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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: May 19th 2009 8:23AM FrostPaw said

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I think any decent mmo has a fine balance of both. Long quest lines for the big rewards and short quests for the progression quick fix.

Posted: May 19th 2009 8:32AM AlamoeJones said

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i prefer longer quest arcs, just because they make me feel more immersed in the story of the game.

Posted: May 19th 2009 8:50AM bassec said

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It doesn't matter, either way is fine.

What needs to be eliminated is the horrible FedEx quests literally drowning out the real content. It's just NOT fun. Imagine if for Halo in order to progress to the next level you had to go back to the beginning of the stage to talk to some guy just to unlock the door. How stupid would that be?

Instead, the key NPC flies in on his shuttle, talks to Master Chief wherever he is currently, then zooms out again. This is what needs to happen for more games.

I currently play LOTRO, and as a Hunter I have access to port all over Middle Earth. However, every other class that does NOT have access to these has to spend way WAY too much time on horses riding around just to turn in fedex quests (I'm look @ you book quests)

This should be alleviated, ASAP.

Also, remove quests like Pages of Stranglethorn or any other misc. quest to find an insane amount of items. It get monotonous and just down right boring.

Posted: May 19th 2009 8:58AM (Unverified) said

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I think the fact that what was once a genre for the 'hardcore' is being diluted to pander to the masses. Why should the faithful, who are used to long quest/mission arcs and who see the point of them, have their game tarred with the same quick fix mentality that troubles so many other sectors of our society (both virtual and real)?

In addition, if the grinding is done during a mission (a long one) then does that not make the process of grinding much more bearable? If I get a quick fix mission list and do them all without getting the exp... Will I not just have to grind anyway outside of a mission arc?

Long mission arcs that encompass grinding and looting are the best way to ensure your players both lvl up, get money and get through the missions… With only short mission arcs you are confining your players to looting, lvling and questing all separately…

Regardless, as has already been said – A good mix of both long and short mission arcs is best.

Posted: May 19th 2009 9:01AM SkuzBukit said

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I don't mine long or short quests provided they have a storyline that quantifies what you do within them.

The quests that just send you hither & thither or slaying endless amounts of bore me to tears.

In summary it is not long or short quests that should go the way of the dodo, but pointlessly uninvolving, uninteresting, uninvoled with the story or character being portrayed & badly planned quests that should.

Posted: May 19th 2009 11:09AM Pingles said

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I agree.

I know there have been ridiculous FedEx/mob Grind questlines in WoW that I LOVED because the storyline was intriguing.

Make it interesting and I'll do it.
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Posted: May 19th 2009 9:26AM (Unverified) said

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I like the way LOTRO's Mines of Moria does it - there's a big end boss but you really need to do the pre-requisite quests to get the armour that'll make sure you can succeed with the end one. But those pre-req quests are like 30 minutes long, so it breaks it up nicely.

Posted: May 19th 2009 10:05AM Myria said

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In general I prefer long arcs myself. If they're at all done well (a big 'if', I'll grant) there tends to be a little more thought put into them then the "Kill X number of Y mobs (for no apparent reason)" or Fedex drudgery. I enjoyed the Thorim/Sons of Hodir quest arc in Storm Peaks, the Horde meta-quest in Nagrand (bringing Thrall out to see his grandmother is always a touching moment), and I've finding the Sisters of Eve epic story arc to be quite fun (well, except when the drones shut down my warp drive, thus putting a sudden, unexpected, and explosively unwelcome end to my "kill a few, warp out, repair, warp back in, rinse and repeat" strategy -- Now I'm afraid to go anywhere without a warp stabilizer, damn you drones!).

Unfortunately I do think quest arcs are at least at risk of becoming an endangered species. They cost more to write and code, thus making them prime candidates for the axe when dev time or money gets short, and tend to be relatively unpopular with a large portion of the playerbase. Even though quest arcs can generally be completed in bite-sized chunks, many feel that if the next step is still in their quest log it's not done and that's somehow not acceptable.

The Wii generation wants things quick, easy, and done, and no matter how much I and many other old-school gamers may look at that with disdain, game companies are looking around and noticing that old-school gamers bring in subs in the hundreds of thousands range whilst the Wii generation brings in millions -- and doesn't cost nearly as much bandwidth or server resources.

I may not like it, but I can't blame game companies for going where the money is, and that money is not big on long quest arcs.

Posted: May 19th 2009 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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A good mix of both is better than too much of one. If you just throw in long quest arcs all the time it feels WAY too linear because you feel compelled to complete this long chain because the end reward is so good or has an epic ending.

Short quest lines only just feel like the game has no direction in terms of story comparatively.

Posted: May 19th 2009 11:25AM (Unverified) said

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Long quest lines that involve full groups are what I think make MMOs what they are. If you want to go around and do mini quests by yourself then why play any large scale MMO. Now don't get me wrong every once in a while we all want to just do our own thing solo, but I truly feel long in depth quest lines are the backbone to any quality MMO.

YAY GOOD STORY IMMERSION!!!!

Posted: May 19th 2009 12:29PM happyfish said

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I've found that for all the strengths of MMOs the one thing they cant really do is tell a story. I generally have a hard time being immeresed in a world where nothing I do matters. For example the find someone and save them missions in lotro. I think I have rescued Lalia from the barrow downs 15 times now.

I dont care how long a quest arc is, its generally pointless because within 15 seconds of finishing it, the NPC X is going to get lost/lose something/need something killed again.

Once MMOs have a dynamic world where completing a quest means something, I might care about the quest content.

Posted: May 19th 2009 5:18PM Pingles said

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Wait, so once YOU do a quest nobody else can? I think you're looking for a single-player RPG.
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Posted: May 19th 2009 6:17PM happyfish said

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I'm not asking for one-time quests, that would be impossble given that some people play these games as a full time job. It would be interesting though if there were ramifications for quests other than loot/XP. It would be neat if kill quests meant that populations of wolves or boar would decrease to the point where they stopped popping as quickly, then over time they would slowly make a comeback. If not kept in check they would overrun towns making certain quests unavailable.

MMOs are touted as being open ended sandbox games, whereas in reality they are not. The only open ended part of them usually is, is your avatar and nice person online or a jerk. Quests have predictable outcomes that have no impact on the world, that's not immersion in my book, just a time sink.
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Posted: May 19th 2009 12:41PM Tom in VA said

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I like story arcs I can complete on my own if I want to. It's irritating to complete steps 1, 2, and 3 in a quest line only to get stuck at a "player group-only" step 4 in the series that you then cannot find a group for.

That kind of thing happens a lot in LotRO and WoW. I find it very frustrating. I generally follow a quest line, long or short up until it becomes group-only, then abandon it fairly soon thereafter.

I wish MMOs would flag quest lines as soloable or not from the get-go, so you'd know before you got started on them what kind of story arc it was going to be.

Posted: May 19th 2009 3:37PM cray said

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I think every long quest should have an early exit strategy. Of course the rewards should reflect the results you achieve. I would like to see more problem-solving quest that actually require you to know the storyline. Instead of just ignoring what the NPCs say and closing the dialog menu and just following the radar to grind for x drop, I would like to see the NPCs be more interactive that require actual responses from the player. I would also have the NPCs dialog vary from player to player so the interaction isn't the same for all players.

Ultimately I think we just need more intelligent quests as opposed to a mass amount of them or lengthy quests.

I'd rather play a MMO that had 4 really thought out quality quests than a game that had 50 run of the mill quests.

Posted: May 19th 2009 5:36PM (Unverified) said

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I really enjoy a good story/quest arc, and tend to save them for weekends and other times where I can sit down and focus for extended play sessions. Although the "kill 10 rats" stuff is great for my hit-and-miss playtimes (I work on the road, so sometimes get 10-15 minutes here and there while waiting), the epic quests like in EverQuest were a real treat. I still smile thinking back to when my EQ Halfling Druid (don't bother with the jokes, I've heard them already) got his Epic 1.0 after an all-nighter, over a case of beer, and, sadly, bailing out on work the next day (yeah, I laid out of work to get my Epic...). The guildies all pitched in with the big fights, the quests rolled along, and it was a great time for me. That kind of stuff seems to be missing in Warcraft (my current evil hobby). Personally, I think WOW should put another UI option in below the "Instant Quest Text" called "don't bother with quest text, just print how many of what to kill/collect". It's not interesting enough to me to even bother reading. Rock on Carbonite and your magic arrows...

It's been a long time, but the Paladin quest for Verigan's Fist (I think it's level 20ish) was a great time for me in WOW. Sure, it was only 3 hours or so, drawn out by my need to run everywhere to get flight points. But it seemed like a rite of passage for the class. Would be nice if there were more things like it. However, with all the new WOTLK stuff obsoleting the TBC stuff that obsoleted your Old World stuff, there's just not much satisfaction in to be had in working too hard for that old stuff...

Anyway, not sure if that's even relevant to the topic, but I've typed way too much to quit now.

PS: Huge thanks and wave to Aello for the Verigan's help, and Vero for the Druid Epic help. If either of you happen to read this, you rock ;-)

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