Failed Quests

| Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What happens when you fail a quest? You drop it and try again. Nothing lost. Maybe you died. Overall, no big deal.

It's boring. There's no impact. It's a slight inconvenience. Oh noes.

Permanent failure would 'fix' that. Fix being in quotes because it wouldn't be worth the loss of fun. Imagine the horrible mob grinding if you ran out of quests. No thanks.

What if failure meant something more than just failure? Failure could open up different quests. But again, this means restricted content and the potential for people failing just to see the quests.

How about fixing our mistakes instead? Failure might mean dying and then you must fix your mistakes in the spirit world. Lose here? Try again, over there.

Or maybe after a dozen failed and retaken quests, you're sent to cleanse your spirit. It is revealed that the failure did have a negative impact and you must correct that in yourself. You'd need to complete this quest to advance further, but it would give XP to compensate for the slowed leveling and so it feels less like a barrier and more like an opportunity.

Too often death and failure are entirely trivial. We can barely notice them sometimes. This isn't good for learning. Death and failure should matter and be noticed. But permanent failure and XP less/debt like in other games are not the solution. Those only encourage us to do the most trivial possible tasks in order to avoid losing.


Stabs said...

Not quite sure what angle you're coming from.

Should WoW introduce punitive sanctions on people who fail quests? No.

It's still for most new people the entry MMO and a lot of people want to be within their comfort zone while they play.

In Eve players are the content. If you try to spy on an alliance and blow it you will lose in-game assets and will have clever opponents start to actively track your activities. That's pretty punitive, the Eve meta-game is serious business.

Even PVE Eve is quite punitive for failing quests. You lose some of the rep you've been slowly grinding up. It's a significant set-back to take on a mission you can't do and have to fail it, even if you don't lose your ship.

In DDO your activities in a mission are tracked into a bundle that is handed out on completion. We did a 4 part mission earlier then one person left, one person was afk leeching and one lost his temper and threw in the towel. We had to give up missing out on the final quest reward and about 30 minutes worth of exp.

There are games that punish failure but I don't particularly think every game needs to incorporate every good idea. WoW works fine without this mechanic.

Klepsacovic said...

I might have written this poorly. The idea isn't to punish players, but instead to change what they do if they fail a quest. Maybe on paper having to do an additional quest to correct a failure sounds like punishment, but in my mind I think it would be pretty cool to be sent to a spirit world to cleanse my failures from my soul.

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