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Ark of Truth

What makes a good quest for you?

  

111 members have voted

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

    • The Length of the Mission
      17
    • Mission Reward
      9
    • Depth of the Mission (Does it make you want to finish it)
      97
    • Other, please specify
      18


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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A good example would be maids 2 deception, I downloaded it on a whim, next thing i knew i was playing to till 2Am with tears going down my face.(after the first play through.)

 

 

basically i want a quest that takes me and the PC on an emotional roller coster, making bonds with people and then seeing those bonds either grow and flourish or be destroyed by an outside force. optional and eviromental effects are great too but i typically am used to games that dont have those features

 

if its not like that ill just sigh and autopilot through it....

 

Edit: voted Depth btw

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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.

 

Sorry, but why do you bother quoting my posts without reading them?

 

Skyrim is a bad example of an RPG in general, Skyrim is a terrible example of choices in a game. Period. Don't quote Skyrim, please, to illustrate your idea that "all choices suck and make no difference". Can you understand me now? If Skyrim is the only RPG you've played - that's fine, I can see where you're coming from. Just don't make it a universal rule, please.

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No Skyrim isn't the only rpg I have played and I don't care for its story, but it is an easy one to use as a simple example since it is the common ground here.

"Good" and "bad" subjective statements are pointless and really isn't the matter at hand here. your good rpg is another person's bad one.

 

Go pick your favorite rpg instead, pick your favorite choice. And ask why is that "good" and what if that particular choice weren't a choice, but the only way the game could have played out and there are no other path. Would that game still be good? Or is the act of pick and choose the only thing worthwhile. How did you come about knowing that there are different path, how meaningful or meaningless it is finding out about them after the fact.

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it's all about choices, I don't mean how many choices it has in a quest, they have to make sense, the man behind the quest must have a deep understanding of the human reactions, Skyrim and Fallout 4 are bad examples here, they have choice, sometimes many choices, but always jump from: I want to be nice to I'm just an asshole for no reasons, if a person is asking to make a choice, they will make a reasonable one base on their motive and desire, not out of blue "good" or “evil”.

 

So the quest is better not make player feel they are forced to do something, but give them motive to, sometimes in Fallout 4 I feel the quests need a "fuck it" option, and there isn't.

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afa,

 

I understand you're not a native English speaker - neither am I - but please get back to the discussion after you keep up your reading skills and start writing sentences that make any sense to other people, not only to yourself. Seriously - I have no clue what you're talking about already.

 

Thank you

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Not to pick sides as I am not a native English speaker either, although by my age and education I really should be better than native speakers...

 

I do have a background in stochastic programing and afa's prose style, so to speak, is very familiar to me or those with backgrounds in AI. 

 

Choices in games are all fixed paths (*under current technology).  The player is just a rat in a maze and the "choices" are basically our ways of mapping the maze.  Is mapping a maze more fun than traveling down a brand new road?  Would you rather retrace your paths to experience different dead ends or would you rather have something totally different from beginning to end?  Well, that depends on the dead ends and the new path, isn't it?  Also, keep in mind that developers work under a budget so choices for choices sake do not necessarily a better game make.  Every dead end in a maze that players don't experience is wasted resource that can be used to improve the game.

 

*Procedure generated worlds and NPCs will be the game changer but we are probably far from the tech to be good enough.

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afa,

 

I understand you're not a native English speaker - neither am I - but please get back to the discussion after you keep up your reading skills and start writing sentences that make any sense to other people, not only to yourself. Seriously - I have no clue what you're talking about already.

 

Thank you

It seems like you are the one who don't understand the larger concept of this.

 

Not to pick sides as I am not a native English speaker either, although by my age and education I really should be better than native speakers...

 

I do have a background in stochastic programing and afa's prose style, so to speak, is very familiar to me or those with backgrounds in AI. 

 

Choices in games are all fixed paths (*under current technology).  The player is just a rat in a maze and the "choices" are basically our ways of mapping the maze.  Is mapping a maze more fun than traveling down a brand new road?  Would you rather retrace your paths to experience different dead ends or would you rather have something totally different from beginning to end?  Well, that depends on the dead ends and the new path, isn't it?  Also, keep in mind that developers work under a budget so choices for choices sake do not necessarily a better game make.  Every dead end in a maze that players don't experience is wasted resource that can be used to improve the game.

 

*Procedure generated worlds and NPCs will be the game changer but we are probably far from the tech to be good enough.

This is it. At some point the enjoyment doesn't come from the actual story that people always talk about, but the myriad of possible branches and outcome, and the differences between them. With limited time and resources the possible outcomes are limited, rather those choices hit their marks for an individual player is mostly a shot in the dark or focus tested to hell for better or worse.

And take one more step back, how did the player came to know that he is in a maze or not, which gets into if the game shows its hand (and is it lying), or any preconceived expectation the player brings with him.

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The problem with choices and skyrim is that skyrim is a bethesda game. You can go an clear a cave, 2 days later it's filled right back with bandits. The world is static, and so are any choices the player can do that revolve around that world. However, because skyrim is a bethesda game, you're free to tackle problems you face anyway you want! That's how you are introduced to the game. A genie transport you in skyrim, and tells you "There is a giant lizard that needs killing. No go!". You turn around to ask for something a bit more specific, but the genie is gone and you're left all alone in the wilderness with your leather armor and your little iron sword.

 

In skyrim, you don't need to eat, sleep, drink or even care what people are doing. The only thing that matters is smashing, crashing, slicing, burning, freezing other stuff and eventually do the same thing with that giant lizard (but he's not really that important). There is no narration and no consequences, and all in all skyrim in a whole is quite bland.

 

There is no meaningful choices in skyrim, just choices about how to kill stuff.

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Choices in games are all fixed paths (*under current technology).  The player is just a rat in a maze and the "choices" are basically our ways of mapping the maze.  Is mapping a maze more fun than traveling down a brand new road?  Would you rather retrace your paths to experience different dead ends or would you rather have something totally different from beginning to end?  Well, that depends on the dead ends and the new path, isn't it?  Also, keep in mind that developers work under a budget so choices for choices sake do not necessarily a better game make.  Every dead end in a maze that players don't experience is wasted resource that can be used to improve the game.

 

*Procedure generated worlds and NPCs will be the game changer but we are probably far from the tech to be good enough.

 

Now you're speaking my language, but I will respectfully disagree about "wasted resources". From this PoV the whole Legion quest line is a "wasted effort" for a player in New Vegas who sides with NCR then? You mean, Obsidian should just have "streamlined" the game, put the player on rails and force him/her to side with NCR? Really? I guess it's okay for a 1st person shooter, but here we go - instead of giving player a choice (a "false choice", I assume, as you take it) just make the game into "shoot the legion" linear shooter, probably improving dreaded animations instead. Well, I don't think so. Sorry, I don't. There is a whole wagon of linear FPSs on the market already, why would we need another one?

 

That's the whole point of the role-playing - your character makes choices and you get one path through the game - or a "maze", so to speak. Another character, with another set of skills, another personality, makes another set of choices and you get another path through the maze. That's the whole point of role-playing  - exploring the game from the perspective of different characters. When you don't have choices, there is only one linear path - you can't play a role. Just like you can't play a role in DOOM - you just shoot stuff.

 

And no, you don't really need procedural generation for that. Speaking of which - is minecraft the best RPG? Its world is dynamically generated. No. You need good quest design. Like those in old Black Isle games. I would suggest everyone interested in seeing what "good RPG" means play them for a while. Baldurs Gate, Fallout, Planescape. You can't put a skimpy armour on your character or have sex (well, in Fallout 2 you can, but its just fade to black), your PC can't get pregnant from a sabrecat - but this is simply another dimension when it comes down to RP compared to what Bethesda produces today.

 

 

 

It seems like you are the one who don't understand the larger concept of this.

 

It's even worse, bro. Not only I don't understand the larger concept of this - I fail to understand even smaller concepts you construct. I can only understand your words, but not sentences.

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Choices in games are all fixed paths (*under current technology).  The player is just a rat in a maze and the "choices" are basically our ways of mapping the maze.  Is mapping a maze more fun than traveling down a brand new road?  Would you rather retrace your paths to experience different dead ends or would you rather have something totally different from beginning to end?  Well, that depends on the dead ends and the new path, isn't it?  Also, keep in mind that developers work under a budget so choices for choices sake do not necessarily a better game make.  Every dead end in a maze that players don't experience is wasted resource that can be used to improve the game.

 

*Procedure generated worlds and NPCs will be the game changer but we are probably far from the tech to be good enough.

 

Now you're speaking my language, but I will respectfully disagree about "wasted resources". From this PoV the whole Legion quest line is a "wasted effort" for a player in New Vegas who sides with NCR then? You mean, Obsidian should just have "streamlined" the game, put the player on rails and force him/her to side with NCR? Really? I guess it's okay for a 1st person shooter, but here we go - instead of giving player a choice (a "false choice", I assume, as you take it) just make the game into "shoot the legion" linear shooter, probably improving dreaded animations instead. Well, I don't think so. Sorry, I don't. There is a whole wagon of linear FPSs on the market already, why would we need another one?

 

That's the whole point of the role-playing - your character makes choices and you get one path through the game - or a "maze", so to speak. Another character, with another set of skills, another personality, makes another set of choices and you get another path through the maze. That's the whole point of role-playing  - exploring the game from the perspective of different characters. When you don't have choices, there is only one linear path - you can't play a role. Just like you can't play a role in DOOM - you just shoot stuff.

 

 

 

It seems like you are the one who don't understand the larger concept of this.

 

 

 

It's even worse, bro. Not only I don't understand the larger concept of this - I fail to understand even smaller concepts you construct. I can only understand your words, but not sentences.

 

 

The mechanics of how enemies react to player depending on approach and weapon choices in FPS is not much different than having NPC converse differently with you whether you are good or evil in RPG.  It's just a branch of computer codes.  RPG tell different stories from prerecorded dialogue trees and FPS offer different run through using different AI packages.  (Of course if your idea of RPG is MMO style with stats and loot then choices don't really matter). 

 

The reason FPS has gained popularity not because players are getting stupider but rather it is easier to offer "choices" in FPS than RPG.  You can mix and match weapon/AI packages to offer unique varied action based role playing experience so a lot of the codes and assets that cost money to build can be reused.  Storytelling on the other hand needs to be coherent so offering "choices" will result in many of the stuff that cost money to build likely to be played just once.  In the old days where storytelling is text based this is not a big deal but it is very different today.  Voice acting and animations ain't cheap. 

 

Can developers offer many deep, complex interweaving RPG "choices"?  Of course they "can" in a technical sense but not from a commercial sense, and probably not even creatively.  So what afa is saying is that given the reality, do we want developers to spend money on more choices or more/better distinct stories?  Afa also talked about the "illusion" of choices, which are slight detours of the same main path that offers different ambiances.  The experience is different but it's the same road.  He didn't say it was good or bad, he just said those are not "true choices" from the perspective of game designer/director.  

 

Most of the debate between you two are really just different ways of using the word "choice".  So a computer scientist, a psychologist and a theologian walk into a bar and debate the word "choice"....

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