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Quest Compass: A Plea


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#21
Shining Nocturnal Warrior

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While it's a disappointing situation, this is to be expected from modern games. I dislike the practice of including a way-point in role-playing games in particular (leniency towards the practice in sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto, because it would be a nightmare), but the best that we could hope for in this situation is for a quest giver to articulate approximate directions and for the journal to replicate them. 

 

Unless, of course, Obsidian have gone well and above the expected standard and already accommodated everyone's preferences, but this is highly unlikely. 
Fond visions of Morrowind...



#22
Doctor Atomic

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Having the option to turn off quest compass/waypoints is fine, but most  games i have played lately do not give you enough information to complete the quest without that sort of guidance.


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#23
Triple - A Foxy Lad

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

 

i also played through dark souls for the first time not long ago. its basically a metroidvania, and those things traditionally dont have markers as ur main goal is revealing more of the map rather than fulfilling discrete rpg style quests.

 

when u get to the dlc stuff and u get more 'quest-like' shenanigans im afraid the game mishandles them something rotten. car crash of wilful difficulty, poor writing and - im guessing - poor translation. but dark souls in general walks a tightrope between being bracingly difficult and a meme. it gets away with more than it should.

 

i dunno if this points been raised. but in past, obscurity of quests fulfilled an important function - selling strategy guides and magazines with walkthroughs. with advent of internet, this market slowly dried up, so it made sense to include more in-game markers bcs devs/publishers no longer benefited from withholding them.

 

like the worst aspects of dark souls always struck me as old-school attempts to flog guides. japanese games have long been notorious for it.

 

call me cynical, but i feel that immersion and treating gamers like adults always played second fiddle to mammon and technical restraints - even if ive got fond memories of wandering around blind in ultima.



#24
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Ugh those darn casuals wanting convenient markers in their games. Those dumb babies don't know the joy that is orienteering simulators. They should be rounded up and placed in the gulags IMO.



#25
agris

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As Tigranes and others have said, it seems as if most people writing replies didn't read my post. I'm not advocating for the removal of the quest compass, or even the option to disable it - I'm asking that quests be designed such that objectives can be reached and the quests completed without the use of the quest compass. This impacts how quest log entries and npc dialogue is written, which is why I didn't simply ask for the quest compass to be disabled. My request isn't based purely on preference either, which is why I enumerated the benefits that I perceive from implementation of the request.

 

Having the option to turn off quest compass/waypoints is fine, but most  games i have played lately do not give you enough information to complete the quest without that sort of guidance.



Is exactly why I made my original post. Characterizing my post as a request to disable 'hand holding' features, or remove the compass, or any of the other nonsense above is simply misleading.


Edited by agris, 11 December 2018 - 06:56 AM.

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#26
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There are other sentiments that have been posted in the thread that people could be replying to, hypothetically.



#27
cogar888

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Only sophisticated PC gamers are capable of following directions. They had to add in the quest compass to accommodate all of the small brained console players, who are handheld through games like REmake.

As someone who will be playing this on PS4, I agree. I hope they've written directions into the dialogue and given the option to disable the quest compass, but it's probably too late at this point for them to significantly change the game's design if it wasn't already built that way.



#28
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I was the first one who said "No hand holding" because that goes hand in hand with designing the quests around not having to use a quest compass. And it does, simply.

You can't really ask for one without the other and proceeding to act as if that somehow works doesn't make sense. If devs design a game around the thought in process of players not having to use the quest compass due to given infotmarion by npc's then why have the quest compass to begin with?


Anyway, glad the game has one. Some players like myself don't want to spend much time learning the exact layout of the land, assuming that the map is large, quest compass is a must and quests being designed bkeakly for the reliance on the quest compass is more of a plus. I'm not looking for replayability, as in most games, I just want to finish once then uninstall and move on.

So, it's really not much nonsense after all, just a good point of perspective that some here obviously do not agree with. There was nothing irrelevant about it, as all these things are connected. Oh well.

Edited by SonicMage117, 11 December 2018 - 08:51 AM.


#29
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Seems like OP is just hoping Obsidian is competent, really.

Edited by Malcador, 11 December 2018 - 09:02 AM.

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#30
agris

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Seems like OP is just hoping Obsidian is competent, really.

 

That's a funny comment, but really I don't think this boils down to competent vs incomponent. It's a deliberate decision that game makers must make in an age of quest compasses. There's been a few posts in this thread about how some games that feature a quest compass, such as Fallout: New Vegas, don't really support playing with it disabled because of the lack of description in quest logs and dialogue.

 

Those things take time to write, so on one hand I can understand why game makers choose not to support quest compass-free gameplay. This is why I'm making a plea, in the hope that Cainarsky are aware that some of their players want to play this way - a way that ever player of Fallout 1 and 2 is accustomed to.


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#31
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One of my favorite aspects of Morrowind was getting written/spoken instructions in the writing/voice of a character that related to some sort of question or job. You had to then go explore what it meant to fulfill this request.

 

What was awful in Skyrim was how often the character told you what to expect, then the game would just guide you through to some object that needed acquired. I don't care about fulfilling an npc's fetch quest. I care about exploration, investigation, discovery, and problem solving. Give me that, and give me the wonderful writing in character to a particular npc that fills out the game world. That's a realized rpg world. Not the sort mechanical rote that has sadly become common. The waypoint compass is just the realization of that rote mechanic. It doesn't mean the deeper planning ins't there, but it often does. It circumvents the need for richer quest design.



#32
the truthseeker

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Considering the multi-platform release, the best potential option is to have a toggle to Quest points or not.

#33
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Seems like OP is just hoping Obsidian is competent, really.

 

That's a funny comment, but really I don't think this boils down to competent vs incomponent. It's a deliberate decision that game makers must make in an age of quest compasses. There's been a few posts in this thread about how some games that feature a quest compass, such as Fallout: New Vegas, don't really support playing with it disabled because of the lack of description in quest logs and dialogue.

 

Those things take time to write, so on one hand I can understand why game makers choose not to support quest compass-free gameplay. This is why I'm making a plea, in the hope that Cainarsky are aware that some of their players want to play this way - a way that ever player of Fallout 1 and 2 is accustomed to.

 

 

If the compass is an option, designing it as if it were not is incompetence, though.



#34
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Obsidian designing quests dialogue around a compass doesn't affect the storytelling quality anymore than using my gps to get somewhere I've never been affects our family trips from having maximum amount of fun. Yeep.

#35
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Well, there's quest compass/minimap and then there's map markers. I think the former is much more evil than the latter.

Personally, my biggest gripe with objective markers on a compass/minimap are with creating a situation where your attention gets drawn to a UI element on your screen, which is, unsurprisingly, not particularly interesting - but you feel the urge to watch it purely so that you don't get lost on the way. Make that optional, but still use markers on the in-game "big screen" map and suddenly, your attention doesn't get drawn by something that's constantly present on the screen. You look about more. You're more incentivized to get off the beaten path and explore.

In fact, in Witcher 3 where I absolutely had the issue where I felt like I've constantly had to watch the minimap in order to not miss some obscure side-path, all that was needed to achieve this effect was downloading a mod which would display HUD based on context. I made minimap with objective markers only display when I was using Witcher Senses and suddenly... Exploration! Beautiful world! No tunnel vision! I get lost, I press a button. Minimap fades away after a few seconds and I'm again delegated to watching environment and navigating from memory. Game suddenly feels a lot more natural.
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#36
Tigranes

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Looks like agris has made the points well enough.

 

It should be very clear why it benefits a game to have dialogues and quests and levels designed in a way that things make sense, regardless of whether you hate quest compasses or love them. Consider:

  • World A: You hear the goblins are attacking from the mountain to the north. You know what goblin camps look like because the game is consistent in how they look and what kind of places they tend to be placed in. So using common sense, you are able to take a walk to the big mountain you see, find some trails, and discover the goblin attacks. If you want, you could use the quest marker as well.
  • World B: You are told the goblins are attacking. But nobody told you exactly where it's coming from, and the game was designed in a way that goblins don't exactly have a known habitat, they're just sort of here and there. Without the compass, you'd have to aimlessly wander around, so really, the only choice is to turn it on and just walk where it tells you to walk.

 

You would think that going for World A is common sense, but look at the history of RPGs and that's not necessarily the case. World A does take more effort. But I would say, again, whether you use the compass or not, there's a joy in discovering a gameworld where you realise goblins tend to hide out in shady crannies of mountains, instead of a game experience where I just say "mountain, river, whatever, none of it matters, game tells me to go somewhere kill stuff i go and kill."

 

It's exactly the same as emergent gameplay over scripted events. We all know the joy: having observed that goblins are curious and will check out a moving object, you decide to throw a barrel their way, then bomb them all when they are clustered. It's not half as fun if, instead, there is no such consistency, and instead you get a scripted game where a giant pop up tells you "QUEST UPDATE: THROW A DISTRACTION AT X SPOT", and then "QUEST UPDATE: THROW THE BOMB USING THE A BUTTON."


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#37
SonicMage117

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Having "enough" info for quest will vary player by player, this isn't a general thing, nor will it ever be. Therefore, anyone trying to compress that by saying "One size fits all if done right" doesn't exist. Some people are just visual learners, while others are literary, doesn't make them less intelligent.

My youtube videos are mostly me playing games with hud disabled but that's only after I've learned the maps and game mechanics well enough to be confident with the decision to turn it off.

Hard to believe that people would choose quest info over quest markers in a game that features large open world and on top of that other planets and space stations. Why is it hard to believe? Because the world might be really big - we don't know the extent of it. Along with that, to much information in quest dialogue makes the player look/feel stupid rather than smarter so there's that too.

"Under the pink bridge on the left side of the courtyard on the west wing space station which has 3 moons"

Vs

"I heard it was somewhere near a bridge by the courtyard on a space station, I don't know"

It also seems more realistic and believable with less detail in the dialogue for reasoning. Why would the npc have depth of a quest or object's whereabouts anyway? But the player, having some 3rd eye or some type of power to lead them does make more sense since they are the star of the story. This is the realm of how games just flow best.

If we'd have it with ultra detailed dialogue, everyone would probably be complaining about that in the end as things would fall apart and/or not quite make much sense.

#38
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Let me preface the reply by saying that, in ideal world, having NPCs and quest descriptions detailed enough to be able to play the game with compass/minimap disabled is the ideal solution. It lends more credibility to the writing (usually, when somebody wants you to go somewhere, he'll actuyally tell you where that is) and makes the world building more consistent. In fact, in ideal world, an in-game mechanic replacing need for a compass entirely would be implemented - sadly, I've only ever seen something like that in Outcast, where you could ask NPCs "Where is {name of location/person}" and they would get up and point in the direction you needed to go. Then there's Far Cry 2 which would merely highlight road signs which lead in the direction of your objective. Both solutions were damned clever and I'm sure they could be expanded upon with modern tech, instead of the lazy "slap a marker on the screen" solution. However...
 

It's exactly the same as emergent gameplay over scripted events. We all know the joy: having observed that goblins are curious and will check out a moving object, you decide to throw a barrel their way, then bomb them all when they are clustered. It's not half as fun if, instead, there is no such consistency, and instead you get a scripted game where a giant pop up tells you "QUEST UPDATE: THROW A DISTRACTION AT X SPOT", and then "QUEST UPDATE: THROW THE BOMB USING THE A BUTTON."

The main difference between emergent gameplay and writing which doesn't facilitate play without quest markers is the parts of development process which need to be coordinated well. If you're building a systems-driven game, glaring bugs will become obvious fairly quickly and development of mechanics tends to be interconnected enough to make that possible (albeit still damned difficult)

However, to make NPCs describe quests properly for player to be able to navigate by their descriptions means coordinating:
- Level designers
- Quest designers
- Writers

and, in case of last minute changes, you can add voice actors to the list. And, sadly, writing and level design aren't married in the same way as mechanics are, so if writer writes a thing and level designer then changes everything around and forgets to inform the writers / writers don't care anymore, you'll be informing player of things that are no longer true. God forbid that dialogue is already voiced.

Now, I still think that when you do something, you should do it properly and all the reasoning I gave isn't much more than excuses from proper planning and work ethic. Sadly, we do live in the real world, and software development projects with insane milestones are especially prone to failures in the whole 'planning' bit. In other words, I want to play another game like Morrowind where navigation was a big part of the appeal, but I can definitely see why would development companies want to avoid this.

Edit: Just to re-iterate, I also think that the lazy clutch of quest markers needs to be obliterated, sooner than later.

Nintendo has realized this with their Zelda and designed it without a need for quest markers (they can be turned off and the game comfortably played without them). Assassin's Creed Oddyssey apparently allows to play with only having vague directions as opposed to knowing precisely where an objective is. Red Dead Redemption 2 is supposed to compensate for disabled minimap by more detailed descriptions etc. Prey's entirely designed to be playable without quest markers - and then makes disabling them cumbersome, but ... Eh.

It seems that developers are slowly realizing how intrinsically detrimental compasses / minimaps are to gameplay. It seems designers are sick of creating these vast, detailed open worlds which will then be reduced to mere tunnels by slapping a direction arrow in. Let's hope development continues in this direction and Obsidian surprises us with their own, clever and novel, solution.

Edited by Fenixp, 12 December 2018 - 10:55 PM.


#39
SonicMage117

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Hmmmm... Yeah, it's almost a bit of entitlment than actually what's best for the game's sake and the playability of it. Your definition of proper could be (and is) subjective. We should never forget these things.

Anyway, this is the problem with Crpg gamers not playing open world games like Far Cry 2, it's everything you're describing but yet it turned out poorly. Sometimes less in more, less complexity in navigation is good. Why would you want to make this type of game appeal to a very niche group of gamers and alienate the better portion of demographic? It just wouldn't make sense, so I hope Obsidian sticks to the norm Fallout/Skyrim quest maping structure, which is good. It's not broken so there's no need to worry about fixing something that isn't broke - unless you're trying to make the game like Shenmue or Kingdom Come which doesn't fit anyway.

Edited by SonicMage117, 12 December 2018 - 10:51 PM.


#40
Triple - A Foxy Lad

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i feel with morrowind, main draw was always world itself. writing was primarily a sideshow and characters almost non-existent. peeps playing it wouldnt be getting itchy wanting to know 'what happens next' or 'i must resolve this' yadda yadda. it could get away with prioritising immersion over convenience bcs thats what it was selling.

 

think if ur constructing something where narrative and character are more salient, ur gonna attract more players who want to get through the beats and limit their time wandering around aimlessly.

 

also now eyeballs are more fickle. if player hits rut playing game they can just click something else on steam rather than walking all the way to local video game shop and installing from multiple discs. times be what they be.

 

visual aid also more reliable way of conveying information. problem with writing is that u can compose the clearest instructions known to god or man - and some reader will introject their own issues and turn it all into nonsense.






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