Forums

On the quest releases' problem

Quick find code: 341-342-132-65411098

of 33
LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Greetings everyone
, Fussy here. In this thread, I shall discuss the semi-recent trend regarding quest releases: we have been getting less quests each year lately. This may not exactly fit the lore forum, but I figured it would be the best place to post this thread. After all, the density of avid questers is highest here!

Before I commence, this thread is not meant to be a gathering place for people to exclaim their dissatisfaction with the amount of quests being released. Yes, we're all discontented. This thread should hopefully trigger a healthy discussion of possible causes and, more importantly, solutions to this problem. So please refrain from posting something along the lines of "Jagex hates us questers and ..." for that is not even slightly constructive.

Also, this thread is solely about the amount of quests being released - please don't discuss other topics such as quests lacking requirements or being self-contained or the imbalanced 6th age to non-6th age quest ratio.

Right, to business. First I'll present the problem proper before analysing some aspects of it and suggesting some possible solutions. (note: thread continues on page 2)
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:16:53 - Last edited on 30-Jun-2014 07:19:57 by LordáDrakan

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Quest releases falling down, falling down, falling down...

As you will have figured by now, we're here to discuss the declining amount of quests that are being developed and released. What is going on? Let's look at the stats (this all exludes miniquests, sagas and holiday events for convenience's sake).

In 2006, 21 quests were released. These include, for example, Darkness of Hallowvale, Death to the Dorgeshuun, Recipe for Disaster and The Slug Menace - all excellent quests.

2007 had 14 quests. While only two thirds of the previous year's amount, this was no problem. The quests were great (King's Ransom, The Fremennik Isles, The Path of Glouphrie, Land of the Goblins...) and we still got more than one quest a month, on average.

Going on, 2008 had 17 quests, plus a new tutorial. Again, most quests were brilliant (Defender of Varrock, While Guthix Sleeps -- you get the idea). Then 12 quests and a tutorial in 2009. Now, this is quite a bit less, but still equals to one quest per month so we aren't complaining.

Okay, so 2010 had 11 quests plus a rework. Less than the good ol' times of 2008 and prior, but we can live with it. 2011, the last proper questing year, had but 9 quests. We have reached the bare minimum: one quest a month except for the three holiday months (April, October and December - in 2011's defence, the three holiday events that year were very, very good and I wouldn't be ashamed to count them as quests themselves).

This is where the problems begin. 2012 had 15 quests. Wait, isn't that good? Well, 't was actually 9 quests and some reworks. The reworks were good, but it also means two thirds of the quests released were novice. But okay, we're willing to accept that, aren't we? In retrospect, 2012 was actually quite decent.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:17:06

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
...then 2013 happened. 6 quests. 4 actually - two were reworks. 2005 had 29 quests (now, and this is just my opinion so feel free to ignore me, all those 29 quests I consider to fall under the category "good" or better, while I would only call 4 of the ones in 2013 decent or better - so differing by a factor seven (in case you're wondering, I dislike the Demon Slayer rework and Missing, Presumed Death - but let's stay on topic)), 2013 had 4+2. This was undoubtedly the worst year for questers ever.

We're halfway 2014 now; six months have passed, and we have got four quests so far.

The numbers went 29-21-14-17-12-12-9-15-6. Now, obviously we can't compare everything to the highest number, just like we can't compare every new quest released to WGS, for example. Even so, one can objectively state that 2013 was a disappointment in terms of quest releases. Jagex have admitted this, but I will come to that later.

Now, the problem is that 2014 does not look as if it's going to turn out much better. Two more quests are confirmed and pretty much set in stone, which would bring the total to 6, and two more are planned (according to a forum post by release coordinator Mod Kelpie) for this year. Assuming July and December have no quests then, we'd end up with 8 quests in 2014. Mod Mark has said (in that one Above the Lore episode I think, but don't hold me to that) that 8 should be a satisfactory number. Bluntly said, it is not. 8 quests in a year is quite far from satisfactory, but I'll get to that in a bit. Obviously, he's Lead Game Designer - but he's wrong here.

Now that we're all clear on the problem, let's see why and how it is a problem and what can be done about it.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:17:18

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Why do we even need more quests?

This may seem redundant in this forum, so I'll be brief. The thing with quests is that they're a unique kind of content in that they can only be played once by any one account. Ever. Why aren't we asking for a new minigame/D&D/boss/dungeon/skill training method/etc. every month?

Because it's unneeded. A minigame has no restrictions: once released it can be played infinitely and remain fun to play. A quest can only be completed once. The entire point of a D&D is that you play it when it crosses your path and you want a break; a new skill training method/area is designed to be used over and over again (generally speaking). A quest can only be completed once.

That is not to say that the quest experience lasts as long as the quest does. People talk about it afterwards; they contemplate, speculate, congregate. Heck, even some random quest that hasn't been in the spotlight...well, ever, could get some attention. Look at A Soul's Bane, which was for a while the most discussed quest a few weeks ago (hail Loarnab!). But obviously, a constant influx of new quests is required. Unlike a minigame, which you can play repeatedly (and, if you want to gain its rewards before Zamorak's world freezes over, you should), a quest provides limited experience. And that's why new ones are needed frequently. (also storyline progression and stuff but let's ignore that for now :P)

If I recall correctly, one of the announcements for God Emissaries (released May 2013) called them a replacement for a quest because they provided a lore book. Lolwat? Lore books are nice and well, but they don't replace quests. They could, perhaps, if quests were solely about lore, but they aren't. Lore isn't even required in quests (look at Underground Pass or The Chosen Commander: barely any new lore, absolutely brilliant quests nonetheless). They are about adventure, storyline, characters, thinking, humour, etc.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:17:34

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
While yes, lore is often an aspect of quests, it isn't necessarily, and a lore book certainly cannot replace a quest.

One cannot expect the questing community to be appeased by getting some new lore. Sure, we'll happily devour it, but we are waiting for quests - and those are a heck of a lot more than just lore.



The past isn't the present

Some may bring up the fact that we used to get 20+ quests a year as an argument to do so once more. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with that - having 25 quests released in 2015 would be amazing. But can we really ask for that to be done solely on the grounds that it has been in the past? Yes and no.

The fact that we used to get X and Y is not a particularly strong argument that X and Y should be done again. Not even in this case, where the change was for the worse and wasn't deliberately planned out ("Okay guys let's gradually release less quests per year because we can huehuehue!" - now that'd be unimaginably evil! :P). However, the fact that we used to get many more quests per year than we do now, while not necessarily an indication that it MUST be done again, it is without doubt evidence that it CAN be done. Rather, it could - so why can't it now?

We would be treated to 2ish quests a month back in the day. And they were good. One might think that releasing so many quests would result in a lot of crappy half-developed work but it doesn't. As I said before, 2005 had 29 quests and they were all, without exception, somewhere between good and amazing (that's my opinion, but I doubt someone else could dislike more than three or four of those quests). Jagex have proven that they're able give us a large number of quests AND maintain a high overall quality. Why, by Zamorak's flaming nostrils, then aren't they keeping that up?! Well...
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:17:50

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The root of the problem

One can think of various reasons why we are getting less quests (note that this is all speculation, albeit well-reasoned).

First of all, quests take up a lot of resources. Especially now, where quests often have us visit new places that have to be unique. Rite of Passage is extremely expensive according to Mod Jack, and I imagine Fate of the Gods will also have been since Freneskae had an all new non-recycled environment. According to Mod Osborne, five (I believe, may be wrong, but definitely five-ish) quests are usually in development at any given time and quests can take quite a while to make. (up to a year - but that's very rare and only for the WGS's out there really)

Additionally, other large projects also require a large budget, which may well inhibit quest release. Think RuneScape 3 or Prifddinas - these had/have a very large team of developers, designers, Quality Assurance testers, artists, etc. working on them, who would then be unable to work on quests.

Finally, however, some people seem to believe that quest quality is inversely proportional to quest quantity. As we have seen with 2005, 2006, 2007... this is not true. If more quests are released in a year, that doesn't mean they would be worse than they could have been. It's entirely possible for a year to have 30 brilliant quests, or just 3 very bad ones (of course the opposite is also possible). This is undeniable, just look at those other years. In this game, there is evidently no correlation between the amount of quests released and their quality (note that the quests would still have to receive adequate development time of course ;)).
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:17:59 - Last edited on 30-Jun-2014 07:20:44 by LordáDrakan

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Why then!

Clearly, we aren't getting less quests because a lower density would increase their quality, since this is not true (we've just been over that). So why aren't we getting more quests? Well, this is the REAL problem - we don't know. So far, Jagex have only been saying that 2013 was indeed terrible and that more quests are on their way but we haven't heard a thing about why we weren't/aren't getting quests like we used to half a decade ago. 2014 isn't looking very promising either so we really need an explanation.

What I find ironic is that Birthright of the Dwarves was so terribly rushed (it's not a bad quest, quite the opposite, but it could have been much better if given more development time, which it deserved and needed) even though Missing, Presumed Death (the quest released two weeks after Bot*) was followed by not one but THREE months without quests. Why couldn't we have had BotD in December? Or even January? We did get The Mighty Fall though, less than a mere six months after Bandos' death. Now don't get me wrong, I liked the quest (except for how Zanik was used as character...), but why after only six months? The last Elemental Workshop or Pirate quest, just to name something, was three years ago. How is that justifiable? Why rush the Sixth Age as well? Anyway, where have all the other quests gone?

The development of Prifddinas or the smorgasbord of combat updates could well account for the low amount of quests we're getting, but only partially. Meanwhile, immense graphical budgets and Power to the Players are responsible for the constant delay of quests such as Rite of Passage.

But again, we don't know the exact reasoning. Clearly something has changed in the past years that led to a decline in quest releases by a factor 5ish. And I'd really appreciate a response from Jagex on this...
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:18:10

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Possible solutions

So what can be done to get the quest numbers back up again? So long as we don't know what the exact problem is, we can but speculate. However, there are some obvious suggestions, which I'll list now. I hope you agree with me and, if not, that you'll provide your reasoning.

Ľ Voice acting:
This is said to take 1-2 weeks from the quest's development time. It's also expensive, since the voice actors need to be paid, and requires some changes to the quest's dialogue. But voice acting is purely cosmetic and it can even be turned off. In my opinion, voice acting is an utter waste of time and money and should be scrapped completely *IF* doing so would benefit the quest's development (and ultimately the amount of quests released) EXCEPT for those few distinct cases where audio is an especially important part of the quest, such as One Piercing Note or Song from the Depths. Voice acting may add another layer of immersion to quests and give NPCs a more established personality, but is that really worth it? I think not.

* Graphics:
Unfortunately, most of today's questing population has, in Wahisietel's words, "been spoilt by pretty graphics." I'm going to state it outright: fancy new graphics are NOT needed in quests. One can argue about whether puzzles or combat or whatever is required in quests, but there isn't any discussion regarding graphics possible, really. Pretty new graphics are great; they enhance the quest and-- well, I don't think I have to explain why good graphics are important. But they are not an absolutely necessary requirement for quests and that's what some people seem to be unable to realise, alas. We know for a fact (due to statements made about One of a Kind) that a quest with a minimal graphics budget can be released quicker than something like, well, let's use Rite of Passage as an example again.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:18:34 - Last edited on 30-Jun-2014 07:21:21 by LordáDrakan

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Back in 2006, they didn't spend massive amounts of time and resources on shiny new graphics and rolled out two-ish quests a month. Did the lack of these new graphics impact the quests negatively? Not at all. Would a lack of new graphics negatively affect a quest nowadays? No, no it most certainly wouldn't (in fact, it could even be positive - look at what was done to poor Zanik!). As much as one may regret having to give up new graphics for quests, doing so would certainly result in more quests being released (since quests wouldn't have to wait in line for the concept and graphics artists to work on them for weeks). I would therefore suggest to just forgo graphics for quests, sacrificing them for the greater good. They were never necessary and they aren't now all of a sudden - I really hope Jagex agree with me here.

Ľ Scope:
It appears that Jagex seem to be trying to make every quest an epic WGS-like experience with grotesque villains, intricate boss fights and unexpected plot twists. My question is: why? Not every quests needs these things. It seems as if attempting to incorporate them in every quest detracts from the amount of quests that can be released AND makes quests in general boring. Take a look at the quests released in 2011, or 2010, or any year prior to 2013 really. We haven't had intermediate or experienced quests in ages, but they aren't any less enjoyable than an epic grandmaster. In fact, the massive amount of "epicness" that we have been given recently has massively devalued it. What I mean is, two or three years ago, if we'd see a Mahjarrat or a god in a quest, we'd go absolutely bananas - they were special, unique characters. Nowadays, gods in quests are about as exciting as seeing goblins in Goblin Village. Especially with the Sixth Age, this is a real pity.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:18:47 - Last edited on 30-Jun-2014 07:21:37 by LordáDrakan

LordáDrakan
Sep Member 2010

LordáDrakan

Posts: 6,726Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Ľ Choice:
The fact that we are getting many choices in quest now is also a problem. After all, more development time needs to be spent to account for these choices. Now, while it's nice that people can more or less lay out their own path via choices, these choices do force developers and sometimes graphics guys (different cutscenes in Fot* or TMF, for example) to spend more time on them, which, in turn, results in less quests. If they are indeed a major factor in the quest drought(s), then good riddance, by all means get rid of choices that do more than slightly affect dialogue. Many people will disagree here since they wouldn't want to lose the liberty to choose, but remember: it would be for the greater good - getting more quests should stand above your personal preferences. And besides, we didn't use to get these choices all the time prior to The World Wakes, so to stop offering them wouldn't be something completely new or anything.

Ľ Post quest:
Lots of recent quests have a focus on post-quest stuff to do or get. Not just dialogue, but other stuff as well. This probably isn't a major factor in the lack of quests, but still: any project should be released as finished as possible and anything that can be included in the quest shouldn't be released post-quest a while later (extreme result of the opposite: Bot* PQD still MIA). This should hopefully round off quests in development more and allow for more quests to be released.
Bizarre Boron Fusswell, scryer extraordinaire. Minigames & ninja fixes & achievement ideas!

Perhaps you're half right; perhaps we can't win. But we can fight.
Ś Zanik

30-Jun-2014 07:18:57 - Last edited on 30-Jun-2014 07:21:57 by LordáDrakan

Quick find code: 341-342-132-65411098Back to Top