[MUD-Dev] Dynamic Quests & Event Chains

Lydia Leong lwl at black-knight.org
Sun Nov 20 20:14:10 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On Nov 18, 10:43am, Lost wrote:

> My friends complain about stale quests all the time and most of
> them never read the text of a mission. I always have to ask,
> "why?" The simple answer is they're just running the quest
> treadmill.

Quests, in most games, are also not the most efficient way to level,
thanks to the travel time spent running back and forth between them.
Players who can endure just grinding will level more quickly. But
that ends up feeling vastly more tedious than anything that has even
the vaguest hint of purpose -- "Go forth and kill X foozles" is
somehow more fulfilling than simply killing X foozles in order to
get pure XP.

Nonetheless, the limitation of all of these suggestions is that
they're just, fundamentally, perfurming the pig. The endless
succession of systems for treadmill-disguising that have been added
onto MUD worlds (and will undoubtedly be added onto MMORPGs with
each successive generation) are, in the end, ways to dress up some
very basic game mechanics that are essentially D&D at their heart.

This is not to say, by the way, that perfuming the pig isn't a good
idea.  Treadmill-based games are always going to have some
significant amount of enduring popularity, and devices that stretch
out the life of content and make content more meaningful are
important.

I remember being on this MUD-Dev list at the very beginnings of its
inception, and the talk rapidly evolving from a broader
consideration of the MUDding universe, to the specifics of how to do
essentially treadmill-based, achievement-driven games. I think it's
been more than ten years, and the list is still continuing to chew
over treadmill-based, achievement-driven games. Possibly the churn
in list subscribers also explains why the same ground gets
retread. (Search for keywords related to this thread on NPCs,
quests, etc., on the MUD-Dev archives or on Google Groups and you'll
see the extent of the retread.)

Asia has been able to take the "massive" into new genres, things
that break away significantly from the traditional RPG
mold. (Consider Shot Online, for instance.)  Pen-and-paper RPGs have
evolved hugely since the early days of MUDs, as well.

But I want to ask: How does one reduce or eliminate the treadmill,
rather than just trying to cleverly disguise it?

	-- Lydia
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