MMO Development Lesson #38

There’s still room for kill quests in your game. Kill quests get a bad rap, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. They reward players for doing something they’re probably already doing, and rewarding players for doing things is good.

You can also improve a kill quest by doing something unique (e.g. herd some cows over the edge of a cliff to send them to their deaths) or by pairing them with another quest objective as an Optional/Bonus step or as a Choice between killing mobs or doing something else (e.g. destroying a hive).

You should also make sure to give a kill quest good context. “Kill 10 Bears because they looked at me funny” is not good context. “Kill 10 Invaders who are actively attacking my village” is much better context. Don’t shy away from using kill quests as a whole, just make sure you don’t use them too frequently (or as a crutch for poor imagination) and try to give them a little something extra if you can.

Remember the MMO Lesson series? It’s back now that I have some time on my hands. Check out the other MMO Lessons!

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7 Responses to "MMO Development Lesson #38"

  1. I’m not sure your example of “killing critter A makes critter B (the actual quest target) spawn” is a good example. Back in EQ2 there were kill quests like this that were universally regarded as a) annoying and thus b) generally not worth doing. Granted they required you to kill 4 groups of mobs quickly in order to force the spawn, and thus needed a group in order to be done at all in the early days, so that didn’t help, but still…..

    Only time I’ve ever actually seen that mechanic, and it was regarded as bad.

  2. The example could be better described with some context:
    - Destroy a Robotic Mechanoid
    - Step on the squishy little creature that was controlling it after it jumps out of the exploding mass

    Something more along those lines is what I was talking about, not “kill a bunch of things to force a thing to spawn.”

    I could change the example to something flashier…
    - Herd some cows over the edge of a cliff to send them to their deaths
    - Trick some creatures that die instantly in water into following you into a lake
    - Incapacitate a minotaur then tear off its own horn and impale it with it

    There are tons of scenarios you can use to kill creatures with more flair. I thought the example I chose was simple enough to get the point across, but I’m happy to update it if you think it would improve the example.

  3. Those do sound better than that old EQ2 mechanic. Thanks for the clarification!

  4. To this day nearly 8 years later I still recall Knight Captain Alessio standing outside the gates of North Qeynos, directing me to kill 10 kliknik mites, 7 snakes and 8 rats. (Or something like that.) There were some Antonican hawks in there somewhere, too. I must have spent literally days mashing bugs in those wheat fields — becuase the quest was repeatable, too! Let’s not start on the scarecrows. ;)

  5. bearpunch

    I honestly believe there is too much killing in MMOs. There should be a way around that. Looking back on WoW, as you level you kill so many mobs I feel there should be a strong reason to do so.

    But anyway, an example I like is:

    -Hey, chop down some trees for our village or gather firewood.
    -and while you are there, hunt a few boars for food (we’d be willing to trade with ya)
    *I wouldn’t mind starting out chopping wood if it led me onto an incredible journey.

    Anyway, I’d like to see more exploration or crafting quests. Killing should be righteous or only done because you’re an evil character and the situation requires that it be done for pleasure or monetary gain.

  6. I absolutely agree that there should be more interesting quests. However, Kill Quests are not bad. They have a place. Most of my favorite quests don’t even involve killing, as my former coworkers would be quick to point out. ;)

  7. Famdari

    I’ll agree that kill quests might not be bad….But I don’t enjoy them. I’m pretty much starting to hate most “quests” in MMO’s altogether lately. I much prefer the OLD EQ-1 style (before the whole task and mission systems were implemented.) Most of your MMO time wasn’t spent questing at all. Now we just seem to grind out quests and missions without really interacting with the game world.

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