One of the defining factors in a game is how Missions or Quests are handled. These tasks given to players provide several different aspects that drive the game. First they provide the story that the player is taking part in. They also provide experience, game knowledge, and items that will help the player out over the course of the game. There are many different types of missions but they can be broken into a few categories. The categories can be combined in various ways to provide a different experience or the illusion of dozens of different kinds of missions but they still fall in only a few categories. The basic categories include Combat, Travel, Gathering and Crafting.
Combat missions are in one of two forms. The first is a strait kill mission. This style provides a list of enemies that the player must dispose of. The kinds and number of kills will vary but the basic principle does not change. The second type is a gathering mission from kills. This is a combination but it is very common and normally referred to as a kill mission because the player must kill targets in order to obtain the required items. The principle stands in both cases that combat is required in order to complete the mission though the goals may be from either category or both.
The second is a Travel mission. These missions are either strait up travel, escort, or a composite. In the travel mission the player must go to a location once there an additional goal may be offered of the same or different type. Escort missions involve typically going to a location, speaking with an NPC and then keeping them safe until they reach a final location. This mission will normally involve some combat but the underlying type is still a travel with the added requirement that the NPC must survive. The travel category is the most commonly bound mission type because nearly every mission requires the player to go to a location to do the mission and then return. The two and from are travel portions and most players do not realize that this is actually a category in and of itself that is compound by default into the missions.
Gathering is the fourth major category of missions. Typically a gathering mission requires the player to wander around looking for some resource or material that is required to finish a quest. As mentioned in Combat, one such location to get items are NPCs but they are not the only place. Missions could include crafting and gathering skills in order to obtain the items from the world. However, the mission can be setup in one of two ways. The first is a pure gathering which requires the player to do the action in order to get the items. But many times, the missions just state to return with the items. This allows the player to use their wits to obtain them in any way possible. Some solutions could be from their inventory, bank, auction, friends or the obvious solution gathering.
The final major category is that of Crafting. This is the simple process of returning to the NPC with a completed item. Like gathering the solution may require the player to do the craft or allow them to bring back the completed item from any source. Crafting missions are typically simple and easy to do; however, if the developers are creative these missions could be very complex and require the player to go through multiple steps in order to complete them.
The most common missions are composite in nature. This provides diversity and a customized feel for the players. The game designers can utilize the basic categories or come up with additional concepts such as interacting with an object in game which spawns NPCs that the player has to kill. Another might be finding the resources to craft some item that will summon a boss NPC. There are countless solutions that could be presented to the players and the solutions are only as limited as the imagination of the game designers.
|Combat Mission Design, Part 2|
|Story Design Basics|
|Story Writing Concepts|