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"Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:40 pm
by pango
I remember some interview of Ted Peterson were he said that the most common criticism he was receiving about Daggerfall random quests was that they all looked the same and were all simplistic; Comments he couldn't agree with, given how much time he spent writing and testing quests (I think classic has around 150 random quest templates?).
I just saw a streamer reciting the same speech "Daggerfall quests are probably much less involved than Morrowind, with no alternative paths" etc. with, from what I can tell, nothing to back up his claim.
And then when you see people play random quests, 95% of the time they go for the most obvious resolution path, oblivious of alternatives; Which confirms their own beliefs.

Are there really too many "fedex" quests? Or too many in the low reputation levels of guilds, so that's usually the ones that people experience before giving up? Or alternate paths not hinted enough? Or quests too short (need more "linked quests" in the style of the main quest)? Or interactions with NPCs too simple?
I'm not entirely certain where those assumptions come from, and I wonder if there's something to learn from that, for both quest engine and quests writing...

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:48 pm
by Jay_H
I agree with the claim when referring to classic quests (to a lesser degree with mine because I have so many fun mechanics to employ, but still valid). Take the Fighters Guild quests in classic:

Go to a building in the same town and slay an enemy:
Hunt for a Giant Scorpion
Hunt for a Giant Spider
Hunt for Barbarians
Wild Animal

Go to a building in another town and slay an enemy:
Unwanted Houseguest
Domestic Squabble

Go to a building and wait for enemies to spawn:
A Rat Infestation
Hunt for Giant Rodents

Go to a dungeon and kill enemy(ies):
Hunt for a Lycanthrope
Giant Killing
Hunt for Harpies
Pack of Giants
Hunt for a Daedroth
Fighters Lich
Hunt for a Gargoyle
Hunt for an Atronach

Majorly differing quest mechanics:
Standard Protection
Runaway Pet
Lord K'avar Quest, 3 parts
Hunt for a Spriggan

The Knight quests almost entirely send you to dungeons to rescue someone or kill something, and the Dark Brotherhood always sends you to a dungeon to kill someone. I don't know whether it was a limit by game mechanics or because the quests had to be made quickly due to time restraints, but I believe the conclusion is valid.

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:01 pm
by pango
Thanks for fact checking!
Is it true for all quest givers? I agree that fighters quests can often be abstracted as "go kill something", but I had the feeling that commoners quests for example were more varied...

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:31 pm
by Jay_H
Commoner quests are indeed the winners. They can lead you to do a huge number of things (foil a ransom plot, investigate a rumor, find a lost book, look for a missing romantic partner, deliver or foil a delivery of possibly poisoned flowers) that really offer a lot of non-linear work.

The biggest loser in my opinion is the Thieves Guild. Just take a look at the description for all their quests:

A Hot Stone: Pick up a stolen gem from a guild member in a local town.
Antique Ivory: Steal some antique ivory from a residence in town.
Drugs Delivery: Deliver a package containing drugs to a local in town.
Arms Supply: Deliver a weapon to a guild member in a local town.
A Stolen Gem: Pick up a stolen gem from a guild member in a local town.
A Temple Visit: Steal a religious item from a regional temple.
Valuable Artwork: Steal a painting from a residence in a local town.
The Jewel Heist: Steal some jewelry from a residence in a local town.
The Noble's Jewelry: Steal some jewelry from a palace.
A Prized Item: Steal a magic item from a residence in a local town.
Valuable Pages: Steal a valuable book from a building in a local town.
A Prized Herb: Steal a special herb from a residence in a local town.
The Rich Merchant: Shake down a rich merchant for a shipment of his belongings.
A Treasured Potion: Steal a special potion from an alchemist's store in a local town.

Never once are you sent to a dungeon or to do anything other than speak to a fellow guild member or steal an item (except maybe for Rich Merchant, I haven't done that). Thieves Guild is the great Fedex of all Daggerfall questgivers.

IMO some of the real potential isn't in the mechanics themselves, which will always orbit around the same basic points, but the narrative we make around them. I took a simple quest mechanic and just added one twist to it:
Spoiler!
A quest that sends you into a dungeon to kill spawning enemies (simple) becomes a decision of what kind of character you are, masterfully demonstrated in this video (language warning). None of the quest mechanics there is foreign even to classic Daggerfall, but it's the putting them together in this way that really creates a new dimension entirely.

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:41 pm
by pango
Alright, so classic quests may not be as good as I remembered, at least on average.
People would better play Daggerfall Unity with quest mods :)

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:40 am
by Zadroter
Morrowind scripting part is on same level if not below daggerfall. What can offer Morrowind - is much more writing, more unique content and more interesting exploration - I not talk about dungeon crawling, I talk about giant hand crafted world, where everything almost is hand made and almost nothing guide you trought it - there hell lot of quests that may just say "go smoewhere we don't know where pick something we don't know what" and it is very fun, since whole world is hand maded and searching for something is fun. Then style and universe and plot - while mainquest and other things in morrowind alre lienar, it actual universe, phylosophy, events what people disscus still to this day. I think TES universe in times of redguard-morrowind is most original and most interesting fantasy universe of all I know.
Daggerfall have good writing too, it have dynamic non very lienar mainquest, but it is lack content. And existent content lack polishing. Game quest templates not enough - there just not enough content to keep regular player interested in game that much. I may say that I very huge morrowind fan, and very huge daggerfall fan, and when it comes to stats systems I always pick daggerfall as best - because you know in morrowind they broke many things and made worse. But when it goes to content - I see tes2 potential, but it not releasd even close. Recently while playing I want to become Mage's Guild maximum rank because I want my teleporters. And what? Same quests repeat and repeat. I like how written Mummy wrappings quest, or attronach quest - but I need to replay all this quests many many many times, I don't know how much this inridients I found in dungeons, I not count anymore how many times I casted "sleep" spell on noble. This is one of things that make people tell daggerfall "is empty". daggerfall is awesome foundation - cool skill system, awesome reputation system, stunning music and style and everything. But of cource, players want to ask - this is all cool, but where is the content? You know, things that make people play even roguelike games.
If there was more generic quests, if there was more to the mainquest - with all this cut characters and locations, if there was more less generic quests like there was in this update with lord K'var quests - imagine each faction have 10 times more interesting generic quests, and this quests are different for every kingdom or every province, imagine there also a more special, mainquest-like questline that you acces slowely while rise on ranks. Imagine there was more different dungeon blocks and different dungeons styles, not single one. If there was more city blocks and sich basic things like roads between cities, some generic unmarked locations that you can find around traveling - like abadoned house, or like, bandit camp that not maked on map and never will but it just to fill empty space with something. If there was things like tivers, proper coastlines, bridges. If developers cared a little bit to touch at least town and farms names to remove most obvious copypasting or at least make it logical - place Gothway Garden and Gothwat close to each other, for example. Game lacks content and polishing it's existent content in my opinion. Daggerfall don't need new features - it already have more than all other TES games combined, but it need more stuff, more things to feel in. This why people say it is boring and it is empty.

It reminded me watching recent LeFay interview and he was asked "what you do if you had 1 month more time of development for daggerfall?" And he answered: -I'd add multiplayer!

And I was shocked. To hell with you, man, you had instead of game - pre-alpha of awesome game. Please, finish it! No, he wanted to insert more stuff that for shure broke game even more, like battlespire.

Re: "Random Dagerfall quests are simplistic and all similar"

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:27 pm
by Al-Khwarizmi
Zadroter wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:40 am
It reminded me watching recent LeFay interview and he was asked "what you do if you had 1 month more time of development for daggerfall?" And he answered: -I'd add multiplayer!

And I was shocked. To hell with you, man, you had instead of game - pre-alpha of awesome game. Please, finish it! No, he wanted to insert more stuff that for shure broke game even more, like battlespire.
Maybe he just did the programming, and wasn't in charge of adding content. The month would be better allocated to fixing bugs and making things like the notebook work than to multiplayer, though.

The great thing is that now, with Daggerfall Unity, the community can add a lot of content.

Anyway a multiplayer Daggerfall would be... wow, just wow. Maybe in another 10 years...