In what has become a trend in recent years, certain side quests down right suck. Often inserted into even the best games, these formulaic runarounds are there as filler, padding, low-grade fleshing out with one purpose in mind; to pack out a game with that extra little bit of content to fool us into thinking a world is full of exciting things to do with or no narrative reward.
We sure you’ve come across them. Missions so mind numbing they get you to question why you are even playing in the first place. We’ve done and seen them all before. Sadly, though they do give us something to do, they can be detrimental for a carefully fostered sense of immersion.
We can’t blame developers though because we invariably end up doing them. We all want the sweet, sweet 100% completion rate no matter how bored we might get in the process.
The next five side quest formulas really need to go.
From human mules to virtual UPS delivery men, fetch quests are among the most boring additions to video games, well, ever. Often loosely veiled behind a barely convincing reason and a clearly orchestrated context that doesn’t really feed into the overall narrative, these missions are about as pointless as it gets. It gets worse though, when a random NPC demands a certain amount of something, the exact number having definitely been plucked out of thin air.
Elementary, My Dear Watson
I may be alone in this, but it feels like most modern protagonists moonlight as incredibly effective sleuths. Countless are the side quests which have us don our detective caps and seek out clues in search of a missing person or apparently important item. The trope is so overused, feigning surprise becomes a testing task when a character magically has a natural penchant for uncovering what evades a whole population of NPCs.
For many, the main appeal of video games is the consequence free platform they give players to perform acts so unsavory they would land us with a hefty prison sentence in real life. Developers don’t shy away from maximizing returns on the escapist appeal of gaming and nothing encapsulates this better than the hackneyed murder mission. We all know the formula: kill this guy for this or that insipid reason, and an NPC rewards with gold or a barely discernible nugget of narrative progression. Even worse are the arbitrary hoops to jump through; use a specific killing method, do so undetected, and the list goes on. It quickly gets old.
Hidden Items and Collections
Don’t get me wrong, tracking down the components of a collection for say a suit of armor or a significantly more powerful weapon has its merits, especially if they make in-game life a whole lot easier and facilitate progression. However, when it comes to a random assortment of trinkets scattered across the map by what can only be a schadenfreude-loving lunatic, we draw the line. Inanely tracking down collections of items for no good reason borders on the offensive on the part of developers. We always end up searching for the locations online, spending a good few hours darting between the four corners of the map only to be left with a lingering sense of disappointment.
Escorting, And Not The Naughty Kind
A hired bodyguard, a conscientious attendant, selfless protector; however you spin it, escort missions systematically boil down to helping random person from point A to point B unscathed. Saving someone from hordes of roaming bandits or bloodthirsty gangsters is all well and good the first ten times, but the thrill wears thin quickly afterwards especially when the escorted act erratically or you have to contend with successive waves of enemies professedly emerging out of nowhere.