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Why quests are bad

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by lamaros, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. Gamewizard

    Gamewizard Emperor

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    I enjoy the building quests being uncovered through playing the game. I don't take my games super seriously and try to enjoy the stream of surprises the building quests deliver.
     
  2. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    @KrikkitTwo: You missed a comma in one of your all-caps phrases. :)

    More on-topic, tooltips for possible quest rewards would make planning easier, but I don't necessarily need them.

    I disagree that the rewards are that bad (most complaints about imbalanced rewards have to do with trade routes, more than anything else). They're a chance to customize the buildings to your game and/or play style. Rather than the developer telling you flat-out that your 3-culture relic costs 1 maintenance, you have the option for a no-maintenance 2-culture relic.

    The larger quests in the game seem to me so far to have more to do with getting an explorer out digging somewhere inconvenient than simply building a building in a city.
     
  3. Kutuzov

    Kutuzov Prince

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    The hidden nature of the building quest is by design. Your civ builds the generator and they discover that the thing is a bit more powerful than they'd anticipated. How do you wish to utilize this extra enery? Extra production or extra energy? This is a good design IMO. Not with the mainstream (majority of posters here?), it would appear. Still, my voice needs to be heard as well ;)

    Uncovering the hidden bonuses is a part of the fun/game for some of us. If you want to know all the bonuses beforehand, well there do appear to be a number of community-created sources where you can "spoil the fun" for yourself if that's what floats your boat and that's fine by me. Go ahead and knock yourself out. But I don't want to spoil my own fun. This happens to be a HUGE part of the fun for me :D I don't have to investigate the UI too thoroughly either so if it's built in to the UI at some point, fine by me too. But building quests are not a bad thing.

    And just because some of us think that the bonuses are a good thing doesn't mean that we think they are all balanced, i.e. Autoplant. I think we all agree that this one has to be changed ;) You're just putting forward a strawman to make your point that building quests are bad.
     
  4. Manannan

    Manannan Prince

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    Largely agree with OP, and would just like to add that the random element of WHEN quest decisions pop up is annoying beyond what I can describe in words. It boggles my mind that I can wait a dozen or more turns for a quest to pop up after finishing building the building that promps said quest in my 8th city (while my capital has had it finished for much longer), and then later on get a quest for some affinity specific building I didn't even know I had the turn after puppeting a city that had it. Seriously, cut that @#$% out. Giving hidden attributes to buildings is bad enough, adding a randomness element to those hidden attributes is just rubbing salt in the wound.
     
  5. Manannan

    Manannan Prince

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    Explain to me how it's good design for someone to look at a building like the institute (I think that's what it is anyway), say "eh, this just gives specialist slots, I don't think I'll build that", and then only find out way after that "oh hey, this building actually gives 1 free tech or +5% beakers" exactly? Because that sounds like bad design to me. They show potential upgrades for units, why would you not show what amount to potential upgrades for buildings?
     
  6. Soffacet

    Soffacet Warlord

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    No, it's terrible design. As a strategy game, CivBE is a puzzle. The reason to play is to try and beat the puzzle as quickly and reliably as possible by making the best decisions. If the game UI is not being honest with new players about the consequences of their decisions, then they are not capable of making informed decisions. Which is indistinguishable from being incapable of playing at all.

    I suspect that the reason quest information is not readily available is simply that they forgot or ran out of dev time. But if they are deliberately withholding the information, then they are actively detracting from the game quality just to fuel their goofy and superfluous narrative.

    Besides quest transparency, the game also needs deterministic quest spawns. Many quests are currently critical (Autoplant, Fence) and it is beyond ridiculous to sometimes wait two turns and sometimes wait thirty.
     
  7. TLHeart

    TLHeart King

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    different strokes for different folks...

    and the first thing I thought when I saw the institute, was I must build that, for my science. and then I got the building quest...

    It increases the playability for me... over and over, to discover more quests, and more surprise elements. And once I have found them all, I can role play games to optimize my science, or my culture, or my affinity... or just go and smash the AI...
     
  8. TLHeart

    TLHeart King

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    to you it is a puzzle, to me it is an adventure into the unknown, and the quests add to the adventure of exploration.
     
  9. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    For what's it worth your thread convinced me to create a little mod that shows Quest Rewards in the building tooltips. So fear not! Help is on the way! :)
     
  10. mnf

    mnf King

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    Hooray for free speech and mod authors! Hooray!

    How about showing in the building tooltips that it "Has associated quest."?
     
  11. kruszelnicki

    kruszelnicki Chieftain

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    Just putting it out there....

    what would people think if quest as they stood were removed, and the building choices were replaced by affinity requirements?

    each building would then have 3 'quests' which unlock with affinity levels. You could have both '+' & '-' modifiers which related to their retrospective affinity. You would not need to unlock them as soon as they became available. Possibly an option to change the bonus also?

    Take Autoplant for example; its 'quests' could be:
    lvl 5 harmony: trade routes cannot be attacked by aliens
    lvl 5 purity purity: +20% yield on internal trade routes, -20% yield on external trade routes
    lvl 5 supremacy: external trade routes yield +20% for you and +40% for the other player

    Obviously not balanced, just examples.
     
  12. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    I thinkt hat would overload the tooltip even more. I think it is fine like this:
     
  13. Bezurn

    Bezurn Prince

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    I like the way it is implemented and think that the bonuses are for the most part are well balanced. The ultrasonic fence and autoplant need major tweaks, and a few of the others are underwhelming, but on the whole I really love the new building customization system. All of the incremental changes add up in a big way if you focus on one specific yeild, or you can balance out your civilization to shore up deficiencies in other areas.

    As to the OP and the hypothetical situations where a new person to civ, or veteran to civ but new to BE is playing and having this information hidden from the tech tree / interface is not really a issue.

    The first time you play the game, after you have built your very first building (usually within the first 20 turns) and you get your first building quest I thought "hey that's cool. I wonder if that will happen again when I build another building?"

    So I build a second building, and here comes another quest.

    At that point most people will have figured out that each building has a quest associated with it and so they are free to discover what all of the other buildings' quests are. This expands on one of the key hallmarks of a 4x game "eXploration" and leads to another "eXplotiation" where you can maximize your gains in leveraging the quests to your advantage.

    The way these quests are explained in the lore most often is that some event or breakthrough occurred because this building existed and now a choice on how to leverage this new discovery needs to be made. Your researches do not necessarily know before researching the tech for the building that this effect will be possible, so why should it be included in the tech tree. It is a bit gamey in that both bonsues can't be utilized, but then that makes for more interesting choices. Could the quests texts be more interesting? Yes I think so absolutely, but not all of them are terrible, and you don't want a lot of dialog pulling you away from the game for too long, just a short snippet, so they get the message across about as quick as possible with a small amount of flavor.

    The major issue right now that arises is the bonus quest reward for some buildings becomes far more substantial than the buildings initial feature. That is why I also think that making the bonus bigger to give it more meaning would be detrimental as it throws balance further off kilter when people min/maxing their choices, and that the building's stated feature is not why you are building it, but for the quest reward. Most buildings in the game offer very small bonuses as there are a plethora of buildings to make in the game and if each of the had large yields or modifiers attached to them then the game would reach WoW levels of number bloat.

    I do agree with you though that upon subsequent play throughs the pop ups can get tedious and uninteresting and detract from the game. But on my very first play through I was like a kid ina candy store, with all of these new choices and options to choose from and I think overall the addition of this feature greatly enhances the 4x side of the game.

    In the end I think this boils down to a simple issue of two different types of people who like to play SMAC. Those who like to play with blind research on, and those who like play with it off.

    I would love to have 4 potential options for each building and have only two available each game, as that would further increase the variaton between games and not make it a A vs B choice each time. Hope to see that in a mod someday, as I doubt Firaxis will look into that anytime soon with much bigger fish to fry.

    So just fix the obvious out of balance quest rewards and I think the building quests will be a great feature in this game.
     
  14. AgentDib

    AgentDib Chieftain

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    The lack of information is an oversight but not a huge deal. Fluffier players won't really care or will enjoy being surprised, and the more hardcore group won't have trouble remembering the few buildings quests that matter.

    What bothers me is that most of the quests do not really matter. They are just another thing to click through and CivBE is a step back in the series when it comes to clicks per unit of fun. Far too many unnecessary dialog boxes and prompts ("Are you sure?").
     
  15. mnf

    mnf King

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    I would definitely love to see affinities actually make a difference to gameplay, but this arrangement feels too much like the unit upgrade system. It's going to have a huge impact on the overall balance of the game, most likely require great attention in adjusting the AI as well.

    For now I just wish the quest rewards are balanced properly. No more 1 energe vs 1 extra trade route jokes...

    @GAGAExtrem: oh yeah, that's the kind of thing I was referring to. I misread your original suggestion and for some reason didn't realize you were talking about putting it in the building tooltips already.
     
  16. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    What I find a bit annoying is that these "Quests" are not really quests. They are just a building bonus decision.

    All you need is to build 1 building - the most basic requirement you can get. CIV4 had quests, because you had to do something to fulfill them - and not only "build X buildings", but also stuff like "aquire X ressources", "settle near tile Y" or "have Z units".

    For me the quest spam is, thankfully, still within acceptable margin. It is a lot of clickwork for little effect, but if they balance and tweak some of the options you can actually end up with a decent amount of user customization over time. But I can see why someone would prefer less quests and more significant options - something like the unit upgrade system for major buildings would have been cool. Or just use a virtue-like system - every affinity level the player gets 1 point he can use for a building of his choise (and then gets to pick between 2 or 3 options).
     
  17. Autoclave

    Autoclave Warlord

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    I agree with OP. I also don't like having loads of similar buildings with similar yields.
    +2 Health +1 food
    +1Health +2 Science
    +2 Science +1 health
    it feels like 80% of all the unlockable buildings are something like this.

    And then a quest appears that asks if you want do add some extra +1 health? Jesus Christ.

    This is not very fun. In Civ5 buildings were much more meaningful. Hell, even in SMAC they were.
     
  18. VDZ

    VDZ Chieftain

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    The thing I like most about Beyond Earth is the freedom of choice in your play style. The tech web allows you to follow some unspecified route throughout the techs to get specifically what you want, unlike regular Civ where you get railroaded through the same techs every time. As such, I love how the Building Quests allow you to customize the buildings to your liking. Some people here say it's not substantial enough, but I definitely feel the option of changing a +2 yield building to a +3 yield building or getting a different kind of yield entirely from the building is very significant - for a building with 3 yield, that means you're customizing 33% of it.

    Regarding the hidden information problem, I agree partially with both sides. When I started playing BE, it was interesting to discover what buildings unlock what choices. However, in later games, it's just annoying that you can't easily see the real effect of buildings. As such, I think the optimal solution would be to either have this information hidden until you've encountered the quest in a previous playthrough, or have it in the options menu as a setting that's off by default. Either way, new players don't need to see it, but on repeat playthroughs you really should be able to see it without having to look it up using some external source.

    One thing I haven't seen anybody bring up yet is the lack of building quests for wonders. It's one thing that disappointed me while I was still in 'wonder what quest this building unlocks' mode; I had hoped that by building wonders I would get choices for those too. They would be more interesting for quests, too, as you generally don't build many wonders in one playthrough so it'd be interesting to build them all. It would also really help make the less interesting wonders a whole lot more interesting, because even if the wonder itself is boring, who knows what quest it unlocks?

    Hell no.

    Imagine this situation: All strategic resource visibility techs are hidden a bit further into the tech tree so you don't unlock them until later. At the start of the game, one hidden strategic resource is completely removed from the game and cannot be obtained in any way. Sounds fun?

    No, it wouldn't be fun at all. Because you make certain choices expecting to get certain opportunities (and likely make investments beforehand to capitalize on that opportunity), and suddenly finding out that after all of your effort you can't do X because random chance ****ed you over and there's nothing you can do about it is not what I call 'fun'.

    No, that's what CivBE is to you. And there's nothing wrong with that. But there are people playing it for other reasons; some just want to build a nice empire and see their yield numbers reach ridiculous numbers. Some just like to crush their enemies with huge robots and aliens. Some just want to be part of a story of the colonization of a new planet. There are many ways to play the game, and some people don't want/aren't interested in perfect information because it doesn't add to their CivBE experience.
     
  19. NukeAJS

    NukeAJS King

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    Agreed.

    I'd like to add that for the building "quests" (more like decisions), they should come up less randomly. Waiting ~40 turns after building xyz building to get their "quest" option makes planning very difficult in some cases. It can also be unfair.

    For example, planning can be an issue with the institute. If you want the free tech and you want to use it to get a tech that you can't get currently, it's possible it will pop up next turn and you won't be able to get what you wanted because you didn't get the prerequisite. On the other hand, maybe you already can research it and you have the options of: wait until the "quest" pops and use the free tech to get what you want; or research the tech the hard way and hope the quest doesn't come up until after you've finished researching it. Both of these can be frustrating and not fun.

    Lastly, the random times between when you finish a building and when you get the "quest" can be just plain unfair. It's possible to finish a building 20 turns before someone else and not get the "quest." On the other hand, the other player could finish it (again, 20 turns later) and get the "quest" on the very next turn.

    I know this isn't the ideas and suggestions forum, but I think a simple fix to these problems (while still keeping a bit of the random element). Is to just increase the chances of the quest coming up after you finish it. Also, make those chances based on how many turns have passed since you finished it. So: turn 1 - 5%; turn 2 - 10%; turn 3 - 15%; turn 4 - 30%; turn 5 - 50%; turn 6 - 70%; turn 7 - 90%; turn 8 - 99%; turn 9 - 100% (for example).

    This would keep the random element, keep unfairness to a minimum, and still make it feasible to plan by expectations.
     
  20. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    The idea of the tech web is a good one, but that choise you mention is mostly an illusion.

    Once you have figured out the tree you will focus on a handful of key techs from the early game and then just rush all techs associated with your affinity of choise, skipping everything but a handful of really powerful ones (e.g. Vertical Farming if you have the Ectogensis Pod).

    I am already at a point where I have a fixed tech path for every game, only marginally adjusted by the stuff on the map (e.g. Biochemistry if I have lots of Coastal cities) or an early DOW from the AI.
     

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