The Daily Grind: Do you like pop-up objectives in MMOs?

    
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The Daily Grind: Do you like pop-up objectives in MMOs?

Thinking back to my first days in WildStar, I think my brain went on sensory overload due to all of the Stuff that kept happening as you adventured across maps. You had your regular quests, sure, but there were also path objectives that appeared, challenges that popped up, and public quests that ran their course. Sometimes it was a little overwhelming, but other times it made game sessions feel exciting and action-packed.

That kind of game design where you are constantly drawn off-course due to other pop-up objectives is interesting to me. I don’t really know where I fall on the like/dislike spectrum, because while I appreciate the attempt to keep me occupied and having fun, I also like focusing on a single task before others crowd in for my attention.

What do you think? Do you like pop-up objectives while you’re adventuring in-game, or would you rather the game be more passive in that regard?

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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Schlag Sweetleaf

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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Heh. I’ve done so much fishing in so many games. I barely touched it in ESO because it seemed like just a distraction intended to keep you busy there.

(Though I did like how it had variety of water type…but that was just to create more items to waste your space, since they put craft bag behind pay-wall, which is where all your lures would go. Otherwise it’s just x6-8? wasted bag spaces.)

Used to love fishing up a random box and opening it to see what I’d find on Rift.

Don’t remember fishing on LOTRO…but I did plenty of Scholar work and farming on there back when, had to grow some of that pipe-weed! I re-downloaded that the other day, and have tried hopping on my characters a couple times…wanting to get back into it, but it turns into hours of just reading stuff like skill trees/virtues/etc to try and remember HOW to even play the characters…and then remembering some of the reasons why I left. -shrugs-

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Schlag Sweetleaf

the fishing on Lotro was fun.I pursued it at an early level , made it more challenging because as you skilled up you had to go into more dificult and higher level zones to catch the bigger salmon. The Mobs would aggro from a great distance due to the level disparity. Rember standing in Forochel trying to hook the ‘elusive” 50 pounder and not daring to move from my spot lest the surrounding baddies would get me:) the hidden fishing hole in the game was a real treat as well.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Heh, yeah, I remember the ‘don’t venture here’ red-marked nameplate mobs. I had to learn where NOT TO GO by those, until they changed to green/gray (That’s one of the ways they distinguish difficulty level, the other being a nameplate icon wrap..essentially showing level of ‘elite-ness’).

Personally never got farther than Misty Mountains/Rivendell area, and that place north of the Shire with the huge white tower/bridge…because mobs were always marked as ‘We’ll slaughter you without effort’ past there to me.

Only made it to like lvl 42 max…because I played multiple characters back then and all of that kept me so busy that I had a massive burnout 9 months into a paid year (Doing every crafting guild at once + holiday events + trying to keep up with earning other stuff…I’ve wanted to go back many times, but only manage a little way in {20ish levels last try!} before I give up most times.)

The last few times I tried to go back, I couldn’t even attempt, because they had for some reason put a ‘You cannot wear this armor past lvl 25’ or something on all my gear sets, so when logging in it had forced all my character’s gear off…but I noticed this last time getting on that had been removed so I was able to put my gear back on. (Old Barrows full sets…)

Having to attempt to play with no armor was even more daunting.

I wonder if I just didn’t give fishing a try in that game because of it, or if it just didn’t even exist back then…? I vaguely recall running along the creek in the Shire and seeing people fishing who’d then run north along it and pull every what would’ve been red mob there to themselves and get chased…they were probably doing what you’re referring to. lol

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Brazen Bondar

I only like these kind of adventures when the player can chose whether to do them or not. Generally, I enjoy stumbling across the odd mission while out and about in the game world. The original TSW was absolutely wonderful about it. You could take the mission or not as your time and interest permitted. SWTOR on the other hand is horrible at it. The “bonus” pop-ups can wreck havoc with a player’s ability to get things done in a set amount of time. And there isn’t any consistency whatsoever on whether you can complete the pop-up after the main mission is done. On some you can and on others you can’t. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason with whether you can or not. You may be 3/4 of the way through an extended popup that took you time to do, and then BAM! you lost the ability to finish it. I really…hate that inconsistency in SWTOR. Let me choose if I want to do the bonus mission.

Zsokorad
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Zsokorad

It’s not an adventure without pop-up objectives. Every sword & sorcery and epic fantasy movie would be over in 10 minutes. Imagine if Frodo and Sam had walked from the Shire all the way to Mordor without ever running into anything along the way.

I’ve never cared about Guild Wars 2’s main storyline. I just like to run around randomly, encountering events and resources/treasures without any idea where I’ll end up by the end of the session.

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Ken from Chicago

Sure, it pop up objectives adds to the game. It’s a bonus for exploring, like getting exploration badges in CITY OF HEROES (e.g., jumping through the giant donut sign in Faultline or flying your starship through a donut asteroid in STAR TREK ONLINE). Plus, it can keep your mission log from getting clogged up with uncompleted quests.

The downside, is if I don’t accept the quest, I might forget where it is, in order to get it later, or how to activate it (eg, GUILD WARS had a quest activate Pre-Searing only by standing by and overhearing NPCs talk long enough).

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Stormwaltz

In moderation, absolutely. I love organic quest acquisition – you see a strange thing and get a quest from walking up to look at it, you find a random piece of drop loot with a story behind it. Things you see coming, that pique your curiosity, and you can pursue in your own time.

Wildstar went WAY overboard. I couldn’t go ten feet without getting swamped by overlapping content demanding my attention. No task could be completed without running into four more things – it was like drowning. I’m prone to sensory overload, and by the time I made it to the first big city (which had its own barrage of demands for my attention) I was too exhausted to stick with the game any further.

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Schmidt.Capela

Depends.

Can I trigger them reliably when I’m the mood to actually engage with them? In that case I like them, as it’s something extra to do without making me feel pressured into doing them the exact moment they pop up.

On the other hand, if I can’t trigger them reliably and on command then I tend to hate them. In that situation they make me feel like I must do them that exact moment or lose them, which usually ruins my enjoyment with both the pop-up objective (because I hate feeling forced to do something) and whatever I was originally going to do (because now I feel like I’m missing something by doing what I originally set out to do).

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mysecretid

Sure, as long as they’re not literal pop-ups.

One game I’ve played has NPCs occasionally come up to you and say “Hey, I just saw some suspicious types from (bad guy group x) go into a building near here. Maybe you want to see what that’s all about, hero-type?”

Then I get the pop-up to either accept or decline their mission.

To me, that’s fine, and in the context of the game world — but if a game is literally just popping new quest windows in my face every time I walk into a new section of a game, that’s just spam to me, and I lose my patience with it quickly.

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Bruno Brito

One game I’ve played has NPCs occasionally come up to you and say “Hey, I just saw some suspicious types from (bad guy group x) go into a building near here. Maybe you want to see what that’s all about, hero-type?”

CO, right?

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mysecretid

Champions Online was the example here, yep — but I have seen similar in at least one other online game. One of the fantasy ones, I think, but I can’t remember which one right now.

I just prefer it when the quests come to you through the game world, partly because most online games are always popping announcements at players, and after a while, I get annoyed by it.

If a side-quest comes to me through a character or an event in the game itself, as part of play, I’m a lot more likely to prioritize it. instead of ignore it.

Hope you are well, Bruno! :-)

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kjempff

Short answer, Yes I like events.
Long answer, But there are rules and ways to not do it.

First, don’t overdo it.. An event has to be a rare thing, maybe like once or twice in an hour of adventuring; something out of the ordinary, something exciting. Don’t loop the events in a short timeframe, make it day(s) to reset and with a randomized timer on top.

Second, don’t be gamey.. Rewards can not pop out of thin air, ui related to the event should preferably be non existant or very carefully designed to not be gamey. Instructions should be given by the npcs involved as them speaking, not in ui.

Possibly more…that I can’t think of right now

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rk70534

I do, as long as they don’t overwhelm the main questing but instead give some more meat over the bones.

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Rndomuser

If you mean dynamic quests which involve something like a group of NPCs suddenly starting to attack some settlement at a totally random point in time – sure, I like those. Especially if that group can actually overtake it and keep the settlement unless you drive them out, preventing some quest or trader NPCs from spawning there. It makes the game feel less like doing a boring monotonous job of “talk to NPC, get a task, proceed to task area, gather necessary items to complete the task, return them back to NPC”. Unfortunately just about every game developer really underuses those and does not make them interesting and dynamic enough.