Constructing quest lines in a semi-linear narrative
Updated: Dec 16, 2021
The common theme I've noticed in most MMO and Online RPG's is that more often than not the narrative is highly linear for the critical path/hero's journey. With Guardian's of Aether I want to bring in a slight change to this through a more semi-linear narrative style.
Instead of having quest chains working through sequence, I want players to have the option of how to progress through parts of the story, this will allow players to have even more focus in terms of engaging with the game's narrative.
This diagram outlines, albeit roughly, the use of the chapter system for the storytelling in the game. As opposed to having a set of sequential quests, players will be able to choose the order of the quests they do in each chapter leading up to an end of chapter instance (story or plot point in the form of a solo battle or dungeon).
The purple outlined hexagons show how players will begin a part of a chapter through dialogue, cutscene (which will include dialogue choices in terms of responses) or another for of exposition.
Following this players will be able to choose which quest they want to pursue first, investigating an area, escorting NPC's to certain areas, engaging in battles in the open world or travelling to another area to search for an NPC or item. After completion of the series of questions for this chapter players will then be able to pick up the end of chapter quest which will result in either a solo battle or a dungeon/instance content (relying on the solo or party based decision method).
For some chapters, there are likely to be more quests than 3, or there may be a series of quests broken into set of 3 for players to complete, they will however need to complete all quests to continue with the overall story.
Each quest will also provide players with enough experience based on the level of the player character, and all players will be of an appropriate level at the end of a quest chain to be able to fully participate and complete the instanced content.