HumanNinjaToo

The Cheerful Pessimist
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So I am of the mind that sidequests should help add to the experience of the game. For instance, I plan to make use of almost all the NPCs that I create for the town/castle area of my game. I am implementing a hidden fame level that will increase each time the player helps out around town. Sometimes this fame will go up when the player completes main story line quests, but it will mostly be reserved for side quest completion, because I want the townspeople to slowly gain respect and trust in the main character.

I am planning to have NPCs change dialogue and offer quests based on the player's fame level. I want the majority of the side quests to be story driven (based on the NPC background/job within the town). The more side quests the player completes, the more side quests will become available.

I also want to add some goodies, as rewards for certain side quests, which may influence how some of the main quests play out. For instance, if you take on a side quest for the local miscreant/thief, and are able to complete it, that character will come back later in the game to give the player another option (like sneaking through an enemy filled dungeon) to complete a main quest, which could then lead to a better reward for being able to avoid contact with particular enemies. But then not killing those enemies may mean they show up later in the game and are more difficult to defeat.

I guess my reason for this topic is for opinions about how others implement an intricate side quest system in such a way that the player is aware that the side quests could potentially matter much later into the game.

I realize I could always type something up on the game features list, whenever this is ready to release. But I've read similar claims that never panned out in the games/demos that I've played.

I'm also not sure about having NPCs having randomly dialogue, like "Remember, your decisions matter, blah, blah."

I think the best idea I've come up with so far is to create a fairly intricate beginning quest, as the game is opening, that allows the player to make some decisions based on how they want to accomplish the mission at hand, and then have the effects of that decision manifest fairly quickly in the beginning of the game.

TLDR - What are ways to show fairly complex side quest systems in a game, and make sure the player realizes that the quests matter?
 

Extazee

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Well, in my honest opinion, the best approach would be to introduce a prologue type of deal to the game where the first introductory quest has the "choices matter" dilemma included and when the player progresses further, have the NPC's that do quests indicate, that completing this side quest would be useful for the future. For example, as you've refferenced, the thief type of quest. Just get the NPC to say something like "I'll owe you big time if you help me with this. I'll help you in the future if need be." or something like that, so that the player would know that completing this quest might prove to be rewarding.
 

Churro

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I remembered that in witcher often other characters not even related with the side quest mentioned about characters concerning the quest (quest with red baron for example).

So even if it is a side quest it should be mentioned in other events or places. If the player heard about it before(and more than one time) he automatically thinks it must be important for the game.
 

Llareian

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I realize I could always type something up on the game features list, whenever this is ready to release. But I've read similar claims that never panned out in the games/demos that I've played.

I'm also not sure about having NPCs having randomly dialogue, like "Remember, your decisions matter, blah, blah."

I think the best idea I've come up with so far is to create a fairly intricate beginning quest, as the game is opening, that allows the player to make some decisions based on how they want to accomplish the mission at hand, and then have the effects of that decision manifest fairly quickly in the beginning of the game.

It's definitely important to include in the features list, but like you said, a lot of games make similar claims, and it really just doesn't hold up. So while you should promote that aspect of your game, especially if you want it to be as important as it sounds like it is, you do need other ways to reinforce this idea to the player.

Having NPCs talk about how your decisions affect others can be pretty meta...in other words, it can break immersion if it's not done right. But it's important that if an NPC is treating the player differently because of a choice they made, the NPC needs to SAY so. It's not enough for YOU to know that's why the NPC is helping the player; the player is generally going to assume that everything is prescripted to happen a particular way, unless you point out to them that their decisions got them there. "Hey, I need some help, and I heard you helped out that shopkeeper..."

Your "best idea" is definitely a great approach, and should be combined with the above two ideas. Teaching the player about the game's mechanics and expectations early on is extremely important, and that sounds like a great way to do it.
 

Countyoungblood

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Is there really any problem?

Side quests normally grant rewards that translate into increased combat power, extra story or both. Anyone interested in either wouldn't need to be convinced.

If the advantage granted by the quest is nessesary to win then is it really a side quest?

If they are interested they will act.
 

Kawers

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I love your idea.

I think for this sort of thing, the way to go is show rather than tell. Like @Extazee said, there's no reason you can't start small, with a number of fairly straightforward quests with a rapid turnaround of "consequences" for how the quests are completed to illustrate to the player how the mechanic will work in the future. You could even make a short side-story, focusing on a small core of NPCs. Once the side-story is complete and the mechanic introduced as you see fit, you could maybe reference it/those NPCs again later in the game, which'd be a cute call-back.
 

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