Quality of writing in quests

GrizzlyOso

Well-known member
The problem with putting effort into writing is the "skip skip skip" mentality. Even those reading thoroughly 1st time through new content surely want to skip on repeat visits.
The problem is dialogue at all. Ok there should be some, but the more stuff through natural interface / dm the better.

Why aren’t there more combats like end of prove your worth with active skill checks ? ( ok I feel like that fight can be buggy, maybe why)

Why aren’t there more environmental skill checks for quests instead of drop downs of options in dialogue?

Why can’t I just run up to the eladrin in make believe and diplo them ? Instead of stupid dialogue ? Maybe they even try to fight but if you diplo first … etc
 

Br4d

Well-known member
The problem with putting effort into writing is the "skip skip skip" mentality. Even those reading thoroughly 1st time through new content surely want to skip on repeat visits.

The problem with putting money into writing is it is last gen tech at this point. Most modern games use voice-overs and voice-acting in conjunction with quests and information at this point.

The fact that people do skip-skip-skip is only really relevant on repeats of the quests when they already know what's written.

Every time I do the House K tavern quests I wonder why each of them is gated behind 3 or more clicks that I memorized 15 years ago.
 

rohmer

Well-known member
Honestly what got me hooked on the prerelease friday (I took off in 2006 to play that day) was the tie in from waterworks to STK.

I really liked that bit of writing.
 

Purr

Well-known member
Honestly what got me hooked on the prerelease friday (I took off in 2006 to play that day) was the tie in from waterworks to STK.

I really liked that bit of writing.
There's a part in the library quest in Delera's that ties it into the Necropolis quest line as well.
 

Justfungus

Well-known member
If the narrative mattered, folks would read it. Say, they made what you did during an adventure effect your alignment with incremental shifts depending on your actions. Then folks would pay more attention to the story. Never happen though.
 

Drunken.dx

Well-known member
I'm just glad the Vecna arc is done. It felt like we never did anything meaningful. Every time we won it was all like "Vecna planned for this and really he won". And then the end was just "the Traveler planned for this all along". Felt like we were just some dumb tool.
But I'm not too hopeful for MD. Forgotten Realms has too many mary sue characters. How will we have more player agency there? And really the Red Wizards were much more interesting before they were all turned into undead monstrosities. Now they are just generic evil goons.
Finally dawned on me of what did Vecna storyline remind me.

Death note manga.

Entire manga is "I planned for this to happen".

Dull.

Same with Vecna storyline.
Either Vecna planned it or that hat wearing bloke planned it.

Only actually satisfying part of Vecna stuff is "secret" ending to skellies raid when you give big middle finger to Vecna
 

Sophie The Cat Burglar

Exotic Items Recovery Specialist
Quest writers working on DDO definitely face challenges designing for players with diverse, sometimes conflicting, capabilities and interests.

Even so, it is possible to create an adventure with a great story that makes sense, lots of excellent writing, a heroic conclusion, many options, and a fairly straight forward main path.

It feels like quest designers for DDO have given up or simply do not care. Perhaps they felt conflicting interests were too difficult to appease. Perhaps criticism was too hurtful. (I am very guilty of this one.) Perhaps criticism did not successfully convey a need or solution. (I came to the conclusion all my feedback was useless.) Perhaps quest writers do no understand that a good role playing game differs radically from a good novel. Perhaps current quest writers simply prefer humorous adventures that make fun of the fantasy genre.

Before a positive discussion between players and quest writers can happens, players need to know, do quest writers want to have that discussion?

With regards the Vecna story, I successfully predicted the outcome before it even started. If a god, as the intellectual property of a francise, is too important to destroy, the god will not be destroyed. The only way for a mortal to defeat a god is for the writer to make the mortal a god or allow the mortal to win through a deus ex machina event. In the latter case, the player will always feel the entire effort of his or her player character was pointless.

We face the same problem with the upcoming expansion. If the bad guy is an important francise property who must survive to cause future mayhem, our characters cannot possibly achieve a fulfilling conclusion to the adventure.

Good DDO villians need to be created from whole cloth precisely so the writers can allow player characters to destroy them. Vaunt, for example, had the potential to be a fantastic villian.

Here are some amusing story conclusions from my perspective:

Since I do not raid, I have no idea what that Stormreaver business was all about. I guess the mosters are still fighting one another.

Since I do not raid, I have no idea what happened to Anna. I went to the demonweb, stabilized the rift, and teleported back to Stormreach.

Since I never successfully completed What Goes Up, I guess Amscar is still flying around on his glacier.

Since I do not raid, I have no idea what happened to Strahd. He ran off at the end of Sunrise and I teleported back to Stormreach.

Since I do not raid, I have no idea what happened to Arritrakos and the Codex.

The Sahuagin High Priestess dwelling near Saltmarsh was defeated. I felt good about that one.

Since I refused to interact with Vecna, he is still floating around on his island.

I read about the recent mind flayer attack in the Stormreach Chronicle.

I suppose I am about the worst adventurer in Stormreach. I never solve anything. I never defeat the villian. I stab people and occasionally earn a past like feat for my trouble. Some heoine I am. ;)
 

Frieling Slyhand

Well-known member
My favorite quests chain is Ravenloft, and it isn't close, and a big part of it is the depth of the stories and the characters and the milieu. Nothing else comes close in DDO.

I've been playing Baldur's Gate 3 the last month and realize how much I miss immersive stories and complex and interesting characters and the open-endedness of the questing. While I love the character creation and the combat of DDO, the stories are generally lacking and since you end up having to play solo quite often and do the same quests over and over, it can get boring, especially when you can't find a group, which happens more and more.
 

Mr Twilight

New member
In Good Intentions one of the NPCs has a over the head line that's a reference to the Replacements. My favorite line is from Precious Cargo - Commodore Tew's line "This is my happy place" or something like that. He's in his ship's hold that's bristling with cannons. I enjoy the writing very much. Elminster's messages in King's Forest, or Oriphaun's journals - just perfect. Keep it up.
 

Synalon

Well-known member
I would like to know more.
Sorry, I didn't see this reply earlier.

Basically, when VON was released, Marek Malcanus stood in the Anvilfire Inn leaning against a wall. At this time the storyline was very well-written. Each of the members of the Laughing Knives had some backstory and characterisation, and there was a lot more build-up, tension and foreshadowing. For example, Marek's dialogue used to illustrate what a formidable/dangerous ally Veil was, then he would state that she simply disappeared one day, and that whatever has her spooked should terrify you. And indeed, VON 3's endfight (and the entire quest) was once greatly feared. Now he basically just says "a marut chased her into the jungle! Go kill it!" Likewise he would foreshadow Velah's involvement throughout the story, eventually warning you to be wary of "the red-haired sorceress" at the centre of events. There are many other examples.

The writing was changed when epic was added and Marek was moved to the base of the bank. He just points you in the direction of each person now. I miss the old writing; in questlines where it's good (e.g. Zawabi's) I still like to read it when I run the quests. But I strongly doubt VON's old writing will ever return, since it was told as a structured narrative and its being reinstated would probably mean we'd have to run 1-4 in order again.
 

Gobs

Member
Sorry, I didn't see this reply earlier.

Basically, when VON was released, Marek Malcanus stood in the Anvilfire Inn leaning against a wall. At this time the storyline was very well-written. Each of the members of the Laughing Knives had some backstory and characterisation, and there was a lot more build-up, tension and foreshadowing. For example, Marek's dialogue used to illustrate what a formidable/dangerous ally Veil was, then he would state that she simply disappeared one day, and that whatever has her spooked should terrify you. And indeed, VON 3's endfight (and the entire quest) was once greatly feared. Now he basically just says "a marut chased her into the jungle! Go kill it!" Likewise he would foreshadow Velah's involvement throughout the story, eventually warning you to be wary of "the red-haired sorceress" at the centre of events. There are many other examples.

The writing was changed when epic was added and Marek was moved to the base of the bank. He just points you in the direction of each person now. I miss the old writing; in questlines where it's good (e.g. Zawabi's) I still like to read it when I run the quests. But I strongly doubt VON's old writing will ever return, since it was told as a structured narrative and its being reinstated would probably mean we'd have to run 1-4 in order again.
This sounds really good, wish I had experienced it. Thanks for sharing!
 

Justfungus

Well-known member
Voiced cut scenes would do wonders to improve the story but then you have the power games who will scream that the 'stupid' cut scenes cut into their EXP. per hour totals. Also, I don't think that SSG has any folks free to do it. I get the impression they run on a minimal staff. That brings me to my point, I doubt that SSG has the staff or desire to substantially improve the narrative.
 

GrizzlyOso

Well-known member
Voiced cut scenes would do wonders to improve the story but then you have the power games who will scream that the 'stupid' cut scenes cut into their EXP. per hour totals. Also, I don't think that SSG has any folks free to do it. I get the impression they run on a minimal staff. That brings me to my point, I doubt that SSG has the staff or desire to substantially improve the narrative.
Well, cut scenes are terrible in literally every form they’ve been tried in. Power gaming or not. So yeah, don’t do that .

But we do have a narrator / dm. Do that.
 
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