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Discussion: One-Time Quests in an MMORPG


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#1 11clock

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:52 PM

So I've been reading this book called Epic, about a post-apocalyptic world where violence is outlawed. To keep violence from erupting, an online fantasy role playing game is used to settle conflicts. Epic, a virtual reality MMO, does not only help settle conflicts without real-life violence, but it is also used to govern the economy and almost everything else. If you fail in the game, you are nothing in real life. The book is very interesting so far and does a good job not focusing too much on neither the real world nor the virtual world. Both worlds also share many knots. Something in the real world can affect the game world and vice versa.

Now onto what I would like to discuss with you guys. There are two interesting concepts that Epic uses. First, when you die in the game, you lose your character for good. You have to make another character and start over. We've seen perma-death in games before, and it's no stranger. When used correctly, this mechanic works extremely well.

The second concept is something that I don't think has been seen before. Every quest can only be completed once. After someone completes a quest, no one else can complete it due to the fact that it's already done. This is a pretty cool concept. If you find a super secret quest with an awesome reward, you feel more excited because you found something that no one else has. You will be the only one to have the experience of completing the quest. You will get some awesome item that no one else has or will ever have.

Now the problem with this is that what happens when every quest is completed? The game would get rather dull. Epic doesn't have this problem because it has literally a bazillion quests and by the time it runs out the second and possibly third apocalypse would of happened by then.

But would we be able to replicate such a system in an actual, modern day MMO? How could we make a system of one-time quests? Would we be able to create enough quests to maintain this system while keeping each quest unique and original? Please discuss below.
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#2 Tsn

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:13 PM

There could be a company like Blizzard working on the game and maybe each day the creators would let out several quests but they would be long and hard. Once you complete the quests there would be nothing left to do in the game world but wait for the next day, so it's better to get on early, so you can get to try the best quests. You should be able to grind though to get ready for the next quest.

I bet something like this could work in World of Warcraft.

The quests should have difficulty tiers.

The game company could reuse some of the quests they've done before but with a twist, so it would not be too hard to make new quests and you could easily get at least several done.

There could be quests that give legendary items and they're not obtainable any other way. Players who have those can trade them from a lot of money.

Stuff from a point and click adventure game would work well too in this kind of game. Finding the correct place in a huge word to place a specific object to.

Some quests may make you go through transformations, like turning into a werewolf. So, you could be the only werewolf in the game world.

Same with spells, abilties, skills, etc.

Dying wouldn't be too big of a deal because starting again is almost as good as continuing, since it's always like a new game.

I'd say such a game is easily possible but there's just no one yet to try it.
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#3 Yal

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:33 AM

I'd say making a game where quests disappear after completition is a bad idea for a lone hobby developer, since you'd be forced to add and add and add in more and more quests all the time just to "break even". Plus, you'd have to add in both easy and hard quests to make sure new players always get a chance to play some tutorial quests to get a few levels and all that... but you can't prevent other players to take on all the easy quests just for griefing, leaving all newbies with impossible quests until the next day.

I'd say you should instead make a "random quest generator" that makes fetch quests and stuff randomly for NPCs on a daily basis, and then you can make one-time *RARE* quests like killing that one super-boss at Lv.2000 and so on in your spare time instead of pouring down time in making all sorts of quests. Keeping on adding in new stuff to the RQG, such as new objectives and new quest descriptions, will make it feel like all quests are unique, even though they are randomized using a "rubber template" of sorts.


Also, if you get more and more players that can actually complete the Rare Quests, you can slowly make the RQG generate more and more difficult quests, and slowly raise the bar for the man-made quests.
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#4 chance

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:26 AM

Epic doesn't have this problem because it has literally a bazillion quests...

But would we be able to replicate such a system in an actual, modern day MMO? How could we make a system of one-time quests? Would we be able to create enough quests to maintain this system while keeping each quest unique and original?

In theory, why not? There are unlimited possibilities. For example, no two people on Earth have the same life experiences. So presumably, each of us could imagine a personal quest that's different than all others. Of course, the notion of "unique and original" naturally includes some overlap, and some details in common.

The key point is what Yal said about a "lone hobby developer". It's too much work for one person. So I agree with her idea about using a few "templates" and populating them with details customized for each player. Perhaps you could even select those details, based on a "profile" that each player creates for themselves. So each player's quest would seem tailor made for them.
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#5 11clock

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:29 AM

So far I like the idea of a random quest generator the best. The game gives itself the common quests so you don't have to do so much work every day, and the quests made by the programmer can be very challenging, long quests. The random quest generator should be pretty indepth, though.

I also like the idea of each player starting with its own personal quest, the quest depending on the player's race, class, and starting stats. Epic has this system, but only the main character in the book actually bothers with it.

I can definitely see this type of system in a modern day game. One-time quests can add so much more flavor.

Edited by 11clock, 27 April 2012 - 01:32 AM.

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#6 shledder

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:08 AM

This could work, but at the same time some common ground helps build the player community (which is needed in an MMO). For example I can talk with anybody who played Borderlands and reminisce about how hard the Crawmerax mission was, or the funny of racing around the race track in the dune buggy on the race mission. If everybody has their own unique missions, I would say "Man that fight with Crawmerax took me hours, he was way too OP." only to be met with "Who the hell's Crawmerax? I just did some escort missions today."

If this is going to be an MMO I think the best idea would be to open many missions which require a team/guild/whatever to all do the mission so they share the experience together, knowing they were the only one's who will ever be able to do said quest (only one's to slay the dragon or what-have-you).
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#7 11clock

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:22 AM

This could work, but at the same time some common ground helps build the player community (which is needed in an MMO). For example I can talk with anybody who played Borderlands and reminisce about how hard the Crawmerax mission was, or the funny of racing around the race track in the dune buggy on the race mission. If everybody has their own unique missions, I would say "Man that fight with Crawmerax took me hours, he was way too OP." only to be met with "Who the hell's Crawmerax? I just did some escort missions today."

If this is going to be an MMO I think the best idea would be to open many missions which require a team/guild/whatever to all do the mission so they share the experience together, knowing they were the only one's who will ever be able to do said quest (only one's to slay the dragon or what-have-you).


Yeah, working as a group to complete quests should be recommended. In Epic, the main characters worked together to take out a dragon.
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#8 dannyjenn

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 02:10 PM

In theory it's a great idea. In reality, it's horrible, for several reasons:
- It's completely unfair to any newbs, regular players, or even good players who are not the kind of people obsessed with the game and sitting around 24-7 playing it. No doubt those people will be the ones who end up completing the big quests. If the big quests are the most fun (killing a dragon, for example, as opposed to some minor quest where some guy makes you deliver a piece of mail, etc.) then hardly anyone is going to even get to play the fun parts of the game.
- Depending on how many new quests are put out and how often, it may be very difficult for a newb to even gain any experience at all. If there are 1000 new people each day and only 500 quests capable of being completed by a level 1 player, half of the players are going to not really be able to do any quests at all. Sure, you can level up by killing monsters, but quests give you far more experience, not to mention that they are usually more fun. And this is just plain annoying in regards to the permanant death scenario.
- Eventually you will run out of ideas, even if you are able to keep up with adding quests at a reasonable rate. There's only so much that you can do before things start to repeat themselves (even in real life that happens... someone may tell you to go to the grocery store to pick up something, then a week later make the exact same request). A better idea might be to have the main quests (like major bosses, etc.) only occur once (although that wouldn't solve the first problem I've mentioned), but have the rest repeatable (maybe have a delay on them though, like once each day or week or month, etc.)
- If a boss can only be killed once then you'll need to add a replacement, otherwise the challenge of the game would decrease dramatically (no challenging monster to fight anymore, etc.). While this could be done, it would take a lot of work as you'd have to design the boss (his looks at the very least, but you'd most likely want to design other things like a story behind him, etc.)

Can you imagine, some awesome-sounding game, and the disappointment you'd experience when signing up for an account only to find that nearly all quests have already been taken by people, the ones that haven't are too advanced for you (having only signed up that day), and all you're left with is going around killing wolves?
It makes an otherwise awesome game into an extremely limited game which is not fun at all, except to the most advanced of all players (who still had to go through all the non-fun crap when they were new...)

Edited by dannyjenn, 03 May 2012 - 02:16 PM.

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#9 11clock

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:37 AM

In theory it's a great idea. In reality, it's horrible, for several reasons:
- It's completely unfair to any newbs, regular players, or even good players who are not the kind of people obsessed with the game and sitting around 24-7 playing it. No doubt those people will be the ones who end up completing the big quests. If the big quests are the most fun (killing a dragon, for example, as opposed to some minor quest where some guy makes you deliver a piece of mail, etc.) then hardly anyone is going to even get to play the fun parts of the game.
- Depending on how many new quests are put out and how often, it may be very difficult for a newb to even gain any experience at all. If there are 1000 new people each day and only 500 quests capable of being completed by a level 1 player, half of the players are going to not really be able to do any quests at all. Sure, you can level up by killing monsters, but quests give you far more experience, not to mention that they are usually more fun. And this is just plain annoying in regards to the permanant death scenario.
- Eventually you will run out of ideas, even if you are able to keep up with adding quests at a reasonable rate. There's only so much that you can do before things start to repeat themselves (even in real life that happens... someone may tell you to go to the grocery store to pick up something, then a week later make the exact same request). A better idea might be to have the main quests (like major bosses, etc.) only occur once (although that wouldn't solve the first problem I've mentioned), but have the rest repeatable (maybe have a delay on them though, like once each day or week or month, etc.)
- If a boss can only be killed once then you'll need to add a replacement, otherwise the challenge of the game would decrease dramatically (no challenging monster to fight anymore, etc.). While this could be done, it would take a lot of work as you'd have to design the boss (his looks at the very least, but you'd most likely want to design other things like a story behind him, etc.)

Can you imagine, some awesome-sounding game, and the disappointment you'd experience when signing up for an account only to find that nearly all quests have already been taken by people, the ones that haven't are too advanced for you (having only signed up that day), and all you're left with is going around killing wolves?
It makes an otherwise awesome game into an extremely limited game which is not fun at all, except to the most advanced of all players (who still had to go through all the non-fun crap when they were new...)

Interesting points, but an indepth random quest generator that generates random quests every day backed up by larger, man-made quests should be able to get through most of these issues.

It's true that only hardcore and competitive gamers would get any good experience out of the game, though.
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#10 Chris_Devl

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:44 PM

Im actually designing an MMORPG that I plan on making by myself soon, and basically my game actually WILL have unlimited quests, one-time quests, AND completing or failing quests can permanately effect the game world.

I know it sounds complicated to impliment, but in my case it's actually pretty easy. Some of the top players are going to be able to own land, build buildings, and.. well, if you've ever played a daily/tick-based mmo-strategy game (like battledawn), it's basically like that. The thing is, these top players will be able to create quests for the resources they need. They can set how much they'll pay for each resource peice bought, and how many they will take until shutting down the quest. Players living in their kingdom (or whatever) can then obtain those resources and give them to land owner for reward. They'll also be able to set target locations for quests and when players attack and successfully control that location, they get rewarded by the quest giver. I still have a lot of details to work out, I'm trying to keep it simple.. But that's the general idea..

Basically, player-made quests is one way to do it.. and not just "one-time quests", but unlimited quests too. There's also randomly generated quests, but I prefer player made because completing the quests actually can effect the game world instead of the relevence just being an illusion (like in practically all mmorpgs).

Actually, some quests in dragon fable are one-time group quests that actually effect the game world.. They take days to complete.. It's pretty cool, playing and actually making a difference..

EDIT: Oh and you know what else, the company behind EVE Online is releasing an FPS shooter that shares the same consistent game world as the MMO. It's not necessarily "quests", I think its more like missions.. Idk, EVE has always been a complicated game, but essentially EVE players can pay Dust 514 players (the FPS) to win battles on certain planets. When they win, they get their payment, and the EVE player that created the mission gets the planet in which he can set up buildings and **** to accumulate resources for upgrading his ship (or selling) in EVE. The demand will always exist too since dying in EVE is common and when you do you lose your ship and all weapons that were on it (its not that big a deal though, you keep your character and his stats, you just gotta buy new ships and weapons or just stock up on em). It's pretty cool if you have the patience to get into it.

Edited by chris_devl, 14 May 2012 - 01:38 AM.

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#11 Yal

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:33 PM

There's one bad thing with the player scourging up the quest reward, and that is: players don't want to give away their hard-earned cash for something they can get for free.


Suggestion: when you make the reward of a quest, the game will add an additional 50% to the rewards, so if you scourge up 1000 gold as reward for a quest, the player who completes it will get 1500 gold in pocket.

There's a possible exploit with mutual questing, though (player A makes an easy quest and offers his entire fortune, player B completes it and gets 1.5x player A's fortune, he sets up an easy quest for the original amount of cash and keeps the 50% bonus, then rinse and repeat). You should try to somehow limit that, for instance by putting a cap on the quest reward that's based on the value on the stuff you need to obtain, so that for instance you can't offer a bigger reward than twice the value of the stuff you need to bring. (Aka a Lonely Wolf Fur is worth 500G, so the max reward for a quest where you get exactly one of these is 1000G, out of which 667G is offered by the quest maker)

You could also add a lower-cap for this at 50%, so you can't get less than 250G for a LWF. This also prevents players from forming cartelles and forcing people to sell their stuff cheaply.
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#12 Chris_Devl

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:55 AM

There's one bad thing with the player scourging up the quest reward, and that is: players don't want to give away their hard-earned cash for something they can get for free.



What makes you think they could get it for free??.. And sure they'd spend their hard-earned cash if it's worth the investment.. That's the point of currency after all :P...
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#13 Super Guy

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:42 PM

They would have to be randomly generated or something but I like the idea, I mean, it would be nice to be the only one in the "world" who killed the Skeleton King or whatever. I hate that feeling in MMOs when 10,000,000 or more other people killed him.
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#14 Markonicus

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 07:40 AM

One word: Skyrim. Well something like Radiant story but an improved version could generate interesting quests forever so it's not something out of reach of any modern game. Actually, maybe Elder Scrolls Online will have something like that.
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