What is your favorite type of Sidequest?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Roden124, Mar 4, 2017.

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On route to slay the World-Eater, you happen upon a wounded tree. What sidequest do you partake in?

  1. Filler Quest

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Silly Quest

    6.9%
  3. Worldbuilding Quest

    72.4%
  4. True Ending Quest

    6.9%
  5. No Quest

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Other (Please Comment!)

    13.8%
  1. Roden124

    Roden124 Veteran Veteran

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    Filler Quest: These quests expand gameplay and that's basically it. These are your fetch quests, collect-a-thons, chicken-throwin' adventures, etc. The word "filler" doesn't always have great connotations, but here it simply means more of the same fun for your time and money. Filler may not (and frequently does not) fit the world they occupy, but they let you stay in that world a little longer.

    The tree needs a bouquet of seashells to woo his girlfriend on their 100th anniversary, and you're the only hero alive to help!


    Silly Quest: These quests are, in effect, "Ha ha, sucks to be you" quests. They exist solely to make life harder on the protagonist. Why would anyone like this type of quest? Maybe the quest itself is not that fun, but what it adds to the game is: that exclusive element of trust and danger, among other genuine feelings.

    The tree is a honey trap sprung by marauders who don't care if you're a frail old lady or a 9-foot Level 99 Platinum Paladin with a 999 attack-powered Deathsword. They see something shiny, and that something shiny is you! Fortunately, you are a fighting machine and annihilate them swiftly. Unfortunately, the twist is they are method actors rehearsing for a play, and you now have to pay half of your gold to cover the legal cost for what you did to them.


    Worldbuilding Quest: These quests add little or absolutely nothing to the main story, but they consolidate the world and your place in it. I am currently enjoying Yakuza 0 and this series is chock full of these quests. I particularly like the quests that function like quizzes-- while Yakuza's quests have quirky endings, they ground the world in contemporary Japan and toy with the player's knowledge of the authentic real world. In a game where you break bikes over people's heads, I wouldn't have expected to be tested so entertainingly over my (surprisingly good) knowledge of federal taxes. Yakuza's quests are immersive because they flesh out an ideal realism, a world with actual people.

    The tree is an ancient being who helped battle the World-Eater in the first war, but the toll that battle took on his body has been slowly killing him over the last millennium. With his final breaths, the tree places his blind faith in you to secure the safety of the Wounded Tree Village, a community of blood-abstaining vampires who eat his bark to survive.

    True Ending Quest: These quests are required to get the satisfying, really-for-real actual true ending (or at least a happy one.) In the normal ending, everyone dies, the world blows up, and your love interest rejects you. Who should've guessed ignoring that girl's lemonade stand could've produced such dire results? Time to play the entire game again and do it right this time! This type of quest can mark the difference between a meaningful plot and a standard one. Not doing anything is the same as doing something, and total apathy can have tragic consequences, just like in real life. Yaaay!

    The tree is the grand wizard of time, and you need his nose branch and a lost crystal to craft the Wand of Potential. Only after you've done that and combined the power of the Seven Sages can you send the World-Eater to the death of the universe and seal him away for good.


    No Quest: This tree is stupid, moving on.

    Got any other ideas for quests, or don't see your favorite? Share them here! :3
     
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  2. Dr. Delibird

    Dr. Delibird Veteran Veteran

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    You could probably included under Worldbuilding quests that do add to the main story but only non-required material. Like maybe a sidequest that involves you aiding a tribe at one point early in the game makes it so that late in the game that same tribe comes to the parties aid against the Big Bad Army.
     
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  3. Rhaeami

    Rhaeami The Sleepy-Eyed One Veteran

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    I'm a fan of the Gear Up Quest. Ahem, if I may... :kaopride:

    Gear Up Quest: The world is teetering on the edge, and you'll need all the help you can get. Thankfully, the local smithy just finished reading up on ancient Mithril forging techniques, your grandmother remembered where she left her Charm of Infinite Lives, and the landslide blocking your way to the Ultimate Training Grounds has conveniently been cleaned up. What timing! These are the one-off quests that unlock your party's best gear, strongest skills, and hidden gimmicks, just in time to throw them at the Big Bad and that secret end boss that could do his job so much better.

    Your elven girlfriend realizes that this is the sacred Pageant Tree that her people once used to perform arcane rituals. By gathering a slew of ritual items from across the world, you can recreate the ceremony and learn to cast a healing spell strong enough to one-shot your arch nemesis. If he were undead.
     
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  4. mara_vertin

    mara_vertin Veteran Veteran

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    I actually like different types of side quests (although I sometimes think: Okay, the world is about to blew up, why do I search for the legendary honey-bee to make some delicious but rather useless super mead?).
    I think I like the Worldbuilding Quest and the Gear Up Quest most. But I love the side quests where you learn more about the protagonist and the other party members. This could take place while you doing all different types of side quests so ... Don't know how to categorize this. :)
     
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  5. Roden124

    Roden124 Veteran Veteran

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    I'd categorize these as Worldbuilding quests, because you and your friends are part of the world after all! The depth of the in-game universe is directly shared with the information learned and infered by the player over the course of the game. The quiet moments forged throughout the adventure may not affect the main plot, but they affect our perception of it! Perception is the secret sauce of all good stories.
     
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I'm not keen on pure 'filler' quests. They rarely add anything except time to my experience.
    Neither am I that keen on 'True Ending' quests. The reason is contained in what you wrote i.e. "who would have guessed..." Exactly. How am I to know that this is different from some tedious filler quest? These have left me feeling that the developer has set the player up to fail. I dislike being trolled in games as much as in any other situation. I personally don't think that this sort of thing is what makes for a "meaningful plot". I think it is more likely to suggest that the developer couldn't write a good enough story and needed something like this to give it some oomph. There are ways of doing True Endings which do contribute significantly to the story, but they rarely, if ever, fall into the "who would have guessed" category. They are more usually contained within the story and involve meaningful choices.

    I would say that 'silly' quests can spill over into roughly the same sort of territory, though they don't have to. Taking the example you give of having to forfeit 50% of my gold because I accepted to do a quest in all good faith would likely hack me off. If this meant that I was left in the situation where I didn't have enough gold to get essential items and/or gear I would be unlikely to continue. I wouldn't reload and ignore the quest, I would more likely quit in disgust.

    The quests I enjoy are those that also give me some degree (even if small) of character and/or story and/or world lore development, where the reward is roughly proportionate to the effort. I prefer them to arise organically out of the story/location rather than have them shoe-horned in.
     
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  7. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    As long as it's something creative, and not just kill x of monster, or collect x of item. Do something cool with the characters involved in the quest and surprise me. I like surprises, so if it does something I never could have seen coming, I'm happy. :D
     
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  8. Solis

    Solis Veteran Veteran

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    I like filler quest if I can see more of the world.
     
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  9. dragoonwys

    dragoonwys Freelance Illustrator Veteran

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    I would like to believe that side quests have their own uses in the grand scheme of things so I don't mind any side quests as long as it means something and not mindless grinding quests to drag out the game.

    Personally, I love lore building quests: characters, world; anything that would add to my experience of the world the game is trying to show me. And I am a iffy at true end side quests, alternate endings I'm okay with since they are supposed to be there as extra content, icing on the cake or fan tease. But I had usually feel that True ends should already be at the end of the story, since well it's the True end after all, it's how the game was supposed to end according to the developers.

    Though, I have to add to the silly quests part, some of them may not just be there to annoy the player. I enjoy it when it's a nice breather from a long intense plot, it's like that small pause between jump scares to make the scares even more effective. A small silly quest that would put a smile on your face and bring back some hope before you get tossed back into the roller coaster of feels.
     
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  10. Failivrin

    Failivrin Final Frontiersman Veteran

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    To me, the structure of the quest is more important than the type. I hate having to learn a new skill which becomes obsolete as soon as I move to the next level. To me, the most memorable sidequests are those that run throughout the game. I'm thinking of Ocarina of Time. Interacting with masks, catching skultullas, learning new ocarina tunes... Even sidequests that only occur once or twice (like catching chickens or hunting ghosts) are united in the sense that they provide similar rewards--pieces of heart.
    So the ideal sidequest in my opinion is one that can be undertaken at intervals throughout the game, with increasing complexity and expected rewards, employing skills the player will learn to improve over time.
     
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  11. TomatoKing

    TomatoKing Veteran Veteran

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    If I don't get to go into someone's basement/attic and kill some rats I riot, there are some things that are sacred.
     
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  12. Reapergurl

    Reapergurl Drummer Extraordinaire! xD Veteran

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    Hmm...

    For me, I like the Useful Quest.

    Useful Quest: The Elven Sage was dying, all she wanted was one last bottle of wine to ease her pain, but sadly, all the wine fruit had dried up, and only by traveling east could more be gathered. She did not require us to go fetch this fruit, but we decided to out of our own kindness, and for the sacred serum she held near and dear for three thousand years...

    As far as the other four quest types, I'm about all-even with them, not one do I prefer over another.

    Just, make sure that no bugs or glitches occur that make the quest impossible to complete (I'm looking at you-you buggy Thieves' Guild quests in Solstheim!)
     
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  13. Anthony Xue

    Anthony Xue Ancient Architect Veteran

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    I'm not sure it really makes sense to divide quests according to such a schematic. Except for the ridiculous "Silly Quest" (seriously, can you name a game that actually tells the player "I don't care a dayum whether you have fun with this"?), everything else can be mixed and matched, with the general idea that just about every quest should tell you more about the story, your companions or the world you adventure in. It just feels both more rewarding and organic.

    Example: A side quest reveals that one of your companions actually carries an enchantment/is bound to an artifact that will cause her to be reborn a hundred years after every death. If she sacrifices herself during the ending, having done this quest will not change this ending but your perception of it significantly - so is this a Worldbuilding or a True Ending quest? And what if the conversation about this motivates her and allows her to unlock a special skill - Gear Up Quest as well? I think as long as you can connect mechanics and background in an organic way, the classification isn't really relevant.

    Personally, I have found that I enjoy those side quests most that explore questions raised by the main story - questions that don't need to be answered to enjoy the grand plot, but are attached to it and give it additional depth. Separate small storylines can also work well, but ultimately do not satisfy me the same way. Filler Quests with just an alibi background really only make sense if the game as a whole is focused more on the mechanics than on story (please say hello to the Diablo franchise), otherwise they're simply lazy design.

    (Bonus points if the side quest revelations combine in such a way that they suggest a deeper story beyond what is told in the main plot. To continue the example, let's say you learn about historic events, all of them about a hundred years apart, that feature a figure uncannily similar to said companion...and one similar to the villain's sidekick. None of this needs to change the main ending, in which these two guys probably duel it out while you face the main villain, but it sure makes you wonder what the hell is going on... and gives her final "I got him at last" a whole different meaning.)
     
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  14. Gastin

    Gastin Villager Member

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    In my game im puting in what i like to define as accidental quests. You beat the boss and theirs another level to the dungeon. You run around and you find some item that spawns a quest on your return to town .
     
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  15. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I chose "Other" as a sort of null vote, because what makes me like a quest isn't the framing nor the reward - it's the gameplay inherent in the quest itself.

    I don't like fetch quests. I don't like chain-of-trades quests. I don't like kill count or drop count quests, unless the combat is extremely fun. I generally don't like quests that simply ask you to backtrack somewhere (though this can be done well with the right narrative hooks).

    I do like quests that ask you to explore new areas. I do like quests that ask for items which can be obtained in multiple ways. I do like quests that temporarily change the rules of the game's action or combat (provided they are not too frequent). I do like escort missions, unlike most players. I do like quests that ask for knowledge of the game world, and can be "completed" without hitting plot flags if you've been paying attention before being given the quest.

    And my favorite types of quests are ones that ask you to make decisions about your actions or dialogue, and have different results (and different rewards or plot branches) based on what you choose - perhaps you've been accused by inquisitors of a crime and need to convince them of your innocence, or perhaps you are hired to recover an item but you find out that its present holder also has a valid need for it and you need to decide whose side to take.

    I suppose between the four options presented the Worldbuilding Quest seems like the best way to frame it: the "True Ending Quest" is odious to the player because it deprives most players of the satisfaction that should come with beating the game, the "Silly Quest" is even more odious to the player because it betrays their trust and wastes their time, and the "Filler Quest" is just a Worldbuilding Quest minus any of the deep thought that should go into quest hooks. So it's no surprise that Worldbuilding Quests are receiving a majority of the votes here. :)
     
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