[MUD-Dev] Effort to produce a quest

Damion Schubert dschubert at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 19:29:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On 11/12/05, Mike Rozak <Mike at mxac.com.au> wrote:

> 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?

> ...

> 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.

Trying to measure your gameplay experience via a vague and
hard-to-define unit as a 'quest' is pretty much a TWLM (This Way
Lies Madness) exercise.  The reason why is that the answer will vary
vastly based upon the lengths of the quests, your gameplay paradigm,
your willingness to go the extra mile for scripted content, etc.

For example, if your gameplay paradigm is a 'puzzle pirates' game
where each puzzle takes 5 minutes to do, it could take you 30
minutes to complete a quest with 6 encounters, not counting run
time, etc.

Work backwards.  I prefer to use the 'zone' as a unit of
measurement, and then say 'a zone needs X hours of content in it'
(total content is that number times X zones).  Then build one of
your zones out, and play it with a stopwatch.  The right number of
quests will become clear.

One reason to take this approach is that it focuses on the opposite
point of view.  You don't want to build 3000 quests just to say you
have them - far better to have 300 elegantly tailored quests than
3000 that all feel the same.  It only counts as different content to
the player if it FEELS like different content.

The last point I'd make is that you want to ensure that your quests
vary wildly in length, which makes it hard to do those calculations.
Players want both the hour-long epic quests as well as the 'I only
have five minutes, I think I'll knock a couple quests off' type
quests.  Having fewer quests also has the benefit of building
communities - yes, it sucks that everyone does the same quests, but
it also provides a common base of experience that everyone can
relate to.

--d
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