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Independent Quests

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I was writing down 'Quests' for my MMOG theory ( I know 'OMG UR TRYIN 2 MAKE N MMOG U NUB' but I'm not, I'm trying to design an idea good enough for someone to steal and make their own) and I drew a complete blank. Why? I mean, there are infinite possibilities when it comes to quests , someone as creative as me shouldn't have any trouble, but it was not the story that was the problem, it was how you start quests, why you do quests, what's so important about them? As we all know, most MMOG's these days just write a short quest, place it on some NPC's head and make rewards for it so these (otherwise pointless and boring) quests don't go to waste. But that wasn't for me, I didn't want people to get bored, I didn't want people to think of my idea as just a mediocre run of the mill game idea that some dolt has plucked out of his arse hoping he will get rich off of it. I wanted a fresh approach, something that no game (as far as I knew) had, what's this? Player made quests and scenarios open for questing. Sure, the sentence description leaves much to the imagination, so let me lay it down for y'all. Distribution of Quest Information First things first no more quest logs, I friggin' hate these things. It pointlessly eliminates realism for the sake of lazy players who think to themselves 'Hmm, this womans just asked if I've seen her child, could that be a quest?' then check their quest logs and see 'wow, it was a quest! Amazing how there's a list of all possible spontaneuos problems that will occur' Next thing is randomness, when doing a quest two aspects MUST be completely random 1.How the quest can start 2.How the quest can finish If you have one linear quest it makes it easier for people to make walkthroughs. But if you have a random start to an otherwise linear quest it makes it a bit harder to make a walkthrough, but it is still quite easy. But how about 100 ideas for quest endings that can be universally applied to 100 ways a quest can start, that way it makes it almost impossible for someone to make a walkthrough. Because although you may have started the same quest, it probably isn't going to be the same quest. Sure it requires work but the basic jist is there. So, through tonnes of ideas, randomness and staff never touching on the subject of Quests it would systematically (at least in theory) eliminate any possibility of Quest information getting out. Of course, people might share their experiences. But this adds to the realism, when communities of players form and start making guides to quests and certain areas of quests wouldn't it be just like telling tales of how you overcame a certain obstacle, and then the people who listen to you applying that not to the exact same quest but to the exact same obstacle. Player Made Quests Now, you'd have to limit who these would be made available too. Maybe moderate chat, collect logs and see who truly gets into the game and RolePlays, afterall, you wouldn't want people being all like 'LOL PMG I LOST A RING CAN YOU GET 1 FOR ME CUS I DIES IN TEH WILDY'. Basically, when you deem certain players fit you allow them to download a patch and upgrade their account to be able to access a special feature that allows them to write a quest. The first thing they'd write is the premise, what happened and why they need help. Then they'd write their 'opening line' and 'accepting line' confusing? Example: Opening Line: Will somebody please help me **Players in the vicinity are informed of a player quest and of the correct accepting response** Accepting Line: I'll help you! The next parts would be mission, this would be what the quest maker says to the quester after he accepts. There would be, of course, other complications such as 'required items before quest is finished' or 'message' or 'code' or something and rewards but other than that there's only one other factor: The quest being unique. This would vary in certain situations, but the most common scenario would be that there are multiple people questing for the one player, but once the objectives have been acheived by one, or a team, of people the rewards are given, or divided, and the quest becomes something of history. Scenarios open for Questing Now, the most common example I can give you of this (so that you'll be able to relate easily) are games with bounties. When someone has a bounty on their head it's a scenario open for questing, someone obviously hates that player, or that player has obviously done something wrong, and you must hunt them down for a reward. Of course, this isn't the only case, if you were travelling in the woods as part of a party and one of your bretheren were killed by a certain beast that you randomly encountered perhaps it should become your mission to question NPC's and find the beast and slay him. Maybe you find a trident that is imbued with a curse, and you question a few elders and one or two tell you of its nature and how you must destroy it (Completely ripped off of LOTR but it's only an example). I haven't really thought that deeply into scenarios but I will. So there you have it, two fresh original ways of doing quests (maybe not original, but it's still fresh)

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It has been my experience, through a lifetime of playing video games, an extensive amount of time in "MUD" environments where quests are the be-all, end-all, that quests generally, no matter what a game designer tries to do, come off as being generic and cookie-cutter made.

That being said, I think that there may be ways of altering this bland redundancy and making quests overall more enjoyable. Most single-player RPG's *are* some form of quest, the main premise of the game is to complete your quest so that you can reap X benefit and the game ends. In a MMOG of any genre or type however, having a penultimate quest that drives all players is a moot point because it lacks the quality of "replayability". So, what we're left with for questing in a replayability-targeted environment are these cookie-cutter quest models that make us run to kill monster X, get treasure Y and return it to Questmaster Bob for some sort of prize.

Rather than increasing the sheer number of quests in order to provide the illusion of "depth" to the questing system, perhaps it would be better to actually code in that depth. One way that I envision going about this would be a "branching" or "spider-webbing" quest. That is to say that much like skill trees and other quasi-linear bits of information, there could be many different means to reaching the end of a single quest. Will your name go down in history as "The Savior" or "The Destroyer"? Well, that's really up to the decisions you make.

For example: Player X is walking through some village in the middle of nowhere, when a frantic villager runs up to them and shouts, "The trolls are coming! The trolls are coming! Please save us!" (jeeze, that took originality on my part...) Player X being the hero-type that he is, leaps into action and sets off at once to confront this lousy band of trolls. Upon finding the band of trolls he goes to have a discussion with the leader of the band where he's presented with his first option or set thereof: Kill the leader and thereby rout the rest of the band who will be leaderless (assassination), moderate a peaceful resolution to the conflict (diplomacy), join the troll band and help in the march on Blandville (traitor) or all other options failing, go on a massive killing spree and eliminate the troll band forever (mass murder).

Anyway, depending on the choice of action that you take, various other options and paths will open themselves up to you. Perhaps if you merely assassinate the troll leader his brother will find out and begin hunting you, thereby making you the prey of an entirely different, npc-based quest. Trying to wrap this up quickly without rambling on too much, the idea is rather than trying to make up for low-quality with sheer quantity, why don't we spend that extra time on the quality, one quest that can take days even weeks to see to full fruition would certainly be more gratifying in the long run and could have extreme, even dire impacts upon not only the player but the game world as a whole. This paradigm would also allow for every quest situation to be different to the point that every player can be presented with the different avenues to possible success and it is their choice which path to choose, never knowing what the outcome somewhere down the road might be of those decisions.

Something to chew on, my non-sense two-cents.

Vopisk

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i had the idea of player made quests several months ago. I have been thinking about it for some time now. There are alot of things to consider when you have player made quests. People may accept quests and have no intention of finishing them but this is solvable.

You would need to give players the right information.

Quest name
Quest type
some other stuff depending on quest type
Max questers
Current Number of questers
reward/payment
pay method (per item / on completion and/or on start/ time taken)
description
min skill requirement

i think it would have to be a unified pvp world where players can attack other players resulting in dire consequences.

If you have an "attack player" quest and people only loose 1/100th of there stats when dying then there is no point to the quest.

This sort of questing would be part of a much larger game. I doubt you could just throw this feature into wow or lineage 2. The rest of the game would have to support this feature.

I have bee writing a design document to support this feature and other stuff. Ill post it some time.

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Quote:
Original post by Riviera Kid
<chop>...
You would need to give players the right information.

Quest name
Quest type
some other stuff depending on quest type
Max questers
Current Number of questers
reward/payment
pay method (per item / on completion and/or on start/ time taken)
description
min skill requirement
<chop>...


Why does the player need half of this information is the question that I am forced to ask? The name should be merely an identifier behind the scenes for administrative purposes, like a name tag, a person can "introduce" themselves (or the quest) as it were without saying "The save the princess quest!".

The quest type should be fairly self-explanatory if it is portrayed correctly by the "storyline" that builds up to it. If one is wandering through a village and talks to the villager, the villager will tell them, "Oh my plow broke and now I can't plant my corn! Can you help me?" and hereby it is fairly obvious that we have to help the poor farmer get a new plow/repair his old one.

Reward/payment is also not necessarily something that need be mentioned up front, unless loosely. Perhaps after completion of the quest the player can attempt to haggle for more money (a la Fallout game series).

Minimum skills and a general description of the quest should also be self-evident from in-game information portrayed to the character, so long as we're referring to an "RPG" world, where we must make some effort to distance "player knowledge" from character knowledge. The finely walked line between ooc and ic.



I think that this sort of questing system can be used in any manner of RPG game, even MMORPG's like WoW or others so long as there is an engine to randomly generate different quests. Perhaps when a player greets an NPC there's an X% chance of rolling a random quest and based upon the NPC's social status, employment and any X number of factors we generate a suitable quest. So the baker might ask you something as simple as retrieving a sack of flour, while the city mayor may tell you about how vagrants have kidnapped his daughter and are holding her somewhere on the outskirts of the city for an outrageous ransom.

In the later example and in fact both, we have further methods for my described "Branching" system of original quest creation. If the game uses an alignment/NPC relation system, then it can easily be affected by such things as... whether or not the player stole the sack of flour, whether he negotiated with the vagrants for safe return of the mayor's daughter, possibilities are wide open for continuations in the storyline depending on player actions.

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maybe i am thinking about something different to this thread.

Player created quests in mmorpgs today is the following

Player 1: Hi player 2, would you like to do something for me!
P 2: Ok, what?
p 1: Go get me 5 pieces of metal so i can make a sword, i will give you £300
p2: ok
...1 hour later
p2: actually, you know what, i want the metal to make the sword myself, haha, ive wasted your time, its good think the developers implemented nothing to stop this sought of behaviour.

if multiple people can take the quest then the players would want to know how many are on because it may only be completable once (competition, makes it more interesting, if someone gets the item before you the quest isnt over till it is brought back).

There would be a quest board, it wont be necessary for the quest maker to stand around talking to people all day. They can go off on there merry way and get notified of people taking there quest on.

Guilds/clans would make alot of quests because they need resources to fight in battles. Individuals would make quests if they dont have alot of time and are loaded with cash.

There main problem with mmorpgs is there are no tools to do anything comprehensive apart from killing monsters.

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Quote:
Based upon Riviera Kid's most recent reply.


I wasn't really thinking of "quests" in this way, these PC-2-PC jobs are something seperate in my opinion. However, there could be hard-coded support built into the game system to support something like that.

In a text-based context, and OLC mode of sorts could be entered, or in a MMO sense, a graphical menu that allows one to set the parameters for their "job". First what "type" of quest is it? Assassination, Resource gathering, expand as you see fit... What is the "target" of the quest? Player X, Iron Ingots, Goblin Heads... What is the "pay" of the quest? The Magical Staff of Shrieking, 500 gold pieces, etc... And so on and so forth, including quantities and other various applicable values for the different type of quests.

Based upon this little 5-minute brainstorm of mine here, I think this system would be fairly easy to implement even into an existing game and would probably be very easy to develop. It might be neat to see, allowing guilds, clans, etc... put "hits" out on players who cross them, letting "Bob the Blacksmith" focus on his crafting instead of trying to find iron by paying players to bring it to him. This would also make a viable playing option for "Merchant" characters, since this class in most games is sorely lacking.

Of course, things could be taken one step further and NPC's could randomly create these "quests/jobs" to allow a backbone driving to this economy model, making sure there are always a certain minimum amount of quests available. Much like "computer players" in multi-player RTS games like Age of Kings, etc... Suppliment computer players to the point where we have X number of players total within the game.

Oh yes, and another option could be a "recurring" job or a one-time job. To allow someone like Bob the Blacksmith to continue ordering iron ingots to quantity X and to refresh his job listing when he falls below stockpile Y. This is a good way to funnel resources out of the system and move money around. Oh yes and of course, if we implement something of a "recycling" system, or quality control, we can add further dimension to these type of quests, which of course, can be considered player-created as much as they can be randomly generated. Only we're using a supply/demand psuedo-model instead of complete psuedo-randomness.

Anyway, I'll discontinue this line of thought for now before I ramble on for hours and just keep reiterating the same points.

My two cents, something to chew on.

Vopisk

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Quote:
Original post by Vopisk
Quote:
Based upon Riviera Kid's most recent reply.


Anyway, I'll discontinue this line of thought for now before I ramble on for hours and just keep reiterating the same points.

My two cents, something to chew on.

Vopisk


i hope to hear more. I think this idea has great potential.

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What you're talking about is basically a quasi-random quest generator.

I have a quest generator Idea thread that I started a long time ago. You can find it here:

http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=328585

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I generally do not discuss quasi-anythings. Let alone quest generators. My part in this discussion was more as introducing DYNAMIC quest generators. By dynamic I mean that yes, quests are generated on the fly, but that does not mean that their starting points cannot be put in by a coder/builder/whoever. The dynamism comes from the "end point" being some place far in the future. Of course, this kind of system would have to require very detailed NPC/PC relational AI, so that grudges and fondness could develop between the PC and the NPCs. However, the details of a system like that are more for a technical discussion rather than theoretics, however, let me play that idea right into my previously discussed "job" idea.

Perhaps, you go on the "randomly generated" Mayor's Daughter Ransom quest... The Mayor gives you 500 gold pieces to go and negotiate the succesful release of his daughter from the brigands. However, rather than ever go and discuss anything with any brigands, he has you followed and finds out that you're skipping town with his money (not good). This could all be simulated with a "timer" that says you have X amount of time to perform some sort of action in regards to this quest. Perhaps the brigands gave the Mayor five days to respond, if the Mayor doesn't hear from you within that time period, the next step happens.

Since you have no contact with the brigands, they don't know you and therefore don't care, but they are mad at the Mayor and kill his daughter. So now the Mayor is out 500 gold and his daughter is dead because of you, you lousy sneak-thief! So he's righteously pissed, and goes to the town square, posting a basic... "WANTED" poster with a huge reward for your head. Player bounty hunters then see this notice and the hunt is on! Thereby, even "jobs" involving more than resource gathering and trading could be created dynamically from the game, based upon character actions. This requirement for character action is what makes the system dynamic rather than quasi-random.

However, looking at it from another perspective. Let's say you go and "rescue" the daughter from the Brigands. Well, you may have taken out some of the guards, but you surely haven't killed the entire band! So what now? You took their monetary resource (hostage) and they don't like people stealing from them! (who does?). So now, any NPC that happens to be a member of that band is out looking for a character matching your description! (See the thread regarding telepathic NPCs for my take on this). We just keep adding layers to our game world here. Let's keep going.

Now, for real player merchants. Let's say Tailor X in City A has a great need of silk. Tailor X posts a listing for his need, or relates it somehow to Player Y. Player Y is a player-merchant and hears about Tailor X's need for silk. Since Player Y knows that City B (quite some distance away) has great prices on silk, he decides to start a caravan. So, hire some wagons, perhaps some NPC guards, withdraw bags full of gold from the bank and you're on the road. So, given whatever amount of time it takes for Player Y to lead his caravan across the gameworld (hopefully safely, look out for bandits!) he arrives at City B and acquires however much silk it is that he needs at the discounted cost. Now, ideally, if he hasn't overshot on his supply and demand model, Player Y can return to City A, sell his quantity of silk to Tailor X and any other given number of players or NPCs that might have need/desire for bolts of silk and make his profit. After paying his hired thugs and wagon drivers and whatnot, he walks away with so much profit as he managed to swing.

Anyway, if we look at games like Earth and Beyond and other MMO's that have actually pulled it off, we can also give Player Y a certain amount of experience based upon the difficulty (danger/distance/etc...) of the trade route. Whereby, players can join your game with the only desire of being rich and succesful merchants, never having to kill a single thing (unless you count bandits trying to steal their goods)! A revolution in the gaming world!

Anyway, a bit more to chew on.

Vopisk

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Player driven quests are what I had always hoped Ultima Online would have implemented way back in the day. The quests they had sucked HARD as anyone who played could tell you. They also tried the game master-run 'events', but those were usually lagged up because most of the players wanted to do them and would be there. It seemed so much simpler to me to implement a player quest board, where players could jot down what they want done, and other players looking for something to do could read the board, pick out what they wanted to do and had at it. That never came about though.

But I still think its a good idea. I plan on including it in my game. Im actually hoping that I can force players into using the quest board, since I have a lot of merchant/crafting professions that will be unable to defend themselves in combat. Similarly, those adventurers who spend most of their time fighting can give quests to the crafters to create a custom sword or shield for them, since they never built up their crafting skill.

Yeah, Im hoping that with the ability to create custom weapons and armor, not only will the crafters have a large amount of crafting possibilities, but the different possibilities will also open up the need for a large amount of gathering possibilities, meaning the adventurers quests will not always be going for the same material or the same amount as anyone else.

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