Friday, July 4, 2008

WAR: I want more instancing

Let's be honest, MMO quests suck. They are boring and tedious. The reason they are is why they exist. Quests in a MMO are primarily there to give a player experience points and rewards. Usually they consist of killing X amount of things, getting Y amount of things pieces or delivering said pieces to Z. Zzzzzzzzzz

Single player RPG's are generally full of quests and yet, are fun. Why is this? The goal of a quest in those games are usually to advance the story. rarely will you see MMO type quest goals in a single player RPG but still they manage to suck up a pretty good amount of time. Of course it isn't near enough time when MMO leveling is a big part of the game.

MMO's open world presents challenges when making quests due to the multiplayer aspect.

  • There could be any number of players present.
    • How do you tune difficulty in an open world to any number of players?
  • The whole re-spawn system changes the quest dynamic
    • As other players have to be considered, your work is quickly erased and replaced.
  • The focus on loot encourages repeat killings
    • Dungeons and other small instances are run over and over, taking any quest significance there out.
  • Puzzles are difficult in the open world
    • For example, a locked door that requires you to solve a puzzle. If someone else who happens to be there does it...
Instancing is one way to solve these issues. I know it is a multiplayer game, so I am not proposing everything be instanced. I would just like more 1 or 2 player content in your own personal instance. AoC tried this with Tortage and as far as I can tell, it was popular. LoTRO also has attempted this with their Epic quest line. However they usually require 4 other people which can be a pain.

So here is what I propose:
  • Private ( 1 or 2 player ) instance locations spread throughout the world.
    • Difficulty dynamically changed to allow a 2nd player should be doable.
  • These instances are persistent to the player who enters first.
  • Instances would contain full quest lines containing cut-scenes and voice acting.
  • No Kill/collect quests or re-spawns
  • Story focused rather than reward.
I don't really expect this to actually happen, as I suspect it would not be very popular amongst the general MMO population.

Hopefully someday, questing in a MMO will be as interesting as in single player games.


Tortage was one of the success stories of AoC IMO, and I reckon you'll definitely see more content like that in future MMO releases.

I like your idea of having more of these story driven instances dotted around the place. AoC has quite a lot of single player instances at higher levels, but unlike Tortage, they usually lack balance and an engaging narrative.

I have a personal hate for instancing in MMOs. Large amounts of instancing defeats the purpose of MMOs and just becomes an ORPG. I can understand what you are saying, but it's something that just isn't meant to be in MMOs, specifically; however, this could possibly change with public quests.

I'm going to have to agree and say I'm not a huge fan of instances either (even raiding dungeons) but I absolutely love the idea of bringing more in-depth, character developing quests to the current and future batch of MMOs.

I think having an epic quest line specific to each class every 5 levels or so that you can follow in the open world with cut scenes, great story, awesome rewards, and enough XP to ding you to the next level very quickly would be simply amazing in a game like WAR.

For once I might actually read the dialogue or watch the cut-scene rather than insta-clicking "accept," turning on auto-run, and then briefly skimming the objectives section.

I'm not sure if it possible to accomplish decent quests in an open world, for the reasons I suggested.

Public quests are really, from what I have seen, big kill/collection quests, and a boss battle. While i think they are a great idea, they are not really engaging quests.

An engaging quest has to be entertaining and meaningful (in my opinion of course).

I enjoyed instances in LotRO for the epic quest line, but when I first came to MMOs, it was in DAoC, long before instanced areas, and I have to say I really quite enjoyed public dungeons, even queues... I felt I got to know, see and interact with more members of my realm than I often did when levelling in WoW.

I do think though that the epic quest line was mostly well done in LotRO! So would like to see plenty of that kind of narrative

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