Hacked Off: Fetch Quests

This week’s feature is a little awkward for me as I am not completely against fetch quests. I understand they add a bit of diversity to games. Without missions like these, the whole game would just involve going to various areas killing monsters. They only begin to annoy me when they are used excessively. Around the fifth time is when I start to feel the annoyance levels tipping.

To become a hero is one of the job requirements: must be willing to find things for other people. To be regarded as a hero in our society would all I have to do is finish peoples’ chores? If anything, these NPCs are just taking advantage of your kindness. They must tell all their friends, “Oh, if you’re looking for something and you see the guy who’s going to save the world, just ask him to do it and save yourself a couple of hours. Just make up a story about how it’ll help your life tremendously and pay him with any spare change you have.”

One game which had an abundance of fetch quests was Dead Rising 3. Now, this game already featured in a “Hacked Off” article, but it really deserves its own whole feature. I have never experienced my opinion to go from awe to disgust so quickly. It wasn’t even at the start, it just seemed to happen about halfway through. Everything suddenly became boring as there was nothing new, just missions with different skins. One of the worst parts were the fetch quests, there were just so many. I’m sure there were more of these quests than actual zombies. They weren’t even fun, they were literally just go to one area and pick up some mundane object and then go back.

All credit to them though, as there were some which had a few stages. I assume it was to make it more interesting – it’s just they were even more infuriating as they just prolonged the fetch quest. They would just lead you in a big circle, grabbing one item and then being told you needed to find something else. It’s not like these items were in different areas, it was all within earshot of the person, making you question why you didn’t both split up and save time, it’s not like there is a zombie apocalypse.

Having so many of these quests just gets mind numbingly boring and tedious. I’m sure developers put loads in because they take so long to do, and without them the game would only take ten hours to complete as opposed to fifty. There should be an option that lets you outright refuse the person. Make them get the item, seeing as they’re the ones who need it, we’re not UPS, they can’t just expect us to deliver it. Maybe I should start asking people on the street to go do my weekly shopping for me. If it’s pivotal to the story, players should be able to tell the lazy so and so to get it themselves while you relax on the beach.

I was playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD earlier and there was a quest line which was basically a “go here and get this quest”. In order to avoid spoilers, I shall not explain it in too much detail. The part that mainly annoyed me was the end. I had to talk to an old lady who gave me an item, I then had to go back to the village where this mission started to give it to a young lady. After this she then sent me back to the old lady to continue the quest. It’s not like these two areas were next to each other, oh no, that wouldn’t be fun. I had to traverse the whole of Hyrule three times just to complete this. Why couldn’t the old lady have come back with me or better yet just give me both things straight away? That solves the problem easily.

Developers could at least make fetch quests a bit more interesting. Just jazzing things up, maybe by making it a race between you and an NPC to see who can get the items the quickest. They could make it like a treasure hunt where you have to follow clues and riddles. Last time I checked running to some place to get something isn’t the most fun in a game. During the day when I need to go pick something up I don’t get really excited, it’s an inconvenience. Say the postman couldn’t deliver a parcel so I have to pick it up at the post office, it’s not some kind of grand adventure I’ll tell the kids one day, it’s something I’d rather not have to do.

RPGs are the genre that seem to love having these kinds of quests thrown in. The Elder Scrolls Online is no exception to this rule, if anything it’s a major example and a bad one at that. The game seems have fetch quests at every corner. Every person you speak to seems to want to go off and fetch something or someone. The stories weren’t even interesting, to the point I just skipped their talking as I couldn’t care less what they had to say. That is a big thing for me as I adore story in games and hardly ever skip scenes. It’s just The Elder Scrolls Online forced me to as there were so many people who wanted to talk to you about their dull problems.

Most quests had you run back and forth between areas picking stuff up and talking to people. The whole thing was a blur and I have repressed many memories of that game, to the point it feels like the whole game was just one long fetch quest. Oh, another reason I have ill feelings towards that game is that my friend couldn’t make up his mind of what class or alliance to be. I ended up making four characters who rarely made it past level 15, and so I had to replay most of the fetch quests several times; and in case you’re wondering, they don’t get more enjoyable the more you do them.

Well, now that the feature is over, I may go fetch my lunch. Hey, that’s not a bad idea for a quest in a game.

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