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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: Quests

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday June 5 2007 at 10:21PM
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Rant: Quests

Is anyone else besides me who has been in this genre longer then 2 years wondering what the hell happened to quests?   When I think of a quest, you think of high fantasy and epic missions to save the world, or the damsel in distress.   Frodo and Sam went on a quest to stop the evil forces.  The dude in Krull with the glaive went on a quest to save the girl from the teleporting fortress.  William Wallace went on a quest to free his people.

I remember back in the days of Everquest and Asheron's Call 1 (one of my favorite all time games), of undertaking monumentous tasks to acquire weapons of real power that involved the killing of great dragons, traveling to far off places people were scared to go, and trying to accomplish the impossible.   Its the sort of thing that would give any adventurer some oak in his pants.  The type of missions that would make you the talk of the town when you accomplished it, when "Grats" actually meant something because you had done something extraordinary.

Fast forward 8-9 years later.....

I find myself in Azeroth for the first time with my guildmates.  A woman tells me she has a quest for me.   I feel the oak starting to pitch a tent in my pants.   She tells me to fetch her some water from the well about 20 feet away.  I eagerly run to the well, bucket in hand, figuring that this water might need to be hiked across the great land without pilling a single drop.   I bring it back complete.  Huh?   I thought you had a quest for me?

The last time an older woman told me to go fetch her some water, it was my mother because she wanted to water the garden.   In the real world, you guys know the one without the pixels, I always thought that was a chore.   You know what else I would consider a chore?   Gathering mushrooms, picking berries, skinning wolves, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, doing laundry, collecting 27 deer antlers, 57 dingleberries, 14 boar hoofs, and 12 bandit masks.

The once epic journey is now a 10 second walk behind the house.    The divine truth realized is that pulling weeds isn't fun.   The reward is a bad case of poison ivy and some dirty underwear.  And the "Grats" lost its value because frankly a 10 year old can go collect butterflies and pigs feet.

Speaking of which, the only thing more rediculous is some idiot developer thinking these sort of tasks are entertaining is the fact that I can kill a pig and get zero feet!   I mean how the hell does that happen?   Did my one knife stab it took to kill the piggy utterly devastate it to the point where  not 1 of the 4 feet were salvage worthy?  I mean in theory I should be finding 4 of these off of every pig I kill, and I'm getting lucky to find one! 

Let's be fair here though, the glory says of Everquest had their fair share of utter bullcrap.   I remember playing a Bard and needing to get a red dragonscale to get my epic weapon.    It was bad enough that Nagafen, one of the only red dragons in the game at the time only spawned once a in a real-life week.   What was even more silly is that that huge dragon only had 1 scale on his body!  The dragon was the size of a mack truck, and he has 1 scale?!  Oh by the way, half the classes in the game also need a red dragonscale for their epic as well.    Better luck next week, if your in a raid that has dibs on the dragon, and if you beat the dragon, and if the scale drops, and if your the guy who wins it if all of the previous things happen.

Developers need to find the middle ground.   Let's start by not insulting the intelligence of every gamer over the age of 12, which is the vast majority in this genre.   Don't tell me that folding my laundry and collecting little brown logs from my cats litter box are quests, those are called chores.    There needs to be a challenge and a real accomplishment for something to be worthy of the word quest.   At the same time, developers need to understand that an entire raid of 40+ people will not be motivated to complete their quest when the the odds of them finding the dragonscale are 1 in 1000 when the damn thing is covered in scales.

If your a player of World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Vanguard, or Lord of the Rings Online, this rant is something you should mull over.  These quest writers are insulting your intelligence.  I'm not saying this means these games are bad, I for one played WoW for 2 years, and EQ2 for about 8 months.  Both are rock solid games, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say the same guy was writing the quests for all of these games.   Either that, or everyone thought that WoW did everything right and could do no wrong, so they stole their model for quests.  When people say WoW clone, this is the first thing that comes to mind.  Go look at a game like Final Fantasy 11 and Asheron's Call where quests would make you sweat.   Fletching Tool, Sword of Lost Light / Hope, Greater Atlan Stones (all from AC1) are all great examples of what a quest should be.  Maybe someday the quest writers will make "Grats" will mean something again...

quaiky writes: I personally like having lots of small quests much more. it gives you things to do besides running around and killing mobs for xp and loot. But i also like epic questlines for which you need to spend some time and do lots of different things (and not only kill 5 rats). I have also no problem when these lines include a few steps that require raids, only things i don't like on such quests is if they require you to camp for hours and hours to get 1 update that everyone needs. So in my opinnion a game needs a mix of small quests to do for small items/xp and some bigger quests that involve more and maybe some epic quests that are aimed for endgame players and involve solo-raid gameplay. The amount of xp and other rewards gained should scale with the difficulty of the quest, a kill 5 wolves quest should maybe give you only money or a very basic equip piece and a small portion of xp. a quest that is involving multiple and more complex steps should also give a better equip and more xp. A good game should include enough of all of these quest types so that you never really run out of things to do, then everyone can choose if he wants to do those small quests, or if he prefers just to go to a dungeon and kill mobs in there. Wed Jun 06 2007 3:27AM Report
Jittan writes: I didn't even finish reading the first sentence, but if you like EQ type quests over WoW's stance, than I think you spent to much time in LGuk. The only good thing about grinding in EQ 1 was the social interaction required. I'll take another games mix of small quests with quests like nefarions head anyday of the week. Wed Jun 06 2007 1:30PM Report
Jittan writes: LOL and quest writers insulting intelligence in WoW? It's one of the best written storywise and content wise of any MMO outthere. Hell two of the most famous names from Everquest as far as players go are designers/quest writers for Blizzard. But I'm sure you knew that. Wed Jun 06 2007 1:36PM Report
Paragus1 writes: Jittan i think you should read past the first sentence as I think you missed my point. I am not here to argue over Grinding Vs Questing. I'm here to question why developers call these tasks quests, when in actuality they are chores. Please read the post in its entirety before flaming :) Wed Jun 06 2007 1:37PM Report
Paragus1 writes: Call me crazy, but I don't see what is so well written about fetching water, picking flowers, and collecting bat ears. That's one hell of a story you got there. Maybe we can get a JRR Tolken novel about a guy who goes on a quest to pick 12 mushrooms. It would be about a paragraph long. Unless you work for UPS or Fed-Ex, I don't think 90% of that content should bare the title of quest. Appreciate the comments though none-the-less. Wed Jun 06 2007 1:58PM Report
Jittan writes: I'll assume from your first sentence you are complaining about quests not being written well and never actually bother to read anything other than " Collect 12 mushrooms!". 90% of the quests in WoW Specifically, at least have a backstory or some kind of continuity to them, with other quests or lore. You can't say that about alot of other games. But you know thats ok, because what I get from you is that you would be happy if they just called them favors, or some other form of flavor text that means the same thing as the word "quest". There are plenty of epic type quests in WoW. All the keying quests, attunements (for the most part), etc etc. Just because when your level 5 townsfolk in the noobie area ask you to catch some fish for them doesn't doom an entire game. Give me a break Wed Jun 06 2007 3:24PM Report
Panossian writes: In response to the WoW quest's, some were fun such as the multi part attunement quests but most were just bleh and after a while of just collecting this and that it got rather silly. When entering a new area people just get to the point of running around and clicking everyone with a quest tag and just filled up the quest log for a certain area and went out and killed mobs in the area. Just grind away and watch you backpack fill up with random mob parts. Most people didnt even bother reading the random silly story on why this type of mob was doing whatever to this village or that after a while....who cared. All that mattered was the small amount of gold, the burst of XP gained and then back off to the races to speed level up to get to the end game instances/raiding. The Daoc Epic quests were IMO good examples of quality story driven questing (back in the day). Rewards you could use as you completed the steps and a very nice usefull reward at the end which gave you a sense of accomplishment. Wed Jun 06 2007 7:26PM Report
Thaliost writes: I so agree with you on this. Mosts quests are infantile and pointless. But be4 I start critisizing, I will say that MMORPGs are evolving. What was good be4, isnt anymore. When I started playing WoW I found the quest system one of the best if not the best yet and pretty good. Now the level needs to keep going up. Why is it such a taboo to have several epic quests? Usually there is only 1 or 2; and most times, the steps of the epic quests are so far apart from each other that you don't even get a sense of unity and progress from that epic quest. I'm waiting for quests that just amaze me; that are so well writen and full of plots and twists and shocking discovers. Where I feel I have an impact; even if I really don't (we cant have thousands or millions of players having a huge impact in a game :/). I particularly remember a quest in lotro, where I had to go fetch a leaf from a forest, because one elf i met was leaving Middle Earth and wanted smth to remember it. I just remember thinking: GO FETCH THE DAMM LEAF YOURSELF YOU LAZY RETARD. I'm guessing that a MMORPG that caters to a very broad audience (young people included) can't deliver all that I want. So it's time to see mature mmorpgs being released. I'm waiting for AoC, which seems to be based a lot in pvp and city building/conquering. But I hope the quests will also be mature and well writen. And in any case, if the quests aren't good; at least the players will be able to write part of the history of the game with their feats and conquests. Thu Jun 07 2007 10:08AM Report
Paragus1 writes: I did like the DAOC epic quest line. It was cool that they had an entire story that spanned your entire career of progression. You got pretty decent rewards that fit your class every 5 levels, and at the end you got an entire free suit of epic class armor. Fri Jun 08 2007 6:07PM Report
Drakon911 writes: I agree 100%. I've always thought there should be Quests and Chores. Want to make a few copper and raise your Old Woman faction? Then fetch some water and some rat ears. Want to earn some experience, make some good money and upgrade your Codpiece of Charisma? Then talk to the Captain of the Watch about the killing fishermen. My vote for most intelligence insulting quest of all time: It's in WoW. (Sorry Fanboys) Killing Murlocs and collecting their heads as proof...the insult part comes into play when you realize that the Murlocs just look like they all have heads. Maybe that's who is making these things...headless developers. Mon Jun 11 2007 4:32PM Report
Paragus1 writes: They have heads, they are just shoved up their ass. It's bad enough that many of the WoW quests opted for this route, but the fact that other games followed suit is even worse. What's worse trying to collect a head from a monster that doesn't have one, or killing a pig and finding zero pig's feet? Tue Jun 12 2007 7:25PM Report
c0nflikt writes: I dunno how you guys feel, but i been playing mmos around 7 years i started with everquest and have played many games since. But i really hate the latest fads in mmos where a bunch of small quest that help you level quicker is the game all wow is, is a bunch of quests and some pvp and some trading just stacked atop each other. i mean wow is a good game don't get me wrong but i come from the generation of mmos where we repeatedly killed mobs over and over again for days and months just to get levels or get a rare drop, i know this sounds repetitive but it was good to us. The best game i ever played was SWG before the CU it had the best gameplay and questiing and economy just best everything then they ruined the best game they had (CAUSE THEY WANTED TO MATCH WOW"S SUCCESS ARGGGGG) Sun Jun 17 2007 6:35AM Report
Paragus1 writes: I hear ya Con, basically the new "quests" are ways for developers to try and mask the grind. Masking the grind is not necessarily a bad thing, but the real quests older gamers like you and I remember tackling back in the day seem to be becoming fewer and farther between. Sun Jun 17 2007 12:19PM Report
eugam writes: Guys you dont get it. Its not about WoW vs any other games quests. Its about braindead quests in all existing games. Nicely written Paragus1. I am completely with you. Yeah, damsel in distress is one of the better stories out there. It just needed an ridiculous amout of teamwork back then. The questwould have been much better ich a small group could have handle it. Camps and rare drops suck.I dont care to hunt for 15 spirit essences as long as it is part of a good , long and entertaining story. Thu Jun 21 2007 6:31AM Report
Skuldin writes:

The problem with people is they don't have the vision to see what the MMORPGs can and will be someday.  You CAN develop a game where people on a server can have a lasting influence.  It can be coded and it will be coded but probably not in the next couple years.  My ideas for epic quests involve world PVP and world encounters that once completed are complete until the server resets but even after a reset it would maintain some kind of public display to show 'X' dragon was defeated by Joe the Great and his Band of heroes. 

Example:  You could have PVP storylines all intertwined with PVE.  When you kill X people or collect X stones you are aiding the resources on your side. Much like DAOC where the relics had realm wide bonuses you could have a campaign of pvp that actually can have a winner for the server.  So for instance if the Midgard (DAOC example) captured all the relics there would be a week long or month long celebration in their realm of the winning side and say all MIdgard characters would receive a 1% perma bonus to dmg or healing (random) and the relics would reset.

Example 2: you have this set of epic quests that all characters can undertake and the quest lines could actually lead up to a grand fight against a dragon at the end.  If someone manages to defeat the "dragon Marflame" he is dead on that server forever.  A statue of the PCs choosing would go in the main city proclaiming all the heroes that slew him on the statue (right click to show all the names).  Marflame wont respawn but the engine is smart enough to spawn another massive terror for the next group of heroes to tackle that could take months of a whole realm to uncover the clues etc.  This could be an annual or every six month event meaning guilds are competing or helping one another to try and get their names on the stones.  People can own castles and collect taxes etc.....

Trust me permanent items and quest completions will happen in MMOs but just not yet. 

Fri Jul 06 2007 4:49PM Report
Elikal writes:

Excellent writing! I am so sick and tired of these boruing Fedex quests, and I just can't do them anymore. I mean, sometimes a small, funny part is ok. But MMos now are littered with stupid menial tasks, which have no story, no drama and no heroic feeling whatsoever. MMOs must get rid of these, and my hope is, games like SWTOR, The Agency and some others will make us get rid of such foolish "quests".

Also, a quest should never defy logic. I was angered often enough about this "pig legs" issue. Good writing, tho I fear it will fall on deaf ears. We can only hope some MMO devs dare to make something better in the future.

Mon Jun 22 2009 12:31PM Report
slothjr101 writes:

 I see what you mean.  Even changing the wording would be better.  Something like "errand" instead of quest, because that's really what you're doing.  You're part of a community/army, and you're running errands, just like every other insignificant peon in that community/army.  

I think, though, that if they're going to do real quests, they should be something you discover when you're ready for them.  Like there's a tavern or somewhere you go to get rumors to follow up on, or when you reach a certain level somebody you've done something for before runs up to you, saying there's been a terrible catastrophe, and you're the only one they can turn to.  Something more realistic than your commander going, "Well, now that you've got the hang of slaying pigs, you should try dragons on for size."

Thu Jul 09 2009 8:46PM Report writes:
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