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StaceyPowers

How much direction do you want a game to give you?

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It's not so much the amount but the quality of it. I don't want anything to do with quest markers, and telling me to turn them off often highlights the design problems with doing so: very rarely does a quest with quest markers come with enough information to find it oneself.

Let's use two Elder Scrolls games as an example of what I mean:

  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind I am given a quest to find a cave and clear it out. By the questgiver I am given the reason and the directions. My own character will decide to make a note of this in their journal so not to get lost on the way. By the world I am given landmarks and signposts, so I can identify my current location, surrounding areas to which I can map a route and my progress to the quest location.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim I am given a quest to find a cave and clear it out. By the questgiver I am given the reason. My own character will decide to make a note of this in their journal. By the world I am given signposts, so I can identify my current location and surrounding areas. By the user interface I am given quest markers which will point me to my destination as-the-crow-flies.

I prefer the former because it makes sense that a new arrival in Morrowind won't know anything about the surrounding area. In Skyrim, most of the Dragonborn's knowledge comes not from the world, but the purely mechanical side. I didn't mention The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion because it's awkwardly stuck between the two at that regard. It depends on which quest writer was in that day, I suppose.

Quest markers can have a place in a setting such as The Elder Scrolls because the entirety of it is penned by an unreliable narrator, and markers are the only thing that one can truly trust in the games. While it wasn't intentional there's an infamous quest in Morrowind that incorrectly guides the player via the journal and quest text, but given the setting's rumours, sketchy accounts of past events in later games and how their greater universe behaves, it's appropriate that people get information wrong. But that's still frustrating, however much sense it might arguably make in-universe.

Sorry to blather on. Just because I'm more against quest markers than I am for them doesn't mean direction can't be obtuse. Games such as Dark Souls have 'natural selection' direction, which is to say 'screw around and find out', but the first game at least tells you your primary goals such as ringing the bells, reaching Anor Londo, and dealing with the four (technically seven if we count the Four Kings as seperate entities) main antagonists. Dark Souls II and III tell you to find "greater souls" and hope you can find your way via the breadcrumb trail of bonfires. If you can't, join the statistics.

But in all, it depends on when I want it, not so much how much I want it. Not every game has to be as up-in-the-air as Dark Souls nor does every game have to use a journal. Sometimes you just want to turn off your brain, use a quest marker and get a sword. A bit like a familiar, easy to read toilet book.

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If a game is well designed it needs no handholding at all, because you'll know intuitively what do to.

The games where you have to guess the mind of the designer to figure out what on earth are you supposed to do are badly designed.

What I find most annoying is when games don't even allow you to enter the game's main menu and adjust options before completing a tutorial / prologue mission.

I also dislike when games start spawning hints at you when you step off the beaten path. Just let me explore at my own, pace OK?

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2 minutes ago, Withywarlock said:

It's not so much the amount but the quality of it. I don't want anything to do with quest markers, and telling me to turn them off often highlights the design problems with doing so: very rarely does a quest with quest markers come with enough information to find it oneself.

 

Well then you'd love Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. There is a mode in those games called "unguided exploration" where the game doesn't give you quest  markers for most missions, instead it describes the place where you need to go. And you need to find it using the map and geographic features or nearby landmarks.

I loved that mode, it is much more immersive than blindly following a quest marker. Plus it encourages exploration.

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2 minutes ago, m76 said:

Well then you'd love Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Ghost Recon Breakpoint. There is a mode in those games called "unguided exploration" where the game doesn't give you quest  markers for most missions, instead it describes the place where you need to go. And you need to find it using the map and geographic features or nearby landmarks.

I loved that mode, it is much more immersive than blindly following a quest marker. Plus it encourages exploration.

I'm sure I would like those mechanics if I liked the games, but for some reason I've yet to articulate I don't. Neither clicked with me, but then it took me about 5 tries before Fallout: A Post Nuclear Roleplayigng Game did, and 8 before Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition did, so perhaps one day I'll see the appeal of Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Ghost Recon Breakpoint.

Thanks for the recommendations all the same, though. ^^

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I hate, HATE when I start a new mobile game and it forces you through one of those mandatory, extremely hand-holdy tutorials. You know the kind that walks you through every mechanic of the game, with huge arrows point to an option and won't let you click anything else? If a game has one of those I get pretty tempted to just uninstall it right then and there.

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1 hour ago, Anders said:

I hate, HATE when I start a new mobile game and it forces you through one of those mandatory, extremely hand-holdy tutorials. You know the kind that walks you through every mechanic of the game, with huge arrows point to an option and won't let you click anything else? If a game has one of those I get pretty tempted to just uninstall it right then and there.

Ironically, it was this that initially turned me off Warhammer: Chaos and Conquest. The visual overload of that game's tutorialisation made it seem a lot more complicated than it was. Skipping past everything was the best mistake I'd ever made in a game.

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I just need enough direction to get an idea of what the game is and how it works. I don't like when it's too much in depth. Just give me the tools, the controls, and point me where to go to start and I think it's usually good from there. 

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On 1/29/2021 at 3:19 PM, Anders said:

I hate, HATE when I start a new mobile game and it forces you through one of those mandatory, extremely hand-holdy tutorials. You know the kind that walks you through every mechanic of the game, with huge arrows point to an option and won't let you click anything else? If a game has one of those I get pretty tempted to just uninstall it right then and there.

This was what turned me off from AC initially. It's also one of the issues that turned me off from Twilight Princess. I tried TP several times, but those damn wolf tutorials and forced challenges made me quit. I gave AC another chance, but with AC3 this time, and loved it. So now I'm into the series.

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None. Zero. Zero hand-holding. Because you know what this thread reminds me of? Back when Myst first came out. One of the biggest things that game reviewers talked about was that the game literally drops you into a fantasy world with no instruction, no goals, barely any opening cutscene even explaining how you got there. There's no NPCs to talk to. No journal, no quests. You literally just have to figure out on your own what you're supposed to do. And you do that by exploring. 
That series was definitive of my childhood. I know there were tons of people who didn't like them for that exact reason. And I know I spent a lot of time looking up walkthroughs online. But I could get the help and the hints and the information at my own pace. The game wasn't giving me any help I didn't want.

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I don't want a game to hold my hand, all I want is quest markers (because I don't consider that hand holding, just convenience) and for a game to understand the difference between offering a problem to solve and being cryptic. 

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On 29/01/2021 at 8:00 PM, The Blackangel said:

Help in knowing what to do, or how to do it, is good. But after that is taught in the beginning, any more "instruction" only takes away from the game.

Yeah, if the game tells you everything with no doing things yourself, it's annoying. 

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Not much at all. A quest makes sense to give you the general location of the next step or even the exact spot, but I hate the games that give you a line on the ground to follow since there are so many other ways to get to the point

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I also hate mandatory tutorials. I understand that some games need an explanation of some sort, but if it's too much I just get bored and end up skipping it all the way. There's a certain pleasure in feeling a little lost and discovering the rules or the goals by yourself.

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