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JigokuSenshi

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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? laugh.png

    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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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

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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 smile.png

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

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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.

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