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SophosTheWise

Loooooong questlines

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Ahoi mateys

 

I really miss the grand adventure in many RPGs nowadays where everything was somehow interconnected, where a quest felt like and adventure and not an errand. The last RPGs which gave me that sense of adventure probably were Dragon Age: Origins with the quest to search for the holy ashes and Dragon's Dogma because it didn't have traditional fast travel.

 

I was just watching Spoony's Ultima Retrospective again and there's a questline in Ultima VII which is almost ridiculously complex. What do you think about complex questlines? What do you think we can expect from PE?
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I like long and complex questlines. They can be quite interesting, and I'm generally fond of things on a grander scale. The longer, almost mystery-solving type questlines are also neat. On the other hand, I also like some shorter quests, and it would be a bit odd if all quests were very long -- I think a balance is good. I'm not so fond of the fetch-and-carry type of quest; by shorter quests I mean ones that feel as though they have some meaning beyond "get me some pelts!", but are just fairly short. More of the "go kill those bandits who stole my ring" type, I suppose.

 

So far I get the impression that there will be a variety of different quest types and lengths, and I'm surely hoping that will be the case. I would like to see a decent number of long ones, as well as a large amount of shorter-but-still-interesting ones.


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Yeah, a long optional quest(not questline) or two would be cool.


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In a similar vein, sometimes I like those quests that just sit on the back burner while you adventure around.  In another thread way back there was talk of accumulating a creature compendium or somesuch.  In Beyond Good and Evil, I really enjoyed photographing the world's creatures.  It doesn't of course need to be "something something creatures," just something a little more fun and dynamic than simple collection quests that rewards an attention to detail and provides a quick and regular reprieve from the usual tedium of running back and forth.

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I'm curious as to why you'd ever want a quest to explicitly NOT lead-to or tie-into something else. I mean, you can still have short quests that potentially tie into other things, immediately or hours later, and longer quests. And you can have shorter quest "lines" and longer ones. Ones that are mostly immediate (like investigating what's going on in a city, maybe even before a certain deadline), and ones that span almost the entire narrative.

 

But, why insist that some little quest or another NOT be in any way a part of something greater, to any degree whatsoever?

 

I mean, I'm not saying every quest should forcibly be part of some grand scheme. But, all schemes need not be grand, or even schemes, for that matter. But, opportunities, the development of scenarios, and the choices of NPCs and the like are not immune to cause and effect.


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, I think there are many people who think having separate quests is better. Probably because fulfilling it gives instant gratification. 

 

But I always feel like this (from the latest Kickstarter update from Lords of Xulima)

 

Personally, I don’t like it at all when the story of a game is simplified into a list of tasks that the player must complete. When I played Oblivion, I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed by all of the different quests I had waiting for completion in my queue. Sometimes, completing one quest just led to two or three additional quests being added. It left me with the impression that instead of playing a game, I was really working.

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Lephys, I think there are many people who think having separate quests is better. Probably because fulfilling it gives instant gratification.

That's understandable. There are necessary considerations, as always, but the two are not mutually exclusive.

 

"Oh, thank goodness! You stopped the assasination! I owe you my life! Here, have some instant gratification rewards! Now, if you're up for it, I'd rather like to find out who sent that assassin, and why."

 

Boom. Just a generic example.

 

Again, obviously some quests aren't going to directly lead to other quests. BUT, helping some little local farmer with a simple problem COULD produce enough of a factor change so as to lead to another quest further down the road, or at least a significant change to a future quest. Simple example being that farmer's immediate problems were dealt with, so they got a good crop yield (etc.) and were actually able to travel to a big hub city to sell their crops after the harvest (which might've been weeks away at the time of the quest you helped them with, so by the time you arrive at that big city later, you bump into them, where you wouldn't have if you didn't help them).

 

All I'm saying is, there's almost always a reasonable and beneficial way to take a quest beyond just a little isolated "do something then get something for it" package that doesn't extend outside of its own little space.

 

See, on the complete other hand of the "I feel like I'm working" sentiment, I feel like I'M just working if 80% of the quests in a game consist of little 1-for-1 tasks and rewards. Fetch the cat, get some gold. Slay the beast, get a weapon. That's the problem I have with MMORPG quests. Sure, they all pretend to tie together, in the lore and all, but they don't actually really tie together. They're all designed as like freelance jobs, and your payment is exp, money, and loot. One job, one reward. One job, one reward. It hardly ever feels like you're contributing to something outside of that one particular job, until you actually start on the next job.

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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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Lephys, I think there are many people who think having separate quests is better. Probably because fulfilling it gives instant gratification. 

 

But I always feel like this (from the latest Kickstarter update from Lords of Xulima)

 

Personally, I don’t like it at all when the story of a game is simplified into a list of tasks that the player must complete. When I played Oblivion, I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed by all of the different quests I had waiting for completion in my queue. Sometimes, completing one quest just led to two or three additional quests being added. It left me with the impression that instead of playing a game, I was really working.

 

I seriously think that anyone that  get stressed by quest logs should take account of their psyche, or just get over their OCD. 

 

On the topic, the problem with long sidequests is the mentality of how players view and approach sidequests. They are often confined to a single area and moving location often locks you out from completing some sidequests, same with quest that have time locks. A quest that starts on Chapter 2 but cannot be completed until Chapter 8 is probably bound to be the source of some anxiety for completionists. If said quest had objectives spread out throughout every Chapter in between that keep the player engaged it might be less crass. It's all on how they're designed.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I want it all... short,discrete quests; moderate questlines spanning maybe 3-4 separate quests unto closure; at least one or two longer questlines that string along a particular objective (PS:T's bronze sphere) but you get tossed along its quests into branching areas.

 

Now, I'd rather have a long questline that opens constant branches with possible misdirection instead of just a plain long questline (multiple linear quests that go obviously from A->B->C etc.). Mmm yes.

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Lephys, I think there are many people who think having separate quests is better. Probably because fulfilling it gives instant gratification. 

 

But I always feel like this (from the latest Kickstarter update from Lords of Xulima)

 

Personally, I don’t like it at all when the story of a game is simplified into a list of tasks that the player must complete. When I played Oblivion, I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed by all of the different quests I had waiting for completion in my queue. Sometimes, completing one quest just led to two or three additional quests being added. It left me with the impression that instead of playing a game, I was really working.

 

I seriously think that anyone that  get stressed by quest logs should take account of their psyche, or just get over their OCD. 

 

 

Yeah right, because people who don't like ticking lists have OCD or other psychological problems. Thanks for that. Keep your bull**** to yourself.

Edited by SophosTheWise
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Ahoi mateys

 

I really miss the grand adventure in many RPGs nowadays where everything was somehow interconnected, where a quest felt like and adventure and not an errand. The last RPGs which gave me that sense of adventure probably were Dragon Age: Origins with the quest to search for the holy ashes and Dragon's Dogma because it didn't have traditional fast travel.

 

I was just watching Spoony's Ultima Retrospective again and there's a questline in Ultima VII which is almost ridiculously complex. What do you think about complex questlines? What do you think we can expect from PE?

I never played ULtimaVII, so based on this retrospective video alone, that questline doesn't look complex only complicated. Its a huge chain of fetch/trade quests that doesn't seem to offer anything other than a reason to run around and fight, honestly it seems like the linear version of some of those oblivion collection quests. I prefer your other example, the DA:O urn questline isn't that long or focused on exploration, but the process of investigation, gathering clues and different approaches in each location is much more appealing to me.

 

Anyway, I think that most will agree that we want interesting questlines that can be approached from different angles, have different outcomes and possibly unexpected consequences down the road. Quest length should be determined on the best way to achieve the above.

 

Btw, if you like adventure and exploration, short quest which can be only found by those who look or ask the right questions seems like the logical choice for you, maybe you just got burned by oblivion?

 

 

 

I seriously think that anyone that  get stressed by quest logs should take account of their psyche, or just get over their OCD.

 

Yeah right, because people who don't like ticking lists have OCD or other psychological problems. Thanks for that. Keep your bull**** to yourself.

 

I am pretty sure we can apply this answer to your previous statement:

Lephys, I think there are many people who think having separate quests is better. Probably because fulfilling it gives instant gratification.

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To be honest I'd prefer to play an RPG where the entire game is just 1 or 2 questlines. Obviously there'd be a lot of different stuff to do, but all for the same reason.

 

Not a fan of helping every random person in the game just to get XP, with the quests being meaningless in the grand scheme of the game.

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A mix is always good.  In the real world not everything is linked to everything else.  The pig I rescue from the goblins for the farmer does not need to be linked to the quest to find the lost prince or whatever.  Sometimes the pig is just a pig and the farmer just needs to feed his family.  These quests are usually optional for that reason, you don't need to help every random person in the game, why not just kill the farmer and his family for your XP instead?

 

I think we like big quests to have lots of little tie ins because it shows us that the designers really thought about it on a grand scale but personally I think it would be a bit unreal to tie everything to everything else.

 

Most of the game is meaningless (for me) if there is just one story and everything is a part of that story, that is boring.

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I am not sure spoony was implying that was a good questline.... in fact it sounds mudane and frustrating as holy hell.  I don't mind a big epic questline (assuming the main plot doesn't count :p) but I don't want it to turn into the uber fetch quest/busy work from hell like that.

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Playing the game (Ultima 7) this quest didn't feel like busywork, I had been waiting to find out what happened to Skara Brae, and that was one of the high points of the game. If explained in this fashion it seems like busywork, but while playing it felt like nothing but exciting exploration, with many side quests on the way and the usual massive amount of reactivity and activity in the world itself.

 

The foreboding for Pagan was especially welcome, and is complemented nicely by the Forest Lord in the Serpent Isle. It was only really spoiled when we actually arrived there.


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I would also prefer a healthy mix of shorter, medium-long and long quests. I don't think that all quests need to necessarily tie in together to form one uniform narrative, due to reasons Rabain mentioned. However, I wouldn't mind learning a tidbit of information while rescuing the pig that would prove useful later, or making an enemy (or ally) of the mayor (who happens to be the farmer's uncle) if you fancy taking out the farmer and his family.

 

I guess what I mean is that if quests don't tie into the world in some way, they don't feel as important or immersive (which is pretty much how I understood what Lephys wrote). I really enjoy the story aspect of IE RPGs and that's what I'd like to see in the quests.

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I hope there will be a few easter eggs, like the golden, silver, bronze pantaloon from BG1-BG2: Throne of Bhaal. 

 

Although I'm pretty sure I won't discover that at first. 

Edited by sarkthas

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Well, yeah, of course I would like long questlines, with many branches, and possible endings.

Doesn't exclude the short quests (as others said) but that desire in most modern RPG's to really have optional be short and limited to a single area? Nope, get rid of it please!


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I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Just for what it's worth, a quest being optional doesn't mean that it can't affect another quest. And a quest doesn't need to lead directly to another quest to affect it. I think most of the whole quests-being-pertinent-to-one-another notion brings to mind games in which quests (especially optional ones) just open or close doors. But, you know, sometimes they just crack a window. :)

 

@Rabain:

 

You say in reality not everything is linked to everything else. And that's true... but, a hell of a lot of it sure affects everything else, to some degree.

 

Basically, just because the farmer doesn't need the pig directly for some further quest, we could look at WHY he needs the pig. Was his livestock stolen by bandits? If so, then helping the farmer is tied to the bandits. Maybe you go steal it back from the bandits, or maybe you don't even track them down, and you just get him some livestock from elsewhere. Well, when they find out he's just replenished his stock of animals, why wouldn't they try to take THOSE, too? They're bandits. It's what they do. So, that's even MORE of a chance that it's going to become an issue to deal with, and that you're going to run into the bandits. Etc.

 

Or, maybe the local lord is cheating people out of their money. Or, maybe there's just a shortage of something in that village/town, usually because of factors external to that village or town.

 

In other words, if you fill the world with little quests that are in NO way affiliated with any other factors or elements in the world, whatsoever, then that's a pretty bland game, if you ask me. Who wants to play "Just go around helping the random people with their completely subjective desires that have literally nothing at all to do with anything else in the entire context of this story"? What is the player... a genie?

 

I don't mind the occasional "this person just would like it if someone did this thing for them" quest. But, "occasional" is the key word, there. Maybe that eccentric guy is rich and will give you something nice. Or maybe that person just really seems to be in need of help, even though it's just something that's their own personal problem. Maybe someone needs a smackdown, because they're just mean, and that's that. But, I don't want a narrative experience chocked full of just a bunch of standalone situations that don't go beyond the whims and desires of people, in a complete vacuum from any and all external factors and circumstances.

 

Basically, it's just as silly to forcibly make quests completely separate from everything else as it is to forcibly make them directly tied to everything else (i.e. "This farmer wants this pig, but it turns out it's the PRINCE'S PIG, and it turns out the PRINCE'S AID is an evil necromancer who's the main bad guy, and he's holding the prince captive, and the pig is the key to it all!")

Edited by Lephys

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've just started Temple of Elemental Evil for the first time.  Many of  the first quests in Hommlet seem to be less 'quest-lines' as 'quest-spaghetti'.  I was a little put off at first but it was actually good to get me going round to talk to everybody.  I can see that it would make replays a bit tedious though.

There seemed to be no 'go there, do this, get XP' quests beyond the killing of the 2 spiders (I've not gotten far into the game yet - just helping a few people around Hommlet - gone to Moathouse but haven't completed anything yet).

 

I'd like a few quests like that, but also a few simple quests to 'get started' and learn the gameworld (things that are non-essential and could be skipped on a replay if you wanted).  I also like the idea of quests that are indirectly connected as per Lephy's example of the bandits and the pig.

 

Long-term quests that you can't complete until later in the game, or that thread through many chapters are also nice.

 

So yeah, a nicely balanced mix of quests is good - with a journal that makes sense.


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I'm a big fan of long quest lines.

 

I particularly like, though this instance is exceedingly rare in games today, when say, a quest I get in Act 1 of the game is expanded in Act 2, takes a surprising direction and finally comes to a head in Act 3 or 4, and most importantly, that this is NOT THE MAIN STORYLINE.  If that quest line has multiple endings depending on how you acted, good lord, that'd be fantastic. 

 

I get tired of the numerous bite-size quests that tend to have little substance to them, and don't make one think.  The "Oh, I can't find Timmy.  Can you find him?  I'm so worried" -> "Hm, the boy's trail seems to denote that Timmy fell into the well." -> "Well, it seems the well... Hah, forgive the pun, but it seems as if it leads to a basilisk den.  I can't tell which of these rocks Gorbek fell on is your boy, but here you are and I wish you well of i-Hah, I said well again.  But seriously, you should block off that well."  And that's the whole 15 minute quest line.

 

In short, I think it best when you have a series of long-running quests that is in some way relevant or at least meaningful to your character (perhaps class-based and alliance based and then some just out in the world to be discovered) in which seems to hit dead ends, run cold, take unexpected turns and suddenly burst forth into the light once more as you progress through the game, with different endings depending on how you interacted with it.  Perhaps let it weave in and out of the main quest line, or just be a long-running and compelling side journey.

 

Edit:  My "in short" was my longest paragraph.  Oops.

Edited by Dwarfare
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I never played ULtimaVII, so based on this retrospective video alone, that questline doesn't look complex only complicated. Its a huge chain of fetch/trade quests that doesn't seem to offer anything other than a reason to run around and fight, honestly it seems like the linear version of some of those oblivion collection quests. I prefer your other example, the DA:O urn questline isn't that long or focused on exploration, but the process of investigation, gathering clues and different approaches in each location is much more appealing to me.

 

It's more about how it manifests.  It just comes across as organic and if you distill down most quests to smaller components, you can often find that it is "Go to a place... do a thing."  Where it really shines in Ultima VII is that you can accomplish a lot of this stuff in a truly non-linear fashion (as opposed to faux non-linearity that many games have today, which is "Do stuff not related to the main quest line in any order that you want").  It's wrapped in a pretty eloquent (especially for its time) narrative, however, and still stands as one of my favourite games of all time.

 

All the while having an open world complete with excellent NPC scheduling systems that comes across as well ahead of its time IMO.

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I like how BG1 does the side quests. Yeah, there were the "fetch stuff, get XP" ones, but the writers at least tried to make it less of a grind than it really was.

 

F. A. Inn -> old lady in one of the houses, a ring got stolen from her by the bandits.  "If you happen to find it, that'd be awesome" (rep points)

 

Beregost -> Find the crazy necromancer and smite him (though I never could figure out how a necromancer capable of summoning that many undead could be killed by a party of L1 scrubs barely able to hold a sword)

 

Nashkel / Mines -> Find my huband ... you'll know him by his ring. There's also the "find the captain of the guard" one.

 

All of them end in pretty much the same manner - you can be nice and give the thing(s) back for XP/gold/rep ... or you can use the item(s) yourself -- the things aren't just miscellaneous quest trash... 

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BG2 had a very nice take on this as well. After escaping from Irenicus Dungeon you get your "long quest" to save Imoen, only instead of one long linear questline like in that Ultima VII questline retrospective in the OP. You have at least two ways to achieve that goal, with many smaller questlines, which can play differently depending on your dispositions, or carrier path, exploring different aspects of lore, meeting different people.

 

To me it seems like the same "long" epic quest, only with far more choice and options.

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