCs, he would give you extra cash for them.

GW1:Nightfall also had bounties that you could get from certain guards.

I think that is an awesome system rather than a quest NPC asking you to go out and kill x of y to "pare down the population" let's say, but then when you come back a few minutes later, lo and behold they have repopped...

Besides, if that farming village really needs that boar meat, it should be an open ended quest where you can just keep on giving it for more xp and money rather than limit it to à specific amount right?

Sun Apr 15 2012 2:43AM Report
Zeus.CM writes:

There should be occassional kill X mobs quests, even Gw2 has it sometimes. But it should never feel like a grind. That X should always be low (1-15), and that type of quest must not be the main type of quest (I'm looking at you aion!).

Sun Apr 15 2012 7:08AM Report
waveslayer writes:

I dont mind doing the KTX quests, but, dont call them quests, with crappy stories, call then jobs, tasks, bounties or what ever. Have a simple reason for them, such as the local leather shop needs bear hides for armors, plus leave them as optional...not having huge yellow symbols above NPCs heads would also help, let me find these things by talking to NPCs, dont point them out so that it appears I must do them.

The label of quest should be left for a huge difficult multi stepped untertaking, ala, early EQs quest for SoulFire and then later for the epic class weapons.

Sun Apr 15 2012 7:27AM Report
someforumguy writes:

Well, I guess most MMO's have some form of kill x mobs at some point during their quests. But for me there are two main annoyances with these type of quests :

- The travelling to and back if it is far.

- Having to wade through the blood of a mobmassacre to get to the questnpc only for that npc to tell me that I need to kill those bloody same mobs and the npc acting as if I didnt already kill 329784897324 of them. So fking annoying.

9 out of 10 MMO's have these stupid questdesigns.

Sun Apr 15 2012 9:31AM Report
Pratt2112 writes:

I'm with waveslayer on this and agree. The presence of "kill or collect x of y" content is fine. But it shouldn't be the core form of content, and it should not be called a quest. It should be called a side job, or task or what-not.

It should be quick, simple filler content. Perhaps a sort of local reputation system can be attached to it, the more you do for the townsfolk, the more your name gets around, the more you're trusted, the more side jobs are opened up to you. It's a great solution to the "I only have 30 minutes to play but want to feel like I've at least gotten something done before I log out" thing.

Beyond that, though, should be real quests - larger undertakings that might involve killing, or might involve getting through an area undetected. FFXI had many quests like this where you had a primary task to complete and often times it would take you through very dangerous territory. The goal became to get in and out without having to fight anything, either because you'd have your butt kicked, or because it would have some kind of negative effect on the quest results (you were detected and now the enemy is aware of what you have planned, etc).

I think SE had the right idea with the levequests in XIV, but they made two big mistakes with them.

1) The implementation was terrible

2) They pretty much were he main source of content in the game. There was very little else to do quest-wise outside of them.

So, I do feel that the kill/collect quests have their place. I just think they need to be demoted to a less important one.

Sun Apr 15 2012 10:49AM Report
Pratt2112 writes:

Quick self correction. When I was describing the FFXI quests and the "getting in and out without being detected" thing, I sorta mixed what FFXI has with a possible suggestion that might be similar to that system. I made it sound like there was a sitaution in XI where "being detected by the enemy" would have a negative result. To my knowledge there are none. I just sorta mixed two different thoughts into one sentence there. My bad :-/

Sun Apr 15 2012 10:52AM Report
Avarix writes:

The only purpose KTX quests have served recently is to gain more exp. Make quests actually matter again, even if you only have 10 in the game. Using them as the sole means of level progression is comical. Personally, I would rather grind mobs for 4 hours. They used to mean something but now they are just a joke. At this point it may be better to do away with them completely. I don't think gamers, for a long time at least, will get over the bad taste it has left with us.

Sun Apr 15 2012 10:53AM Report
Lucioon writes:

KTX quests itself aren't bad, its the knowing how many you need to kill thats bad.

An example would be, you have to gather leathers from wolfs in the village. So everyone goes out to kill wolfs to gather the leathers. You don't know how much wolf you need to kill. But everyone is killing he wolfs, and after you gather enough, you decided to turn it in, the completion bar goes up. As everyone turns in their leather, you reach the completion bar. And all the surplus the quest giver gotten provides another quest, the quest to deliver the surplus to another leather worker.

The KTX quest was hidden, you don't know how many wolfs you need to kill, but you know you need to kill them. Personally i think thats better than kill 10 rats.

Sun Apr 15 2012 12:43PM Report
zellmer writes:

Depends, early on they're great to get adjusted to most mmorpg's and their combat.

But in games where there isn't much end game content and it's instead filled out with generic "Kill xx of yy and report back to me" quests it does get a bit annoying.

Still, it's better then things like Daily Quests or painful ones that have you running around doing very dumb things like inspecting rocks or following a path just to avoid the "Kill xx of yy" complaints..

Sun Apr 15 2012 5:56PM Report
maplestone writes:

Kill 10 X gives structure and purpose and hides the fact that the world state never actually changes no matter how long you fight to clear out the rats nest.  If you get rid of this type of quest, you need to replace it with a reason why the player should farm X and a reason why the player should stop farming X.

Sun Apr 15 2012 9:04PM Report
risenbones writes:

I don't mind the KTX uests that much cause then at least I know I'm done after I killed 10 of them.  What I hate are the fetch x ears off these specific y which apparently don't actually have ears quests.  This was the first attempt of the devs trying to hide their KTX quests and made them worse.

Sun Apr 15 2012 9:46PM Report
Hrimnir writes:

Personally i wish it would go back to how things were in EQ1.

It was the perfect way to promote grouping but not hose soloer's in the process.

Basically if a mob gave 1000xp for killing it at equal level (i.e. you're level 20, mob is 20), if you solo'd it, you got 1000xp.

If you had two people in a party it was divided over the party, so in theory you would each get 500xp, but, EQ had party XP bonuses that ramped up the more you had in a party, i don't remember the exact numbers but lets say it was 7% for 2, 15% for 3, 22% for 4 and 30% for 5.  So now, if you had 2 people you would get 1070 xp divided by 2, so 535 each.

On top of that, the primary method of XPing was running dungeons (which werent the linear scripted soda pop candy experiences they are now) because dungeons would have an XP bonus associated with them.  So, if dungeon A had a 35% XP bonus, then a group con mob outside of the dungeon might give 4200 xp if solo killed at equal con, that same mob would give 5670 xp in the dungeon, then you multiple that times the group XP bonus of 30% and you get 7371 / 5 people in the group or 1474 xp per person per kill.  Difference is you're in a group so you're killing the mobs generally a lot faster than you would by yourself and with less downtime.

The other advantage of this was since you're in a dungeon you might encounter a boss mob who has a chance at dropping some nice loot.

Of course the flip side to this method is that nowadays everyone is so lazy and demands such a fast leveling curve that it would basically be pointless.  I mean vanilla wow was around 200-250 hours to level to 60, and i considered that blitzing fast.  Now something like Rift you can do in under 100 hours solo.  SWTOR people did in less than 60.

Pretty soon we're gonna need to take the RPG out of MMORPG cus where they're going is starting to resemble platform games and not RPGs

Sun Apr 15 2012 10:02PM Report
Disdena writes:

I agree with maplestone. Players want to kill mobs, but they want context for it. KTX is a very basic context for why you should go kill iron golems and why you should stop after you've killed 10 iron golems. If you take this away, you absolutely must have some other mechanic to replace it with.

Mon Apr 16 2012 2:47AM Report
mmoguy43 writes:

I loved that Mike pointed out the boasted improvement WAR was going to have (which it didn't) among other things hyped by Paul Barnett as I was thinking about it when reading this over.

The only kills quests that I have been very opposed was when EQ2 had ones that would with random updates that could require many times more kills than the parts you need.

Good thing most newer MMOs are doing a better job at disguising the mass kill jobs

Mon Apr 16 2012 2:56AM Report
cesmode8 writes:

I personally love the Kill List quests...the Kill 10 of X quests.  The problem is, there arent enough of them!  If a quest hub giave me 3 kill X quests, and one or two Gather Y quests, you're "grinding" XP via kills, and completing many quests in the same area.  Quick, and easy.  I much prefer these quests over escort quests. 



Mon Apr 16 2012 8:00AM Report
BigHatLogan writes: Kill 10 X quests are terrible and and I hate them. Kill ten X is the reason i am not going to play TERA, it just makes me angry. These types of quests are lazy, boring, poorly thought out, and totally unfun. Quests should be a long drawn out process involving several DIFFICULT steps, each with an element of randomness to prevent the unskilled from learning how to do it from the internetz. Each quest should have powerful/dangerous monsters, difficult puzzles, and unforgiving traps. Killing 10 X in mmorpg's is like some sort of social experiment, kill 10 of these and get a biscuit ect. Definitely not fun. Mon Apr 16 2012 12:59PM Report
Annwyn writes: I don't hate KTX quests, but I don't hate them either. However, the main issue why we don't get any alternative is that players can't impact the world in the first place. I enter quest hub A, clear all the quest move to quest hub B. Another player comes in and clear quest hub A as well, and move to B. We're all doing the same exact quests, the NPCs have the same exact problems, and nothing ever changes. Those 10 rats in that farmer's basement are going to respawn 15 seconds later. If life was added into an MMORPG and that finally everything had some sort of progression, and that players could impact that progression, than does quests wouldn't be so bad. Why? Because what you did is not exactly the same thing another player did. The quests you received did not have the same purpose, nor were they given by the same NPCs. Just a short example here, say we have NPC 1 and NPC 2. NPC 1 doesn't have a quest but NPC 2 does. NPC 2 wants you to plant cheese in NPC 1's basement because he doesn't like him. You do it and task is done. Another player comes by, now this time it's NPC 1 that has a quest, his basement is infested with rats. Of course this is just a very very small example. Such feature would have to be vastly expanded to be interesting in an MMORPG. Heck...2 Factions MMORPG. WoW with a twist, the Horde's purpose is to revive and serve the Lich King while the Alliance's purpose is to kill it. You've got constant battle there. These are suggestions from Themepark MMOs though, Sandbox MMORPGs would have to expand far more than that to be worth something (a bit like citadel of sorcery is attempting). Mon Apr 16 2012 4:03PM Report
Annwyn writes: Oh seems this comment box doesn't accept "enters" (paragraphs). My comment has no paragraph and I can't edit it either. Sorry! Mon Apr 16 2012 4:05PM Report
lifesbrink writes: I am with so many others here. Quests have become pretty meaningless now. I want to see quests be more about some crazy good storylines or actions that change the ingame world. Mon Apr 16 2012 8:46PM Report
nate1980 writes:

MMORPG's were more fun before WoW brought quest grinding to the genre. I'll never play a quest hub grinder ever  again.

Tue Apr 17 2012 7:42AM Report
nyxxis writes:

I am with alot of others here. If I kill 30 bats, I dont want to pass by that area again in 20 minutes and see someone else killing the same 30 bats. This is right along the lines of kill deer for horns or hides and you have to kill 10 before you get one thaat has horns. Or in westfall and collecting boar spleens that half of the boar population seem to be missing. "maybe you ruined the spleen when you killed it" then why doesnt it have a ruined spleen on its corpse? I want to know when I kill something it serves a purpose in the world. Yes I do realize if we all kill evverything there would be nothing left to kill, but there shouldnt be 20 goblins in the goblin camp I just cleared in the time it takes for me to heal and mana up.


Sat Apr 21 2012 2:43PM Report
nyxxis writes:

I am with alot of others here. If I kill 30 bats, I dont want to pass by that area again in 20 minutes and see someone else killing the same 30 bats. This is right along the lines of kill deer for horns or hides and you have to kill 10 before you get one thaat has horns. Or in westfall and collecting boar spleens that half of the boar population seem to be missing. "maybe you ruined the spleen when you killed it" then why doesnt it have a ruined spleen on its corpse? I want to know when I kill something it serves a purpose in the world. Yes I do realize if we all kill evverything there would be nothing left to kill, but there shouldnt be 20 goblins in the goblin camp I just cleared in the time it takes for me to heal and mana up.

Sat Apr 21 2012 2:43PM Report
nyxxis writes:

stupid double post

Sat Apr 21 2012 2:49PM Report writes:
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