[MUD-Dev] Effort to produce a quest

Mike Rozak Mike at mxac.com.au
Sun Nov 13 11:27:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


How much work does it take to produce a quest of the quality used in
WoW or EQII? How many text-MUD "rooms" are needed per hour of
entertainment?


Details...

I am creating a content-production schedule for myself, and am
uncertain how much time to schedule for quests:

WoW has 3000 quests (or so I think I've heard), and about 600 hours
of content (to make a round number). That's means that players
complete a quest once every 12 minutes, on average. My experience
with EQII is that quests take a similar amount of time to complete.

Fable has 30 quests and takes 14 hours to complete, or 25 minutes
per quest.

If you were writing quests for a TEXT MUD, that were of similar
quality/scope/design to those quests in WoW and EQII (or even
Fable), about how long would it take to write a quest? (Of course,
some quests are trivial to write ("Fetch me an apple from that
tree.") and others are very difficult to write. I'm looking for the
"average".) A graphical MUD, of course, takes longer to create a
quests because of new art assets, audio, etc.

My guess, and please tell me if I'm wrong, is that a WoW-quality
quest on a text mud takes 1/4 - 1/2 day to write (on average).

Combining the numbers means that 1 hour of player quest
entertainment = 5 quests = 1.3 to 2.5 days of work by an author. Do
these numbers seem reasonable?

I'm also working on a schedule for rooms, but since my system is
graphical, someplace between a text MUD and a graphical MMORPG, I
need to guestimate how long it will take per "room" myself. However,
another question arises:

How many rooms should be created for N hours of play (on average) so
the player doesn't feel cramped?

Example: A typical text adventure-game is 20-40 hours of
entertainment with around 200 rooms, or 6-12 minutes per
room. (Hitchhiker's guide was about 50 rooms.) Fable has around 40
"locations", for 14 hours of play. A Fable location is "equivalent"
to about 10-20 low-quality/detail MUD/IF rooms, resulting in 1 - 2
minutes per room.

The number of rooms is also related to the number of players in a
shard, with 20-40 rooms per player to prevent overcrowding,
according to Designing Virtual Worlds. At 3 minutes (???) per room,
this means that each user is 60-120 minutes apart in terms of
content. WoW, with 3000 quests and about 3000 users per shard, with
12 minutes per quest, has a higher density, with players 12 minutes
apart from one another in content... which means if you waited at a
quest site, you'd see (on average) someone show up every 12 minutes.

I realize that any numbers you provide are only very rough
estimates.

Thanks

Mike Rozak
http://www.mxac.com.au
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