Group Questing

Group Questing

Group QuestEpic 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.

  • “Obviously the idea hinges on a massive virtual world instead of a themepark”

    Pretty much sums up how I feel about MMOs these days. None of the newer ones ever really embrace the whole virtual world idea. The more MMOs I play the more cynical I get about them in general because I feel like I’m just playing to get higher numbers on my characters and try to get all purple-colored text in their gear slots.

    It’s why I always join the RP servers in MMOs, and I hope the K&G community goes into an RP server for FF14, because I feel like even if the devs aren’t embracing the virtual world at least the players are. RP servers tend to have a lot more social community to them which I love. Just wish the games that embraced that could survive long enough.

  • “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 remember a lot of these moments too, but that was the past…there is very few now that have that mood and are still excited of MMOs to do that. I wonder if you can do that too..

    In vanilla wow I was searching a group for Scarlet Monastery for 2-3 hours(I was Alliance). After we found the group, some of the members didn’t had the Southshore FP discovered. No problem, we will go all together from Ironforge by foot(the first mount was on 40 level). We start from Ironforge and we all together go by foot to the scarlet Monastery. Outside of Undercity, some hordes wait for us and we get ganged. We spent over half an hour to try to escape from high level hordes, but out group was fun..we were chatting, creating tactics how we escape, sharing stories of previous adventures. Finally we are in scarlet monastery and we do the dungeons. We didn’t finished them that day and we continue the next day (we logged off there).

    I remember that day and I will always remember those things I did in my first days of MMOs because I was extremely excited just because I was playing an MMO. But will I do this again in any MMO? I am sure I don’t. And I dare to say that not even you will do it too, or maybe you ll do it once…

    A new MMO player will do it for sure, but how many new MMO players are out there, and are you sure they are from Diablo/Baldur RPG generation with a mindset that they will work hard for a reward and that playing and outcoming challenges is the reward itself, or they are the generation of call of duty?

  • FFXI did that, in fact MOST quests and storyline quests needed a full group to accomplish/progress through them due to the difficulty of the fights.

    It was alot of fun for me, and one of the best points about the game, despite all it’s shortcomings.

  • “[…] same group of players who all agreed to meet online at 7:30pm.”

    If there is one thing I couldn’t enjoy less after 4+ years of raiding, it would be Appointment Gaming. I’m glad your EQ group worked out, but I imagine one dude not showing up (for a legitimate reason!) would have ruined your evening/week/epic quest.

  • I wouldn’t want a game where all the content required a prearranged appointment with a known group of players. But I would certainly like for there to be some content like that. The Epic quests in EQ truly were pretty epic in scale. They required group and raid encounters as well as lots of solo treking all over the world collecting things and talking to npc’s.

    Incidentally talking to npc’s is one of the areas that I think MMO’s have really stepped back after EQ. In EQ you had to talk by actually typing out dialogue using key words. In every game I’ve played since conversations with npc’s is always reduced to being presented with a window of text and you clicking the accept or decline button.

  • What you describe is the Rift epic quest line Defiant side. Grouping almost from the word go, ending in at least a couple raids to finish, which of course I never did. Yes, you can click the quest and get a group finder for it, functionally like the bulletin board you speak of, but it never pops. Rift has lots of other story gated by raids. I never finished or have seen any of this. I loathe the story being gated by grouping and raids. It’s a horrible idea to gate story with raiding.

  • @Whorhay i wouldn’t want a game an MMO only providing this content either. An option would be great.

  • How do you feel about the event system in GW2 for groups?

    Not the hearts, but the actually events which while on repeat were really fun and pulled you along a story. While they were not the first to do this, it was the first time it seemed to work well. PQs and Rifts just seemed to generic in Gw2 they actually did bring life to world.

    I really want to see them in a more sandbox MMO that has no questing or hears, but instead sprinkle these events around the world to give it more life.

  • That style will always be scripted which, in my opinion, is boring. GW2’s events are a better version of PQ’s, but a better version of a “meh” feature is still “meh”.

  • I am not sure scripted is a bad thing. Unscripted dynamic events have been talked about since UO and have pretty much been unable to achieve anything of note. It is pretty much impossible to calculate and adjusted the system to respond to the dynamism of thousands of people in a world.

    While world dynamic sandbox experiences, via crafting, ect ect. like UO have been pretty fully realized. You cannot really say the same for a living breathing NPC population. Age of Conan tried implementing this with NPC attacks on cities, darkfall tried implementing this with ogres becoming ogre lords and attracting other ogres ect ect. and UO tried implementing this with a cycle of life* world eats rabbit, to many rabbit die wolves leaves ect ect. They actually had the full thing programmed but could not get it ever respond to the players.

    Also it is rather easy to write simple scripted events that are realistic. Having two villages fighting back and forth and never winning can easily be compared to realistic situations in the world. This also provides some nice story to the world better than random quests or normal PQ.