Dev Discussion #21 - Quest Breadcrumbs



  • I'm almost certainly in the minority here, but I hate quest trackers/markers etc. I enjoy navigating and exploring on my own and given instructions on where to go through dialogue ('north east of here' 'follow the road out of town and take a left at the river' etc) I find it more immersive and I actually enjoy the exploration. If there is a quest marker/tracker guiding me every step of the way I find it very annoying and even condescending.

    Now on the other hand there are some people who are shall we say... less geographically inclined and couldn't read a map/use a compass to save their lives and I can understand how a lack of such markers would be frustrating for them. And some people just like to turn off their brain and grind out some content.

    Perhaps this could be something you are able to toggle on and off in an options menu or there could be quests specifically tailored to the type of player who enjoys figuring things out on their own like myself while still providing more traditional style quests for others.
  • Reading...gotta say, not a fan in my MMORPGs.
    And I'm sure plenty of other people do enough reading at work and school.

    If you make reading quests mandatory, might as well slap and "Educational" sticker on the games rating too.
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    Reading...gotta say, not a fan in my MMORPGs.
    And I'm sure plenty of other people do enough reading at work and school.

    If you make reading quests mandatory, might as well slap and "Educational" sticker on the games rating too.

    Sorry but if you seriously think having to use a little bit of brainpower will ruin your experience, it’s not an issue with the game, it’s an issue with you.
  • BobzUrUncleBobzUrUncle Member
    edited August 18
    I would prefer the old(ish) school system of quests that you actually have to read to figure it out. Even if they want to set the map to show an area, it should only be after you get close. There doesn't have to be a big exclamation mark over their heads, but some kind of marker like glowing would help finding those quest givers. Also, putting keywords into the NPC speech would be fun so that when you ask about 'rats' after seeing them mentioned gets you a quest.
    If people don't like reading quests, why would they play a role playing game? Being able to just blindly click on things to accomplish enhancement of your character is kind of like cheating. You are not putting the time into your character, but getting the benefit. Why not just play a MOBA, FPS, or single player game?
    For those people, just clicking on the quest would give the experience. But that just seems silly.
  • NyraNyra Member
    I think it would be better if NPCs had indicators above their heads. Also, since there won't be many teleports, it would be nice to have the option to see quests on the map if you want to and turn it off when not questing, like in many MMOs. As far as quest trackers go, I would really like one in the form of a journal, making it seem like you are writing your own adventure.
  • Depends on the quest - narative quests is much better to have low amount of breadcrumbs - mostly just to let you know that you are in the correct area. It is a bit of a problem when quest items just glow on the ground like a holy artifact.

    If there are going to be some generic quests - kill X - gather X etc - then the area breadcrumbs is good enough as well.

    Generally more generic and just boring quests create the need to have breadcrumbs - hard to tell if the game needs more or less breadcrumbs when we have so little to look at
  • OnyStyleOnyStyle Member, Braver of Worlds
    Breadcrumbs are pretty standard in MMO's nowadays. I fear much of an MMO community may just riot without them. Additionally, making it as easy as possible to get new players into an MMO is absolutely necessary for the longevity of a title.
    With that being said, as a veteran of MMO's who really wants to be immersed in a world, I would very much appreciate an option to turning each settings I do not want off. I love exploring a world but seeing a giant minimap with a disgusting amount of bubbles everywhere is very jarring (for me). Id much prefer one of those compasses which just indicates a direction. That is very minimal and out of my way. (Its also great when you can just say ENEMY RAID PARTY AT 70) indicating a direction on the compass like what is in apocalypse.

  • in my opinion, having a highlighted npc name(maybe different color, or even a small indicator) when they have available quests, or quests to deliver etc is fine, people like myself have a very short memory and with no indication at all I would be talking over and over with the same NPCs until I find what I need lol but I think quests should't be made for 10yo where it indicates on the map, mini map and an arrow on the screen, we should lose some time trying to find the quests objective and even going on youtube from time to time lol, this makes progression not as rushed, every other MMO nowadays you just autopath or run to an arrow not even knowing what ur doing there, I want to need to read my quest objective to be able to find it.
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  • I would like some kind of indicator since I do not want to spend hours talking to every NPC around a settlement to find the one that actually has a quest. But after that I am fine with searching the quest objectives as long as the quest points me accurately where I need to go.
    What I would really love to see are quests that you get just by strolling around. Example: I am in the woods collecting herbs and I get a notification that some strange sound comes from the west. So I go investigate and find a wolfs den that I have to take down. Something along these lines. That makes exploration more interesting.

    Also I liked the idea from the last Pathfinders Podcast: do breadcrumbs, but scale the "intensity" to the quest level. So harder quests should have lesser breadcrumbs.
  • I'd go the GW2 route. Basically 'scout' NPCs that tell you what's going on and who you can talk to for additional information. In Ashes they would be dynamic obviously due to the node system. It would prevent clutter on the map and avoid too many questions marks and searching.

    If you have to do quest pickup, why not 'bounty boards' in nodes? Only hand ins would have to go to the actual NPC, but it makes sense people in this setting would post jobs on a board rather than wait for people just to walk by.

    I'd also like to see quests that you don't have to 'hand in'. Basically the blacksmith isn't some task giving overlord, they just gave you information. The reward is out in the world, you just got started with a lead. Obviously not applicable for gather X and get it back here type quests.
  • Minimal is good. I would rather not see giant exclamation marks or question marks on the compass, map, or in world. Perhaps you could make a place for NPCs to go in a node or some kind of NPC emote letting us know they have a task for us to complete by either waving us down as we pass or a chat bubble stating help me. Also, hidden quests out in the middle of nowhere in a cave or some low traffic secluded place that leads you on a journey around the area finding various mobs, resources, and other interesting thing in a general area would be great as well.
  • I think most quests should have breadcrumbs to help you along the way, especially the initial quest givers. The game would get very tedious if we had to always go around hailing every NPC just to see if there was a chance they are a quest giver. That said, I do like the idea of some hidden quests that we have unearth on our own that yield very special loot (like a fabled or legendary item). Those would be rare quests, but they would be out there where you really have to read all of your quest clues and dialogues with NPCs closely to finish the quest successfully.
  • I'm almost certainly in the minority here, but I hate quest trackers/markers etc. I enjoy navigating and exploring on my own and given instructions on where to go through dialogue ('north east of here' 'follow the road out of town and take a left at the river' etc) I find it more immersive and I actually enjoy the exploration. If there is a quest marker/tracker guiding me every step of the way I find it very annoying and even condescending.

    Now on the other hand there are some people who are shall we say... less geographically inclined and couldn't read a map/use a compass to save their lives and I can understand how a lack of such markers would be frustrating for them. And some people just like to turn off their brain and grind out some content.

    Perhaps this could be something you are able to toggle on and off in an options menu or there could be quests specifically tailored to the type of player who enjoys figuring things out on their own like myself while still providing more traditional style quests for others.

    I think if you read a little bit in this dev discussion u will find out that u are absolutely not in the minority.

    One other thing I want to say is a toggle function for marks is a terrible idea just cuz it is.
  • TatenTaten Member
    Breadcrumbs, like highlighted items and what not are okay.

    What I feel is NOT okay is WoW's current system that gives u a full layout on the map of exactly where everything could EVER be and its really detracting from the actual experience of the game IMHO.

    Maybe a quest Arrow to show u a direction, or a zone highlight without exact details of how to complete the quest and where? I enjoy the fact of mystery and discovery inside the games VS just being told EXACTLY where EVERYTHING is. 0 challenge, 0 brainpower expended.
  • I like minimal bread crumbs. I prefer the quest giver is identified in some way, such as whispering to the player when you walk by, but he doesn't tell you exactly where to go. However, in games that have minimal hand holding I like it when the quest journal auto-updates with the quest information. For instance if the quest giver tells the player to go to the Fields of Agony and collect purple flowers I would want my quest journal to have updates in it for that quest that state the location I have to go and what I had to do there. It doesn't necessarily have to tell the player where the place is. Otherwise my legal pad gets full and I have sticky notes all over my desk!
  • After the event system from Guild Wars 2, I just can't take traditional quests seriously. Even the worst events make the world feel far more alive than any deep, lore-filled monologue ever could. I just haven't been able to see the need for a traditional quest system since. But, with regards to breadcrumbs, that all depends on what the quests are...

    For traditional quests, I think EverQuest got it right; there is no tracking of quests, they are repeatable, and you have to seek them out by conversing with people or figuring out what to do with an item you found. There is no state of being "on" a quest, the quest is just a series of interactions that can happen. Similarly, there are no breadcrumbs to follow. Before all the knowledge has been catalogued in spoiler sites, the discovery fosters social interaction as players figure it out. This is a thing to engage explorer-type players. Once all the knowledge is in the spoiler sites, that goes away, but at least it was there for a while. At this point people can read up how to do it and don't have to puzzle everything out on their own, but they do still have to engage with the community somewhat to learn this. I'm not suggesting that spoiler sites be mandatory to figure out what spells do, but if quests aren't the main source of XP and are just interesting things in the world, they should require discovery.

    I feel that WoW got quests very wrong, but set the standard for so many other games that it is the de-facto design. Collecting 12 bandit haunches (noting that only "bandit enforcers" have haunches) that only spawn at this one camp is the exact opposite of a quest that feels worth doing. It is a chore. And once done I can't do it again--but that other player standing next to me can do it. None of this makes any sense--when I get 10 punches on my loyalty card at the local Mexican place I get a free meal, then I get to repeat that quest with a fresh card; why are bandit haunches any different? This design is anti-immersion and counterproductive in a social setting. In WoW, killing things to level is, by design, slow, and these one-time quests supplement that progression, but the limited availability of quests forces players to move around the world to complete enough to level. These quests have to be mostly soloable because, if I already did it once, I'm not going to be inclined to want to help you do it since I won't get a reward. This is very much not the design AoC claims to want--the idea that the world is large and travel difficult and time consuming is directly at odds with the theme park model that forces players to move around to find enough quests to grind. In this case you're just doing quests on your own to grind away levels, and they don't serve a social purpose, so breadcrumb away. Make it abundantly clear that only the gazelles on the plateau poop, only the wolves by the lake have skins, and only bandits with pink dresses and tambourines drop some NPC's wife's severed head. And don't ask me to find Mankrik's wife; the occasional exploration quest is a dissonant design in the context of a quest system that is designed to force players to pre-defined areas. That many people couldn't handle it reinforces the notion that there are different types of players and you have to be really careful when content for one group is presented through the mechanics that cater to a different group.

    GW2, however, had the most potential of any quest system I've seen. I feel it fell far short of its potential, but is still the best I've seen. Quests are just things happening in the world. The centaur are launching raids and might capture a city. Somebody needs an escort. A powerful monster is in the area. In this case, knowing where they are happening is key, but once you know where, what to do should be painfully obvious. Knowing where is important because these are opportunities to draw players together to create social interactions.

    Then there is also the possibility of player-created quests. I'd love to see a percentage of XP earned within a node put in a bank that can be given as rewards to players for contributing materials to construction projects, for clearing monster dens that (allegedly) threaten the town, for supplying the militia with weapons and armor, and so forth. For those sorts a general direction should suffice when there is an objective location, but the quest-giver should be a well-established system, like a noticeboard or a building site. Again, point me towards where things are happening, but I should be able to figure it out from there.
  • I'd prefer no breadcrumbs....
    Since people don't have to quest to level(you can just grind) I think it's ok to let people discover the quest by talking to wandering NPCs, it adds a level of discovery and immersion. If the objectives are written decently it shouldn't be hard to figure out how to complete the quest either(no giant circles on the world map).
    For example, "Go to the Mines of Despair and bring me the ring of the boss named Greenthumb and I'll reward you" or "Go North, cross 2 mountains, then you'll see a giant blue tree, then go a little East a bit and bring me 10 boar pelts"....etc..

    Furthermore doing it this way just finding the NPCs is like a quest/accomplishment system in itself while completing their task is another quest. 2 quests for the price of 1. Also, you can bet that everybody will talk to every NPC to read every bit of lore and dialog they have to say at least once which is kinda nice for a change(again, they could choose to grind instead it's up to the player, choice is good).
  • Locations of Npcs, hunting and gathering areas should be hinted in the quests dialogs.

    For example, npc says: "I meet this merchant in Crescentia town near the mark's forge" or "I dont remember where i have encountered those wolves but i remember seeing this village between two mountains from there" or "those plants grow near the river but I when i go there i usually hear something, maybe a waterfall is nearby".

    I am usually overwhelmed by the amount of quest icons and markings in MMORPGs, which makes me want to clean them up as fast as possible as a result i skip the reading of the quests. So I prefer any quest breadcrumbs to be kept at minimum to induce the communicating between players about locations and the exploration.
  • Maybe true breadcrumbs can be implemented but instead of having the dots on the ground every 2-3 meters, just have them as checkpoints at 1/3 of the way, 2/3rds of the way and finally the area at which you have to be to complete the quest. Or just stick with the final CP, quest area. When it comes to indicators above the head of NPCs, if there are thousands of quests it would be beneficial to have the icons for new and current quests, with current quests taking priority over new ones. Then again, you can make this as an option for the players to choose:
    Beginner: Full Breadcrumbs, icons etc
    Experienced: Partial Breadcrumbs, no icons
    Diehard fans of questing: Nothing
  • ArgosArgos Member
    edited August 19
    I'd prefer a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs, definitely spawn areas for mobs if it is a kill quest, but the harder or more rare a quest is the less direction it should give you. One thing though about quest text....voice act it. In 2020 and beyond no game should make people read quest text the first time around. Everything needs voice acting in this day and age akin to Elder Scrolls Online. You can have as part of a quest a letter from the quest giver that maybe gives more information or contains a breadcrumb hint, this obviously does not need voice acting, but when you walk up to an NPC just voice act the quest text.

    Immersion is much higher when quest givers actually talk.
  • I think something like ESO's compass work well for finding quest givers or locations. Something simple like a golden glow or small indicator on or above the person or area. Im a fan of the minimalist idea while still providing all the relevant information (eg. height location person/places name Etc.)
  • CorceCorce Member
    I think it would be beneficial for most quests to be crumbed, but maybe even give the option to turn markers off for players who want the full immersion experience? One of my friends who I play most games with tends to flip flop between wanting to know the lore of a game and just running from quest to quest. So for players like him (and myself who is at his mercy), makers would be helpful in addition to the lore text.

    Personally I like the sense of accomplishment and discovery which can come from finding secret/hidden things in games like this. While I think it would be helpful to have your usual breadcrumb quests I'd really love to see some hidden discoveries that one might find only through reading random lore drops, like an old journal in a ruined home - but gaining no quest makers or updates from reading it. The player would have to take it upon themselves to find these discoveries.
  • 1) For completing quests, relying on well written quest text leads to more fulfilling gameplay in my experience. It will be foreign for some players but it is one of the first things what people going from retail WoW back to Classic WoW encountered and I can't even count how many people found it more engaging rather than playing most of the game just watching the minimap. It does require clues that are good enough but still leave in some challenge; directional but not definitive. It also affords differentiation from veteran players verses newer ones and opportunities for the veterans to help in a material way.
    2) For quest turn in or pickup, no indicator would lead to more confusion that it is probably worth. One of the pain points for some MMOs is the lack of grace in which they've implemented quests indicators to the point they become eye sores. I've appreciated the ones that use audio queues, such as the NPC whispering, "Hey kid, over here..." for some of the less savory quests.
    3) Some of the decision comes down to how many quests one can expect to be collecting or turning in at any time and how much chaining is a factor. Once you're on a chain, quest text once again can be a fair enough guide. If you're typically only working on 3-5 quests at a time, maybe you could indicate a particular quest for tracking and that one could provide a subtle, elegant visual for the turn-in.
    4) Having a handful of quests that have no indicator as all, perhaps optional in nature or as reward for those players that are fully immersing themselves, would be a fair balance. That way you have a foundation for newer players and a reward system for those going above and beyond in their interactions. There's something to be said for hearing the conversation of two NPCs, picking up on a detail, looking into it, and finding it was legit and now you're on a new quest from being observant. It also adds to the feeling of a living world where things are in fact connected.
  • I know I'm probably in the minority, but I like to know which NPC has a quest for me at a glance (map marker and in game indication) and I like to have a general indication of what I need to do and where to go for it.
  • Well if you are in a big city like let say metropolis with 25 plus quest givers then well finding the quest givers should not be that difficult. After finishing a quest think there is no value on having a hard time finding the quest giver and you could have like 30 quests in your quest log.

    Think Icons over npc heads are kind of tacky and take of away from the role playing value of the game. You could be in a really immersive zone and then you have an npc with quest icon over head. Would be better if maybe they wore tabbards or large medallion. Could have same type of tabbard but recolors for differetn areas.

    Think if the player cannot find the quest givers then they should be able to click on the quest for more particular information with name of quest giver plus general location and a portrait of the quest giver.

    well have to go now will finish post later.
  • LukianLukian Member
    Seeing how things look so far in the Alpha-1 with the quest givers having a sort of shimmer to their name can work with a bit of a different look. Something like their name showing up as a golden with the shimmer but something that really stands out more to say "Hey, I have a quest." that way we can still stay away from the normal icon above their heads.

    I do really like to know where I'm going when I do a quest as well. I rarely read what a quest says to do unless it's important to the story but I highly doubt others even read those at times. Something on your screen that is short and sweet of what to do, with some sort of arrow in the direction of where to go with the location being highlighted really helps.
  • My opinion on this topic depends heavily on an other key feature of the game, quest tracking/log. If the game will not have any type of limit of how many quest you may have active at a time, then, I am 110% behind having quest triggered and added to my journal as if I'm playing elder scrolls Skyrim. On the other hand, if there is some type of limit of quest I can accept at a time, then, I would prefer to be able to see quest givers/quest count per area of some sort to weight my options for the time I have to play in that day.

    It certainly changes how I play the game, when I can see there is X amount of quest present in an area, I tend to mow them down to complete an area and move on to the next area. It's not the most immersive choice but it is certainly a choice. Going the "Skyrim Route" will be far more immersive but for the love of the gods, there has to be a very clear "type of quest" on the journal so I don't spend 3 hours completing daily/repeatable quest and then realize I did nothing towards the story or a faction I would like to join.

    Finding a main story quest should always be easy/automatic while everything else should be left to our exploration and word of mouth. I still remember the rush of hearing a rumor of a kid up in Windhelm summoning some assassins and forgetting everything else.

    A sort of Quest hubs in taverns please? Best place to find quest. always.

    " What do you mean a book I cannot have?"
    - Frufire
  • BlipBlip Member
    I hope everything is marked and show you where to go and what to pick up.
  • jsolojsolo Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited August 20
    I like quest Breadcrumbs specially when you have a real life only have limited time to play. Who want to spend 1 to 2 hours looking for a quest when you can only play 3 to 4 hours most/work nights.
  • Thank you all SO MUCH for chiming in to share your thoughts on quest breadcrumbs - I'm going through now and collecting your feedback in a summary for our team, but please feel free to keep adding more here in the meantime! <3

    We'll see ya for our next Dev Discussion on immersion!
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