[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Lee Sheldon lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com
Mon Jan 19 15:18:50 CET 2004

Vincent Archer wrote:
> Chanur Silvarian wrote:
>> Lee Sheldon wrote:

>>> Finally we have the quest to free several "enslaved races" that
>>> players will then be able to play. At the moment this requires
>>> crafters to rebuild certain mines while adventurers stand guard
>>> and slay the mobs trying to stop them.

>> This sounds like it might actually break out of the FED-EX. I'd
>> have to know a bit more about it because I honestly don't think
>> an MMORPG can do anything other than FED-EX.


See the more elaborate update elsewhere in this thread, but the
opening of various tunnels has uncovered the next stage of the
quest, destroying some mind-controlling machines. No one knows how
yet, or even if all 4 suspected machines are destroyed, that this
will be the last step in the quest.

> Actually, it's not a quest in the sense we usually have it in most
> MMOG.  No "one" is completing a quest here.  For most games, a
> quest is something deeply personal.  You (the avatar) have a
> quest.  You are helping in a friend's quest.  What is your quest
> in here?  You don't have one.  Nobody who is involved has one.
> However, you are involved in a story.

> Quest (from Webster, relevant definitions):

>   - An act or instance of seeking

>   - A chivalrous enterprise in medieval romance usually involving
>   an adventurous journey

> Nowhere in that definition is the requirement that a quest is tied
> to an individual.  Even the journey part is optional.  All it
> requires is a goal.

Exactly, this quest feels more to me like a crusade where each
individual participates for their own reasons (on their personal
quests), and the result is the community good: new content!

> Question: if each character can participate once, and only once to
> a step of the event, then what is the package? Where is it
> delivered? And the real question: By whom?

That sounds like a series of... Sorry!... Fed-Ex quests by one
definition.  Not an answer I know, just an observation.

> But the players will not tell you they're engaged in a quest. They
> will say that they participating in the "story", not a quest.

Actually the players use both words, story and quest, to discuss
this "event," another word they use. To me story and quest are
synonomous. A definition Webster doesn't know because he obviously
never played tabletop or a computer game! That's in a nutshell how I
feel. If the quest doesn't work as a story - even if it returns no
errors in the code - it isn't a successful quest. The story can be
no more than a snippet, what we call a "runner" in
screenwriting. That snippet can be part of a larger story. Or the
quest can have twists and turns that would make even the most
ambititious FedEx driver drive shrieking off a cliff. Or both. Or

> What you say here is basically what I said in another post on that
> topic.  You abstract the "quest" from the game system, and move it
> onto the virtual realm of story.

This makes me fidget since I think they're one and the same, no
extraction to be done. Or maybe I'm being too literal. Sorry! But
since I agree with much that follows, I'll let it slide.


> The FEDEX-like travel is put there in the interests of the story,
> not because of any technical limitations.

Good point! And here the progression is to my mind in the correct
order.  Write story, then use Fed-Ex or puzzle or maze or whatever
mechanism you like to tell the story.  Just don't start with the
mechanism. We all recognize the mechanisms that have been used to
date. That doesn't mean they're bad (I like basic Fed-Ex for ability
to flesh out content as I've said), just that there are many more,
equally codable, if not precisely what we expect when we say FedEx.


> The original complain in Everquest that all quests are "FED-EX"
> ironically springs from the fact that there are no Quests in
> EQ. The game engine does not have any concept of a quest in the
> classic sense of most single player games, or of games like DAoC
> or Asheron's Call 2.

> There is no "quest journal" in EQ.  No game mechanic to track your
> progress along a linear, storied quest.  Instead, the game only
> recognises keywords said to a NPC, and items turn-ins.  Quests are
> abstraction, made of completely disconnected triggers, carefully
> linked together so that they give the illusion of a quest.  Items,
> and, since the Planes of Power expansion, their virtual
> equivalent, the flags, are used as tokens to make sure the quest
> "steps" are done in series.

Why this is can be readily seen in Brad's replies, and is the thrust
of my disagreement with him on procedure.

> So yes, by nature, all quests in EQ could be reduced to some
> FED-EX fetch-n-carry, because of the game engine limitations.

> But that's not the case in general.


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