A Quests Board - Whats your Suggestion ?

Black Pagan

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Here is a Feature that I have been planning for my Puzzle / Combat / RPG Tower Climb Game - A Quest Board. While the main purpose of a quest board in most games is to provide you Side quests, I intend to make it one of the Main Features of the Game, Which lets you continue the Story-line.

To simply put it - A Quest Board will be a Compulsory element of the Game on every Floor of the Dungeon Tower, You need to finish "x" number of quests to gain access to the Floors above, The Difficulty and Number of Quests increase as you keep climbing the Tower (At a very minimal pace).

I'm aware not everyone likes to do multiple Quests so I try to keep the Quests to a very minimal amount - Lets say you need to finish 1 Quest from 3 different optional ones which won't just be Kill quests but also things like - "Solve a Mystery", "Find a Hidden Item", "Hunt down a Rare monster".

Now i have a few questions regarding this :
- What do you think of such a Mechanic ?
- How can I make the Quest Board more Attractive and Interesting to Players ?
- Can you suggest any alternatives for the Quest Board while retaining the "Compulsory Quest" Feature ? (I'm trying to avoid using NPCs because its a Dungeon).
 
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Andar

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Quest Board more Attractive and Interesting to Players
it was never the quest board itself that was the problem - after all it's easier to get quests from a board than to search around towns for NPCs that give quests.

The problem is the kind of quests that those boards offered. They were often automatic and repetive "fetch X of Y", and that is boring to everyone after the first dozen cases.

Make the questboard give a story for each quest and make the quests more diverse and a lot of the problems will be gone. You'll still have to get the people to look at the questboard to see that it is different in your game however, some people are so tired of automatic quests that they don't look at the board without a hint to it.
Something like the NPC saying "I placed the quest to free my kidnapped daughter with the adventurer's guild" or something like that.
 

TheoAllen

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Scenario. Gives the quest a scenario. It will make the quests more interesting. The main goal could be a boring fetch something x times, but you can spice it up by creating a scenario.
 

ThreeSixNine

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Maybe have some floors that don't have quests and focus on something else for a short time, exploration, character progression, R&R. You could have different themed floors, say a quest floor like you already have, a battle floor where all you have to do is get to the staircase but there's a battle every other step, maybe a timed floor that just takes you to the next when the timer expires. I like the idea of a quest board as the core element, these are just some examples that came to mind when I thought of breaking up the monotony of using it on every floor.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I think just getting quests from the board, over and over again, could become repetitious and tedious. I mean, how many different types of quests can there be? I think you'd most likely get stuck on repeating the same dozen quest types again and again. One of the things that naturally breaks the repetition of questing, if done well, is mingling the story in with the questing. So if you're not careful, I think it could be easy to miss that story mingling if the player is continuously going back to a quest board throughout the game. However, I'm a firm believer that anything can work if it's implemented in the right way. I would just say get it tested by other people before you get too far. You don't want to put a hundred hours of development into something to find out that nobody else likes it that much. Good luck!
 

Nenen

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Maybe I'm late, but I really feel like I need to add my two cents for this.

I don't have a problem with the concept of quest-boards, it's a convenient one-stop place for a player to learn about possible quests, or be the way you start and end them entirely.

Of course, like practically everyone has said before me, it's the quests themselves that really matter. And I'm also a firm believer that, with work, even the most tired old boring 'fetch quests' can be made interesting through story/scenario.

When it comes to alternative treatments of the same mechanic, it doesn't need to even be a 'questboard', it could easily be a mailbox or a phone app! Useful in more ways than simply quests for example.

Sometimes, I wish that games with optional party member dialogue which appears after a certain amount of gameplay/story-events would utilize something like this to tell me that (Finally!) such and such person has something to say. Then I wouldn't need to constantly walk around the hub interacting with everyone (extra annoying if I have to go through multiple loading screens), then listening to the same old dialogue, for fear of missing something. (This happens in both AAA titles such as Bioware titles, and RM games like I Miss The Sunrise)

Finally, on a positive note, your idea of using the quest-board to continue the main-storyline alongside optional ones sounds exactly like one of my favorite RM-style titles.
Faraway Story (as translated by VGPerson) used a questboard to begin practically every quest, and I loved doing even what amounted to fetch quests because of all the story and character dialogue that was always included.
 

Wavelength

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Eh... I appear to be in the minority on this, but I personally kind of dislike Quest Boards - they feel kind of dull and lifeless, and I feel much more interested in a quest if I get to look the NPC in the eyes, talk to them, hear about their problem, and have that individual experience in my mind as I seek out what I need to complete the quest.

If you have a town outside the tower climb (e.g. Persona, Azure Dreams), that can be a great place to gain quests. However, it sounds like you're trying to give floor-specific quests out, which would make it hard. The one way I could think of would be to make it so you need a certain number of total quests complete to get to X floor, rather than needing to get new quests each time you get to a new floor. Think of it like the Stars in Mario 64 or Jiggies in Banjo-Kazooie (this thread on "Collect-a-thon" RPG Design could be an interesting read).

If you do decide you want to stick with a missions-per-floor design, here's an interesting alternative to the quest board that I just came up with: each floor has door/portal with a "passcode" - either a word or a phrase that has something to do with the theme of the floor. In order to get to the next floor, you have to guess the passcode. Each mission you complete on that floor will unlock a single letter (if the passcode is a word), or a single word (if the passcode is a multi-word phrase), and will place it in the correct order as well.
  • Good puzzle-solvers might be able to guess it with just a few letters/words; meanwhile, if you're having trouble with a given passcode, you can simply do all the missions to fill in the whole code so you don't have to guess anything.
  • The missions could be written next to the door, or they could just be listed on the player's menu as a convenience (with no diegetic justification for the missions needed other than this is how the tower works).
  • If you offer multiple choice entry for the passcode, incorrect guesses could force the player into a battle. If you offer free text entry, allowing the player to guess without penalty is probably fine.
Example: if the ocean-themed level's passcode is _ _ _ _ _ _ _, and you complete three out of seven missions, you might see S _ _ W _ E _, and from that maybe you can guess that the passcode is "SEAWEED". If not, you could do one or two more missions, and probably solve it from there. Alternately, if you want to use phrases rather than single words as passcodes, a hidden tomb level might be something like ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___, which after three missions might be LOST ___ ___ ___ OF TIME, and if multiple choices are available, maybe you could figure out this reads "LOST TO THE SANDS OF TIME".
 

Nenen

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Eh... I appear to be in the minority on this, but I personally kind of dislike Quest Boards - they feel kind of dull and lifeless, and I feel much more interested in a quest if I get to look the NPC in the eyes, talk to them, hear about their problem, and have that individual experience in my mind as I seek out what I need to complete the quest.

I would agree with you if the quest-board is as far as it goes. If you kept it dry and lifeless, it would be a drag to play.
But if you give the quest life!

In fact, taking my game example Faraway Story, while you activated the quest by the board, the characters would begin the real discussion of the said quest (you really have to try it to see how well it worked)

I realize now that the OP did say that the board was actually a way to avoid using NPCs... But surely they will come into play sometime right?


Edit: ugh, writing quickly on a phone is horrible. So many mistakes
 
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