Created By: LMage on October 15, 2011 Last Edited By: morenohijazo on April 21, 2013
Troped

Loads And Loads Of Sidequests

Do stuff, get stuff. Repeat 100 times

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Trope
Up for Grabs, Needs a Better Description

When a video game contains a truly baffling number of Sidequests and other odd jobs. Many games thrives on replay value, and so with more stuff to do in more varieties of ways, a game in theory, gain more replay value and thus general value.

Often it's a wonder the Player Character has time to do them all with the world about to end/be taken over/succumb to darkness/all that generally not nice stuff.

Western RPGs in general tend to have a relatively short 'main' questline, with the majority of content being in the form of sidequests. Depending on how the difficulty/balancing works, it will often be expected that the player spend some time on side missions between parts of the plot in order to earn new abilities and equipment before pushing on to harder areas.

Games that feature this generally fall towards the open end of the Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness. Compare Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer, where a particular sidequest is so good and addictive it might distract one from the main quest altogheter, as well as Quicksand Box, when the sidequests are so expansive one gets confused on what one should actually be doing. See also Play the Game, Skip the Story.

Examples

Action-Adventure
  • Most entries in The Legend of Zelda series feature several sidequests ranging from simple Collection Sidequests to potentially massive Fetch Quests, but two entries in the series stand out:
  • Ōkami has enough sidequests to double the total play time, which is already quite big with the main story alone. They can be anything, from making the biggest snowball or catching a huge fish, to a Nintendo Hard Multi-Mook Melee.
  • Batman: Arkham City is like this, especially in comparison to its Prequel Batman: Arkham Asylum. While in Asylum the only true "sidequests" were the Riddler challenges, with all the other boss battles being integrated into the main story, City needs a separate menu to list its sidequests, and ignoring them completely grants only 45% completition.

Eastern RPG
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI has practically the whole last half of the game composed of sidequests.
    • The Final Fantasy Tactics subseries is centred around a large number of sidequests. In the first two games, most of the sidequests were "Dispatch" missions where the player takes the right party for the job, and then sends them off to take care of business while they went about on their own. Final Fantasy Tactics A2, on the other hand, made things get nutty by making nearly all of the several-hundred-strong sidequests directly playable.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 has an astounding number of sidequests, most of which can easily be missed. Most of them are required to get 100% completion and the Golden Ending, but the game can be completed with around 50% completion, meaning that about half the game's content consists of sidequests.
    • Final Fantasy XII has tons of these, ranging from hunting marks and getting rewards to pretty much just running around and running stuff. It could be said that the amount of extra content is larger than the main plot.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant has a truly obscene number of side quests and subplots, though most of the time they do offer worthwhile things (like powers to the party members or new weapons). A lot of them are under the pretense of being a club or society the party is randomly asked to join, varying from dog fighting to step counting. Yuri lampshades it:
    "What, another club? We don't have time for this!"
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a decent number of side quests given by NPCs. Then there are the Star Pieces, Shine Sprites, Badges, Recipes to find/make, the Pit of 100 Trials, and so forth.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, there are several "quests" given by the Katz guild. They involve either defeating one enemy, or slaying monsters in long, simplistic dungeons. There are lots of neat items to gain from these quests, so go ahead, the salvation of the world can wait.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles features hundreds of sidequests, ranging from simple Mass Monster Slaughters, to major Sidequest Sidestories; the biggest sidequest by far, the reconstruction of Colony 6, even slowly grants more sidequests as it's completed. Besides money and loot, oftentimes these grant generous experience, so completing them as the story advances is a good way to avoid pointless Level Grinding later on.
  • About half the 108 playable characters in the Suikoden series are optional, and the optional ones usually have some kind of sidequest that needs to be completed before joining. Everyone seems to think one has hours available to go cooking, fishing, exploring dungeons, backtracking, fetching things, taking them to see people... and even after you recruit them, a number of them still have minigames to play.
  • Chrono Trigger has practically the whole last half of the game composed of sidequests.
  • Nier. The game can be finished in 15 hours (there's even an achievement for it) but can take over seventy if you do the sidequests, especially if you want to max out all your weapons which requires a massive amount of item farming.

Hack and Slash
  • Sacred 2 has a shedload of them: there's loads of people you can talk to that will give you quests. It's around the 400 ballpark in total.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
  • Believe it or not, World of Warcraft does have main questlines in most of, if not all of its areas. They're buried so deep in side quests that they sometimes are impossible to make out. Alhough since "Cataclysm", most zones have been greatly enhanced so that most questlines are directly related to the story at hand.
  • EverQuest and EverQuest II are both ALL ABOUT THIS. They both have Quest their names! The majority of the thousands upon thousands of quests found in each game are sidequests compared to the few quests actually relating to each expansion's storylines.

Platform Game
  • Megaman ZX has many sidequests and quest chains. It's justified, as the main character is a delivery person.

Puzzle Game
  • The Professor Layton series has shades of this. While the entire gameplay is always puzzle solving, some puzzles are relevant to the story, either with the puzzle directly being related or the giver using a puzzle to test Layton's ability, but many puzzles are just completely random. This is often lampshaded in The Curious Village, when people keep stopping Layton to have him solve random puzzles despite Layton telling he's has more important matters on his hands.

Tabletop Games

Web Games
  • Wasteland Empires has a ton of sidequests... not sure how many yet, but they seem to never end.

Western RPG
  • Dragon Age: Origins goes so far as to give you an achievement, "Easily Sidetracked," if you complete 75% of the sidequests.
  • Sidequests have been the focal point of The Elder Scrolls series ever since Daggerfall.
    • Morrowind justifies it, as the player is supposed to get a cover ID as an errand boy.
    • Oblivion's sense of urgency for the main quest makes a stark contrast with the still sidequest focused gameplay.
  • Fallout: New Vegas is an excellent example of this. Even without the downloadable content, there's still a lot of interesting places to visit and sidequests to undertake that aren't touched by the main plot at all. It's probably a good idea to spend some time doing just that too, as focusing entirely on the main plot can lead to finding oneself sorely underleveled and underequipped to deal with the mid/late game challenges.
  • The Drakensang games are full of sidequests of any kind. Given that experience points are really precious there, their presence is tolerated and justified.
  • Planescape: Torment, if played thoroughly, is mostly sidequests. Considering the point of the game is finding out who you are and where you came from (instead of, say, defeating an Evil Overlord), it's justified, since the sidequests all develop the Player Character in some way.
  • Baldur's Gate has so many that they will consume the bulk of the time for any player willing to do them as compared to the mainline quests. Might well be a BioWare staple on reflection.
  • The online game AdventureQuest and its variants DragonFable, A Qworlds and WarpForce, all have this.

Wide Open Sandbox

Other
  • The first Nintendo DS entry for Chronicles of Narnia has around 70 sidequests. The creatures of Narnia will ask the player to do things for them in exchange for new skills. Most are fairly simple, and can be ignored without a hassle... At least until the very end of the game, where it turns out that to face to White Witch one has to complete ALL of them.
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • October 16, 2011
    Koveras
  • October 16, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    Believe it or not, World Of Warcraft does have main questlines in most of, if not all of its areas. They're buried so deep in side quests that they sometimes are impossible to make out.
  • October 16, 2011
    Arivne
  • October 16, 2011
    Hadashi
    • Baulder's Gate
  • October 16, 2011
    MorganWick
    Will this be subjective?
  • October 16, 2011
    BlackMageJ
    Western RP Gs in general tend to have a relatively short 'main' questline, with the majority of content being in the form of sidequests. Depending on how the difficulty/balancing works, it will often be expected that the player spend some time on side missions between parts of the plot in order to earn new abilities and equipment before pushing on to harder areas.
  • October 16, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Loads And Loads Of Sidequests works, however it's difficult to measure the sidequest-to-plot ratio. See also the Sliding Scale Of Linearity Vs Openness, particuarly the last two, "open world RPG" and "Wide Open Sandbox".
  • October 16, 2011
    Reflextion
    ^ Fallout New Vegas is an excellent example of this - even without the DLC, there's a lot of interesting places to visit and sidequests to undertake that aren't touched by the "main" plot at all. It's probably a good idea to spend some time doing just that, too - if you focus entirely on the main plot, you'll find yourself sorely underleveled and underequipped to deal with the challenges that the mid/late game throws at you. Don't worry, the guy that shot you in the intro isn't going anywhere.
  • October 16, 2011
    GreenMachine
    • Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door? It has a decent (but maybe not great, I don't play a lot of RPGs) number of side quests given by NP Cs. Then there are the Star Pieces, Shine Sprites, Badges, and Recipes to find/make. There's also the Pit of 100 Trials...
    • I'm not quite sure if this counts, but Wario Land Shake It!? The reason I bring up such an odd choice is because you could blow through the game in a day or two, but I still haven't gotten all the treasures and missions...

    Also, I do like the title Loads and Loads of Sidequests. Consistent.
  • October 16, 2011
    deuxhero
    Justified in Morrowind, as you are supposed to get a cover ID as such an errand boy. The fact that the plot for Oblivion pretends to require urgency yet still makes the gameplay sidequest focused has been mentioned in some reviews.
  • October 16, 2011
    MiinU
    • Majora's Mask has this in spades, offering 20 sidequests, the most of any Zelda title to date. It even gives you the Bomber's Notebook (essentially a daily planner) to help keep track of them all. And with all the people you'll become involved with, the places you'll need to be, and times you'll need to meet with them on each day, you're going to need it.
  • October 16, 2011
    hevendor717
    I guess this trope would only apply if the game is essentially focused on the main story, and its required tasks are not all that encouraged to stray from.

    In Tales Of Symphonia Dawn Of The New World, you can go on scores of "quests" that the Katz guild will hire you for. They involve either defeating one enemy, or slaying monsters in long, simplistic dungeons. There are lots of neat items to gain from these quests. Go ahead, the salvation of the world can wait.
  • October 18, 2011
    gneissisnice
    The World Of Warcraft example is definitely true, but I think it needs rewording, since with Cataclysm, most zones have been greatly enhanced so that most questlines are directly related to the story at hand.

    Also, the Professor Layton games have shades of this. While the entire gameplay is always puzzle solving, some puzzles are relevant to the story, either with the puzzle directly being related or the giver using a puzzle to test your ability, but many puzzles are just completely random. This is lampshaded a few times in Professor Layton And The Curious Village when Layton is hurrying to solve the mystery and people keep stopping him to have him solve random puzzles; he tries to explain that he's busy with something more important, but is generally ignored and expected to solve the puzzle anyway.
  • October 19, 2011
    Routerie
    I'd say Sidequest and Take Your Time cover this.
  • October 21, 2011
    LMage
    I disagree, this has more to do with the plot to sidequest ratio, though the Laconic is a bit misleading.
  • October 21, 2011
    InsanityPrelude
    Definitely a misleading description- I was about to say it's Take Your T Ime too.
  • October 22, 2011
    LMage
    Every Last Person Needs You To Do Something Odd? as a Laconic? or What about Exactly What It Says On The Tin? Or "All NP Cs Want You to Take Your Time?"
  • October 22, 2011
    Lyendith
    • Okami has enough sidequests to double or triple the play time, which is already quite big with the main story alone. They can be anything, from making the biggest snowball to catching a huge fish, to a Nintendo Hard Multi Mook Melee.

    I would be surprised we don't have this trope but I can't find one that fits exactly... Compare Sidetracked By The Gold Saucer.

    In any case, the title is fine but it needs a clearer laconic.
  • October 22, 2011
    GreenMachine
    NPCs want you to do stuff. Make your time.

    No, too narmy...

    Do stuff, get stuff. Repeat 100 times.
  • October 22, 2011
    troacctid
    "Exactly What It Says On The Tin" is never a good laconic.
  • October 22, 2011
    LMage
    Better?
  • October 23, 2011
    ImaginationInterpreture
    Megaman ZX, many side quests and quest chains. Though, the main character is a delivery person, so the quests do make more sense then some games.

    Compare also; Take Your Time
  • October 23, 2011
    Falco
    Baldurs Gate has so many that they will consume the bulk of the time for any player willing to do them as compared to the mainline quests. Might well be a Bio Ware staple on reflection.
  • October 23, 2011
    LMage
    I'm not sure how to reword the World Of Warcraft exampel properly. Any ideas?
  • October 25, 2011
    LiberatedLiberater
    Final Fantasy XII has tons of these, ranging from hunting marks and getting rewards to pretty much just running around and running stuff. It could be said that the amount of extra content is larger than the main plot.
  • October 25, 2011
    KJMackley
    Batman Arkham City is like this, especially in comparison to Batman Arkham Asylum. In Asylum the only true "side quest" was the Riddler challenges, all the other boss battles are integrated into the main story. If you don't bother much with those challenges you may finish the game at around 80 percent complete. In City you can complete the campaign at only 45 percent total if all you do is the primary mission, with loads of side missions (complete with a seperate menu to list them).
  • October 25, 2011
    GreenMachine
    Spider Man 2? It had a decent amount of side quests. Even if they were repetitive...
  • October 25, 2011
    SleetWintergreen
    Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI both have practically the whole last half of the game composed of sidequests.

    Nier, Nier, Nier. The game can be finished in 15 hours (there's even an achievement for it) but can take over seventy if you do the sidequests, especially if you want to max out all your weapons which requires a massive amount of item farming.
  • October 26, 2011
    seekerofparadise
    Xenoblade Chronicles feautres tons and tons of sidequests, you can spend like three times what takes the main quest to finish all sidequest. Definitely part of this trope
  • October 31, 2011
    ArtFever
    Sidequest Takeover would be a better title to keep the snowclones down.
  • October 31, 2011
    lu127
    Final Fantasy X-2 has an astounding number of sidequests, most of which can easily be missed. Most of them are required to get 100% completion and the Golden Ending, but the game can be completed with around 50% completion. That means half the game's content consists of sidequests.
  • November 1, 2011
    LiberatedLiberater
    The OP says this is Up For Grabs. Did anyone take it?
  • November 1, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Hm. To a lesser extent, some games have a feature to randomly-generate optional sidequests.
  • November 11, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Skyrim has promised an infinite number of sidequests.
  • November 11, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The Drakensang games are full of sidequests of any kind. Given that experience points are really precious there, their presence is tolerated and justified.
  • November 14, 2011
    Mouser
    Planescape Torment, if played thoroughly, is mostly sidequests. Considering the point of the game is to find out who you are and where you came from (and not, say, to defeat an Evil Overlord), it's justified, since the sidequests all develop your character in some way.
  • November 14, 2011
    Irrisia
    Would the Suikoden series count? About half the 108 playable characters per game are optional, and the optional ones mostly have some kind of sidequest they want you to do before they'll join you. Everyone seems to think you have hours to go cooking, fishing, exploring dungeons, backtracking, fetching things, taking them to see people... and even after you recruit them, a number of them still have minigames to play.
  • November 26, 2011
    LMage
  • November 27, 2011
    morenohijazo
    Many of the Grand Theft Auto games fall into this. Especially Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, where the story missions only count for a very limited percentage for the 100% completion.
  • December 8, 2011
    Tambov333
    Needs a better Laconic.
  • December 11, 2011
    LMage
    ^ Any suggestions?
  • December 11, 2011
    inmyhonestopinion
    Wizard 101. If you play through the whole thing, most of your XP comes from running around in circles doing relatively useless crap. If you don't, you're hopelessly underpowered for the new worlds you have to face.If you do, you spend months on the game on end, like my kid brother. I personally gave up near the end of Krokotopia. Speaking of the Balance isle from Hell, one of the dungeons is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED so that you have to run back and forth between the burial chambers of two warring factions, screwing with each of them to gain the other's trust. It takes #$@$ing FOREVER! You don't even get that much for it, and the more you play, the longer and longer it takes for you to gain any levels. IT'S PRETTY #$@$ING ANNOYING- Sorry, Grind Rage. Hey! Maybe that should be a trope.
  • December 11, 2011
    elwoz
    Spelling errors in description: "baffaling" => "baffling", "sercume" => "succumb"
  • December 11, 2011
    SNDL
    Adding to the Zelda example:

    • The Wind Waker has lots of extra content as well, including completely optional islands (with their own puzzles and enemy matches), Treasure Charts to find sunken treasure, Windfall Island as a whole, and the notoriously long Nintendo Gallery. Even just filling the Great Sea's map can taske a while.
  • December 15, 2011
    OftenPartisan
    Sacred 2 has a shedload of them: there's loads of people you can talk to that will give you quests. It's around the 400 ballpark in total.
  • December 20, 2011
    BlackDragon
    All of the Final Fantasy Tactics games have centered around a large number of Sidequests, but it was in Final Fantasy Tactics A 2 that things got really nutty - in the first two games, most of the Sidequests were 'Dispatch'-missions where you just had to choose the right party for the job, and then sent them off to take care of business while you went about your own. In A2, on the other hand, nearly all of the several-hundred-strong sidequests are directly playable - you CAN Dispatch party-members to deal with most of them, but it's entirely optional, and usually a lot riskier than dealing with it yourself. Only an odd handful of quests actually require a Dispatch.
  • December 30, 2011
    morenohijazo
    In which index should this be?
  • December 30, 2011
    Hedgi
    The first Chronicles of Narnia DS game has around 70 Side Quests- the creatures of Narnia will ask you to do things for them in exchange for teaching you skills. Most are fairly simple, and can be ignored.... Untill the very end of the game, where it turns out you can't face to White Witch until you've completed ALL of them.
  • December 31, 2011
    Arivne
  • January 15, 2012
    chicagomel
    If you want to count Facebook games, Wasteland Empires has a ton of sidequests...not sure how many yet, but they seem to never end.
  • March 16, 2012
    wesnprogamat
    the online game Adventure Quest and its variants Dragon Fable, A Qworlds, Warp Force all have this.
  • March 18, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Drove through and fixed spelling.
  • March 24, 2012
    Elbruno
    bump
  • March 24, 2012
    MiinU
    The Skyrim example, in the OP, has zero context.
  • June 10, 2012
    Elbruno
    This is one valid trope, why did it get lost? Bumping.
  • June 10, 2012
    Routerie
    I'd say remove the Arkham City example. It has 12 sidequests. Which is a lot compared to Arkham Asylum, but not a lot compared to, well, any game with sidequests.

    (It's a better game than all those with more sidequests, but that doesn't matter.)
  • June 15, 2012
    morenohijazo
    ^^ More than 100 pages of YKTT Ws, it's quite easy now.
  • June 15, 2012
    Huo
    This needs to set a limit for what is many IMO otherwise any game can fall underneath it.

    Take the Spider Man 2 example, it's repetitive but it's also true "unlimited replay side quest".

    Then there are also Morrowind which differs from the amount Oblivion has and is a true trope example.

    Then there are literally games like the Sims whose core gameplay are side quests in themselves.

    There are also games who's "Quest" feature are done as a gameplay but are not in themselves sidequests such as FFT which clearly didn't fit this trope as it wasn't mentioned until FFT A2.

    Add to this, there's an even more extreme form of mini-game called the Quest Mode which is like the Story mode of the Soul Calibur games only an entire fighting game becomes a rpg. Tobal being the most notable.

    Then there's "Find and Recruit" options like in Suikoden but are side quests that link to the main quest such as some Romance of the Three Kingdom games having the same method as Suikoden but there are no side quests attached. Instead the Find option is the sidequest.

    One final complicated subversion is in Warlords Battle Cry 2, the main point of the game is to conquer the entire map and normally level-ups aren't side quests but the hero class has extremely high level cap (not sure if it's unlimited) and add that it's adding elements like grinding for items similar to Diablo and each area of the Risk-style map has a special attribute, then this character grinding is beyond the normal building of level ups and indeed is like one sidequest that overtakes the main quest.

    A simplistic rendition of this is the classic monster hunting games like Pokemon, Monster Hunter and a subversion in Monster Rancher where real CD collection IS the side quest and so this singular quest is linked to how many cds you have and plan to put in your PSX.
  • June 15, 2012
    MiinU
    The two Zelda examples should be grouped together, for easier referencing.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    I'm bumping this but I'm also raising a motion to discard, because I'm worried that it will be a natter magnet.
  • January 18, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Ever Quest and Ever Quest II are both ALL ABOUT THIS. They both have Quest their names! The majority of the thousands upon thousands of quests found in each game are sidequests compared to the few quests actually relating to each expansion's storylines.
  • April 20, 2013
    Elbruno
    YKTTW Bump.

    I've done some fixing to the write-up, including cleaning up the messy orthography and format, and purging "only one ridiculously long sidequest/collection quest" non-examples. I also fixed some Zero Context Examples, except for one series I know smack about:

  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Needs to be sorted by genre as well, and I'd add the note from Black Mage J's comment near the top to the Western RPG folder.

    Compare Quicksand Box, when the sidequests are so expansive one gets confused on what one should actually be doing. See also Play The Game Skip The Story.
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Western RPG:
    • Dragon Age Origins goes so far as to give you an achievement, "Easily Sidetracked," if you complete 75% of the sidequests.
  • April 21, 2013
    morenohijazo
    ^^ Done. It still needs some example check, however, and I'm not sure about some of the sorts I've done.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=bk1ldfihl5jmqt82kf23lwed&trope=LoadsAndLoadsOfSidequests