Five Favorite Features: ArcheAge #2 – Overachieving Quests

This post is my day 4 contribution to the 2015 Blaugust Initiative.


Let’s face it: questing in MMOs can sometimes be a real chore. For every awesome story quest out there, designers usually give us a few missions to kill ten rats or scoop ten poops. There’s just not enough time to fill these huge worlds with compelling stories around every single corner.

Even if there were enough designers, dollars, and days to make every quest feel epic, players might be overwhelmed by trying to keep track of so many stories and how they relate to each other. Filling in the world with “to-do list” quests gives us small goals we can achieve in a reasonable time, without having to invest a tremendous amount of thought in the process. I always get a little bit of satisfaction whenever I check off the last chore on the list.

Not again.

Ugh. Not again.

But how should designers balance these quests? How do you control for such wild variables as a player’s enthusiasm or impatience? What’s the ideal number of rats to kill for optimal player satisfaction? ArcheAge addresses these questions by letting players complete as few as 50% or as many as 150% of a quest’s objectives.

For most quests in ArcheAge that entail repeating the same objective many times, you can complete the quest early as soon as you’ve done about half of them. The quest tracker will indicate [Comp. Early] as soon as you can do this. You’ll get less experience and coin as a reward, but you’ll still get any items you were promised. I sometimes turn in quests early if I’m exploring a low-level zone just for the sake of clearing out its quests, or if I get frustrated with a quest’s objectives and just want to move on.

If you’ve done the full number of objectives for a quest and keep going, you’ll notice the quest tracker change to [Extra Prog.]. It won’t tell you how many more times you need to repeat the objective, but it’s generally about 150% of the base amount. As soon as you see [Overachieve] in the tracker, you won’t get credit for any more. Turn in the quest at this stage to receive bonus experience and coin for your effort.

As a free player in ArcheAge, I appreciate the opportunity to get some extra experience and coin from questing. Although leveling up through questing isn’t hard, I lack the larger labor pool of paying patrons to earn as much through professions.

Which annoying quests in your favorite game would you like to complete early? Or are you an overachiever who always aims for 150%? Turn in your comments below for extra experience. (Sorry, no coin!)

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11 thoughts on “Five Favorite Features: ArcheAge #2 – Overachieving Quests

  1. I’m still grouchy at AA about a number of things, but I think overachieving quest goals was one of their great ideas! I wish more games would encourage this… it was especially helpful in the early levels.

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    • I’ve been a bit disillusioned by ArcheAge, too. Part of my goal in writing this series is to get myself to see the game again with the same fresh, excited eyes as when I began beta testing.

      One of my favorite benefits of overachieving is that if I have to fight my way to the back of a camp of enemies to kill their leader, I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time when I have to fight my way back out again. Those extra kills or drops are still a good use of my time with the bonus from overachieving quests.

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      • I really did enjoy AA when it first launched. I just can’t stand by the company decisions, which is sad. Still, there is a lot there to love, and I wish you all the luck in finding the positives in the game! I still remember having a blast in jury duty. 😀

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  2. Darn, I was relying on that coin! I think it’s a pretty smart idea. Doing the gathering, boring quests can get tedious really quickly and this is a fun way to speed it along.

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  3. Great post, Fred! I too share the love for this particular system in AA. Naturally, I almost always overachieve when possible. The only times I may not is if I’m in a rush to finish something, or if the objectives are too difficult for me to want to continue (ie slaying X elite enemies or something).

    Now if only the labor point system wasn’t so underachieving…

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  4. Wow, this sounds like a really interesting system. I wish it was implemented in other games, esp. the ones in which I stay for the writing and not necessarily for the combat, which happens occasionally. On another note, this is the first time on your site and I really like your writing style, as well as the site design. I’ll be coming back here! 😀

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  5. I’m not sure I understand the appeal of this system. 😀 I mean, in the end the whole 150% deal is a cosmetic crutch to create the illusion of shortcuts or something. Players tend to be compelled to go for the full reward when there is one, so I’d be interested to see numbers about who’s happy to just go with 50% when they could be going to 150%. In the end exp is exp and I’d rather prolong a quest than having to kill mobs just to make up for it. Or alternatively, if you don’t feel like questing grinds, you can already skip them?

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    • I think the main selling point of this feature is the illusion of control it puts in the hands of the player. You’re still doing some amount of work deemed acceptable by the designer, but you always have the option to walk away after doing the bare minimum of it, if you choose.

      There’s no real difficulty to leveling up in ArcheAge, but due to how Labor Points regenerate, time literally is money. I think you’d be surprised to learn how many players decide their time would be more valuable doing something other than spending 3x as long on each quest to overachieve it.

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  6. I enjoyed ArcheAge when I played it a TON! When I stopped playing (wasn’t intentional, just lost time for gaming), I didn’t miss it even though I liked the game. Feel the same about Rift, too. Your posts have me wondering if I’d enjoy the game again enough to redownload it, though.

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  7. that’s a really interesting mechanic! i think I’d like to see that in more MMOs – there are always mobs that you just don’t want to have anything to do with or are in a boring area and there are always times when you end up having to kill more just to get out or whatever…

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