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This article was written by the god Dentin, and posted on Nov 26, 2009.

How to Write Good Quest Guides

Writing quests is hard. It's almost equally hard to write a good quest guide, giving away as much information as makes sense, but still leaving the player to do most of the work. This article will help you through that process, and hopefully improve the usefulness of your guides.

WARNING - for high level quests, builders may not appreciate having an unauthorized quest guide made available. If possible, please talk to the builder of high level quests before making your guide. If you can't find the builder, or if the area is below level 25, feel free to submit the guide and Dentin will take care of the permissions.

One of the most important things to remember is that it's better to have too much information in your guide than too little. Quests are supposed to be hard because you have to do difficult things to complete them. Knowing exactly what and where you have to do something is often the easy part.

Another very important point is that your guide has to be well organized. The best quest information in the world won't help players if it's in a single unreadable giant block of text; you have to make the information easy to find and organize it into sections that make sense.

I recommend the following sections, in this order, for quest guides:

  • [optional] Rough Quest Overview
    This should give a short description of what the quest entails, or a rough story describing the quest. There are few details in this section, just a rough idea of what to expect. A summary, so to speak.

    If the quest is simple, it may make sense to merge the quest overview directly into the 'Starting the Quest' section. For very large, complex quests, you'll probably want an overview first.

  • Starting the Quest
    Tell players exactly where and how to get started on the quest. This includes where to go and who to talk to. It's usually a good idea to put the quest start text into the guide, so players can tell whether or not they've started the right quest.

  • [optional] Detailed Quest Stages
    If the quest has multiple stages or large tasks that need to be completed, detail each one and give an idea of how to complete it or what to look for. You don't need to give exact details; a general overview should be sufficient.

  • Completing the Quest
    Similar to completing each stage, you should give a general overview of what needs to be done to complete the quest and get the deed. For obvious quests (return X to location Y), giving good directions is fine, but if the point of the quest is to explore and find a particular location, please respect that.

  • Helpful Hints
    This section should have any hints, warnings, drawbacks, or other trivia that you think will help out players trying to do the quest. Again, exact details aren't required, but hints about dangerous things to avoid will be appreciated by the players.

Don't worry about map images for the final version of your guide. Dentin will take care of these automatically when the guide is added to the web site.

When you're done with your guide, send it to soda@xirr.com and we'll take a look at it.

Thanks!

-dentin



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