[Idea] Reimagining Quests

By on January 30, 2012 12:31:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


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I spent the weekend going through every quest in the XML, looking at the structure and tone of each quest. I am not sure who is making these quests or how many are planned to be in the final version, but I like them. The writing is great. I feel immersed in most quests I take on. There is a clear effort to make questing shine. I hope not all of them have been made yet, as this posts aspires to have you create situational quests for the released game. I pray that there is a goal towards expanding how the user is given a quest. Right now the only options used are moving a hero to a quest location and reaching a certain level of population. There needs to be more ways of interaction between quests and the user.

Playing an entire game with only these two methods throws me into a pattern of research, reaching the goodie hut, playing the quest, and then moving on with the game. Quests should be the game, not a sidenote. I am cursed with a very active imagination and am thus drawn to the story more than other players. Right now, a sandbox game has only the story I create for it. You can see those stories in my feedback posts on the AI. The thing is, quests have the potential to tell the story of the world of Elemental. They will only be able to do this if they can grab the average player's attention. They need to surprise him. Locking every quest away in a dungeon is the last thing you want. Quests need to pull the user into the game. Sure, using random events to surprise the player will break up monotony, but it doesn't entail a story. It doesn't put lore in front of the player. 

One giant leap forward would be more pop ups that revel at a milestone being reached in the game. We have some of that, but it is not connected to a story. It feels bland against the tongue. I remember talk in the dev journals about having many many more triggers for quests. Buildings are the richest target for triggering a quest. This is a very short task to add something really special to the game. It allows quests to spring forth from buildings. It makes the cities we build become part of the story the game is telling. Getting a quest from your first city level, for instance, could trigger a quest that encourages exploration around one's capital. It might be hunting a pack of brutal wolves, clearing out spider nests in the hills, or even collecting the heads of trolls to post around your little village to scare off bears. The quests at this point would be the opening page of your adventure. Having each one set to random, makes the game even more interesting. A formal story could also be told throughout the game at every level of your city. Special buildings like an apothecary should have a guaranteed quest to gather ingredients in order to gain access to better potions. This would blow people away. It would be one of those moments where you have to check and make sure you are not in Vvardenfell, trying to join the Mages Guild. Citylevelup as a trigger would be the place to tell the story of each faction or Sovereign. It allows for longer story arches, requiring the whole game to finish. I would even go so far as to have the Masterquest linked to an adventurer building. This building, perhaps a simple Inn, could be upgraded with research in the adventure techs to allow for the next series of quests that eventually lead to the Masterquest.

Quests should tell the story of the choices the player is making. Becoming an agrarian focused civilization should open up a quest or two that turns that specialization into an adventure. The player would create a visceral level of immersion for himself. Imagine if heavy diplomacy research had a random chance to give you a quest that would force peace with your greatest enemy. Or perhaps a quest like The Arena that rewards research into warfare with a special armor piece. The quest could be about starting an order of knights and the armor might have a special emblem on the chest signifying this to the player. 

If any devs are still awake after reading this far, I might as well ask that leveling a hero and getting a rare trait might trigger a quest. There is less need for this, but every option you add to quest triggers makes every part of the game better. I hope there is no technical reason not to do this. Since I am now emboldened by your determination to listen, I would also really recommend adding the prereq system that is in place for improvements to the quest trigger function as a prereq condition. I might even suggest making conditions like "H_Illana is in Army" or "Sovereign is in City." Making special quests for a specific unit is currently impossible. There are many quests I would like to make that only trigger when the Sov goes back to the capital. 

As a last consideration I would say, think of the loyal and talented modders that have been creating buzz and stirring pots for this game. Think of all mods they could create. Think of all the modders you will create by having such an immersive game. Think of the possibilities of such a trigger. For God's sake, think of the ponies!



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January 30, 2012 12:50:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well said.  I too think the quest system in FE could be amazing, and I agree completely with every point made in seanw3's post.

An intriguing and dynamic quest system would especially fill out the mid-late game. 

I want a reason to go into the wildlands. 

I want a reason to go to war with an ally whom I've trusted for countless years (not just "I'm suddenly pissed off at you for no apparent reason" ), besides my own ambition to "beat" the game. 

It truly would be awesome to have the game play me every once in a while; force me to make a choice I don't necessarily want to have to make.

BTW: I know not every player is into this kind of "randomness" in their strategy gaming experience.  Quests should definitely be optional.


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January 30, 2012 12:57:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You could avoid randomness with proper implementation, but i say force them to plan for randomness. There will always be curveballs, a good strategist can use that to his advantage. 

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January 30, 2012 6:32:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This sounds to me as a really good and cool way of getting the lore to be part of the game, and not just something extra that most people don't care about.

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January 30, 2012 7:13:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed, quest should add reasons and rewards. And a more dangerous outland will also add to the quest difficulty.



Quoting Schnorkde,
So far like it. Just to throw some extra idears in.

How about tech which show up during game and/or require some word stuff. For example:

U need to hold a (unique) location to be able to research some tech (+ have some prerequisites)
U need to have a special hero/item/spell active to research some tech
U need to accept some (temporary?) negative influence on the empire (slower growth, less productivity...)
U will recive a negative trait on all childs and main char (taintet, reckless, monster...)
U need to sacrifie something, hero, city, monster, gold
Some tech will be blocked if u choose one
U need to be allied with some race

Just dumped all that i came up with. IMHO i like the idear that teching is related to the game not only by research points. Additionaly i would like all above for some spells. Imagine you could only summon a dragon on a vulcano or while having a propper chain  

All this would better reflect my imagination of magic and add significat options for game play.


I also think its important to make all parts of the game interact with each other. The building trigged quest is something like this and also enables balancing. For example a more civic/building race will get access to quests a more mage focused empire will not get. There for this can be used to allow compensations for drawbacks in then say warfare. ("Free forgotten elite army from a camp", "Book with treasure map was found in the libarys",...). I think its important to address specialization.

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January 30, 2012 12:00:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like these ideas! to seanw3 and Schnorkde.

Stardock, please implement!

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January 30, 2012 12:09:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great ideas from seanw3, would really bring quests into the rest of the game more.

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January 30, 2012 12:54:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am not in the beta because I wait for release to buy any game. I have been hurt too many times by well-meaning companies (Blizzard). I like some of the things I see in this version of Elemental. The quest system may not be finished, but I hope they do better than E:WOM did. 


Building quests would add so much fun to this game. If I knew it was going to be in there and that the mods from the other game would have this feature I would buy it for sure. I hope this would fix the storyless feeling of the other game. I never knew anything about the races or heroes besides a blurb at the start of the game. I only play sandbox so don't bother with telling me there is a campaign for that. Campaigns shouldn't be the only thing to tell me about the game. It should be in the sandbox. The campaign is only played once and not by everyone. If you want that metacritic 90, you've got to have a story in the game. 

The best thing seanw3 said was that Master Quest is lackluster. If it is anything like the other game's quest it is to short. It should span the whole game and only be feasible for someone going for it from turn one. Tech victory is stupid and should be taken out of every game ever. Conquest makes sense. So does diplomacy win. 

If it is as easy to implement as he says, this is a do or die feature. 

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January 30, 2012 7:23:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Love these ideas. Greater variety in the generation of quests would be a fantastic way to increase the interest of the game. Also different elements like Schnorkde mentioned, sacrafice and negative effects along with positive ones. Things that make these quests more of a choice than just do-this-job, get-some-loot. Create negative affects as well, that your people need to be saved from. Create multi part quests that involve choice and consequence.

I'd also like to see the cities become quest hubs. Your people should come to you with petitions for assistance. Perhaps an elemental has taken over your goldmine? Perhaps a wolf pack is ravaging the herd of animals you have been relying on for food, or some withering disease has infected your grain field. Bandits are raiding a caravan route, a coven of witches has taken residence in a nearby cave and are casting a ritual spell that will do something horrid if you don't stop them in 6 seasons, etc etc. You don't need to send your heroes out to deal with all these problem, just a company of well trained spearman could deal with the wolves or bandits, but sometimes it should be a greater threat that requires serious intervention.

These things shouldn't happen evey other turn, they'd get to be a drag, but maybe a 1% chance per turn per city would be a start.

Random events is something I have definitely noticed lacking as well. I love random events in games like this but they seem to be totally non-existant in FE?


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