[MUD-Dev] Congratulations Horizons...

Chanur Silvarian chanur at guildsite.com
Mon Jan 12 10:25:40 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

From: "Lee Sheldon" <lsheldo2 at tampabay.rr.com>

> A Fed Ex quest to me is simply, "Give this item, message, or
> password to Larry."  Or a string of such assignments.  I'm not
> against FedEx quests per se, particularly at low levels, or even
> as pieces of larger quests.  I use them all the time.  But only
> FedEx quests?  Anyway, I started to make one up, but finally
> decided it would be easier to illustrate by using a quest already
> in the game [EQ]..."

Going to use your definition.

> The first quest I did as a Scout character in Horizons was to
> receive a series of directives from my scoutmaster (scoutmaster?
> That doesn't sound quite right, lol) to search for signs of enemy
> activity. I had to make my way to several locations and scout
> around using my Sense Enemies ability (similar to EQ's tracking)
> until I found the spot where I had "seen enough of the area" to
> report back. There were no NPCs involved other than the ones who
> assigned the various areas to scout. I didn't deliver anything or
> kill anything. There were no NPCs on the other end.

It doesn't matter that there was no NPC on the other end, your
delivery was information.  It just so happened that you were both
the sender and courier, but you were the courier.  It was FED-EX.
Pick up the package (information) and deliver it.

> In the Trials of the Gifted quest suite there are 5 thematically
> connected quests. The first I did, the Test of Endurance, required
> me to walk a certain distance, weighted down so I could barely
> move. I didn't deliver anything or kill anything.

You did deliver something.  You delivered yourself.  You were both
the package and the courier in this instance.  It was FED-EX.  Pick
up the package (yourself) and deliver it.

> Another, the Test of Swiftness, required me to reach a second NPC
> as fast as I could. It's necessary to use the "sprint" ability to
> satisfactorily complete that trial. I reached the NPC who was my
> "finish line" and that NPC started me on the next quest. I never
> returned to the one who gave me that quest.

A return to the point of origin is not in the definition of FED-EX.
This was a beautiful FED-EX quest.  Deliver the package (yourself)
and it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.

I've always believed quite firmly that you should be able to "fail"
in quests. The addition of a way to fail does not change the core of
the quest.  It is still FED-EX.

> This new quest, the Test of Soul, required that I recall to a
> certain bind point to prove I could do so when I had died, and was
> indeed one of the Gifted who can be resurrected. This is the first
> time in any MMORPG I've played where that particular game mechanic
> was actually fit into the fiction of the world -in- the world,
> instead of just explained in a manual.

I applaud fitting the recall/bind/resurrect mechanics into the
fiction, but this was still FED-EX.  Deliver the package (yourself)
to the correct location.

> Another, the Test of Knowledge, asked me to seek out several wise
> NPCs and learn about the land.

Deliver the package to multiple individuals.

> Another, The Test of Wit, DID choose to use a traditional FedEx
> mechanism to answer a series of riddles, obtaining the answers
> explicitly as items, but it needn't have.

Right, the "package" to be delivered could have again been
information rather than items.

> Finally we have the quest to free several "enslaved races" that
> players will then be able to play. At the moment this requires
> crafters to rebuild certain mines while adventurers stand guard
> and slay the mobs trying to stop them.

This sounds like it might actually break out of the FED-EX.  I'd
have to know a bit more about it because I honestly don't think an
MMORPG can do anything other than FED-EX.  I'm betting this is get
the package (not sure what the package is here, might be a completed
mine) to a certain location/person and that it just has added the
necessity of co-operation to complete it.

Much as I hate to admit it, I have to agree that I've not seen a
quest in any MMORPG that is not a FED-EX.  There is a very simple
reason why MMO's can't break out of FED-EX, it is because the only
way to do it is to allow for free will of the player character to
choose their course.  As soon as you do that, you can no longer
program it and must use a live GM to give game world reaction rather
than game AI.

As complex a program as you may have it is still finite.  A program
cannot account for a player's sudden inspiration to turn directly
around, march right back to the dragon cave, and put the sword of
ultimate world salvation right back where he got it and then march
right out and never put it to mind again. Uhmm... so what happens
now?  The package wasn't delivered, but if it isn't delivered the
world is supposed to be destroyed.  In a pencil/paper game, the GM
figures out some way around it and the game goes on.  Computer
programs cannot handle the completely unexpected (if they are
programmed to handle it then it wasn't unexpected, now was it?)

- Chanur Silvarian -
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