Quest as Reward

Posted: June 11, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, General Game Concepts

This idea comes to me after once again reading a short story I’m fond of.  In the story, the narrator overhears a group of adventurers nearby sharing war stories over a few ales.  The meek dwarf comes over and decides to share his own story, all the while hiding a wrapped package strapped to his back.  After telling a horrific story of a dungeon run gone badly, it becomes clear that the narrator is the only survivor of a group of adventurers who bit off more than they could chew. 

The narrator ends his story by unwrapping the package from his back and presenting a large battle axe to the group of adventurers – and points out that this axe was the same one he just spoke of that the fighter in his group wielded against the horrific monster that killed nearly his entire group.  It’s the narrator’s desire that this new group of adventurers take on the axe of his dead friend, and use it to enact the vengeance that the narrator no longer can. 

It’s a great story, and, I should think, a wonderful way to begin a quest.

Imagine your characters entering an inn, and a character you’ve seen a hundred times before suddenly calls you over and launches into a short cut scene story (similar to the opening book scene of Everquest 2 when you start a new character) that explains the background of the quest he wants and what he wants from you. 

Better yet, imagine the only reason you were able to experience this fairly neat little bit of gaming was because you’d already completed 800 or more quests yourself. 

I’d say that’s some pretty hardcore questing right there. 

The concept could be used all over, really.  It’s a way to more than just pretty titles for completing X number Y type of quests.  It’s a way to use quests themselves as a reward.

Now, to a certain extent, Everquest 2 already does this with progressive quests.  Complete A and you get B.  Complete B and you’ve unlocked C.  I like this, and I run these type of quests as often as I can.

What’s different with the idea I’m presenting here is that there’s no linear progression involved.  Complete X number of Y type of quests and you unlock the ability to see new, harder, much more rewarding quests.  You don’t run a line from A to B to C to D to get to E.  You perform any number of X you want and there you go. 

You could even see certain Heritage or Signature quests being offered after you’ve first completed a certain number of such quests. 

Perhaps certain city writs (which could provide much more status) are only available after you’ve first completed a certain number of quests.

I could even see new tradeskilled recipes as a result of quests that themselves are only available to tradeskillers who have completed a certain number of work orders within a certain amount of time. 

The idea itself is relatively simple.  The possibilities are pretty wide reaching. 

It’s an open ended design idea that should be relatively easy to introduce to Everquest 2 as it currently stands, without any major revamps or changes to existing content. 

What do you think?

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Comments
  1. damianov says:

    This is another of those small changes that would, in turn, create a large alteration in the MMO experience itself, IMO. As you point out, progressive quests have been done multiple times. The level system itself is not-so-subtle code for “number of quests completed”.

    It’s an idea that isn’t all that new concept-wise, but by presenting in a slightly different way, it gains the ability to interest new audiences, or at least rekindle the interest of existing ones.

    Short version: I think it’s a good idea. 🙂

  2. Stargrace says:

    ohhh I like that idea a lot. Being an avid quester myself, I always found it surprising to read the story lines and complete the quests and then bring them up in guild or general chatter only to find that I’m one of a very diminishing group of people who love to quest their way through the game rather then level as fast as they can to reach the “end”. I think that adding rewards based on X number of total quests completed is a great motivational tool to encourage the folks of Norrath to quest more and to enjoy the content that is out there for what it is. Some wonderfully involving stories.

  3. Pixie Styx says:

    I think you will find that story driven questing is something we might see alot more of in the furture. I know lotro already is doing this, WAR has a very unique quest structure and they have alluded to this being very story driven as well.

    However any new ways of implementing quests can only but improve the game, but once the quest is found and the spoilers up how really different or original is it going to be ….

  4. almagill says:

    If the taciturn dwarf in the tavern made occaisional comments which, as the number of quests you had done increased, became more positive or started to give more of a hint that he had more to tell, that’d act as a little prompt for players whci would have them checking back from time to time, asking friends what the little guy is about, etc.

    And having it linked to the number of quests completed? I like that. After all, you can level without questing if you’re a dumb bot, so why should they get to access some fune?

  5. Stardsuted says:

    This idea reminds me of something that Final Fantasy XI did, you would do a lot of smaller, lower level quests in the cities, those quests would raise your reputation with the people in that city, in turn unlocking more quests because more and more people knew of your deeds. It was a nice system and worked relatively well, only problem with it was if you were native of another city you ended up grinding the repeatable quests to gain the rep in all the other cities. Of course another problem was that FFXI wasn’t very quest centric to begin with, so this system would most definitely work better in a game like EQ2 where there are much more quests to be done. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing something like that system added into more games though.

  6. kendricke says:

    What you’re talking about there is faction (or reputation, depending on the game). What I’m suggesting is (A) using quests themselves within MMO’s as rewards – even moreso than now and (B) using number of quests completed as a prerequisite to opening new quests (not the same as progressive quests, which require you to complete a specific quest or series of quests to unlock a new quest).

    It’s more open ended design than I’ve yet seen in an MMO. I think it would work just fine, too.

  7. Pixie Styx says:

    Hmmm isnt this already being done, by compleating x # of quest you receive X amount of exp therefore you are x lvl so you are now eligible for this quest and the loot at the end of said quest ….. isnt this just quest tiering. What you seem to be talking about is how the new quest is presented to the player, sort of adding a bit more atmosphere to the experience

  8. kendricke says:

    If I’m level 70 and I already have 100 achievements, what point is there for me to quest…unless the quest itself has a reward I want.

    What if the act of completing the quests themselves becomes a different form of advancement, over and above a player held stat (with little bearing on guild mechanics).

    We already know that Everquest 2’s engine can handle the concept, since some titles are given to players who complete X number of Heritage quests. What about players who complete X number of writs? X number of work orders? What about players who simply complete 500 quests? 1000 quests?

    Better yet, I’ll turn the tables on you. I’ve already provided my reasons why I think it’s a good idea that would require little additional retooling or revamping. What reasons could we come up with that this is NOT a good idea?

  9. Pixie Styx says:

    quote
    “If I’m level 70 and I already have 100 achievements, what point is there for me to quest…unless the quest itself has a reward I want”

    I would hazard a guess that is why developers put raiding in the game, a bit more carrot on a stick. As generally speaking there is not incentive to quest at that lvl as there is no where to go up other than for loot. Therefore they move the concept from general questing to raiding, pvp, faction grinding ….. The End Game which is a whole different beast in itself

    As for the act of compleating a quest opening up another quest as a reward for completing x amount of quests. Seems to me that is normal progression in a mmorpg, compleate x amount of quests, gives you x amount of reward which means you are now eligible for these quests in this area …..

    However do i agree that questing needs some new fresh approachs, yes. I however think this will come with how they introduce quests in game, give moral dilemas, real world impacts and alternative ways to compleate the quests.

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