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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Can We Make Quests Matter Again?

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98 posts found
  eddieg50

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/22/05
Posts: 1482

5/24/14 12:11:36 PM#81

I either want a game with great quests ala TOR or TSW , or bring back a game with great open world PvP ala Shadowbane and great combat-and no DAY Z and Darkfall do not cut it

 

  Vivasvan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/16/07
Posts: 374

5/24/14 1:18:54 PM#82
I like quests. Killl x mob, collect xx items. These are great quests. They are relaxing to me.

If people don't like quests don't do them?

Just go level up other ways. There's nothing wrong with questing.

The people that moan are the ones that have come from non mmorpg games to mmorpg games.

Seriously if u don't like mmos. Which is start at level 0, quest n dungeons to level, raid at the end...then why are you trying to play mmos,, GO AWAY.

Do u see me going to FPS games and start saying...."this game needs quests, we need raids"

Your in eh wrong flippin game genre if you don't like levelling, dungeons, raiding.

Stop trying to change it. Just GO AWAY and play CoD or driving2000 whatever it is you play.
  black7and7gold

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/18/12
Posts: 5

5/24/14 1:58:53 PM#83

Originally posted by Maelwydd
Quests the way I would want them...

You stumble across a farmer. You chat.

He has a problem with some Orcs occasionally raiding his farm for cattle. The options are: -

Gather materials and build better fences and protection for the cattle.

Reward is free board and lodging for a few days while you do the work and some food when you leave.

Serve as a guard to protect the next raid.

Reward is room and board till the next raid and some food when you leave for your travels.

Hunt the local Orcs and kill or move them on.

Reward is to get some food for travel and confirmation to the local guards for a reward of gold posted by them for Orcs killed.

Buy the cattle from him.

The cattle to sell for whatever profit you can get.

Transport the cattle to the local market.

A cut of the profit the farmer makes.

I.E. when I think of quests I see them as tasks that have various ways to achieve the desired outcome and upon completion receive. Quests should also be situational so that, when the problem with the Orcs is dealt with the farmer no longer has a need for help. That may mean another pressing issues rises that he needs help with of course.

The reason I am so excited for EQN is that, if everything works as hoped, such a questing system is possible.

========

I love this idea and I really hope EQN can pull it off.

BTW,  UO had this system when it was first released.

It didn't work because players went around and killed all the monsters to gain skill points,  so the NPCs never needed any help.

Again,  this is an amazing idea,  and I hope EQN can pull it off.

I'll pay to play in a game like that.

 

Cheers!

  summitus

Novice Member

Joined: 3/31/05
Posts: 1475

5/24/14 2:03:38 PM#84
Originally posted by black7and7gold

Originally posted by Maelwydd
Quests the way I would want them...

You stumble across a farmer. You chat.

He has a problem with some Orcs occasionally raiding his farm for cattle. The options are: -

Gather materials and build better fences and protection for the cattle.

Reward is free board and lodging for a few days while you do the work and some food when you leave.

Serve as a guard to protect the next raid.

Reward is room and board till the next raid and some food when you leave for your travels.

Hunt the local Orcs and kill or move them on.

Reward is to get some food for travel and confirmation to the local guards for a reward of gold posted by them for Orcs killed.

Buy the cattle from him.

The cattle to sell for whatever profit you can get.

Transport the cattle to the local market.

A cut of the profit the farmer makes.

I.E. when I think of quests I see them as tasks that have various ways to achieve the desired outcome and upon completion receive. Quests should also be situational so that, when the problem with the Orcs is dealt with the farmer no longer has a need for help. That may mean another pressing issues rises that he needs help with of course.

The reason I am so excited for EQN is that, if everything works as hoped, such a questing system is possible.

========

I love this idea and I really hope EQN can pull it off.

BTW,  UO had this system when it was first released.

It didn't work because players went around and killed all the monsters to gain skill points,  so the NPCs never needed any help.

Again,  this is an amazing idea,  and I hope EQN can pull it off.

I'll pay to play in a game like that.

 

Awesome post sir .. but this isn't questing ... this is Hardcore Roleplaying ! :p

  black7and7gold

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/18/12
Posts: 5

5/24/14 2:12:06 PM#85
"True, too much text (and usually uninspired stuff why farmer Bob needs you to kill 10 bugs) makes the eyes heavy.

But too many voice acted cutscenes in a multiplayer game is no way better. 

If say bandits wants to burn down farmer Bobs barn (maybe the bandit boss girlfriend said Bob was cute or something, I have no idea why bandits do other stuff than steal and drink) there are 3 ways to get the players into the action.

1. Farmer Bob has a huge text you get to read when you click on him. It is whining about how poor he is because evil bandits loot him all the time and now they want to burn down his barn. Click to accept.

2. Same thing as 1 but voice acted and with a cutscene. Since Bob ain't a najor npc his voice is done by the same guy who make most unimportant male guys.

3. You see bandits start running to a barn with torches. You might hear Bob scream something in panic, do something.

Yeah, the last might be more of a DE then a quest but for stuff like this that actually works best. I don't want to hear Bob or the bandits personal stories, I just want to kick some bandit butt.

Real quests is a different matter but those should be epic (you know, throw the one ring down into the volcano it was made in), there voice acting is fine but a MMO should mainly be about doing stuff, not reading walls of text or listening to every jerk with a menial task."

======

I think we're getting somewhere.

Cheers!

  Vema

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/12
Posts: 16

5/24/14 9:56:19 PM#86
The next approach is relatively new to mainstream MMOs, and that is user generated content on a vast scale.

Some MUDs offered players the ability to generate content and link it to the main world as far back as the 1980s. 

  severius

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/10/04
Posts: 1527

5/24/14 10:00:23 PM#87
Everything presented in the article just leads to same old same old.  Look, we have the processing power, now we need the development skill to start developing not static actors for a stage production but the systems that would generate them.  Virtual ecosystems and virtual conflicts that start organically not because of some hackneyed fantasy trope.  Create virtual worlds, worlds that evolve organically and reflect the players inhabiting them.  That is when we can finally get out of this endless treadmill of same old same old, imo.


  MojoKingBee

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/24/04
Posts: 21

5/25/14 7:16:15 AM#88
The game style takes a big part in how ones actions should influence the world you are "playing" in. In a mmo this should be delivered through serverwide events where players can contribute in many different ways depending on their focused gameplay style like crafting, raiding, farming, all to a goal that in the end actually feels worth contributing to.

I remember one of these experiments back in the day in wow called "The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj" which was a pretty neat design for a server event, where the whole faction had to distribute a certain amount of resources to supply the expedition force, elite guilds gathering certain items in raid dungeons. All to the final task of unlocking a new dungeon for the server.

I still got many good memories out of the old World of Warcraft designs, where you actually had to fight your way through pretty hard quests and dungeons to successively advance in the content, which was an absolute blast back in the days. No matter the pace of your journey, you always had a sense of accomplishment.

There need to be new incentives again besides item scores, which is sadly the common way to design content around these days besides the notion of designers to make all content available for everyone, which in turn kills any kind of feeling to be part of a world where there is always more on the horizon should you be willing to take the journey.

For me, the journey hasn't really felt like one worth it for a very long time.
  PiratePete

Novice Member

Joined: 8/13/07
Posts: 98

5/25/14 9:47:16 AM#89

Quests should flourish with and be about exploration. 

 

Skyrim for the most part wasn't a fantastic game for me, but I still enjoyed the questing because it took me places and had me explore areas I might have otherwise looked over. The problem with mmos though is everyone and their grandmother is doing the same quest walking the same paths, exploring the same caves. It loses it's novelty and wonder when you just follow the herd. 

 

So this synthetic narrative would need a means of making/altering content to keep things different. It would still have the problem of world space limitations, so going into the cave 50m outside the city walls could have 10+ different alterations to it depending on the quest you're on but still it would make things more entertaining than being able to find everything out about the game within the first couple weeks of it's release due to content consumers posting stuff on Wikis. 

  Krighton

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/28/13
Posts: 61

5/25/14 11:30:40 AM#90

No quests. Ever.

No levels. Ever.

Simply abilities (like TSW)

Attempting to use abilities (rolling on said abillity) allows you to learn it, or not. Take your chances. Practice makes perfect :P

That's all anyone wants, are the new updated, bad ass abilities for their character. Removing a level requirement makes everyone equal in the same sense and everyone may or may not be practicing the same abilities to become whatever it is they want to become.

I see a martial arts game in the future. Someone should revive The Matrix Online. The greatest MMO that never was.

  Haldurson

Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/14
Posts: 19

5/25/14 5:53:16 PM#91

Remember also that  ESO implemented 'quests that matter', and people attacked  it for that.  People have been asking for it for years, and they were finally given it, and half the reviewers on the web said that because of it, ou can't do solo content in a group therefore the game sucks. 

Also, CoH had dynamic content long before Rift did, and  people played it a little bit, but most didnt' even pay attention.  Several different zones had events that could happen, such as fires, or the Trolls running rampant, and so on.  But for the most part, it was ignored, which is why you left it out -- no one remembers it.

MMO players like to ask for changes, but when they get it, they are never ready for it.  It's almost never accepted the first time they see it, and people complain about the negiative aspects, and totally ignore the positive, until it becomes 'normal'  When Rift did it, it was already done.  They just did it on a bigger scale.  When ESO did it, everyone said it sucked.  That's why innovation is so rare.

  Pratt2112

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1176

5/26/14 8:12:17 AM#92

Nothing says "Developers have truly lost the plot", and/or aren't paying attention, like an article that asks whether or how questing can be improved.

 

Of course it can be improved. There's an entire 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation of MMOs where - in most cases anyway - questing was actually questing, and it mattered. You killed stuff, sure, but it was some elusive, dangerous beast that you first had to locate, and pack a lunch to even have a prayer of defeating. Defeating that beast was only part of a much larger/longer series of challenges, not this "A to B back to A" crap that passes for "quests" anymore. Sometimes you - gasp - even needed to recruit the help of fellow players to do it! And that required you to - double gasp! - get out of your comfort zone, socialize and get to know other people! Shock! Horror!

 

No... it wasn't an end-boss locked behind an instance that you could easily access by simply queuing up for the dungeon, waiting, teleporting directly to the dungeon where your party members were a bunch of anonymous people - likely from other servers - that you'd never see again. No. They were people from your server, maybe from your guild.. but not necessarily. You had to be social. Outgoing. You had to demonstrate people skills by actively dealing with real people. And you had to be a decent person, not an ass-hat.

 

MMOs, in the name of "convenience", "accessibility" and "mainstream success" (aka "we want a piece of the pie Blizzard's been feasting on"), all of this has gone out of the window.

 

So how do you fix the problem?

 

Well, first make the quest dialog matter. Make it relevant, not just flavor filler. Sure, it can have flavor dialog in it... back-story, whatever. But it must also include important information, clues, details about the task, what it's about, what you need to do... where it is... what dangers might be in the way...  Include things the player has to pay attention to in order to complete the task. Give them a reason to pay attention.

 

Bring the player back into the equation. Stop issuing challenges and then immediately removing that challenge by serving up the solution on a silver platter. Right now, in most MMOs, players are basically rewarded for being able to successfully press "W" and follow an arrow to chase down dots and markers on a map. That's not questing. That's mundane, menial, boring crap.

 

Sure players could (and may likely would) just look it up on a wiki.. but that's on them, not the game. Someone who goes and reads a walkthrough on a wiki, with the explanation that they "don't like reading in a game", but miss the fact that they still have to read to follow a walkthrough, is the source of their own misery anyway, and no one can fix that but themselves.

 

The subject of this video (I'm linking it starting at the relevant bit) nails it perfectly. Ignore the subject of the rant... He's talking about Wildstar, but that's not the part to pay attention to. The important part is the context of it... the issue he's discussing; "following arrows". He could just as well be talking about almost any other MMO to launch in the last decade, and it would still apply.

 

But it's bigger than that. It goes beyond just how questing is handled. It's a bunch of things all working together. Articles like this have the right idea but they tend to come at it with a single-pronged approach. And that doesn't work. A number of things have to change, in tandem.

 

Yes, make quests matter more. Make them more interesting. Absolutely. That's part of it. But only that... a part.

 

Aside from making the quests and their dialog matter more...

 

1. The tasks have to be an actual, bona-fide, "no really, I'm serious", honest-to-goodness challenge. Require the player to actually work through and solve these challenges them self. Get rid of the arrows, markers, glows, sparkles... eliminate the hand-holding. Just get it out of the game. Give the player back behind their own steering wheel, put them in control of their own experience again, and let them actually solve the challenges they're being issued. Stop guiding them through it. Just stop.

 

2. Require the players to actually communicate, cooperate and work together with other players. I know there are people who are freaking out over this very notion, but well... it's something that older MMOs handled very well - fostering and building true  server communities (not just "the people in your guild"). People talked. They helped each other. They gave tips, offered advice, offered assistance. Even with the inevitable ass-hats you'd find (who usually ended up screwing themselves over through their crappy attitudes), it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. Make people get out of their comfort zone and ask for help when they need it.

 

When people receive help, they should be encouraged to pay it forward and help others when the opportunity arises. Believe it or not... this is possible. It has happened before... it certainly can again. But the games have to encourage players to do it... and then the players have to pick up the ball and follow through. Over time, a culture will develop among the players and it will become the "norm" on each server... fostered, encouraged and enforced by the players.

 

3. Get rid of private instances. If instances are necessary for server load reasons, fine... make them public instances. Once an instance gets too full, have the server spawn a new one. Make sure they're dynamic, so when the population of one decreases to a certain point, it's eliminated, or merged into another. But keep them public. Keep them social. Keep people in the same world as much as possible, so they can interact.

 

4.Get rid of phasing. Phasing is a neat sounding concept on its surface, but it's terrible in practice, as it's currently implemented. It's one more development in MMOs that has only served to separate players, instead of bringing them together. Stop it. Stop keeping players apart. This is horrible.

 

If you're going to have phasing - implement it in a way where the whole world changes for everyone. Let players come together and make these changes happen.. Or let them log in and see the results of their previous efforts reflected in changes across the whole world. Make it a dynamic thing where it can go one way or the other - like how the areas around Rifts changes while one is open in the game Rift... only have it on a world-wide, or zone-wide level. If it's not possible to do that.. then just get rid of phasing altogether.

 

I'll say it again.. Stop finding ways to keep players apart. Start finding ways to bring them together in meaningful ways... where they have to actually socialize, communicate, coordinate, cooperate... And I don't mean "public quests" where you show up and beat on some giant barrel o' HP with a bunch of other people and then run off to the next thing when it's over.

 

Public events are a good idea... But they've gotta be done better. They've gotta be more meaningful and there has to be more at stake. Besieged in FFXI was a fantastic implementation. An entire city is attacked, and players have to fight them off to prevent key NPCs from being kidnapped and/or an object called "the astral candescence" from being taken. If a NPC is kidnapped, it can directly affect the players. For example.. the Chocobo rental NPC can be taken... making it impossible for players to rent one until they're returned. This gives players an incentive to prevent their kidnapping in the first place, or to come together and try to get them back if they are. Meaningful events with meaningful consequences.

 

It really boggles my mind when I see articles, like this one, that discuss issues plaguing MMOs these days, with this huge ? over them regarding "what can we do to fix it?". It boggles my mind, because the answers to these issues has been right under people's noses for years now. Older MMOs avoided so many of the issues plaguing "modern MMOs" by implementing designs that didn't allow them to happen in the first place.

 

The problem is, there's this irrational, knee-jerk hatred of all things "old-school", and it's usually fueled by willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. "Oh... it's an old-school MMO, therefor it sucked and you're just seeing through rose-colored glasses" is usually the immediate response. Often times it's parroted by people who don't even know what the hell they're talking about... they're just repeating whatever's popular at the time. Well, as long as people maintain this ridiculous, hipster-like "too cool for old-school" mentality.... the solutions to the problems people are complaining about in modern MMOs will continue to be unsolved... or the solutions will continue to make the problems worse. And that's unfortunate, because there's a wealth of wisdom and experience already there. The solutions to all these problems already exist.  They're just waiting to be tapped.

"Devs need to stop trying to make MMOs for people who don't like MMOs" - thevampirelematt/Reddit

  grummz

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/26/14 8:35:53 AM#93

TangentPoint, I agree with you about the group interaction and quests having impact. I also agree about the solo-ability of MMOs having stripped much of the stickiness and unique offering that MMOs had. The article was about tools that will provide a way to have players actions have impact and change the ongoing story of the game through the combination of synthetic narrative (realtime quest generation), dynamic events like the FF one you refer to, and user generated content.

The headline of the article perhaps overemphasis one aspect of the article, but it certainly wasn't the main point. Perhaps you'll like my next series of articles better, where I talk about what we can learn from the past and the great MMO features and ideas that we left behind in our drive to "mainstream" the genre.

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  Nerblas

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/16/06
Posts: 21

5/26/14 11:02:33 AM#94

Make tasks matter... Kill some fauna and cut some trees while doing quests / tasks on a medium area... Go back to that place at a later time. As the players mostly moved on it was left unattended, and nature took over... Npc are in less numbers... Traders moved on... Nature is invading the villages... Animals are getting bolder, and attacks are not that rare... Enemy clans took over - a village that was previously human now belongs to orcs (for example). You decide to take it up to you to make things right again, that place needs a new hero!

This are just some examples of what real dynamics could do, not just cycles, but dependent on the activity (or lack of it)... The technology is there to make this possible without human intervention, I believe... So yea, we can make quests matter again... In fact, we must!

"Vidis Fodidis Est"

  Sythion

Novice Member

Joined: 6/30/11
Posts: 427

5/26/14 2:38:54 PM#95

What Narrative Science is doing is far more complex than what would be needed for an AI director. There is a HUGE difference between making an AI that can make narrative sense out of generic data, and one that has to use data which it has control over to create a narrative.

With an understanding of various story structures (either algorithmic or database driven) and proper relationships between objects, the "core" work is basically done, and it would scale extremely well into the MMO realm. Creating an actual game around this is the more challenging part.

  Kothoses

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/08/10
Posts: 686

5/26/14 6:35:34 PM#96

This is actually quite a narrow and blinkered viewpoint that does not address the fundamental problem

 

DIRECTED QUESTS ARE NO LONGER ENGAGING PEOPLE.

 

Use that AI to bring about a living world that simply adapts dynamically to player actions, if the players attack a dragons lair, have the dragon come out and attack a near by village if the players dont defend it have the villagers flee, potentially displacing a goblin tribe who were happily living in the hills nearby, which causes them to either attack the villagers or the near by elves.

 

Have the world adapt around the players, rather than just generate another kill 10 or go here and click this same old tired fed ex quest.

 

This is what that technology should be used for, not cutting down the budget of content lead quest hooked mmos which have fundamentally gone past their peak and are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  dreamscaper

Elite Member

Joined: 8/14/08
Posts: 1273

5/27/14 8:34:16 PM#97

This is something that's been bugging me for some time now, so I'll just quote my previous post from another thread about the issue.

 

 

 

Originally posted by dreamscaper

Exclamation/Question marks are merely a symptom of a larger problem. The bigger question is that games need to quit making """"quests"""" the equivalent of a chore list we have to complete before our parents will let us play with our toys.

  • Running a message across town for you is not a quest.
  • Finding a book from the shelf in the same room for you is not a quest.
  • Killing an arbitrary number of X for you to help clear our some of the X that never stop spawning for you is not a quest.
 

 

Let's take a look at some things that are:

  • Arthur's journey for the holy grail was a Quest.
  • Frodo's journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring was a quest.
  • Sabriel's journey to the innermost reaches of the Old Kingdom to save her father was a Quest.
  • Odyssesus' journey to return to his family in was a quest.
  • Don Quixote's journey to chilvaric journey was a quest.

 

The above is what makes quests in literature fantastic and quests in games lames. In the latter set, a quest is a journey to a destination for the characters involved, and the journey is an end unto itself for the reader. Whereas with the former, the quest is ultimately meaningless to the character and doubly so for the player.

 

 

<3

  grummz

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/27/14 9:44:28 PM#98

Sythion, exactly. The real world is an open data set, MMOs are well defined by comparison. You can tag objects in the game and creating a semantic network as you build the game that NPCs can tap into.

The object is not to create more task-like quests, but to create a living narrative that involves the players and alters the world. One more component is required, which i'll mention in a future article.

Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/grummz">Twitter: @Grummz</a>

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