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Thread: The Quest is the Quest!

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    Soulwalker Aurinchan's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The Quest is the Quest!

    Tom Baker (As Doctor Who) was once confounded by the phrase, “The Quest is the Quest…”

    Today, I carry that sentiment into Trion’s new MMORPG. Following watching the promotional video for the Syfy connection project that is now in it’s infant steps, a very important question came to mind.

    As I have been questing through Telara I became aware of something that I find a bit troublesome.
    Over my tenure as an MMO player and QA, I have noted that all of my favorite PvE content is multilevel. Quests that I encounter, begin, and in which the rules change as I progress, causing the story to evolve.

    In Azeroth, they were always historical quests given to you to track down what happened to “so and so”. And, upon finding him/her/it, you were faced with the moral dilemma of completing this 6-8 quest story ark, or letting it drop on step 5 because you just didn’t want to kill the poor thing.

    In Albion, the quests ran deeper than in any other game. As I progressed through the levels, I was given an ongoing quest chain (one of many) called Epics. These long undertakings results in a huge, class/location specific understanding of the lore, and characters you were interacting with. I can honestly say that, among the 12 base gameplay areas across the continent, there were only a handful of NPCs whose names and back stories I didn’t have memorized.

    In Telara, I have noticed, that, at level 25, I have really only ever branched a quest to get to a new area, or give me a subtle tutorial about a given quest mechanic. I have not really been sent all over creation, tracing the legend of so-and-so, or looking for so-and-so’s missing children. Most quests stop after two sections, and “Story” quests are few and far between.

    I know it is a lot to ask, but I also know that the PvP is strong enough in RIFT to stand alone. I would love to see an evolution of the questing content and system to include the story/concept craft that I have come to expect from Lindsey, Tony, Aaron, Robert, Will, Christopher, Ty, and the rest.

    A Story Quest Icon would be a great addition to the hovering notifiers over NPC’s heads. Additionally, in the quest description for long quests, an X/X indicator which informs the player what step they are on. (This allows players who are not invested questers to find richer grounds to play in) And then lastly, go nuts! Fill the questing grounds with invested story that tells, in multiple levels, the history of the world, while at the same time, bridging the gap between player and personal history.

    Too much work for a questing concept that might not work for RIFT? Okay, I know that there is an NPC on both factions who takes artifacts. I personally, have given her about 30 sets. What if, just to test this new system, she was the only one to hand out these Epic quests? Seems logical. After all, she is collecting pieces of history. If each turned in set had the prospect of resulting in a matching, in-depth quest line, then the players who wanted the expanded content would have an avenue to explore the world.

    If it works, give the world a Historian NPC classification. Let me go to Historians for long quest chains and that way the game can retain its casual quest structure.

    I just would hate to hit level 50…then 60… then 70… and so on, and have years pass in a game that was a grind, only because I could not connect with the vast wealth of story.

    How am I supposed to write Telaran Novellas if I have no story on which to base them?

    Thanks for listening.
    "I've gone to find myself, if I get back before I return...keep me here."

  2. #2
    Rift Disciple Clangeddin's Avatar
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    I am of the idea that MMOs should just drop the quest sistem as a "one-shot" exp boost to better cover the grind.
    It was a very successful idea in WoW, it helped cover the grind better, and actually helped most people hit the level cap, but nowadays I think it no longer has the same appeal. What I'm trying to say is there's no point in making 5000+quests in a MMO, if most of em are "kill 10 of this, collect 20 of that, talk to Y", you're not going to cover the grind anymore.

    I would rather have... heck.. only 20 epic quests well done, with good storytelling, nice mechanics, epic encounters, even enigmas and mini-games within it that make you travel pretty much around the whole world making you experience the content in its entirety, and that might have possible different outcome depending on your action.

    As for the one-shot exp boost systems to cover the grind, they could always think of something else, as EXP coming from PvP kills, crafting, exploring, socializing, helping those in need even tho the content might be trivial for you (and normally give you zero exp), roleplaying and so on...

    But I'm under no illusion that this game won't have tons of quests in the more "traditional" fashion...
    Last edited by Clangeddin; 01-10-2011 at 05:31 AM.

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    Soulwalker Aurinchan's Avatar
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    Arrow Canons Galore and the Grind...

    Quote Originally Posted by Clangeddin View Post
    But I'm under no illusion that this game won't have tons of quests in the more "traditional" fashion...
    You'll absolutely get no argument out of me that the standard style questing is an outdated mechanic which evolved to meet a specific purpose. I also concede that RIFT will have, at launch, a boat load of traditional questing.

    I just hope we see a layer of long, invested, quality quests. I would like the experience to be more invested than knowing that I have killed 3.5 million Husked Planer Worms and delivered 1.8 million letters to old chums.

    I don't fit in the Role Playing dynamic, if only that I don't have the time. But I VALUE a good story, and full explanation of a universe. One of the biggest fears from Design teams whom I've worked with, is always that they will create some sort of universal imbalance by releasing possible contradictory nuggets of story in these long undertakings. However, in my experience, the truly amazing stories come from sorting out those little indignities to the Canon. I seem to recall a Dark Age dungeon quest that used time travel to explain why a quest NPC in two different Epic lines was both a good, and bad person.
    "I've gone to find myself, if I get back before I return...keep me here."

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    The idea of fewer, more epic, quests with a strong story arc sounds like a very interesting idea. Especially since one can earn good exp and equipment by closing rifts and footholds if they don't feel like questing. It seems like Rift might be a perfect environment for this sort of shift in quest mentality to take hold.

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    Rift Disciple Clangeddin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brento73 View Post
    The idea of fewer, more epic, quests with a strong story arc sounds like a very interesting idea. Especially since one can earn good exp and equipment by closing rifts and footholds if they don't feel like questing. It seems like Rift might be a perfect environment for this sort of shift in quest mentality to take hold.
    I think it's a bit too late for that now sadly.
    Perhaps in an expansion, they might deal with the questing of increased cap content in such a way. But for a long time, this game will have the typical WoW style quests.
    As someone said in another section of the forums, they are pretty much taking what made WoW successful and adding particular features from games that haven't fared so well in the end, but that initially drew players just because of those "features".

    And, like it or not, what we define now a traditional style of questing, was actually a strike of genius in the way it was done in WoW vanilla, it made casuals believe they were not grinding, they turned lots of casuals into hardcores, and to be honest, I fell for that as well at the time, but now, looking back, I realize that wasn't the case.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that EQ didn't have nearly as many as "solo-levelling-quests" as WoW had, nor any MMORPG before it.
    Last edited by Clangeddin; 01-10-2011 at 11:02 AM.

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    Plane Touched STICF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clangeddin View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that EQ didn't have nearly as many as "solo-levelling-quests" as WoW had, nor any MMORPG before it.
    I am not sure about EQ as I never played. However, EQ2 did have this type of questing. It was release the same month as WoW if I remember correctly.

    Coming from FFXI I found that EQ2 and WoW both much easier to level. They both were way less hardcore when it came to party make up (this was FFXI before CoP expansion). I have to say I like the quest system as it stands. Do I like long epic quest lines? Sure. The Nation Missions in FFXI, the Great Mother quest from WoW BC, and the "To Speak as a Dragon" on EQ2 are some of the greatest quest IMO.

    I will take quest style leveling if only to keep from having to set up camp and sit through hours of pulls like I did in FFXI.
    Last edited by STICF; 01-10-2011 at 12:56 PM.

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    Plane Touched Anasasiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurinchan View Post
    You'll absolutely get no argument out of me that the standard style questing is an outdated mechanic which evolved to meet a specific purpose. I also concede that RIFT will have, at launch, a boat load of traditional questing.

    I just hope we see a layer of long, invested, quality quests. I would like the experience to be more invested than knowing that I have killed 3.5 million Husked Planer Worms and delivered 1.8 million letters to old chums.

    I don't fit in the Role Playing dynamic, if only that I don't have the time. But I VALUE a good story, and full explanation of a universe. One of the biggest fears from Design teams whom I've worked with, is always that they will create some sort of universal imbalance by releasing possible contradictory nuggets of story in these long undertakings. However, in my experience, the truly amazing stories come from sorting out those little indignities to the Canon. I seem to recall a Dark Age dungeon quest that used time travel to explain why a quest NPC in two different Epic lines was both a good, and bad person.
    QFT.

    You aren't the only one who has struggled with this, and hoped (and feedbacked if you are in the beta) ideas for a...deeper quest design (for lack of a better word.) I admit that in an online, persistent environment I'm not sure how you would advance storytelling design beyond what we've already seen.

    Based on a recent podcast from Massively, I think, Scott Hartsman indicated that their tech allows them to do other things besides just the Rifts. There are ideas at least for how to use that tech in different ways. I HOPE that this could be used for some new kind of storytelling experience, or at least, a more advanced form of questing. I can only thins of two other titles that are actively tackling this problem: TOR and GW2. GW2 for example seems to understand the problem of advancing quest design/storytelling and they seem willing to try a new approach. But it looks like a truly massive undertaking to me.

    I think Rift may yet have some things up its sleeve to show us to tell its story. I don't think we will see those things until after launch..but hopefully it's in the works.
    Last edited by Anasasiel; 01-14-2011 at 05:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STICF View Post
    I will take quest style leveling if only to keep from having to set up camp and sit through hours of pulls like I did in FFXI.
    Tell me would you rather have a party that goes through lasts or party members who ditch you the moment that their participation is no longer convenient for them..

    Sure finding a spot might have been a chore in EQ1 (and i guess FFXI) but you know what.. You got to know people.. you found out who they were through chatting.. you made friends.. you made contacts etc.. Older MMO's werent all about kill kill kill and next to no downtime so you can kill some more.. They were about the community..

    Sure if you never grouped in an Older MMO you probably had problems finding a group at later levels.. But if you grouped alot and made a name for yourself & some friends.. It got ALOT easier.. And those friends you made didn't just ditch you because you already killed the boss they wanted loot from in an instance & don't want to waste their time completing it...

    In a strange way I have always enjoyed the peace of grinding mobs for exp (but back in the day we called it leveling)
    "Power is neccessary because conflict will never dissappear"

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    At least the quests are pretty decent so far and very strongly tied to the story.

    I mean, who else love the cheesemeister quests?

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    Rift Chaser Egregore's Avatar
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    Aaah let's really analyze this. When anybody plays WoW how many do you think are actually reading the quests they are doing? Ok I have to pick up 6 crates in Deathknell and return them to one hell of a lazy NPC back in the chapel. when the one of those crates is right outside the door to the chapel. What are those crates and why are they there? You really have to find out why those crates were delivered to Deathknell by reading one of books located in Tyr's Hand and by reading that book you have to find out who ordered the delivery to made by reading a book that is located all the long way in Winterspring. So I use WoW as the basis, because it's the only other mmorpg I have ever played and quit 2 years ago.

    When I picked the books up in RIFT, I read all of them to learn more about this game and to see if there were any hints or Easter eggs I could pick up.

  11. #11
    Rift Disciple Nock's Avatar
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    This is the kind of feedback Trion should make note of and try to do something about. Epic arcs are very important, and have thier place in almost all MMOs. Even WoW, if any of you remember the quest chain surrounding Ahn Qiraj, that was so long and involved 2 different 20 man raids, and a 40 man. Epic quest chains are something I'm sure Trion plans on having (probably more of them at endgame) but would be a simple task to add if they did not. I'm pretty sure thier mentality is shorter quest chains means you don't have to find other people at the same "stage" as you in the chain.

    As for the OP's mention of Albion, you have to understand that Lionhead has put a very strong focus on morality and how your decisions impact the world, for better or for worse. I really enjoy Fable 1, 2, and 3, but hope Rift does not take on this similar focus. Defiants and Guardians are not the good vs. evil or pure vs. corrupt that is in Fable, they are self-serving vs. god-serving, but aim for the same goal: the preservation of thier world.

    Do I think multiple outcome quests is a good idea? Absolutely, and again, it would not be an impossible thing for them to implement. But the choices you make should not impact the world or your character beyond simply being thier personal story that you the player experience and remember.

    In only a few minutes of brain-storming I came up with two different styles of accomplishing this. Either, alternate ways of completing a quest, or alternate chains. By alternate ways of completing a quest, say you had to save the daughter of an important faction figurehead. You could either break into her dungeon hacking and slashing, or bribe the jailor and accomplish the same thing but quietly. For alternate chains it would be similar to the books where you choose how the story goes (to go into this room flip to page 5, to stay in this room flip to page 8) only you would choose a response to a question and it would send you on a quest different than if you chose a different response, but none of the outcomes of these quests would cause you to have a different world than other players.

    The problem with the different world result is 1. Lore problems, and 2. phasing. "Phasing" zones just makes the problem mentioned earlier of finding people on the same "stage" of a quest even worse, finding people in the same "phase" as you.

    Edit: Hrm, I might have misunderstood your use of "Albion" as this name is used in the Fable franchise but also for DAoC. So, if that is the case, my bad, really sorry lol. I will underline the portion of my post that involved this mistake. Ignore it or read it, your call.
    Last edited by Nock; 01-16-2011 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Misunderstood the term "Albion"

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    Plane Touched STICF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordOberon View Post
    Tell me would you rather have a party that goes through lasts or party members who ditch you the moment that their participation is no longer convenient for them..

    Sure finding a spot might have been a chore in EQ1 (and i guess FFXI) but you know what.. You got to know people.. you found out who they were through chatting.. you made friends.. you made contacts etc.. Older MMO's werent all about kill kill kill and next to no downtime so you can kill some more.. They were about the community..
    Actually I prefer not to have to wait on parties to level. Leveling of any type is really just a grind to get to max level. After that the real game starts. I have spent a least 3X the amount of time at max level as I spend leveling my main class. People bailing is a fact of party leveling. It is also a fact that even though people make reputations as idiots while leveling. There will always be idiots at max level also. I would rather not get fed up playing with them because they usually play "needed" jobs (healer, tank) to get parties easier.

    I also happen to be luck enough to now play with a small set of work friends. So we usually have a ready made party. However, I would still rather not level with them constantly. Some times in a MMO I just want to do "my own thing".

    BTW, FFXI back at launch was all about party and "Kill, kill, kill..." due to XP Chains. We used to chain pull mobs for hours on end. It was all about static camps that were over camped. As a puller, tank or healer it was about endurance and time, trust me there is no skill required to level in any MMO.

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    Plane Touched biotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egregore View Post
    Aaah let's really analyze this. When anybody plays WoW how many do you think are actually reading the quests they are doing? Ok I have to pick up 6 crates in Deathknell and return them to one hell of a lazy NPC back in the chapel. when the one of those crates is right outside the door to the chapel. What are those crates and why are they there? You really have to find out why those crates were delivered to Deathknell by reading one of books located in Tyr's Hand and by reading that book you have to find out who ordered the delivery to made by reading a book that is located all the long way in Winterspring. So I use WoW as the basis, because it's the only other mmorpg I have ever played and quit 2 years ago.

    When I picked the books up in RIFT, I read all of them to learn more about this game and to see if there were any hints or Easter eggs I could pick up.
    I never read a lot of the books laying about WoW. But, my first time through a game I try to read all of the quest text. In Warhammer, that was a quest all it's own. I plan to read stuff when I play through on live - right now I'm rushing to catch up to new Beta content to help out.
    Last edited by biotek; 01-15-2011 at 05:51 PM.
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    Soulwalker Aurinchan's Avatar
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    Arrow Lionheads and Bullfrogs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nock View Post
    Edit: Hrm, I might have misunderstood your use of "Albion" as this name is used in the Fable franchise but also for DAoC. So, if that is the case, my bad, really sorry lol. I will underline the portion of my post that involved this mistake. Ignore it or read it, your call.
    You're adorable. Yes, I was speaking of Dark Age, I am afraid I never could quite grasp being a Mid, and Hybernia was never my first home. Lionhead (My beloved Bullfrog remnant) makes their coin of a unique flavor of RPG specifically targeted at niche Monty Python throwbacks with class.
    "I've gone to find myself, if I get back before I return...keep me here."

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    Soulwalker Aurinchan's Avatar
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    Default Scott Hartsman: Creative Director on Quality Control in the Experience....

    Here is what the 2010 Ten Ton Hammer article concerning modding, and user contributed content had to say...

    This is why it's on developers to create compelling experiences, in a cohesive package.
    We approach game creation with these thoughts firmly in mind. Give people fun ways to customize their experiences. Give them ways to entertain each other socially, but always remember to provide them with interesting, solid experiences that you've thought out.

    Innovate in content creation and delivery. Focus on quality. Give customers things they actually want.
    I just find it interesting that this was a point made by the Creative Directory earlier in the RIFT developmental process, as a methodology to attract people to the new project. It seems, at least on the surface, that our thoughts, and the thoughts of the managing mind behind our content desires may indeed line up...
    "I've gone to find myself, if I get back before I return...keep me here."

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