Elder Scrolls Online dev discusses interesting quest design

Ah, dull quest design! Every MMORPG likes to think they don't suffer from it, yet most do. The Elder Scrolls Online is the latest to talk up its adventures, with developer Zenimax Online Studios explaining that quests are tied together in little connected television drama-sized episodes.

"You get these little groups of content--usually about 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Each one solves the question you went into it with, but it's generally asked two or three new questions, too," game director Matt Firor told Edge. "When you log out and log back in you still have that question to get back onto."

These little parcels of quests may present choices and options, creative director Paul Sage said, giving the example of a town besieged by werewolves. "You head into town to fight the werewolves, and then, hey, there are these people barricaded in a church. Do you want to help them out, knowing that, if you do, something else won't be available to you?"

Zenimax Online also plans to make quests more personal rather than purely play into the dreaded 'L word'--lore. "It's great to be the hero of the world, but it's better to be a hero in someone else's eyes," Sage said. "If your NPC says, 'What you did for me was remarkable,' and you see the effect it has on them and that area, then you can go and add in the lore."

The Elder Scrolls Online is scheduled for release on PC and Mac in 2013.