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Gaming Critical Hit: a Question of Quests

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Claave, 29 Sep 2011.

  1. Claave

    Claave You Rebel scum

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  2. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    TrueAchievements combats the 'achievements' one somewhat, they take the XBox ones and weight the scores according to how 'hard' they are to get [based on how many people have got it]...

    But I agree... the term 'quest' is somewhat overused...
     
  3. Kiytan

    Kiytan Shiny

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    To this day, The only MMO I have played that has got quests/missions* right is City of Heroes, due to the fact you aren't "The one hero and true saviour who can unite all the lands and conquer death itself". you are saving people, towns e.t.c and doing some fairly epic stuff, but you are never the only one, normally just the nearest or most convenient. It's built around this idea that there are silly numbers of heroes (something wow definitely isn't)

    The word mission is generally slightly better imo, as it doesn't necessary give that idea of epicness,
     
  4. DaBigDog

    DaBigDog New Member

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    Surely this is right in line with the current social norm of overpraising/hyping everything - I went to pizza hut today (sooo full...) and when I repled "yes" to the question "are you familar with our Pizza parade" the serving guy answered "awesome".... really? "awesome"? I think not.

    Really? is everything we do now a "journey" or the "toughest challenge of your life" when your just cooking a bloody omlette??

    I'm quite happy that some things in my life are pretty mundane and won't reinforce an opinion that I'm constantly developing myself as a person and setting myself new goals. Some days I'm happy to sit in a chair and pick my nose... which is the equivalent of doing basic quests in most MMO's (played WoW since beta, gave up a few months ago.. stupid Goblin starting area!!).

    I used to work in marketing so I get you sometimes need to "push the sell" but it's got to the point where it's like PR from 4 year olds where everything is the "bestest ever"... honest !!

    But, if a game came out and the blurb said "Do loads of boring crap you'll hate after 10 minutes so you can progress a character for meaningless digital trinkets" would you buy it?

    How about if it said " your character will brave thousands of quests, learn new and powerful abilities, amass (and likely spend) vast fortunes of gold, and find hundreds of powerful weapons, enchanted rings, artifacts, suits of armor, and more." (nicked from Blizzard - it's their copyright OK)

    I guess we can figure out which one we'd buy, God I hate myself for being so eaily swayed by marketing rubbish.....
     
  5. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    In fairness, while WoW always had (and still has) its fair share of stupid FedEx quests, they did improve things significantly in Cataclysm.

    Many of the quests in the newly-remade lower-level areas (1-60) and the new high-level areas (80-85) are much more exciting and story driven, with some really engaging quest chains that deliver pretty much exactly what you're lamenting the lack of, here.
    There are still FedEx quests, especially in the lower levels, and in the 60-80 region (Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King leveling), but overall things are a lot better in WoW these days than they used to be.

    Some of the quest chains introduced in Cataclysm are genuinely exciting or even thought-provoking and emotional if you're into the lore.
     
  6. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

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    For some weird reason, even though Diablo 2 had only 2 real quest types (go and kill this guy, or fetch quests) they somehow made it epic to do so. It might have been the sheer fact that there was context to it, but I honestly still love the questline of Diablo 2 after playing it so god damned much.
     
  7. pimlicosound

    pimlicosound New Member

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    "Critical Hit is a twice-monthly column exploring the issues that surround and shape the games industry. Think of it as a quest to improve all aspects of gaming through discussion."

    I see what you did there.
     
  8. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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  9. Grimloon

    Grimloon New Member

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    I'm glad to read that you get better and escaped the coloured pencil office :p

    Joking aside, it is a significant question - why does everything nowadays have to be "EPIC"?

    Personally I believe that a certain amount of it may be because the marketing bods have more of a say at an earlier point than they used to owing to how much of a cash cow the games industry is now, thus leading to some "slightly exaggerated statements" being made throughout any game and a serious amount of spin being put on everything. Calling everything a "Quest!!!", however mundane a chore it may be, is part of the established routine, nothing is permitted to be simply good enough, it all must be buried in superlative descriptive vocabulary (aka prime, grade a, male bovine excrement) as the next person to release a similar game may put a better spin on it.

    I seriously doubt that any firm is going to release a game that rates task importance along the lines of grind, chore, banal, trivial, FedEx(dull through to challenging), mundane, interesting, kind of important, critical, escort (with a modifier from boring to serious ballache) and quest though, it would probably only appeal to a niche market with an odd sense of humour.

    Cynical? Yup. Correct? Maybe a little bit, it's only my opinion though.
     
  10. greypilgers

    greypilgers New Member

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    I like this! Is there a cheat or trainer to achieve quicker?

    LoL...
     
  11. LordPyrinc

    LordPyrinc Legomaniac

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    As you pointed out, the girl asking for the necklace was wearing a skimpy bikini. How is that not an Epic Quest? :) (I've played the game and done that particular quest)

    All kidding aside, I see your point. I'm not even sure these little sidebars should even be called missions. More like favors. If they don't contribute to the main storyline or the greater good of the NPCs, then it should neither be classified as a quest or a mission.
     
  12. Digi

    Digi The not-so-funny Cockney

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    Rofl, chore wars Cheesecake!
     
  13. Edwards

    Edwards Active Member

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    'Quest' is just the default state of a task in most games. Then you have 'Side' prefix for the petty tasks of finding lost kittens and playing Postman Pat. Then of course there are the 'Epic' prefixed quests, and honestly there are some of these that do feel epic, however I agree with the article that these should get notched down to bring some value back to the word Quest.

    Side Quest - Task/Chore/Humdrum Mundanity
    Quest - Mission
    'Epic' Quest - Quest/Adventure

    This is a little simplistic of course, as there are some really incredible side quests in games that themselves are epic, but they are in the minority.
     
  14. rogerrabbits

    rogerrabbits New Member

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    Good article.

    I sympathise with WoW because as far as chores go, they are about as good as it gets. It's also a very old game based on even older games. It's ALSO quite brave in that it completely re-invented the MMO all by itself. Their game is largely based on Everquest, which unlike it's name may suggest, had very few quests at all. The way you progressed was just by killing creatures over and over, and over and over, millions of times. It was quite fun but it did often feel like a 'grind', and after a year or so, it was the number one gripe of the players. So WoW attempted to kill off grinding by supplying players with a massive number of quests. In a way, they succeeded, but sadly the questing just becomes a different kind of grind, and in hindsight, I actually prefer the old way... which sadly is long forgotten now with mmo's.

    But at least they tried something anyway. And they also did a really good job of them. Where previously these chore quests had just been fed-ex quests (even EQ had those), and kill quests, WoW came up with ones like the escort quests which I don't think had ever been done before quite like that. They were also all pretty well written and well presented, albeit ultimately involving nothing more than "kill 20 lizards".

    Personally I had this realisation of quests a few years ago, and I made a game using the NWN2 toolset which attempted to go back to the old school way of doing things. Before quests just came to mean endless chores, games did actually provide you with a genuine and truly epic quest. I thought I could bring this back but making a game by myself was too hard really. But the idea was that these old games used to provide one ultimate goal, and that was the quest. All the stuff you did along the way was just a means to an end, and none of it felt annoying. The quest itself didn't even need to be all that complicated either. In Eye of the Beholder 2 for example, Dran sends a Scout to look in to rumours of evil happening at the Temple of Darkmoon. The Scout never returns... so he calls for a party of adventurers to go and investigate. And that's where you show up. It's a simple premise but it's a hell of a lot better than, "Please collect 25 wolf pelts" that you get in all the current games.

    The one thing to remember with all this, is that making a game which doesn't have chores, is harder. You can quickly write a quest to collect 20 lizard tails, and then have a bunch of lizards spawning in a swamp somewhere. The player first needs to travel to the swamp, then kill all the lizards until they have enough tails, and then return to do the hand in. That alone can be an hour or more of 'gameplay'. If you want to provide an hour or more of PROPER gameplay without this chore stuff, it's going to take a lot more development.

    I think the trick is finding a good middle ground, and what saddens me is that the super talented developers who used to thrive on that kind of thing (like Bioware in the 90's), are now gone. All these people have lost their jobs, moved on, or been swallowed up by some big company and set to work on some big budget crap that they have no passion for but are being paid well to work on. I worry sometimes that the skill of game development has taken a nose dive, and where you once had finely tuned adventures, you now just get games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 which are seemingly impressive at first glance, with nice graphics and big worlds and skills and stuff, but ultimately they are just a world full of these exact kind of chore quests.

    That is never going to change either, unless something big happens, and I can't see that happening for a long time. Most games are made for the mainstream now, and the mainstream is not going to change by itself. All my hopes are pinned on some underground game coming along and changing things. If an RPG could just have modest graphics and not spend zillions of their budget on boneheaded eye candy, and they could instead focus on making a really good true ADVENTURE, and it became a big success... it could trigger a bit of a revolution. Games like Minecraft show how a small developer (that was one guy!) can have a huge impact, so I just hope this will happen some day with other types of gaming.
     
    Last edited: 30 Sep 2011
  15. Woollster00

    Woollster00 New Member

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    As lame as it sounds the only game i remember with actual quests that were fun had story and weren't basic silly errands was runescape many years ago lol.
     
  16. americocs

    americocs New Member

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    Real questing is expensive, I guess. The really good ones always have a lot of small details in objects, acting, and story, that can't be reused elsewhere in the game. 2D games, like Baldur's Gate, had an advantage in this. 3D questing always feels like sandboxing.
     
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