One of the challenges inherent in Computer Role Playing Games (CRPGs) not present in tabletop RPGs, is ‘dialogue thoroughness.’
For example in a tabletop RPG, when a Player Character (PC) is offered a quest, the player can decided to 1) Accept it, 2) Negotiate the terms & conditions, 3) Consider it, or 3) Refuse it. The Game Designer can decide ahead of time exactly what is/is not negotiable and how the NPCs will react to the PC(s) accepting, considering, negotiating, or refusing.
However, in a CRPG (e.g NWN 1 or 2), the Game Designer has to identify the various states of a quest (at a minimum: offer, negotiate, consider, accept, refuse, accepted but haven’t departed, quest is ongoing, quest completed but no reward yet, & rewarded) and write the dialogue for one or more NPCs taking into account the various states. Doing so is more immersive than not doing so, and gives the player more agency.
But is it really worth it? How thorough must the dialogues really be? There is not unlimited time and energy at the disposal of the Game Designer. Given that most PCs will accept a quest and those that don’t can just decide to not complete the quest. Why bother writing all the dialogue to cajole the PC into accepting a given quest?
What do you think? Is it jarring for the player to always accept a quest? Or do you take the time and effort to script options to negotiate, consider, refuse and then have the NPCs cajole or threaten the PCs? Or do you give only two choices, accept and refuse, the latter resulting in an automatic quest failure?
For that matter, is it worth the effort to take into account a PC’s appearance (race), sex, class, alignment, etc.?
Personally, I’m leaning heavily towards the PC automatically accepting the quest and then let the player decide whether or not to actually complete it. And not bothering to take into account appearance, class, sex, alignment, etc. in order to save time, debugging, and testing effort.
What are your thoughts?