Moo Tang Clan: Long vision quests

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Long vision quests

The term "quest" has been badly overused and watered down, to the point where your "quest" can be "go talk to that guy standing right next to me". Sheesh, c'mon!

That's not a quest, that's an errand. Most quests in WoW are better, but are still nonetheless still small potatoes. There are however many very excellent series of quests, called quest lines, which are more deserving of the term "quest". A pity then they only exist at that meta level.

But what if the so-called quest mechanism were instead designed such that there where multiple levels of activities or requests -- "errands", "tasks", and "missions" -- all bundled together into a "quest" package. The eventual objective would be known right from the beginning, and everything along the way builds to that end.

At the very earliest levels you'd only have errands or tasks available, and they wouldn't be bundled into quests as such. They serve to blood the new player, to teach them game mechanics, and provide a beginners introduction to the lore. Towards the end of the beginner levels the various tasks and missions would also serve to provide some exposition for the long vision quests they'll be offered soon.

Once you've gained a few levels and gained greater capability, only then would the NPCs look to you as an adventurer worthy of entrusting a quest to and not just some scrub passing through. In WoW, you might get your first long vision quest at level 15 or 20, and that quest will keep you busy for the next 30 or 40 levels. An epic journey, and a character defining one.

This is in contrast to WoW, where you can pretty much do any lower level quests at any time, and there's no real impact of choice. Once you hit level 70, there's nothing stopping you from going back to Un'goro Crater and breezing through the epic Linken quest chain, or even earlier quest chains.

A rich game world would have multiple long vision quests to choose from. So, instead of re-uniting the lost tribes, your long vision quest is to return the boy king to his rightful throne. Along the way there might be tasks or missions shared by multiple long vision quests, and other times not. I can foresee guilds being established for particular quests, just so you know who you can cooperate with. Come together my comrades, for we shall embark on a mighty quest to the distant lands, gather round, gather round, for we are the Brotherhood of the Grail.

What I would also find very interesting is if not only were there multiple long vision quests available to choose from, but that some are set up as rival quests - you could choose to go down one path, towards one particular objective and set of rewards, and in doing so you don't go down some other path.

This would especially work if in pursuit of your long vision quest your various activities were to have some kind of world impact, and that at any time in your long journey you were presented with many possible errands, tasks, and missions of which some would undo all your hard work. If your long vision quest is to re-unite the lost tribes, it wouldn't be very smart to go off killing and upsetting some outcast tribe. You'd have to instead undertake a mission to re-open diplomatic channels, however that might be done.

The important point being to offer choices, and for those choices to have consequences.

1 comment:

ozzit said...

I remember thinking something along these lines not long after i started playing.

I had got to the point where i had no choice but to leave darnassus/teldrassil, and couldn't help thinking "why?". What i mean is, until level 10 the "quests" centre around getting you up to speed with the game world, awaking from your slumber to prepare you for the rest of the game... the introduction narrator mentions something about the "Night elves recovering their immortality", yet this premise is almost immediatly forgotten about, why isnt there something like this to work towards in the form of a "main story" quest line?