[MUD-Dev] Dynamic Quests & Event Chains

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Sat Nov 19 02:38:32 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Roger Hicks spake thusly...

> The Temple of Light in a city contains an orphanage. Their
> arch-rivals, the Temple of Dark (below the city) offers a quest to
> sabotage the Temple of Light through arson. When a player accepts
> the quest, they must travel to the Temple of Light and pick a
> building to light on fire. If they choose the orphanage, then the
> state of the game changes. Suddenly, the orphanage is burning. New
> quests are now offered by the Temple of Light to a) bring buckets
> of water to douse the fire and b) run into the burning orphanage
> and rescue the children. Once the fire is put out, these quests
> dissapear and are replaced by another quest to gather materials to
> rebuild the orphanage.  After a certain number of quest turn-ins
> for building materials (which should take some time), the
> orphanage is rebuilt and the state of the game returns to where it
> started (allowing the Temple of Dark to perform their arson
> again).

So what happens when two players accept the "Attack the Temple of
Light" quest? Or is that not possible? In which case, not only do
you need to have enough of these existing to ensure everyone has
access to a quest at any one time, but someone could maliciously tie
up quests by accepting them and then just logging off. Even with a
timeout leading to failure, someone could tie up two or three quests
for enough time to be irritating for players. A group of them could
remove a significant chunk of quests from availability on a regular

A possible solution would be to only offer these quests to those of
sufficient reputation - and any kind of failure damages the player's
reputation so much it would take noticable amount of time to regain
the right to them. But then people would no doubt try and interfere
with players doing the quests, and so on.

<snip very long but interesting example>

> Please post thoughts / comments!

Again - how are these quests limited? Are the players assigned to
assassinate Bob sent out singly? Or are lots sent in an attempt to
succeed through weight of numbers? If the latter, what happens to
the other players if someone else slays Bob before they get there?
Can you imagine trekking to the top of the mountain just in time to
see another player slay the warlock? As if spawn camping wasn't bad
enough now... :P

What's to stop someone who knows of the existence of Bob, Bill or
the Goblins from killing them all just to screw up all the quests
for everyone else? Three level 60's (or whatever) could sit in each
location with SuperDuperMegaUltra Fireball on auto and shutdown the
entire quest system.

This is an excellent idea, and I think something like this would add
a lot to a game - but it needs to be done very carefully to avoid
loopholes or actions that could push the game out of the predefined
states. Likely each one would need a "ground state" that catches
anything ingenious players do - maybe Bob and Bill both want that
tower because it's a particularly good place for dimensional
instability. If no warlocks are present for some time to control and
shape the energies, then a rift spontaneously forms and out pops
several level 100 BigNasties. Their presence creates a group of NPC
warlocks who travel to the tower, banish the BigNasties, fight
amongst themselves and reset everything back to how it should be.

It is definately a lot more work to set a system like this up - and
eventually players would tire of the cycle. "Oh, it's in the hunt
goblins stage, is it?" Admittedly a lot slower than they tire of the
current style quests, but it likely would still happen.

[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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