Dev Discussion #21 - Quest Breadcrumbs

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  • apmaxapmax Member
    To mitigate a lot of trouble and tedium, there should be some unambiguous way to figure out what a quest is telling you to do and where it's telling you to do it.
    Quest design definitely factors into this, obviously, but it's nearly impossible to design all your quests such that a player can't get lost or lose track of what to do or how to complete their objective unless you make all of your quests either incredibly simple and boring and repetitive or requiring the player to read far too much just to get a basic grasp of the required task.
    Expecting players to navigate themselves and read all their quest descriptions would be an interesting design philosophy, but may not be wholly reflective of the way people tend to play MMOs.

    At minimum I would say that clearly identifying questgivers and quest turn-ins, as well as clearly identifying the world location of quest objectives, is necessary.
  • ponziniponzini Member
    edited August 13
    If you guys can find a way to show where a quest is in a way that is immersive like Ghosts of Tsushima where you follow the wind or like in Dead Space that would be awesome.

    A whole bunch of exclamation marks kinda takes me out of the game. Maybe they could yell at you as you walk by or at most have a chat bubble above their head instead of a giant exclamation mark.

    EDIT: Also make it so I can read the full quest text easily while running. That will increase the chance I read it by alot. lol
  • NerrorNerror Member
    edited August 13
    While not exactly a bread crumb, if it's a simple kill quest, show a damn picture of the monster in question. :tongue: It can be like a drawing on a piece of parchment that the NPC is showing you when giving you the quest. Then the quest can simply be: "Go southeast until you reach the forest. Kill 20 of these (show picture)."
  • rodzorrodzor Member, Braver of Worlds
    I prefer having to actually read the quests and pay attention, I'd like to only have a quest log to reference the text.
  • Arkethos wrote: »
    ...
    If NPCs will be static and lifeless, then an exclamation mark or question mark above them would draw us to them. If they will approach us or call out to us when we are near, asking for assistance, then the visible marker above their head may not be needed.
    ...

    This is actually very interesting. If we get NPCs who entice us to go talk to them by hearing them say things/ask for help it dismisses the need for question marks almost entirely. Excellent point.
    "Magic is not a tool, little one. It is a river that unites us in its current."

    I heard a bird ♫
  • Dev Discussion #21 - Quest Breadcrumbs
    What is your opinion on quest breadcrumbs (target locations highlighted, quest givers with icons above their heads, etc)? How much is too much? How much is too little?[/quote]

    So to me I feel the "main story" ones, need to have some kind of "follow path". Usually better if it's not hand-holdy. The ESO experience on the exploration part is great. The ones where there are quests you can grab that are "non essential" or as in "the world exists". Another part of ESO experience, is you make a new character and it's the same story over and over. One of the things I loved the most about SWTOR (until lvl 50 pre-Hutts expansion) was that each class had their own story. And that adds SO MUCH to replayability of the game.
    Another surprisingly good experience but not on the surface, was BnS. BnS suffers of the same as ESO- Same story every time. But what I liked about what they did with the story, was you had to go back to early zones at high level to defend or something was happening there. That makes you feel like the zones you've been in are an actual real part of the world.
    Last but not least, what I would love in a (new) MMO (this is regarding the hand holding) is you give info from the NPC dialogue or a paper/letter that you have to read to know stuff. I have several levels of difficulty for this idea, but it'd be too long here. The gist of it is that when I press F to accept the quest, I have to go to a "location you told me to" and look for something you need, but it's not put in the way of "do this, go here grab that shiny thing come back". Players need to be made (and at the same time allowed) to do their thing with their character to make it feel you are interacting with something more real and also you pay attention to what they say, giving a place to the lore as well. The bad side of this, is making it TOO difficult, like SWL. One of the groups, Illuminati I think, had quests that were riddles and puzzles... they were so fucking intricate and the average folk would not know about it. It was kind of cool, the idea you have to "research" stuff to advance, but bro, make it something within the game, not outside.

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  • As I said on the twitter feed, I'd love some more roleplaying and less themeparking.

    Everquest had it pretty good, in terms of roleplaying immersion.

    No quest markers on npc's head, hail the npc, see if his answer gives hints for quests (key words).
    Manual talk to npc : using key words, i trigger key answers giving indications of a quest.

    No automatic quest log, because it makes everyone :
    -skip reading the quest.
    -press 1 button and all the info is here.

    Instead, what about this : (Everquest didn't have this)
    Manual quest log : after talking to a NPC through key words and key answers, I write down notes from indications given by the npc, such as : who gave the quest, what to obtain, where to go, etc... in a manual log. If i forget about the quest, this manual log will remind me of it. I can update it at any time, as I found new hints during my explorations.

    pros : very immersive, make players use their brain, make players explore unknown area looking for hints, makes players act as if they were their character,... it brings the "role playing game" part back into the "mmorpg" genre... too many mmorpgs are 100% focused on combat and craft and 0% on exploration and immersion.
    cons : not very large-audience-friendly.
  • AptosAptos Member
    Quest Giver Icons - I have no problem with this for starting quests. What gets to be a problem is when the entire quest is just go to where the arrow points to and talk to the next person with an icon above their head.

    There is ultimately a balance to be struck here. There has to be some kind of guidance in game otherwise people will simply look at a guide on a 3rd party site and do the entire quest that way and even if you do everything right, some players just aren't interested in lore or quests.. A quest journal seems ideal for this and the developers can make it interesting for people who actually want to get invested in the quest without making the process basically already done for you.

    I think the way to make people actually want to do quests is to make them more interactive rather than just killing a certain number of mobs or finding an item somewhere. Runescape has these sort of quests. Where instead of having thousands and thousands of cookie cutter quests it has a few hundred quests that range in difficulty from Easy to Grandmaster and all have a different assortment of minigames, bosses, and challenges. Players still use guides but they still have fun doing the quest, as did I.

    I think the important thing is to make quests interesting so people feel less of a need to rely on bread crumb systems in the first place. Giving suitable rewards for doing them is also key.

  • xexanosxexanos Member
    edited August 13
    An indicator who has a new quest is a must I think.

    When it comes to indicators about the target (area) of a quest, it really depends on how detailed the quest texts are. If there is a quest "Go to the forest and get 10 boar liver", it must be clear, which forest is ment and which type of boar drop the liver. I don't want to kill 30 boars before wondering if I kill the right boars and only the drop rate is low or if I should look for other boars.
    If all of those details are clear from the quest text (or additional text in the quest log, which specifies a named area and the names of all the mobs that drop the desired item), I'm fine with no map indicator or indicator at the mobs nameplate.

    Also, if the target is one item that can be picked up by multiple players and has a respawn timer (like the infamous candle quest in Archeage), there should be an indicator on the map or it has to be really clear, where the item is. There is no fun in going to the right location and not seeing the item because it has been picked up and starting to search elsewhere, only not to find it.

    EDIT: I'm also fine with indicators for one type of quest and no indicators for other types (for example exploration quests)
  • NelsonRebelNelsonRebel Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    Yes please have breadcrumbs

    Icons above quest givers for content please. They dont have to be marked on the map though
  • SzebbSzebb Member
    I believe Markers above questgivers are necessary. I can see a game without markers getting a little to confusing for many and as i read in another comment people will rebel.

    About reading the quest to understand it and maybe get clues etc. I think keeping it quite normal with getting objectives and such early on and while levelling. But introducing quest's that are a little more tricky in end-game and aproaching end-game. That way a grind for max level and doing alts wont be to repetitive. Just a thought!

    But strongly believe that there should be markers on questgivers!
  • I had a bad experience with a game where there were no quest markers on the map, just a (vague) description and not being able to find the target because it had actually been despawned as other players had just finished the quest.

    I prefer to see the locations of a quest (or area) on the map and to me it doesn't break my immersion in the game, because if an NPC can tell me to find some bandits in the southwest hills they can also scribble a circle on my map. If I have to Google some locations it does however break the immersion. Maybe talking to NPCs can give you a last known location on the map. Then you could also play with bad/old intel from NPCs on some quest locations, but I realise that might become a bit confusing ;)
  • Keeping the guides subtle would help with immersion, but it would probably be best if someone who knows what to look for has some kind of indication as to what their objective is without having to look it up. Even highlighting the key points in the quest text (like putting the location/directions in bold or a different color) isn't too obtrusive and helps people refresh their memory quicker when constantly opening the quest log to remind themselves of what they're trying to find.

    The alternative is a world where everything is vague and mysterious, pleasing a minority of the playerbase who want every quest to feel like a puzzle, and causing everyone else to play the game with the equivalent of wowhead open at all times and going straight to the comments for answers because they know it will be the fastest way to figure out how to do certain quests.

    Nothing breaks immersion more than tabbing out of the game to a browser for answers, and this game probably(?) won't have addons to keep that information within the game's UI.


    That being said, none of this will really matter if this game does away with the annoying filler quests: "fetch this, escort that, collect 10 bear prostates and slay 8 mold elementals, then return to me for the same reward as the last 100 quests you did." Generic objectives like that would be better off as a dynamic thing like GW2 made popular, where you wander into an area and are given some basic things to do automatically for a generic reward. If traditional quest lines are all tied to a coherent storyline relevant to that node, or are used to unlock some kind of major attunement, feature or item, then making them more 'puzzle-like' is acceptable because the reward makes the extra effort feel worthwhile.
  • rocdogrocdog Member
    First off, you're misusing "breadcrumbs" in the context of MMO quests. There's something called a "breadcrumbs quest" that sends you from one place to another in order to lead you to find other quests that will help with character progression. English is a big language. We have different words for different things.

    What you are talking about is quest helpers and quest markers. If they're available, I use them. Given a choice, I'd prefer to have them on a mini-map rather than in the main viewport. They speed progression, and many people won't turn them off, so they shouldn't make the game look bad. You could also have them available for side quests, and not for main story quests, which would rely on actually following the story and reading the quest text.

    But! A big problem with relying on quest texts is that they depend on both good writing and on the comprehension skills of the players, neither of which can be relied on (see paragraph one). Even the best writers will make a critical typo or misunderstand a quest or otherwise screw up now and then. If a non-native speaker is confronted with ambiguous text, then they'll be screwed without quest helpers. For example, I couldn't play Korean games on Chinese servers without quest helpers. Similarly, a Brazilian player will have difficulty playing this game without quest helpers if it hasn't been competently translated into Portuguese.

    TL;DR: Without quest helpers, you will limit the audience for the game.
  • DrekDrek Member
    * Quest givers icons : yes, always good to quickly identify who wants to have small talk or actually has a task for the player.


    * Target location highlight: no, it turns questing into a braindead activity, save everyone and yourself time (and money) and don't even add quests because all players will have to do is spam skip dialog and follow arrows to an area, clear it, return and rinse & repeat so you might as well have players just grind in one spot. Giving a description of the direction players should follow makes things more organic and will have the player use their eyes/brain...aka it will make every task a possible adventure.


    * "How much is too little": quest akin to "my uncle lives in the large port city south of here, go figure out where he spends his time and deliver him this cured meat. Fedex quests or "go find/talk to X npc" should best have their location highlighted. And the player can then plan their journey.


    * Quest list categorization: per zone/district/area or w/e is good, seeing "i got these 3 quests to do in the salt plains and those 5 in thundering hills" still gives enough information to the player without having him be totally clueless (until he read each individual quest and manually sort them in lists, which would just make it a shore)


    *Quest list difficulty: Boils down to, should the player know at a glance that one of his quests is for group / raid content ? Yes.
    Should the player know at a glance that the quest is impossible for his current level ? Yes.


    Since we're on the topic of quests:

    *Daily quests: Personally i hate them, but i can see the merit of limiting character progression/resource/various tokens acquisition using dailies. HOWEVER it is still better to let the players play how they want !

    If i for example want to tackle the "grind 500 tokens for a recipe" task in a weekend i will be much more happier to do so then HAVING to do my daily "gather 10 tokens and come back tomorrow on time like it's your job unless you want to fall behind and never catch up"

    So if a form of repeatable quests has to be implemented to place a limit on player's capacity on acquisition of X, for the love of god AT LEAST weekly but PREFERABLY monthly quests where you receive the reward(s) AFTER the reset of said quest (to prevent players from feeling forced into grinding their weekly/monthly the moment they got it to obtain the reward straight away instead of actually giving them the freedom of taking all their time when they'll get the rewards only after the deadline)


  • FurojiFuroji Member
    I personally would find it the best if quest givers only had a diffrent colored name and i think maybe for side quests or everything that isnt a main story quest should get no direction on the map and only info you get by reading the quest. For the main quests I would atleast give an area circle on the map where I need to go.
  • As someone who allways has problems navigating around, i really want to option to at least do both.
    I dont remember the name but there was an MMO where you could choose how many breadcrums you get.
    Want to only read Quest with no UI help? fine.
    Want to get arrows that guide you to your target? Also fine.

    Why must we choose between one or the other. Let the people decide how much quest help they want.
    Customization is the king
  • This game is already more on the hardcore side of things, so I'd like to say keep it that way. Once you highlight things for people they only go to those locations and they don't actually pay attention to what is in between them and where the quest is.
    If an NPC says something like, "The person I want you to assassinate likes to spend her time at the falls next to the cliff south of here beyond the village," then that is perfect. No highlighting needed. People should pay attention to what NPC's are saying instead of just facerolling through the leveling process.
    I think this goes for gathering-type quests too. I don't like my objectives to be shiny.
    Hope my comments hope :)
  • CypherCypher Member, Founder
    Nothing kills an open world like having a glowing path showing you exactly where to go and what to be doing. If I find an NPC who offers me a job, I want them to tell me the details, I want to be able to read the details of our conversation from my quest journal, and that’s it. The rest is up to me. I can ask around to see if any other adventurers have heard of (insert object/location/person) but that’s up to me.

    I don’t want to spam through the NPC chat and then click a button in my journal to “track quest” and then go mindlessly travel and then mindlessly complete the objective. My gosh gaming today is so stale because that’s nearly every game.

    You can say “oh just turn off your quest markers and your glowing path”. NO. You can’t expect someone to just purposefully handicap themselves when the game was built around handholding. Almost ALWAYS these games tend to have little or zero usable information to figure out the location of a quest or the item you need or who to talk to because you don’t need it, they just give you a waypoint and say there it is go get it.
  • ShowyodoShowyodo Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    edited August 13
    I think this really depends on the game itself and how important/big said Quest is. (tl;dr at the end)


    1.) Basic Node quest should have something like a Quest Board where everyone can congregate and pick up w/e quests they want. Maybe the board tells them level req/group or solo/ try going north/south/east/west.

    These should be your normal every day type of quest, almost like Dailies ie Go kill X # of monsters for reward Y. In your quest log/book it could give some more basic info: Monsters are usually found in caves/top of mountains. From there people should be able assume everything is in the general node area so that would mean there is no real need to spoon feed people a golden trail to their locations.

    That said:
    2.) I feel like Main Quests should have a little more hand holding. If there is a main quests that requires me to speak to a specific person in a specific location, there is nothing I hate more than getting lost while trying to complete said quest.

    Lets say I need to speak with Jim in the Metropolis. Jim is located near the blacksmith. Yeah right. Give me his exact address so I can put it into google maps. Because I'm going to get lost. Especially if he's upstairs in some house around the corner from the blacksmith and there is no indicator on the map. And if you try and speak with the blacksmith all he knows, is how to sell you shit.

    NO, gimme the damn golden breadcrumb line if that shit is going to happen, it is hindering my progress in the game.

    That said:
    3.) Random Exploration or Mastery quests could be where you can f... mess with people.

    Let's say I've just about mastered Alchemy, I get a note in the mail that says, "To Truly master this profession please speak with Master Alchemist Jim in the forest Hut to the west" or lets say I see a hut in the forest up in the trees. Feel free to throw a jumping challenge at me, or I have to use some specially crafted potion to see said hut or some other random thing. Like you need to find the giant stone in the center of the forest, climb it and start jumping tree to tree towards the hut.

    4) tl;dr
    Basic quests don't need as much hand holding as a Main quest do, and Random or End Game quests should be a fun challenge to the player's knowledge as they've progressed and learned about the game.
  • victisragevictisrage Member
    edited August 13
    Cypher wrote: »
    You can say “oh just turn off your quest markers and your glowing path”. NO. You can’t expect someone to just purposefully handicap themselves when the game was built around handholding. Almost ALWAYS these games tend to have little or zero usable information to figure out the location of a quest or the item you need or who to talk to because you don’t need it, they just give you a waypoint and say there it is go get it.

    I agree. Please do not making handholding a toggle option.
  • lokispawnslokispawns Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    I survived just fine in Everquest, where the only hint of a quest existed in between brackets after initiating conversation(s) with NPCs, and sometimes, not even then.. I hear there are still unsolved quests to this day from early expansions of EQ. To me, that's pretty cool. The majority of what I do is farming / grinding / raiding anyway. So the whole quest side of things, aside from using them for boosting xp as I level is pretty "meh".. unless of course it results in phat loot, but then there's always google, wikis, and guild chat.
  • I would prefer it if all quest information was given through dialog which could be recorded in a player notebook since that makes me feel most immersed in the world. That being said, I understand that many people lean more towards the game-like elements instead of the roleplaying elements, so maybe it would be nice to have a Quest Map that you can open up and apply filters to in order to see markers for active quest objectives, quest givers, locations etc. At the very least, I would like the ability to toggle on/off the quest UI such as markers floating above the heads of NPCs or golden paths that lead you to your next quest objective. I have found that those things make the game experience feel artificial and plastic rather than organic and exploratory.

    In essence, I really like the ability to miss things in the world because it makes me feel like I am really discovering things and at the very least I want the option of experiencing the game in this way even if it may not be the default mode of operation.
  • GruntagGruntag Member
    edited August 13
    Dev Discussion #21 - Quest Breadcrumbs
    What is your opinion on quest breadcrumbs (target locations highlighted, quest givers with icons above their heads, etc)? How much is too much? How much is too little?


    I like the idea of nothing visible over the quest giver's head (like a question mark or exclamation point - I think this is a little too arcade and cartoony).

    With that said, I do like the idea of accurate direction to said person in the quest log and a marker on the players mini-map could work well (perhaps this could be toggle-able on the mini-map).
  • I like the idea of mouse hovering over quest givers and an arrow or glow appears. Would also appreciate not many map quest markers, maybe more general location markers at the most. Would definitely help slow down people in the grind to 50. Too many map markers and arrows just make the game a mindless grind
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  • rabbirabbi Member
    I think GW2 really nailed task (NOT quest) UI with their hearts system. On your map you can see the area where you can do something to make progress, there's a quest tracker only when you're in the area that shows your progress, and when you finish doing the thing it automatically gives you the reward for it.

    As an oldschool sandbox MMORPG player, any time I have do the quest hub thing I want to die. The whole system where I run up to an exclamation-point NPC, the NPC dumps generic text that no one has ever read to me, I have to run to a place to do the content, and then I have to run back to an NPC to get the reward. Any form of that is torture and the opposite of a video game to me. Just cut the uninteresting and unnecessary NPC-hub out of it, and have area-based tasks instead.

    And even GW2's good hearts system was waay less interesting than the Dynamic Events. Similar systems are Rifts in Rift, whatever Warhammer Online had, Fate events in FF14, etc. I would be happiest if I could exclusively (and EFFICIENTLY) level up through dynamic events (which I mostly could in GW2!)
  • I am of the opinion that when it comes to Questing, that quest givers should be clearly identified. I believe the wow "exclamation" and "question" marks work incredibly well, and are tried and true. Further, I do believe there needs to be some exploration of the world. We shouldn't simply be handed everything. When it comes to questing, the text should be clear and pointed as to what you should be doing, I personally don't like the idea of running around as a headless chicken. That being said, when it comes to finding quest items or mobs, I'd prefer a more "It's in this general area" within the text, rather than say World of Warcraft's bright blue defined area.
  • MyojimMyojim Member
    edited August 13
    Indicators generally break immersion by removing some or all of the need to engage with the game world. Alternatively if there's not enough information and clarity given to the players, questing becomes frustrating and sometimes not even worth doing. Then you get situations where people just grind 1-max because it's consistent and predictable.

    An example of a good descriptive quest would be the NPC at an expedition says "I need 10 Ridge Stalker pelts for my next trade shipment but the hunter I contracted sprained his ankle. You can find them about 2 minutes ride east on the rocky ridges along the Roiling River. They're the large grey cats with dark stripes". That gives plenty of information, but if you add a glowing line leading you there and a target indicator you would never have to read a word of text or even look at the world. You just stare at a line until you get there and kill the mobs with icons above their heads (lame). Seems like a huge waste of game development time/money to create content that will never be utilized or appreciated. To me it’s the equivalent of people staring at their phones nonstop and ignoring everything around them.

    NPCs with quests could be indicated some other way than an exclamation point. Something more natural, maybe when you walk by them they make an obvious gesture to you like waving their hand and/or speaking something to you. Even a light glow around their silhouette would be more natural and unobtrusive than a punctuation mark above their heads.

    Immersion is one of the biggest if not the single biggest things MMOs have lost in the last decade IMO and it’s usually due to excessive convenience. I think whatever tools are implemented for questing should serve to assist the player's engagement with the world and not replace it.
  • Just like in Awaken Online. Take the advice Jason gave. Don't make the quest notification abusive and loud. Make it more subtle. Jason had to discover a skill or commit an action to discover a quest. Usually it was in regards to NPCs but he didn't really get a quest until he pushed to interact with those characters after a while that a quest was unveiled. So unveil a quest more subtly. If you follow up i think you should be rewarded for following context clues with a quest ping. I think that is more befitting. Also i believe quests don't have to be chronological either. Maybe there's a harder tier quest that can be handled later but atleast that user who vetted it from lore and actions can have some idea of what is to come. I don't think quests should be persistent to leveling or anything of that nature and they shouldn't always reveal rewards and they should also have negative remarks for not successfully completing them. They should be more of an exploration of lore. If I were to talk about descriptions those should be the breadcrumbs. No map icons or POI or beacons none of that. Think of what they did in Awaken Online. The quest was fun and sometimes witty and sometimes mocking the user which was great. Not only was it an attention grabber but the call to action was made so that you would go and find out more. Just like Diablo 3, one of the best games of all time. The quest lore would tell you father "whoever" said the dungeon was found near the "stable" which is more than enough information to go and explore and eventually complete it.
  • BondBond Member
    Honestly I think the Witcher series nailed the balance.

    Not handholding, but not frustrating.
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