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Quest Compass: A Plea


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#1
agris

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TOW will have a quest compass, there is no question about that.

 

Spoiler

 

The question is: will quests and NPC dialogue be written to support playing without quest waypoints and goals shown on the compass? Quest compasses are great for those that want them, but for a lot of players, we find it takes us out of the world. Quests and dialogue that are designed without a Quest Compass in mind do several things to pull you into the world more than if you're simply following a beacon.

 

Playing a game designed without a Quest Compass *required* forces the player to do several things

  • Use landmarks. The simple act of describing the location of a place or person in relation to other fixtures of a world makes the player build a mental model while they navigate it, and thus develop a deeper connection to the game world. Think navigating a city with google maps vs looking at the streets and buildings, it's a totally different experience.
  • Search the environment. Sometimes a questgiver doesn't know exactly where person/place/mcguffin is, and describing it in a general area forces the player to explore, and in the process, become better aquainted with the nooks and crannies of the world they're playing in.
  • Enjoy the world. Quite simply, having beacons placed all over the world make for an ugly aesthetic. Look at The Witcher 3 for some egregious examples of this. Less clutter and junk on the screen makes it easier to "get lost" in the experience.
  • Think. OE has arguably built a reputation on making a "thinking xir's" game, and it is simply more rewarding to have to read details and work out the location of people places and things.

All of the above requires quest goals and NPC dialogue to be written such that enough detail is provided to solve quests without the use of beacons and POI indicators.

 

Think I'm kidding? Try playing Fallout: New Vegas with the compass disabled. I know, I tried to but there simply was not enough detail provided by NPCs and in the quest "log" to solve them.

 

On the other hand, the recent release of ELEX does just what I've laid out about: the quest compass is optional, and quest log entries and NPC dialogue written such that you can complete all quests without the compass. I believe this was one of the factors that lead to players having such fond memories of old games such as Baldur's Gate and Fallout. The lack of a quest compass forced writers and quest designers to provide the detail that drew the player into the world, rather than plopping a PoI indicator on every quest objective.

 

As an aside, I also hope that if there is a minimap, we can disable it, and if there are quest update popups and objective text on the main screen, we can disable them as well.


Edited by agris, 07 December 2018 - 08:49 AM.

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#2
agris

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This is an Important Issue that People want to know about.



#3
injurai

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Oh god...

 

michael_scott_nooooooo.gif



#4
SonicMage117

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As stated before, it's a more casualized game like Fallout New Vegas. The game was built with console gamers in mind over pc, even the u.i supports this.

The thing is, this type of design is actually almost always smarter than the "No hands holding" formula. I wouldn't ever play a game with hud and map disabled unless I either have memorized the map to know where everything is or already played through the game.

I'm sure they have a good reason.

#5
Undecaf

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Is that a nice way of saying "Stop complaining and just swallow"?


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#6
SonicMage117

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Idk lol Looks like it. I don't think it's too big of an issue, I kinda expected it, seeing how we can tell the game is more modern off the bat.

#7
Undecaf

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While I'm sure people are largely used to suffering it, it's still an issue enough that with every RPG people bring it up. (Me included.)

 

Same with the "please don't make it an FPS"... yet, the games alwasy do, both of these. Go figure.


Edited by Undecaf, 08 December 2018 - 02:57 PM.

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#8
AwesomeOcelot

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This game is being released on consoles, those window lickers aren't going to survive without a quest compass. Also designing a game without one is harder, requires more testing, more work. The best we can hope for is rewards for exploration, it's a good compromise.
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#9
Undecaf

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This game is being released on consoles, those window lickers aren't going to survive without a quest compass.

 

And they never will if no one will teach them. What better game for that that this here.


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#10
SonicMage117

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Imo, catering console gamers and making a more modern rpg has never meant "watered/dumbed down", that was always just a myth. Take Jrpg's for example, they're often far more complex mechanically and rich than western rpg's, yet catered to console gamers. Nobody talks about it but yet they exist.

I think The Outer Worlds will be a more simplified Fallout 4 but I think those over-simplifications will make sense, not because Obsidian is treating players dumb but just the opposite, complimenting players by simplifying things to not waste time or make excuses.

#11
Wormerine

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I support the OP, though that far into development it’s probably set in stone. It’s a shame when games use open design (be in open world and sprawling levels) but then use quick and lazy way out by putting quest markers, and pointers. Obviously, creating world and quests which ar to be completed without help of UI is much harder - memorable landmarks need to be put, lots of testing to see if players got enough information and if the intended path is clear enough. Having a quest marker generally lead to tunnel vision and less immersive experience. Unfortunately, if game isn’t designed to be used without such compas, simply turning it off doesn’t solve the issue. Hopefully the game willl make up in other departments.
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#12
Tigranes

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The OP didn't say ban the compass, the OP said please design the game in a way that you can play without the compass if you wish. Most replies don't seem to address that at all.

 

Designing the game so that you can choose to use or not use the compass improves the game for everyone. It means that the overworld is more coherent and sensible, and players who use the compass can still enjoy seeing how the levels work in a cohesive way, how the dialogues are written thoughtfully to describe where you're actually going, and so on.

It's good for allowing different playstyles, and it's good for so-called 'immersion'. The only downside is that, well, you have to think a bit more as you make the game.


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#13
SonicMage117

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Well, I don't see any comments saying playing without such a tool would be bad. I remember Shenmue, an older console game not having ANY map or directive and being so streamlined that you can find exactly where to go. I still have yet to see another game - whether rpg on oc or console do as such, successfully. That said, this is a game that will have space jungles, forests and other things if the trailer holds any indication.

I can't imagine that it takes much effort to get around a colony that has big signs that tell you where what is, the problem lies to where if there is a large landscape with lots of samey looking foilage and density, no matter how much info an npc gives you, no matter how well you listen or intelligent you are, you are not going to have an easy time finding a quest outside of the town.

So I don't think this should be 100% relative to the game's writing/quest dialogue when there are many other factors that come into play here that people are not thinking of. Why would it have to diminish believability or immersion of the world and/or npc dialogue? That's not what usually happens with these types of things. Couple that with many examples that have proven this time and time again - I am meaning games with quest markers, map markers, etc. It is overreaching, at least til we see exactly how this works and if it actually affects the dialogue.

#14
Big-Ben

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I like customizable HUD elements and if Obsidian can include them I think they should. As for designing AROUND their absence I'm not so sure. Way back when when games were cheaper to make I would have imagine this would have been easier to do but now I'm not sure if it's worth the time and effot. The cost of making say, Morrowind was NOT the same as it was for Skyrim. And yes I'm well aware of Bethesda removing more and more elements with each subsequent release but throw me a bone here.

 

For the real MLG Galaxy Brain Pros though you should just play the game with your monitor or TV off. Or with beer goggles!



#15
Sharp_one

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Yeah. How about no journal, no animations, no map, no graphics etc. Let's throw everything out and leave a text only oldschool experience.
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#16
SonicMage117

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Yeah. How about no journal, no animations, no map, no graphics etc. Let's throw everything out and leave a text only oldschool experience.

Like when you tell people about Kingdom Come Deliverance or Red Dead Redemption 2 and they say something like "I'll go outside if I want a realistic experience" but then they're complaining about newer games having too much casual play or where the game plays itself. The double standard in that type of gamer is too obvious.
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#17
Madscientist

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When watching the video, the most disturbing thing was the marker for your main objective in the game world, when you see that your goal is 150m away and below you, behind a few walls. The markers over enemies could also be irritating. So I would suggest:

 

- The option to turn on/off markers over enemies or quest goals in the game world, maybe with the option to see/hide enemy health

- The option to turn on/off the compass, the bar at the top of the screen with markers for enemies and quest goals.

 

I agree with the OP that having landmarks and a rough description of the direction you have to go are better than huge arrows on the screen.

Something like: " You need to find X. It should be in Laboratory #5 which is near the huge blue tree west of this town."

 

I like that they dropped the post apocalyptic part. You can create more different areas when you are not restricted to a wasteland with nothing but desert and ruins. Lets bring some colors to this crazy world.



#18
Wormerine

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Well, I don't see any comments saying playing without such a tool would be bad. I remember Shenmue, an older console game not having ANY map or directive and being so streamlined that you can find exactly where to go. I still have yet to see another game - whether rpg on oc or console do as such, successfully. That said, this is a game that will have space jungles, forests and other things if the trailer holds any indication.


Playing right now through Dark Souls for the first time and it does just that. There was one objective that was a bit obscure.

A game which did open world without pointers well were Gothic1&2. Exploring world and finding/using maps was part of the gameplay and led to really enjoyable and memorable experience. Hey, if someone wanted to show you something they would lead you to it. Those are games that open world games should learn from.

The problem isn't in existence of more detailed maps, but rather that game design forces you to fully rely on UI pointer or GPS to navigate.
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#19
Jvdicator

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I fell like the keyword here is "optional" I'd like the compass/GPS to be optional and even highlighted quest items/pick ups.



#20
SonicMage117

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Most likely it will be able to be (dos)abled/disabled by HUD options, not sure why it wouldn't be?

Edited by SonicMage117, 10 December 2018 - 06:14 PM.





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