Quest for the Sidequest!

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Quest for the Sidequest!

Key fetch quests need to be revamped or ditched.

Read Full Article

I always had it in my head that the key to Sledge's hideout was needed because it doesn't just unlock the gate, it activates the portal behind it - I have this whole theory that the portals are basically mini New-U stations that kill you off and recreate you at the exit.

The quest that pissed me off the most has to be the entire Thieve's Guild quest in Oblivion. Mainly the bit where you have to sneak through a monastery where all the monks are blind. Could I not just kill them all, then use the power of the Elder Scroll to bring them back to life? They picked me up in a jail, so they would know already that I'm fairly morally bankrupt...

That, or any survival horror door that requires a star-shaped pendant, an uncut ruby the size of a baby's skull and a three-speed vibrator to open.

The borderlands 'fetch' quests really are quite annoying. The 'save claptap' quests are all the same. Killing enemies who respawn at a rather disquieting pace is too, One i killed a whole town of bandits, 'badasses' and Psychos with a slither of health left, i pick a few things up and all the buggers are back again, it's like how 'Legendary' on PS3 annoyed me, it was lazy, instead of new enemies all around, same enemy keeps coming after you've killed it, in the same numbers too. until your objective is complete.

The only thing i don't think was lazy in borderlands was the models, and maps. Though i'm enjoying myself playing it neathertheless.

Like always: A really nice article.

But can somebody help me? I haven't played Resident Evil 4 in a while and I have no idea which gate Shamus means but I want to know.

Excellent article!

Also, this pretty much sums up Resident Evil 4 (and all the other gaming fetch-quests). Curse you, waist-high wall... CURSE YOU!

I liked this article alot. The opening bit reminded me of Condemed.

That game had some of the most retarded doors I remember. They required a sledgehammer to open and this sledgehammer is located in some dark corner in the apartment of the local axe-murderer and his brother, Mr. Stabs-alot.

I also recall most of the doors in Half-life 2 because they're all made of flimsy wood and your character has a CROWBAR. As an extra slap to the face the Combine get to use explosives in episode 2 to blow the doors open. But what do your rocket launcher, grenades, explosive barrels, and land mines do to a flimsy wooden door? NOTHING! Doesn't even scratch the door...

Fable, ah yes.


It irritates me when games do this, the moment the obstacle arises i have come up with several ways to walk around it rather than waste by time chasing a key. It seems like a symptom of lacking creativity. the game is a bit too short, so you make the sections that should have been 'open door' drag on by making the door unopenable. All the while too lazy to make the door actually a difficult obstacle. Frustrating the player by forcing them into a more difficult scenarion when an obvious solution exists.

I always liked the idea that the original "Fallout" games did with their "dungeons". They set everything up with hostile NPCs, treasure and traps everywhere, but leave it to the player to decide how to navigate around it. There may be a few locked doors with a possible "key" somewhere (in the dungeon), but there were other options to get around the locked doors--like picking the lock on the door.

I could easily think of "Zelda: Phantom Hourglass" being really annoying with their fetch quests. Especially about going back to the "main dungeon" to acquire maps to get to other areas. I'd rant further on it, but Yahtzee touched on it perfectly in his review for the game.

In defense of the rubber chicken with the pulley in the middle, that would have been a really far swim..... or something...

I always enjoy the doors that are "magic" that can not be picked, bashed, etc.

Vlane:
Like always: A really nice article.

But can somebody help me? I haven't played Resident Evil 4 in a while and I have no idea which gate Shamus means but I want to know.

Once you rescue President's Daughter, just try to take her back the way you came in when you first entered the village.

Rule of Fun in my opinion. Yeah, it would be easier to just knock down the weakest door ever, but it would a hell of a lot more boring than going through Hell and back to get it. Just my opinion though, because for some people the amount of stupidity of some side-quests is enough to break that fun. Just not for me.

What I dont understand is, why do they keep DOING it? If you're making a game, you have to atleast played other games before, and thus know how annoying and retarded some of these are, so why doesnt any developers try to fix it?

Chipperz:
I always had it in my head that the key to Sledge's hideout was needed because it doesn't just unlock the gate, it activates the portal behind it - I have this whole theory that the portals are basically mini New-U stations that kill you off and recreate you at the exit.

The quest that pissed me off the most has to be the entire Thieve's Guild quest in Oblivion. Mainly the bit where you have to sneak through a monastery where all the monks are blind. Could I not just kill them all, then use the power of the Elder Scroll to bring them back to life? They picked me up in a jail, so they would know already that I'm fairly morally bankrupt...

That, or any survival horror door that requires a star-shaped pendant, an uncut ruby the size of a baby's skull and a three-speed vibrator to open.

In Oblivion, not killing off the Monks is kinda justified, because the Theves Guild makes a big point of not murdering people, though they do drop that in the next couple quests or so.

What isn't justified in Oblivion is the unpickable doors. I'm playing a thief who is probably the most accomplished lockpicker alive on Tamriel, I have the Skeleton Key (an ultimate lockpick from A GOD!) I could easily pick those 14 tumbler locks mentioned in the fluff books, and I cannot pick the door on this rickety old shack because it's tied into a plotline involving vampires!?

Fallout 3 has a similar issue with it's plot only doorways. EDIT: Come to think of it, most of Fallout 3 boils down to this. Key 1 is tracking down your father (which works). Key 2 is finding the mcguffin from Fallout 2, because, you know, we didn't do that in 1998 (which would work, kinda, except the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD IS WHERE!?, heh). To get each of these keys expect to run around aimlessly for others in the interrum. The entire game is goddamn fedex quests. I can't remember a single quest that was just, "Go out there and kill somethin' for me, would'ya kindly?"

STALKER, you're in a military instilation that was abandoned in 1985, it's now 2012 or so, the place is falling apart, and yet the auto lock doors still work. The LIGHTs don't even work anymore in most of the place. But the keypads do. You can't use a crowbar on the rusty door? Or even your knife if you're determined? Hell, you CAN wedge the doors open with a gun, but that is technically a physics engine exploit.

Knights of the Old Republic pulled two of these in a row on the first planet. First find the disguise, (never mind that your other party members AREN'T in disguise and standing RIGHT THERE), and after that pick up authorization papers, which, might be more justified if there was any point to it. The only reason these detours occur is to provide exposition.

Unfortunately, all of real life is just one ridiculous key fetch quest after another - the key in question being "enough money".

I'm surprised that in the 30 years of computer gaming, nobody's tried too hard to move beyond the model of "there's exactly one way to overcome this obstacle, and it is to fetch key X". Scribblenauts went too far the other direction; there has to be a reasonable middle ground.

The Incredible Machine came pretty close, although many of those puzzles were so constrained in resources that there was really only one right way of solving it.

Oh god, BB just reminded me of another glaring instance. Saints Row 2. I love the game, but EVERY MISSION requires that you get X ammount of respect before you can attempt it. To gain respect you have to do things that have NOTHING to do with the rest of the game. So to go meet with a local crime boss, you have to first spray down a corporate park with raw sewage. No rational for how these two events relate. For that crime boss to retaliate to you MURDERING his girlfriend, you have to complete a MMA tournament. To have an enemy attempt to assassinate a character from the first game you have to ramp your car off a dozzen or so hidden stunt jumps.

The activities are all interchangable, so you could win the MMA tourny to talk with the crime boss, which makes a little sense, since we're talking about Worf (Michael Dorn) here, but, driving down the wrong side of the road for long enough will get net you enough respect as well (I'm serious).

If you want repetative, monotonous key-collectory then Phantasy Star Universe is the game for you. Pretty much every level has you repeatedly backtracking between areas to kill a hoarde of enemies, make them drop a generic key and pass a gate. Go through said gate and you are presented with yet another gate. Take the only other path and you find some enemies. Kill those enemies and you find a lovely key to open the next gate. Rinse and repeat.

It seems that random creatures are so bogged down with time to kill that they set up laser gates to trap the next questing hero that came along, dispersed the keys amongst themselves and had a fun little party. It's not like they were really trying to stop you or they would have key all of the keys with the big baddy at the end of the level. If anyone needed a toilet break they could ask to be let out (or use the corner subtley).

But worst of all it happens on EVERY level, not just one section of a single level. All of them (to my memory at least) have gates of some form or another.

I hate in any game when you have to go out to find a disguise or bribe or anything to get past two guards that you slaughter armies of afterward.

Sub-sub quests are annoying in general. It seems the closer you get to a climactic moment in a game, the more Murphy's Law seems to apply. I mean, replaying the first Xenosaga has me realizing the entire game is one long escort mission.

Shamus Young:
Because I'm curious: What's the most arbitrary or asinine key-fetch you've ever had to do in a game?

Can't remember the "most", but just about every time a game makes me go fetch a key to open a flimsy wooden door while I'm holding a shotgun and have 4 functional limbs makes me salivate in anger.

Not entirely sure, but I think I remember one in Fallout 3 where I have to go through the proverbial ninth circle of hell to fetch some sort of key to open a door lighter than the armour I was wearing...

I'll go further than you though. I personally hate fetch quests, and if they're going to make me fetch a key, I better be unlocking 20 inch thick gates made of steel and titanium... If I can kick, shoot or explode down a door with the gear I'm carrying, going for the key should be an option.

This sort of thing really annoys me.

It's not just doors, it's also when you have to take a long route when the obstacle actually looks scalable.

For instance, in Half-Life 2 there is this bit where Alyx scales a building to scout possible alternative paths because of a destroyed bridge (which to me appears less of an obstacle than the building), and you end up having to go through some tunnels.

I could see numerous ways that you could cross the gap (particularly if Gordon could climb half as well as Alyx, and considering that he has a gravity gun) and yet I have to take the way the developers think I should go.

Surely developers should avoid circumstance in which you wish for real-world logic over the logic of the game? And if a character doesn't posses the ability to do something that they should, by rights, be able to do, wouldn't it make more sense to make sure that the issue never comes up?

Edit: I just remembered; they knew about this sort of thing in the olden days as well. Take a look at this story.
At least that story follows through with its... logic.

I have never had problems with this in rpg's but I think I have similar problems in shooters. I just dont see how in half life 2 the combine have a force field that everyone and their mother can go through but coincidentally you cant so you have to find a way around. And your allies cant get past it either for some reason. You dont even get a key.

Also any game that has you walk around the ditch because you cant jump it is kinda iffy.

@ReinofFire

Forcefields arent that bad.They do have extra terrestrial technology,so making a forcefield passable only by those with certain genes,or certain armor is ok.Whats bad is the wooden doors that you cant even scratch with all the explosives you have,nor pull out with gravity gun that can lift cars.

I, always had the same problem. Why the fuck to do I need to travel to hell and back to do something I could just smash open with my boot.

Nice article. It was a good read

great article, i haven't come very far in borderlands as it feels pretty empty without my buddies (whom games I bought because john funk said it would be lonely, but stupid borderlands wont fix this till the tenth)

the most ridicules fetch quests ive been on where in "Condemned", of cause i only thought about this in retrospect, because when i played it i was way to busy turning on the light and locking my doors and putting up a electric fence to notice.

I love Bioshock. It's a masterpiece and a lot of its key quests make perfect sense, for instance in Hephaestus, Andrew Ryan's office door is more or less impenetrable and it makes perfect sense to do the fetch quest.

One of the games earliest quests though, makes no sense. Dr. Steinman, who you might consider the first "boss" of rapture blows up archway and blocks you from following him through the door. The rock is too heavy to push or shoot and some guy is lobbing grenades at you. The solution? Go back, grab the Incinerate Plasmid, melt the ice in the way of the Telekenesis plasmid, go to the blocked door, pluck a grenade out of the air, and then redirect it at the door to blow it open.

The grenades have like a ten second fuse. Just kick the damn grenade over to the door!

EDIT - Oh yeah, forgot my manners. Yeah, awesome article.

Crunchy English:
I love Bioshock. It's a masterpiece and a lot of its key quests make perfect sense, for instance in Hephaestus, Andrew Ryan's office door is more or less impenetrable and it makes perfect sense to do the fetch quest.

One of the games earliest quests though, makes no sense. Dr. Steinman, who you might consider the first "boss" of rapture blows up archway and blocks you from following him through the door. The rock is too heavy to push or shoot and some guy is lobbing grenades at you. The solution? Go back, grab the Incinerate Plasmid, melt the ice in the way of the Telekenesis plasmid, go to the blocked door, pluck a grenade out of the air, and then redirect it at the door to blow it open.

The grenades have like a ten second fuse. Just kick the damn grenade over to the door!

Another one I forgot about. I swear Bioshock was trying to be recursive about that sh-t. The same with System Shock 2, but at least there, it usually felt like you were trying to stay one step ahead of an intelligent enemy who was trying to block your progress.

To be fair, there is some idiotic frige logic at work in Bioshock. IIRC, Atlas asked "would you kindly" get the telekenesis plasmid. Still...

The Oblivion dark brotherhood mission were you need the key to the lighthouse cellar..

You just talk to the guy, that's it. Seems pretty pointless

Nice article

Shamus, does it count to rip on the idiotic key items in the Resident Evil games? I mean the designers of the buildings must have been mentally unbalanced to lock down every third door with a "Heart Key", or with a bloody chess piece!

Having said that, contrived key fetch quests are only contrived depending on the setting and even then it also depends on the wider implications of having plausibly inpenetrable doors; Almost every locked door in Resident Evil was wooden and therefore a prime candidate for simply shooting it open, or kicking it open. In many case, you had to go through hell and back to find the object that served as its key; a juice can, a nail file, a playing card, a furry dice, whatever the hell the nutter who made the door happened to have in his pocket. Despite this, just about every door opened in this way was wooden or perhaps easily opened by smashin the window set into the door (i.e. and office door). It would have been pretty incongruous if every door in the police station proper or in the opening parts of the mansion were steel reinforced vaults!

Chipperz:
That, or any survival horror door that requires a star-shaped pendant, an uncut ruby the size of a baby's skull and a three-speed vibrator to open.

This. Ye gods, this. I have still yet to understand how anyone working for Umbrella Corporation ever got anything the feck done, when just getting into your office cubicle required the Eagle of East, Wolf of West and three gemstones of various geometric shapes.

Then again, on the other hand, I'd have been pissed if two-thirds of the way through the place I'd stumbled across an "Employees Only" door that led to the front gate and company parking lot.

xscoot:
http://www.hlcomic.com/index.php?date=2006-07-17

Sums it all up nicely.

Wow, I can't believe you beat me to it. I was gonna link to that. Oh well.

Nice article, by the way.

The Milkman's mind in Psychonauts is a long string of fetch quests, each requiring a specific item to get past a specific G-Man. I forgive it because the writing is great and the G-Men are hilarious, but it is likely the longest string of fetch quests I have ever seen.

Undeed:
The Milkman's mind in Psychonauts is a long string of fetch quests, each requiring a specific item to get past a specific G-Man. I forgive it because the writing is great and the G-Men are hilarious, but it is likely the longest string of fetch quests I have ever seen.

While from a gameplay standpoint a long string of fetch quests can be frustrating, I actually think that particular instance doesn't fall under this. It was not ridiculous or unreasonable simply because you were inside someone else's mind. They had total control, and if they arbitrarily wanted you to get something to proceed, then they had the power to enforce it. So that actually meshes with the story.

As for ridiculous fetch quests that don't need to be done, I completely agree, please get rid of them. Matter of fact I literally cannot remember the last time I had to do this, but I am positively certain it's happened. The only possible answer is that my brain destroyed the memory so I would never have to think of it again.

And out of curiosity, which quest in Borderlands are you referring to? I've played through the entire game at least twice, and I can't remember that quest.

EDIT: OH OH OH, Sledge's Safehouse! Yea, that. I actually rather liked that quest, because I always enjoyed killing the Roid Rage Psycho and the key is actually a ring with thumbs attached (for a scanner presumably), which is both gruesome and funny. In retrospect, you're right, that gate was positively pathetic. I guess that particular one never really bothered me because I never saw the gate before getting the key, no part of the quests or story takes you by there. Which actually makes for a pretty hilarious situation. I can just imagine Brick showing up after tearing through dozens of bandits and taking one look at the gate before cursing the gods for at least 20 minutes. Like he imagined it was some insurmountable obstacle when he was told about it, but since he didn't actually see it he didn't know how easy it would've been to avoid it.

Undoubtedly the single stupidest fetch quest I've ever played was in the old, old, OLD game Betrayal in Antara. The game was kind of like a pre-Oblivion, but the world was realistically large (it took several in game days to travel between towns, and the days, while not as long as an actual day, were still pretty darn long) and there was no fast travel. Traveling from one town to another could take as long as forty minutes, and because you got very little direction about what there was to do out there you could easily spend forty minutes heading to one town that sounded interesting, only to find out that the gate was locked and you weren't allowed to enter until later in the game.

The stupid fetch quest part requires a short background: one of the main characters, a young country bumpkin named Aren, has just discovered that he has magical powers. Now, magicians are dangerous if they don't learn how to control their emerging powers, so he and his new friend set out for some big city to find this famous mage who can teach Aren enough to keep him from blowing himself or anyone else up. A nice, simple first step to get you out into the world, right?

However, when you find the mage, he refuses to teach you until you go and find him some rare tea that he likes. There is a shop in the nearby city that supposedly has the tea, but when you get there you find out that the shop has been robbed and everything has been taken, including the tea. He tells you that the local loan shark and his goons trashed the place, and to go talk to him about it. The loan shark then has something he wants you to do, and so on (I can't remember the whole sequence, but if you don't know exactly what to do it easily takes six or seven hours of tedious, continuous play). Finally, after all that, you get the tea and bring it to the mage, who "hilariously" discovers that he actually had some left over in his other pocket, and therefore didn't need the tea at all! HA HA!!

What a stupid game...

The Kelelr Family Holotapes in Fallout 3. A four digit code? No way we can hack that computer, like every other computer lock in the damn game. No way we can try random numbers until we get it. The dumbest part is no where in any of the tapes does it tell us what order the damn numbers are in, we just magically know it due to the enchantments placed on them by Pop keller, a Wizard, aparently.

Another excellent article, Mr.Young!

I'm a huge adventure game fan and what freaks me out the most is when something is so damn close to you - let's say a little,tiny gap in a bridge - but your character just can't jump on the other side! Or can't stretch his hands to take something in close range. Something a baby can take with ease! The examples are numerous - one could say, that every adventure game has this annoying element - do something, that completely defines logic!

I mean, wtf game designers! Can't you make the gap a bit bigger, so it actually makes sense to solve all the freaking puzzles just to get to the other side! Sometimes I think game designers abandon logic and reason...which is weird for games, that rotate around logic and reason. Is it logical to just jump across the gap! It's logical just to crawl down the hole...I thought I was controlling a human being?!

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here