Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tradeskill quests

I try to log into Test server one night a week to chat with the players there. I find it very useful, as it's a rare night that I don't come away with at least a couple things to fix or confirm. Although we designers and then QA do our best to avoid bugs, it can sometimes be a handicap already knowing how something is supposed to work. There's really no substitute for seeing how large numbers of players will react to something -- sometimes they'll try and do things that never even crossed the designer's mind (as I have described before, in a guest post on the EQII official blog).

Bugs aside, sometimes it's helpful just to hear people talking to gather feedback and get some general impressions about what people enjoy and what they don't enjoy. When I logged in this evening, one of the folks online told me they were in the middle of discussing what they wanted to see in crafting quests. Obviously this is a topic of interest to me, since I'm the one who creates those quests! And I know what I think is fun, but I always try to get feedback on what other people think is fun also, because my views aren't necessarily always going to be shared by everybody.

When I asked to hear what they were discussing they wanted to see in future crafting quests, there was initially a long list of rewards, not actual quests. While that's useful in a different way, if I were trying to figure out what to give out as rewards, it's an entirely different question from what people want to actually do during the process of a quest. As it happens, I have a number of cool rewards already ready and waiting to be awarded somewhere so I was more interested in hearing how they might like to earn such things, than what they would like to be rewarded.

However, eventually the discussion worked around to answering the actual question of what folks find fun in crafting quests. I've put in quite a few crafting quests since I joined the SOE team (all of which should be included on EQ2Traders' crafting quest list) and they've been fairly varied in nature. Many involve actually crafting items, but not all; after all, many adventure quests don't actually involve killing things, so I reckon that tasks like deliveries, exploration, and other non-combat errands are fair game for either playstyle.

The evening was unfortunately cut a bit short by an unscheduled Test server update, but before the servers went down, the general consensus on what folks would like to see more of is:
  • quests that don't necessarily involve crafting items, or at least, not crafting large numbers of items that feel like a grind;
  • quests that encourage crafters to get out and around the world a bit to see the sights;
  • quests that have a bit of history or lore about the world, helping crafters to feel they are part of the story of the world;
  • quests that actually change the environment, such as moving items around, building items, etc.;
  • quests that are funny, such as accidentally torturing a poor tradeskill liaison (as in the Advanced Journeyman Tasks quest, which I wrote while in a rather peculiar mood and which people seem to be very fond of).
This is pretty much in line with what I generally consider fun myself and try to put into quests when possible, though not necessarily every point into every quest. It's good to confirm now and then that they really do enjoy this type of thing and I'm not deeply irritating them by mistake. In fact, I've recently added some new questlines into the continent of Kunark (intended for Game Update 54) which include a number of these points in simple fashion, but I'd like to do more of the same and in deeper scope for the upcoming expansion too. I got a number of ideas listening to people discussing what they like tonight, and another good idea has come to me while typing this post, so tomorrow I will start thinking about the details and see if a fun quest line can come out of this all. If so, no doubt Test server will be the first to see it, and well deserved that preview will be, too.


  1. I love that quest! I laughed for hours when I did that quest and even went back through my text log when my wife got home and read it to her! It is by far the single most memorable quest I have done so far in the game I often get so wrapped up in the gotta do such and such that a quest is a quest blah blah but that one I read each text box and was absolutly ROFL so that one made my day. I think there should be more humorous ones like that too.

    You can find me almost any givin day usually late evening to early morning on the butcherblock server as Avianna hope to hear from you I do have a few questions coments sugestions you might like.

    p.s. I'd love to see the potions that restore vitality to tradeskilling as tradeskilling quest rewards; currently the only place to get them is the marketplace.

  2. Best time to catch me in game in on Tuesday evenings, PST, when I can usually be found on the Test server in the /test channel. From normal servers you can /join test.test to listen in. /feedback in game and posts in the tradeskill forum on the official forums get read also though!