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Quests versus Events


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GW2 does something unique for MMOs, by letting go of the traditional quest system. This has of course its ups and downs.

For me, events are sort of fun. They make the world feel more alive, and create a vibrant interaction.On the downside, when events are not active, you cannot see where an event would be. It's therefore entirely possible that after 6-7 years, there's still an event in the game you've never seen.Another downside is that if you're looking to do a collection or achievement contained in an event, you have to wait for it to start, something players usually have no control over.

But an added benefit over all this, is that quests are usually one-time, while events are generally repeatable (although players may often not do so if there are no rewards involved)

What is your stance on this matter, or preferences?

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@"Ayakaru.6583" said:On the downside, when events are not active, you cannot see where an event would be. It's therefore entirely possible that after 6-7 years, there's still an event in the game you've never seen.Another downside is that if you're looking to do a collection or achievement contained in an event, you have to wait for it to start, something players usually have no control over.

Dynamic events are one of the main reasons GW2 feels different and unique compared to other MMOs, when I created my first character and realized that i should level by seeking events and exploring instead of the default "go there and kill stuff or bring stuff to me" (we still have golden hearts that work like quests tho) i immeadiately felt in love with this game.

About the downsides, i can't see them as downsides at all.1- Everything in this game have a incredible documentation that i've never seen in other games, not even WoW tbh so if you haven't seem a specific event after years of game, you probably don't need to know it. In a quest based MMO you aren't going to know all quests of the world too anyway.2-Ok, no one likes waiting but this makes the world more consistent and a map has a lot of contents you can do while waiting for an event to start and most events have a timer or a documented interval so you know for how long you should be waiting.

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Events are fine, but having played other MMO's, quests have their own brand of fun and charm too. Both would be cool. Perhaps events could be for everyone, while quests are race and sometimes gender specific, and allow us to delve more deeply into our race's lore. Such quests wouldn't have to be voiced--we could rely on the traditional "read-a-wall-of-text" method--which would also allow Arenanet to explore lore more deeply whilst saving on the cost of voice lines.

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I had an amazing experience with quests, it adds an ambiance to the area, the required actions are also different and nice: kicking some baddies, helping childrens, doing experiments... I know some hate them because they want to burst through them, speedrunning the world completion the fastest way possible, and it's sad imho. I love reading the thanks letter and trolling sometimes the npc at the heart: bringing enemies, turning on badly configured asuran gates....

But frankly, both are needed, events + quests. No quests in Orr make sense because you don't have local or ton of allies. Same case with hot. But they are part if the good memories and good experiences for me, in core but also path of fire. Had a good time doing them in ls maps. And hope they will still add at least 3 new quests in each new map.

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Absolutely 100% without doubt would have loved to have had both in Gw2.

Events are great but events are more of your.. Oh hell that towns on fire! lets help them out..Where as Quests are more.. Hail adventurer, i'm in dire need of someone like you to help me with a problem.

Gw2 having all of the former and none of the latter makes the game feel like there's always some kind of chaos going on and if it weren't for the heroes running around everywhere the world would be screwed lol

Gw2 not having the latter makes it feel like your character in the open world doesn't have much of a reputation or presence.Admittedly this has been remedied a little in newer content by NPC's recognizing you as the commander in the open world.. and this is a small detail that I really enjoyed being added.But this usually happen in controlled places like instances or during a story mission in the open world.. or in big events and not so much the small ones with irrelevant every day people.Originally Heart venders were supposed to fill that role having them remember you etc but it's not the same as traditional quests since for the most part you never get asked to help out.. you can do various things to help out that sometimes contradict the main problem (example, collecting apples in a spider filled orchard and not killing the spiders but getting the same result even though in your eyes the spiders are still a problem).. it's like being rewarded for doing half a job lol.

I think a traditional quest system makes helping NPC's feel a lot more authentic and the quests themselves typically feel more relevant and important in the world.Hearts just don't have the same satisfying feel that completing a quest does.In a lot of ways Hearts feel more like pseudo events rather than actual quests.

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I think quests are better for some types of story telling, mainly because they can occur over multiple maps and it's easier to ensure each player is getting the full process in the correct order.

But I think events are much better for replayability. When I go back to a map I've completed in other games there's very little there for me to do because I've completed all the quests and therefore even when there is a reason to go back I don't tend to hand around, I do what I came for and leave. Whereas in GW2 I'll often end up joining in with events, even long meta-events, just because it's happening while I'm there. Similarly if I need help with a quest I have to find someone else who is working on it at the same time or someone willing to follow me blindly - not getting to see what the NPCs say or what's going on - for no rewards, whereas if someone helps me with events they get the same rewards as the first time they did it, so there's more of an incentive to join in.

Also I completely agree with Anet that it makes more sense for some things in games to progress with or without your help. I always find it amusing in games when someone says a town or whatever is under attack and I need to help and I think "sure, at some point I'll head in that direction" knowing that it doesn't matter how long it takes me, I'll arrive just in time to save them anyway. It makes much more sense when it's actually urgent.

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I prefer events because it changes the way I play the game. With other MMO's, I go from quest giver to quest giver in what feels more like a linear path. It's very constricting, which is sometimes a good thing. Sometimes you don't want to think at all and be told what to do and just enjoy the ride. There's nothing wrong with that and sometimes I enjoy this play style.

However, with events it feels more open-ended, which is my preference overall. I enter the map with no plan and no idea of what I'm going to to. I wander and explore the terrain, responding to pleas for help or patrols of enemies as I hear them (I don't see them). This random, leisurely playstlye is more my style.

Granted, after a while, events will start to feel like the same guided tour as quests. Current events are a good idea as they change things up and reintroduce the experience I explained earlier.

There are pros and cons to both systems. My preference is for the event system. Oh and it's easier for me being blind. I can easily respond to the audio cues of events over the lack of audio from quest givers. Another thing that GW2 had to supplement its event system is the sheer number of audio cues at any given moment.

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I wanna tell the following story to bring some much needed perspective to the whole discussions.

Quests systems we currently know them are, for lack of a better word, "lazy". The sheer variability in quality between games using the same quest archetypes reveal a huge underlying issue I don't think people are actually paying attention to.

Think of your favorite quest of all time (or can remember). Now try to think of a quest in another game that roughly follows that first quest's format. Odds are it won't be anywhere near as good, or non-existent if your play history is expansive like mine. Its entirely possible to have this problem in the very same game.

The issue I'm finding is out tendency to oversimplify processes, and gloss over very important aspects of game and scene design that lend to the overall experience. I left out a detail in the above question that will help this all make sense...... Ask yourself that same question, and limit to open world MMOs only. A lot harder right? And if you do manage to find an example, its probably an instance away from other players.

There are 2 major contributors to this phenomenon, among many, that lead to this situation. First is the cost and effort to craft a narratively strong Quest line that directly integrates into the game world. Something beyond "go to forest, kill boars, and collect their skins", and closer to "go to the forest, track down a high quality pelt, realizing that trying to magic/sword it to death ruins the pelt, and then having to formulate a plan to trap it with minimal damage" and NOT have the game give you explicit step by step instructions. Having to remember that there was an NPC Hunter wandering about, and asking him for tips. Or that theres a decently sized hunting camp on the other side of the forest, where a notable trap maker lives. Stalking the Boars the see what they eat, or how they try to escape when spooked.

From that we went from "kill x Mobs at location A" to Monster Hunter lite. The plot line is simple, the mechanics are not difficult on premise, and players can skip entire steps if they already have what they need, and learned similar things in previous adventures. But its also asking players to THINK about the world, and asking the Devs to construct a non-linear system. Both of which rarely happen anymore, because they can no longer run the risk of Players getting stuck/frustrated, and building the safety rails to avoid that becomes exponentially more difficult the longer a player takes to complete that task.

Everquest had this quest (early in the game) where you went into the basement of a Tavern to clear out a bunch of rats. When looting the area (because players), you find a ring with pretty worthless stats on it. You can sell that ring to a vendor, or carry around/use it. Later down the line, if you just happen upon a certain NPC, he'll recognize the ring as belonging to his missing wife (or something along those lines). This kicks off a lengthy quest chain that eventually leads to a run-in with a cult, who had a secret lair underneath the Town.

But it raises the question......... is that good design or bad design that 99% of players may not even meet the requirements to kick off the quest chain, because theres no indication that the Ring had value beyond trash coin? This situation would completely unthinkable in today's RPG games, because players are displaying increases levels of FOMO when it comes to content. Its also from a time before the wiki-age, where every minute detail is excruciatingly documented and researched. GW2 had a similar thing happen with the Ember Bay Skritt piles. You had a rare chance to find a weird stone thats basically worthless, but its item classification alone was enough of a tell that its not trash loot. The community spent days figuring out what to do with it, and eventually discovered dipping it in lava pools around Tyria cleans it up. As you complete this task, its revealed to the be Rurik's wedding Ring, as a massive throw back to Guildwars 1's main story line. But this wasn't just one person having to randomly discover the trigger, and use their knowledge of the world to navigate an obtuse puzzle.... it was a major community lead investigation, with a substantial number of people cooperating to find a solution.

When you compare how both of those stories were structured and executed, you start to realize that they easily fit into the established mechanical nature of the game, but are radically different in how the player interacts with it compared to typical quests. These are easily considered great ideas for quests.... but if you execute them the way a normal quests would be, they wouldn't be anywhere near as impressive. The Caladbalg collection is one such example that, while nice as a throw back and some lore filling, didn't actually feel like this grand globe trotting adventure to reforge a magical sword. And a lot of that has to do with how it lays out everything for you, and you just following directions spelled out in a text box; and getting a big prize at the end..... just like every other collection of its type. How many would had even started it, if they hadn't know you'd get an inexpensive Ascended weapon at the end of it?

I could on about this for hours, really. But suffice to say, creating high quality quests, regardless of how the mechanics end up working, requires a level of Creativity, Originality, and a solid understanding of a game's strengths, to create something that stand above the typical, uninspired "Go here, Do X" quests that is our Standard quest system. And whats depressing is that most studios can't afford to do this on the regular. Running out of time, lacking enough people, increasing quotas, poor management, management pressure, shifting deadlines, changing focus, can all lead to cutting corners or skipping on quality, to meet aggressive goals set by project management. However, in trying to explain why that is, it would launch off into a whole new discussions about how game design and business models have slammed into each other, on top of what little respect game quality was given leading up to that shift.

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@Danikat.8537 said:I think quests are better for some types of story telling, mainly because they can occur over multiple maps and it's easier to ensure each player is getting the full process in the correct order.Interestingly the story telling is exactly why I much prefer the GW2 event system to the traditional questing that I've experienced in other MMOs. While I very much enjoyed questing, to me there is something more alive and satisfying about piecing together the story from taking part in events, interacting with npcs and surrounding, and generally surveying the surroundings and exploring the world to find all of the story fragments, the way GW2 presents them. You don't get the story presented to you as one on-going narrative, like a novel or a movie, but rather in bits and pieces that you have to discover and piece together yourself, like a giant jigsaw-puzzle.

There are soooo many stories in this game, large and small, in each map, in each event and the many event chains. The whole world feels a lot more alive to me, because things happen independently of my timing and how far I have proceeded with leveling/questing. Even seven years in I sometimes still find events that give parts of a story that I didn't realize existed before, or that I just hadn't pieced together yet. I can still explore maps I've first seen seven years ago, and find details I had missed or see story parts I no longer remembered.

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