At the beginning of this month Jagex released their newest quest, Do No Evil. This quest oversees a tie-in of the Desert and Monkey storylines. In the quest, the player has to solve various puzzles and eventually the quest builds up, through a series of small fights, to a boss fight that puts the player against a rather high-levelled creature. After the boss fight, the quest ends and the player is awarded with their hard-earned rewards.
Now, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, The Void Stares Back… after some puzzles, the quest builds up to have some small fights, a few more puzzles, then a huge boss fight and the quest is complete… Oh that’s similar to While Guthix Sleeps: puzzles, fights, puzzles, boss… and Desert Treasure: puzzles, fights, puzzles, fights, puzzle, and Nomad’s Requiem: puzzle, fight, boss…
Is anyone noticing a bit of a pattern going on? Over time, it seems that Jagex is slowly using the same ‘frame’ for their quests – puzzles, small fights, perhaps some more puzzles, then finish with a big boss fight and, in my opinion, it’s a dying style of quests. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing the stories and their similarities – they’re unique and generally very different to one and another. It is the ‘frames’ that Jagex are using for a lot of their quests that is slowly making questing a rather tautologous experience (disregarding their respective stories, of course).
But, there are some quests that are the mould breakers in the bunch: Elemental Workshop series – a series of quests that are entirely dedicated to puzzles and, with each new quest in the series, the difficulty increases (just think of Elemental Workshop 3!). One Small Favour is a quest that is slightly set apart from the rest – a series of puzzles and errand running, until eventually you go back on yourself and return all the favours you promised. Even Cook’s Assistant (although it’s like an extremely smaller version of One Small Favour) is somewhat different to the general frame that a lot of quests are taking.
So what kind of effects is this tautology of quest frames having? Well, people know what to anticipate from a quest generally and, although, that’s not always a bad thing, it can spoil it for some avid questers out there. As well as this, some people are even giving up on quests that are following the same pattern of puzzle-fight-boss (several people I know, including myself, are examples of this) due to its repetitive nature.
But in response to this, RuneScape, and even other MMO/RPGs, are very limited in what they can do. For instance, even in Oblivion (a console RPG) a lot of the quests seem to follow a structure of puzzles and a boss fight. Many MMO games are notorious for having very bland quest sets. Collect 10 x’s or kill 10 x’s, with the item, creature or number being different each time. In comparison to this, RuneScape’s quests are a fair bit more unique – but there is only so long this will be true for if the same puzzle-fight-boss system is used in every new quest we get.
But what is your opinion on this? Do you have any ideas of what could set apart new quests from the same dry experience of puzzling and boss fighting? Tell us what you think in the discussion topic!