Crowsinger's avatar


  • 2021-04-19 14:40

The word Quest used to mean something. A journey involving heroic deeds, battles with monsters and demons, solving riddles, a trip to the Otherworld, and becoming more than you were before. Quests should be epic.

The Quest for the holy grail: years of searching, knights dead along the way.

The Quest to destroy the One Ring, so that the Dark Lord Sauron doesn't lay waste to Middle-Earth. The Quest took months, and Frodo was forever changed by it.

The Quest to defeat the Dark Lord, who probably lives in a Dark Tower in the Dark Land of Darkness, and there's stuff you have to do before you can even get there.

The Quest to save the Ellcrys tree to banish demons from the Four Lands.

Bran mac Febail is given a Quest to voyage across the sea and find the Otherworld. Years pass.

The Riddle-master of Hed journeys north across the land to discover the meaning of the stars on his forehead, evading death from shape-changers from the sea, learning powerful magics along the way and discovering more than he ever wanted to know about himself, the world, and power.

Videogames can have quests, too. Why, Foreman Oslow of Lakeshire wants you to retrieve his toolbox from the bottom of Lake Everstill.

Wait. No, that's not a Quest. No no. Unless Lake Everstill is in the Otherworld and you have to find the portal, fight dragons, save the kingdom, and obtain the Epic Sword before retrieving the good foreman's toolbox from the High Dragon Erethrinomox in the Plane of Seremist, this is not a Quest.

In most MMORPGs, a quest is bring me ten hooves from the centaurs over there, most of whom don't actually have any hooves, visual evidence to the contrary. Take this cup of sugar to the baker in the next town. That's not a Quest, it's a favor.

Something grand and world-spanning, filled with wonder and mystery and struggles and accomplishment, has been reduced to a shopping list. That needs to change. We are Adventurers, not Instacart.

Give us an Epic Group Quest to destroy the Ripclaw Cult, spanning several levels and involving clues that aren't always the same, roaming the Shadow Lands to search for hints and rescue the Blue Wizard, who knows how to open the portals that take you into the final Tower where the cult leader can be slain at last. Along the way, a nemesis keeps appearing. Killing your nemesis is way cool.

And you each get a Fancy Weapon from raiding the cult armory.

Picture someone of older years finishing up chores and taxes or database entry or uber delivery or whatever "dailies" they have in real life. Now that person sits down at the computer and wants to feel different, wants to feel powerful, just for a while, wants to feel like an Adventurer, a Hero. They log in and oh look, more dailies. More chores. Didn't we just do this in real life? Didn't I just gather supplies and run delivery, and now some smug Elf wants me to do the same thing in the game?

I rebel. I'm casting off the shroud of dailies and epic chores and adventurous room cleaning. If we're logging in, it's time to feel awesome, it's time for Fantasy Wish Fulfillment, not Fantasy Toolbox Fetching.

You want to offer me a few coppers to bring you some wolf leather? Fine, but don't call it a "Quest". Call it a task or a trifling little job or a meander. Bring me real Quests. Make our group feel heroic and accomplished for doing the Thing.

And that cup of sugar? Sorry, can't be bothered, I'm on a Quest.


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  • 2021-04-28 15:44

Absolutely! I grew up on Sierra games and sometimes I think the only thing that kept me buying them was that “Quest” was somehow in the title of nearly every single one. Space Quest, King’s Quest, Police Quest, Hero’s Quest (aka Quest for Glory)...they even got clever in later years with the Colonel’s BeQUEST and EcoQUEST. The quest was the journey, from start to finish, of the character whether it was Sonny Bonds, Roger Wilco, Rosella Graham. It was not the multitude of tasks along the way. It was the sum of the parts. Great article Crow!

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  • 2021-04-26 00:00

I'm actually good with doing away with all of these. I loved it where the only chance you had to make money and levels, other than at a snails pace, was to get out there and monster hunt or gathering. Probably not that popular because that forces you to rely on socialization. If you don't want to find a group, there are market plays, gathering and fishing.

*** Edited 2021-04-26 00:03 ***

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  • 2021-04-19 15:45

100% with this. Trivial tasks need to be relegated to some other convention, removed entirely, or perhaps revised to be something more appropriate. A quest should inspire interest, not inspire you to skip dialogue that you know is just fluff and meaningless in expectation of easy XP. That's all these kinds of things have become, anyway. Just an alternate way to get more XP because players aren't trusted to have any semblance of agency in the modern MMO. If quests were as you envision, players can fill in the gaps from the richness that the actual quests lay the groundwork for.

Also, I see those centaurs really had an effect on you. :D

  • 1 Reply
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    • 2021-04-19 17:05

    Don't get me started about phantom, illusory hooves.

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  • 2021-04-19 14:41

I love this ... I hate doing fetch quests.