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Radiant Arin

Side Quests

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How do you go about making Side Quests or side missions in your games?


Right now in Broken Destiny, the RPG Maker project I'm working on, Side Quests are broken up into several categories. There are Monster Quests, which are basically go out and kill this many of X enemy, Challenge Quests, which pit you up against a harder/challenging type of enemy that you commonly don't see, and Collection Quests, which is go out, get this from the world or a specific enemy, and bring it back to the person who gave you that quest.


Then I also have very specific Side Quests that give lore to the world, its surroundings, and pretty much make it so that the world isn't just something you walk on. It has history, and these Side Quests show that history with cutscenes, dramatic events, and other types of interactivity. The same with the characters in your group: they also have backstories. In the game, you don't immediately know everything about your party members, even though they reside in the same town as you do. There are specific Side Quests you have to do in order to fully understand their past and what it is they desire to do.


I feel the former side of Side Quests, mainly the Monster Kill Quests, Challenge Quests, and Collection Quests, should all just be cut out from the game. They don't serve any purpose. They're just there for the extra EXP points and the extra money you get. And sometimes some free items or weapons or anything like that. Just cut them out. They don't do anything good.


I'm trying to base this off something that actually does "Quests" well. If you've heard of this game, then you'll know what I'm talking about, if not, skip ahead, but Warframe does "Side Quests" really really well. Your standard missions are there for the grind and leveling up gear and weapons, but the true bulk of the game's story, and how characters develop as you explore new areas, shines in these Quests. And these Quests can span almost up to 3 hours, since they're so interactive and so different than anything you would normally play without doing these Side Quests.


So you take the aforementioned "cut out" Side Quests, and just make them like notices on a town board for example. They're not actual Side Quests, just something you can do in your spare time in case you're underleveled or need extra money, or just want the items. They don't show up in the Quest Log like normal Side Quests do.


And then these actual Side Quests that expand upon the world, give the history of the world a little bit more clarity and understanding, and giving characters the screentime they deserve, they all get their individual Side Quests that you can complete and have a better understanding of doing what they do, or why they were made that way.


What do you all think about this kind of Side Quest idea? And what is your take on Side Quests? Should these monster hunt quests be counted as actual Side Quests, or just something you can do in your spare time that doesn't affect anything but your EXP pool and how much money you have?

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Well, my game is an open dungeon crawler rooted in combat and exploration, so I don't have many quests, as in, get a task, complete it, and come back for a reward. Besides the main story line (which is rather short but with an extremely powerful last boss) there's only 10 side quests in the entire game. Instead, I use secret areas, puzzles, town building, enemy tech lowering, experience gaining, gold gathering, skill purchasing and loot. But that's just my game. What works for one, may not work for the other.


That said, your actual sidequest idea is the one you should focus on the most. Those are the ones people will remember and enjoy. The rest are just more or less tasks. Of those 10 sidequests I mentioned, I only have one that really fits that catagory, and it is hands down one of the most memorable parts of the game. So much so, that I'm never making another sidequest like the other 9 ever again.

Edited by lianderson

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I'm personally not a huge fan of sidequests unless they are mostly post-game. I guess back in the day they weren't so bad, since they usually involved a character that actually needed something, as opposed to the MMO style of "get 10 of x". I can't stand those. So, I guess I would say I always make my sidequests say something and reward the player well, as you described. I kind of like the idea of splitting them up, too, but I'd rather cut fetches entirely.

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I love exploring and running around trying to collect every little thing. That means I love sidequests. i don't have my quests officially categorized like in the OP, but I have all that were mentioned. Personally, I like to have of things. Sometimes having a break from the main story is nice. Mini games are great for this, too. Simple kill x monsters or collect x items get pretty boring pretty fast so I keep those to a minimum. I just sprinkle them in. The killing monster ones are provide a little bonus for grinding. The collecting give the player some extra motivation to explore. 


The more elaborate quests give the world some detail and substance. Some go into the world's history, others are more more character development there's 10 party members in my game) or little side stories for NPCs. 


As far as your game goes, Arin, I depends on how your game is built. If it isn't set up for level grinding, then kill x monsters is kinda pointless. I remember there being a good amount of exploration involved so you may want to consider keeping a few item collecting quests. maybe they are just on the Notice Board. I like the idea of longer quests. bear in mind that the more sidequests you have and the longer they are, the more time and effort it will take to create them. Sidequests are great, but not essential to creating a game. Make sure you're willing and able to take the time to develop them. 


I liek the idea of the challenge quests. Another way to go is the good ol' Coliseum minigame. That's the one where you fight wave after wave on monsters of increasing strength. You can even make a side quest where the objective is to become champion ;)

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I'm for a mix of collecting and hunting monsters. I don't mind fetching but sometimes fetches can feel like a filler. I'm to early in Quests to see how WOC plays level-wise, but from the looks of it, you'll have to do some side quests to continue for progress purposes. You have to be max level to beat the game, and the max level is assumed at the moment to be 40.

I think story-based quests can even things out. Just repetitive fetching quests can be a bore.


ANYWHO, I am all for side quests. It depends on the game mostly. Dragon Age: Origins, even being a close-world game, did pretty good with side quests. Games like God of War 1 - 3, which are also closed-world, wouldn't have worked the same way. For open-world games, it is obviously a must.


Side quests can add lore to the game, and it makes the world look more depth. Without lore, your game feels like the world is self-existent. As soon as you hit "New game", that is how the world was with no history. Adults just magically appear with evil people, and for some odd reason, you're fighting them XD Of course, that would only be true if your main quests wouldn't have lore. Bottom line, I'm all for side quests if it is delivered correctly.

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