My wife decided to hop back into Fallout 4 recently, and was quickly reminded how annoying radiant quests can be. For those not familiar with what radiant quests are, Bethesda first introduced them in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as a way to dynamically generate random quests to help keep players busy. An interesting idea; but not implemented well in my honest opinion.
So yes, while they are great at keeping one busy by constantly send them off to random locations to complete an objective, they tend to be fairly shallow. Kind of like daily quests in MMO’s without any soft of payoff. They don’t exactly progress any story arcs, they tend to be repetitive, and they don’t care at all where you may have visited yet, including DLC. That last point can be especially annoying if you are starting a new game and own all the DLC. In the case of Fallout 4, it isn’t uncommon for the game to send you either to Far Harbor or Nuka World before you have even started either DLC or are level appropriate. Yes, you could just ignore them, use a console code to remove the quest, or just start the DLC before you really want to; but I don’t feel players should have to be forced to go either route as all of them can break game emersion. “Hold on folks, before I do this important main story quest, I need to leave this area entirely, and start a new side story quest just to kill one dude. Then I’ll be back to finish this main story quest.” No sir, I don’t like it.
Why am I writing about this now since Skyrim and Fallout 4 have been out for while now? Not like anything will be done now. Well, while I was thinking about radiant quests, I remembered Bethesda has both Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI coming down the pipeline. Considering they liked radiant quests enough in Skyrim that they incorporated it into Fallout 4, one can wager radiant quests will make their way into both of these games potentially. If they do, they do. All I really hope for is that they actually spend some extra time to improve how they work.
At minimum, have the game check against the players started/completed quests to see if they have actually started a particular DLC before forcing them blindly into DLC they haven’t started and potentially have not plans of starting yet. To be honest, that doesn’t seem that hard. Just seem like an oversight on their part. As for them being repetitive and shallow, that just comes down to better writing. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t give each radiant quest line a little more purpose. At least make it feel like you are making a difference in the game world for doing them. I mean, having to place what seems like several dozen MILA unites on different rooftops seems fun in all in Fallout 4. There is absolutely no payout at the end. No special dialogue, no unique weapon/armor. I’m not looking for some game altering event, just something that at least made me feel like doing all the radiant quests was worth it and had some sort of payout.
While I don’t feel like radiant quests have to be inherently boring and meaningless, I don’t feel like Bethesda hasn’t really put much effort into them considering how much they talked about them prior to each games release. My hope going into Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI, if they bring back radiant quests, I can only hope they put more thought and consideration into them. It can be done.