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In a purely technical sense, possibly. But you do not report back to them, you don't get your reward from them, and perhaps most importantly, your rewards become much more modular. Instead of "bring me item X from dungeon Y" discovering the dungeon, entering, finding the lich's lair etc. all come with their own batch of XP, and you may cop out at any time and not be left with empty hands and a failed quest.

Ehhhh... I get where you're going with that, but... It's almost getting to point of what Progress Quest is designed to parody. It's definitely a more MMO-esque approach to experience, and I'm still not sure how you decide which mini-goals are worth rewarding and which aren't. If you continue to make it more "modular", you could end up giving XP for killing enemies since that arguably advances your quest progress, but then that defeats the whole point of not giving experience for combat. It's a nice concept, but I honestly don't see the use of this; to me, quest-based XP is about rewarding the player for actually accomplishing something of some narrative value and consequence, rather than rewarding them every time they decide to do something mundane like swing their sword at the enemy.

 

Furthermore, how do you balance important quests when you're unsure whether the player will attempt them right off, or after having leveled up due to discovering every location on the map? Exploration is the kind of thing that in my opinion should be done for other reasons to gain experience.

 

Uhm... you don't want journal entries that keep track of conversations?

 

It depends... did these conversations ever actually happen, or did the journal entry magically appear as soon as I entered the area, leaving me to imagine having had said conversation? It's been done before.

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If this happens, then the people who play RPGs for its reassuring number progression would lose their motivation...

 

But yes, I've always liked the idea of a system that turns all "leveling up" into a series of quests, in which knowledge- which is gleaned from books and trainers- rather than experience (the reward for repeatedly performing the same action) is the primary measure of progress. To me that is much more conducive to a quest reward than a simple sum of XP, which is what people seem to be expecting in PE. This also better facilitates a narrative being created from character progression, as you're literally completing a questline in the process of "leveling up". It's always baffled me that the main focus of character development in most RPGs was on the process's most repetitive elements, but to be fair it would of course be difficult to stretch such a system to provide as many hours of "content" as the traditional grinding-based progression. Or is toiling toward some arbitrary number really more fun than taking one's time and enjoying the ride, for some people?

Why have quest rewards at all?

 

No, really. If the quest is interesting, you don't need to dangle a bag of XP and Gold in front of my face to make me want to do it. If you make a location interesting I'll want to explore it just to see what's there. And if the quests/locations aren't interesting, then what exactly are the rewards accomplishing?

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It's definitely a more MMO-esque approach to experience, and I'm still not sure how you decide which mini-goals are worth rewarding and which aren't.

Welp, you can look at it like a deconstruction of a traditional quest. You have the quest to find the missing caravan in Icewind Dale. You could roughly break that down into "finding the Orc cave", "looking for clues" [= killing Orcs and exploring cave] and "learning of the caravan's fate" [= killing the ogre and reading his papers]. I'd say a threshold is reached when you have both used your character's skills a certain number of times/ with a certain input of player skill, and when it makes sense thematically. PrimeJunta could make a better case for objective XP than I can though.

 

It depends... did these conversations ever actually happen, or did the journal entry magically appear as soon as I entered the area, leaving me to imagine having had said conversation? It's been done before.

I would suspect the first in most cases, but it may also be the latter in others, for example when it doesn't make sense for an NPC to be present (i.e. finding an interesting location in the wilderness).

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If this happens, then the people who play RPGs for its reassuring number progression would lose their motivation...

 

But yes, I've always liked the idea of a system that turns all "leveling up" into a series of quests, in which knowledge- which is gleaned from books and trainers- rather than experience (the reward for repeatedly performing the same action) is the primary measure of progress. To me that is much more conducive to a quest reward than a simple sum of XP, which is what people seem to be expecting in PE. This also better facilitates a narrative being created from character progression, as you're literally completing a questline in the process of "leveling up". It's always baffled me that the main focus of character development in most RPGs was on the process's most repetitive elements, but to be fair it would of course be difficult to stretch such a system to provide as many hours of "content" as the traditional grinding-based progression. Or is toiling toward some arbitrary number really more fun than taking one's time and enjoying the ride, for some people?

Why have quest rewards at all?

 

No, really. If the quest is interesting, you don't need to dangle a bag of XP and Gold in front of my face to make me want to do it. If you make a location interesting I'll want to explore it just to see what's there. And if the quests/locations aren't interesting, then what exactly are the rewards accomplishing?

 

I agree. But if you think about it, you probably wouldn't be playing the game if you weren't reaping some kind of reward from it. The fact that you can experience an interesting location and narrative could be considered a reward in and of itself, and in a perfect world I'd say that these would be sufficient motivations in and of themselves as your say. But in an RPG, which usually involves the player's character progressing in some manner in addition to the main "reward" of theoretically having fun in the process, I think it makes decent sense that these measures of progress would result from quest completion.

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let me give you an example of a quest that has the basic structure of a fetch, but doesnt feel like it

in act1 of witcher 2, you find some soldiers that have captured an elf woman and want to hang her for being a terrorist.

there you get the choice to try and find who is right or just ignore it (the classical accept the quest or not).

after that you are asked to go into a cave, reach the end and come back (classical fetch style).

however what makes it more than a fetch quest is the fact that you can lie and save her or tell the truth, in which case you may let her hang or give her a last chance to prove her innocence and have her lead you into an ambush... after that she hangs. and if you save her she will be useful later on in the game

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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Something like this also has the danger of encouraging a completionist playstyle to an even greater degree, if the progression of your character is tied to completing any number of random objectives. What if it doesn't fit your character's personality or motivations to explore some random dungeon, or something like that? Admittedly this is sort of a problem with quest-based XP in general, but at least with a questgiver in the picture you have the option of either doing what the NPC wants or doing the opposite, and either will likely result in an XP reward. Whereas with more freeform quests (that likely have no promise of reward other than XP), it sort of voids the question of whether your character would realistically want to get involved or not in whatever random quest lead they witness. Traditional quests are good in my opinion because they tend to give your character some non-meta reason to want to become involved in whatever it is that the quest involves.

 

As I said, fundamentally, the only difference between a quest which is only undertaken after dialogue, and a quest option put into the log after another event (reading a tome, combat encounter, etc) is the former usually give you a dialogue option to accept the quest.  So you can say no, and it doesn't go into your quest log.  In contrast, unless the game actually had a pop-up after self-initiated questing events, the event would just spam your log, which would, indeed, encourage completionist play.  

 

Keep in mind though that a well-written self-initiated quest is every bit as real.  Indeed, the main plots of many classic roleplaying games, including Baldur's Gate 1, Baldur's Gate 2, and Planescape: Torment, and Arcanum were essentially self-initiated.  The plot heavily railroaded you, but ultimately no one set you out on your task at the start of the game.  

 

Still, this can have issues.  Some people criticize Baldur's Gate II, for example, because the game not only presupposes you kept Imoen in your party in Baldur's Gate, but cared about her enough to go on this mad quest to find her.  Player choice was taken away at the core of the story.  Still, I don't see this as fundamentally different than say being told in Fallout you need to find a crucial piece of equipment to save your vault.  The only fundamental difference is someone else told you want to do, but it still presupposes connections to frame the story.  All plotted RPGs are going to railroad the PC to some degree.  

 

Anyway, to digress, self-initiated quests on a smaller scale make just as much sense because there are motivations besides XP.  One could actually argue they allow for better roleplay.  Using the example I showed, if one finds an ancient tome, they should be given the option (if a curious or greedy player) of following hints to an object of great power).  If one roleplays a vengeful character, they should be given the option of exacting revenge as part of a quest initiated without any dialogue.  Makes the game more fun, along with having a more classic narrative.  Few adventure stories make the protagonist as...passive...as the PC typically is in RPGs.  They don't bumble about asking others what they need to have done.  They decide what to do themselves.  

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I'd like to quickly confess that a friend asked me to post something for him last week and I instinctively got excited about the XP.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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As I said, fundamentally, the only difference between a quest which is only undertaken after dialogue, and a quest option put into the log after another event (reading a tome, combat encounter, etc) is the former usually give you a dialogue option to accept the quest.  So you can say no, and it doesn't go into your quest log.  In contrast, unless the game actually had a pop-up after self-initiated questing events, the event would just spam your log, which would, indeed, encourage completionist play.

I think it's more a matter of how elegantly and efficiently the quest designer can introduce elements of cd onflict anchoice into the quests. A questgiver has their own motivations/goals, which may or may not coincide with those of the player or the in-game society at large, and you could even involve further NPCs with competing motivations/goals. On the other hand, with an inanimate object, there's really little to prompt this kind of conflict/choice; a quest that doesn't involve NPCs isn't able to persuade the player of any approach as easily (though the case of a book giving a quest would be an exception that I wouldn't mind, since writing can be persuasive).

 

If a quest was cued in such a manner, the most interesting development would be if different party members/companions suggested different courses of action, but then they're really just taking on the role of "questgiver" if you think about it. Otherwise the player's motivations are the only ones at play, and the only idea I can think of for introducing conflict or choice is through derpy journal entries like this:

 

"I've seen a bright light in the distance, leaving me very curious. I could either march the whole party directly at it, or the party could split up..."

 

A rather mundane example, but I find the general approach nauseating. It's rather extreme hand-holding, and immensely less stirring than when well-written NPCs confront you with objectives. This is all the kind of thought processes that the player should be engaging in without having to be incentivized with objective experience.

 

Keep in mind though that a well-written self-initiated quest is every bit as real.  Indeed, the main plots of many classic roleplaying games, including Baldur's Gate 1, Baldur's Gate 2, and Planescape: Torment, and Arcanum were essentially self-initiated.  The plot heavily railroaded you, but ultimately no one set you out on your task at the start of the game.

It's not as real because the game is trying to make abstractions of what's going on inside the character's head, when the player should be the ultimate judge of that in roleplay. There also tends to be a big difference between the gravitas of the main storyline and the kinds of side "quests" we're talking about now, and that's why hand-holding/guided roleplay is sort of okay for one but not for the other.

 

Still, this can have issues.  Some people criticize Baldur's Gate II, for example, because the game not only presupposes you kept Imoen in your party in Baldur's Gate, but cared about her enough to go on this mad quest to find her.  Player choice was taken away at the core of the story.  Still, I don't see this as fundamentally different than say being told in Fallout you need to find a crucial piece of equipment to save your vault.  The only fundamental difference is someone else told you want to do, but it still presupposes connections to frame the story.  All plotted RPGs are going to railroad the PC to some degree.

There's a difference from taking away a player's choice about what the character's motivations and goals are (as happens with self-initiated quests), and taking away a player's choice about what the character's actions are (as often occurs in more traditional quests, and for the reasons I describe above this one is easier to fix). You would really rather be railroaded at the level of your own character's mind than at the level of having to appease other characters?

 

Anyway, to digress, self-initiated quests on a smaller scale make just as much sense because there are motivations besides XP.  One could actually argue they allow for better roleplay.  Using the example I showed, if one finds an ancient tome, they should be given the option (if a curious or greedy player) of following hints to an object of great power).  If one roleplays a vengeful character, they should be given the option of exacting revenge as part of a quest initiated without any dialogue.  Makes the game more fun, along with having a more classic narrative.  Few adventure stories make the protagonist as...passive...as the PC typically is in RPGs.  They don't bumble about asking others what they need to have done.  They decide what to do themselves.

As I have stated above, this approach tends to pigeonhole the character's motivations, and at best incentivizes the player to roleplay (in a restricted manner no less) with XP rewards. With NPC-initiated quests, you could easily provide options for greedy and vengeful players in the same quest, whereas with "self-initiated" quests they assume that the character has certain motivations and if that is not the case then you're out of a quest (or different choices are introduced in a very awkward manner as described above).

 

The protagonist is "too passive" in most RPGs? But he/she is the only one who ever gets anything done!

 

At any rate, in most decent RPGs I've played, the player does have freedom to do what they want; they just aren't incentivized/rewarded with XP. Removing any semblance of external motivation isn't the way to empower the player character in my opinion; rather, fetch quests should play on the conflicts between external and internal motivations, or between different external motivations. For me, the choice associated with conflict between different internal motivations is omnipresent in RPGs ("Do I talk to this villager or kill them?") and not needed to be incentivized with XP, but it is usually not strong enough to construct a narrative that I feel is quest-worthy or XP-worthy.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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If a quest was cued in such a manner, the most interesting development would be if different party members/companions suggested different courses of action, but then they're really just taking on the role of "questgiver" if you think about it. Otherwise the player's motivations are the only ones at play, and the only idea I can think of for introducing conflict or choice is through derpy journal entries like this:

 

"I've seen a bright light in the distance, leaving me very curious. I could either march the whole party directly at it, or the party could split up..."

 

A rather mundane example, but I find the general approach nauseating. It's rather extreme hand-holding, and immensely less stirring than when well-written NPCs confront you with objectives. This is all the kind of thought processes that the player should be engaging in without having to be incentivized with objective experience.

Here's an idea: What if, everytime you entered a new area, you gained a journal entry with some common knowledge or mythology about the area for you to read, if you want?

 

"Today we saw the End of Arothen. Legends say, back when the gods fought war over the right to rule creation, this was the site of the death of the greatest among them, whose demise left this scar upon the land. They even say his legendary greatsword still rests here, but no one who has searched for it has ever returned..."

 

I'm sure a professional writer can come up with something much more evocative and interesting than that, though.

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Generally, I think the OP's annoyance is primarily found in newer games particularly of the MMO variety.  That annoyance is something I share.  I would contest however that in the games which PE is meant to harken back to, these sorts of quests were not present.

 

In fact, early on in BG1, "fetch quests" are obviously all there is to do just about - and almost all of them do a few different things.

 

1.  Mock the idea of fetch quests

2.  Provide us with colorful journal entries and interactions with otherwise inconsequential NPCs (Dreppin's Cow, the lady that is super forgetful) that flesh out Candlekeep, the story arch, and the world of Faerun generally.   

 

These sorts of quests recur throughout the game, but they always somehow tie into the overall story arch, aren't readily available unless you do some exploring, or provide some color to the world.  No rat butts to be found.

 

Let's take ch. 2 Beregost fetch quests for example:

1. Lady in house, dead husband on road, return letter to her about dead husband, found by bumbling into people's houses.

2. Dispatch the mad priest deliver his holy symbol to temple, from town crier, teaches us about Zhentil keep, color text.

3. Find dwarfy-guys cloak, he accosts you in an inn, you can't even find his cloak until, generally, much much later in the game and may not even realize you've found it!

4. Beat up some half-ogres from wounded paladin, again just talking to random people - may find half orgres and not even realize it!

5. Get a book for Firebead Elvenhair, he's a guy you met in Candlekeep who knew you, provides you with a cool book in return, faux relationship + color text, flesh. 

6. Find halfling's sword, go to place, return sword, mostly just for humorous exchange about halflings. 

 

There's probably 1-2 I'm missing but hey memories you know. 

 

I trust Obsidian to handle this well and not have us killing hordes of bears for their tongues, only to discover that not every bear has a tongue apparently, and then just getting xp and gold and sent on our way by some guy with an exclamation point on his head. 

 

You can easily make fetch quests engaging and fulfilling, beyond their xp/gp gains, which is a good thing, considering that, at early levels, fetch quests are a way of life in most RPGs.   Some people will be lost on the story altogether, and will want their gp/xp and that's fine, for the rest of us there's plenty of angles for the devs to take without altering the gameplay.  And yes, generally, in the real world, if you do something for somebody they recompense you in some way, be that gp or rare item provision, or telling their friends about how super cool you are.  All have their place in an RPG. 

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In fact, early on in BG1, "fetch quests" are obviously all there is to do just about - and almost all of them do a few different things.

 

1.  Mock the idea of fetch quests

My problem is this "humor" of "Ha ha ha look how terrible this campaign you're playing is" doesn't make you witty, it makes you a bad DM trying to use irony to cover your ass. Don't worry guys, I'm totally being horrible on purpose so it's okay!

 

I'm not really gonna respond to the rest of your post because, while I agree with your general thesis that you can make what's essentially a fetch quest interesting and meaningful by giving it proper narrative context, the side quests in Baldur's Gate are a really, really bad example of how to do this.

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"I've seen a bright light in the distance, leaving me very curious. I could either march the whole party directly at it, or the party could split up..."

the first part is good

the second part is telling you what you should do, which is not good.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Here's an idea: What if, everytime you entered a new area, you gained a journal entry with some common knowledge or mythology about the area for you to read, if you want?

 

"Today we saw the End of Arothen. Legends say, back when the gods fought war over the right to rule creation, this was the site of the death of the greatest among them, whose demise left this scar upon the land. They even say his legendary greatsword still rests here, but no one who has searched for it has ever returned..."

 

I'm sure a professional writer can come up with something much more evocative and interesting than that, though.

Nice thought, especially if it differed based on your skills and knowledge (lore, common knowledge, etc)

 

So, You enter the Bazaar district in a trading port and you could get

As any class with low lore:

"I've entered the Bazaar, where goods from around the world are traded, but known especially for the fine dyes made there. If you know where to look, all kinds of goods could be found"

or

As a Rogue with low lore:

"I've entered the Bazaar, where goods from around the world are traded, but known especially for the fine dyes made there. If we know where to look, there might be a fence for our goods somewhere around here"

or

As a Paladin with low lore:

"I've entered the Bazaar, where goods from around the world are traded, but known especially for the fine dyes made there. No doubt the place is rife with crime"

or

As any character with pretty decent lore:

"Established in 1420, the Defiance Bay Bazaar is truly a wonder to behold, built over a natural clearing, the Bazaar proper is actually excavated out of the hillside, goods from around the world are traded here.

or

As any character with high lore:

"Established in 1420, the Defiance Bay Bazaar is truly a wonder to behold, built over a natural clearing, the Bazaar proper is actually excavated out of the hillside, during it's construction workers hit on pre-existing tunnels, evidencing that the place may have seen society long before the Aedir empire established here. Goods from around the world are traded here"

 

Each hints, subtly or not so, at a crime operation in the Bazaar, the last one points to the most likely location you could find it.

None of them tell you explicitly where you can find it, only one tells you whereabouts you should look.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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What i'd personally like to see. "I've seen a bright light in the distance." A journal entry upon witnessing this phenomena, possibly informed by lore as per JFSOCC's excellent suggestion. Here we have a binary choice, explore or don't explore.

 

Explore:

 

Once again we have a choice, we can send in our rogue to scout, use arcane methods of siurveillance, pray for guidance, simply walk straight to the location etcetera. Whatever we find in this place is ours to do with as we wish, the benefit of direct action.

 

Don't explore:

 

We come to a local township where rumours of the phenomenon are rife, and the local Wizard, Clergy or Nobleman are offering a bounty for investigating it, and the possible adverse effects it may be having on the locale.

 

If we show no interest, do not pursue the matter and simply ramble on, then this local authority will act themselves, gathering a party of men and bearding this thing in its lair. The next visit to the township will show the effects that their discovery has had, and the place of the light is sealed and guarded.

 

If we have allready dealt with the matter by taking the previous explore option, and have some proof of such we might get a small purse for saving the township time and trouble. Might not wish to mention it however, and just let its disappearance remain a mystery.

 

We can undertake the quest of the authority figure, gaining reputation, influence and a better reward in the process. This also gives us the option of finding out more about the phenomena, through interactions with the locals and the guesses/experiences of local poachers and gamekeepers etcetera, thus we are better prepared. However what we find in that place may be legally claimed by the landowner, and any secrets we uncover or loot we could not carry out are lost as the locals rush to loot the place.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'm not opposed to what either of the two posts above suggest. I guess it cuts out a bit of the information gathering stage, which might otherwise require research or asking around about rumors, but I think that ultimately for most worthwhile objectives (like with the criminal organization) you will end up interacting with an NPC at some point anyway, and thus it's not that radical a change. I'm still hesitant about the idea of entering any random wilderness zone and gaining a journal entry about how "legend has it that [epic loot] is stashed away in [nearby dungeon]"; maybe I just tend to play a rather unheroic character, but I'm not sure I could justify subjecting myself and my party to immense personal risk over some myths of treasure (notwithstanding the fact that in a game such myths always turn out to be true). Now, if the motivations of a particular NPC resonated with me and I wanted to help them, or if I needed to acquire favor or leverage- or anything more interesting than generic loot- from a powerful NPC, then perhaps I could see marching off to that infested hole in the ground. I realize there are some people who find dungeon crawling fun and rewarding in and of itself, but giving things some interpersonal context can make it more appealing for players who find that aspect of the game less fulfilling. So yes, a pro-active protagonist isn't inherently bad, as long as this doesn't only serve as just a more direct means to funnel the player into dungeon crawls.

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I guess what bugs me about even not-so-terribly-implemented fetch quests is that the fetching always seems to be forcibly facilitating something else. It's just always so specific. Or if it isn't, you just get a thanks, some gold'n'goods, and it doesn't impact anything. Typically, that is. Obviously it could. But, why does this healer need some herbs, that rumor has it can be found in this cave, the path to which is frought with appropriate-challenge foes and other contextually convenient things?

 

That sort of thing. Why can't they just need herbs? And not really expect anyone to give them herbs?

 

- Don't "You there, adventurer! I'm in so much distress! I've really been waiting for someone to come along and ask me about my problem in greater detail!" me.

- Don't always attach your needs to some other quest/specific situation for no apparent reason other than that this is an RPG and it flows nicely for the player hovering outside the game world.

- DO have actual impacts on contextual lore/narrative elements, ranging from positive to negative, blatant to mysterious, immediate to belated, extensive to minor, etc.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is, the need of material things doesn't have to be an afterthought. "I need turtle eggs... SO THAT YOU CAN GO AND FIGHT TURTLES! 8D!" Or "I need some swords... SO THAT YOU CAN GO INTERACT WITH THOSE SOLDIERS WHO CARRY SWORDS! 8D!"

 

I just think a more "this is stuff going on around you, and it'll react to what you do" approach is in order for such things that often get packaged into simplified "fetch quests." So much more could be done with all that, and already is, but not often all consolidated into one approach throughout the design of such things.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I guess what bugs me about even not-so-terribly-implemented fetch quests is that the fetching always seems to be forcibly facilitating something else. It's just always so specific. Or if it isn't, you just get a thanks, some gold'n'goods, and it doesn't impact anything. Typically, that is. Obviously it could. But, why does this healer need some herbs, that rumor has it can be found in this cave, the path to which is frought with appropriate-challenge foes and other contextually convenient things?

 

That sort of thing. Why can't they just need herbs? And not really expect anyone to give them herbs?

 

- Don't "You there, adventurer! I'm in so much distress! I've really been waiting for someone to come along and ask me about my problem in greater detail!" me.

- Don't always attach your needs to some other quest/specific situation for no apparent reason other than that this is an RPG and it flows nicely for the player hovering outside the game world.

- DO have actual impacts on contextual lore/narrative elements, ranging from positive to negative, blatant to mysterious, immediate to belated, extensive to minor, etc.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is, the need of material things doesn't have to be an afterthought. "I need turtle eggs... SO THAT YOU CAN GO AND FIGHT TURTLES! 8D!" Or "I need some swords... SO THAT YOU CAN GO INTERACT WITH THOSE SOLDIERS WHO CARRY SWORDS! 8D!"

 

I just think a more "this is stuff going on around you, and it'll react to what you do" approach is in order for such things that often get packaged into simplified "fetch quests." So much more could be done with all that, and already is, but not often all consolidated into one approach throughout the design of such things.

Basically, you want more of Torment's cranium rat tail collection quest, less of Baldur's Gate's "A <Monster> stole my <Magic Item> while I was travelling through <Location>, please go get it back."

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Basically, you want more of Torment's cranium rat tail collection quest, less of Baldur's Gate's "A <Monster> stole my <Magic Item> while I was travelling through <Location>, please go get it back."

I suppose. I'm admittedly lacking in IE-game specific reference knowledge. I never played Torment (I know, I know... I was in that "I only get to play cool, new games at my friends' houses" phase during which we didn't own a very good computer and my game budget was tiny for a while), and all I played from the rest of the IE games was either too little and/or too long ago, leaving me with no memory of the specific story/quest details. I admit my noobness.

 

But, yeah, I'd rather the thought process go "Hey, this person in the world might actually need something here, for these story/reactivity-related reasons. Maybe that could fit in a quest presentation to the player somehow?", and not "Hey, obviously we need a quest here for the player to do stuff and get stuff in return for his stuff-doing. Maybe we could just make someone 'need' some stuff, so that we have that quest?"

 

I just don't think they've become sigh-worthy "fetch quests" simply because they're quests that involve technical fetching, but rather because they're typically so inorganically included in the game.

 

What'd be even MORE interesting is if these situations involved people simply having a need, and your abily to meet that need in many different ways. Maybe someone needs arms and armor, and you give them axes and chainmail. So they train with that (because they can't really turn down arms and armor in favor of specific ones), and that affects how they fight later on, and what part they play in some larger scenario. Obviously they're not going to be providing ranged support if they've only got axes and chainmail. Etc. Maybe you give them oodles of invisibility potions, and their simple militia is able to infiltrate some post with almost no casualties. Etc.

 

I think that's another part of fetch quests oversimplification: "Here's this person's problem, and they already know how to fix it, and you can either fix it for them or don't." Why is the world so simple, that you just need 10 loaves of bread, today, right now, and your family will live on forever and do really well from here on out? Or you need 10 iron swords, and now your milita is well-outfitted and good to go, but if I hadn't given you 10 iron swords, you'd've all gone into some battle anyway and died? What about all these daggers and bows and weapon parts I have lying around? Or this 700 gold I have? Nope, you JUST want 10 iron swords? Alrighty then. THIS feels totally like a believable world. 8P

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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You know there was one tiny aspect of Dragon Age which I quite liked (I mean it was tiny and I liked it, not that I only liked a tiny amount of the whole game), albeit it was heavily underdeveloped. As the various subfactions were brought into your army, their representatives would appear at your camp, and each had a certain class of item that would help their group prepare for the battle. It wasn't a quest and it didn't have a specific number assigned, it was just something you could do with the relevant resources and it felt flavourfully implemented (though pretty bare bones).

Edited by Eiphel
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I generally agree with the OP, but not that every fetch quest has to have some greater significance.

 

Maybe a guy who wants 10 rat tails just wants to make rat-tail soup?

 

Or that old guy who asked you to chop down a few trees, really jsut needs them for firewood and nothing more. And he's old and tired so he paid you.

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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I generally agree with the OP, but not that every fetch quest has to have some greater significance.

 

Maybe a guy who wants 10 rat tails just wants to make rat-tail soup?

 

Or that old guy who asked you to chop down a few trees, really jsut needs them for firewood and nothing more. And he's old and tired so he paid you.

I dunno. Even then, even if it's ULTRA minor, I'd rather there be some greater (relative... not necessarily "great") significance. I mean, if he gets to make rat-tail soup, I want to at least have some different ending interaction with him than if I didn't give him the rat-tails. Or maybe he decides to give me the rat-tail soup recipe. If he's just going to say "Dude, I realllllly want to make rat-tail soup, so please give me 10 rat tails," and I do so, only to have him go "Yay! I got my 10 rat-tails and get to make rat-tail soup! Here's 10 gold and some XP!", then he might as well have said "Give me 10 rat tails, and I'll give you 10 gold." Then, you give him his 10 rat tails, and he just says "Thanks, *gives you gold*." Because the only purpose for that quest is to supply you with a task to perform, then a reward for performing that task.

 

Maybe he hates rat-tail soup and gets sick. Maybe he loves rat-tail soup and decides to cook interesting dishes from now on. Who knows. But, he's a person who exists beyond the procurement of those 10 rat tails, so why is that the only potential interaction/affectivity/significance he gets?

 

His making soup doesn't need to impact the main narrative in some way, but if he doesn't even feel like a person, then why is he mildly pretending to be one?

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Lephys, let me rephrase your point: You want a non-generic hand-grafted intelligent quest (that we expect in good RPGs), a part of which is a simple fetch quest aka could be desynthesized into a fetch quest.

 

But since all quests are compositions and/or derivations of such simple quests (fetch-quest, kill-quest, escort-quest) you probably will see many non-generic hand-grafted intelligent fetch-quests in PE that often hide their origin quite well. ;-)

Edited by jethro
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No no... you're glancing off my point. I mean, I do get what you're saying, and I'm not saying you're words are just all wrong. I just think we're skirting my specific point a bit. The core of my thoughts on this matter.

 

My point is based upon the very reason we identify such quests as simply "fetch quests," rather than "cool, engaging quests in which you happen to fetch something." In other words, if it's as simple as fetching something, and that's it, then it shouldn't even really be a quest. And I'm not arguing semantics, here. I mean it shouldn't be what constitutes an actual QUEST in the game. You don't need the fetching of a thing someone happens to wish was in their hand but which happens to be elsewhere to be an actual quest objective that concludes anything at all. Not that it can't be. But, if often should not be.

 

What I'm saying is, instead of saying "well, those things are simplistic and people make fun of them for being so and dislike them a lot, so let's just do away with them and make sure the stuff you do in a game is always FAR more extensive than that," simply bump those things down a tier and implement them more naturally. Whether or not you did a simple favor for this person at the beginning of the game could be a FACTOR (not quest step, since it's in no way affiliated with anything else at the time of its doing) in some situation to come. The situation to come could be an actual in-depth quest. And whether or not someone had something or didn't have something changes how the space between that occurrence (of you either performing a favor or not performing it) and the actual situation that arises, develops.

 

Er... to look at it another way, think of it like a key. If you happen to find that key, then maybe, when you get to some point in the game involving the locked door that key fits, you can simply open that door. Allows you totally different possibilities than if you couldn't simply open that door (maybe you're having to sneak about some personal quarters or something, and the door's lock is far too complicated to pick at that point in the game, requiring that you go around). An example of a "fetch-quest" working as a factor would be that you help some guy procure something. Then, later on, it turns out you bump into him whle sneaking around the place you're having to sneak around. Why? Because he's some relatively important person. Well, now he knows you already helped him, so he's at least going to hear you out. If you had ignored him or something, then he wouldn't know you at all now, and he'd just call for the guards.

 

Another common example is the stuff that affects trials in games (like in Chrono Trigger). You don't get anything for showing Marle around the fair, or helping the little girl find her cat, etc. But it comes up later in the game. Granted, it could obviously affect things a lot more than it does in the Chrono Trigger trial... but still. The point being, something like a little girl saying "Hey, could you find my cat?" probably doesn't need to earn you gold and XP. When that's the significance of finding this girl's cat, it ties something extremely mundane into this whole adventuring thing, and it doesn't make much sense. "I can go explore these ruins to find something that might help us on our ongoing quest, OR, I can find a cat, and just get a lesser reward."

 

But, the cat-girl could be related to someone important (to the story, at least), even if you don't know it at the time. That's the whole point, though, in this example at least. Since you have no idea who the little girl is, taking the time to help her find her cat says something about you. Whereas, if you knew she was the lord's youngest daughter or something, then you might be intentionally trying to garner favor with the lord. So, later, if your integrity comes into question in a situation involving that lord, he'll say "You gave enough of a crap about my daughter to go out of your way to find her cat and return it here, so now I'm actually going to help you out because I think you're worth helping."

 

It doesn't always have to be an effect that only shows up far down the road. At times it could produce an immediate affect, and/or affect something very close by.

 

But the idea, put simply, is this: Don't make ultra-simplistic things full-on quests for no apparent reason, and don't make everything not-quite-so-simplistic just to force it into the important-enough-thing tier to be a full-on quest. Instead, there are oodles of things to be done with such little events/occurrences/opportunities to make them an interesting and unique addition to the game's systems.

 

And, yes, for what it's worth, I do believe we'll see a lot of quality stuff like that in P:E. My reason for bringing this up in a topic wasn't so much my fear that Obsidian will make terrible quests if I don't, but rather to simply discuss and develop and brainstorm ideas of how to not only refrain from implementing these little typical instances in a bland fashion, but also to figure out really, ultra-cool ways of doing things with them.

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Lets look at one of your examples:  You supply some weapons to people who will later help you because they are better armed and trust you. What makes this example cool and interesting is not that it is a fetch quest (you could substitute "give them weapons" with "help them in an argument with their landlord so that he doesn't call the city guards") or that you don't get xp or that it isn't mentioned in the quest log afterwards.

 

No, the interesting thing is that you have to find and solve the quest for yourself without someone telling you the quest objective. It is sort of removing the exclamation mark of MMOs one step further. Someone laments he can't fight the baron without weapons or you just notice that they have no weapons, and it is you that decides that you have to do something about it.

 

Wasteland 1 for example had no quests or quest log. You just did things to help people or get stuff without a clear marker what to do. This is IMHO what open-world RPGs are about and where they in reality fail because some hand-holding is needed for the majority of players to have fun and because they need so many quests that they fall back to simple fetch- and kill-quests.

 

It is also very difficult to make a game where any logical action of your heroes has the proper consequences. It would be frustrating if you gave those peoples money to buy the weapons instead of the weapons themselves and they wouldn't react.

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Nonek: I have to agree. It's probably recent games like Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur that have made players shun those fetch quests, because there they were just stacks in the script's memory. Almost no story, and certainly no RPG or love at all.

 

It's probably because Skyrim has about 185 versions of the same "My ancestor/my friend/I lost/left his/her/my [quest item, likely an heirloom with sentimental value] in [generic dungeon], please help Mr. Adventurer!" fetch quest. I prefer fetch quests that can be handled rather painlessly, ideally without leaving the overworld, such as simply running an errand between two towns.

To top it, Bethesda is so evil they removed "movetoqt" cheat in Skyrim.

What the hell, Beth?

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