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Reader Comments (65)

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:06AM (Unverified) said

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Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

If I'm RPing then I try to read it carefully, as it helps me get into the atmosphere and get useful info about the setting for my character's own bg. If I'm just leveling fast or PvPing then I usually skip it.

As for my opinion about quest text, I think developers should try to ditch it. It's very old fashioned. I'd prefer some sort of machinima-like stuff with text ballons coming out of characters instead of reading pages and pages of quest logs... I won't demand Wrathgate style cinematics for every quest (one can dream) but real-time cutscenes with the same game models and just a bit of dialog ballons would be better and shouldn't be that demanding from a developers PoV, still a lot more demanding and resource consuming than the good 'ol text.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 2:04PM eyeball2452 said

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Totally agree. The blocks of text are very 10 years ago.

I don't need everything to be voiced over, but the "conversations" have to be more integrated with the world. If the developer is going to do a block of text then they don't need a npc. They could just put a book or sign in the npcs place.

I thought this was a huge problem with the intro levels in CO for example. "Talking" to the npcs was like reading a game manual. However, I thought AoC did a better job. They kept the text small and progressed the story in small snippets, which made the player character feel more involved. They also introduced a villain and some drama to level 1 in a way that didn't feel like go point a and kill x small animals.
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Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:16AM (Unverified) said

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Ney. 90% of the time the quest is "go kill x of x". So reading lots of "RP" behind the reason why I have to go kill 10 bears does not add anything to the game for me.

Voice acting gogo.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 1:25PM Lethality said

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Your a.d.d. won't keep you any more interested when the voice actors are taking 3 times as long to read the same meaningless text to you. Voice does nothing except exascerbate the situation.

Blizzard has the right idea - demonstrate the story to you through actions. Don't make me read. Don't make me sit through an interactive "movie" *coughBiowarecough* - Show me the god damn story as I play it.


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Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:15AM Ringu said

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Always, every single time. Far too many times a PUG has stopped while some clueless n00b asks what we're supposed to be doing.

Not only do I read all the quest text, but I like to read all the instance text too; everything the boss says, all the menus that may pop up, and so on. I do feel that if you're interested in the setting that this is more of that setting.

Actually, it's really annoying in LotRO when others in a group who may have done this quest previously just skip through dialogs forcing me to skip them or lag behind the group :-(

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:19AM Suplyndmnd said

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If it's my first time or two, maybe even 3 I'll read it. Each time probably reading less and less but by the 4th time I know what is going on, i know where to go to get what I need so I completely skip it. I really like to know what is going on in the game i'm playing so I think reading it is essential. Besides I typically play games that do not allow plug-in's that just point you in the direction so unless you read the quest you have no idea what to do, where to go or what to get.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:20AM LaughingTarget said

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Typically, in an MMO, no. There isn't any real story behind it, just a Kill X and Return to Y aspect, so there isn't any point in reading it. For the single player RPGs, I'll read it all, since it tends to have some story aspect to it (or listen to it all in Dragon Age or other fully voiced over games).

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 3:26PM (Unverified) said

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In Runes of Magic, yes.

It's important to understand the world lore. You only get a brief overview of the entire history, and each zone on the website.

To learn the details of individuals, and their history and part in the story is told all through the quests.

Which is cool, and understandably uncool for some. I think it brought back some importance to reading quests, but even though Frogster does a good job in translations, things are inevitably lost...in translation.

The other thing is that you level past many quests fast, but still should read them to get more detail. I don't mind it, but for some who want to level faster, they may feel like they are spinning the wheels and not really leveling.

Then again it may be time for MMORPGs to do just this sort of horizontal gameplay. I've spent countless hours gaining rediculously low xp just because I wanted to get through quests and find out the story.

I'm still torn on this. Personally it doesn't bother me, I have fun no matter what. I don't need to be leveling. But it's built in as part of the game, and for those that like to feel progression AND learn the lore, it could do for RoM to start updating their website with some of the in-game only world lore, as they release new expansions and grow the lore.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:20AM (Unverified) said

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I pretty much always read the quest text in its entirety the first time through. After that I pretty much just skim it to reacquaint myself with it. I think quest text is an integral part of an MMO. It's true that the same info can be delivered by alternate means, such as cutscenes, but for i'd be pretty sad if quest text disappeared. That's where the story is, and that's the reason why i play rpg's of any sort to begin with.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:27AM Wisdomandlore said

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I used to read the quest text. FFXI, for example, actually had cutscenes for its (handful of) quests. LOTRO originally required you to read the quest text. With no quest arrows you had to read the clues in the quest to figure out what to do (and 95% of the time the directions wouldn't send you to the wrong place).

But increasingly I find myself skipping through it. While it's quite well written (in many games, not just LOTRO), what's the point? I have these shiny arrows telling me exactly where to go. The text itself is presented to me in the most boring way possible.

And mind you, I actually enjoy reading in my spare time...

Hopefully we'll move away from the quest arrows some day and require players to actually figure something out for themselves. With procedurally generated content they shouldn't be able to just look it up on some website either. At the very least, Bioware will be presenting quest text in a brand new way by next year.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:29AM (Unverified) said

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I read it in LOTRO for the epic quest lines, but sadly in other games not so much.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 1:06PM Firebreak said

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I do the same thing. Though in WAR I would read the stories in the book sometimes.
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Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:30AM (Unverified) said

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Some games, I start to play them with the mindset that "Yes, I'm going to read all the quests to understand the world and lore better." The first that pops to mind is Aion. But then after reading the first six or so, I see that their storylines aren't usually all that engaging, or that people around me have finished their quest and turned it in by the time I'm still reading.
I skip all quest texts the first time. That's what alts are for.. ;)

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:31AM Platypus Man said

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Most of the time, but I will admit that sometimes I just skim through it. If I'm playing through a second time, hardly ever.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:31AM (Unverified) said

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Quest text is kind of a horrible way to tell story in games anyway. I mean, you have instances ... so, why not just make a zillion little instances that have NPCs playing out the story in front of you, since in games you have characters on the screen, supposedly able to do things.

I will be interested to see what they do with Guild Wars 2.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:34AM Miffy said

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No because when I'm playing a game I want the story to be told through the gameplay like Valve does with Half-Life. I don't want all the story to be told in quest text as I accept, run and kill some NPC and then run back to the quest giver and gets some more quest text. That's just really boring and feels like a grind and a pointless quest.

The problem is all mmorpgs do this and this is why they fail at story.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 9:56AM Brendan Drain said

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Bingo. This is exactly the way I feel about it too. Quests in MMOs tend to cram in a written context to create a story instead of using a much more appealing gameplay context. A quest will start with someone telling you there's a task that needs done and explaining why you're going to do it. Then you do the task and go back to the guy, where he proceeds to thank you and tell you what you just did in more detail. This formula is something pen and paper adventure writers have known about for years because they're told to avoid it at all costs.

In a computer game, there is no excuse for falling back on reams of text to create the story. It's just a cheap way of trying to convert a standard "kill ten rats" or fetch quest into something more. In that sense it's just a way for lazy game designers to crank out content without designing more complex and involving gameplay mechanics behind them.

Everquest 2 actually has a quite complex back end for quest designers to use with lots of little tricks for creating a more involving gameplay experience. For example, there's an NPC out there somewhere that has an attack which gives you an item called "a blow to the head" or something like that. So the text appears on your screen "you have recieved a blow to the head". The item has a bunch of hidden attributes that can cause any effect the quest designer wants. In this case, the item teleports you into a nearby hut and then deletes itself. A guy in the hut then comes over and tells you he found you unconscious.

It's a very creative idea and I've been pretty surprised by how good some of EQ2's quests have been. They have scripted events with NPCs talking and moving around, all the stuff you would expect. Even if the game does suffer terribly from having pages and pages of quest text, the gameplay in some quests and instanced dungeons manages to stand on its own and tells a story in an active way.
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Posted: Nov 14th 2009 3:26PM (Unverified) said

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I think the mindset of texts only tell you where to go immediately to fulfill a small task then tell you where to go to turn it in, is an outdated concept.

Maybe a few games still do that, but not many anymore.

It was a problem players had with games 10+ years ago that devs have been working to correct ever since.

The problem is more with just the reading of the quest, not because the quest is this or that.

to be harsh about it. The world is communication through words. You have to pick up a book from time to time, or simply be left in the dust and all unknowing about anything.

RoM has the right idea, although currently poorly implemented(mostly because of bad "machine" text translations). The text should be there in some form, whether as a quest or something else, but it should be complimentary to the game play and world setting.

It needs to be implemented similar to a script for a play. Your dealing with trying to create a story that takes a lot into consideration(I.E. mood, lighting, ambiance, you as a character, sound, pacing). Voice over quests are all text, just someone reading it to you. They're subject to the same flaws, but on top of that you are stuck with things like the time limit it takes to get through it, and so forth, where text frees you up to read it at your pace.

As in Runes of Magic, when you get told to go right outside town to kill 10 boars, it's not just that, you are being told why your killing them, and the why is specifically tailored to the world lore, and you actually have a direct reason related to the story for doing it. It's not "Go to the middle of no where and kill ten boars that aren't hurting anyone, and bring me back some leg bones". It's much more engaging.

But the current stigma is just that quest text sucks because it's pointless, and in some games it is.
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Posted: Nov 14th 2009 8:50AM (Unverified) said

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I rarely read it, plus sometimes it's just not possible to read it such as if you're partying, or if you're getting 8 colours of sheet knocked out of you because the quest giver is in the middle of a spawn point. If there was voice acting i probably would take the time to listen to it however, which is what one of the many things that pulls me towards The Old Republic.

Posted: Nov 14th 2009 9:06AM Psychotic Storm said

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I always end up reading them, even when I say its the 20th time I am doing this mission I am not reading this.

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