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Thursday, April 13, 2023


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Super generic, yes - but that's pretty much the very definition of MMO quests, they're 95% filler with 5% original ideas.

Figure A. asked GPT-4 to design a quest for World of Warcraft; the results are no worse than the human output actually in the game; and certainly better than the 'radiant quests' in Skyrim or Fallout 4. I bet with some better prompting you could get pretty decent results (e.g. adding the word 'unusual' or 'outlandish' to the prompt for spice)

You are a quest designer for World of Warcraft, write me a ten step quest including a description of the characters involved, and their dialogue.


Title: The Lost Artifact of Ethoril

Description: Assist Sage Lirath and his companions on a perilous journey to uncover the mysterious Lost Artifact of Ethoril, a powerful relic said to possess immense arcane energy. Face various challenges, solve puzzles, and battle fearsome foes to reveal the hidden truths of this ancient treasure.

Step 1: Meet Sage Lirath

Location: Ironforge, Hall of Explorers
Character: Sage Lirath (Dwarf, Male, Mage)
Dialogue: "Ah, adventurer! I've been seeking someone with your skills. I've come across an ancient tome that speaks of the Lost Artifact of Ethoril. It is said to possess immense power, and I need your help to uncover it. Are you up for the challenge?"

Step 2: Gather the Party

Location: Ironforge, Hall of Explorers
Seraphine (Night Elf, Female, Druid)
Thrallos (Orc, Male, Warrior)
Elara (Blood Elf, Female, Rogue)
Seraphine: "It's an honor to be part of this expedition. Let us bring balance to the world."
Thrallos: "I fight for honor and glory. Let's do this!"
Elara: "I've got your back, adventurer. I never pass up a chance for excitement."

Step 3: Uncover the First Clue

Location: Searing Gorge
Objective: Find the Ethoril Tablet in a cave guarded by fire elementals
Sage Lirath: "The tome mentioned that the first clue to the artifact's location is hidden in a cave nearby. Let's find it!"
Step 4: Decipher the Ethoril Tablet

Location: Searing Gorge
Objective: Solve a rune puzzle on the tablet
Sage Lirath: "These runes seem to be a message. We'll need to decipher it to reveal the next location."

Step 5: Ambushed by Cultists

Location: Searing Gorge
Objective: Defeat the Shadowreaper Cultists who attempt to steal the Ethoril Tablet
Shadowreaper Cultist: "Fools! The power of Ethoril will be ours! Attack!"

Step 6: Interrogate a Cultist

Location: Searing Gorge
Objective: Extract information about the Lost Artifact from a captured cultist
Captured Cultist: "I'll tell you nothing... Alright, alright! The next clue is in the Hinterlands, within the ancient troll city of Jintha'Alor!"

Step 7: Explore Jintha'Alor

Location: The Hinterlands
Objective: Find the Ethoril Keystone hidden within the troll city
Thrallos: "Be on guard. These trolls won't take kindly to us trespassing."

Step 8: Battle the Jintha'Alor High Priest

Location: The Hinterlands
Objective: Defeat the High Priest to retrieve the Ethoril Keystone
High Priest: "You dare desecrate our sacred city? Feel the wrath of the gods!"

Step 9: Locate the Artifact's Resting Place

Location: Eastern Plaguelands
Objective: Use the Ethoril Tablet and Keystone to reveal the entrance to the hidden chamber
Sage Lirath: "The moment we've been waiting for. The artifact awaits us within this hidden chamber. Let us proceed with caution."

Step 10: Claim the Lost Artifact of Ethoril

Location: Eastern Plaguelands, Hidden Chamber
Objective: Defeat the Guardian of Ethoril and claim the artifact
Guardian of Ethoril: "None shall possess the power of Ethoril! Turn back, or face your doom!"
Sage Lirath: "We've come too far to turn back now. For the safety of Azeroth, we must claim this artifact!"
Seraphine, Thrallos, and Elara: "For Azeroth!"

Upon completion of the quest, the characters express their gratitude and celebrate their victory:

Sage Lirath: "We have accomplished the impossible, adventurer. We could not have done it without you. The Lost Artifact of Ethoril is now in safe hands."
Seraphine: "The balance of nature remains preserved, thanks to your efforts."
Thrallos: "You have fought with honor and courage. I am proud to call you my ally."
Elara: "We've secured a powerful relic and thwarted the plans of those cultists. Well done!"

Damion Schubert

Adam --

I've found for that stuff, AI is really good at generating ideas but none will be better than 80% of the way there. That being said, that's not nothing! That could be a huge head start to work from and could result in a net gain of quality quests.

As an example, I asked Chat GPT to generate a whole bunch of names for swords from me. 80% of the names chat GPT were crap, but a designer could probably get a pretty good list of names if they were willing to (a) curate the results and (b) take the time to further train the AI so that it's next version is better. Creating 10K sword names is a terrible, soul-crushing task that MMO designers hate and could take us two weeks. I could definitely see AI being used to make a list of better names in only a day (where that day is basically multiple iterations of the task).

Menial tasks like this being more automatable means that designers have more time to spend on stuff that matters more.


Just a note about The Sims -- the characters don't talk any sort of actual language, since the beginning it's been called "Simglish" and it's deliberate babble, to avoid being specific about what so many NPCs are saying. They use mood icons, facial expressions and body language to convey how a Sim is feeling. It's actually quite sophisticated and appropriate for their particular game.

A version of the Sims where the unplayed Sims started talking actual English (or whatever the player's local langauge is) and becoming more "alive" -- that would be extremely uncanny. It would also be an extremely different game.

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