No update for this week, but I do have a thought I'd like to try and expand on.
I got an email from a video game website called Gamasutra. It was an advertisement on behalf of a book claiming to be able to improve the reader's writing skill in things such as quests, missions and puzzles. This line alone sent me thinking. So I'll set it up with an example of a very noteworthy experience in MMO gaming I had. Specifically a Quest/Mission/Puzzle. A Quest/Mission/Puzzle that ruined me forever in the world of Quests, Missions and Puzzles.
The setup for the mission was rather simple. The player didn't have to seek out a quest giver, they all had it already and decided to do it on their own. However, the quest didn't have a defined destination and furthermore the ACTUAL destination was one of those ones that moves around. In this game there was a HUGE world to explore and the destination could pretty much be ANYWHERE. Finally, there wasn't any mission text associated with the quest. It was just kind of a known thing that had to do something to get the reward. Strangely enough most people just knew the basic idea of what they needed to do.
The execution for the mission was a bit more tough. Depending on the amount of tools you had you could use expensive expendable items to narrow down the search to about one of 20 giant zones. If you didn't, you had to play a game of hot and cold on each of the zones and compare the best 'hot' result between all of them to find out which spot was the actual reward. Anywhere else would be a lesser reward which might be acceptable for lower tier players, but at the upper echelon would simply not do. Each of these giant zones could take a day to explore in any reasonable manner as well and were populated by extremely dangerous enemies at times.
The difficulty was compounded by the fact that the reward could be claimed by another player preventing you from claiming it yourself if you were too slow.
This reward was not something a few people were seeking every once and a while. I guarantee you were in competition with at least 30 or more people at any one time. The task was cutthroat.
And even if you spent the time and found the reward, it wasn't something useful to start with. Firstly you had to have expensive and specialized equipment to claim the reward. It wasn't instantly gained, it could take hours before you saw ANY of the reward. Once you claimed the reward it wasn't worth anything but what other players would pay for it. It, in and of itself was worthless. It wasn't a weapon, armor or consumable. It had to be converted to something useful. This usually required searching for THE SAME KIND OF REWARD AGAIN. Possibly several more times. If you didn't, it might have well been some shittier version of the reward.
After that, you had to have developed super high quality skills, purchased amazingly high quality tools and work with other people who have done the mission as many times as you, and have similarly high quality tools and skills to turn the reward into something useful. Did I mention to get these skills you had to develop your character to have them from the beginning? Furthermore odds are, this useful item was worthless to you and you would have to SELL IT TO SOMEONE ELSE or give it to another very high skill character of yours to use.
And it was amazing. It was beautiful. It was the best Quest/Mission/Puzzle I had ever done and would ever do. It ruined me for every Quest/Mission/Puzzle I had ever done. And do you know why? Because there was no written story. Nobody had taken the time to come up with the plot for this. This was the highest tier of crafting for a game called Star Wars Galaxies. The people who were able to complete these quests played as a class called the TRADER. They literally had a class for crafting. A class that had no quests past the first starter quests. The most elite would complete this 'Mission' and be widely known as the one with the best blasters, armor or lightsabers or whatever it was their specialty was. Because you couldn't even do everything!
This sounds like a horrible mission, but it wasn't, because the people who surveyed whole planets looking for the best metal did it willingly. They did it to be the best and succeed at far greater skill than anyone else. They had to level up BY CRAFTING to get to that point. Monsters gave no XP to Traders. They enjoyed it because it was the path they had chosen. Not because it was shoved down their throats by someone who thought we would want to save the Jawas by fetching them 3 idols of Jabba the Hutt after killing twenty Gammorians.
So why the hell would I buy a book about writing great missions, when the greatest mission I ever pursued had no writing? I just can't keep my morale up while grinding through the 30th Gungan.