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Author Topic: The Art of Quests  (Read 3009 times)
Maxximum
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 11:58:22 AM »

I like side quests that have their own story arch. Not just "bring me 10 wolf furs to gain some XP and a healing potion" since my only drive to do them usually comes from the urge to "do everything". More often than not, this proves to be more tedious and annoying than it is actually fun.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 12:04:03 PM by Maxximum » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2011, 02:58:20 PM »

I see a lot of games being mentioned for their quality in quests, but are there specific quests you guys can point to that is the embodiment of the ideal elements that make a perfect quest/quest line?
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Dincrest
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2011, 04:49:06 PM »

I mentioned Phantasy Star 4's quests.  None of the quests rewrote the book on questing, but they were fun because they had great narratives, subplots, and were manageable in size and scope.  They never felt tedious.  Even "The Stain in Life" was fun for me, but would be a pointless rip off quest in any other RPG.  So, more or less, what made any given quest in Phantasy Star good was that it "made vegetables delectable" to quote a salad dressing's ad slogan. 

Here's summaries of the quests: http://www.phantasy-star.net/psiv/jobs.html

In addition, accessing them was pretty easy.  I didn't feel like I needed to go out of my way to find them or complete them.  When quests and secrets feel like they're there just to sell strategy guides, that bugs me.  There also weren't too many or too few of them.  I wanted to get 100% completion and 9 times out of 10, I never go for 100%. 

So, really, the value in Phantasy Star 4's quests was not in the rewards, but in the intrinsic value (namely the worldbuilding, subplots, and additional character development.)  Though the reward was a nice bonus.  It's the difference between getting a good paycheck for a job you loathe going to vs. getting a meager paycheck for a job you absolutely love. 

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Danku
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2011, 07:12:48 PM »

Like Maxximum said, I also enjoy quests that have their own story arch. I thought the Saga series was pretty good at that. 
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Aeolus
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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2011, 08:19:54 PM »

I typically prefer sidequests where the character can go and do something like address some issue lingering from their past or something or just something they do on the side like romance someone. Something that can be used to build the character without having to bog down the main plot. Basically something ala FFVI where the end game opens up and you can go about rerecruiting party members as well as resolving some hanging issues that they've kept putting off while the world was still in balance and not in ruin where some lingering memory of the past would remind them of something they took for granted or just simply ignored until now (like Daryl's Tomb, the Phoenix Esper sidequests, and many more).

Too bad most sidequests are either filler used to keep you in the current region long enough to make use of the current level of equipment, are shoehorned into the main quest at really inappropriate times, are only ever about the main character, involve whiny NPCs who can't do anything on their own or are too lazy to do whatever menial tasks that's on their agenda yet can somehow inexplicably afford the services of whatever do-gooding party is in the general vicinity, or some combination of the above.
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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2011, 09:13:22 AM »

I like any of them if they are interesting, well written/thought out and have something to do with the storyline or world that game is taking place in. Sacred 2 is a good example of BAD sidequests. Most of them had nothing to do with anything and seemed like they were thought up in minutes. Dungeons Siege 3 had decent side quests, most of which seemed like part of the main quest. And they lasted more than 2 minutes.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2011, 10:04:20 AM »

I typically prefer sidequests where the character can go and do something like address some issue lingering from their past or something or just something they do on the side like romance someone. Something that can be used to build the character without having to bog down the main plot. Basically something ala FFVI where the end game opens up and you can go about rerecruiting party members as well as resolving some hanging issues that they've kept putting off while the world was still in balance and not in ruin where some lingering memory of the past would remind them of something they took for granted or just simply ignored until now (like Daryl's Tomb, the Phoenix Esper sidequests, and many more).


I'll +1 this definitely.  For example, my favorite sidequest in FF8 was hooking up Zell with the library girl.  Hell of a lot better love story than the main ones, that's for sure.  World building and character development sidequests for the win. 

Septerra Core had well-intentioned sidequests.  In that game if characters hated each other, they'd attack each other in battles so the game had sidequests where they could reconcile or at least learn to tolerate each other.  Of course, the game itself was slowly paced and had overly long dungeons so I wasn't as motivated to do them.  So even the best intentions can be betrayed by poor game design. 
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2011, 01:00:39 PM »

while i enjoy the quests that advance side stories(those in ffxi in particularly were excellent) i also really enjoyed the mark hunts in FFXII.
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« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2011, 08:16:33 AM »

Another question is how many mediocre side quests can a game get away with? 5 kill quests for every good side quest? What's the ratio that a developer can get away with before the game is considered a side quest filler?
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Starmongoose
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« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2011, 08:23:39 AM »

You can dress up a simple kill quest with cheap, quick character development thus making to not feel like a generic fetch quest. People would be enticed to play though them not only for the reward but for a few bits of dialogue from characters that helps them get to know them. It's still filler, but less obnoxious about it.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 08:51:39 AM by Starmongoose » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2011, 11:26:59 AM »

Yeah, a simple fetch quest can be given personality by having the characters comment on it.  Sometimes, that makes a bitter pill easier to swallow.  Like in Revelations: Persona when Maggie made the party go through a 12 story dungeon twice in a row and did all kinds of bullshit stuff to piss off the player, conversations with Nate would have him ranting about how bullshit this is, and I felt like, "Ahhh, the characters think this is bullshit too.  Immersion!"  

Of course, the one quest type that I feel would still annoy me even if dressed up is the chained fetch quest.  I'm surprised I was as tolerant of them in Crimson Gem Saga as I was because I hate them.  Some of the Breath of Fire games are notorious offenders there.    

As for ratio, I'd go with 5 or fewer "empty calorie/ quick snack" quests for every beefy one.  Just as long as the missions don't repeat constantly (i.e. the stupid Dudbear quests in Children of Mana) so there is a sense of accomplishment and doesn't feel like an endless void of "what's the point?" 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 11:29:52 AM by Dincrest » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2011, 01:56:45 PM »

I think Radiant Historia figured out Quests just nicely
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Alan_01987
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2011, 03:42:09 PM »

So far, from my experience, I like quests that make me explore and travel to find hidden areas, involved gathering treasure chests and hidden bosses. I dont like quests that have a storyline because i want to play on my own pace.
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Aeolus
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« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2011, 06:01:26 AM »

Another question is how many mediocre side quests can a game get away with? 5 kill quests for every good side quest? What's the ratio that a developer can get away with before the game is considered a side quest filler?

In the old days I'd point to a Lufia game and be done with it. Nowadays I point to shit like that DS Kingdom Hearts game which is nothing but useless sidequests. At least the first two Lufia games had a decent plot bookending the useless filler dungeons/meaningless fetch quests (especially 2 because even though the reasons for entering most dungeons were superficial at most, many of the dungeons themselves were well designed enough to be worth going through at least once).


Also, I'll +1 the Radiant Historia getting it right comment.
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Alan_01987
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« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2011, 06:38:04 PM »

Another question is how many mediocre side quests can a game get away with? 5 kill quests for every good side quest? What's the ratio that a developer can get away with before the game is considered a side quest filler?
Also, I'll +1 the Radiant Historia getting it right comment.
You mean by finishing 10 specific optional quests to have an impact on the ending(AKA true ending)?
Personally I don't like the side quests in RH because the time travel mechanics(AKA quests) were messy . it is basically a straight lines, and any deviations just end the game and the the bad endings don't do much to contribute to the overall story. Radiant Historia doesn't get it right at all unless i am missing something ?
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