Questing Woes

I’ve really been thinking a lot about this issue the last couple days, and as I aspire to become a writer for an MMO in the near future, I think it’s time to get down and dirty and really look at what makes them good and what makes them bad. We, as players, want the best of both worlds. We want quests that are both interesting to read and interesting to do. This does pose some problems, though. Every MMO out there today is based on progression of some sort, and we tend to want to maximize our time spent in game, meaning that we tend to cut corners. For the vast majority, this includes looking at the quest objective and click, click, clicking away through all the dialogue the NPC gives you as it’s background. I’m beginning to wonder whether we’ve seen so many “Bob needs to make a stew, so gather 15 pieces of boar meat for him” that we simply expect these quests to be this dull so we skip the text, or whether these types of fetch quests have actually been improved with interesting dialogue. Obviously, these are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are the epitome for dull quests given their nature, but have we just gotten so used to expecting these monotonous quests that they have gotten better and we simply don’t pay attention to notice? Granted, there are usually well over a thousand quests in a full-scale MMO and not every one of them can be a gem, but players will only continue to do these generic, run-of-the-mill quests for so long before they’ve had enough.

I’ve already posted about the need for more variety and excitement for the quests themselves, and that’s something that we probably won’t really see until the next group of games at the earliest. That aside, though, I’m going to dig into EQ2 over the next week or so and really read through the quests and question whether we are doing ourselves a disservice by not reading through them and immersing ourselves into the game more, or whether they are doing us a disservice by half-assing these quests and expecting us to suck it up and deal with it. I’ll be back later with what I find.



1 comment so far

  1. KevinC on

    Good post and I agree. We have been conditioned to speed-click to efficiently get at the end result, which is the quest in our log. That way we can speed out of town with 10 quests we know nothing about, but we know to head in the general direction of the bears and gnolls.

    I think until quests offer us real choices that will affect future gameplay, players will continue to do this. If your choices of responses to an NPC, or which quests you complete, alter future content paths (i.e. locking or unlocking content, etc.), people will get burned by speed-clicking and start to pay attention.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you find from your EQ2 research.

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