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It's All Fun in Games

A discussion on the impact of MMOG elements based on my definition of fun... (Note - take everything with a grain of salt, as we are only human. If you want more clarification, please read my "Defining" series, as everything is based off of that...)

Author: LackeyZero

Why Quests are Detrimental to Fun

Posted by LackeyZero Thursday July 19 2007 at 12:46PM
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Today's quests are detrimental to fun, because it demotes thinking. Thinking is the basis for fun. The quests bring the players to every single important location. The players only need to play a few hours or so, before they, themselves, get that impression. As a result, the player doesn't think anymore (e.g. Why should I even bother wondering or checking that brilliant light coming from that cavern over there, when a quest is going to bring me there eventually anyways?). The thought process ends here, because why worry when the person is going to be led there anyways... There's no, "I wonder what that place is all about?" or "Is there some secret puzzle associated with that place?" or "I wonder what kind of scary monsters I will be meeting there?" or etc. This is exactly why I enjoyed World of Warcraft for 3 days, until it dawned on me that my explorations were pointless. Quests brought me absolutely everywhere. Every single point of interest… In fact, there was nothing to be found without actually having the quest for it. I explored for a few hours and it led me nowhere, except only further from where I should be. There's no need to think or talk to any particular npc to find information. All I need to do is click an NPC with an exclamation mark on its head and press "OK". Then the quest log will tell me absolutely everything I need to know in order to do the quest in bullets. No need to read the story...

My suggestion is that quests, if used, should act mainly as a form of guidance. This way, players, who have absolutely no idea where to go, can be nudged in a good direction. Most of the time the quests should not bring players to the point of interest, but rather only near enough for the players to be awed by it. The quests act as a guide that gives little bits of information, which gives players a context to base their thinking around. It points the players to a place of interest that is much like a hook in a story, which makes the viewer wonder what happens next and feels the need to continue in order to find out more...