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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Choose Your Own Adventure

Sometimes, I like to see what quests I remember from when I first started playing EQII and then think about why they stand out in my mind. One such quest was from my early days in the Qeynos suburbs.

I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the quest, although I remember the structure of it quite well. You hail a somewhat shady NPC who asks you to pick up a package from his associate down by the mariner's bell. You are given hints throughout the quest that the item you are picking up is likely stolen or otherwise illegal. You obtain the item from the second NPC and then you are presented with a choice. However, it's not a choice between two options on a dialogue tree.

It's a real choice based in morality. You can bring the item back to the original NPC for a reward or you can talk to a member of the Qeynos guard and reveal the unscrupulous activities. I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember getting a nice bag as a reward. I'm not even sure this quest is still around.

Why does this glorified fed-ex quest stick out in my mind amongst all the quests I did at that level range? Simple. It's the only one I can recall with multiple solutions. It's the only one I remember where you, as a player, choose the outcome of the quest. I think that is a powerful thing. I would love to see more quests like this which don't follow a simple path but instead branch off based on your actions.

It's easy to say, "Make more quests with differing outcomes. Come on SOE. Do it." But to be fair, rather than just throw out an idea, I like to think of possible pitfalls. If the reward for one "solution" to the quest is markedly better than the reward for the other "solution" you will have these problems:

1. People will complain and feel cheated if they took they wrong path because it's an irrevocable thing.

2. People will use spoiler sites to choose the "correct" path.

3. The solution with the better reward will become a requirement rather than an option, defeating the purpose of the whole exercise.

One way around that is to make the rewards the same for both divergent quest paths. Another, better way is to make the rewards harder to compare (i.e. one path grants a better immediate reward while the other opens up an entirely new quest).

Does anyone else remember the quest I'm talking about? And would you like to see more quests like this?


Anonymous Karla said...

I remember that quest, because i just did it the other day with a new character. It never even occurred to me to do anything other than what the quest suggests though. Next time I have a low level character, I'm going to try going to a guard instead.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous flashman said...

It's the quest the begins in Nettleville Hovel, in the area near the travel bell. I think it was basically go pick up a crate from the NPC's brother. Then, you could either deliver it back to him or take it to the guard.

In true Qeynosian fashion, you get the better reward (the bag) if you do the right thing and take it to the guard, otherwise you get a little bit of coin.

Damn goodie-goodies!

I can't believe I remembered this one quest from Nettleville Hovel which I must have done 9+ months ago.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Grouchy Gnome said...

It's called Verth's Delivery, and it begins in Nettleville Hovel when you speak to Verth.

10:49 PM  
Blogger cyan said...

Is this the one with the shady barrels of stuff behind a storefront in Qeynos?

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Houri said...

Freeport has a similar quest line where you are hunting Kouryick's missing cargo stolen by nerius pirates. At the end it turns out he is smuggling goods to Qeynos and if you turn the goods over to a Guard in West freeport, instead of Kouryick, it opens up a second questline that leads to a nice neck piece for level 19 called the Overlord's Appreciation.

What is nice is no matter if you give the stolen goods to Kouryick or to the guard you get the same reward for the orginal quest.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anachronist said...

There's a quest for fp players in xroads where you can choose wether you kill a crazy kerran girl or tell her to flee. The quest is given by one of the xroads entry guards. I dunno whether the rewards are different.I just killed her and I can't even remember the reward for this - I guess I wasn't too exited about it ;)

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i remember that quest. it's still around, did it recently with my PvP alt.
there is another one i remember. it is given by Fippy Darkpaw in an instance in Down Below. it's also about some shady dealings with Qeynos merchants. you can choose to go back to Fippy or to the guards, which gives either a Nighthide Tunic or Tunic of the Guard, both 2 good leather chest pieces AFAIR.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

The access quest 'Operation Green Hood' in Zek also has two different end points although I don't recall anything in the quest hinting that that. The endings do take on a good or evil flavor as I recall but the main difference is the reward selection for each quest are better suited to different classes. When I did the quest they had not put in the rewards option display in the quest journal so I don't know if they point you in a direction that works for your class now-a-days.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Oz said...

Kinda like the old Bayle's list quest of EQ1? Although only 2/3 parts of that have two solutions. The third part has no "good" solution, only what the text suggests (a hitlist)

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's another quest like that in Freeport. You get a music box in the Ruins and you have the option of giving it to the person for the reward or keeping it... I gave it back to the owner so I didn't find out what the alternate reward was and I think it's gone now :( But I remember your quest. It's a good one.
~ kiara

10:31 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

jack~ they dont give any options in the quest. I just did that one last night and was gonna bring that exact point up. You can choose to go to two differnt NPC's for quest rewards.

I think it'd be sweet to have more then one option in some quests. Even if one is better then the other I think it's a great idea to have more quest choices.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Scott Adams said...

If you haven't tried Elder Scrolls Oblivion yet, you really should.

There are some incredible quests in there. I wish EQ2 had even a fraction of quests like this game.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous raetsel said...

Heh, an I've allways wished that there had been such a choice when the froglok went live.

It would have been a sweet thing to see if the part of the folks that want to unlock froggies serverwide would be faster than the other part that wants to do a quest to lock serverwide frogs permanently.

All in all each player would still have the ability to unlock the frog for the own account by doing the solo quest.

Too bad most quests have just a single storyline without branches.

A little dynamic element would be awsome.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Othesus said...

Yes, those are some of my favorite quests too. The quest at the Crossroads is called Guard N'Garen's Unrest With Safiya. I really like that quest becuase it involves a lot of realistic interaction. You have to come back at sundown. You have to follow her to the statues. Then, after you report back to Guard N'Garen you have to choose whether to kill her or show mercy and the rewards are different depending on what you do. I wish there were more quests like this but I think they probably take 10 times longer to create because the scripting is more complicated. I originally argued against revealing quest rewards because it catered to just quick clicking through any dialog and quests like these have different rewards depending on the choice you make.

3:03 PM  

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