While many of the quests in games that use them are one-off affairs, this type can be repeated with the same NPCs, objectives and rewards. Some can be repeated indefinitely and consecutively, allowing a player to accumulate several stacks of the necessary items (by hunting or shopping) to hand in at once, while others may have a 'cooldown' or a limited number of repeats.
Repeatable quests allow players to obtain the precious chunk of extra Experience Points and cash that usually comes with a quest more than once, which may allow them to offset losses from deaths. Particularly rewarding repeatables enable difficult and tedious 'main' quests to be skipped by easing the Level Grinding needed to enter the next area. Repeatables can also be designed to supplement said main quests if both have similar or identical objectives, allowing players to squeeze some extra profit from their first playthrough of an area.
A number of games with repeatables present them as the day-to-day chores of NPCs or factions, allowing players to gain their favor by essentially doing their menial work. Savvier writers can thus flesh out the involved characters through the quest descriptions, which players who stick to the main storyline will not see. Caution is needed as making too many repeatables urgent or assigning objectives that are too grandiose can shatter Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The use of set pieces is a double edged sword in this area as while they can make the outcome of a repeatable spectacular they also force events to play out in a similar way each time. Finally, there are players who may find that being asked to do NPCs' odd jobs for them is simply demeaning.
At its core, this type of quest is just another way of dressing up the Level Grinding prevalent in many games and more jaded gamers may consider it to be no improvement. However, developers can add appeal to repeatables by providing multiple options from a pool or allowing certain characteristics to change over time. The fact that there is an additional reward at the end can be a psychological draw and of course, good writing and a careful choice of objectives can make the quests entertaining.
Due to the simplicity of their objectives and the ease with which they can be 'meshed' with core story quests and each other, the Fetch Quest and the Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest are often made repeatable.
Do note that most repeatable maps, levels or encounters that enable farming do not fall under this trope but are a near omnipresent gameplay convention. Repeatable Quests must be:
- QUESTS that follow the stereotypical format of doing something for a NPC.
- REPEATABLE in that the NPCs and tasks are identical for every iteration or change according to a fixed pattern. Randomly generated minor quests do not count unless there is some way to deliberately or accidentally lock combinations of quest characteristics.
For story and gameplay elements are replayed out of the main campaign, see Replay Mode.
MMORPGs that use this mechanic:
- World of Warcraft does this with 'dailies' and may even have been the Trope Codifier.
- Dragon Saga pads the levels between the 'big' main quests with various repeatables. Notably, the Infinity +1 Sword crafting quests are almost all repeatable and of the unlimited variety.
- MapleStory did not introduce these until later versions despite growing and rather vocal demand for them in the early days.
- Earth Eternal is big on these.
- Mabinogi allows the players to perform part time jobs with the game's vendors, and allows them one in-game day to complete them. This is a useful means of accruing monetary wealth, especially for characters who are primarily crafters.
- Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE has a small variety of these, including quests you can only repeat if you pick up uncommon loot.
- Ragnarok Online and its Bragging Rights Reward hats (among other awards, but mostly hats) can be obtained in Fetch Quests, and can be repeated as long as the player is willing to hunt down the same items.
- In Guild Wars, many of the quests offered at the annual "Wintersday" festival (which falls around the time of Christmas-New Year's) are repeatable, enabling players to farm huge amounts of holiday items.
- The vast majority of 'Events' in Guild Wars 2 are essentially repeatables as their goals and NPCs are the same in every iteration or randomly cycle between a handful of variants. 'Meta Events' are large repeatables triggered when a number of related smaller Events are completed.
- Both offline and online play in the Monster Hunter series consists almost entirely of repeatable hunts, so the quests are naturally repeatable as well. However, the extended preparation required for each task keeps players involved. It would be hard to get all those rare materials otherwise.
- Final Fantasy XI has numerous repeatable quests ranging from the simple Fetch Quest for fame grinding to redoing major battles in Missions for a different end reward.
- Dungeons & Dragons Online adventures are infinitely repeatable on four different difficulty levels each. The first play on each adventure/difficulty combo gives an array of experience bonuses, while subsequent replays start adding penalties, eventually hard-capping the XP gain at a very low number for extreme repetition. Ironically, it's more efficient to not repeat quests too heavily (except for crafting purposes).
- Dragon Nest has a different sequence of optional quests for every mission map but the last quest in the sequence is always an infinitely repeatable 'Assault' quest that consists solely of finishing the map on the second hardest difficulty. Accepting this quest repeatedly and rushing through the map each time forms the basis of most organized Level Grinding.
- RIFT has its share, just like the World of Warcraft ones.
- Scarlet Blade has the usual mook bounties and daily quests for instances. But the biggest rewards come from PvP quest objectives, given hourly, daily and weekly.
- Almost all missions in The Secret World are repeatable (with cooldowns, as this isn't really intended for farming purposes). The exceptions are the main quest chains which bring you to and take you through new regions of the game world, missions which serve as trials to advance your faction rank... and one side mission which occurs quite early on, involving an NPC who's (explainably though unnecessarily) missing from the map after your first completion. In all cases, the given reason is that there's "plot progress" character data which is currently impractical to mess with; in most cases there may be balancing issues as the game isn't built to "scale down" characters to a lower-level mission. As the unreplayable parts include a number of very fun missions, with interesting dialogue and lore points, as well as numerous tricky parts where players may be very unsatisfied with their performance in their singular canonical run-through, their existence is a commonly revisited topic on the forums.
- In Star Trek Online every mission except the tutorials and 'wrapper' missions (missions without any real content or effort in themselves, mostly from just introducing an arc or in a few later cases pointing you to several — repeatable — patrol missions) is repeatable. Storyline missions are accessible from the game menu's Episode Replay tab, PVE queues are in a button attached to the minimap, and other missions can be played by flying to the start point.
- Elsword has repeatable quests in every town aside from Ruben (the starting one). The rewards vary from ED (the game's currency), EXP, and/or items such as potions and status healers, and the quests can range from "gather this many of this item" to "defeat this many of this enemy type". The quests are likely there to let the player level up, since the story can't be continued if your character level is too low.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic has daily-repeatable "heroic" missions on the main story planets, originally designed for a small party but nowadays most of them can be completed by a single player and companion. There are also daily areas - some have the same missions all the time while others might rotate through a larger set over the course of a few weeks. Then there are the weekly missions, which are mostly just "complete X number of dailies on this planet". On top of that, there are recurring special events, where a canned set of daily missions are available for a week.
Singleplayer games and RPGs that use this mechanic:
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, all sidequests are repeatable in a manner of speaking as the game's three day cycle allows them to be retaken during each iteration. Even the main story quests to complete the dungeons can be redone as often as you like.
- Final Fantasy XII has only one repeatable quest, and it's very modest, and available very early. By visiting the Giza village and running around in the Giza Plains area, you can create multiple Sunstones, which sell for what is a moderate bonus for the player at that part of the game — but the player could get the amount from just killing wolves and selling the loot, and on the side get both EXP and LP.
- In Megaman ZX, Rose and Huguet will request you to go to Area Lin order to gather some supplies for them. After going to three diferent sections each time, Rose will give you a sub tank. However, you can only obtain two sub-tanks for this and any subsequent attempt only nets a token thank you and a few Energy Crystals.
- Many of the quests in Puzzle Quest are repeatable, such as an early quest to patrol the area for monsters.
- Several of the multitude of sidequests in Dragon Quest IX are repeatable, though sometimes the reward is reduced after the first completion.
- The Sea Quests of Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City can be repeated as many times as the player likes, as they're the only source of waterbound enemies/bosses. Since your HP/MP are automatically filled after a victory, and you're always asked if you wish to save before starting one, this makes them a good source of potential grinding. There are also several RNG exploits that can be used to get a lot of XP with minimal effort involving these sea quests.
- Aside from the Manaphy mission (in order to prevent Diamond and Pearl players from obtaining multiples of a legendary), the extra Ranger Net missions in Pokémon Ranger can be done as many times as the player likes.
- Every 3D Super Mario Bros. game allows the player to repeat the levels' star missions, be they boss battles, helping characters, participating in races or minigames, obstacle courses, etc. There have been two exceptions to this: The trade of blue coins for Shine Sprites in the boathouse in Super Mario Sunshine (these coins can only be collected once each to prevent the player from earning different Shine Sprites with the same coins; this also means that, after all coins are collected and then traded to get all 24 Shine Sprites from the boathouse, that whole part of the game will remain finished). The other exception is the story missions in Super Mario Odyssey, as they cannot be repeated once they're completed for the first time; all other quests can.
- Fallout series:
- In the unpatched version of Fallout 2, one mission in NCR was repeatable due to a Good Bad Bug. Constantly repairing the computer after Jack has blown himself up would net the player 3000 experience and a couple of skill manuals. Rinse and repeat for easy Level Grinding.
- In Fallout 4 every faction has its own set of quests that can be completed infinitely. Most of them are clearing out the location from raiders, mutants, and other creatures or obtaining item X (either way, for obtaining that item you need to clear out the location). This was notoriously hated, specifically when Preston Garvey (from the Minutemen faction) gives those quests automatically, whether you want to do them or not.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim uses the Radiant Quest system that uses base quest templates (fetch That Item for That NPC at That Place) to generate an infinite amount of tasks, most of which are fetch quests.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV has some Delivery Quests that can be repeated; however, the rewards are smaller on subsequent completions.
- In the Fable series, quests such as the Slave Rescue, The Crucible, and Escaped Prisoner quests are all repeatable.
- In Chrono Trigger, the Black Omen exists in multiple time periods. If you do the quest in 1000 A.D. you can explore the dungeon again in 600 A.D. and in 12,000 B.C. Though this doesn't work in reverse order due to the time-travelling nature of the game.
- In Bug Fables, the "Theater Help Wanted!" sidequest can be repeated at any time in the Bugarian Theater by asking Chubee.