Moo Tang Clan: teaching situational adaptation

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

teaching situational adaptation

Syncaine describes a common quest chain pattern: (a) kill 10 boars, (b) find some boar relic, (c) kill the boar boss.

Consider instead if the first quest you got was to eliminate the threat of some monstrous ogre. You head off to do so, but discover that he's no dummy and has surrounded himself with dozens of guards and so on. Not only that, he's a full 5 levels higher and is an elite. The pig-headed adventurer would grimace, and plow right in. The smart adventurer would return to the quest giver and explain the situation .. at which point the quest giver would then offer some intermediary style quest - perhaps raid an outpost to draw off some reinforcements, maybe a quest to gather some special herb or stink bomb or other aid for the coming showdown. The quest to deal with the ogre boss would remain in your quest log the whole time.

The point being there could be a game mechanism in place to reward thoughtful situational adaptation by players, a design approach which transcends the “kill 10 x” and “kill x for y” grinding pattern of quests.

Note too that so far I haven't said the quest is to "kill the ogre boss" - instead I said "eliminate the threat". You could complete the objective by killing the ogre boss, but you could also uncover some additional quests which leads to you holding some object which causes the ogre boss to react differently, be friendly even. There could be an alternative quest line which results in you eliminating the threat by convincing the ogre to swap sides, to enter into a trade arrangement, or even eliminate the threat by convincing some other NPC group to lead the attack and kill the ogre boss or force him to flee.

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