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What makes a good quest for you?

Oblivion Fallout Skyrim Quest

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63 replies to this topic

Poll: What makes a good quest for you? (111 member(s) have cast votes)

What makes a good quest for you? (You can choose more then one answer)

  1. The Length of the Mission (17 votes [12.06%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.06%

  2. Mission Reward (9 votes [6.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.38%

  3. Depth of the Mission (Does it make you want to finish it) (97 votes [68.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.79%

  4. Other, please specify (18 votes [12.77%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.77%

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#21
afa

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That's just how it works in a game. If you pick choice A during branch 1 you are going to get a certain outcome, you can add RNG to things and spice things up or make it frustrating depending on where you stand. But even then what happen in a pass/fail outcome is still predetermined.

That's the reality of it and it is a limitation that needs to be work with in game, suppressing it and creating illusion is probably the next best thing.


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#22
phillout

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That's just how it works in a game. If you pick choice A during branch 1 you are going to get a certain outcome, you can add RNG to things and spice things up or make it frustrating depending on where you stand. But even then what happen in a pass/fail outcome is still predetermined.

That's the reality of it and it is a limitation that needs to be work with in game, suppressing it and creating illusion is probably the next best thing.

 

Well, that's what people call "choices", isn't it? You do stuff and get some outcome.


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#23
afa

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The issue is the outcome and the choices available is not what the player wants and it will never really be able to satisfy everyone, even satisfying most is questionable.

So you could end up with cases for a player where, here are these sets of predetermined choices and outcomes and they all suck -_-


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#24
phillout

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The issue is the outcome and the choices available is not what the player wants and it will never really be able to satisfy everyone, even satisfying most is questionable.

So you could end up with cases for a player where, here are these sets of predetermined choices and outcomes and they all suck -_-

 

Well, kid... this is how it works in real life too.

 

Damn, I promised myself to not get into that :D


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#25
afa

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But just like real life it doesn't stop people criticizing it like your Molag Bal example, and the correct choice in that quest for whatever RP reason is to actually not do that quest...I do the same thing mind you :P

 

The only way to not have disappointing choices in game is, counterintuitively, not have any choice at all. Or as a compromise really think about what does the choice really mean anything and if it is actually worthwhile. The outcome is a limited number of choices for the player, but then people will start throwing a fit and pointing out about how games don't give them a truck load of switches to flip and pointless prizes to come out.

That I think is important when asking what is needed to make good quests, don't fall down the rabbit hole of having shallow pointless choices when it is probably better to have none at all if it can't deliver.


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#26
Elf Prince

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I voted for "The reward".

Some missions can be very stupid, some to short and some to long and boring. Just for comparison: Most of the side quests in DA 3 were very stupid and boring. But I played most of them because of the reward.


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#27
jfraser

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i also picked other. it's all about the story for me.


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#28
phillout

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The only way to not have disappointing choices in game is, counterintuitively, not have any choice at all.

 

It's akin to saying "the only way to never failing is not doing anything". Yeah, sure. Yes, you can never achieve some perfection, still you can make a really good quest with multiple choices. As I said, classic Fallout games and Planescape: Torment are good examples here.

 

This discussion just doesn't lead anywhere...


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#29
MiddleFinger

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Lots of violence and profanity topped off by lots of ludeness and sexual innuendo.


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#30
afa

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The only way to not have disappointing choices in game is, counterintuitively, not have any choice at all.

 

It's akin to saying "the only way to never failing is not doing anything". Yeah, sure. Yes, you can never achieve some perfection, still you can make a really good quest with multiple choices. As I said, classic Fallout games and Planescape: Torment are good examples here.

 

This discussion just doesn't lead anywhere...

 

 

That is exactly the point. The second you put in choices and player agency it is a crapshoot that might or might not fail for the player, you accept that from that moment on it is damaged goods. Your "good" examples are debatable base on that same metric.

Is it really good because the actual story and experience is good or is it good because it offers a large quantity of choices? And how did the player end up knowing there's actually a large quantity of choices. Saving and reloading just to see what's out there? Replaying? At that point is the game actually good or is it simply satisfying to see the sheer quantity and complexity of branches and possible outcome regardless of a single experience.

 

Think of a game, play through it from start to finish, it seems to offer choices and what not, finished it and it was a good experience.

Now go back and do it again and this time attempt to pick the other paths, and then you realize it didn't make any differences, is the game bad now because the choices were fake and there's actually only one path?

 

The thread is about what makes a good quest, what I see is people often say they want choices and criticize of game when it doesn't offer "good" choices. What exactly is going on inside their heads? Did they retroactively make that call after the fact after saving and reloading? Is it just a numbers game? or is it a complain of the game didn't offer the choices that they want or go into the direction that they want?

 

Likewise what makes so called good choices games good? Sheer number? Player carefully navigating a minefield of choices to finally get the outcome that they want? Or it just so happen they are into the choices and outcome available?


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#31
zzz72w3r

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I think the disagreement in regard to choices are not really disagreements but the quality of output.

 

non-narrative choices:

How a game designer branches non-narrative choices (multiple approaches, loot, companions etc) is no different than how a director put together a movie.  The different coding branches set the tone of the experience no different than a story can be presented in different ways simply by how scenes are shot and cut.  A good game designer can pull off different ways of telling a story just like a good director can excel in multiple genres.  The problem is that those are rare talents.

 

narrative choices:

Narrative choices are very difficult to pull off simply because a good story requires intricate weaving of many elements, changing anything midway can easily ruin the arc like single misplaced bridge stone.  It has never worked within the same film and rarely worked in games.  Even when it "works" in games is mainly because we filled the void with our own imagination when in fact we were playing distinctly different story arcs from beginning to finish.  This is what afa was saying that the illusion of choices are often prefer than actual choices. 


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#32
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2 simple things i fuckin love

 

Options

&

Consequences


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#33
Dagren

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A good reward & when quests affects the environment after finishing them.


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#34
NickNozownik

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Good reward, something really useful. No Iron War Axe of Minor Bullshit that's not even worth carrying to the nearest shop. Just be honest and say "thanks, now take out my trash". Especially if it was a quest to kill a dragon or bandit lord surrounded by other armed dudes.

At least give it unique appearance, so players can dump it in their house and probably forget about it after two hours.


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#35
Chaos63

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I'm afraid neither answer is correct anymore. DAI ruined me for questing in general to the point of avoiding RPG's altogether. At this point, "quest" pretty much spells "chore" for me.

Thanks, Bioware.


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#36
phillout

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Now go back and do it again and this time attempt to pick the other paths, and then you realize it didn't make any differences

 

Actually in a well-designed game it does make a difference. Your choices affect lives and fates of people around you, even fates of whole communities. Reactions of people to you. I think you're just referring to Skyrim - but Bethesda has always performed poorly in this department  And Skyrim, if we speak about consequences of player's actions, is simply terrible. There are simply no consequences at all. And even more, you're further safeguarded from having consequences by artificial boundaries - like "essential" characters.


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#37
RogueInfernas

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I would say the depth of the quest, purely becuase I find I need motivation to do things properly. If I'm offered a generic 'go there, do this' quest I'll probably only do it reluctantly once I get bored with whatever else I was doing before, or for a particular reward (looking at you, Sexlab). I quite frequently ignore side quests despite a great reward because the quest itself is just too boring or minor to bother with, I'd rather get on with the next main mission with lower level gear. Anything else I might just speed run through to get the reward but hate the actual quest.

 

I would always prefer a more complicated quest if it actually gets me interested in the execution, like a good stealth area, or outcome like the companion missions of ME, not just a mission shoved in for the sake of providing me with a scenario or item. For me, a reward should be just that, a reward- not a goal, so I always hated those inconsequential side missions in ME1 and 2 which meant absolutely nothing to anyone beyond getting more XP, money or possibly better loot. The games were great but I don't enjoy replaying because I'm only really invested in five hours of main missions among fifteen hours of pointless side questing.


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#38
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I good quest for me is, when you get dragged into the story behind it and start to care for the quest giver, or the one you make the quest for.

Fetch quests are pure cancer.


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#39
Grey Cloud

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Lots of interesting perspectives here but for me quests are still a one-shot. The law of diminishing returns kicks in after the first go.

 

To expand the discussion a bit, I think the game companies need to get away from plots, quests and the like and just provide an environment and maybe a general scenario or back-story; and make the game easily moddable.  If modders then want to pmake a quest mod then fine, gamers can download or not.

 

As I see it, the plot of RPGs has not changed since I started playing well over a decade ago - some big bad thing is intent on ruling/destoying the world and only you, you with no experience, no money and no equipment, can save things. But don't panic the big bad thing will wait until you have trained up and got yourself some cracker-jack weapons and equipment.

 

We've all done 'rats in the basement' jobs.

 

Best game I ever played was a mod for NWN1 called 'Citadel'. It was as large as an NWN expansion pack and had a brilliant plot, characters, dialogue and everything. No idea how many times I played it, there were so many different ways of doing it.


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#40
afa

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Now go back and do it again and this time attempt to pick the other paths, and then you realize it didn't make any differences

 

Actually in a well-designed game it does make a difference. Your choices affect lives and fates of people around you, even fates of whole communities. Reactions of people to you. I think you're just referring to Skyrim - but Bethesda has always performed poorly in this department  And Skyrim, if we speak about consequences of player's actions, is simply terrible. There are simply no consequences at all. And even more, you're further safeguarded from having consequences by artificial boundaries - like "essential" characters.

 

 

That's the thing, you are now judging a game's merits base on the differences choices made, not necessarily by your initial experience through the game. It becomes a strange game of what's there but the player won't see is more important that what the player sees. This isn't necessarily a knock against Skyrim, but a observation on how games handle and present choices and how player tends to gravitate towards it. Everyone say they want meaningful choices and have the game response, but you can't validate that until you know about the alternative.

 

Going into a game blind the player shouldn't know if the options the game preset actually make a difference. Using Skyrim as example, in the beginning player can pick to follow Hadvar or Ralof in Helgen, of course after all these years we know that ultimately it makes little differences, but at that moment a fresh player won't know that, the player won't know that regardless of who to follow it all leads to Riverwood. Suppose the player followed Hadvar and ended up in Riverwood in the player's minds it could very well be "I picked Hadvar and now I am alive in Riverwood." The player won't know for sure that Ralof path is similar until they read up on it or reload a game, and now it becomes a meta game of the player went out of the game to peek under the hood and found their "choice" invalidated. The game is the same as it was, but the player found out there's actually no consequences. The easy counterargument is why not make Ralof's path different, then that becomes simply making things different just because and fall down this rabbit hole of making as many content the player can't see as possible for the sake of validation.

 

but for me quests are still a one-shot. The law of diminishing returns kicks in after the first go.

A very important point, and that diminishing return by default also hampers replays and makes the initial experience that much more crucial.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Oblivion, Fallout, Skyrim, Quest