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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Meaning of "an epic, meaningful quest"

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  johnmatthais

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Maybe if I'm going to have my Xfire profile up, I should start using Xfire...

 
OP  1/15/10 11:54:30 PM#1

 Okay, really, I've got to ask. What do you guys mean by "an epic, meaningful quest"?

I'm pretty sure I could come up with an epic, meaningful quest. You won't like it, but here goes.

"A rural farm town has been stricken by a plague. The plague can only be cured by the blood of a dragon. These people, in their rural ways, cannot afford to fight a dragon for its blood. In fact, I'm not sure you can do it on your own. In any case, you must travel to Loran Mountain and kill enough dragons to get enough blood to cure the whole village of its plague. I think around 10 should do. I suggest you take a group with you...those dragons can get pretty nasty."

Okay, read the above. You're telling me that even if you couldn't do it on your own, and the quest was meaningful in the sense that you're saving a whole village, and that of all things, you're killing big-friggin-fire-breathing dragons, that this quest would not be epic, simply because it follows the "kill 10 rats" thing?

I simply don't understand what people want in an MMO that will feel like its an epic quest. In my personal opinion, to have an "epic, meaningful quest" and still have the feeling of it being epic, it can't be a quest.

No quest can ever be epic.

Why?

Because quests are designed for everyone to be able to do. By the time the 10th person comes around and saves that village, it's no longer epic. Everyone's a hero. Everyone had access to the quest, didn't they?

And this is why you can't have "epic, meaningful quests."

This is where sandboxes become what every player wants.

See, in a sandbox, all you have is a set of challenges, often similar to a themepark's challenges, except you're never told where to go, what to do, how to do it, or sometimes not even given the "handout" resources to do it. 

In a themepark, the most "epic, meaningful quests" often happen in places like dungeons. Instanced or not, everyone still ends up doing it at one point or another, as dungeons tend to funnel people towards them.

In a sandbox, you can create your own "epic, meaningful quest."

The thing is...people are too lazy to do it.

Even after all the work it takes to get to a point where you can raid in WoW, people feel it took less work than providing their own "epic, meaningful quest."

In truth, it may have. They didn't have to think at all. It was all handed out to them. The gear, the money, the experience. It was all given to them from square one.

However, in a game without quests, a "sandbox", you don't get those handouts. You have to start from square one, often with nothing. 

Whereas the game provides everything you need to go on an "epic, meaningful quest," the game doesn't provide the means to do it instantaneously.

It takes work, it takes dedication, even to get the money to buy the means off of other players.

In itself, the whole process is an "epic, meaningful quest." You work your way up from nothing, poor and helpless, to a point where you can take down the game's biggest baddies. 

Is that not epic?

Why can't we write our own epic quests? If we did that, it truly would be epic.

Why? 

It's not a pre-determined path that everyone else can take.

You wrote it yourself.

  johnmatthais

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OP  1/16/10 12:00:22 AM#2

 Just realized I shifted focus about halfway through the post. In any case, the main point stands:

Is an "epic, meaningful quest" really possible?

EDIT: Added a part I forgot about dungeons.

  uquipu

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Joined: 11/14/09
Posts: 1538

1/16/10 12:01:49 AM#3

 Even if it's not a quest.  Say it's just a situation where a village needs dragon blood.  This is still a theme park element because the devs set this situation up.  

What's more, in a sandbox it wouldn't reset so the devs did all that work to set up a situation for one player.  Or I guess it could reset and another player could go on the save a village kill a dragon ride.

If it doesn't reset, then one player gets the benefit.  What do the other paying players get out of it?  A chance to pat the hero on the back?

I don't know.

 

Well shave my back and call me an elf! -- Oghren

  johnmatthais

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Joined: 4/28/07
Posts: 2693

Maybe if I'm going to have my Xfire profile up, I should start using Xfire...

 
OP  1/16/10 12:05:59 AM#4

 Well, uquipu, I just realized I didn't expand on that much, heh.

I was thinking something along the lines of dynamic in-game events. We're getting there, people just need to build on it a bit.

Indies like RISE have already built on the supply and demand thing. They even have a newspaper and riots. ;)

However, as mostly a business only game, it didn't get the attention it needed and so these features never came to the forefront.

I'd love other indie devs to try something like that though. ;)

  TacBoy

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/24/06
Posts: 136

1/16/10 12:12:41 AM#5

When I hear "Epic Quest" I generally take that to mean a few things:

1) There is more than one step. ie You journey to get the dragon's blood but first you need the tome that tells you how. This leads you to work for the Wizard. You get the tome and find you need a special weapon from the mountain of doom. In the mountain there is a cave in and you must fight the cave dwellers, etc.

2) The quest line is not easy but presents real challenge. It involves group and difficulty.

3) It takes time. You aren't going to finish it in one level probably.

When I hear "Meaningful" I take that to mean it changes either the character or the game in some way. Like the epic weapon quests in some games. Or like with some of the phasing in WoW or the opening of content.

It never crossed my mind that when someone uses that phrase they mean a single quest, but more use the word "quest" to mean an overall goal.

 

  Samatman

Novice Member

Joined: 5/03/08
Posts: 67

1/16/10 12:13:57 AM#6

With no trolling intended, I'm guessing you never did any of the EQ1 epic quest lines?

  GTwander

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Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

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1/16/10 12:15:40 AM#7

I'll tell ya what I think.

I think that no matter the objective, it's the journey that matters. Nothing interesting happens when you kill 10 rats, but DDO was able to have the trip through the cellar prove far more interesting. The bottom line is that instanced content allows for far more customization - but people have ism's that make them gnaw on the very word "instance". The only way to make kill 10 rats on the surface-world setup is to have *something* happen during the search for them that is far more interesting than the outcome. Maybe the rats find you by popping out of bushes or something, maybe you'll run into a wildcat looking for rats and you can get a clearance towards a kill by looting his guts for the rat tail. What is the tying factors to all this? The unexpected.

The unexpectedness of what goes down in instanced content is what makes it great, and applying that to the open-publice zones is extremely hard to do. All you can really do is have the person that triggers events, and hope that witnesses don't either lose their immersion at seeing it, or feel the need to interrupt it. Nothing is better at messing up an event meant for you than another player. That's probably why open-worlds remain boring.

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  johnmatthais

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Joined: 4/28/07
Posts: 2693

Maybe if I'm going to have my Xfire profile up, I should start using Xfire...

 
OP  1/16/10 12:15:50 AM#8
Originally posted by Samatman

With no trolling intended, I'm guessing you never did any of the EQ1 epic quest lines?

No, I didn't, but once again. My intentions meant that it really isn't all that epic if you know that right behind you or right in front of you is someone else who did the exact same thing you just did. There's just no "personalization" involved. ;)

  User Deleted
1/16/10 12:28:23 AM#9

For me an epic meaningful quest has 3 components.  It is easier to show rather than describe so I will post examples.

One is a good story, voice overs would help a lot here and so does presentation like cutscenes where appropriate.  The devs ability to tell a story and in an engauging way really makes something epic.  EXAMPLE

Another is good set pieces, this is something most quests do not have at all.  That is to say most are just a simple go here kill this guy there are not really any scripted events. EXAMPLE

The last and most important is the ability to choose.  To have choices that effect the outcome of the quest but also how others react toward you, NPCs that is, and what other quests you can do in the future.  Bioware games all have this so if you played on you know what I am talking about.

Try to combine all that and allow players to do it in a non linear fashion and it isn't hard to see why what I consider epic meaningful quests seldom get made in single player games where they are easier to do and much less in MMOs.

  Samatman

Novice Member

Joined: 5/03/08
Posts: 67

1/16/10 12:29:09 AM#10

Before there were spoiler sites with quest walk-throughs, I am hard pressed to even imagine how *anyone* completed EQ1 epics.  They were that obtuse.  Even given a walk through, completing any of these quests required significant dedication, a collection of friends, and luck.  Now with EQ being dumbed down to WoW levels, I am still amazed that people complete these quests because they are:

Of epic proportions

Require significant time investment

Require friends and groups

Not easy to figure out (reading comprehension is required, and sometimes even then you need to ask the community how to get past "x" to proceed.

 

 

 

  djazzy

Novice Member

Joined: 6/20/05
Posts: 3623

1/16/10 12:31:11 AM#11

Epic to me means world changing. And you are right, it is an impossibility in an mmo for the simple fact that you have more than one person doing that quest. An epic quest can't be repeated. You just saved the country from a fire breathing dragon, oh wait it's back 1 hour later.

  Scottc

Novice Member

Joined: 12/28/05
Posts: 699

1/16/10 1:34:13 AM#12
Originally posted by arenasb

Epic to me means world changing. And you are right, it is an impossibility in an mmo for the simple fact that you have more than one person doing that quest. An epic quest can't be repeated. You just saved the country from a fire breathing dragon, oh wait it's back 1 hour later.

It's not impossible, the quest simply needs to be one shot.  There's nothing wrong with one-shot quests, they just need to be designed in such a way that they involve a large amount of people rather than an individual.  I'll provide Asheron's Call as an example.  At one point in the game world, shadow spires appeared on the landscape in the wilderness, and players would randomly be "kidnapped" by them and questioned inside. www.thejackcat.com/AC/Culture/Dereth/Spires.htm

The next stages the spires moved closer and closer to cities, and they had hostile shadow monsters all around them which were quite dangerous.   Portals ended up opening that brought players into the center of the shadow spires which were way high up in the air, and there was a shadow captain in each one of them that dropped a key piece.  When the key pieces were combined players were able to open a dungeon called the Nexus which had a large shard in the bottom that dropped a unique item that was used to craft a one of a kind set of armor, which the player who killed it got.  It's also worth noting that several cities were actually destroyed by the shadow spires. 

interestingly this shard was tied to an even greater story arc, it was one of many shards that was destroyed that ultimately led to freeing a pretty nasty demon looking guy by the name of Bael'Zharon.

You might ask, "But where is the reward?", well for that one lucky player, he got something very nice, but I think for most players, the experience of playing a part in changing the game world and feeling like they're playing a game where the world actually changes was reward enough.

Also, another interesting thing they used to do was have epic story quests like the above, and the first people to complete it got a special reward, but everyone else after got a diminished reward which was highly useful.  I thought this was a pretty great idea.

  User Deleted
1/16/10 1:47:34 AM#13

 An epic meaningful quest for me would include choices. Lets say you can save that village or completly demolish it. Wow used phasing that would work well here and it would feel like you´ve made a choice. String several choices together and you´d have an epic questline but that would have to mean an instanced questline though.

The other option would be, as many posted before me, a "one off" per server/faction. Would be cool to race for it but ones it´s over would feel abit empty and meningless. 

  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6732

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

1/16/10 2:20:35 AM#14

You are mixing WORLD event with Epic.I have seen some decent world events in EQ2,but usually they are just awful and cheap.

Epic just means of EPIC proportion,LONG tedious quest lines with EPIC rewards.LARGE !

So instead of go kill 10 bears and bring back the pelts,you may have to do a series of events then those events eventually lead to another NPC or some drop that leads to another quest.You might very well have to scour several cities,talk to several NPC's for clues,Fight through several dungeons,kill several boss all for maybe ONE good drop.

Usually these are tied into the BEST weapon in the game at intervals like level 20/40/60 and what ever end game level is.you usually have the same thing for armor or items/accessories.

Then you can have Epic quest lines for SPECIAL items like instead of that +10 boots that have +15 to all stats,you might have SPECIAL boots that offer +25% speed bonus or maybe gear that offers a special mob/kill bonus like +25% damage to ORCS or Goblins ect ect.EQ2 has the Flying Carpet quest,there is all sorts of different UNIQUE quests you can add to spice up the game.Look no further than EQ/EQ2 ,SOE is the master,that is where WOW got a lot of the ideas from.

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  Hopscotch73

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1/16/10 2:39:10 AM#15
Originally posted by TacBoy

When I hear "Epic Quest" I generally take that to mean a few things:

1) There is more than one step. ie You journey to get the dragon's blood but first you need the tome that tells you how. This leads you to work for the Wizard. You get the tome and find you need a special weapon from the mountain of doom. In the mountain there is a cave in and you must fight the cave dwellers, etc.

2) The quest line is not easy but presents real challenge. It involves group and difficulty.

3) It takes time. You aren't going to finish it in one level probably.

When I hear "Meaningful" I take that to mean it changes either the character or the game in some way. Like the epic weapon quests in some games. Or like with some of the phasing in WoW or the opening of content.

It never crossed my mind that when someone uses that phrase they mean a single quest, but more use the word "quest" to mean an overall goal.

 

This.

Whenever I think epic quest I think of the old questline in wow to get the epic ground mount for a lock. Lots of steps, lots of gold (unless you knew someone who had the required summony things and was willing to help you), and a group segment that required you to do something specific (akin to spinning plates) while the rest of your group battled beasties. At the end of it you had your epic mount, and a sense that you had somehow proven yourself as a player.

Now sadly, the mount is attainable with no quest and for a paltry sum. Kinda feel sorry for people missing out on that quest because it *was* epic.

I don't see epic and massive as referring to a single quest. Even the Wrathgate in WoW (the last epic feeling I had in that game) was the culmination of a series of quests, and if you'd avoided spoilers it pretty much blew you away.

For it to be epic, it has to require work - but the "work" should be fun and immersive.

 

  Reklaw

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1/16/10 2:51:13 AM#16

I could only feel a quest/mission would be epic if it truly has ingame effect on the ingame world.
 

Taking your example of the Dragon blood quest, I need to see all these villager being sick, shops/vendors close because of it so players can not acces it, people laying down on the ground, towns people slowly and shuffeling down the street, some streets even completely abadoned, but when you completed the quest and head back to the vilage and give hte blood to the village doctor/healers, you will see them administer it to the townspeople and slowly and steadely you see the town get back to life, shops start to open up again, people are walking the streets, you might even see childern playing in the street again.

Now I wouldn't mind everyone be able to do this quest but it should be time limited, should be more people to get the blood then the 10, but you can even get blood solo, as the town needs a hugh amount of this blood, a very hugh amount I may add, the amount should be equal to a full day, which does not mean you need to do that specific quest all day, but say atleast 30/50 people all together ranging from formed groups to the solo players should all add up in the count of the blood needed.

So group one, consists out of 15 players, go out seek the blood, spend perhaps 2 hours getting it, but when they return they get some small rewards but the town still needs to have more, say the solo player is getting some blood which obvious would be allot less blood then what the group got, but it still adds up to the total amount of blood needed, another group shows up of 5 people and get's some more blood. Again it adds up to the total blood needed to cure the whole town.

All of this should happen in real time, no instances, those who take the quest will see the total amount of blood needed and eacht time another group or solo or duo player gets more they will see it add up to the total amount. As said it would be somewhat impossible to actualy complete this quest by yourself or even with a big group, unless you want to spend all day long at this one quest.

Now when this quest is fully completed, meaning the town has now enough blood to heal it's villagers, everyone participated will get a clear message that the town is saved.......for the time being atleast cause since the quest is timed the town will become sick again, but this might be a day perhaps even day's or weeks, again this will depend on the total amount oof blood that is raised and on top of the smaller rewards they already from handing in what they got with their group/duo/solo  they will get a big reward with a few options to make the reward suite your character/class/profession in like Armor/Weapons that the villagers have made also from your collections of what you or your group have gotten of of the Dragons. Where the smaller rewards would be something like food, perhaps some resources/components that you already got from handing in the blood.

Now to me this would be a "Epic Quest" unfortunaly I don't see this happen just yet, tho I am sure it's possible to creat something like it. In a way it would be a true public quest, but as said I need to see it's conseqence and actions unlike the public quest that we see in some current MMORPG's.

Hope it made some sense..........

  Hyanmen

Elite Member

Joined: 10/11/06
Posts: 4983

1/16/10 3:40:13 AM#17

Your explanation does not make sense.

There is no reason a quest to not be epic if everyone else can do it. That doesn't matter.

Your quest also is nowhere near as epic. It is very basic.

You could expand it in multiple ways to make it much better. Once you've found the cure, you give it to the villagers, but later find out that the village wasn't sick in the first place, but is using the blood to perform experiments that would make them superhuman. However, little research on the subject shows that if the villagers were to use the drug, an extremely poisonous toxic would be released into the atmosphere, killing everyone on a huge radius. Thus you go back to the village to stop the experiments, and once you've found enough clues they take you to a secret underground cave that ends up in a laboratory created by the villagers. You try to convince the village chief to stop the experiment, but he won't listen to you and drinks the drug instead. Then you have to fight him as well as the other villagers. Once you've dealt enough damage the chief escapes and at the same time sets a timer for the lab to self-destruct after set time. Then you have to escape the lab with timer on the clock ticking and the villagers chasing you. At the last minute you escape the facility and the blood samples along with the whole lab are destroyed in a huge underground explosion. However, the village chief is still out there and you have to find him.

Few weeks later you find the chief on top of a huge tower built by the gods of the past where he is trying to trigger the end of the world by trying to create the ultimate paradise for him and his villagers. You fight him on top of the tower while the surrounding dragons help you by shooting fire balls at the chief. With the help of the dragons, you finally win the fight- with his last breath however, the chief triggers the end of the world and there seems to be no way to stop him anymore. Your long-time companion however decides to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world, so he runs to the platform and jumps to the core of the device, giving it a short-circuit and shutting it down. The resulting explosion throws you out of the tower and to your inevitable death.

Once you hit the ground everything goes black... however for your surprise you wake up in a nearly village, almost unharmed.. which certainly wouldn't be possible after a fall like that. What really happened up there? Did he get affected by the drug somehow? Did someone save him? That's what you have to find out next, the adventure isn't over yet....

 

That's what I call epic, not the excuse of a quest you made up. It is epic although anyone can do it, because there's no reason for you to care about that. You won't ever see other people doing the same thing you did. It's like saying single player games can't have epic quests because everyone else can do them too. It doesn't work that way, except if you put the whole issue on a pedestal like it matters more than it really does.

You can't do thing like that in a sandbox game. Sandbox games give you simple tools to create your own quests, but they can never be as complex and epic as what a themepark can give us. You're still affected by the restrictions the game has, and there won't be a change in that aspect anytime soon, if ever.

FF:ARR FATE grinding: People not having fun by doing something not actually intended to get to a point that doesn't really matter as fast as possible. Just so they can do the same thing over and over again to gain a piece of virtual loot.

  Ilvaldyr

Novice Member

Joined: 8/31/08
Posts: 2163

1/16/10 4:06:37 AM#18

For me, an "epic, meaningful quest" would be one that lasted for the entirety of my character progression. It would have a lot of steps along the way, and a ton of subquests and branches where my choices influenced the final outcome. It would basically be a (much longer) single player experience combined within the persistent and multiplayer world of an MMO.

And grouping .. would be very much optional.


Playing: EVE, Final Fantasy 13, Uncharted 2, Need for Speed: Shift

  Reklaw

Elite Member

Joined: 1/07/06
Posts: 6163

The adult I am takes care of most things real life. However my inner-child is a GAMER!!

1/16/10 6:07:53 AM#19
Originally posted by Hyanmen

Your explanation does not make sense.

There is no reason a quest to not be epic if everyone else can do it. That doesn't matter.

Your quest also is nowhere near as epic. It is very basic.

You could expand it in multiple ways to make it much better. Once you've found the cure, you give it to the villagers, but later find out that the village wasn't sick in the first place, but is using the blood to perform experiments that would make them superhuman. However, little research on the subject shows that if the villagers were to use the drug, an extremely poisonous toxic would be released into the atmosphere, killing everyone on a huge radius. Thus you go back to the village to stop the experiments, and once you've found enough clues they take you to a secret underground cave that ends up in a laboratory created by the villagers. You try to convince the village chief to stop the experiment, but he won't listen to you and drinks the drug instead. Then you have to fight him as well as the other villagers. Once you've dealt enough damage the chief escapes and at the same time sets a timer for the lab to self-destruct after set time. Then you have to escape the lab with timer on the clock ticking and the villagers chasing you. At the last minute you escape the facility and the blood samples along with the whole lab are destroyed in a huge underground explosion. However, the village chief is still out there and you have to find him.

Few weeks later you find the chief on top of a huge tower built by the gods of the past where he is trying to trigger the end of the world by trying to create the ultimate paradise for him and his villagers. You fight him on top of the tower while the surrounding dragons help you by shooting fire balls at the chief. With the help of the dragons, you finally win the fight- with his last breath however, the chief triggers the end of the world and there seems to be no way to stop him anymore. Your long-time companion however decides to sacrifice himself for the sake of the world, so he runs to the platform and jumps to the core of the device, giving it a short-circuit and shutting it down. The resulting explosion throws you out of the tower and to your inevitable death.

Once you hit the ground everything goes black... however for your surprise you wake up in a nearly village, almost unharmed.. which certainly wouldn't be possible after a fall like that. What really happened up there? Did he get affected by the drug somehow? Did someone save him? That's what you have to find out next, the adventure isn't over yet....

 

That's what I call epic, not the excuse of a quest you made up. It is epic although anyone can do it, because there's no reason for you to care about that. You won't ever see other people doing the same thing you did. It's like saying single player games can't have epic quests because everyone else can do them too. It doesn't work that way, except if you put the whole issue on a pedestal like it matters more than it really does.

You can't do thing like that in a sandbox game. Sandbox games give you simple tools to create your own quests, but they can never be as complex and epic as what a themepark can give us. You're still affected by the restrictions the game has, and there won't be a change in that aspect anytime soon, if ever.


 

I still like my idea, but also like your questchain idea's, both to me would be pretty Epic. Perhaps yours abit more even. But do feel you didn't really get what I meant   Keep in mind it would take day's, weeks before my town would get sick again before people could start it it again.

  Teiman

Novice Member

Joined: 2/29/08
Posts: 1328

1/16/10 6:15:37 AM#20

Everyone must read "Lets Play KOTOR2"

 http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/KOTOR%202/

..and play a few good RPG games ( not the hack and slash variety  like diablo ).

 

Is not something misterious, good RPG games play much like these "point and click" adventure games like The Day of The Tentacle and Under a Iron Sky.  You must *think*,  use what you have, and prevail. Often there are choices. A children as stolen a book from the temple,  the temple protectors ask for the children dead, but you can return the book, and lie about the dead of the children. 

Why returning quest is automatic in mmos?   you sould be able to *lie* and say, yea, I killed the minotaur.    Man, the mmorpg games are soo simple minded, soo stupid.  

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