The Daily Grind: Do you like MMO quests with fail conditions?

In my recent forays into Dungeons and Dragons Online, I was forcibly reminded just how different this game in comparison of your standard MMORPG. For one thing, there seem to be many more quests and dungeons that are peppered with fail conditions which immediately terminate a run if certain actions are performed or fail to be executed.

Of course, this sort of thing isn’t exclusive to DDO; when you think about it, most MMOs feature fail conditions on occasion. Maybe it’s that escort quest that tanks if your bumbling NPC gets his or her butt shot up. Sometimes fail conditions come in the form of special achievements that offer an optional layer of difficulty for players looking for challenge.

Do you like MMO quests with fail conditions or do you resent them? What example would you use as a memorable mission with this sort of mechanic?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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44 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Do you like MMO quests with fail conditions?"

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donvweel

This fail condition quest can make things interesting. The DDO one that comes to my mind is “let Sleeping Dust Lie” in the Vale of Twilight. The condition is you can not kill more than 5 crimson foot spiders. It is perfectly ok for them to attack you, and they do. You really have to watch hirelings as your pocket healer will wipe out 5 spiders in no time if you don’t make them stand in a corner.
http://ddowiki.com/page/Let_Sleeping_Dust_Lie

quark1020
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quark1020

I don’t mind failing conditions in my quests so long as they’re realistic and its not caused by sabotage (game mechanics or dick players).

I remember having to escort some schmuck to a camp in vanilla wow (I think it was ungoro crater, but i don’t remember), and the idiot kept charging at anything that came within its aggro range. Worst part was a horde player came around and, noticing this, decided to trail several monsters to my idiot npc. Despite the idiot npc going around and tagging all the monsters, and the fact that this quest was at level with me, I managed to pull through the skin of my teeth.

In that example, the npc shouldn’t have been programed with a chip on its shoulder and another player shouldn’t have been able derail the whole process just by being near by with monsters. Had I failed, I probably would have rage quit for the day. Still, I succeeded, and it wouldn’t have been as interesting a story to share with you all if there was no chance for failure.

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drgreenhoe

With the posibility of failure, sucess is all that much sweater.

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Bryan Correll

Success sweater?
comment image

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Mr Poolaty

Kids today will never realize the awesomeness of grinding for a pop item from ffxi and not killing the mob and losing your pop item.

I was really kind of pissed off when I started playing ffxiv there was a mission where you had to get a pop item and I used it and died. But I didn’t loose the item just ran back out from the city… Really fucking lame…

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Loopy

I’m ok with them as long as the “fail” doesn’t involve re-doing 15 minutes of content to get to the same spot. FFXIV is notorious for this with their solo trials, as they generally don’t save progress through various stages, so a fail may mean redoing a whole lot of repeated content.

That being said. If they’re around every now and then – not a biggie.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I prefer normal ones over those with fail but I dont mind latter if they arent frequent

kjempff
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kjempff

Really depends on the type of fail condition. I am not sure I can list or define which. Some makes me annoyed while others trigger my competetive focus.
Also long buildups with an instafail option at the end is extremely annoying.
Generally I prefer softer fail options such as mistakes causing disadvantages and with a number of those you can’t succeed, or that it is a kind of percentage scale where more mistakes cause lower quality reward; even so much that top achievers will have incentive to return for the perfection reward but casuals will be happy with just completing.

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Robert Mann

If the game design is cool and offers lots more to go with the failure, sure.

If it just means “Go back to start, try again” then that can die in a fire. Boooooriiiiing!

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Paragon Lost

Yes, I think it’s one more tool in an mmorpg developers bag of tricks. Would I want to see it in every quest or dungeon? Nope, just like I wouldn’t want to see puzzles or jumping tasks in every quest or dungeon.

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Jack Pipsam

Not normally, but if the context is fine then I suppose it’s okay in moderation.

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Dread Quixadhal

It depends. If there’s a large set of content to pick from, even permanent fail conditions are fine. But I’d hate to fail on a quest that’s part of a big storyline or charaacter progression, and not have a chance to continue.

If you have procedural generation, or a BIG staff that churns out new quests all the time, it could be pretty cool to get unique quests that you only get one chance to do, and if you fail, that’s it…

Consider a quest to save some diplomat. If he dies, how can you reasonably expect to try again?

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Lethality

Not only should there be fail conditions, there should also be “no do-overs” so some of them are perms-fails. You get one shot.

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starbuck1771

I don’t mind having them they sometimes help find slackers who just sit back to collect loot.

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Utakata

I think this is a thing that would wear quickly thing with many. So having it far and few in games is optimal if the developer insists on them being there.

I personally would like to say that I don’t mind them. But I know if a quest had them, I would try to avoid it unless I have to do it. So I do mind them. But my dislike of them shouldn’t stop a game from having them if they prove popular. I just don’t think they are popular in practise either.

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Michael18

Wouldn’t say I like them, but they’re ok once in a while to spice things up a bit.

BUT: as with all other forms of “challenge” in quests:
1) test the quest properly, also with classes that cannot tank or heal.
2) fix the tech of your game in general (failing a quest because of rubber banding, etc. is extremely annoying).
3) don’t make such quests block progress (like having 80% of quests in a zone rely on the completion of a particularly tricky quest).

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Hirku

Fail conditions? Sure.
Instafail conditions? Not so much.

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Witches

First playthrough LOVE IT, but the pleasure diminishes with each subsequent playthrough to the point that i roll my eyes and sigh in desperation each time i come upon it, if there is a way to avoid it i will find it, and if there isn’t i’ll just hate the devs a little more.

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mistressbrazen

I don’t necessarily mind a fail quest. Sometimes you can get a nice challenge out of successfully completing one. What I don’t like is multi-tiered quests where a fail late in your progress sends you all the way back to the beginning or where fail is dependent on a jumping challenge. As much as I loved TSW, there were two or three of these (both the jump as well as the multi-tiered fails) that just bugged the heck out of me. The escort missions are annoying but they don’t normally take too much time so I’m all right with a fail there. I don’t believe I have ever received any achievement for speed, although I do occasionally get the stealth ones.

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Chad Wells

Remember the good old days, when the trash mobs would reset because you just wiped on the last Boss in the Deadmines.

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Paragon Lost

As Lethality mentioned, some pats would always respawn and that’s still true to this day. They aren’t resetting.

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Lethality

That’s actually not true. It’s just that you took so long to get there, they started to repop. They didn’t spawn because of a boss wipe. And that’s true of WoW dungeons to this day.

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Bryan Turner

I’m glad they’re dead and buried.

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zoward

In a word: yes. Having variation – even variation that makes completion tougher or more time-consuming – makes for more interesting dungeons.

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MesaSage

I just get slightly annoyed when they play with the words. “Don’t be seen” in early quests later becomes “Don’t attract too much attention to yourself” when in the end, both mean the same thing – FAIL. To me, the latter means I can pick off the scouts, but have to be more careful in aggroing the core.

I don’t mind it for the sake of variety, but it’s still an annoyance, especially if the quest giver and location are intentionally far apart.

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Bryan Turner

lol, when I see BS like that mr reaction usually is “mother Fer I’m not a Rogue/Thief, I’m a 2 Hand Sword Wielding Bad Ass or a near immortal Tank so Leroy Jenkins!!!”

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Armsbend

I like lots of variation in all quests. I enjoy things that some people are unable to do and things I’m unable to do but can with enough practice. Otherwise everything is simply a participation medal. Not really for me.

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Maggie May

The ones that make me go back to the beginning and repeat a number of steps to get back to the part that I failed only to fail again are really annoying. I also hate the race or speed related quests, when a char doesn’t have a lot of stamina you’re at a disadvantage.

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Sunken Visions

Most MMO quests lack any real challenge, and fail conditions don’t necessarily increase their difficulty. Fail conditions can change the way a quest feels, making it more intense and whatnot, but it can also be a nuisance under certain conditions.

For me, the more ‘trial and error’ involved in a quest, the more I hate it. Difficulty is about testing your skill with the game, not just simple memorization. If you’re too lazy to make your quests challenging, or too scared of frustrating your entitled player base, then you aren’t getting any of my money.

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Tia Nadiezja

I don’t like repeating content unless I’m explicitly choosing to do so. So full-on fail conditions are bad.

INTERESTING fail conditions, on the other hand? Challenges that net you extra rewards if you succeed or extra threats if you fail or unlock secret areas or change the path of the mission but still allow completion regardless of result? Those are AWESOME.

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Tanek

This was part of what I liked about the initial description of the “dynamic” events in GW2. The idea that failing an event could lead to more than just a need to repeat the same event was something I had not seen before. At least not outside of the single-player or co-op type models.
Whether it lived up to the promise can be debated, but I would like to see this kind of thing attempted more so it can be refined.

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Tia Nadiezja

If my quest is to rescue Clint Bobski from the Sea Creature and to defeat the Creature’s high priest Mackalroy, go ahead and put me on a timer and kill Clint when it runs out. But still let me kill Mackalroy and get a reward for doing so. Don’t make the whole run a waste.

hurbster
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hurbster

Take too long and he sics Voo and Doo on you, because he has money.

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Lethality

Rewarded for success, rewarded for failure. Ah, today’s gamer.

This is what’s wrong with the genre.

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wratts

And let you see what the consequences of failing to rescue Clint Bobski are. As much as anything, I think it would be good to see less linearity in MMO questing, or at least branching paths

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TomTurtle

I can’t say they’re something I’m terribly for or against. They’re just there. Many instances of fail conditions are fairly balanced in the games I’ve played. There are those rare occasions that bother me such as ye olde escort mission failing because of dumb NPC AI and having to restart that slow slog. Fail conditions like that, like what you mentioned, that result in having to start over for a task that takes a long time piss me off.

That aside, I’d like to see fail conditions explored more in that failure doesn’t always mean rinse and repeat until you succeed. Why not a branching failure state that leads to something else? It’s been done a little, but usually these tasks are designed for you to get them done eventually in the “correct” manner. Not much room is left for creativity in such limited designs.

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Ken from Chicago

STAR TREK ONLINE has most if not all missions with multiple parts in space and on the ground. Some of the space parts involve defeating foes but at higher levels if you’re solo it can at times be overwhelming.

However the game offers aid early on as you’re leveling up to earn beacons that can call for help from multiple NPC ships. So if you’re being overwhelmed solo and don’t have a buddy or guild to help, the NPC ships can help. To balance that, they disappear after defeating the current foe or a few minutes and the beacon doesn’t recharge for 15 minutes.

So if you’re patient you can solo a number of quests that would otherwise require a team to survive these combat fail points.

Also, the different parts of a quest are kept track of so if you fail part 3 of a 5-part quest, you can respawn and only have to restart part 3, not start completely over at part 1.

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Tanek

I’ll second BBB with fail conditions needing to be clear in an MMO. Give me a chance to see what needs to be done and do it.
This is not to say it should be easy or always able to be done in one try, but it is a frustrating thing for me in many MMOs when they kill you without letting you know why. Every death in a dungeon or on a quest should provide information on what went wrong so you can avoid that condition next time.
That said, I do like well-crafted missions with fail conditions. Heck, I loved playing Dishonored and getting the achievement for no kills and never being seen, so I opt in for fail conditions even when they are not necessary. :)

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BalsBigBrother

I don’t mind fail conditions as long as the fail condition is flagged in some way.

The ones that annoy me are those that one shot you because you stood in the wrong place with no indication what the right place was or that you are actually standing in a bad place so you have to trial and error it. That is not good game play in my opinion and is really really frustrating to me.

By all means if someone stands in the big pool of lava one shot them for being daft enough to stand in said lava. However if you are just stood somewhere or worse an npc whom you have no control stands somewhere and is instantly killed, bad fail mechanic and bad mmo game design (such things can work with other types of games though still a little frustrating to me but at least I can mitigate the pain a little by save scumming :p hehe )

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Bryan Correll

Very much this. Failing because I screw up is on me. Failing because of some “Gotcha!” mechanic that I can’t account for is just frustrating.

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Schmidt.Capela

If the fail condition happens in solo content, and I can try it as many times as I want until I get it right, they don’t bother me.

For group content, though, I really dislike fail conditions. Finger pointing for triggering a fail condition is one of the fastest ways to break a group apart.

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Ken from Chicago

Or like Bal’s Big Brother said, if the fail condition was flagged or some way known beforehand, then at least knowledgeable members of the group can alert the rest what needs to be done or avoided from the start. Or at least warn the team you’re getting close to a fail point on the mission and how to avoid triggering it.

I remember GUILD WARS 1 quests where your path was close to several mobs and you had to move carefully to avoid aggroing all of them. Usually the leader or tank or someone with a range attack would warn us back and … carefully … aggro only one group and draw em back to the team to defeat. Lather, rinse, repeat until all the groups were defeated and the way was clear.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

idk that i necessarily like or dislike fail conditions in themselves. just probably the uninspired manners in which they exist in the genre usually.

they certainly don’t bother me in gtao for the most part even if we often game the system to favour our odds at succeeding dramatically. but typically the fail states and the activities themselves are such a breath of fresh air from teh typical activity/content design of this genre, which despite being one ofthe top five selling games of all time and one of the very few on that list that wasn’t bundled with a top selling console box/etc, developers in the mmo genre have just not woken up to gtao’s innovations despite having spent more than a decade aping on cliches established by wow.

which is somewhat ironic given some of their latest design choices/docs in their current/recent kickstarter/or w/e game they are working on. which basically is alot of more of the same tired old beta forum feedback shit that helped kill the genre.

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David Goodman

If a quest only rewards experience or a randomly generated piece of loot – like DDO – I don’t mind it. Particularly since you can releat the quest and try again relatively easily.

The only I as I have with DDO – a small one – is that their quests are pretty much all or nothing, and a failed quest can result in a lot of lost time if you’re newer and not speed running everything.

Would I say that I “like” them though? Not really. I’m basically neutral / meh. They dont add anything to my experience or immersion personally. I just dont mind them as long as I don’t lose my one chance at the thing I was in their for in the first place

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