Dev Discussion #21 - Quest Breadcrumbs

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  • denestra wrote: »
    I think the majority of players will want to be told exactly where to go (like WoW) and there will also be people who will want as little information as possible, maybe do something similar to Assassin's Creed Odyssey where they let you choose how much information is given to you, ie just hints (north of Cave A, South of the Tree of Life) or just have it point you directly to the location.
    But if is not the same for all the players then it comes to another problem:

    I don't want to feel that I must level up quickly. If I like to figure out the location but at the same time I know the other people will progress faster than me because they don't read and only go to the mark then probably I will do the same, wanting to do the other way.

    It happens in WoW all the time. I want to read the quests, the lore is so interesting and even so I don't read because I just feel I'm wasting time and thinking "why I'm not leveling faster, my end goal is to reach the top level and do that kind of stuff so the sooner the better". Idk if in AoC it won't feel like that because the non linear progression but anyway I prefer all people in the same conditions.

    If there is a mark map option or you can chose the information given to you, all the players will choose to know the most, so it's almost the same as doing mark based quests.
  • 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?

    My opinion on quest breadcrumbs, is to include as little as possible/no easy utility. I'm not a dev, so I don't know how difficult it would be, but if an NPC is panicked and looking for help they should look that way on the screen. (Are they pacing quickly, maybe approaching other NPCs or players and going back to a spot?) If this can't be done, then they can just stand there for all I care.

    As someone who is from FFXI I enjoyed that there weren't any obvious indicators as to who I should help. It encouraged me to actually go and talk to NPCs and find out more about them. It allowed for relying on exploring, trial and error, and using my brain.

    If I'm in City X and I stumble by a trader who needs help transporting documents/goods/etc... to Village AL, I most prefer to figure that out by myself. Where is this Village AL, will the NPC give me a direction, maybe another NPC in the area knows, maybe I need to ask another player in the area, or just decide to go exploring and try to find this Village AL by myself? I don't need a little mini-map icon showing my position and the end position. That just plain sucks and ruins a game for me. Please do not have AoC baby walk me through it. Thank you.
  • zackalliczackallic Member, Founder
    I am a fan of whats know as "Hardcore Questing" now adays.
    Its a rewarding feeling completing a quest that you had to think about to resolve.
    - Loved Morrowind and how you had to read the NPC's dialog make notes and research your journal to find where you were going and what you had to do.
    - Verses the follow the map marker or teleport here. Kill all the things. Kill the Boss. Return to the NPC. Its brain numbing questing.
    - Placing a circle on your mini map of a rough objective area can be helpful if you are near by the location. But make the player explore and research.
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  • I only have one suggestion. If you have the nameplate of an NPC quest giver a different color please have colorblind options so people can make the nameplate a color they can see. Thanks!

    When it comes to where to go for the quest telling you where to go it would depend on the quest. For randomly generated kill x mobs make it give you a general circle on the map where the creatures can be found.

    When it comes to story quests make the quest giver give a general location with descriptions about the place "you will find your target at the watchtower by the boulder shaped like an eye." That way there is a feeling of explorering that goes into finding the most immersive quests.
  • DummoDummo Member
    Just enough breadcrumbs that it's clear where to go.
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  • UrikkUrikk Member

    It's the quality of the quests themselves. Nothing is more important than having interesting and engaging quests regardless of how they are received. The quality of the quests will make or break the game not how one will receive a quest.
  • Alpha SoulAlpha Soul Member, Phoenix Initiative, Avatar of the Phoenix
    I think I am for the following principles
    • If an NPC has a quest, you should be able to deduce such. Doesn't have to be an icon.. something.
    • There should be Some easy way to give you a general idea of where or what you need to do for a quest (doesn't have to be all quests)
    • Don't be frustrating. While having no information about a quest can be fun for some, I think it quickly leads to a lot of people being frustrated over time.
    • There should be some journal recounting what you know about the quest. If you are not going to have breadcrumbs, make it easy to recall what you know about the quest.
  • Quest Breadcrumbs:
    Main quests: it's nice to have an idea of a quest starting point "node a" for a quest giver but once the quest is accepted I find a general direction provided by them to head north to say the "dark forest" is more immersive than head to coordinate x,y or a glowing beacon in the sky.
    Side quests: as they aren't required for character, class, or race it would be good to find / explore talk to npc's for them.

    No matter what ends up being picked we all know some fans out there will have a site with all the quest tips for various zones.
  • 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?

    To directly answer the examples given:

    I've never liked minimap information like circles around spawn areas or pings on quest items. They're convenient, sure, but they make it so that I spend more time looking at my map than looking at the game.
    I think icons above quest givers is a necessity. The difference between this and the minimap is that this tells you where the content is. I don't think finding the content should be the difficulty. the difficulty should be in completing the content.

    Something I really liked about old WoW and Runescape is that the quests tell you what you need to do, but rarely ever exactly where or how to do them. If you aim to do it without help, you have to closely look at the quest text to figure out what needs to be done. If you're reading the quest text to make sure you don't miss important details, then whether you like it or not, you learn about the game's lore and environment. It creates a lot more opportunity for memorable storytelling than chasing the dot on your minimap,

    So, to answer how much is too much; In my opinions, there are too many breadcrumbs when a quest loop requires zero understanding of the situation. When the quest loop is: pick up quest, go to highlighted area, return.... there are too many breadcrumbs.

    How much is too little?
    It's too little when the quest is too vague. An infamous example is "Mankrik's Wife" in WoW. The quest directions hardly give you any tips, and his wife (spoiler alert) is dead on the ground with no quest indicators. This way, it's hard to see the body even if you're lucky enough to end up in the right spot.

    All this to say, if the quest text is well-written enough, there can be little-to-no breadcrumbs.

    Quest givers should have obvious markers though-- at least most of them. I don't want people to feel like they have to talk to every mundane NPC out of fear that they'll miss something.
  • I think WoW did it too much.

    Honestly I don't even want an icon until after I accepted a quest from someone. Give more incentive to learning a little about the lore if I had to talk to a few people before finding a quest giver.

    I don't want giant circles showing where the quest objectives are. However a little push into the right direction might be good.
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  • I think maybe the npc's nameplate could be a golden yellow possibly, keeping immersion intact but making questgivers slightly noticeable. Or like ESO where they speak their concerns out loud as you pass by, giving you a hint that you should speak to them. Or you overhearing a conversation in a tavern may give you a hint to a location to visit which starts a quest, maybe after hearing it, it puts a small notation in your quest log to explore. The list goes on lol

    Since we're on the subject, I have an idea about how arenas, battlegrounds, etc could be discovered...

    The level of Corruption from pvp in the area has an effect on each node, as the corruption builds, it eventually opens up a random crumbling in the ground, or a pit of Corruption somewhere within the node area. The more pvp in an area causes it to unlock the corrupt arena or battleground through this pit. When this happens, unbenounced to the player, a shady npc has appeared in the shadows on the outskirts of town with a quest for players with a thirst for blood. In which it would lead them to the pit for arena or battlegrounds gladiatorial events. It would be more organic this way, rather than queuing so easily right from the start. Just an idea, sounds cool to me lol

    For hand holding, I say maybe the first few quests, training wheels if you will:) but after that slowly break into more quests like Secret World had, all mysterious and hands on, or following the clues in your quests, heading east from a landmark, riddles, etc. I like a challenge, just mix in a few easy ones for the people that will complain I'm sure. No minimap location markers please, otherwise it's not a challenge at all, just give us a compass with coordinates under the minimap and we are off to piece the journey together. Plus more challenging quests gets the community talking and working together.

    Sorry this is so long, one last thing...will there be voice acting for quests? Just curious, I'm assuming not but I do love voiced quests:) keep up the great work!
  • QuinQuin Member
    edited August 14

    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?
    Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding immersion!


    I think Breadcrumb quests are very low impact with not a lot of payout.

    This is the sort of content you could do on a finished game just to add flare, but the focus should be working on a job or a quest that has some repetition and a solid payout to establish a game play loop.

    Do you want players to explore? Add collectibles or a daily vista.
    Do you want players to PvP? Add a limited resource that is needed for activities
    Do you want the players to be social? Add mini games or limit character rolls

    Anytime I think about quests or content for a game I try to imagine what a player is thinking or doing while they are playing. For instance if they want to grow crops they need (Space, Time, Seeds, and Fertilizer.)

    Space - planting crops in the wild encourages players to game the system by escaping the map and promotes high risk Atypical PvP.
    Time - Putting a countdown on crops visable to everyone removes the advantage of having a character skilled in growing
    Seeds - selling seeds on a NPC takes away from more skilled farmers who might yield seeds from experience.
    Fertilizer - A valuable trade resource for anyone looking to farm on a large scale.

    I would say Breadcrumbs are neat, but most of my time will be spent looking for ways to protect myself and advance my own story.
  • PelverPelver Member
    edited August 14
    What if breadcrumbs existed in the map , but the player had to talk to the NPC's in that area to discover who it is that has the quest?
    and like the quest had limited information if you look at in the map like you heard a rumor or something

  • I like breadcrumbs - what is obvious to one person is not to another, but I agree over the top icons (see WoW) are distracting and take away from the game. Something more subtle, like a mark on the map and just a glow on the NPC would be a much more aesthetically pleasing way to handle it.

    Also, someone mentioned being able to toggle breadcrumbs on or off. I love that idea. Even better would be to have a three tier system - no breadcrumbs, light breadcrumbs, heavy breadcrumbs. That way you could adjust your experience to your party, mood, or state of mind. :D
  • Example:

    1) NPC quest giver, with subtle indicator. It sends you to another NPC in Ruins of Blah Blah to see how you can help.

    2) There should be a "show in map" function that shows you Ruins of Blah Blah.
    In the quest log it states "NPC is located near black obelisk". You go and look for the obelisk in ruins of blah blag. Then you look for the NPC near the obelisk. The npc tells you kill 10 poison spiders in the area.
  • hawiiftbllhawiiftbll Member, Braver of Worlds
    Maybe setting it as a toggle for the path of breadcrumbs. I think having a marker for the point of contact for the quest is something I would like personally I don't care either way about having a glowing path to follow. Having general area for some quests is helpful too but knowing how the world can be changing that may be harder than normal. The quest guidance system won't be a deal breaker for me if the rest of the game is well done. Which is what I'm banking on keep up the good work
  • EvelynChillsEvelynChills Member
    edited August 14
    I think that quest breadcrumbs are the easiest and fastest way to turn what should be a fun activity into a boring, follow the arrow checklist. I would prefer that ALL information be conveyed through NPC dialogue, environmental cues, and a quest log that records a brief summary of the quest's narrative and any important information that you have already been given. The only exception I can think of is potentially having NPCs that start a quest chain having some sort of indicator so that players can find the content in the first place. Also, I have never played a game that gives people the "option" to turn off quest/map markers actually be even remotely enjoyable if you elect to play the game that way so I would prefer if you didn't decide to go in that direction either.
  • diamahtdiamaht Member, Settler, Founder
    edited August 14
    I'm not a fan of flashing markers on a radar, that is definitely too much and too easy. It make questing boring and non engaging. I'm not searching the game world for objects or npcs I'm just staring at the compass or minimap until I'm standing in front of my target. I mean what is the purpose of having a world?

    Very clear and very short descriptions about where I need to go are always great. From there I can follow directions. I never, however, want to read a massive wall of flavor text to get what I want. Even in real life most people get really annoyed when they have to listen to an entire life story just to get an answer to a question. "Just the facts ma'am"

    Edit: Also I think having something non intrusive that makes quest npcs stand out in the game world (not necessarily on the mini-map) is fine. That still has me focusing on the game world to get my information.
  • BoomBoom Member
    edited August 14
    Short Answer: Breadcrumbs in low levels, then remove more of them as you level.

    I would prefer having to talk to locals, read posts, and think for myself where to go and what I need to do for the quest. No markers, highlighted map locations, glowing NPC's, floating ?'s , etc. It's more rewarding to solve a puzzle when you don't look up the answers to it.

    I think maybe having a guided, optional tutorial would be a good idea. So many modern players rely on addons, guides, and FAQ's to quest. Having the first couple of levels extremely handheld would be a good idea for these folks. I would then start stripping away the handholding each level until level five or so, ultimately get to a full immersion, no breadcrumbs system.

    Having to think about your situation, know a little of the game's lore, and trial and error tactics will extend the game's life, and high risk/high reward gives more motivation in the game, appose to just having things handed to you.

    EDIT:
    I think having a city of NPC's that you won't ever need or want to talk to is a waste of creative resources. I miss playing in games where talking to everyone in town has a real value.
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  • TurasTuras Member
    Hey Team

    My thought for quest breadcrumbs is an in-game player decision. With the different opportunities to be apart of a Node that is focused on Science, Religion, and so on. There could be an individual that you can locate (either shady dealer, mysterious traveler, or well admired scholar/mage) who can grant you "Quest guidance" a new experimental spell or potion of sorts to help them in these new lands. It could be acquired by purchase of in game currency (cheap because its experimental of course). That will grant the user a buff that last either as long as the player is logged in or for X amount of time.

    Instead of "?" and "!" on individuals it could it could be an aura surrounding the individual or items that has to be next encountered. The same or similar aura can be leading the path. Nothing overly aggressive that would take away from the scenery but easy on the eyes easy and identify .

    For my I truly enjoy having to read the questline and discovering where I have to go next but occasionally a little help and guidance is needed and appreciated. With this it would be the individuals choice of "hardcore questing" or having some minor assistance.

  • Instead of having a big, immersion-breaking, quest marker on a NPC, why not receive a message "npc_name would like to speak to you" when you approach a npc that has an available quest for you ?

    Because immersion and exploration is key to restoring the "role playing game" part of the "mmorpg" genre.
    MMORPGs need players to think they are a character in a world, rather than a class in a game.
  • Questgivers: A small Ashes of creation logo next to their name, for example, would be perfect to show they have an available quest for us.

    Hand in: The small logo next to the quest giver can light up.

    Quest objectives and locations: when possible use the node the quest objective is closest too as an indication + sub-location. For example: Near Moria (Node) there is a quarry which orcs have been using to build their war machines. infiltrate the Orc encampment and destroy the war machines.

    Visualization: Do not mark quest objectives or locations on the map, let us player go through the quest and put markers ourselves.

    Auto pathing: PLEASE NO
  • LfmrLfmr Member
    I would like it if you could not auto pilot through quests, the games where you have to read the quest text are so much more memorable, and I can't help but to rush through all the quests on autopilot if I am given exact points or areas to walk through on the compass / map, makes the game so much more boring if it has tools to help you speedrun through the world.
  • Recently Horizon Zero Dawn came to PC and for the first time, I found a questing and waypoint system I enjoy that would probably work for everyone.
    How it works is the NPC giving the quest will tell the player all they need to know about where to go/what to look for so the player can find or search for the location on their own. OR the player can simply hold a keybind to reveal the quest marker and such they can travel straight towards it. I think it's my favorite of every rpg I've played thus far!
  • NorlynNorlyn Member
    Biggest no for me: auto pathing, big, obnoxious arrows and markers on the ground, glowing NPC-s and items.
    Okay: Markers on the world map, some visual help on the minimap, a very very slight glow or particle effect on items.
    Most ideal for me: instructions in the description of the quest, and only vague hints sometimes (e.g. "somewhere north from here").
  • I think the most important thing is, dont break the boundary between fantasy and reality. If you decide to mark things on a map then have the quest giver make rough marks on our maps, no glowy overlay. Keep me in Verra.
    Dont limit the number of quests I can take at any time.
    Remember Shining Force? You literally talked to every person in the town because they all could have had quests for you and there were Easter eggs a plenty! But, you had to talk to NPCs to find out. It would be great to just find quests by talking to people.
    Maybe in some important story line quests make the quest find you.
    Make this game for RPGers, not "whatevers easiesters" they already have plenty of easy no effort games out there.
  • I think I would prefer questgivers to have markers when you see them ingame, but not being shown on the map. It would be a bit tedious to enter a metropolis with hundreds of npc characters and having to click on them all to see if they have quests. So when you actually see them you would know they have a quest but it would still require you to explore the cities and places to find possible questgivers if they are not shown on the map.

    As for finding the objective they should not be shown on the map either in my opinion but you could have one quest “active” and that quest would be then shown with an arrow or something in which general direction the objective could be found.
  • Maybe of the beaten path - some !subtile! glow effect around the npc or on the ground where the npc is standing - in different colours instead of the usual marking:
    red glow: pvp quest
    yellow glow: open quest not taken
    white glow: quest to return
    colours just an example.
  • I think as long as it makes sense for us to have the breadcrumbs - we should have them. I always look from the character's perspective and if they wouldn't know - then we shouldn't either.
    It's likely an unpopular opinion, but I like it when there are mysteries - and if it's too much of a hassle - there are always wikis and guides and whatnot that'll let you know. But for those who like the mystery, you'd be taking it away if you just make a big mystery just another "go over here and click this" quest.
  • How much is too much?
    - Draw a path for player to follow like a robot. (Auto run to location is fine though)

    How much is too little?
    - If I have to search large area for items that take over 10 minutes to find, I will use online guide that has screenshots of their locations.
    - In an MMO I don't want to read multiple pages from a book to find a location. Like for example in Morrowind.
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