Engaging Missions – Auto Assault

Auto Assault

Auto Assault

Title: Auto Assault
Developer: NetDevil
Publisher: NCSoft
Release Date: 13 April 2006

Done Right: Engaging Mission Content

It wasn’t that Auto Assault had some magnificent depth to its missions that made them entertaining, rather it was the game environment itself combined with little tweaks that really made for some memorable adventures. A very good example would be the level 20 mission, Backfire! The object of the mission is to hunt down a certain named NPC and blow up his vehicle before he can reach his destination.

  • Getting you to the action – The mission tells you the general area he will be in and, once near enough, the named NPC shows up as a dot on your map. The player’s hand isn’t held, but the directions and indicators are clear enough that getting to the fun isn’t confusing or frustrating.
  • The Thrill of the Chase – the NPC isn’t locked into one spot. He isn’t an over-sized lumbering superdamage variant of what you’ve already killed a thousand of. He’s a man on a mission, racing to his destination and you actually have to chase him down, run him off the road, and blast him to bits. The chase is an aspect of PvE that is normally annoying in the few MMOs that offer it, but it works very well in Auto Assault. It’s a cool Mad Max style experience.
  • Something to do if there is a wait – If the named NPC hasn’t spawned/appeared/popped/etc yet, the destructible environment gives you something to do while waiting. Instead of sitting around staring at the ‘spawn point’, you have an entire town around you just begging to be reduced to rubble. It’s no longer a situation of ‘ho-hum, let’s do this to kill 10 minutes’ but an entertaining race to see how much of the city you can completely destroy before the boss mob shows up. Smashing stuff never gets old.
  • Missions are rewarding to complete – When you complete this or any other mission, there’s a triumphant sound played and a big “MISSION COMPLETED!” text across the center of your screen to accompany the trinket and cash you got for a job well done. Even the most mundane “bring me 10 [mob] parts” quest becomes a lot more rewarding when you’ve got bells and whistles going off at turn-in.

A lot of the newer MMOs are making their missions more engaging and making quest turn-in more rewarding, and I’m looking forward to writing about those as time goes on. I wanted to start with Auto Assault because it’s one of the MMOs where the combination of a few little things here and there real added to the questing experience, turning an otherwise mundane and repetitive game aspect into something refreshingly entertaining.

Below is a video of the Backfire! mission from start to finish. Enjoy!