### Put a knife in the back of quest givers too

| Tuesday, May 25, 2010
If you're going to murder, you might as well make a complete job of it.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Marauders. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Officers don't matter to me yet, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

And so I wander back out to kill ten more marauders, of which I'd already killed fifteen on my way in, not counting the handful of officers, lackeys, and chieftains.

I killed ten more, and a few more officers, lackeys, and chieftains along the way.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Officers. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Chieftains don't matter to me yet, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

So I go kill ten officers (in addition to the ones I already killed), and a few more marauders, lackeys, and chieftains.

"We are under siege. Listen carefully. You must kill 10 Bandit Chieftains. 10. No more. No less. The Bandit Officers and Marauders don't matter to me anymore, so they don't count. I mean, you're free to kill more, but I can't count higher than 10, so let's stick with 10. I don't care if you killed 10 on the way to the town, I wasn't counting."

And so on. I walk back in again, after having saved the town. They appear to still be under siege.

Let's see if I understand the math here. The quest giver sends me out to kill X number of enemies of Y types, and I kill more than X and more than Y, and the town is still under siege.

I can only conclude that the quest giver is a complete idiot who keeps giving away the town's money for tasks which do not save it from attack. But maybe he's a genius: he gives us the gold, drawing the bandits away as they chase us, ignoring the town they were so intent on looting. Devious bastard. Let's kill him.

Let's try to imagine something less boring, but not difficult to create. We want to use existing technology. No, make that existing code. We want copy-paste for 99.999999% of this. This means it probably won't be too interesting, but it can be slightly better. I propose semi-random event quest structures, such that we influence the world, without the developers needing to write ten thousand times as many quests just to keep up with us. Today the town is under siege from a thousand bandits. Kill 2000 of them total and the siege ends. Some random new enemy attacks. The town is under perpetual siege, but at least it's not under the same siege no matter what you do. Kills count towards the quests, even if you don't have the quest yet. "Thank you so much for killing the bandits! Please, take this token of our appreciation." What a strange world, where people appreciate help even if they've not yet offered a reward for it.

Andy said...

How about this: if, upon discovering a town that was being attacked by bandits, and you start killing the bandits, you automatically get put on the quest to kill them. The twist is that you don't know it until you've killed enough of them to make a difference.

Or how about more degrees of success for quests? Rather than Success or Failure, you could have partial success, for which you maybe don't get any armour/etc., and less money.

Or to turn that around a bit, how about rewarding players for going above and beyond the requirements of the quest? "You killed 40 bandits, even though 10 would have been plenty! You're awesome, here's four times the amount of money/XP we were going to give you."

Gronthe said...

What I find even more disturbing is the quest giver's definition of "under siege". Last time I checked, a dude with a red bandana standing under a tree isn't an imminent threat to the fortress or town, maybe he just cut the grass and is trying to catch some rest in the shade.

wiz said...

Try checking guild wars 2 news and interviews about its "event" system if you are bored with current quest pace in many mmo's. Not like i'm advertising something, I just played guild wars before and this system or sequel sounds a bit different then every other mmo.

Klepsacovic said...

@Andy: While "going above and beyond" sounds nice in theory, in practice it would most likely result in 40 becoming the new standard, with 10 being what people do if they're just rushing through to get the reward at the end. But maybe that's a good thing, to have that option of sorts.

@Gronthe: Good god man, don't you understand? The shade has been captured! What's next, the areas that are partialy shaded depending on the time of day? NO! The line is here. No further.

@wiz: I've heard a bit about it, I think that's what got this idea in my head. Sadly, I think it's going to end up overhyped and too ambitious; the idea of dynamic content is a big one, which means you have to be careful.

Anonymous said...

Just track down the programmer, and kill him... Problem solved!!!
:P