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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Is there really any way to "spice up" quests?

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59 posts found
  Oracle_Fefe

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/04/10
Posts: 218

Feethree

 
OP  9/11/12 1:54:39 PM#1

There are some negative comments from any game that may be due to a repetitive quest system that feels more like a chore list rather than something "immersive" or whatever word is used in place of "immersive".

But, besides for changing the lore, is there a way to actually make a quest more fun and immersive at all to please some people? From what I've seen from posts they tend to be:

 

- Kill a creature, creatures, or objects defended by creatures

- Round up items to give, from killing creatures or picking them somewhere near creatures

- Escort someone to somewhere, defending them from creature ambushes.

- Activate a series of objects, usually accompanied by creature or spawns a creature itself.

- Talk to someone, either right next to you or somewhere else near some creatures.

- Unlikely related, but deliver something,  go through roads full of creatures or to next questhub.

- Rough up someone with the strength of a creature until they get to low health.

- Enter some dungeon, cave, or lair and complete it, usually by ridding it of all creatures.

 

Perhaps it's because the quests are all seperate and gives its own form of XP that people don't like to see. What if there was a game that could let you do all of that but in a series that makes sense and then rewards you with something more then levels, more then items. Some sort of "trait" or "talent" or "skill" point or whatever it's called nowadays.

 

Would there be anything else devs could do to spice up quests without it getting stale, or is it set in stone as of this age?

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

9/11/12 2:06:45 PM#2
Yes

The better quests in tsw for example

They are multistage and take around 20 - 30 minutes to complete

They have investigation quests as people know about
They have sabotage quests, which involve stealth, avoiding combat, traps, security cameras etc..
Many of the normal quests also have stages that require some puzzle solving and investigating, stealth elements, build configuring for different mobs (with immunities etc..) and even crafting

For me someone could make some excellent pve leveling content by taking the DEs from gw2, but not the hearts, and also using the multi stage quests from tsw (personally without the voice / cutscene stuff, too expensive to sustain content with that model)
  uohaloran

Novice Member

Joined: 11/16/05
Posts: 832

9/11/12 2:09:26 PM#3

lol, of course there is.

they're about as bland and boring as they've ever been now and you're asking if they can somehow get better?

  MMOwanderer

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/23/12
Posts: 417

9/11/12 2:14:11 PM#4

I think it's because there's a million "filler" quests.

You have a main storyline portraying important events and lore and story. But in between, which is the majority of the content, you end up doing stuff which as nothing to do with it.

If a land is under attack by an evil army of darkness summoned by a Dragon, why am i getting bombarded with quests and chains telling me to beat up pirates and bandits.

Nothing wrong with a few side quests, but when they are the majority, more than the norm, it becomes a problem, IMHO.

Of course, i think the best idea would be to, oh i don't know, no use questing as the bulk of your content. Then, add epic quest lines for story, etc. Doing so, we won't need so much fillers.

  KaosProphet

Novice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 384

9/11/12 2:35:00 PM#5
Originally posted by MMOwanderer

I think it's because there's a million "filler" quests.

There's that.  But there's also the 'achievers' segment basically filing off the window dressing and boiling everything down to it's roots for max efficiency,  at which point it all starts to look the same.  Kill some stuff, fetch some stuff, deliver some stuff, escort some dorks (hybrid between 'deliver' and 'kill.')  Fiddle with gears or talk to people is just spacing between the kill/fetch/deliver routine.

TSW did a little shaking up of the ground by adding actual investigation elements (as opposed to 'wander around talking to people till you trigger') and putting stealth missions into it. (ie. where you can evade mobs instead of just smashing through them - been in SP games for ages, so it's about time it got into the MMOs.)  

But investigations will get spoiled and torn down into the same category as 'talk to people' -  filler between killing/fetching/delivering.  

Stealth  is still a cool addition, though.

You have a main storyline portraying important events and lore and story. But in between, which is the majority of the content, you end up doing stuff which as nothing to do with it.

If a land is under attack by an evil army of darkness summoned by a Dragon, why am i getting bombarded with quests and chains of quets telling with to beat pirates and bandits.

I've always been able to rationalize that one as "because of the Dragon, nobody else is doing anything about the pirates and bandits who are growing rampant under it's shadow."

Though hopefully those things are put in as side-quests that  can be ignored in favor of main-quest events pertaining directly to the dragon and his army, if you choose.  (Or hell, let's go a step further:  an option to join the bandits and pirates in exploiting the situation created by the dragon distracting the local law enforcement...)

Of course, i think the best idea would be to, oh i don't know, no use questing a the bulk of your content. Then, add epic quest lines for story, etc. Then maybe we won't need so much fillers.

But that's sandbox.  The masses will be lost without a rope tied to their nose...

  Volkon

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/10
Posts: 3813

Facts do not require fiction for balance.

9/11/12 2:57:42 PM#6

I see what you did with the whole KREATURE thing and approve.

 

I like (a lot) what Guild Wars 2 did... tossing the static quest to the curb and fully replacing them with dynamic events (and to a lesser degree renown hearts). Instead of static NPCs waiting for a click to share a wall of text with you you simply come across things actually happening in the world and respond (or not) as or if you wish. It really brings a much more "living" feel to the world in the game, something you can never get with a bunch of NPCs standing there with a "!" floating over their heads.

Oderint, dum metuant.

  Foomerang

Elite Member

Joined: 11/10/05
Posts: 4670

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still

9/11/12 3:07:54 PM#7

I liked swg mission terminals the best. You pick and choose the type of mobs or creatures you want, they spawn in real time, profit. You could farm specific resources that way: hide,meat,bone,eggs,milk. And you would get decent money and xp as well as trade goods that actual players need. They also scaled with the size of your group so you could get some massivr hunting parties going.

I never needed a quest to make me feel like a hero. I never needed a quest that had some premade storyline or boss fight. It has always been more rewarding when i do quests in an mmo that can benefit the server economy and quality of items other playiers can make. I always thought that was the biggest strength of an mmorpg. Sadly, that feature os all but gone and now community means running premade content alongside everyone else.

If you thought the events were dynamic, you'll think the stories are living.

  VirusDancer

Novice Member

Joined: 11/18/04
Posts: 3684

Heroes are about character - not gear.

9/11/12 3:21:12 PM#8

This is pretty subjective.  Player X might enjoy A, B, and C - while - Player Y might enjoy C, but not A and B.  It's very difficult for game developers to find that balance where they do not end up alienating some party.  They cannot please everybody perfectly, and sometimes in trying please everybody a little...it can backfire.

One can see that in how there are many different ways missions/quests are handled as is - if you were to swap those around in games, you might have folks that love you for it - you might have people asking for you to be fired and blacklisted so you never work in the industry again.

Even with the examples you listed, there are games that do that...usually though, lol, it's not going to be the game you're playing nor a game you want to play for some other reason.

I miss the MMORPG genre. Will a developer ever make one again?

Explorer: 87%, Killer: 67%, Achiever: 27%, Socializer: 20%

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 2904

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

9/11/12 6:03:58 PM#9

Involve sex?

Oh! Not that kind of "spicing up" :)

I have found quests that have a purpose, like learning a new skill/ability, or learning how to craft something make them much more palatable. And for goodness sake... Have the creatures have those parts! I am tired of blind murloks, paw-less gnolls, liver-less boars, what have you :)

I enjoyed my WoW hunter quest to get pets. I liked my WoW Druid quests to learn my various forms. My WoW magician had to quest to learn his 16th(?) level spell. I liked my EQ quests to build my newbie armor and subsequent armor quests.

There are also quests that can be humorous. WoW had quite a few of these. The crazy troll druid that followed you around shapechanging into waterform in fights, a goblin that had you build a tiny mechanized yeti to take to her friends and scare them, a weird Ogre that rode spiders and had you scrape off their venom from his belly. GW2 I am finding has some humorous quests, too. The retrieval of bunny feed from angry, hungry bunnies was funny. Humorous quests are good for breaking up the monotony, but could become boring just as fast.

Developers have their work cut out for them with questing. Most of it has been done already. It now just depends on how they spin them.

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  Dewm

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/29/09
Posts: 1337

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

9/11/12 6:17:25 PM#10
Originally posted by MMOwanderer

I think it's because there's a million "filler" quests.

 

 

I know this is going to get flamed by a few select people on this site, BUUUUTTTT I think quested were more suited in a game that was mainly grinding.

 

I know if FFXI grinding was the main source of XP, so when you did do a quest it was fun and exiting. I remember grinding to level 25ish (which took quite a while back in the day) and then discovering the main quest line, and I don't think that the quest was that good.. but it was out of the norm for the game, So I scarfed it up as quickly as I could. I would still say that the FFXI main quest line was my favorit out of any MMO.

 

So yeh, I still support MMO's that consentrate on grinding, eventhough most westerners are to ADD for a grinding game.

  Tardcore

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 2370

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to post."

9/11/12 6:32:48 PM#11

Well . . . . . I guess we could try dressing the quests up in some saucy lingerie. Or asking a second quest to join us. . . .

/sarcasm off

Maybe, just maybe what we need to break the cycle is to get rid of quests entirely. You know make the stuff you are doing anyway in game (wars, crafting, gathering, adventuring, etc) BE your advancement. Instead of just having some random dickweed ask you "Oh on your way to the troll cave, could you please file these reports and pick up my dry cleaning?"

Until game makers stop treating the player base like brain dead office temps with no direction of their own, and let these people start carving their own niche out of the landscape, whatever a player does might as well not matter.

"Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  Aelious

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2295

World > Quest Progression

9/11/12 7:03:27 PM#12

GW2's active events and TSW's investigation/sabatage additions have already shown ways to make "questing" better.  I'll speak on the static, icon based questing that is left:

 

  • Show a difference between "task" and "quest".  A farmer needing gophers killed is a task.  Frodo getting kicked around over three movies to get a ring to a volcano is a quest.  A real quest should be multi-tiered and span a few areas.
 
  • Get rid of the icons.  Make an NPC run up to you or say something to you if it's that important.  Icons make you a completionist and take away from the adventurous aspect of the game.  If you're worried about not helping enough people in every outpost you visit give every NPC in the game some x10 task apart from bigger quests.  Just keep the symbols to spells.
 
  • Do not have the majority of XP come from quests or tasks.  Rewards? Yes, they can be the difference between completing a big quest line and completing a task.  Get a few coin and a crafting mat/food for killing gophers but get a sweet sword for travelling to that troll cave in the mountains and recovering a monesterie's artifact.  Any actual experience you would get would come from doing the task/quest in the first place.  Why would you get a huge chunk when turning it in?
  Foomerang

Elite Member

Joined: 11/10/05
Posts: 4670

A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still

9/11/12 7:20:27 PM#13


Originally posted by Tardcore
Well . . . . . I guess we could try dressing the quests up in some saucy lingerie. Or asking a second quest to join us. . . .

/sarcasm off

Maybe, just maybe what we need to break the cycle is to get rid of quests entirely. You know make the stuff you are doing anyway in game (wars, crafting, gathering, adventuring, etc) BE your advancement. Instead of just having some random dickweed ask you "Oh on your way to the troll cave, could you please file these reports and pick up my dry cleaning?"

Until game makers stop treating the player base like brain dead office temps with no direction of their own, and let these people start carving their own niche out of the landscape, whatever a player does might as well not matter.



this. exactly this.

If you thought the events were dynamic, you'll think the stories are living.

  Jemcrystal

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 1259

Let em put a slave ring thru u're nose u're prob not going to like where they're taking you. Think.

9/11/12 7:22:13 PM#14
We need a world where the word "respawn" is obsolete.  I have a hundred game ideas and their core is simulation based.  But you asked about the traditional "quest."  Let's look at what quest was in the beginning.  Like, when we were all hiding in basements playing D&D board games.  It was a goal a group of people had together.  The Game Master or the Group Mind decided that goal.  Bring it back.  But don't let the Game Developer be the Game Master.  Let us make our own quests.  Not something permenant.  Something that takes shape daily.
  Dewm

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/29/09
Posts: 1337

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

9/11/12 8:22:15 PM#15
Originally posted by Foomerang

 


Originally posted by Tardcore
Well . . . . . I guess we could try dressing the quests up in some saucy lingerie. Or asking a second quest to join us. . . .

 

/sarcasm off

Maybe, just maybe what we need to break the cycle is to get rid of quests entirely. You know make the stuff you are doing anyway in game (wars, crafting, gathering, adventuring, etc) BE your advancement. Instead of just having some random dickweed ask you "Oh on your way to the troll cave, could you please file these reports and pick up my dry cleaning?"

Until game makers stop treating the player base like brain dead office temps with no direction of their own, and let these people start carving their own niche out of the landscape, whatever a player does might as well not matter.



this. exactly this.

 

+1

  Simphanatic

Novice Member

Joined: 9/11/12
Posts: 94

The problem with virtually every MMORPG: too much Pavlov and not enough Maslow.

9/11/12 8:24:55 PM#16

I quite enjoy grinding. I'm often not in the mood for questing or am unable to concentrate on the game sufficiently to complete quests.

 

In Perfect World, after several years, having taken a number of characters to level 100+, I was simply quested out. My last alt there was a Cleric (my 6th Cleric), but by then I was totally burnt out on quests. I got her to level 92 by only grinding and doing the daily Bounty Hunter missions  (done exclusely by dual-accounting with one of my higher level Venomancers).

 

My Worgen Hunter in WoW, excepting the class-specific quests at the very beginning, has never done quests. She was created exclusively to grind -- hunting and skinning -- and to make me money. On that score she's been most successful. Between sales of hides and my speculation in the auction house we've made tens of millions.

 

I took a total seven alts to level cap in SWtOR. My last was a Sith Inquisitor that only did the class-specific quests on her home planet and Dromund Kaas. Soon as she got her ship she never did another quest, but I'd ground her to level 22 by the time she had that ship. I did grinding with her on Balmorra til she could handle level-28/29 mobs on Alderaan and remained there til she reached cap. The mats we collected while grinding (her crew skill was Bioanalyisis) made me rich by way of selling those mats in the Galactic Marketplace. Besides the accumulation of wealth aspect, all that grinding insured I had tons of planetary commendations. If memory serves me, she still has over 40 unused Alderaan Commendations; thus, should I ever go back to SWtOR my next alt will not go wanting for the very best lower level gear.

 

Admittedly, grinding as I do is not for everyone, but for someone like me who has more time than good sense to devote to playing (a 12- to 16-hour grinding session is not unusual) it's not altogether bad. In most cases it's a sure path to wealth, it's certainly a good way to learn and understand your character's capabilities and limitations inside and out, and when you're multitasking with real life issues or simultaneously playing another game (I often play a couple of castle-building games simultaneously) it's a sweet way to go. I'm also a big-time crafter, and as has been pointed out, grinding is frequently a vital component to successful crafting.

 

When I'm searching for a new MMO, the potential for grinding is clearly in my mind. I do love the challenge of taking down a particularly difficult mob or boss, but I much prefer doing it with tactics and finesse than through the shear brute force favored by many of today's potential squad/team members; therefore, my game approach is usually solo, and marathon grinding sessions dovetail nicely into that overarching playstyle. And, not to put too fine a point on it, my longterm goals usually differ markedly from that envisioned by game developers and many players. Achievement of extreme wealth and soloing bosses and instances normally requiring squads top my list of most sought after achievements.

  MadnessRealm

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2690

Ignorance is Bliss.

9/11/12 8:29:19 PM#17

The best way to spice up the quest system is the move away from it.

 

The large majority of MMOs presents you with various quests hubs for different levels, filled with plenty of quests. The problem is that the content of those quests are completely unimaginative, dull, repetitive, and unrealistic. Believe me, if a guy had his wife stolen from him,  he wouldn't be standing still in a town sipping tea hoping a "hero" will come to him, asking specifically if he has issues and accept the quest. He'll be searching everywhere for any man who can help him save his wife.

Instead, you have towns filled with farmers looking for 5 spider egg sacs, farmers who are too freaking lazy to sheer their own freaking sheeps, kids who lost their mothers, and all that bullshit.  It's overdone, it's boring, it's pointless. No one's bothering to even read the text anymore, they'd just rather press Accept, kill 10 rats, get reward, move to next quest hub.

Solution? Move away from the whole freaking thing. And whatever quests you have left? Make them count. Make them meaningful and part of a larger chain of events, make players want to read them, make players feel involved in the story, and make their success count. These quests are important, NPCs shouldn't be standing around day and night, they should be proactive as well. Whether it is by helping you directly or indirectly, they need to be proactive. Seek the players that can help them, become aggressive when faced with enemies, etc.

Not the best example, but a few of the PQs especially in the goblin territory made me really seek out the other PQs to see what they had to offer. Why? Because some of them were just plain silly that is was entertaining, and fun to do. Seeing what other silly thing the developers could make was very interesting. Game definitively fell short and although is still running, is a failure, but that feeling I had when I was running these early few PQs was really great and made me look out for more of them.

 

 

But that's not the only thing that needs to change. What makes an already boring quest of kill 10 rats even more boring is when the rats just stand around waiting to be killed. Stop it with the punching bag AI, put some freaking thought into it. These monsters are either problematic, or simply dangerous and they should act like it. 

I remember playing Dofus (turn-based MMORPG) many years ago, a very low level quest in the game. You have to kill 3 squirrels with the help of an NPC. Those squirrels are always playing tricks, stealing food, etc (according to the short story). In combat, they don't deal any damage, but they're insanely annoying and if 2 or more of those are on you, chances are you won't even be able to play this round as they'll remove all your Actions Points necessary to attack each round.

Another example, from Dofus again. Ceiling is infested by spiders. In combat, you'll face 2 of those spiders. They have very low health so they should be easy. Problem is, they summon another spider each round, and these newly summoned spider will summon another spider of their own, and it goes on and on. The only way to win is to kill both the source (the first 2 spiders) but they're exactly like their summons, so you have to guess and make your hits counts each rounds or you'll die a slow and painful death as you're overwhelmed by spiders.  Now these are interesting gimmicky monsters which makes doing quests much more interesting.

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Your daily dose of common sense since 2009!

  Johnie-Marz

Novice Member

Joined: 11/19/09
Posts: 860

9/11/12 8:33:45 PM#18

For me, the problem with quests; they are not so much quests, as chores.

Is picking up ten pieces of firewood a quest or a chore?

A quest is killing and evil bad guy in a tower. There may be steps to doing so.  you might have to ask around where the tower is, then you have to find a way into the tower, then you will have to find your way past some deadly traps. Finally you will have a showdown with the bad guy. That is a quest.

Going around picking glowy things off the ground isn't a quest, it is more akin to litter patrol.

 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4391

It's a combination of Nightingale Armor with the Mod Truebound Deadric Armors

9/11/12 10:34:54 PM#19
Originally posted by Dewm
Originally posted by Foomerang

 


Originally posted by Tardcore
Well . . . . . I guess we could try dressing the quests up in some saucy lingerie. Or asking a second quest to join us. . . .

 

/sarcasm off

Maybe, just maybe what we need to break the cycle is to get rid of quests entirely. You know make the stuff you are doing anyway in game (wars, crafting, gathering, adventuring, etc) BE your advancement. Instead of just having some random dickweed ask you "Oh on your way to the troll cave, could you please file these reports and pick up my dry cleaning?"

Until game makers stop treating the player base like brain dead office temps with no direction of their own, and let these people start carving their own niche out of the landscape, whatever a player does might as well not matter.



this. exactly this.

 

+1

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

The most recent evolution in questing does NOT treat you like "brain dead office temps" as you so colorfully worded it!

We are treated like brain dead farm hands!

Jeez, guys get it right.

Recently started playing SWTOR. I am posting updates to my experience in this thread:
SWTOR Experience

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

9/11/12 11:35:59 PM#20
Originally posted by Johnie-Marz

For me, the problem with quests; they are not so much quests, as chores.

True, but I have to admit I rather enjoy my skinner box chores that are quickly followed up by a pat on the head.

I think that chores and arcs and campaigns can all exist side by side as different scales of objectives.  

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