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Cartography Sidequest
A type of minigame within a game where you are rewarded for completing each map. Typically, the game will have a minimap that will fill in as the player explores them. Once the map is 100% complete, the player will typically receive some sort of reward, although it may only count towards their overall mapping or game completion.

On larger maps or games where the map only fills in small areas surrounding the player, this can quickly turn into Last Lousy Point for each and every map, especially if the visual representation for the explored area is none too precise.

Even with no reward, maps that fill themselves in will show the player areas they haven't explored, which is still useful for finding needed items, treasure, etc.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure 
  • Avalon Code rewarded you for exploring rooms completely with Book of Prophecy points.

    Action RPG 
  • Freshly Picked Tingles Rosy Rupeeland had a mapping quest: you first had to find the area map. Once you'd discovered it, there were three or four landmarks in each area, missing from the map. You had to add them on, then return the map to a store in the first town. You were paid for each landmark. If you completed the map, it was bought off you, and you had to buy it back. (if you wanted the map, obviously)
  • Visiting all 3000 rooms in Meritous nets the Infinity+1 Sword.
  • Shadow Complex nets you experience points for exploring new areas. This can be repeated during subsequent playthroughs.

    Adventure 
  • You get experience for each part of the map visited in an area in Waxworks. This is the only way to level up in the London area.
  • In the marine exploration Endless Ocean games, certain items and events will only appear/occur when certain percentages of the map have been uncovered.
    • Played even straighter in the sequel. Oceana starts a cartography business, and each map is completed as you travel to every part of the area, getting you a ton of money.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Star Ocean Till The End Of Time, which had huge maps and lots of little crevices you had to walk into to complete the maps. Most people only bothered for the really good rewards, if they bothered at all.
  • The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV has this sidequest given to you by Naming... Er, Mappingway. Not only do you get rewards for each map completed, but you also get the Treasure Hunter augment if you complete them all.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 awards an achievement for getting 100% completion on all of the game's maps. It was made worse with some locations (specifically: New Bodhum and Academia) having different maps in at least one time period, while others (specifically: Bresha Ruins) having parts of them blocked off in each time period they appear in, so you cannot explore them fully until you unlock all time gates leading there. The level automap is supposed to make this easier by showing parts of the map you haven't visited yet but on some maps (New Bodhum again), the last lousy region appears as a tiny dark sliver even on maximum zoom, resulting in a lot of frustration.
  • The DS game Nostalgia had a sidequest in which you look for landmarks on the world map based on clues from NPCs. Every ten landmarks you found earned you a reward.
  • In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, this is actually the main quest for one of the six characters, Ernst von Bohr, whose life dream is to compile the map of the entire world. Other characters, especially of the Adventurer background, may take it as a side quest, too, if only to make a quick buck. Even Ernst, though, does not have to complete the map, so it is just a sidequest presented initially as your main objective.
  • Etrian Odyssey's entire stated plot purpose is to map the dungeons. There are also sidequests that involve reporting places to look for resources.
  • Wild ARMs 3 had one for uncovering the entire map. Getting Lombardia makes it easier to complete.
  • Skies of Arcadia's "Discoveries"; it's the age of exploration and you can earn money by reporting all of the interesting things you find while travelling the world. Counts as cartography because you have to go *everywhere* to find all the discoveries, and because some of the discoveries involve adding whole new locations to the map (Lands of Ice, Yafutoma, The World Is Round).
    • There's also another guy looking for them; the longer you take, the more he finds, and the more rewards you lose out on because he got 'em. At a certain point in the game, if you've found enough of them, he'll join your crew (which gives stat bonuses) and you won't have to worry about anyone else beating you to them.
  • Xenoblade rewards the player with an EXP bonus, Tech and Ability points every time you discover an unusual or out of the way location on the world map, which also serve as landmarks you can quickly travel to.
  • Tales of Vesperia gives an Achievement for exploring the entire world map.
  • This is pretty much the whole point of the DSiWare dungeon crawler Picdun. The layouts of each floor create little pixel images when they're completely mapped out, and a floor isn't considered "complete" until you've explored every space on it.
  • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment has a sidequest involving this given out by a rich sheik: completing each map he gives you nets you a lot of rare cards, which are used to summon Personas and teach them skills.
  • Resonance of Fate has a hex grid system for an overworld map, with hexes being used to unlock them which are dropped by enemies in combat. Players can see the whole map and can unlock a direct path to each necessary destination, but certain hexes off the beaten path can be unlocked which contain items. Unlocking all hexes on a given level will let energy stations constructed on that level give the player access to the home base, bypassing the cumbersome and time-wasting core lift elevators. And unlocking all the hexes in the game gives each character a bonus costume.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, a Dantalion in Sector Eridanus will reward you for mapping specific floors. He gives you five of every type of incense if you step on every tile in the game (and you get an achievement for it), but between hazard floors, dark areas, and the excruciatingly boring Trial-and-Error Gameplay pitfall maze in the New Game+ area of Sector Grus, most players conclude that it isn't worth it. Especially since you only need to map out three floors from three separate sectors to finish the quest the game actually counts.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • A compulsory objective on some Marathon levels aboard the Pfhor starship where your mission is reconnaissance.
  • In Deus Ex finding locations in the world typically rewards the player with experience points. These range from small amounts with finding quest locations, to larger amounts for finding hidden entrances and secret areas.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game 
  • You get titles for exploring the map in Guild Wars — there's a series of titles, so you'll get a "reward" for considerably less than every pixel, but they're given for mapping out the entire game rather than one area, so it'll take a while anyways.
  • Retro Mud gives bonuses to gaining certain levels if the player explores a certain percent of the world(s).
  • World of Warcraft actually does this for each zone, giving a lesser achievement for each, and then an overall achievement for getting ALL of them, which also grants a title ('The Explorer'). You don't have to cover every inch of the map, though, just visit each named sub-zonal area; there are about 10-30 per zone on average. You also get a tiny bit of experience each time you discover a new sub-area.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online has dozens of deeds for visiting key points in every single area, anything from all the farms in the Shire to all the dungeons of Moria.
  • Most adventure areas in Dungeons & Dragons Online have an Explorer quest which awards experience for finding various checkpoints and a bonus for finding all the checkpoints in a single area.
  • The explorable zones of Guild Wars 2 contain features (including skill challenges, waypoints and points of interest) which can be discovered by the player, and an achievement and title are awarded when the player finds all of these. There is also a separate set of achievements which tracks the discovery of sub-zonal areas in each region.
  • Final Fantasy XIV added the Sightseeing Log in patch 2.28. The idea is to view the Scenery Porn that is in the game, but was poorly implemented. It only gives cryptic clues as to the locations of the scenery (it at least tells you them by zone), and you don't get credit for simply arriving at said location. You have to be in just the right spot, with the right weather, and the right time of day, and use a specific emote (such as /look). However, the clues to the time/weather/emote required are cryptic at best and sometimes misleadingnote , and the only visual indication you are in the correct spot to use the emote is an easily-missed entry in the chat log. Also, the times the weather can change are often right before the start of the time a log entry can be completed. So, even if you know what scenery the clues are referring to it's very difficult to get credit for visiting it, making it very much a Guide Dang It. All for a minion. Time will tell if SE decides to revamp this further.

    Platform 
  • In ToeJam & Earl, each square on the map screen that you uncover adds a point to your score, and increasing your score is the main method of increasing your ranking. Squares that are made semi-visible by picking up telephones don't count; you have to actually visit the square. Fortunately, just visiting the very corner of the square makes the whole thing appear, so you can often get credit for a square that's mostly empty space if there's a tiny outcropping of land poking from an adjacent square.
  • The Castlevania series is fond of this trope.

    Simulation 

    Western RPG 
  • Ultima Underworld awarded experience points for exploring the Abyss.
  • Fallout 3, Reilly, a mercenary leader, will ask you to map out the Capital Wasteland in exchange for caps after you save her squad.
    • Fallout 2 has a couple small-scale cartography quests in Vault City: one is exploring the eight map squares surrounding Gecko; the other one is finding a route to the capital of the NCR.
    • And all the 3-D Fallout games award a small amount of experience per visited landmark. Fallout: New Vegas has an achievement for finding 75 landmarks, which gives you even more experience upon completion.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken gives you a small "Exploration Bonus" XP reward for uncovering every space in a sector.

    Other 
  • The bicycle tour game in Wii Fit+ allows you to enter more areas of Wuhu Island every time a new difficulty level is unlocked (by completing the current highest level within a certain maximum distance). After covering every cartographic square on the island (each about twenty or thirty feet across, many of which involve pedaling straight off of a cliff or into the ocean and being returned to the last Check Point), the player unlocks a mountain bike.
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, visiting each and every Synchronization Point and renovating every shop, stable, tunnel, etc. is required for 100% Completion.
    • Furthermore, in the more recent titles, there are other ways of revealing the map: in Assassins Creed III, merely moving around the map reveals it, which is useful in areas not covered by viewpoints; in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, conquering naval forts reveals entire regions of the overworld.

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