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Old 07-14-2009, 11:36 PM
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Sidequests - When is too many?
Recently I've been playing my fair share of RPGs, in particular Fallout 3, Oblivion, and Final Fantasy XII. All of them, true to their RPG nature, include a plethora of sidequests for you to either enjoy or ignore. It's just an RPG staple.

But I've found that there is a huge difference between the type of sidequests I see in Oblivion/Fallout 3 and FFXII and how much I like them. In Bethesda's games I enjoy most of the sidequests, they make the game. And, if you add mods and DLCs to it, you can consider them to be sidequests as well, ones that have nothing to be with the main storyline. For FFXII the sidequests are much more tedious, obnoxious, and detracts me from the main quests that, whenever I do advance it, I can't remember what's happening.

That's got me wondering what makes a sidequest fun to do and when are there too many in a game? Are there too many sidequests in FFXII? All those hunts, rare game fights, loot selling...how could I ever manage to do all of that? For Fallout 3 do I really want to help Lucy deliver her stupid message? Or is it just the type of RPG that sets the games, and sidequests, apart?

Anyone else notice this?
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:54 PM
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Sidequests are just that; extra crap you can do on the side that enhance your gameplaying experience. The problem comes in when the sidequests detract from the main experience. I never got much further than a couple hours into FFXII (my least favorite FF), so I don't have an opinion on the sidequests. Fallout 3 (and Oblivion before it) almost seemed to be nothing but sidequests, but with the quest logging it is very easy to pick up the main storyline once you're done combing the Wastelands for that last bottle of Nuka-Cola Quantum.

As far as sidequests that I can't stand, Blitzball in FFX stands proudly at the top of that particularly fetid little pile. Every single time I play that game I never play more than the one required game, and even then I wear a scowl on my face and pout more than normal, just so my displeasure is known.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:09 AM
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I think when sidequests have their own little story to them they are fun, in fallout and oblivion every sidequest is a whole nother story..

but when the quests are more like "collect shit" they're boring
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redknightalex View Post
That's got me wondering what makes a sidequest fun to do and when are there too many in a game? Are there too many sidequests in FFXII? All those hunts, rare game fights, loot selling...how could I ever manage to do all of that? For Fallout 3 do I really want to help Lucy deliver her stupid message? Or is it just the type of RPG that sets the games, and sidequests, apart?

Anyone else notice this?
It depends on how the sidequests are structured for me, I personally find that those that are a mini-mainquests all on their own are very enjoyable and I absolutely love quests which have a permanent effect on the game world. A couple of great examples of that would be the RTS Settler Mod for Fallout 3 and the Building up Uvirith's Grave mod for TES3: Morrowind, both let you "build" a city within the world and complete certain quests or tasks to help your city grow and prosper. I believe that SpellForce 1 or 2 also had a questline like that, where you had your own little town which you had to manage.

The whole Megathron bomb questline was absolutely epic, atleast when you went for the "evil" ending (A rich guy who wants a better view of a post-apocalyptic landscape and thinks that a nuclear explosion is the best way to get it? Priceless), as was the Republic of Dave one.

Then there's quests that force you to do tedious shit simply to extend the length of the game, they spoil the experience IMO, if I wanted to lose myself in something very similar to WoW's gameplay I'd play Diablo 2, or even better, go back to WoW. It's bad enough that most games try to emulate WoW and it's predecessors in the MMORPG genre, but that influence (Yes, I am aware of the fact that other games prior to WoW have tried the "REPEAT REPEAT CARROT CARROT REPEAT REPEAT CARROT CARROT" approach, but it seems to be more of a recent trend in other genres, which has likely sprouted from WoW's massive success) is spreading to other genres and it's disgusting.

I used to love the FF series' sidequests, but in both FF10 and FF12 it's almost as if they scrapped their whole franchise and just went for the grinding approach, more so in the later. The quests used to have dialogue and an actual storyline, now they seem to be made up of stuff like: "u kill animal u get 100 gold go do noe x_X" and "i want apple and lampstand i giv 100 gold u go find noe X_x". I feel filthy everytime I complete one of them, it's almost as if I'm back in Elwynn Forest on my third character and wondering why the fuck I'm still playing this game.

Can't say that I like being the old man who's ranting about how the good old days were better. Not much you can do when you don't like the new garbage though, besides enjoying the ones that stay true to what you believe great games should be. I hope Diablo 3 ends up being a massive failure and I hope the whole mindless repetitive grinding trend gets stomped in the face, drenched in gasoline and set on fire.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:15 AM
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Amen.

I miss the days when RPGs had a small number of well-fleshed out side-quests instead of just throwing a bunch of fetch-quests together and calling it "longevity". If a side-quest doesn't either add to your enjoyment of the game or deepen your understanding of the main plot, trash bin that sh*t.

FFVI is a good example of well done sidequests. You didn't have to do them, but if you did you got everything from extra characters (Shadow in the arena) to a deeper understanding of a main character (Cyan's return to Doma and the purging of his guilt and grief). That's how it's done, and it's a pity that Squenix is leading the charge in the homogenous wars. Let's hope FFXIII learns from the past.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sensational View Post
I think it has to do with how the sidequests are structured, I personally find that those that are a mini-mainquests all on their own are very enjoyable, and I absolutely love quests which have a permanent effect on the game world.
Hmm, some great points there.

I think you're spot-on with the whole sidequests with mainquest idea. They have a story, beginning, middle, and end (as KKain pointed out as well).

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Originally Posted by Sensational View Post
Then there's quests that force you to do tedious shit simply to extend the length of the game, they spoil the experience IMO, if I wanted to lose myself in something very similar to WoW's gameplay I'd play Diablo 2, or even better, go back to WoW. It's bad enough that most games try to emulate WoW and it's predecessors in the MMORPG genre, but that influence (Yes, I am aware of the fact that other games prior to WoW have tried the "REPEAT REPEAT CARROT CARROT REPEAT REPEAT CARROT CARROT" approach, but it seems to be more of a recent trend in other genres which has likely sprouted from WoW's massive success) is spreading to other genres and it's disgusting.

There is a storyline in Diablo 2 and WoW? I thought it was all about item searching and being like "I reached lvl 75 b4 u!!!"

Diablo 2 was such a love-hate relationship for me. I would hunt for items SP and wind up with nothing, hours passing me by. No wonder I didn't so so well in high school. At the time I didn't even understand, or care, about the plot when all I thought about was getting to the next area for new items and enemies, even on my first playthrough. I can't comment on WoW though...never played it. I'm not sure I could handle another item-searching agenda game like that.

I get that developers want you to be in a game world for a while so they like to extend the life by doing the sidequests although I can also think of great games that didn't have ANY sidequests, lasted ten hours, and gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Okay, so they aren't RPGs but those evenings I spent playing God of War? Priceless.


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Can't say that I like being the old man who's ranting about how the good old days were better. Not much you can do when you don't like the new garbage though, besides enjoying the great games that stay true to what games used to be. I hope Diablo 3 ends up being a massive failure and I hope the whole mindless repetitive grinding trend gets stomped in the face, drenched in gasoline and set on fire.
Video games should never forget their roots. I wonder on occasion if gaming in general has become too commercial. Remember the debate that was sparked when people would pay for WoW items or levels? Wait a tick, do they still do that? Ridiculous.

And I was one of those that balked at the lighter colors of Diablo 3. I've been worried that it'll bomb for a while now. Sigh.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:39 AM
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There is a storyline in Diablo 2 and WoW? I thought it was all about item searching and being like "I reached lvl 75 b4 u!!!"
There's also the magic thieving spaceelves and the monster paladin space fortress good guys.
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I can't comment on WoW though...never played it
It was like Diablo, with the difference being that you really had to group up with a bunch of retards who never seemed to get those boss tactics, if you wanted to progress through the gear ladder. I love how the hardcore raiders in WoW call the people who're not killing the latest boss "noobs", it never occurs to them that the difference beetween the so called noobs and them is that they spend more time, but fewer days, weeks or months, failing.

I suppose there was a guild here and there who were actually lucky enough to have players who understood what they were doing, although I can't say I ever found one. I guess I could see myself having a good time raiding in a guild like that, atleast the first two or three times through any one dungeon. After that it becomes the same old button mash that you become best friends with while grinding from level 1 to 60 or 70. I don't think it's any different now that you can get to 80.


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I get that developers want you to be in a game world for a while so they like to extend the life by doing the sidequests although I can also think of great games that didn't have ANY sidequests, lasted ten hours, and gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Okay, so they aren't RPGs but those evenings I spent playing God of War? Priceless.
So very true. I love the games where you simply wish there was more, those games that only lasted 12 hours but were awesome. I suppose as a developer you want to give the players more, but tedious stuff doesn't count as more for me. It makes me want to play the games less.

I guess that's why I like quality sandbox games, like Morrowind. Especially when there is (Or in this case, was) a modding community out there. The content doesn't stop until there's no one left to create it. Even better are the MMO sandbox games like EVE or SWG, where the players shape their own story and their own world, where you can have a real impact on the game and world that you share with others.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:57 AM
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Pity I don't have a PC; the mods available for Morrowind and Oblivion are quite tempting. Not "purchase an entire damn computer for one or two games" tempting, but still better than any console game.

I've never played EVE and am far too lazy to look it up. How is it shaped by the player?
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:18 AM
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I've never played EVE and am far too lazy to look it up. How is it shaped by the player?
I think simply showing you would be the best way to go about it so:

http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=...nid=3213&tid=7
http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=...nid=3196&tid=7
http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=...nid=3189&tid=7

Stuff like that happens (That was just few random articles I pulled from the feed, there are more exciting ones, like the one where the strongest alliance in the game is disbanded and loses all of it's sovereign space because of a spy with executive access to their alliance), and is presented in news articles to the "public". It's not so much a storyline as it is a dynamic world with politics and player factions fighting for control, with their own industry base, espionage, ideological setups (Anti-pirates, loosely affiliated alliances such as pirates or simply people who want their share of the pie, temporary coalitions etc) and so on. The players make up their own content, or rather, other players is the content. There's also an amazing backstory and small chronicles posted by the EVE devs, but the main draw for me is what happens in the actual game.

Here's some of the dev created lore though:
http://www.eveonline.com/background/potw/
http://www.eveonline.com/background/stories.asp
http://www.eveonline.com/background/articles.asp

Pretty awesome stuff if you like the sci-fi, there's even a small book out I believe.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:27 AM
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Damn that sounds sweet. I love sci-fi (Dune is the best 2/3rds of a sci-fi book ever written) and now I want a PC even more. Damn you.

Although I just looked for myself (weird, I know) and saw there's a Mac client. The end of my workday cannot come soon enough. Again, damn you.
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