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TimB99

Some thoughts on urgency, consequences and parallel non-linear missions

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This was originally a response to the thread of "Urgency: please have it" (link: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/60235-urgency-please-have-it/), but it went into a whole 'nother direction, so I choose to make a topic of my own to potentially discuss it. So keep that in mind as it starts out with the 'urgency' topic and then moves on. Mmk? :D

 

 

Honestly, I like urgency.

 

I somewhat loathed Skyrim (for example) for not being urgent: you're the chosen one, you have to save a world from impending doom. So if I choose instead to join 10.000 guilds and do even more 'find my lost jewelry' quests, why hasn't doom impended yet? What did the evil dragon of evil do all day? Sit on his arse? Some doombringer...

 

So urgency would be a 'must' for me, if the story lends to it, which I very much support (as opposed to 'here, go play in this sandbox world!')...

 

On a related note: consequences when you're not urgent could potentially be very interesting, and if they choose to not railroad/script the consequences (i.e. make the consequences specific to the missed quest, for example, instead of making it an unchanging part of the main plot), or instant-game-over it, could lend to a lot of replayability.

 

E.g.: Well crap! The village you were supposed to go to, to save from the Evil Bastard, has vanished from the map (apparently he did his Evil Bastardly job well without waiting for you to show up to thwart him) because you loitered around too long somewhere else... Incidentally, you weren't around to find out the next step in his master plan. Now how do we further the plot? What's his next step? How do we find out the next step of his master plan? How cool would that be? It could potentially involve a whole new gameplay mechanic of chasing down leads and investigating, setting up an intel network across several cities, etc etc.

 

This could make the possibility of parallel missions interesting as well: instead of the Mass Effect 2 style of 'here are 9 missions you can do in any order you like! With no consequences if you choose 1 instead of the other, YAY!', you can have 2 or 3 missions that can happen at the same time, but you can only choose to chase down 1 lead, choose to do 1 mission (which you may or may not find out after the mission is over; as in: hmmm, let's do the investigatory mission first before going to the village where Evil Bastard has been spotted --> Well crap, apparently the Evil Bastard destroyed the village, but at least I found a piece of vital information that might come in handy later, or that unlocks some other important mission; and vice versa, of course: let's go save the village --> you have saved the village, but at the expense of some vital piece of info).

Again, it leads to replayability.

 

That could take a lot of work, granted, but hey, that's what additional stretch goals, or possibly mods, can be for, right? ;p (no offense to game makers if that comment is just plain wrong, though... O_o)

 

So... Ideas? :)

 

-Tim

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I'm really not sure why this needed a new thread, as I'm pretty sure this is exactly the type of thing everyone in the "Urgency" camp is fighting for. Time sensitive quests can play out exactly like this, instead of being "do this in 7 days or get game over". Parallel missions work for this style of thing too, but still lack the true sense of urgency as they still wait for the player to get around to it.

 

People still seem to not get it though, I assume it's because they immediately stop reading when they see "Time sensitive" or "Timed quests". They want an awesome roleplaying game, yet are against one of the things that will make the game great and allow them to play the game over multiple times in different ways... all because they want to prioritize exploration, I guess. The game should not wait around for you to do everything. There NEEDS to be situations where the game progresses without you in some way. If there is no reaction to your inaction, which is as much of a choice as taking action, then what's the point of it being a role playing game?

 

Time sensitive quests makes the options feel much more real than simply making it an arbitrary choice of "you can only do 1 of these 3 quests", and if you play it out right, you might even be able to complete all 3 of those quests instead of being restricted to one. Not wanting to feel rushed is not a valid argument. You are supposed to be playing a character within a game world that has a story of it's own. That character should have to deal with urgency, and risk not being able to do everything because he got too far off track. I've seen people suggesting that quests should give a greater reward if done quickly as some sort alternative, but this is still ultimately a punishment for people who do things slowly.

 

Urgency needs to have it's place in a roleplaying game. Not every single section of the game needs to be an urgent rush to finish things, but there does need to be situations where inaction will have an affect on the game world.

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I think its a good idea, but shouldn't be specifically time linked. The parallel quests sounds better. I don't want to miss an important NPC because I spend too much time in the last town talking to guys before I even know this town exists. But give me the choice of helping that NPC now or doing some other quest now, and I could see that working. Game events would cause the urgency, not a clock.

 

Oh man, that thief looks like he's breaking into that house. OH MAN! The blacksmith is giving out free stuff! What do I do?

Edited by ogrezilla
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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

 

Attempting to impose urgency when applicable =/= taking away the freedom of exploration. That's important. Most people probably aren't asking for another water chip - a overaching plot that imposes urgency - rather that some quests should resolve themselves if you're out for too long.

 

There's this idea where its a better roleplaying experience when the player is free to cherry pick whatever story he wants. Its hand-to-hand with the modern comprehension that players musn't be inconvenienced at all, lest they lose their attention or self-esteem.

Edited by Delterius
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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

Then they should not include Impeding Doom™ into the story. It can be done. Make it more personal instead of epic and you are set. I do not personally have anything against games that allow you to take your sweet time and hunt bears to get skins to sell or whatever. It just miffs me when at the same time every NPC in the world is whining about the horrible thing that is bound to happen this instant but it want until you trigger off the next story point. The designers want to have huge epic story with horrible threats but are afraid to punish the player for not taking them seriously enough because that might hurt their feelings.

Edited by evdk

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

 

Attempting to impose urgency when applicable =/= taking away the freedom of exploration. That's important. Most people probably aren't asking for another water chip - a overaching plot that imposes urgency - rather that some quests should resolve themselves if you're out for too long.

 

There's this idea where its a better roleplaying experience when the player is free to cherry pick whatever story he wants. Its hand-to-hand with the modern comprehension that players musn't be inconvenienced at all, lest they lose their attention or self-esteem.

 

I don't really like the idea of missing out on content because I want to take my time :/ I want to do the quests not have them solved for me :p

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

Then they should not include Impeding Doom™ into the story. It can be done. Make it more personal instead of epic and you are set. I do not personally have anything against games that allow you to take your sweet time and hunt bears to get skins to sell or whatever. It just miffs me when at the same time every NPC in the world is whining about the horrible thing that is bound to happen this instant but it want until you trigger off the next story point. The designers want to have huge epic story with horrible threats but are afraid to punish the player for not taking them seriously enough because that might hurt their feelings.

 

I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

 

Attempting to impose urgency when applicable =/= taking away the freedom of exploration. That's important. Most people probably aren't asking for another water chip - a overaching plot that imposes urgency - rather that some quests should resolve themselves if you're out for too long.

 

There's this idea where its a better roleplaying experience when the player is free to cherry pick whatever story he wants. Its hand-to-hand with the modern comprehension that players musn't be inconvenienced at all, lest they lose their attention or self-esteem.

 

I don't really like the idea of missing out on content because I want to take my time :/ I want to do the quests not have them solved for me :p

 

'Solved by themselves' does not mean 'solved for you': if you insist on doing something else as a child is in danger, that child may die. Going out of your way to save the child is roleplaying, not caring is too. Going to the other corner of the district to sell a potion or stopping to talk to someone and then miraculously saving the kid is sad gameplay and story segregation.

 

Also, the idea of 'modular' content is a pillar of good rpg design.

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

Then they should not include Impeding Doom™ into the story. It can be done. Make it more personal instead of epic and you are set. I do not personally have anything against games that allow you to take your sweet time and hunt bears to get skins to sell or whatever. It just miffs me when at the same time every NPC in the world is whining about the horrible thing that is bound to happen this instant but it want until you trigger off the next story point. The designers want to have huge epic story with horrible threats but are afraid to punish the player for not taking them seriously enough because that might hurt their feelings.

 

I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

But if everybody tells you that the evil army is right here, please stop them or we all die tomorrow and you the **** off to the swamps to do some side quest for a chronic masturbator blind hermit that is not taking the game seriously. Which is why designers should not write these kinds of stories into games unless they are willing to punish the players for disregarding the main quest and you should not be playing them unless you can either limit you exploring or take the punishment (whic need not necessarily be game over, in fact it should not be - some changed quests, more difficult encounters would be preferable).


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I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

 

Which is fine from a general stand point, but think about it from your character's point of view. They're part of that world, should they be expecting it to wait around for them?

Choices are supposed to matter, and I think that the choice of inaction should be just as telling as taking an action itself.

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I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

 

Which is fine from a general stand point, but think about it from your character's point of view. They're part of that world, should they be expecting it to wait around for them?

Choices are supposed to matter, and I think that the choice of inaction should be just as telling as taking an action itself.

 

If there are Consequences to that Choice, then the choice of inaction does have enormous value in itself.

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

Then they should not include Impeding Doom™ into the story. It can be done. Make it more personal instead of epic and you are set. I do not personally have anything against games that allow you to take your sweet time and hunt bears to get skins to sell or whatever. It just miffs me when at the same time every NPC in the world is whining about the horrible thing that is bound to happen this instant but it want until you trigger off the next story point. The designers want to have huge epic story with horrible threats but are afraid to punish the player for not taking them seriously enough because that might hurt their feelings.

 

I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

But if everybody tells you that the evil army is right here, please stop them or we all die tomorrow and you the **** off to the swamps to do some side quest for a chronic masturbator blind hermit that is not taking the game seriously. Which is why designers should not write these kinds of stories into games unless they are willing to punish the players for disregarding the main quest and you should not be playing them unless you can either limit you exploring or take the punishment (whic need not necessarily be game over, in fact it should not be - some changed quests, more difficult encounters would be preferable).

 

Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though? I just think forcing you through the main quest because you are worried about messing it up will make the game really linear. If there is an obvious choice (Leave the army to fend for itself and wander off into the wilds or help them) then fine. But if I'm off doing something else and something bad happens just because I took my time that is unfair.

 

I don't want to have to rush through the main quest, that's not the way I like to play games. Okay so you like doing that, some of us don't.

Edited by Moonlight Butterfly

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I personally despise anything timed, I like to explore and enjoy the game. I'm okay with side quests being timed but no the main mission so I can experience what the game has to offer.

This is especially pertinent if they are putting a mega dungeon in.

Then they should not include Impeding Doom™ into the story. It can be done. Make it more personal instead of epic and you are set. I do not personally have anything against games that allow you to take your sweet time and hunt bears to get skins to sell or whatever. It just miffs me when at the same time every NPC in the world is whining about the horrible thing that is bound to happen this instant but it want until you trigger off the next story point. The designers want to have huge epic story with horrible threats but are afraid to punish the player for not taking them seriously enough because that might hurt their feelings.

 

I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

But if everybody tells you that the evil army is right here, please stop them or we all die tomorrow and you the **** off to the swamps to do some side quest for a chronic masturbator blind hermit that is not taking the game seriously. Which is why designers should not write these kinds of stories into games unless they are willing to punish the players for disregarding the main quest and you should not be playing them unless you can either limit you exploring or take the punishment (whic need not necessarily be game over, in fact it should not be - some changed quests, more difficult encounters would be preferable).

 

Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though? I just think forcing you through the main quest because you are worried about messing it up will make the game really linear. If there is an obvious choice (Leave the army to fend for itself and wander off into the wilds or help them) then fine. But if I'm off doing something else and something bad happens just because I took my time that is unfair.

Sorry, building up a terrible invasion force that just stays on the borders waiting for you to do the MQ progression thing is a pet peeve of mine. And my preferred way is better simply because it's mine and I want it in the game. But this is all moot because good quest design would take care of all these things and give us both the game we want to play in one package. Simply swear off dumb epic world destroying plots.


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Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though?

 

Because roleplaying requires context. If context dictates urgency, but the mechanics don't, then you're robbed of a roleplaying opportunity. If you don't even act according to the story in spite that Gameplay and Story Segregation... then you're doing many things, except roleplaying.

 

And in that scenario, I do believe his way of 'actually roleplaying' is preferable.

Edited by Delterius
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Because roleplaying requires context. If context dictates urgency, but the mechanics don't, then you're robbed of a roleplaying opportunity. If you don't even act according to the story in spite that Gameplay and Story Segregation... then you're doing many things, except roleplaying.

 

And in that scenario, I do believe his way of 'actually roleplaying' is preferable.

I hate it when people argue my point for much better than I ever could :biggrin:


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Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though?

 

Because roleplaying requires context. If context dictates urgency, but the mechanics don't, then you're robbed of a roleplaying opportunity. If you don't even act according to the story in spite that Gameplay and Story Segregation... then you're doing many things, except roleplaying.

 

And in that scenario, I do believe his way of 'actually roleplaying' is preferable.

 

Like I said I don't like being forced to do things or miss stuff because I'm taking my time with something.

 

If the game presents me with a clear choice, then sure, but if it makes me mess up without giving me any obvious clue that things will advance without me then it's ridiculous.

 

I don't think his roleplaying choice is more valid than mine, that's entirely subjective. You only think that because you agree with him.

 

If I wanted to play a linear corridor game then I'd go play Final Fantasy 13 :p

Edited by Moonlight Butterfly

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I think there is a difference between not taking them seriously and wanting to experience what the game has to offer. I don't want to be stressed out thinking I'll mess it up if I don't do everything right this second.

 

Which is fine from a general stand point, but think about it from your character's point of view. They're part of that world, should they be expecting it to wait around for them?

Choices are supposed to matter, and I think that the choice of inaction should be just as telling as taking an action itself.

 

If there are Consequences to that Choice, then the choice of inaction does have enormous value in itself.

 

Which is why I keep fighting for the addition of timed quests that don't wait for you.

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Timed quests are bad.

 

Edit:

Lemme add some detail here. I wanna go through the main quest at my leisure.

 

I have this thing called a job. It gives me these evil things called "deadlines." These "deadlines" bring me stress, sadness and grief. I should not be put under the gun in the same way when I go home to relax.

Edited by Shevek

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Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though?

 

Because roleplaying requires context. If context dictates urgency, but the mechanics don't, then you're robbed of a roleplaying opportunity. If you don't even act according to the story in spite that Gameplay and Story Segregation... then you're doing many things, except roleplaying.

 

And in that scenario, I do believe his way of 'actually roleplaying' is preferable.

 

Like I said I don't like being forced to do things or miss stuff because I'm taking my time with something.

 

If I wanted to play a game where I don't miss content because of roleplaying, I'd player a linear snorefest.

 

I don't think his roleplaying choice is more valid than mine, that's entirely subjective. You only think that because you agree with him.

 

I can agree that inconveniences are not 'fun' in non-RPGs.

Edited by Delterius

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Why should your preferred way of roleplaying/ adventuring be preferred over mine though?

 

Because roleplaying requires context. If context dictates urgency, but the mechanics don't, then you're robbed of a roleplaying opportunity. If you don't even act according to the story in spite that Gameplay and Story Segregation... then you're doing many things, except roleplaying.

 

And in that scenario, I do believe his way of 'actually roleplaying' is preferable.

 

Like I said I don't like being forced to do things or miss stuff because I'm taking my time with something.

 

If the game presents me with a clear choice, then sure, but if it makes me mess up without giving me any obvious clue that things will advance without me then it's ridiculous.

 

I don't think his roleplaying choice is more valid than mine, that's entirely subjective. You only think that because you agree with him.

 

If I wanted to play a linear corridor game then I'd go play Final Fantasy 13 :p

Not every roleplaying game has to be an exploration simulator now, does it? Not that timed quests would necessarily limit that - the limits need not be two hours it might be weeks. And you might fail some quests - big deal, it might actually open other quest possibilities. You haven't managed to save the hamlet from bandits? Now you can seek revenge on their leader!


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If the game presents me with a clear choice, then sure

 

Do you do the urgent quest before the time runs out, or do you put it off and fail?

 

That seems like a pretty clear cut choice to me.

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Timed quests are bad.

Thanks for your eloquent argument.


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Timed quests are bad.

Thanks for your eloquent argument.

 

I fear that's the only actual "argument" people have against their inclusion. "I don't like it, so it's bad".

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I don't like timed missions where the end result is outright failure if you don't complete the mission within a certain time. IMO, those are just flat out frustrating and not fun. What I do like the idea of is, if a mission is "timed" or urgent, that the longer you take to finish it the more consequences you have to deal with.

 

For instance, a village is under siege and asks for your help. It's "timed" in the sense that, eventually if you leave it for months to get around to the quest, perhaps the entire village is taken over by whoever is attacking it. So then your quest for help becomes a quest to liberate the village from an entrenched enemy.

 

That's the extreme case, but even minor delays could produce consequences like the villagers losing their will to fight at your side the longer you take, because they've had to witness a lot of their friends and neighbors dying. Or they lose their trust in you. Or now you have to contend with some villagers being spies for the enemy because the enemy has had enough time during your dallying to infiltrate the town.

 

So outright timed missions are a big NO for me, but missions where there are consequences if you don't do them right away are fantastic, if implemented well.

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