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Old 01-20-2010, 06:32 PM   #1
Estarra
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Autoquests

I noticed one of Brody's Monday Muds (CyberASSAULT) announced "Autoquests" being implemented. "Find a mob marked (QM) and type quest list!" I assume this means each time you go to this type of mob, it autogenerates some sort of list of creatures to kill or items to find. I've pondered whether to do something like this before for Lusternia but have preferred quests integrated into storylines. On the one hand, it seems like a somewhat novel way for players to get quests. On the other hand, unless done well, there definitely seems something artificial about them (thus, a lack of immersion).

Anyone have any experience with autoquests, either as a player or admin?
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:30 PM   #2
Mae
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Re: Autoquests

I think it could be done in an immersive way. Just ensure that the 'auto quest' giver has a reason to be doing so. If you can set the parameters of the generated quests to be sensible with the quest giver.

I don't know how complex the generated quests could be though. I tend to despise the fetch quests and the ones I've built in the past generally include multiple steps and puzzle elements.

If I were to off-the-cuff think of a concept that I think is workable within this framework in an IRE game... an engineer/foreman constructing in the deep woods some sort of complex. He's got workers to feed, nasty forest critters to contend with, and maybe some aggravated locals to calm or destroy.

If you could set the parameters and have a list of critters that could emerge upon accepting a quest, plus use a local mobile group to set as aggressive or friendly to the engineer that the player has to either kill or persuade, and maybe set up some items to locate for harvesting, construction, or food sources for his men.

I don't know if that's at all do-able coding wise, or if it would be too much work builder-end to set up the parameters to make it -interesting- and still add to the story while being a nifty add on to the questing in your world.

Not sure if that made sense or not! But there's my thoughts for what they are worth :P
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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Re: Autoquests

I added a simple autoquest system to the original God Wars mud back in 95 - you would get a quest card with 3 randomly selected objects on it, then had to go around collecting those objects and adding them to the card. Once you'd finished you'd insert your card into the quest machine and it would give you a quest token.

You could eat quest tokens to gain their value in quest points, and could also create quest tokens at will (with their value being subtracted from your quest points) to use as a form of currency. Quest points could be spent on enhancing or creating magic items.

The feature was added to give players a wider variety of things to do, but the problem was you needed both exp and quest points in order to be competitive, and you needed a lot of both - so instead of adding variety, it ended up as just another form of grind.

In God Wars II, I added a different form of autoquest - maps. There are three stages to maps, the first is to decypher it (via a minigame), the second is to follow the map to the appropriate location in the world (examining the map gives only an approxiate distance and direction, so this requires a bit of trial and error) and the final stage is to defeat the guardian.

However the maps give the same type of exp as you get from killing mobs, so unlike the quest cards in GW1 they're not a requirement. This has proven much more effective, as players who get bored of killing mobs can simply switch to maps, or pick one of the other means of earning exp.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:05 PM   #4
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Re: Autoquests

I'm not one to hand out praises like candy, but I did some research on God Wars I and II and I have to hand it to you Kavir. You did a lot of good hard work on these systems and games. Kudos.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:32 PM   #5
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Re: Autoquests

Rather than having a true autoquest system where quests are completely generated, I think it's better to implement a generic quest framework for your builders. This should allow you to quickly add content while still having the ability to tailor each quest to your game theme.

On Maiden Desmodus a quest consists of stages which can be of the type 'greet', 'give', 'get', 'drop', 'kill' or 'custom' with an NPC and/or an object as the target. These cover most common PC tasks with the custom trigger allowing for anything else. You can also set various properties on a quest such as XP/gold awarded, minimum level, time to complete, etc. There's no special OLC for quests and they can be created dynamically with a few lines of script.

Generally we've had a very positive reaction from the players to our tasks/quest system on MD and IMHO it gives us the best of both worlds. On the one hand we can add fairly generic content fast (kill X, get Y, bring it to Z, get reward, etc.) but we can also tweak the quests with custom scripting where necessary and keep the whole thing consistent with our theme.

A true autoquester would work fine on a more hack and slash oriented game, but for us I think it's worth the additional work to customise the content.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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Re: Autoquests

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orrin View Post
Rather than having a true autoquest system where quests are completely generated, I think it's better to implement a generic quest framework for your builders. This should allow you to quickly add content while still having the ability to tailor each quest to your game theme.
Both approaches have their pros and cons - but they're not mutually exclusive, so why not have both? Hand-written quests are usually more interesting than generated ones, but players will go through content faster than you can create it, and in my experience generated quests tend to have more replay value.

You could also draw parallels between autoquests and minigames. For example a crafting system based on a minigame could serve much the same purpose as an autoquest system - it provides players with an activity (supported by game mechanics) other than killing mobs.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:21 PM   #7
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Re: Autoquests

In a lot of cases you could use both approaches, but I don't believe that autoquests are necessarily a good fit for every style of game. Certainly in our case I know Wade likes to ensure that all the content is consistent with the setting and the characters and an autoquester isn't something he's really interested in.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:17 AM   #8
KaVir
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Re: Autoquests

I think it depends on what you consider an "autoquest". I agree that the typical implementation and presentation used by most muds (i.e., go and kill X, or go and collect Y) isn't going to be a good fit for all muds. But the underlying concept is fairly generic and pretty flexible, and if you look past the cosmetics you may well find something of use.

For example, many muds have shopkeeper mobs who will buy certain types of item (eg a weaponsmith who buys weapons as well as selling them). Using the autoquest approach you could have mobs that vary their requirements - for example, a witch who will pay well for special ingredients for her spells (but the ingredients she wants always change), or a high-class tailor who only buys the most fashional materials (and of course fashions keep changing). I know your mud has player-run shops, but you could also have it work the other way around - use the autoquest system to occasionally generate mobs who want to buy certain things (warm clothes in winter, fashionable clothes if they're rich, food if it's lunch time, etc).

Likewise, many muds allow you to wander around killing mobs, although those same mobs are usually in place all year round, day and night. However the autoquest system could be used spawn mobs based on specific conditions, for example you might have "hungry wolves" (more aggressive but not as tough) spawn in winter rather than regular wolves, and have these wolves pester the local farmers every year, who will pay to have them killed (effectively turning them into winter-only shopkeepers). Or you might have bloodflies that gather around lakes and are usually harmless, but as winter approaches they gather into large aggressive swarms to lay their eggs (and perhaps those eggs can be sold as a delicacy, maybe even in combination with a food-preparation minigame).

I also have another type of autoquest system that I'm still working on, which I call "events". The mud stores a list of events, and every so often it will start one, with a (current) maximum of ten events running at any one time - a little while after an event has been completed, another will begin. Right now the events are just special mobs that appear in designated places, but I plan to use the same system to generate entire villages complete with shops and houses. This means players will be able to literally burn an entire village to the ground, and it won't ever come back (but because new events spawn to replace old ones, eventually another village with a different name and layout will get built elsewhere in the world).

An autoquest system can be used to add flavour in subtle ways - indeed your players might not even view it as an autoquest system. It's easy to be put off by specific implementations, but if you look at the underlying concept you may find something worth using.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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Re: Autoquests

On Dragon's Exodus we have two types of quests.

We have static quests which are, obviously, static and can be performed
either once or a set number of times for x amount of exp and gold.

To earn quest points, you actually need to go to the autoquestor.

Explanation for the motives of the Questmasters vary. Their stated
objective is to punish the criminals of the realms for their crimes-
ranging from murder, theft, counterfeiting and smaller crimes like of
all things, cockfighting. Some have questioned the need to impose the
death penalty for some of the crimes. Others have expressed concern
about the fact that a group of criminals continue their crimes despite
being repeatedly apprehended. It is, however, likewise whispered that
they may have connections with organized crime and use the pretext
of sending people on a quest to liquidate a person they do not like.
They are generally treated with distrust and are known to be somewhat
erratic in their rewards ranging from being extremely generous to
being unbelievably stingy.

There are four different Questmasters with four different sets of items which
can be purchased from them; though exp, build points and practice points can
be purchased from all of them. Currently, to boost the economy, and to
cause a breakdown in the Questmaster friendship story-line when I write that up,
players can only purchase items from their own cities Questmaster.

Of course, we also have immortal run games and contests in which
the players can earn quest points, practice sessions, gold, experience and
so forth. For some strange reason they love hunting and killing the lovable
Fruff Monsters I created. (Imagine a Koala Bear with purple and cyan hued
fur.)

I love Kavir's mention of scripted villages that can be used for storyline
purposes. I'd have loved if, when I was a player, I could actually have
formed a posse of players to save a town from a horde of crazed orcs, or
being the ones to pillage the village. As a builder, and not a coder, I obviously
have no idea what it would take to code in that function with our code.
However, it does sound like a novel approach to immortal, and player-suggested,
role-play events.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:30 AM   #10
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Re: Autoquests

Hey guys,

I'm running Ironclaw Online, and we've got some code written up for quests. But very few quests.

Why? Because we have a lot of trouble thinking of *interesting* quests.

I can think of interesting stories. I like the example of wolves harassing farmers, that's an interesting story. However... what is the quest itself? "Go kill ten wolves"

We're very strongly pushing for a social MUD, so I want quests that enhance politics and player interactions, and I like the idea of potentially using auto-quests to do that. A very simple example might be that we give a quest of "go buy me a green shirt" - but we give that quest to anyone who *doesn't* have the ability to tailor clothing. That forces them to go find another player with tailoring skills, and beg/borrow/steal a green shirt. With a decent list of items, and enough variation in the requests to stop players stockpiling the items they think they'll need, that could drive some fun player interaction.

Then, of course, you run into the problem of them just getting their tailor friend to hand over the items to them without any gameplay between them (which is something we discourage in a social game....)

Even better would be if we could generate quests that drive politics. Hand-coding political quests can be weird, because if the quest is, for example "Let's frame the Bisclavret. They're well known to be savage, so we'll pay a wolf to do a savage beating while wearing a Bisclavret guardsman uniform" - that might be fun as a once-off. (It's a furry mud, hence the wolf.) Someone hires the wolf, arranges the beating... but in the longer term, there's going to be one happy wolf mercenary getting every job, and the players that are Bisclavret members would be very unhappy because they're constantly being accused of the crimes, without a way to stop it. - which means, for political quests like that, we'd need a way to randomize it for at least all of the political factions (or have one quest for each of them) - and a way to alert members to the quest happening, so they can attempt to thwart or respond to it.

Thwarting quests can be difficult, especially since players might not all be online at the same time, but possibly the concept of a quest chain might work. For example, the first quest, about hiring a wolf to do the beating might be available. When that's completed, it might no longer be available, but two new quests are available. One that "continues the plan" (for example, "The Bisclavret are now under suspicion. Arrange to have a Bisclavret member arrested for some crime or other") and one that "thwarts the plan" ("The Bisclavret are under suspicion, find out who did the beating, and give me their name") - obviously different mobs would give the quests (a Bisclavret-supporting mob would give the "find out who did it" quest, and might only give the quest to Bisclavret members) - this way other players doing actions *against* your group actually creates more gameplay for you. As they are successful, it opens up new quests, so you either get the fun of defeating them, or you get the fun of new quests being available.

... but that all brings me back to my initial question - how can I think of interesting quest actions. Forget the story, what actual actions can players go out and do?
They can
- kill something
- fight (but not necessarily) kill something (as in our example)
- collect something

Even if we give specific actions, like "go do this secret ritual" - that's still primarily just typing in the commands to walk to somewhere, then typing in the commands to do the action.

We can put in puzzles, but those would have to be hand-coded. If the system creates the puzzles to a formula, players would be able to figure out the "puzzle elements" and solve it every time without effort.

So.... any ideas for quests actions that players can do that will stay interesting and varying? - my example of needing an item from another player should (hopefully) always stay fresh, because the response of the other player will potentially vary each time. Or getting someone arrested might vary, because there may be different things necessary, depending on that player's actions.

But really, those are my only ideas. Help?
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:01 PM   #11
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Re: Autoquests

new.cyberassault.org 11111

We do have a ton of autoquests for our players on CyberASSAULT. Not only that, but a lot of our autoquests will reward you with items that you may have imbued by our quest shop guy "The master Fabricator". This will turn any item flagged ITEM_QUEST into a piece of equipment that is tuned to you!

Our first quest in the game involved getting the newbie guide from General Patton and returning it to Del Rejaxx, the questmaster above recall. He will give you some exp, qps, a rainbow token and will return to you the newbie guide so you can read up!

The idea is simple. any mob flagged (QM) in a golden hue if you use color allows the quest command. quest list for example. quest info 1 etc.

Not only do we have autoquests such as these. We have specially coded quests all around the mud that you can do while on a current autoquest.


We love our players, and our mud.
please read the changes (changes, change read 1 etc) for news on current updates!!! and there are plenty.

new.cyberassault.org 11111
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:12 AM   #12
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Re: Autoquests

If you are going to have quests, I think a combination of "autoquest" types (kill X# of Y, bring me A# of B) along with hand written, more story based quests works well.

I think things fall apart when you get so mired in quest based gameplay that it becomes the dominant way to play the game. I think that's what WoW brought us, and that's just its own type of grind.

I wrote an article about this years ago that covers my opinion in a lot more detail:

New Grind, Just like the Old Grind: Quest Heavy Advancement

I personally prefer mob grinding to questing, but I understand why some people prefer the more directed gameplay approach of questing. I think it is important though for people to understand that quest heavy gameplay is not an improvement upon or a higher level of quality than more traditional mob grinding. It is just its own type of grind, with a little bit of "purpose" to it that some people prefer.
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