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What kind of "Quests" would you like in an MMO/RPG, etc?


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#1 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:26 PM

I've been trying to think of new ways to make quests, missions, tasks, or whatever you want to call them, more unique and fun. Most MMO games and RPG's always end up having too many boring quests like - collect this item, pick up this item, take this item to this person, kill this monster, collect this many items by killing this specific monster, get to this point by jumping on these rocks till you reach a point, kill this boss monster, talk to this NPC, now talk to "THIS" NPC, etc. It's actually really hard to make new variations of these "quests" because MMO's and RPG's always seems to have the same type of game mechanics in some way or variation like crafting, farming, killing monsters, etc.

So my question is, if you could make a quest of your own and had to make it in a game with the same type of game play and mechanics used in most games today what would you require the player to accomplish or do? (This includes any sort of task any NPC would require the player to do, big or small, story related or not).

What kind of new game mechanic or new twist would you like to introduce to make quests different? Would be great if you could detail your answer as much as possible so we can all understand what you are trying to imagine.

Edited by JigokuSenshi, 14 September 2012 - 05:29 PM.


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#2 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:15 PM

Explore a story through the "eyes" of an item. Take a basic weapon, armor or item and show its progression from the day its conceived to the moment its "-cast into the depths of Mount Doom". To explore the history and lore of the RPG. I don't think too much more needs to be said, since I'd imagine most get my LOTR reference.

Almost all fantasy explores an item that shifts the course of events for at least one if not all the characters in the fiction. The player should play in the perspective of that item, jumping from character to character and telling the story from those moments that shaped it into a powerful item worth remembering.

#3 Xoyo   Members   -  Reputation: 131

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 06:22 PM

Hi, I have this idea that I would love to see implemented. Players as quest givers! What do you think? Let's say my character is a merchant and crafter, that can post quests regarding real items he will be creating once he gets the material? The place where are the resources or animals for crafting are in another big area. This area is property of another player, that can't protect its place on his own. So this player needs to to hire other players to help him protecting it. I believe it is a very crude idea, that needs a lot of polishing to work, but if ever will I make a MMO I would try do make an enviroment where players are the true makers of the story in the game. Let's say it is a war between several factions (as most MMOs are) but the Leaders of factions would be players instead of NPCs.

#4 MichaelRPennington   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:26 PM

I can't say that there is a specific type of quest I'd like to see. All I look for is relevance. Nothing pains me more than walking around doing menial tasks just for the sake of progressing through a bland story. If you are going to create quests, make them relevant to the player. Make the player believe that what he/she is doing is worth it. It's basic immersion.
Any problem can be fixed, any issue balanced, any design possible; it's a matter of your resolve to make things happen.

Those who say, "It's not possible!" should look at where games started and where games are today. I'm sure they once thought that millions of players playing and interacting at once was not possible, yet we play games that match that description everyday.

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#5 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:34 PM

Hmm, I think it would be interesting to solve a mystery. For example, NPC's son went out on patrol and never came back. What happened to him? There could be clues, some legwork involved, you find that him and his patrol were all killed, then you find out why, etc etc. You could return with a glib answer "they were killed", or dive into it deeper for greater rewards/perils.

Maybe something like in Fallout New Vegas which changes various NPC groups' allegiances towards you, so you need to choose which way you want to go.

Maybe you have to obtain a prized item from a powerful heavily protected NPC. You could approach it different ways, e.g. do a quest for them in exchange for the item, do your best cat burglar impersonation, spin some good lies to cheat them out of it, or assemble a giant army to take them down.

And of course as Xoyo said, player based quests could be interesting. Both assigned by players, and assigned by NPCs regarding players. For example, "get unique item X from top 10 player Y". It would be interesting if the top players had to deal with hordes of lower players after their loot.

Edit: Also I think one-off achievements could liven things up. For example, first to climb to the top of each mountain, first to locate a lost artifact, heck even add something for the crafters, e.g. apothecaries could have plant discovery achievements. Imagine hordes of apothecaries racing around a mountain where it's rumoured a new blue flower has been found, and they must be the first to get it back to town and verified by the elders.

Edited by jefferytitan, 14 September 2012 - 07:59 PM.


#6 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 21213

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 07:53 PM

We are limited in the possible variations of quest mechanics... so we ought to focus on the plots surrounding them - it's the only way we can disguise the repetition of the same basic mechanics.
Mratthew talked about the history of the item (and the history of the world), jefferytitan suggests mystery and suspense in events.

I'd add, we need motivating and in-depth NPCs if we want motivating and in-depth quests. Our quests are delivered by NPCs whose sole purpose of existence is to give us that quest, and it certainly shows. They feel knocked together overnight during development to carry the quest forward... there are thousands of NPCs in a MMORPG, and most seem very very shallow.

So we got:
  • Explore deeply the plot surrounding the world,
  • Explore deeply the plot surround a specific item.
  • Explore deeply a specific character.
  • Explore deeply a specific event.
But whatever you do, make sure you are at least going deep in something.

So, uh, exploration of the history of the world, as illustrated by suspenseful and mysterious events surrounding important items, that involve real detailed NPCs with personal histories and personalities? Posted Image

On a more serious note, if you create the world backplot, and major events and major items, why not outsource sub-events and character plots to players as you expand the world? Sure, you'll have to add them to the game yourself, but after a player reaches a certain level in the game, invite the storywriting ones to help flush out the backstory with more characters and more sub-events, and design basic quests surrounding those events.

Create a 'Council of Lore' of players (headed up by a non-player writer you hire), where they can review submissions themselves and help refine and polish or reject them, before passing them on to you for adding to the game.
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#7 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5073

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:13 PM

Quests where a low-level character crafts things that will then become part of their everyday play are great. For example, crafting a fishing pole unlocks the fishing minigame, or all players start with gray clothes but the player learns to craft dye to make themself colorful, or the player crafts a house and associated appliances/outbuildings/etc. for themself, or a player captures a monster and raises it to be usable as a mount.

Quests where a player has to solo a low-level dungeon they previously ran as part of a group would be a great addition to many MMOs.

Quests which unlock class or faction abilities (like the ones to unlock druid transformations in WoW). Also quests which reward the player with an entertaining emote or a classless spell, like the fart emote and skeleton summon in Dofus.

And as far as story goes, I like quests where NPCs have relationship problems and you sort them out so they are happy. Or similarly, they need decide what direction to go with their life and you help them find a path that makes them happy. Also, helping an NPC play a practical joke can be a lot of fun.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#8 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:16 PM

Thanks for the ideas, grateful for the replies. I got replies I expected. I love the idea of having players give out quests/tasks, but I have thought of what you could do with that and there are so many things that would limit the possibilities of player created quests. When you receive a quest from an NPC you can just drop it at any time or go back and finish it later. Say a player puts a quest that anyone can pick up and do. How many players can participate? How do they get experience like normal NPC quests? What happens if they just stop in the middle of a quest or just log off?

The only way I see player created quests being added is something like a player posting a need for some item and that player would pay each player a specific amount for each of the items, allowing many players to participate in the quest, but it would be like a first come first serve type of thing. But even with this type of quest, the game being an MMO there will of course be an in game item shop. Why put a quest up for other players to participate in if you could simply go purchase the items you need instantly. In order to have in game player created quests the game would need to have that game mechanic in mind before even starting to make the game.

I know that menial tasks can become more thrilling with a back story which can create emotion with specific options and choices, but many people skip over the story. Once they do this it just becomes the same old quests again. It's like telling the player that if they don't read through the story then they are screwed and will get bored quickly. That in no way is a good game. Maybe a good story, but not a good game.

If you were to exclude all story telling elements for a quest and had to rely solely on game animations, mechanics, and game play, what would you make then?

Edited by JigokuSenshi, 14 September 2012 - 08:25 PM.


#9 MichaelRPennington   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:26 PM

I'm not sure if this could be considered on-topic, but, going off of this NPC talk we're getting into, the delivery of the quest is also important. As Servant of the Lord said, adding depth and character to our NPCs could not only enhance the player experience, but open a gateway to allow ourselves to expand upon the content of the quests and the player's immersion into the game.

Most RPGs contain several cookie-cutter NPCs that look alike and spout useless information. This is an attempt to fill space; to give an illusion of life to the scene. What if we cut this out? What if we only had unique NPCs? What if we took the time to give every NPC a personality? What if we let the character get know these NPCs and grow an affection for or hate these NPCs. Then, we have created this relationship between the player and the game that will cause the quests that they give to the player have more of an impact on their emotional state while experiencing the game. The idea of creating a relationship between in-game characters and the player is by no way a new concept, but is one that is for the most part lost in online RPGs. If you could add in these relationships, then a whole new world of deep and meaningful quests (as well as relevant to the player as he/she now feels like she knows them) will open to you.

I hope this rant helps Posted Image

On the topic of player created quests:

I believe it is entirely possible. This could be carried out in contracts. Simply, you could set the type of quest - Hunt, Gather, Explore, whatever - then set the requirements then the rewards, have the player post them, and then someone would come along, accept the quest, complete it, and turn in the contract. This could be easily achieved through a central hub, such as a location in your game called something like the 'Adventurer's Guild'. Anything will do along these lines. This is only one idea, I'm sure there are tons of other options to choose from if you just sit and ponder it a bit more. I also noticed you were looking for an incentive for players to provide/use the quest service. Well, you could have a point system associated with the quest system.

EXAMPLE:

You have a quest system comprising of quests given by NPCs. Upon completion of these quests, you are given your reward and a number of what we will call Quest Tokens (QT), dependent upon the difficulty of the quest. Once you have built up enough of these Quest Tokens, you may post a quest in the Guild's Contract Board, and offer these QT as a reward. One could trade these QT for other items from this Adventurer's Guild, or for gold, etc. The possibilities are endless.'


Oh, and if you removed all story-telling elements of a quest, then it would lose its relevance to the player. There has to be a reason why the player is doing what he/she is doing. Without reason, why do?

Edited by MichaelRPennington, 14 September 2012 - 08:38 PM.

Any problem can be fixed, any issue balanced, any design possible; it's a matter of your resolve to make things happen.

Those who say, "It's not possible!" should look at where games started and where games are today. I'm sure they once thought that millions of players playing and interacting at once was not possible, yet we play games that match that description everyday.

Never tell me that something isn't possible; it will only make me more determined to prove you wrong.

#10 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 08:34 PM

Hmm, if that's your view on it, it seems to me that you're limited by the verbs available. If your verbs are move, fight, get, put... that's what your quests will involve. I was trying to work within the typical known mechanics. You could add puzzle elements, or persuasion, or minecraft style building/destroying. For example, there could be an unkillable demon that comes through a portal on a regular basis, and the only permanent solution is to dig a channel from a volcano leading to the portal, do a puzzle to open the portal, then flood the portal with lava and use a cold spell to set the lava so the portal is permanently sealed with rock.

#11 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:10 PM

I'm not sure if this could be considered on-topic, but, going off of this NPC talk we're getting into, the delivery of the quest is also important. As Servant of the Lord said, adding depth and character to our NPCs could not only enhance the player experience, but open a gateway to allow ourselves to expand upon the content of the quests and the player's immersion into the game.

Most RPGs contain several cookie-cutter NPCs that look alike and spout useless information. This is an attempt to fill space; to give an illusion of life to the scene. What if we cut this out? What if we only had unique NPCs? What if we took the time to give every NPC a personality? What if we let the character get know these NPCs and grow an affection for or hate these NPCs. Then, we have created this relationship between the player and the game that will cause the quests that they give to the player have more of an impact on their emotional state while experiencing the game. The idea of creating a relationship between in-game characters and the player is by no way a new concept, but is one that is for the most part lost in online RPGs. If you could add in these relationships, then a whole new world of deep and meaningful quests (as well as relevant to the player as he/she now feels like she knows them) will open to you.

I hope this rant helps Posted Image

On the topic of player created quests:

I believe it is entirely possible. This could be carried out in contracts. Simply, you could set the type of quest - Hunt, Gather, Explore, whatever - then set the requirements then the rewards, have the player post them, and then someone would come along, accept the quest, complete it, and turn in the contract. This could be easily achieved through a central hub, such as a location in your game called something like the 'Adventurer's Guild'. Anything will do along these lines. This is only one idea, I'm sure there are tons of other options to choose from if you just sit and ponder it a bit more. I also noticed you were looking for an incentive for players to provide/use the quest service. Well, you could have a point system associated with the quest system.

EXAMPLE:

You have a quest system comprising of quests given by NPCs. Upon completion of these quests, you are given your reward and a number of what we will call Quest Tokens (QT), dependent upon the difficulty of the quest. Once you have built up enough of these Quest Tokens, you may post a quest in the Guild's Contract Board, and offer these QT as a reward. One could trade these QT for other items from this Adventurer's Guild, or for gold, etc. The possibilities are endless.'


Oh, and if you removed all story-telling elements of a quest, then it would lose its relevance to the player. There has to be a reason why the player is doing what he/she is doing. Without reason, why do?


Yes I totally agree with what your saying, but based on people it wont work as well as you think. (Awesome that you brought up contracts because thats exactly how I picture everything. Every deal, trade, quest, etc).

Lets say I post a quest asking another player to gather specific items from a specific monster. Again this brings up "items" and with items why not just go to the market and buy it instead of paying someone to go get it and have to wait when you could get it instantly. It would only work if it was out of stock or something. Lets say a player chooses to participate in the quest. Is that the only player that can participate in that quest? Is it up to the player that gave out the quest to choose the player amount? Okay lets say the player that took the quest begins the quest and then stops halfway and logs off the game. Does the quest automatically becoming void? Will every contract need to have a time limit? Lets say that every player given quest will require a time limit. What if 3 players all fail before they finish, they player that gave out the quest will have to wait for the 4th player to finally finish to get what he wants. What if you give out a quest and a player takes it and then you find out halfway through that you don't want those items and don't want to pay the player for finishing the quest. Will you be able to cancel the quest halfway through making the player that took the quest angry that what he did was for nothing? Will the player that gave the quest just be screwed and have to pay the player anyways?

I've thought this through a lot and the only way to do it is to make it simple like I said before. A way to make it work better would be to not have an in game market at all, and I'm sure players would hate that. Even then players would just trade personally and go onto forums and the like in order to trade instead of dealing with quests.
Everyone wants instant satisfaction instead of having to wait for what they want.

EDIT:

I guess I'm not saying that there isn't a way it could be implemented in game, just that there is no point in implementing it when there are much easier and quicker ways of getting the item.

Edited by JigokuSenshi, 14 September 2012 - 09:20 PM.


#12 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:15 PM

Oh, and if you removed all story-telling elements of a quest, then it would lose its relevance to the player. There has to be a reason why the player is doing what he/she is doing. Without reason, why do?

Hmm, if that's your view on it, it seems to me that you're limited by the verbs available. If your verbs are move, fight, get, put... that's what your quests will involve. I was trying to work within the typical known mechanics. You could add puzzle elements, or persuasion, or minecraft style building/destroying. For example, there could be an unkillable demon that comes through a portal on a regular basis, and the only permanent solution is to dig a channel from a volcano leading to the portal, do a puzzle to open the portal, then flood the portal with lava and use a cold spell to set the lava so the portal is permanently sealed with rock.


My view isn't that the story elements of a game need to be taken out because most games wouldn't exist without them. What I'm saying is that a lot of players would like to enjoy a game without having to put time and effort to become emotionally attached and to have a relationship with the characters. Lots of people just want to get into a game and play with friends and kill monsters and go on adventures together. I'm just trying to figure out new ways to make quests more entertaining to those types of people.

#13 MichaelRPennington   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:19 PM

I'm not saying it would be easy by any means. Something like this would be extremely complex, and balances would have to be put in place, but as it says in my signature, nothing is impossible. You can always find a way to do something. I know the way I posted it was kind of restrictive and lack luster, but it was just an example. Posted Image

Oof, I don't know how to make it any better for people that don't want to get involved in the game at its core... I've always been one to get immersed.

Edited by MichaelRPennington, 14 September 2012 - 09:21 PM.

Any problem can be fixed, any issue balanced, any design possible; it's a matter of your resolve to make things happen.

Those who say, "It's not possible!" should look at where games started and where games are today. I'm sure they once thought that millions of players playing and interacting at once was not possible, yet we play games that match that description everyday.

Never tell me that something isn't possible; it will only make me more determined to prove you wrong.

#14 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:26 PM

I'm not saying it would be easy by any means. Something like this would be extremely complex, and balances would have to be put in place, but as it says in my signature, nothing is impossible. You can always find a way to do something. I know the way I posted it was kind of restrictive and lack luster, but it was just an example. Posted Image

Oof, I don't know how to make it any better for people that don't want to get involved in the game at its core... I've always been one to get immersed.


Yeah there is ALWAYS a way. Just saying why do an action that takes 30 minutes to get a specific item when you could do a different action that would only take 1 minute with the same end result. Paying for something in the market would also probably be cheaper than paying someone to take the 30 minutes to go out and find it.

#15 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 09:37 PM

My view is that not all items should be easily available on the market (I'm not sure whether you're referring to an NPC market or real money auctions or what). If the market is flooded with horns from a level 99 demon... uh, who exactly is going out there harvesting them?? I think that some items should only be available in tiny quantities in the market, or not at all. The reason could be that the source is incredibly tough, incredibly rare (e.g. a non-instanced demon), or that 99% of people would have no use for it's horns (too low level, not specialised right, don't have the recipe scroll, don't have the other ingredients).

#16 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

My view is that not all items should be easily available on the market (I'm not sure whether you're referring to an NPC market or real money auctions or what). If the market is flooded with horns from a level 99 demon... uh, who exactly is going out there harvesting them?? I think that some items should only be available in tiny quantities in the market, or not at all. The reason could be that the source is incredibly tough, incredibly rare (e.g. a non-instanced demon), or that 99% of people would have no use for it's horns (too low level, not specialized right, don't have the recipe scroll, don't have the other ingredients).


Yes this is how it should be, but paying someone to find it is just the same as buying it at the market no matter how rare an item is. Also if everyone can post quests there will be thousands upon thousands of quests available probably with many of them being very similar.

#17 MichaelRPennington   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:41 PM

Yeh, then I guess in that case it would be a matter of, I believe it was mentioned before, removing the in-game player market. Well, at least that would be the simple solution.

Another solution would be to have an in-game appraisal system that will reference what monster the item came from and the difficulty of obtaining said item, cross referencing it with current economic state, and the current Supply/Demand for that item, and setting the appropriate price for the item. Let the user toggle a 5% difference in lowest/highest current market value, down/up, but let no one go below/above 15% from the standard current market value.

Just a thought.
Any problem can be fixed, any issue balanced, any design possible; it's a matter of your resolve to make things happen.

Those who say, "It's not possible!" should look at where games started and where games are today. I'm sure they once thought that millions of players playing and interacting at once was not possible, yet we play games that match that description everyday.

Never tell me that something isn't possible; it will only make me more determined to prove you wrong.

#18 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 11:46 PM

Yeh, then I guess in that case it would be a matter of, I believe it was mentioned before, removing the in-game player market. Well, at least that would be the simple solution.

Another solution would be to have an in-game appraisal system that will reference what monster the item came from and the difficulty of obtaining said item, cross referencing it with current economic state, and the current Supply/Demand for that item, and setting the appropriate price for the item. Let the user toggle a 5% difference in lowest/highest current market value, down/up, but let no one go below/above 15% from the standard current market value.

Just a thought.


Yeah, I've got a system similar to that with the in game market, but you brought up a nice point on how it should work, thanks.

Back to player given quests though. Even if the in game market is removed like I said before people will just resort to player to player trade and people will set up forums to post items and prices instead of taking the long route and questing for it. Also if you really want something in game wouldn't you just go get it yourself since it would take up the same amount of time for you minus the expense. People will almost always go for the fastest route to get things done.

Don't get my wrong I would love to have player given quests, I'm just arguing every single problem I have though of on why it wouldn't work. If all my problems on how the system works are resolved, that will be great!

Edited by JigokuSenshi, 15 September 2012 - 12:00 AM.


#19 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:12 AM

Stopping conflict

So often in the role of a fantasy character we are tasked with the role of starting or joining the fray against a threatening foe, expanding that threat until the whole realm is hanging in the balance. This is great and grand in early to mid game but once you reach that level where even the great dragons of the west take longer to get to then to take them down. We lose sight of why we entered this realm in the first place.

Merlin, Gandalf, Harry Potter, etc these are late game characters that had a purpose. In the midst of everything going down the crapper, it was the display of over whelming power that these character's that put a stopper on the needless war that had overtaken the land. Its time for late game characters to take on the same roll of "bringing peace to the land", being used as a tool by sovereigns to "little did they know" start wars, etc. These characters need to be used by higher powers. The low level threats of new character's should be prompted by the actions of late game players misdirected attempts to "save the realm".

These high level victories of bringing peace to the land will leave war bands and other threats like swords for hire wandering the lands and making even the main roads more dangerous then ever for wandering travelers and merchants. These connected events should be visible to players and divide them. Possible even banding together low level players to hunt down high level player for bounty creating new dynamic PvP situations as well.

#20 bwight   Members   -  Reputation: 165

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:34 AM

I think i'll answer your question with another question. Why does everyone feel the need for so many quests anyways? We all agree that quests are boring and repetitive so why are we trying to fix the boring repetitive parts of the game and try to make them interesting? Why can't we just get rid of 80% of all quests? The ones that are left are purely optional to the player with huge rewards. I think its a great idea to make the quests puzzles and with more lore but if the quest doesn't have something rewarding at the end then nobody will be motivated to do it. In the early days of EQ quests were very special the rewards were unique items that either looked really cool or had special non-combat uses. Some examples were a pair of boots that make you run slightly quicker, a shield that made you invisible, items that allowed you to return to you're bind location. At higher levels classes got excellent items for very difficult quests that could take weeks and weeks to complete.

By turning quests into a leveling mechanic instead of an optional game play feature you force the player to play the game through the eyes of a developer. Now you don't even have to explore the world, I find myself looking at the map half the time playing to make sure my character is running to the right place where the items are marked on the map. To make quests more interesting... get rid of all the filler quests that are just there for experience. Work hard on just a few quests and people will love them.

Edited by bwight, 15 September 2012 - 10:35 AM.





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