Back in City of Heroes/Villains/Praetorians there were a number of stock mission structures that tended to get reused over and over again, like ordering off a menu of options.
If other people participate in this thread with mission structures that I've not included, I'll edit them in later after making sure they aren't duplicates of ones I've already got on the list.
- Defeat All
- Defeat All within Z
- Defeat X of Y
- Defeat X of Y within Z
- Defeat Boss and Minions at B location
- Defeat X of Y in B
- Interact with A at B
- Interact with A at B within Z
- Interact with NPCs at B
- Interact with NPCs at B within Z
- Protect NPCs while they interact with A
- Protect NPCs while escorting them to B
As far as this list is concerned, these are the variables used.
- A = Glowies quantity
- B = Locations quantity or a specified Location B point
- X = Quantity, such as "10" or "30"
- Y = Faction NPCs, usually hostile, such as "Rooks"
- Z = Time Limit, such as "30 minutes"
The Defeat X of Y structure was often used in street sweeping missions, such as Defeat 100 Skulls or Defeat 100 Hellions and the like.
Sometimes a Defeat X of Y type mission would also include a location boundary, such as Defeat 100 Skulls in the Boneyard.
For instanced missions inside of mission doors, Defeat All were quite common (and also potentially annoying when you can't find that LAST Minion to defeat!).
There were also a number of indoor missions that followed the Defeat Boss an Minions (at location B) ... which usually wound up being the "end room" of the map and you simply needed to "empty" that last room of all hostile NPCs (so a "Defeat All In Room" deal, rather than a "Defeat All In Mission" assignment).
Now, I want everyone to look at the above listing I've made and ask yourself ... why was the Player always being given Things To DO™ in their missions (like Defeat All) ... while so rarely being given Things To Avoid (Doing)™ ...?
Point that I'm wanting to make here is that when there is only a single victory condition, and that victory condition depends upon the Player actively using their character's powers as the path to success (as opposed to their brains?) it becomes almost impossible to set up "Thief"-like game where a Stalker-ish/Assassin style of gameplay that relies on stealth, cunning and avoidance gets rewarded, as opposed to the more traditional brute force approach (of the Defeat All).
One of the things I found myself doing a lot while playing my Mind Controller in City of Statues was trying to clear Defeat All missions without drawing aggro, which technically wasn't possible with the way the aggro engine worked, so instead I settled for the alternative of Take No Damage while still achieving a Mission Complete. This style of gameplay offered a very different and unique style of interacting with the game, in which my Mind Controller was essentially able to "ghost" her way through missions without anyone in them realizing who they had been defeated by (because they never got a good look at or even a shot off against her). In other words, the lockdown potential of sleep, hold, confuse, telekinetics, etc. was so great, and the "surprise" with which I attacked and dismantled entire groups of hostiles was so surgical, that I like to think that even though I didn't have any Stealth powers, no one that my Mind Controller defeated would recognize that *I* was the ultimate cause of the NPC defeats.
But you'll notice that such a mission structure is not included in the above listing.
There is no "Defeat All while taking No Damage" structure for missions.
There is no "Interact with 20 Glowies without drawing any aggro" structure for what amount to stealth/camouflage missions, where the idea is to get in, do your thing/hack, and then get out with no one the wiser that you've done anything (or were even there at all).
In other words, the mission structures I've enumerated above do not really enable or reward a [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitman_(franchise)]Hitman[/url] style of gameplay ... where the name of the game is to AVOID combat (where possible), rather than to actively seek it out (and revel in it).
If the mission structures are all "clobber these to interact with those" for mission complete awards, there's not a whole lot of room left for gameplay that deliberately avoids combat (because, in a superhero game, who would ever want to avoid combat?).
Also note that "Interact with A at B" can also quite literally amount to a Capture the Flag scenario (where the Flag is the Glowie, found at location B). Adding a time limit to that then becomes "Interact with A at B within Z" instead, where Z is the time limit for the mission (such as "exit the mission door before the bombs explode!").
At the same time, "interact with A at B" can also be things like "empty the vault of cash" or "make/answer a telephone call from a specific office in a building" or even "pull the fire alarm once you're HERE" kinds of objectives. Even something as simple as "find the hidden entrance" qualifies as a "interact with A at B" type of mission structure element.
Now where all of this starts getting REALLY INTERESTING is if missions can be structured in a way where there's more than a single way to achieve a mission complete. The mission isn't programmed to "care" all that much as to which mission objective has to be completed (any/either will do) so as to give alternative means of achieving largely similar ends.
That way, you can have either a Defeat All OR Defeat Boss and Minions at B type of objective for a mission, with the former being the "full clear" option, while the latter is more of the "decapitation strike" style option ... both of which can be valid strategies depending on the type of character being played (either the "Here I Come To Save The Day!" type or the "You're already dead, you just haven't gotten the memo yet" type).
And then there's the otherwise bizarre option of having a Defeat All EXCEPT Boss and Minions type of mission objective, where the purpose is to discredit and undermine rather than to simply defeat and destroy directly ... yielding a continuing story arc type of situation in which there are Too Many Chiefs And Not Enough Indians because the leaders of an organization (Elite Bosses and up) keep losing their supporters (Underlings, Minions, Lieutenants, Bosses) en masse leaving the Elite Bosses as the "only survivors" of a "scourge" that is repeatedly decimating the faction (otherwise known as the PC). When the army keeps losing battles, but the leadership is "fine" every time, that can sap the morale and loyalty of the troops being led ... in ways that can result in desertion, betrayal, turncoats, intrigue and all kinds of crumbling in discipline and order that leaves the leadership isolated and friendless (without followers or cannon fodder). In such a story arc, you would be looking at waging not only "physical warfare" but also "psychological warfare" that can take on a variety of interesting features.
Perhaps the best example of the sort of thing I'm talking about here with isolating leaders to undermine them is perhaps exemplified by ... Number 6 in the episode Hammer Into Anvil (which if you've never seen, you really should!).
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