To address a few things you said specifically, Johann. If I misinterpreted what you mean, then don’t worry about it. This might clarify what you meant or bring up more discussion points.
“In order for this project to remain (fundamentally) an adventure game, I do believe we would have to restrict each player to a single main quest. For it to remain an adventure game, each player must have one single quest that is only accessible to that player. A single story that only that player has a part in.”
I disagree… firstly, that I think there need to be multiple main quests, so after each player finishes a main quest, then they can do another main quest. If there is a quest bank, the easier ones would not be the length of a Sierra adventure game, but would still be considered main quests. The later, harder main quests would approach the length and depth of a Sierra adventure game. And, that quest modules may be added to the quest bank in expansions sets by the developers. There is a simple reason for this. For me to want to continue to play in the game world, I’ll want to keep questing. Diversions / subquests can only keep me interested for so long (I’ll say more about that in a second).
Secondly, that the main quests must only be exclusive to one player – that’s wasting a lot of potential material that can be re-used by allowing multiple players to each progress through each main quest, as I suggested in my previous post. This is only logical – it’s simply not developmentally feasible to write main quests for 200 players that only one player would ever experience.
“The subquests, or diversions, would be integral to adding richness to the player’s experience of the world. They would also facilitate “party formation”, where a bunch of players join together to solve a subquest.”
I agree. But where players join together to solve quests, I believe should be the main quests. There should be single player and multi-player main quests. The diversions should be in the style of mini-games. Now, of course it depends on what we are both thinking about the term “subquest.” If there are subquests, I don’t think they should be adventure-styled (inventory objects, dialogue with NPCs, etc). Diversions could be mini-games as I said… as for subquests, one idea is that they could be puzzle-game type subquests. For example, explore a cave with two other people. This is a one-screen (or a series of one-screen) puzzle in the puzzle-style of the Coktel game Gobliiins, where the two players must work together to reach the end of the puzzle and receive a reward.
“You could implement a game ranking system, whereby say a player is awarded a gold star for each main quest completed and a silver star for each subquest completed. A money system would also be a good idea. The player could in true Quest for Glory style earn money by selling ingredients to herbalists or cleaning stables or working farms, etc.”
I agree about some sort of ranking system, simply showing how many main quests are completed. Depending on what subquests are, a ranking system could be used there too. Money / QFG-like RPG stats I agree would be a good thing to have. I think if the subquests were puzzle-type, then subquests could be used simply as a way of building up your stats and bettering your character. I believe in having inventory-solutions (place a plank over a broken bridge to cross the rapids (you can’t wade through it)), but I also believe as I said in having that real world ability – if you have enough of whatever stat, you can jump far enough to jump over it. Whether or not the subquests do develop stats, or if we have some puzzles that require you to jump (with no inventory solution) – thus meaning that you have to do the subquests in order to progress in a main quest – is up for debate. The other thing about this is that stat-developing subquests could result in money awards, which could be used to buy things (better shoes, better sword, better armor, etc), or could simply result in acquiring those items. Yes, I did say sword, armor, etc. We’ll have to discuss if there’s going to be any combat – and I’m certain we are agreed that primarily this needs to be rooted in traditional adventure puzzles – but I do think the player should have these things in a QFG-like style. Perhaps we are going down a similar road that Roberta went down when she first started designing KQ: Mask of Eternity – except for the multi-player part of it. I can’t help but imagine what Mask would have been if it had remained in Roberta’s creative control. Or, as Lori & Corey tried to design QFG5 multi-player.
“So that you could accomodate many players, by giving them access to different parallel, though basically identical, game worlds.”
The cool thing is that once players complete a quest set, the developers could create a new one. Or, the developers could create a whole new world. You get onto a ship, sail across an ocean, and join other players who have completed the first set of quests in a whole new expansion land. These players could still return to the first land as well and continue to interact with players who are still there or new players who join.