Questing as Intended?

Posted: March 25, 2008 by Kendricke in Pirates Online

Recently, I’ve been playing a bit more of Pirates of the Burning Sea from time to time (Brit on Rackham, for you stalkers out there) and I’ve been noticing that some of the quests there, though often well written, are just as ridiculous as the quests in most MMO’s these days.

Case in point:  This weekend I was running a quest line from a gent in Bartica, Guyana.  Seems he accidentally gave some quicksilver (mercury) to some settlers nearby after promising them a cure-all remedy.  The villagers in question apparently began rubbing themselves with the “miracle cure” thinking it was a salve…and they’ve gone stark raving mad.

The good doctor’s request?  He wants me to fix his problem for him by dumping a couple of bales of herbs into the village well.  Up to this point, it’s an interesting story line.  Of course, I should have known what was coming next…

For the next part of the quest, I arrive on a beach presumably near the village.  A quick check of my map shows that I have to wander quite a ways into the nearby jungle to get to the well (conveniently marked by a large “X” on my map).  No problem, right?

Wrong.  In order to get to the well to save the villagers, I end up wading through wave after wave of crazed settlers who are hell bent on killing me.  So, what do I do?  I pull my pistol and paired swords and spend the next ten minutes hacking my way through their ailing bodies so I can get to the well…you know, to save them.

Seriously, I must have killed a couple dozen of these villagers on the way to their well.  In many ways, it reminded me heavily of the scene in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail where Lancelot charges through a wedding party, slashing and murdering his way through hordes of innocent guests to save the “damsel” in distress.

Luckily for me, the quest giver didn’t seem to notice or care.  He thanked me for correcting his mistake (apparently you’re allowed to slaughter entire villages in the 18th century Caribbean, so long as it’s for their own good), gave me some doubloons and an herb treatment (forgive me if I don’t start rubbing it on my skin right away), and managed to let me know about his humble beginnings as an alchemical student in Germany.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess.

  1. Rijacki says:

    Maybe they were trying for a Dawn of the Dead like experience?

    But yeah, having the only option to save a collection of someones by killing those very same someones to get to the location to put in a cure does seem a bit.. well.. ya know.. counterproductive. It is also rather overused that any quest should involve killing thus and so in order to complete it, whether the thus and so are counted or not.

  2. Thraxarious says:

    I guess if I had to create a ton of quests with tasks to complete, dialogue and all that, I might throw in a few things here or there that were just as odd.

    Often as it appears above someone appears to have taken some real world historical tidbits and tossed them together in the game for semi-humorous albeit morbid play.

    You’re the luckless guy this fiend is employing to clean up his dirty work in experimenting on a whole village. The job seemed on the level at first, but is more than you really bargined for.

    That is why I think it would be really swell if you could design a questing system around a multi-path aproach. Too many quests are all A-B-C-D-E-F… just start at the beginning and work your way down. Make it more interesting with an Alignment modifier where taking various paths can adjust your faction and reactions with various groups and NPCs.

    It would take a LOT more work on these quests, basically writing two or more quests for each single quest, but would give some quests a little more re-playability.

    I think it would be nifty.

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