The Daily Grind: What is the worst-designed MMO quest?

    
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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?

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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Scotty

EQ2, Billy, full stop.

Carlo Lacsina
Staff
Carlo Lacsina

It’s not so much the quests, more like the conditions I’m doing quests in. I don’t like doing quests when too many people are doing them all at once, especially when I have to slay a specific monster type and no PK option. Suddenly I’m competing with folks on how fast I can tab target with no alternatives.

Covynant001
Reader
Covynant001

Escort quests in almost any MMORPG, always hated trying to get brain dead NPCs safely to their destinations.

Oh look a field of dragons, let’s go around. Nope, stupid npc marches right into the middle, then stops regularly to engage.

srmalloy
Reader
srmalloy

In City of Heroes, they’re sometimes not hideous, but most of them are, and those fall into one of two types — first, the non-combat NPC who can’t see you if you have any sort of stealth active, and, second, the suicide squad members, who will fight alongside you after you pick them up, but who more reliably take off on their own as soon as they spot a hostile spawn, even if it’s too far away to notice you, and promptly get themselves killed before you notice they’ve run off.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vunak

Go kill those boars cause I need their stomachs for my weird voodoo stew I’m making, oh can you go back and kill some more cause I need their eyes for flavor.

Reader
angrakhan

I would say most of ESO. It’s not that any one quest is bad. It’s that they came up with a formula and then repeated it for 95% of the content. Here’s the basic formula.

1. Go over there and gather things which are of course next to some aggressive mobs you’ll have to fight.

2. Great now go kill some things that will drop something I need.

3. Awesome, now go solve this puzzle/riddle which will be frustrating enough to send you to Google to go research the answer.

4. Nice work, now go into this delve (soloable dungeon) and kill the boss.

5. You are the hero of the town/area/zone/faction.

Change the names, locations and order of the first three steps and you have just played the vast majority of ESO including every expansion ever.

You’re welcome.

Reader
Bruno Brito

I cant disagree. There’s absolutely no quest chain that i found memorable in ESO, only spread quests.

The assassin questchain in Morrowind is ok-ish but it grows dull sometimes. The last fight is good tho.

Reader
Daniel Reasor

Oh God, I just remembered the Horde Shaman quest to get the Water Totem. I must have been blocking it from memory due to the trauma.

Horde players had to trek up and down two continents, twenty levels before they got their first mount. When the Alliance got Shamans in Burning Crusade, their quests were contained in one or two island zones. “Blizz favors Horde,” my hind end.

Reader
silverlock

I’m going to go off topic just a little and say I’m sick of them calling tasks quests. Killing the Lich king and retrieving his amulet so you can close a portal to hell is a quest, killing ten rats and giving their tails to the local rat catcher is a task.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

Every Fetch or Deliver quest EVER invented. The mere notion that the saviours of these fantasy worlds would be tasked with deliveries and flower picking etc.. is just utterly ludicrous and demeaning.

Reader
Necrococo

I’m the freak that enjoys those – sometimes I like a break from combat and a quick boost of XP.

Yangers
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Yangers

Any quest where the npc has you go back and forth to the same area over and over and over again, when you could have collected everything the first trip.

Padding at its finest,

MagnifyingLens
Reader
MagnifyingLens

Many years ago I wrote a blog post about exactly this: http://lensonmmos.blogspot.com/2012/06/lens-on-worst-quest-ever-designed.html

The TLDR: the LotRO quest to get your mount and training. It took what should be a reward and celebration and turned it into frustration and contemplation of mortality.