[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Brad McQuaid bmcquaid at cox.net
Sat Jan 10 20:32:23 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

>From Lee Sheldon:

> Here's your quote, and I apologize because I thought I was quoting
> exactly, not paraphrasing, although I think you'd agree, given
> your responses then and now, that the paraphrase is accurate:


Thanks for finding the original exchange :)

> A Fed Ex quest to me is simply, "Give this item, message, or
> password to Larry."  Or a string of such assignments.  I'm not
> against FedEx quests per se, particularly at low levels, or even
> as pieces of larger quests.  I use them all the time. But only
> FedEx quests?  Anyway, I started to make one up, but finally
> decided it would be easier to illustrate by using a quest already
> in the game [EQ]..."

> This -was- all a long time ago: December 2000 to be exact (this
> has obviously stuck with me for a looong time, lol). You can
> search the archives if you'd like to for the examples I gave in
> response then. We've both moved forward a bit it seems, although
> maybe we haven't. Let's see. Back to the present...

> FedEx quests by traditional definition are of the two kinds you
> outline below: the carrying of items (hence the name!) and/or the
> killing of mobs for rewards. They have been reduced to this
> explicit game mechanic in the random Chinese menu task lists of
> games like DAoC and SWG. They are an important and useful
> mechanism when well crafted, the equivalent to me of mob spawns in
> the quest hierarchy: an easy way to add content in the world.  But
> for me to reduce all quests to the same simple mechanism is to
> follow a postmodern reductionist path where there is no reward at
> the end but empty canvas: not art, not life.

I don't think I'm 'reducing in a post-modern' way; rather, I'm just
thinking through the mechanics of MMOG game design, and that's how I
think.  To me, ultimately, it's the same thing, from a mechanical

I really think, instead, that we're arguing semantics a little bit,
combined with the negative connotation associated with FedEx'ing,
and also not really totally acknowledging the point I tried to make
both originally and now.

If we use the definition of using an item as the token or flag, then
yeah, it limits the variety of quests one can have.  Your examples
of the quests you found in Horizons involved flags being sent based
on all sorts of actions, and sound pretty cool.

I understand that in using the term FedEx items are the implicit
token or flag.

I addressed that in my quote, trying to make the point then (and
now) that if the mechanics are simplified, it doesn't have to be an
item, but can be more generically a token or a flag, which opens up
possibilities to make quests more interesting and varied.

And it appears the progress that's been made (at least with MMOGs --
MUDs have had event->flag stuff for a long time) is using flags and
tokens in a more varied way, and not limiting them to item
exchanges.  I don't see a paradigm shift asserted by various MMOG
marketing and PR campaigns.

So I think we're in agreement for the most part.  I'll disagree that
my reduction or approach to looking at how MMOG quest mechanics work
removes or risks removing art or fun or depth or variety, but we can
agree to disagree until you see the more varied use of flags in my
next MMOG :)

Take care,


Brad McQuaid
President & CEO
Sigil Games Online, Inc.
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