Epic quests are turning into a thing of the past in favor of scripted experiences designed to make individuals the center of attention and story. Graev and I were talking tonight about group questing, and how there really aren’t a lot of quality content options for groups of characters to complete while leveling up or adventuring in the world — even at max level. Sure, there are “group quests” in WoW, but those are just ‘harder’ versions of a normal quest. There are quests to go into an instance, run through it, and get a reward. That’s not quite what we’re thinking.
What if there were special quest lines designed for groups sending groups of players around the world to accomplish grand tasks and/or slay epic mobs? These quests could provide a bonus or massive incentive to complete the quest with the same group of individuals. These quests wouldn’t be something done in a day, or even a week. These would be grand adventures designed to give each group their own story to tell after several play sessions of adventuring. I can remember logging off in EQ in a dungeon and coming back the next day and picking up with my same group of players who all agreed to meet online at 7:30pm. I’m talking EQ Cleric epic weapon quest style.
To promote community and meeting new people, a bulletin board could be set up next to these quest givers. The board could provide a list of players looking for a group to complete the quest. Players could provide the times they play, their play style, etc. Groups would be encouraged to bring along these players to fulfill the bonus of completing the quest in a full group, and keeping those players for the entire quest would also be rewarded. Massive amounts of experience, great (unique/cosmetic) items, and even some sort of alternate character advancement could be the reward.
Obviously the idea hinges on a massive virtual world instead of a themepark, and its not a perfect idea. We’re just thinking that promoting and creating content for groups to complete gives players an incentive to group and socialize. Will this drive some players to stick to their inner circle? Yeah, but it will also get some people who always solo to group up, and promote meeting new people. The idea of really long, involved ‘epic’ group content also gets developers away from creating procedural questing, scripted scenarios, and promotes playing with other people instead of playing a single-player game online.