The other night I was working my way through a fairly typical quest in Lord of the Rings Online in which I had to pick up several different objects around the camp and then use them on NPCs. It struck me out of the blue that this quest could have been made very frustrating simply by scattering the objects over a wider field and making them much more difficult to find.
I think we underestimate how hard it is to create smooth-flowing quests and how easy it would be to botch them up. MMO developers, for the most part, do a praiseworthy job making quests palpable for the masses, but every once in a while a mission slips into the game that is absolutely awful in design and execution. Maybe it’s an escort mission that moves at 0.002 miles per hour and never ends. Perhaps it’s a “find all the glowies” quest where one glowy is all but impossible to discover without a Sherpa guide.
Today, let’s let off some steam and single out some of the worst-designed MMO quests of all time. What were they, and what made them so horrible?