This is How You Fix RPG Sidequests

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There should absolutely be at least one quest which is minor enough and out-of-the-way enough that the average player won't bother completing it, but spins off some utterly batshit crazy adventure. So you send Colin the Dwarf to clear the rats from the farm, and a month later he comes back, with a daedric artifact in one hand and the skull of a dragon in the other, saying "It's a long story..."

(Alternatively, instead of making it a legitimate quest, it just randomly replaces a kill-the-rats quest with an epic world-saving quest when you send a party member to do it. So it only ever happens offscreen, because it's funnier that way.)

It would have been nice if I could delegate collecting all those fucking flags to my lower level Guild members in AC: Brotherhood. The good thing about ~4 onward is they showed them on the map when you were near them. The bad thing was you felt almost obligated to do them right away, because you knew you were never going back to that shitty island.

Sniper Team 4:

Johnny Novgorod:
Where is the thumbnail image from?

That's a picture of Varic from Dragon Age: Inquisition. One of the many times he's looking up at the rift and just hating how messed up everything has gotten.

I like the idea of being able to send out other people to deal with the busy work. Rats in the basement again? Jansen, take Claire and Syndis and deal with it. I'm busy planning our next move against the world-ending evil demon thing we woke up earlier this year.

Because yeah, there are times where it's like, "Shouldn't I be dealing with something other than this?" Starting out having to take every miserable quest you're given makes sense. You need to build your reputation, and your party's level, but after you hit a certain point, you should be able to send out other people.
Of course, the choice to go yourself should also be there all the time too, because I'm one of those people that do fall into, "Is it going to be part of a story? I must know what happens!"

As much as I like the idea of infinitely generated missions, Skyrim is awful at this. Go to #{dungeon} and recover item #{rand.int}, which is inevitably worse than everything you already have.

Yeah, nice idea... only the sidequests are often the most interesting things about those games, so it would be an insane waste to skip them by letting the NPCs complete them.

The problem is not the number of sidequests nor their difficulty, the problem is that they keep on making all these sidequests that any idiot and his mother could do, not ones that only the Chosen Hero could pull off. Any guy with a sharp stick could kill a bunch of rats or pick up some package and deliver it to somewhere. If they were to limit these sorts of sidequests to epic battles against armies of bad guys and massive monsters and so forth, things a supposed hero would be dealing with these sorts of sidequests would go over a lot better.

On the other hand, those kind of quests are essential to open world games. The very nature of open world games is the player crafts the story, and these little time wasters are as much a part of that as the massive world destroying threat. It's not Bethesda's or CD Projekt RED or any other developer's fault that the player didn't end up running into some quest designed for a player while they were still a level 1 weakling until after they've become a max level God Killer, that's the consequence of the ability to go and do pretty much anything we want.

I think if you're going to have idle party members questing for you on quests with choices to be made, the most interesting way to do it would be to have them make the choices one would expect them to make as characters.

Then when your pal, Ogdoff the barbarian, destroys half the village to drive out the thief, you can slap your forehead and go, "Drat! I knew I should have sent Harry the bard for this one!"

Not only would it encourage you to carefully pick who to send, but if you're a joker, you could send Dandof, the elf-hating dwarf off on a diplomatic mission to broker peace between the elves and the trolls, and then laugh as you find out what happened.

I think that is a good way to handle side quests, especially open world Bethesda style games. I get so incredibly annoyed when "I, the great dragon born savior of Vault city, etc, etc," get stopped in my Daedric power armor and asked to go help Timmy get out of a well two towns over. I'm like "DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM" but still I have to go help little Timmy or the near by village will hate me forever.

I would love it if this system worked a bit like the DA:I scheme. Where you meet the villager, they go "Help Timmy" and if you are high enough level you get an option "send companion". Clicking that it brings up the various companions along with some sort of indication on how they might deal with the problem. A simple example could be "Brawn- "I will go down and carry Timmy out of the well on my back" Cunning "I will fix the hoist mechanism and send down a bucket to get Timmy out." Diplomacy "I will ask the villagers near by to come with me to the well with rope and together we will lower someone down to get Timmy."" Which would be all options you could pick if you went to do the quest. Then after some time they would come back and you could either have a voice over or quick text box telling you what happened along with the rewards given and a quick indication on if their choice went over well with villagers. I think this would work best with obvious fetch quest and grind quest who's only purpose in the game was to give your character more chances to level. Side quest that are super plot heavy should just be grayed out.

It might also help if I could have an option once you are high enough level to tell someone to "fuck off". Not just, "don't accept quest" but a literal, "This quest is beneath me go away". Than again, I get annoyed because Bethesda doesn't let you really play a jerk character.

I hate these "imaginary quests" myself, especially in my playthroughs of Metal Gear Solid 5 The Phantom Pain. How often I kept losing soldiers to missions with 80+% success rate made me pine for an option to JOIN my dumbass DD cultists on their missions to either do them myself or just be there as inspiration and give orders or something.

Bedinsis:
"If so, please feel free to tell them to someone who gives a shit."

Well, I bid thee a pleasant day as well.

For real. That was rude of him. I don't feel like participating now.

This was actually implemented in Pillars of Eternity, not that it was really fleshed out. A nice option, but didn't really feel like it added much to the game. Perhaps this'd work better in an open world game.

I'd say not including crappy fetch quests is still a better option, though. With a bit of careful level scaling and/or XP curve adjustments, TW3 would probably be the closest thing to a perfect sidequest system.

Amaror:

BareHope:
Alternatively one could let the player play the quest himself as the party member, which might give further insight into the strengths and mechanics of that party member (since many players seem to concentrate on their own character whenever possible).

That just ruins the point of it all. If you have to do the quest regardless you might as well just do it, instead of delegating it in the first place.

Not so. I think it's a good call. Doing the side-quest as another party member, or even as a some other minor character:

1. Increases player emotional attachment to that character;
2. Levels up that party member/character, perhaps making them more useful in some future final battle;
3. Can change a future story outcome;
4. May even be essential, or simply much easier, due to some element of that character's backstory, or their specific abilities;
5. Solves the immersion-breakage problem that Yahtzee is actually talking of, wherein your glittering world-saving hero is tasked with collecting pumpkins;
6. May allow you to play with a different alignment, which is fun for a player who is otherwise being roleplay-consistent in their alignment choices (c.f. Mass Effect paragon vs renegade where there was a strong incentive for consistency)

Not an RPG, but one of the things I really enjoyed about Lego Star Wars (2005) was the ability to switch character. If I remember correctly it was even necessary for some puzzles.

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