Quests Should Be An Adventure

This fellow went on a quest.

We write often about the modern quest being nothing like the old quest design.  Today’s quests are errands, scripted events, and exactitudes that tell you specifically how and where to complete the objective(s).  Old quests were, as the definition right from google says, “A long or arduous search for something.”

I’ll use EverQuest as an example, and I’ll use a very early quest to illustrate my point.  In the Dwarf capital city Kaladim there is a NPC named Vacto Molunel who tells you about his ability to craft armor from the carapaces of scarabs.  Vacto tells the adventurer that his talent is so special that he’s willing to make you some armor if you bring him gold coins and a pristine giant scarab carapace.  That’s the only explanation given, and the adventurer is then sent on their way.

There was no quest log back in those days.  There wasn’t even a minimap.  You were sent out into the world to quest and adventure how you want, where you want, and as a result you complete these quests on your time in your own way.  Turns out it’s not hard to obtain these pristine scarab carapaces from scarabs just outside Kaladim, but players can buy them from others or even skip the quest process entirely and buy the finished product from another player who already completed the quest.  Funny enough, you could even get the carapaces from Unrest, a dungeon that players can go to much later.

It’s the concept of completing quests in your own way that I want to emphasize.  Let players figure out or at least choose how they want to finish a quest.    Quests should send players on a journey, force them to think/problem solve, and provide an adventure worth telling stories about to your friends.

I loved finding a quest and thinking, “Where will I go, who will I meet, and how on earth am I going to pull this off?”

  • Nice post, and I agree.

    While not quite the same, Guild Wars 2 is trying to provide a bit of choice in quest completion. I remember watching a demo of Totalbiscuit playing the Charr starting zone. He came up to this blacksmith shop, and got the objective “Help the forge get running again” with a progress bar. Now, he could pick up scattered tools lying around and put them back on the racks, repair broken items, fight off some monsters attacking the forge, etc… and all these actions helped fill up the progress bar. You could choose how much of each ‘mini-objectives’ you did, or even bypass one altogether if you wanted. The bar would fill up after a certain number of actions, regardless of the specifics.

  • dang someone beat me to the gw2 ranting….. (to be honest i dont see one here)

    I think the main problem with a quest like that comes to the fact the insane number of variables in the way it could be completed. People would scream its unfair blah blah blah.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with this post. It doesn’t stop with ‘quest’, however. We see word misuse in ‘raid’, ‘epic’ etc. all detailing persons, places, things that are truly NOT the words the industry uses to describe them.

    The proper statement is ‘someone goes on A quest’, NOT ‘someone goes on five quests’ much less 10, 50…

  • In Asheron’s Call, it took TWO MONTHS for the players to figure out how the “Aerlinthe” quest like worked. You had to do many things all over the game world to activate the quest, collect forge part to restart a forge, etc… before you could actually access the final castle.

    But with the attention spam of today’s average MMORPG player, this would never work.

  • The LotRO original questline sends players on some serious journeys–so much that they often complain about them. They are still better than the WoW quests I’ve been doing. I hope WoW hasn’t ruined questing for me, because frankly I’m really sick of them. I’ve actually started grinding mobs to level instead and collecting cloth to sell. It’s more lucrative. I also expect to quit soon. After playing a lot of WoW for three months, I hope TOR will be very refreshing with the class quests, etc.

  • I will forever and always adore Asherons Call as it was my first MMO and the thing you stated Keen is spot on, you could finish how you wanted and there was no log only subtle hints, and vague directions its the reason why I will forever love questing in AC because there is no such thing as a fed-ex quest. Quests are also repeatable and offer massive amounts of gold and XP plus other various sundry rewards but they were not easy, took a while to complete, and could be done with any amount of people. It wasnt soemthing you set out to do in a 5 min time block, often times they were detailed and took hours to do. An example is the following taken from an AC wiki which posts guides (albeit it was more fun to do them without a guide plus they were more rewarding) This style of quest gives you the scope and size of a quest done right:

    This is the quest you must complete to become a Lord in any of the three societies.

    Walk Through

    Part 1: Flagging
    1.Speak to the Inspector of Lords in your Faction Stronghold. Celestial Hand – Philonius Porbandar
    Eldrytch Web – Istonia Charson
    Radiant Blood – Gamri Nightshade

    2.From Eastwatch head north to the Blighted Verdant Moarsman Tunnels at 92.7N 42.3W.
    3.From the portal drop, take all lefts until you reach the Moarsmen Priory (180+) portal (its not far).
    4.Once inside the Priory you’ll first come to an octagon shaped bridge, go east (north and south loop around to the pit below the bridges). Continue until you come to a large room with ramps dropping down to a basin with an altar in the middle. A floor plate directly in front of the north door opens it. (The two locked doors on the east wall and south wall also lead to the final room but don’t save any time, see map.)
    5.Once you’ve opened the door go north you’ll soon come to another large room with two Surface portals, do not go in any of them, go to the southeast corner of the room and a tunnel leads out of the room, stick left until you come to a very large room, back up and stay in the hallway, killing Moarsmen until Prior Kothmox appears. He drops Kothmox’s Staff. Note: Prior Kothmox is surrounded by a large number of moarsman, and there is only one way in and out. The spawn is relatively slow, so it’s best to clear the room before fighting Prior Kothmox. Proceed with caution.
    Alternate Note: The Prior can be very tricky and long to kill especially if the spawn keeps attacking. Attack and kill the Moarsman right before the down ramp without bringing out any other moarsman. Once they are dispatched inch your way down the ramp. You will probably set off the spawn but only a few will make it up to you on the ramp. Kill them. If the Prior comes also ensure you keep his attention. If he does show up, clear the spawn and inch down the ramp a little more without setting off the moarsmen in the room and ensuring the respawn behind will not get involved. At that time you can kill the Prior. If he does not show up after you have dispatch a few of the first spawn, let them reset. Inch down until you can see the feet of the Prior in front of you. You cannot see him on radar at this time. Do not go too far or you will alert the spawn. Once you have his feet hit him with some spells and wars/arrows. If he is bugged he won’t even move and you can kill him. If you are a melee you will have to try to run in and attack him and run back out. Either way you will need to find the right spot on the ramp as to not have anything spawn back on you and you can focus on the Prior. The all have high MagicD so a Will, Focus or War rare can be your friend!

    6.The good Prior is vulnerable to Imperil (x7 dmg), and also prone to being bugged at the far end of the fighting hall. Many of the (Vissidal level) moarsman ensconced in side passages cannot jump down the sides of the ramp leading up out of the room by which you enter. The best tactic to use is to lure out all those that can come up the passage, butcher them, then stand at the bottom of the passage out of the range of the survivors, and proceed to use Futility, Imperil and Damage Vulns from afar. If you don’t have life magic, use a Royal Runed ranged weapon after you use a Royal Runed Wand to lower his magic defense so he doesn’t resist the weapon. If you don’t have such a weapon, then Futile him first, and use a Royal Runed melee weapon at fastest speed so you Imperil him as quickly as possible. Then switch to a standard Slash Render (the Silvaran weapons are nice) and cut him down as quickly as possible. If you’ve done it right, the other moarsmen in the room won’t interfere with the fight until he’s dead. Loot the staff and recall out as rapidly as possible. Note: he’s got 60,000 hit points – you MUST Imperil him to get the fight done in any decent amount of time! Mages, good luck with a crit strike Slash Rending item. Keep the Magic Yield on him to keep his resistance down. Note: The ideal weapon to kill him with, if he is Imped and Vulned, is a Crit Strike weapon. A Silvaran will substitute nicely. Do not use Armor Rending, its effect will be reduced by the Imperil.
    Note: From the time you loot Kothmox’s Staff, you have 1 hour to complete Part 2 of the lord test. If you fail, you must obtain the staff again.

    Part 2: The Riddle

    The second part of the quest is slightly different for each faction. The Lord Advancement NPC asks you to bring him a specific item from this quest, which is different for each society (items listed below).
    1.Depending on the time of day there will be a statue at 87.9S 55.9W west of The Pit of Heretics or east at 87.9S 54.5W, or there may be no statue at all (will have to wait for one to appear). Each statue is surrounded by 3 Coral Hollows. Use the West Statue from Evensong to Foredawn and a half (nighttime).
    Use the East Statue Dawnsong to Warmtide and a half (daytime).
    Warning: At the transitions between day and night the statues could be bugged. Try not to the do the riddles when the transition between night and day is occurring (between foredawn and half and dawnsong and between warmtide and a half and evensong).

    2.Give the Statue the Kothmox’s Staff and then talk with it.
    3.It will give you one of three math riddles. Solve the problem and click on the appropriate coral. Now you are flagged to enter a portal in the side of the wall of the main temple structure (portal looks like a door). Brood Mother’s Reckoning here for Riddle Answers
    Reefhunter’s Reckoning here for Riddle Answers
    Note: Each person gets a different riddle, if you answer incorrectly you will be portaled into the pit in the temple where you should quickly recall to avoid dying. *** You must talk to get a new Riddle on Failure. ***

    4.Once you solve the riddle, use the corresponding Coral Hollow that matches your answer. You can ID the Coral Hollows to see the answers they represent. If you’re correct, a Temple Door (portal) will spawn at the temple @ 87.9S, 55.2W.
    5.Use the Temple Door quickly, it expires after 5 minutes.

    Part 3: Moarsman Gateway Temple
    1.Once in the Temple, follow the ramps/jumps (East/West) down until you come to a room with a Blind Keeper.
    2.Kill the Blind Keeper, but be careful, it spawns Listris Sleeches randomly nearby during the fight.
    3.This can be a lethal fight if you aren’t smart. You can see the Keeper from the room above on radar. Proceed to put Magic Yield/Futility on him from on top, then your Imps and Slash Vulns (Frost might work, too). If you don’t have life magic, then carry a Royal Runed Weapon to do the job for you. You must Imperil him to have a shot of winning this Test using Melee/Archery. Mages, your best shot is a Crit Strike Slash wand (the Drudge Scrying Orb works fine), casting the Slash Vuln yourself, of course. Remember to keep him Yielded to magic!
    4.He coughs up the Listris Sleech at a random chance every time he is hit with an attack or spell (similar to what the Burun Kings do). Thus, attacking him at fastest speed can chain-spawn multiple Sleeches and result in a death sentence. The Sleeches fade away after 30 sec to 1 minute, but in that time can easily kill you. Have Dispel Gems or spells ready to deal with the vulns they put on you. Attack the Keeper on Full Power (slowest attack) to minimize the chances a Sleech will spawn. A Silvaran weapon at full power has an excellent chance at killing him without spawning a single Sleech, and can do so before the Imperil wears off. He regenerates slowly enough that if you must re-Yield and re-Imperil him, you can do so without your work being undone. If you must do so with a melee weapon, I recommend using a Black Page of Salt and Ash to up the lousy attack modifier of the Royal Runed melee weapons.
    Note If you attack him in one of the corners, as soon as the Sleech spawns run to the other side keeping the Keepers attention. If you do this fast enough the Sleech won’t even get a dispell off on you and won’t follow. Head to the opposite corner and repeat once another sleech shows up.
    The ideal weapon to kill him with, if he is Imped and Vulned, is a Crit Strike weapon. A Silvaran will sub nicely. Do not use Armor Rending, it will reduce the effect of the Imperil.
    1.Once dead, a Gate Watcher will spawn, kill it. This is simply a marginally tougher high level Moarsman.
    2.Once you’ve killed him, loot the appropriate item from a dais in the room as required by your society: Radiant Blood – Blood of T’thuun
    Celestial Hand – Amulet of T’thuun
    Eldrytch Web – Dagger of T’thuun

    3.Note that you cannot loot until the Gate Watcher is dead! (No grab and go).
    4.You can only loot one item per Watcher spawn, so if you are in a group you have to kill him once for each person.
    5.Once you have the required item, return to your Lord Advancement NPC and hand it to them to complete the test.
    6.Then talk to the Promotions Officer to receive your rewards and be promoted to Lord.
    7.You can now access Moarsman City (Nyr’leha) by using the same statue you got the riddle from, using the statue now portals you to 90.8S 52.9W on the island. (The statue can be either at 88.0S 54.5W or at 88.0S 55.5W, the same as before.)

  • I agree, for the most part.
    To put it the other way round, I disagree with people that say “you can’t have fascinating quests any more, because every piece of information is on the Internet”. First, you can always choose not to read that out-of-game information (at least as long as you’re playing solo, or with a group of like-minded people). Second, by that reasoning every quest will always have out-of-game information available, and these things being equal, a good quest rich with story still beats a “kill ten rats”.

    “Quest Helpers” or other tools are an easy way to ruin your fun if you’re after experiencing game atmosphere. Every now and then a “here, I’ll mark it on your map” probably won’t hurt, but having a minimap with areas colored and arrows pointing to where the rats live will rip you out of the game world. You end up running errands in the fastest and most efficient way possible, optimizing all the fun out of the game.

    In fact, it reminds me of the convenience vs. immersion tradeoff I talked about just last week (shameless plug):

  • I enjoyed the long quests in LOTRO and WoW had some too, since they lead to exploration. However, this kind of questing is really more of a single player design, rather than something you do in a group and perhaps more suitable for RPGs than MMOs. I think MMOs need to get away from any kind of checklist or quest log and the more steps you put into a quest, the more the community is fragmented by having different goals and objectives at any particular time.

  • Quests are not that way anymore because that is a flawed design.

    That kind of quests work great in the real world because, it being the real world, everything has a reason and a consequence, and you have infinite options regarding how to approach a problem. But game worlds are loose inventions that make no sense for the most part, the interactivity is limited, and you barely have tools at your disposal to get information out of the world. Chances are, those scarabs are going to be in any random area because they look cool there, or just because there was room there to put them. The net result is this: you can’t make deductions, use research, or do anything in your part to fill the unknowns of the given quest. That quest will become either a mindless search (just try every possible answer, visit every possible place) or a Google query (you can use friends or people instead of Google, to the same effect). Those quests remind me of the old adventure games: you are given a puzzle but the pieces are hidden and the game is mostly about hunting pixels/pieces/mobs rather than making deductions or anything interesting.

    If you are unconvinced, think what happens not when the quest works for you, but when it fails: in quests with incomplete descriptions, you have no way to overcome frustration, should it arrive. You are sent to find some scarabs. You go to the obvious places where you think scarabs should be, and there is none to be found. You ask around but no one answers, or no one knows. The game is new or not popular and Google doesn’t give you the answer. You’re screwed. If you are in a linear game or quest line, you can be totally screwed, with your game progression hampered. This is a ragequit moment.

    Again, this is flawed design. Games are not done this way anymore. And that is a good thing.

  • I really agree on the fact that there’s no adventure anymore in MMO’s – be it in questing or otherwise, but that is in the nature of themepark games that is the norm nowadays :/

  • I agree that quests should be an adventure but they are far from it. Questing and grinding are the same thing. Questing is going to areas and killing mobs that the game tells you to kill. Grinding is going to areas you decide to visit and killing what you want to kill.

    MMO developers have exhausted just about every angle for a person to earn XP. All in an effort to appeal to all types of gamers. I think when they try to satisfy every type of gamer, they tend to satisfy nobody. Most of all the MMO gamer. That is why most MMO gamers play the so called free month and maybe one more before moving on. In turn the devs are doing a balancing act trying to satisfy that gamer and the one that will be playing it for years to come. I see the next payment model being 30/25/20/15/10/5 so devs can recoup their investment as fast as possible.

    The MMO gamer today wants everything NOW and could never play the MMO’s of the past. They would also never enjoy that long adventure type quest. They want to quest fast and get to level cap fast. They want the coolest looking gear and mount NOW with the least amount of game play.

    The majority want something easy which requires the least amount of thinking. The only way to dumb down games even more is giving them XP just for being logged in.

  • The Everquest design you mention Keen sounds really interesting, I would’ve liked to have played that. Unfortunately I came to the MMO scene really late, my first ones were FFXI and WoW.

    For all of it’s flaws though, I thought Final Fantasy XI handled quests really well. It gave you just enough information to know how and where to go to complete the quest, but it didn’t have any area markers or anything. A lot of the non-story quests seemed to be really well thought out and immersive, making you feel like an adventurer in the world of the game. I recall there being quite a few quests where you had to go to an area to get something, only to find out once you get there that you have to go deep into some cave to collect a rare item. I think it helped a lot that FFXI was so focused on you requiring a party for pretty much most areas. It added to that sense of adventure of finding a group of other adventurers and tackling some monster-filled lair.

    I do wish more MMOs felt more like adventures. WoW never felt like that much of an adventure and SWTOR, while having some interesting quests, completely lacks any sense of adventure because it is always telling you exactly where quest objectives are. I’m not really sure what the best balance of immersion and usability is, but if an MMO could really strike some sort of good balance it could make for more sense of adventure.

  • Even something like WoW did at one point have quests that were closer to your description. I don’t remember the particularities, but the attunement quests for Onyxia and Molten Core felt pretty epic back in ’05. I think WoW started with at least some semblance of the old model, but as the game developed and its popularity spread, that model was replaced. First there was thottbot, then wowhead, then a mod that pointed exactly where to go in a quest, then WoW simply added this mechanic to its game. All MMOs have the arrows now and even RPG single player games like Skyrim have arrows directing you where to go instead of allowing the user to figure out their own path. I bitch about it all the time, but it’s gotten to the point where devs now want you to watch their movie rather than interact with their game.

    I’m not sure where the fault lies, but at least some degree is the emphasis on end-game. I started playing on MUDs back in the mid 90s and there was no such a thing as end-game. It may take dropping the leveling process or at least a complete overhaul of it for a modern game to recapture that feel. I know that Secret World has done away with leveling, but it’s hard to trust Fun Com on anything.

  • One aspect I did enjoy about SWTOR was gathering the datacrons. There were no clues IN GAME as to where to find them, you had to explore the zone… or do as I am sure many did, just google it. Being a bit compulsive about completing every task and reward, I found the datacrons just thru exploring every hex on the map possible without using an outside source. I actually experienced every bit of content I think there was to experience in the zones I explored. So I think there are still some small bits of ‘adventure’ out there in some MMOs, but overall questing has become more of a guided experience in MMOs. The developers build a zone, place mobs in a location, then put an NPC in a hub to direct the player to that mob for grinding. There is nothing fantastic about that.

  • Players actually investing some time and effort into the questing experience? What blasphemy is this?!

    Let’s be honest…these days mmo players are handed everything on a silver spoon. WoW being the prime example. Questing in that game is pretty much an automated process. Accept quest, ignore text, look at your map to see exactly where to go, travel, kill, gather, return. No thought at all required.

    The question is is this a product of the players or the devs? Can be players be expected to actually put a little effort into questing anymore? Have devs just made it so easy that the playerbase on average is so spoiled they can never go back to more intense and critical questing? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but right now mmos are too easy for me. As I said, it feels like an automated process. I get no joy from questing whatsoever, no sense of accomplishment in doing anything. So I yearn for the day when I actually have to go out and actively find my objective, figure things out and put some thought into it.

    People have mentioned GW2. I think they do some good things, but it’s still very straightforward ‘questing’. I don’t know if there’s any puzzles or riddles or long quest chains in which you have to figure things out and make deductions and calculations. What they do offer is a varity of ways in which to complete an objective, which is a nice addition. Their ‘questing system’ isn’t really quests. It’s most just…a dynamic world. You go out and stuff is happening all the time. And you can contribute in a number of ways. So at least that’s some advancement.

    tldr: I agree questing is too easy and requires nothing of the player anymore.

  • I agree that MMOs have really lost the plot when it comes to what makes a fantasy adventure – well, adventurous. And obviously what makes a quest a Quest. I tend to blame everyone equally for this – I think developers made too many lazy, arbitrary, and inscrutable quests; then players created online databases to avoid this unpleasantness, giving them a taste of “effortless” XP grinding; and then developers began catering to this, probably through some mixture of wanting to please fans and hoping to meet the ever-increasing demand for easy-to-produce content.

    The end result being the horrible feedback loop we’re now trapped in. Eventually some studio will come up with a new system – find some way to crossbreed a full 3D MMO engine with Terraria or something – and hopefully that will become the new must-have content model. But I figure we’ll be stuck with the current schlock for another few years yet.


    As to GW2, it does have some events which involve riddles, at least. But by their nature, it doesn’t seem that dynamic events will often *tell* you to go to the other end of the zone, or to find some mysterious material or object, or to go puzzle out some long chain of tasks spread across the world. It’s basically down to you deciding to strike out in a given direction – which is at least closer to a proper adventure, if not a Quest.

    The personal story seems to do more of the quest-y stuff – “go talk to commander Bob in the fortress” that sort of thing. But at its heart I just don’t think GW2 is trying to do much in this area. The idea of sending players off questing after long-term objectives seems a bit at odds with the focus on always providing a social, group activities you can engage in *right now*. And most events seem to flow tightly from objective to objective – whereas a “Quest” often has a lot of breaks and downtime where you’re just traveling, or trying to figure out what to do next.

    That said, it seems that GW2’s closest equivalent to a Bilbo-style “Quest” is the personal story as a whole from level 1 to 80. But I’m not convinced this is really what Keen is talking about.

  • I think the problem with that today more lies with the whole culture of MMO gaming as a whole. Information is way too easy to come by now, so you can bet that the vast majority of players would see that Everquest quest, google it, and head straight to the scarabs. Are there truly enough players that would immerse themselves into the world to such a degree that they pick up the small clues, or tidbits of vague information that lead them to explore and question, and try?

    I’d love to think there are. I’d love to be one of them. But I’m almost positive the first isn’t true, and even now am fuzzy about the second. The original idea behind rpgs imo is to immerse players into an experience, and to solve problems/do activities as if they were their character, not to guide their characters on their path armed with trusty old google and (insert mmo name here) Here’s hoping we rediscover that someday.

  • @JL you may not have played EverQuest back in the day but their quests did work well in their world. In their world players really depended on each other. You could actually use in game tools to find these scarabs. If you grouped with a ranger he could track and see a list of mobs in a large area. The terrain in EverQuest was different the games that are out now. You could climb atop a hill and see distant mobs and areas of the zone. This particular quest actually didn’t even award much exp but you did get a cool looking breastplate that set you apart from the other newbs.

    And that terrain in these recent games has started to annoy me. I see “WoW hills” in like every game. I seem to instinctively know exactly what slope of hill can’t be climbed. I don’t know if everyone just started using the same terrain generator or what, but it stinks. I think Keen said it best somewhere and to the effect of, I want to climb a mountain, see areas and creatures miles away, and then go there.

  • The internet is no more accessible today than it was in 1999 to gamers like us. It still does the same thing. Guides existed back then like they do today.

    Regardless of whether or not you know how to do something, there’s still going through the motions of a much more involved quest compared to errands today.

  • I don’t see how “Adventure like” quests fit into the themepark MMO model. It may not even fit into an MMO that has a finite leveling system. I could see end game quests like that but not quests as we have to level up.

    – if you throw 500 quests at players, each individual quest loses its magic
    – in a leveling system, everything is measured in terms of efficiency. In order to implement an adventure quest – the rewards would have to be out of this world to make it worthwhile
    – there is always the problem of implementing the quest and then having people argue that this is lame but yet it is a must do quest (think of DAOC Master levels)

    I think adventure like quests may work best for MMOs that have no leveling system (UO) or that have a pseudo infinite leveling system (AC). It shouldnt be a game that hands out other cheap quests like candy and quests shouldnt even be a vehicle for leveling.

    Here is what I dont get: Why can’t someone design an MMO for hardcore MMO players and not for the masses? Like a quality fun max 500K subscriber type of specialty MMO that puts emphasis on adventure quests, tough leveling, decent RVR – and that totally ignores what the attention deficient WOW masses need want or like. If DAOC and AC could be successful back in the day with Graphics equivalent to their timeline, why cant someone make a game of the same size with current graphics and production values. If you dont shoot for WOW status – that should be doable, right? Maybe Dominus will be one like that…but still…if MMOs (which were really specialty games back then( were successful back then for the scale, why cant they be successful now with a similar scale?

  • @Argorius:
    What makes you think it is hardcore gamers that are minority and harcore gamers that want an mmo that puts emphasis on adventure etc?

    If anything I think it is the opposite.
    My guess is no casuals reached max level in 1-2 weeks at rift and then whined there is nothing for them. No casuals hit max level before the grace-period in swtor ended and claimed “dailies are boring”, there are more but I think you get the idea.

    From what I’ve seen, people who ask for fixes, nerfs are generally not-so-casual players.

    I dont consider myself a casual player and I see myself falling thru nostalgia and reminisce gool old days of eq, daoc but when try to follow up on my nostalgia I find myself getting frustrated about the things (no quest guide, no minimap, harsh death penalty) I talk about so my guess it might also be hard for developers to find a solution that can bring back the “good-old-days” type of immersion and still cater to the masses.

  • Yeah wait – I misused the term hardcore. I actually meant something else. MMOs these days draw players from all kinds of backgrounds – the genre is more accessible than ever and with all of this comes the notion of fast food gaming that we see today.

    Back in the day of EQ, UO, AC, and DAOC…MMO gamers were selected from a narrower spectrum…I am not sure how to define it…maybe some of the RPG crowds…that is what I meant as hardcore…they were hardcore back in the day (not in the sense of dedication to the game, leveling speed etc.) because they engaged in the MMO activity when most people didnt even know that it existed. In comparison to the fast food MMO player – these are more the fine dining equivalent…not in the sense that they are better…but they dont need some of the fast food mechanics of today.

    Ok…you are probably correct…it is nostalgic BS. I do think that we will come full circle eventually when some “genius” reinvents the old style games and sells it as the newest hottest way to play…

  • @Argorius:

    I do think that we will come full circle eventually when some “genius” reinvents the old style games and sells it as the newest hottest way to play…


  • Fast food MMOs, i love it. Accept quest, queue for dungeon, mash your rotation, quest complete.

  • The old school type of quest design sounds grand on paper, but they prevent players from being able from just logging in and progressing. Add in the fact that all you have to do is hit up a wiki or tip site and any secret is completely spoiled. There are no secrets in games as long as there’s an internet.

    That said I agree with WHY you find modern quests boring. They’re not quests. They’re tasks. Tasks aren’t epic.

  • @PZ: Correction, it stops people from just logging in and completing quests. You can still progress without quests. That’s the whole point.

  • I suspect “progression” (levelling/gearing up/what ever you want to call it) is what killed the true quest off. Many of the decent quests in EQ were for “must have” items (like Jboots/class items/etc) and I knew a lot of folks that quit due to the frustration of not figuring it out and feeling like they were gimp because of it…or because the “spawn once a week mob that drops the “insert quest drop here” 3% of the time” was always camped.

    So along comes WoW with a chicken in every pot and explicit instructions on each step to make sure you cook it up just right. WoW goes crazy sub wise cause folks see they can log on in small play sessions and still get somewhere and everyone else sees where the money is and follows suit.

    Don’t forget the same game with “tough” quests also had raids with random drop loot for the same reason, to feel rewarded, there needs to be some work, no one appreciates something just given to them…

  • Two words: Quest Rewards.

    Many players of games such as these e.g. Runescape are much more interested in the rewards gained from the quests rather than the quests themselves.

    Not forgetting to mention all the guides on the Internet which tell you how to complete the quest without doing any questing whatsoever.

    I agree though, quests should be about questing, going out into the virtual world, discovering things and finding your own way of doing things. Solving puzzles, finding clues, that’s what it’s all about.

  • @Keen: I guess where I disagree is that I would argue watching an XP bar move isn’t meaningful progression. (Assuming this is the progression you’re talking about). That said I agree that modern gen quests are really not engaging.

    I just don’t think ye olde school types of quests are much more engaging. At best they’re slightly less convenient as the average player has to go to a wiki to find coordinates to locate an NPC or rare spawn. I say good riddance to bad rubbish. That said, I’d also like the modern style of quests to also go away and be replaced with something more epic.

    In short, I think I understand and agree with WHY you feel the way you do, but I don’t think old style quests add anything interesting.

  • Coldain Ring War event is all that I need to say. Good luck seeing anything that epic again in a modern MMO, as it required :effort:.

  • The Coldain War was the ultimate in questing. As a wizard I would sometimes port in and instantly know the quest was going on. Zone wide shouts from dwarves and giants doing battle gave it away, as well as there being minimal mobs up in the zone because the quest really was zone-wide. No matter what I was doing at the time this quest was so epic that even after completing it for myself, I would go find the defenders, ask to join the raid and proceed to where I was needed.

    My second favorite quest was actually in WoW, proof that any game really can do it right, it’s never too late. The quest was the three that started in East Plaguelands where you help an old hermit named Tirion Fordring clear out some pests. That clearing is only to gain his trust as the quest progresses into a huge storyline to find out more about his father and bring this Tirion to lead the light like he was meant to. I’m actually not even sure the quest is still in after the Cataclysm, but it would be a shame to hear it’s gone.