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A debate on side-quests & filler content

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by felipepepe, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. agentorange Arcane Patron

    agentorange
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    I think in general Japanese RPGs have had the most naturally integrated side quests, as opposed to the check listed style that has become so common in Western RPGs. The side-quests in games like King's Field and Demon's/Dark Souls are all unmarked and never activate any sort of quest checklist, you have to really pay attention to the environment, talk to the npcs and listen to what they are saying in order to get a sense of how to progress the quests. There are some cases where you don't even realize you have engaged a script trigger to start a quest, which is as it should be; an RPG should seek to maintain the illusion of its in-game world (rather than have a quest title pop up on screen and a little musical cue play whenever you get a new quest or complete it, sorry New Vegas). It might be argued that some of them are too deliberately obscure and there is no chance of finding them in a single playthrough, or maybe never finding them at all, but so what, the idea that every quest has to be easily found and completed leads to the completely unnatural check listing design structure.

    Although I enjoy it personally games don't have to go to this extreme to have quests feel more natural. I think Deus Ex hit a good middle ground. It has the Goals/Notes screen that will show you quests, but it rarely guides you precisely through the steps of how to complete the quests, and a lot of solutions are left entirely to the player to find. Imagine now days the whole encounter with Anna would be laid out as a checklist (Primary Goal: Showdown with Anna Navarre Secondary Goal: Hmm, maybe there is a clue on Manderly's computer, you should check it out! *computer glows brightly to let you know you can interact with it*)

    I think most people agree that unmarked quests are often the best quests a game has to offer, because it feels like you are stumbling on something that is already in the world and following clues naturally, they make the world feel lived in. See: the survivalist quest in New Vegas Honest Hearts. The Siamese twins quest in Arcanum (not necessarily unmarked but highly obscure in how to progress with very little direction, and I would argue the fact that it has such an unsatisfying ending makes it more memorable and real because it breaks that checklisting sensation). These are quests that I see talked about most often. Hell even with Oblivion, the one good part of the entire game were the select few unmarked quests that you can stumble upon, like this one http://en.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:The_Horror_of_Dive_Rock. So why not have all quests be like this.
     
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  2. buru5 Very Grumpy Dragon Patron

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    :lol:
     
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  3. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    Souls series has good action combat, good animations and good atmosphere; it's Japanese.
     
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  4. gestalt11 Arbiter

    gestalt11
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    The issue is putting chores into games. Busy work is not a game.
     
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  5. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    mundane tasks need to be given context for them to have weight. I felt compelled to kill the ants in Gothic b/c it would bring me badass armor.
     
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  6. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    I think ideally side quests have to be either related to your main objective or in the way of accomplishing it. It's how it generally works in non-C RPGs unless you get massively sidetracked.

    I do sidequests in a pure 'content consumption mode' and many of them are fun and enjoyable but it still makes me wonder why people who pretend to take writing seriously think it's ok for my characters to completely give up on their goals to help some random carpenter or soldier.
     
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  7. Ivan Arcane

    Ivan
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    I don;t think it's rocket science. Even the "duller" chapters of Moby Dick felt cohesive to the work because it reflected Ahab's obsession. As others have said, it's when you can see that side content is deliberate fat/padding when it's a problem.
     
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  8. Neanderthal Arcane

    Neanderthal
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    Yeah Lord Lyton quest in BaK were a bit crap, as were trawling up an down coast trying to find Rusalki, but it were there to illustrate theme o petty nature o politics an powermongering in heartlands o Kingdom of Isles. Theres a few quests like that, including the whole Cavall Keep bit that really capture how nobility can be their own worst enemies, and how a clever foe like Nighthawks/Crawler can exploit that.

    Most of the quests in BaK get it damn right, I personally like the plague one north o Hawk's Hollow, you either learn how to treat disease and recover, pay a bitch who's in on it, or all drop dead. Good tutorial.
     
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  9. *-*/\--/\~ Arbiter

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    I think it is connected to the content bloat that we see happening with retards demanding 200 hour long games. A developer charged with making a dozen quests can make then engaging, complex and unique. If he is forced to make 154 quests in the same timeframe, it's all too easy (and maybe necessary) for him to go the mmorpg way.
     
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  10. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

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    There is a lot of snobs in here!
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. hackncrazy Learned

    hackncrazy
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    What you and others talked about the side quests not being presented as side quests, along with the fact that they feel natural to the pace of the game are what makes them good to me.

    I'm not giving a CRPG example, but there is one game that I played recently that does this masterfully: Shadow Tower Abyss (PS2).

    It's a first person JRPG with a equal great focus on exploration and battle (and the latter is not that brilliant).

    But the questing system is what makes it interesting to me. The basic story is that you have to get to the top of the tower, but what you only discover by playing is that some of the floors are totally optional. Funnily enough, one of them is bigger than any of the main ones, but at the end of it there is just some OP loot for you to get.

    But indeed. I just can't stand the "GO TO X AND TAKE Y" quest system that a lot of games have, be it with markers on screen or not.
     
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  12. If a quest is generated using a routine instead of a human, it's probably going to suck.
     
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  13. DemonKing Arcane

    DemonKing
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    I generally enjoy sidequesting and I'm usually pretty anal about doing as many as possible. What I can't stand is when MMORPG style quests infiltrate into Single Player games (Gather X Herbs, Kill X Rats etc). It's lazy padding at its worst. DA:I is a classic example of this where the decision to "open world" (presumably to capture some of that sweet Skyrim loot) was made but then they clearly had no idea how to make the sandbox interesting to play in.

    Fetch/Kill Monster quests are fine by me if at least there is some story-related reasons to carry them out. It helps if they're integrated seamlessly into a game rather than via a Noticeboard or NPC with an exclamation point over his head handing them out too.
     
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