We write often about the modern quest being nothing like the old quest design.Â Today’s quests are errands, scripted events, and exactitudes that tell you specifically how and where to complete the objective(s).Â 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.Â In the Dwarf capital city Kaladim there is a NPC namedÂ Vacto Molunel who tells you about his ability to craft armor from the carapaces of scarabs.Â 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.Â That’s the only explanation given, and the adventurer is then sent on their way.
There was no quest log back in those days.Â There wasn’t even a minimap.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â Let players figure out or at least choose how they want to finish a quest.Â Â Â 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?”