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Gabe Hawkins
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Do you like side quests in games? Do you try to complete them all? How would you rate the quality of most side quests you encounter while gaming? In your opinion, what makes a good side quest?

Also, May the 4th be with you!
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Chris McDermott
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If a side quest starts along the lines of "I need the skins of 10 rats..." it's probably not a good side quest.

I think The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has the best side quests of any game I have played. Some of them are superb. Though Fallout 3 was pretty good too.

I have to complete them. All of them. shake
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p55carroll
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In RPGs, it depends on what the walkthrough I'm using suggests. If it says there's a cool side quest that's quick and easy enough to spend time on, I'll do it. If it says not to bother, I won't.

In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, I'm at a point where I think I might write the entire Watcher's Keep area off as a side quest and forget it. I got stuck there, and if it's anything like Durlag's Tower in BG1, I'm not at all sure I want the headaches.

I love the quests in Age of Wonders III, though. In a way, they're all "side quests" because you main quest is always to defeat your rival(s) and take over the world. But independent cities periodically offer you a quest and a reward for completing it, and it's often something worth going for, if only for the experience and to improve diplomatic relations. These quests fit the fantasy theme nicely and help ensure that AoW is not just another conquer-the-map 4X game.
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I chose to ask this question because I've been reflecting on my own thoughts about side quests lately. Honestly, I think I'm over them. Most side quests I've encountered are boring. They're the same thing rehashed in somewhat different ways. Sometimes they can lead you to story moments or parts of the world you wouldn't otherwise see, and though I like that aspect, it's rare that I enjoy the journey getting there. While there are certainly exceptions, I'd rather a game focus on making the main story so good that side quests are unnecessary. Generally speaking, I want fewer and more creative side quests, a smaller world, and better core story and gameplay. That seems more digestible and enjoyable at this point in my life.
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Ryan Ahr
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Oh god yeah. You get the best gear and other things in side content, and I like to be prepared to the gills for the final boss encounter. Also, I'm a hardcore completionist.
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Usually I am liking them, unless they are being very frustrating of control or function.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Skies of Arcadia had side quests for the Sega Dreamcast VMUs that were both fun and challenging to complete.
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VanillaCokeMule wrote:
Oh god yeah. You get the best gear and other things in side content, and I like to be prepared to the gills for the final boss encounter. Also, I'm a hardcore completionist.
I don't care about the gear. I care about the story. The side quests in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (which is my gold standard game) were amazing for that reason. They all had little, personal, pathetic stories attached to them. They fleshed the world out in a great way. Like getting hot water for the Goron. Most of them were rewarded with heart pieces.

Open world games often struggle because there's such a big space to fill, I guess. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild side quests are a lot worse than Twilight Princess.

I am looking forward to playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Edit: I do try to complete them all, until I get fed up and start ignoring the boring ones. I'm looking at you Dragon Age: Inquisition...
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Jennifer Hanses
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I grew up with RPGs. In the original RPGs there's the main quest, and then there's the side quests, most of which need to be completed in order for you to level up enough to complete the main quest. So I was trained from an early age that all side quests need to be done.

Fortunately, for the most part, I like side quests. They're usually a chance to learn more about your companions and the world, and I love gathering information.

That said, the obsessive compulsive in me can also lead to ... unfortunate things. I mentioned once before that The Witcher, a game that I do greatly enjoy, also made me uncomfortable mainly due to the side quest to sleep with all of the women to get all of the posters. You will say that I could just not do the quests, and you're right in that I could physically stop. The quests don't even give you any XP. But, well, obsessive compulsive: mentally, it's much more difficult. To not do the quests, I'd probably have to not play The Witcher at all (In order not to play stupid Facebook games, I don't go to Facebook any more. I tried to go back once for the social aspect, and I couldn't do it: the games got me and I had to say goodbye again). Anyway, I want to play the Witcher, so I do the tasks that make me treat all of the female characters as objects to be collected rather than as people I'm interacting with.

It does give me a lot of time thinking about the intersection of story, gameplay, and feminist philosophy as I try to understand my reactions, though, so ... umm... I've rambled off topic.

Side Quests = Good because more story content is always good.

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Mysti_Fogg wrote:
...
That said, the obsessive compulsive in me can also lead to ... unfortunate things. I mentioned once before that The Witcher, a game that I do greatly enjoy, also made me uncomfortable mainly due to the side quest to sleep with all of the women to get all of the posters. You will say that I could just not do the quests, and you're right in that I could physically stop. The quests don't even give you any XP. But, well, obsessive compulsive: mentally, it's much more difficult. To not do the quests, I'd probably have to not play The Witcher at all (In order not to play stupid Facebook games, I don't go to Facebook any more. I tried to go back once for the social aspect, and I couldn't do it: the games got me and I had to say goodbye again). Anyway, I want to play the Witcher, so I do the tasks that make me treat all of the female characters as objects to be collected rather than as people I'm interacting with.

It does give me a lot of time thinking about the intersection of story, gameplay, and feminist philosophy as I try to understand my reactions, though, so ... umm... I've rambled off topic.

Side Quests = Good because more story content is always good.

I love this story. I totally get where you are coming from. Some people use games to practice other moralities, but I use games to practice my real world morality. And it sometimes gets confronting.
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Yes, I am a glutton for quests. I have too many quests going on in Enderal right now, and I will finish every single one. I like them in games like this because they force you to explore the world, which means better gear. Nevermind the story, some young woman needs to know how her estranged mother is doing in a town far away. "Stand aside, citizen, and leave everything to me." *Looks over the landscape with a confident gaze while hands are on hips.*
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I'm pretty sure I don't like them. But yes I do many of them. Though I am more willing to let them go now then I used to be.

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Mysti_Fogg wrote:
Side Quests = Good because more story content is always good.


I'm really loving the way that Bioshock and Metroid Prime handle narrative.

If a player wants to do a lot of backstory reading and delve into the lore and history and setting they can do so.

If a player is not interested in this they don't have to and miss out on little to nothing mechanically.

There is still some exposition of course. I suppose it can't fully be avoided. But for the people who just want to play the game the way these games handle it is superb.
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Re: VGG QOTD 2019 May 4 - Do you like side quests in games? Do you try to complete them a
frumpish wrote:
I'm pretty sure I don't like them. But yes I do many of them. Though I am more willing to let them go now then I used to be.



That pretty much sums it up for me as well. I don’t like them, but I still do them. Fewer and fewer as time goes on though.
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Mysti_Fogg wrote:
I grew up with RPGs. In the original RPGs there's the main quest, and then there's the side quests, most of which need to be completed in order for you to level up enough to complete the main quest. So I was trained from an early age that all side quests need to be done.

Fortunately, for the most part, I like side quests. They're usually a chance to learn more about your companions and the world, and I love gathering information.

That said, the obsessive compulsive in me can also lead to ... unfortunate things. I mentioned once before that The Witcher, a game that I do greatly enjoy, also made me uncomfortable mainly due to the side quest to sleep with all of the women to get all of the posters. You will say that I could just not do the quests, and you're right in that I could physically stop. The quests don't even give you any XP. But, well, obsessive compulsive: mentally, it's much more difficult. To not do the quests, I'd probably have to not play The Witcher at all (In order not to play stupid Facebook games, I don't go to Facebook any more. I tried to go back once for the social aspect, and I couldn't do it: the games got me and I had to say goodbye again). Anyway, I want to play the Witcher, so I do the tasks that make me treat all of the female characters as objects to be collected rather than as people I'm interacting with.

It does give me a lot of time thinking about the intersection of story, gameplay, and feminist philosophy as I try to understand my reactions, though, so ... umm... I've rambled off topic.

Side Quests = Good because more story content is always good.



You sound like me with having cookies in the house.

If I am really enjoying a game and dont want it to end I will do the side quests, especially if they sound interesting.
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Benj Davis
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Yeah, love a good side quest.
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Oh and if the sidequest is an entirely different genre than the base game they devs can knock it right off with that already.

Especially if that is in the main game and not a SQ.
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For the most part, yes.

In RPGs like Final Fantasies, 7th Saga, and Chrono Trigger, it's more of a good thing (playing the game), not to mention getting more XP, and goodies (items, spells, equipment, etc.) In some of them, it means getting a different ending. However, if it's too hard to do, or I can't figure out how to find it (short of looking up a strategy guide/FAQ), then that's another thing entirely.


For other games, also yes. For example, for Super Mario 64, you only need 70 of the 120 stars to beat the game, but I've enjoyed (again, for the most again), "100%-ing" this. Other Mario platformers followed the same suit... playing the extra levels, "getting all stars", getting all dragon coins, etc.
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Yes I like sidequests in games, but not completely and not without caveats.

Sidequests are a nice way of breaking up the game and giving variety. Do the main story too much and you might burn out. Gives the developers a bit of freedom to include something that might not fit the overall tone of what they are working on yet make it work. Sidequests can even integrate really well with a main story if done right (Star Ocean 1+2's Private Actions). Some games are better if only because of all the side stuff to do (pretty much anything from Bethesda).

Where sidequests become garbage is when they become mindless busy work and have no payoff aside from increasing your stats (Farcry 3 side missions). This can still work if done well I guess. The first several done in say Farcry 3 were fine enough. After raiding so many bandit camps and killing so many Komodo Dragons though, it really becomes repetitive. All just so I can increase my carrying capacity, of something.
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Simon Lundström
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I like side quests as long as they spice the game up a bit. I don't mind games that consists virtually only of "small silly stuff to do".

But it's a difficult balance, because yeah, I do like to do them all, and they can very well end up with being too many.
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Tom Castellani
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The thing that always trips me up about sidequests is not really knowing if they're going to accelerate me past where I'm "supposed to be" for the main quest. If I complete side quests, and either over level or get too good of gear, things like that, I prefer to not do sidequests. There's not much worse for me when a game makes itself trivial by giving you too much. I appreciate when a game gives you a system and challenges you to learn it. If you are 10 levels too high, there is no more challenge, you're just going through the motions. Which I admit, I could try to re-frame my state of mind and enjoy for what it is, but it's not what I tend to like when playing a game.
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I think it depends. If it is just an uninteresting side quest, I'll skip it unless the reward is worth it. There's just too much good gameplay out there to waste time on these.

I googled all the Mass Effect side quests since they mostly seemed similar to figure out if there were any interesting ones to do for story.

Most of the good sidequests add backstory. Sometimes chocobo races and stuff like that are fun too, but I've made a point to skip the card games since they pale in comparison to physical ones I like to play.
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I love good side quests. I'll play all side quests, but I love the ones that unlock game-changing abilities, story and worldbuilding, new NPCs to interact with, or in general add meaningful content to the game. I love that kind of thing. Often (as with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) I found the side quests to be more fulfilling and far more fun than the main quest...

I like to be able to join the Thieves Guild, to become a Gladiatorial Champion, or just a simple homeowner in one of the cities. Quests like that bring the game to life for me, and allow me to play as different characters with different goals within that world.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition, unfortunately, has their ambient quest system that allows the meaningful side quests - such as the ones for the Daedra artifacts - to be mixed in with quests where yet another clumsy person lost a necklace showing their devotion to a particular deity in yet another cave system somewhere in the world. When you dilute side quests down with random fetch quests, it's not nearly as fun. (But, damn it, I'll still do those quests...)
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Tony C
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Sometimes.
If the side quest is an interesting story in itself, or fun to do, or fleshes out characters, yes.
I recall the Dragon Age games had good side quests, and Agents of Mayhem had them as well, both of which expanded the world or the story of the characters.
But Find X, Take to Y, Repeat Ad Nauseum, or Kill x,000 of Each Baddie, not so much.
I like the "use this weapon" things in the Far Cry games, but I hate "kill one of each animal" and I despise anything to do with fishing in a video game.
I don't like "Collect 100% of Thing" because that's too much like work.
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