The Daily Grind: Would you do MMO quests if they didn’t offer rewards?


Does everything we do in an MMORPG have to be motivated by a reward? I was thinking about that the other day in Lord of the Rings Online when I was questing with my level-capped character. I wasn’t getting any progression-pumping XP any more, so I didn’t need to do it. Yet I genuinely wanted to, partially for the sake of completion and partially because I don’t mind questing for the story alone.

I guess it’s all in how you define “rewards” for quests. There are the rewards that developers code in to the completion screen, and then there are less tangible rewards like the experience of doing it and the lore that comes with it.

So as a thought experiment today, I’ll toss out this: Would you do MMO quests if there were no gear, monetary, or progression rewards attached? Would you do them for the sake of doing them alone? And are there particular MMOs in which this would be more true than others for you?

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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Depends on what is defined as reward. Completetion or bit of extra coin is also reward though rather insignificant.
On rare occasions I chase completion.
Sometimes I do a story if the lore triggered my curiousity, almost never if it is just a story quest.

But in general quest without any reward, for me, is the same as playing blackjack without bets, it is possible to do but extremely boring. So I guess the honest answer is “nop not really”.


I play MMOS for two things, the story and exploring the game world.

In most games Quests = Story, so yes, I’d play them if there wasn’t any rewards. A good story is rewarding enough, getting stuff for completing a quest is a bonus.

If the story is bad, to the point I’m clicking through the dialogue without listening or reading, just for the sake of completion and rewards, it won’t be long before I stop giving the game chances to get good storywise and I’ll play something else.

Toy Clown

If the story’s good enough, yeah. For example, ESO’s quests largely read like engaging, short stories and many of the characters within are connected to other stories around Tamriel. I get a little joyful when I see a favorite character end up in a questline in another zone or expansion. Most ESO quests aren’t that rewarding and I do them for the sheer joy of it.

In other games, I’ve found questing to be akin to pulling teeth, both in trying to digest the story, and for being bloated with useless fetch and kill quests. I won’t do those quests unless it’s forced as part of progression (FFXIV) or with a good reward.


Would I do missions in online games if there were no rewards? Kind of, depending on how you want to define it. If there was no *anything?* Not even XP? Probably not. But in the games I still play online, I do missions for effectively no *worthwhile* reward all the time.

In Warframe, I have nearly every Warframe armor, and pretty close to every single weapon. I don’t have every mod (upgrade) card, but the ones I’m missing are so fantastically rare that the odds of getting one as a random drop are functionally so close to zero as to make no difference. I play anyway (almost always solo) because I just enjoy running around as a techno-organic space wizard ninja and punching Grineer so hard their legs fall off.

In Star Trek Online it’s similar. All of my characters are max level. I don’t have the highest tier of gear on nearly any of them, but upgrading past where they are now would require basically spending real money on the Bottleneck-ium resource that the upgrade system consumes. The items that drop randomly are universally just vendor trash, and the credits that they can be sold for can’t be used to buy… much of anything, really. That setting’s version of healing potions is about it, and a lifetime supply is only a few thousand credits. I still chip away at the story missions, because I want to “finish” each character and get a pointless little checkmark somewhere for completing every playable mission.

Anton Mochalin

I think I’d play GW2’s personal story / LW story just for lore and general world info without any rewards (the rewards are mostly irrelevant for a long-time lvl 80 character anyway) even though I really don’t expect much from any game’s story – for me even a mediocre sci-fi or fantasy book has infinitely better story than any videogame. Games are just not a good medium for stories because of player agency and games with the best storytelling are close to “interactive novels”.

But I understand that for example much of the appeal of GW2’s story missions for me is that they unlock new content e.g. open world zones. Should we count that content unlocking as a reward or as a part of the story progression? Well I can say I restrained myself from going to Verdant Brink before doing HoT’s first quests because otherwise that seemed like breaking the intended experience… So yeah new zone unlock for me is a part of story progression and less a “reward” if it seems to be intended to be that way – even though I value open world content much more than instanced story content and could easily skip the story.

So it seems like playing the story for me is more about experiencing a game world as its creators intended it and it has its own value outside the reward system.

Kickstarter Donor
Brazen Bondar

I would, particularly if they were story quests. In every game I play my characters always reach the max cap. Basically, I just do quests because some of them are fun. I don’t really need the rewards. I do sometimes need the money and I would do those quests w/o story if I got credits. I don’t need the armor or other rewards…just the money please.

Rick Mills

If you lacked quests, you would lack the story behind the game. I’m not sure what you would call an MMORPG without quests – Fortnite?


I’ve been suggesting for years that quests should not offer XP!

So, if quests genuinely stopped offering rewards, there is very little chance of me doing them. I strongly dislike questing in MMOs, I find everything about quests to be dull and generic. I think there would be a massive benefit to removing 90% of quests from MMOs, so that the writers can really focus on that last 10% and try to create some actually good quests with good gameplay and story.


It’s like asking “would you like to do quests while playing chess?”

I actually play story-driven single-player games once per year but only when they are really great (Control, AC Odyssey), unlike thousands McDonalds-quality MMO quests.

Nah, screw them, in MMOs at least. From non-specialized adventure/questing games I want a fast-paced action, not reading or watching (unless it’s an automated PvE combat, MK11 is a marvel here). There is enough of good reading and shows outside of the games.

Kickstarter Donor

If they were good, you bet! I don’t care much about the rewards in GW2, I play the updates to play through the new narrative. Loot helps, and may determine if I stick with a quest, but like…the Sokrates quests in AC:Od, you can bet your ass I’d still be doing them even if they COST XP and/or loot, because they were loads of fun without any reward.