Saturday, April 02, 2005


Quest Rewards Going No-Trade

The upcoming update to EQ2 will change most/all quest reward items to no-trade. This is exactly what WoW does; quest items in WoW are "Binds when picked up".

There are good reasons for doing this: it lets the quest designer give people good items as rewards without making it so that anyone can walk up to the broker and pick one up for a few silver (which makes other items of the same type useless, dropping demand for crafted and looted items). It also encourages people to do quests for the items they want instead of just buying them.

It's an idea that works well in WoW, but it will have some disadvantages in EQ2. EQ2 is basically copying one part of WoW's overall system exactly, but without the rest of the system it doesn't work nearly as well. Here's why:

- Unlike in WoW, quests in EQ2 typically don't give good rewards right now. And given the work it would take to update all of them to be worthwhile, we can safely assume that 99% of crappy quest rewards will still be crappy after this update. And now you can't sell them on the broker, either.

- This wouldn't be so bad if NPC vendors would pay reasonable amounts of money for these items. They don't (unlike WoW).

- As a result, people won't want to do quests, unless they know for sure what they are getting at the end. In WoW you are almost always told ahead of time what the quest reward is, so it isn't a problem there. EQ2 players will instead flock to spoiler web sites to find the reward to see if the quest is a waste of time or not...and while they are there, they'll look up the spoiler for all the quest steps, too.

- If people approach quests this way, not only are you breaking immersion by encouraging them to stop playing and go do research, you're also defeating the whole point of quests. Instead of venturing into something unknown and exciting, people are going to look at quests (even more) as a series of tedious chores they must complete, because they were (essentially) forced to look up the quest/reward and already know what happens in each stage of the quest. They are also much less likely to appreciate any story elements, NPC personality, etc. when they do quests like this.

This is why I am concerned about EQ2 copying things from other games wholesale. Some things, like the mentoring system, are well-executed and have huge upsides and almost no downsides. Other things, like the solo instances and this upcoming change, should be refined and thought out more before they are implemented.

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