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Was thinking about quests today. While they tell a story, they tell one of fantasy. I stopped reading fiction books years ago because I thought they were filling my head with things I couldn't talk about with other people unless they had shared the experience. Facts, trivia, and history have always worked as better conversation topics to people that haven't read the book you did on fiction.
I think that while we like the fantasy combat and fantasy scenery, we don't need the fantasy story. Some may despise this idea and that's ok. This is they way I see it, the mundane quests are something that could change space and affect little of the gameplay experience on being in another world. You are then in the other world with our world information injected inside, the two coalesce.
The topic sends me back to the first day I heard about Wikipedia. It was on NPR and they were just starting, they were soliciting people to start using the site. I was with my boyfriend coming home from school, as he turned off the vehicle not noticing I was engaged in what they were saying, I ran into the house and immediately turned the stereo onto the radio station telling him to stop talking to me because I wanted to hear it. I was in a zone about the subject. When I first heard of it I KNEW it would be a hit. I thought this was the best thing to come to the internet in a long time. A base of information is what people had been trying to do with personal sites for years. They were sharing snippets of known information especially on .edu site but the consolidation wasn't in place. This would bring it all together. It was the ultimate resource.
My question is, can we bring knowledge sharing into games and would people even play a game like this? Quests seem the logical route, people are used to them and they can offer text along with choices. Quest lines that went down different knowledge paths would give us reasons to be interested in a quest line. I suppose it could be used in schools but I'm thinking personal advancement. As for replayability, that would take you down different topic lines if you didn't want the repetition of the same topic or you could test your previous retention by running the same quests.
The first question to you is - Would you play an MMO where part of the RPG was about real life instead of the fantasy land? Can the two mix for you.
The second question to you is - Which source of knowledge would you petition to get involved as the source of all the text data in the quests? Would you base it on an encyclopedia type of reference or would you go to specialists and experts in their fields as examples. Credibility of information might be an issue along with changing information in certain fields like archaeology.