Psychochild's Blog

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14 October, 2007

Weekend Design Challenge: Quest design
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:09 PM

This week, let’s consider a major part of most online RPGs: quests. Specifically, let’s think about quest design.

Imagine we have a typical fantasy online RPG. One of the areas is rather hard to get to. It requires some time and investment to get to the place, and it’s not necessarily easy to return to. (For example, the area requires a special mount that must be purchased with a lot of money, or the way is blocked by raid-type content that takes a large number of people to defeat.) At this location is an isolated village with NPCs that offer a number of quests for players.

There are two ways to tackle this challenge: on a meta level, describe a type of quest you think would work best in this area. Or, you can design a specific quest with appropriate name, text, NPC (if required), reward, etc.

For my idea: Have a quest from the “known world” to the location. Arriving at the location (after investing in the necessary effort), the quest should give some visual reward to indicate that the player has reached the location. For example, a special tabard that the player can wear to show that they made the trip to the location.

So, what is your idea?


  1. If the area is genuinely difficult to get to and will be mudflated out of use before it ends up like Ironforge on a Saturday afternoon:

    I would suggest having a long and difficult quest where in the end, one of the NPCs involved “clones” you and your name (for a quest-plot reason), so your likeness gives out one of the quest stages until enough people have done the quest that you are replaced. With 10 NPCs, hopefully you would be around long enough as an NPC to get a guild photo :)

    Comment by Dominic Fitzpatrick — 15 October, 2007 @ 2:05 AM

  2. A piece of clothing is fleeting. Most players who visited the location would find something else they wanted to wear on that spot, or the tabard wouldn’t quite match the rest of their gearset or their aesthetic tastes. If I was going to give the player a visual reminder, it would be something to keep back at their house or the player’s name on a plaque somewhere.

    But I would probably go with a faction reward. One of the NPCs in the more accessible gameworld is connected somehow with one or more of the NPCs in this offset area. By coming back to the mainland NPC with evidence of the meeting, the player would have a new faction standing only possible through that method. It’s not just the next leg of a questline. It’s a faction relationship with ongoing benefits (quests, further networking opportunities, gear, etc)… benefits which can be added to or modified by developers at any time. Essentially, this is an example of non-linear faction progress.

    Comment by Aaron — 15 October, 2007 @ 11:59 AM

  3. If a significant portion of a guild is now, for practical purposes, ‘trapped’ in this isolated area, it might be interesting to challenge them to attempt to influence the outside world: given a 60 minute time limit once the quest is activated, how many somewhat-low-level items (say, Greens in WoW) can they cause to be brought and dropped into a heretofore-undiscovered magic well in a low-level area? The number brought and sacrificed will equal the number of powerful-but-disposable items the guild receives as a reward (grenades, ammo, one-off spells, etc.)

    This works I think because it is meaningfully replayable, and challenges a guild to either have allies outside the guild, or to attempt to run the raid content with as few members as possible; interesting to a range of player styles.

    Comment by Bret — 15 October, 2007 @ 2:00 PM

  4. Quest Design Challenge I

    [...] ideals can be found here at the original post by Brian [...]

    Pingback by — 15 October, 2007 @ 3:25 PM

  5. Weekend design challenge: Quest rewards

    [...] back to a quest theme again, let’s talk about rewards for [...]

    Pingback by Psychochild’s Blog — 29 October, 2007 @ 3:16 AM

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