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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Psychology behind questing.

16 posts found
  geel

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/04
Posts: 90

 
OP  5/11/13 5:04:52 PM#1

Lately I have been trying many MMO's only to uninstall after playing a day or 2. I have been wondering what is putting me off in these games. Have I been playing too many and did I see everything the genre has to offer already? 

Sometimes this thought crosses my mind but I refuse to believe this is possible. So what do I dislike so much about these new MMO's. For one I dislike the endgame in many of them. But while playing I get turned off long before even reaching this point. So I started thinking. Every single MMO has the same quest concept. Basically it's talk to Mr. X to do xxxxx and return (or not) and the quest usually takes you to the next person to give you the appropriate level new quest.

I have noticed I nearly never die while playing GW2/RO2/TERA/Neverwinter etc. In fact I haven't even gone down once in Neverwinter. ( Ok, I am only lvl 20)

I am starting to believe the whole idea of questing as it is now is flawed. I feel it is an easy tool to guide players through the world. This is a fine idea but the problem is that the only rewarding thing to do is often doing quests. In itself, if this is fun, it is no problem. But I find that it isn't fun at all anymore. Why? I find that questing is simply too easy to be rewarding. It has been shown in several studies that the more effort has to be put into something the more rewarding the endeavor is. Sometimes the journey (or quest) doesn't even feel like it's fun because of the difficult/frustrating nature. But the point is that at the moment this journey (quest) is completed suddenly you feel great joy and a sense of accomplishment far greater compared to an easily achieved quest. 

If you want to have an example of such a study you could watch this talk on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work.html

So why do we get these walk in the park run-around quests? Wouldn't it be possible to create a quest that you have to work for in order to finish it? (This could be done by either making the gap between quests larger while making the quests harder but more rewarding. Of course there should be progression in between quests, gain XP for exploring and get XP from killing mobs that correlates much better to actual quest rewards. This ensures that everybody can actually do all quests by investing more time.)

There should be many more possiblities, I am not a very creative person but I feel the people creating these games completely lack creativity and are too afraid to change the way we walk through MMO's.

One more thing: I personally HATE getting gear rewards from quests. It is a way to get everything you need without looking for it. Every quest is easy so this gear is definitely in your possession if you simply finish quests. It is one more reason you don't feel anything while doing quests. Because you are not actually looking for anything, only looking to finish asap. This is a flaw because you are not looking forward to do a quest, you are only interested in finishing it. Quests should be more of a pointer to a direction to go in and have some extra reward. Is it so strange to think that "being out there" in the world doing a quest should be more rewarding than finishing some kill xx mob quest? Both psychologically and literally?

Perhaps developers do give things like this a lot of thought. Perhaps there is actually a psychology behind the effortless quests. I don't know. But I do know, I am not satisfied with these new waves of MMO's. The only ones that do grab my attention are the odd ones out like DFUW or AoW. 

TL;DR: Quests are too easy to feel rewarding. IMHO more effort is needed to accomplish greater satisfaction.

 

  StonesDK

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/06/11
Posts: 1831

5/11/13 5:15:55 PM#2
That is one long post just to say you want more difficulty so you feel more rewarded.
  ignore_me

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/04/11
Posts: 2034

5/11/13 5:15:56 PM#3

You are correct.

No risk only reward.

No variation, reinforcement is predictable.

Extinction of behavior follows after 1 or 2 days.

Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13121

5/11/13 5:22:24 PM#4

The point of questing is not that it's perfect, but rather, that it's a huge improvement over what came before it:  grinding out levels by killing the same mobs endlessly for no apparent lore reason apart from that they give experience and loot.  Questing moves you around so that you kill 10 of these and 20 of those, and then go over there and kill 15 of something else.  That's a lot more interesting than killing 200 of one particular mob to level up, then moving a different area and killing 200 of a higher level version of the same mob as before.

The difficulty issue is basically that challenge and progression conflict with each other.  They're not quite mutually exclusive, but close to it.  In a typical MMORPG, most of the quests could be made either trivial or just shy of impossible simply by doing them at a different level.  If a quest is meant to be done by level 20 players, then it's basically trivial if you're level 30 or impossible if you're level 10.  The only clean way around that is to not have progression.

  Iselin

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 3702

5/11/13 5:38:20 PM#5

That the more effort that goes in, the greater the satisfaction is obvious.

The problem is that the greater the difficulty is, the more exclusive the reward will be. Winning Olympic gold in an event is something very few people even have a shot at doing. The sense of accomplishment is incomparable  but so is the exclusivity.

So how do you increase the difficulty in MMOs and still make the rewards accessible? Well traditionally this is done not by making the tasks difficult, just lengthy. That way the reward is potentially accessible to everyone--which is a fundamental aspect of MMO design--if they're willing to commit enough time to the task.

The problem with that approach is that many equate excessive time spent on a task to be eligible for a reward with tedium, and the developer's motive are often brought into question, particularly in P2P games.

I think the root of the problem is not so much difficulty/satisfaction as it is the egalitarian approach to game design where everyone must have everything that someone else got. Apparently there is a lot of consumer demand for this "me too!" system because games are making the top tier rewards ever more accessible to the casual player.

Personally I would love to see less emphasis on giving everyone everything and letting players naturally differentiate themselves organically based on their interests and gaming habits. But in order to do that they have to create a variety of long-term fun activities and make their contribution to the game useful. Not everyone needs to be the dragon slayer but when the only fun thing to do in he game is dragon slaying, you have to design the game so that everyone can...they do that with easy quests and rewards.

  Antiquated

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 479

5/11/13 5:51:03 PM#6
Originally posted by Iselin

I think the root of the problem is not so much difficulty/satisfaction as it is the egalitarian approach to game design where everyone must have everything that someone else got. Apparently there is a lot of consumer demand for this "me too!" system because games are making the top tier rewards ever more accessible to the casual player.

As you stated previously, time invested = reward.

So the idea that you can have any reward that can't be accessible by a 'casual' or 'hardcore' player (one who meets the criteria of 'time invested') is inherently suspect.

But those 'top tier' rewards actually have more 'costs' than simple time-invested. Many of them require sociability (getting along with a raiding guild) or skills (practice, study, research) or even simple and stupid ones ('vent required'). Most of those secondary costs were the gates that used to 'keep out' the 'casual' players.

  Gorwe

Elite Member

Joined: 9/16/11
Posts: 1678

5/11/13 5:54:35 PM#7
Here comes the solution!

Imagine an mmorpg with a TES/DS leveling systems(wanna do more dmg with a Sword? PRACTICE!), without any quest markers/highlighted items where you have to carefully read/listen what the quest says. Basically, TSW done better. Quests award you with weapons and gold-tho you don't know what it will be(common mistake in MMOs is that they show you the rewards-then the whole psychology is reverse when compared to the case where rewards weren't known).

Done.
  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13121

5/11/13 6:02:10 PM#8
Originally posted by Gorwe
Here comes the solution!

Imagine an mmorpg with a TES/DS leveling systems(wanna do more dmg with a Sword? PRACTICE!), without any quest markers/highlighted items where you have to carefully read/listen what the quest says. Basically, TSW done better. Quests award you with weapons and gold-tho you don't know what it will be(common mistake in MMOs is that they show you the rewards-then the whole psychology is reverse when compared to the case where rewards weren't known).

Done.

The problem with not telling you the rewards in advance is that people will do the quest and post the rewards on a wiki, and then everyone else can look up the rewards in advance after that.  Telling you up front in-game just saves you a trip to the wiki.

  Iselin

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 3702

5/11/13 6:23:48 PM#9
Originally posted by Antiquated
Originally posted by Iselin

I think the root of the problem is not so much difficulty/satisfaction as it is the egalitarian approach to game design where everyone must have everything that someone else got. Apparently there is a lot of consumer demand for this "me too!" system because games are making the top tier rewards ever more accessible to the casual player.

As you stated previously, time invested = reward.

So the idea that you can have any reward that can't be accessible by a 'casual' or 'hardcore' player (one who meets the criteria of 'time invested') is inherently suspect.

But those 'top tier' rewards actually have more 'costs' than simple time-invested. Many of them require sociability (getting along with a raiding guild) or skills (practice, study, research) or even simple and stupid ones ('vent required'). Most of those secondary costs were the gates that used to 'keep out' the 'casual' players.

That's because there is usually no choice to make about how you want to play. When everyone can be an expert fighter, gatherer and crafter, you can't customize the activities required for excellence in each. If you had to chose one activity to excel in and had to depend on others who chose a different path you could then customize the requirements... Or even if different classes required different styles to advance you could have a grindy path for some and not others. Part of choosing a class could be choosing a play style too.

But I'm willing to bet that the game forums would be full of complaints if fighters had to kill 2000 trolls to max their sword ability and wizards "just" had to read 100 books to max their skill :)

  anemo

Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 698

5/11/13 6:48:51 PM#10
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Gorwe
Here comes the solution!

Imagine an mmorpg with a TES/DS leveling systems(wanna do more dmg with a Sword? PRACTICE!), without any quest markers/highlighted items where you have to carefully read/listen what the quest says. Basically, TSW done better. Quests award you with weapons and gold-tho you don't know what it will be(common mistake in MMOs is that they show you the rewards-then the whole psychology is reverse when compared to the case where rewards weren't known).

Done.

The problem with not telling you the rewards in advance is that people will do the quest and post the rewards on a wiki, and then everyone else can look up the rewards in advance after that.  Telling you up front in-game just saves you a trip to the wiki.

The modern quest is so disposable and worthless, that it's not worth the time to go to the wiki for me.   The item in question is also going to be pretty disposable and worthless as well.   Essentially give me the story, and experience so I can continue it sooner.

Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher

  geel

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/07/04
Posts: 90

 
OP  5/12/13 3:13:44 AM#11

But why should the reward lie in completing a quest? Why not delete that reward and give the linked mobs to that quest a chance of dropping that item for like 5% per kill.

  1. Then add a chance of 0,5-1% to get a higher tier of that same item or 0,1% for an epic drop for example.
  2. Make the quest (kill 10 of xx) reward be like 400 experience and 50 silver.
  3. Make mobs yield about 15 experience and 2 silver per kill on average. 

Like this you could choose to either grind mobs for that loot (the way I prefer) or choose to keep to the quest objective. All the while while on this quest you hope you get lucky and get that rare/epic drop.  This way you can't grind every quest because you would be over leveled. You'd have to choose targets to grind for their drops. 

In most games the experience you get for mob kills is completely incomparable to the exp reward. Like quest reward is equivalent to 100 mob kills. Completing the quest takes you 5 minutes, killing 100 of these mobs takes 45 minutes. The reward for the quest is an item, reward for killing mobs is some potions and some junk items to sell OR if you are lucky something comparable to the quest reward item. 

The fun of killing these mobs is taken out because you get a sense that killing these mobs is futile. The only thing giving this whole procedure meaning is the quest reward. This should change no??

  asdar

Novice Member

Joined: 11/07/05
Posts: 590

5/12/13 5:41:59 AM#12

I think one part of this is that you almost have to do these mindless 'quests,' of today. If you skip all quests but the main storyline you find yourself at level 10 in a a level 30 area. (theme park)

If you could choose whether to do it and it was balanced between killing things and questing then it wouldn't bother me that there were mindless quests, I'd just skip them. It doesn't seem like a choice, it's the low level progression in most games.

The other part for me is that it doesn't feel like there are any great quests. EQ had some great quests. I think I remember that there's still something like 20% that haven't ever been completed.

I'm shocked that the mage quest ever got done, that one made me grateful for the drag down final steps for cleric. It can be taken too far, as with questing for keys, but they had great quests at low level such as the temple quests. The reward was just ok, if you power leveled through you got better gear by skipping it, but the quest was great.

I played TSW and I think they did it right. I didn't search online and I enjoyed the challenge they gave. (wait, that's a lie, I did search for one that referenced music I didn't know) I liked that game well enough, it was challenging and had a real feel to the land. I'm not a huge fan of cutscenes and that game had a lot and something else was not there for me, but I'm hoping that other devs will keep trying new styles and for that I applaud them.

Asdar

  spades07

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/14/08
Posts: 844

5/12/13 5:28:50 PM#13

yeah I agree with the OP. I'm switching off mmorpgs too. And I think one of the reasons are these quests, they're quests for quests-sake. I mean I think WoW is partly to blame for this, it just went quest-overload. In old Everquest quests were awful, but because they were so infrequent, they were a bit more savoured/treasured.
(that being said Everquest 2 what I played of that the quests had a bit more appeal as it provided a fairly interesting world around freeport and that.)

  Muke

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/04/07
Posts: 1529

5/12/13 5:33:50 PM#14

It's the shallow mind of the player that causes this, if you promise a rush at the end of a quest they will get addicted to it.

Marketing proofs that.

When reaching that goal it gives them a short rush, they are happy, and they want to experience it again. So they keep doing it, not realizing it is a endless grind they are handed by the devs.

 

"going into arguments with idiots is a lost cause, it requires you to stoop down to their level and you can't win"

  shagma

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/07
Posts: 12

5/12/13 6:45:44 PM#15
www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3085/behavioral_game_design.php?page=1
  therealeasy

Novice Member

Joined: 12/11/12
Posts: 44

5/12/13 6:55:13 PM#16

Neck full of gold Olympian shit