This is a very long rant, seeing how much I typed, I'll leave TL:DR at the bottom.
Many of Tarkov's elimination quests are just plain absurd, and as I said in the title, I think we, and the traders, need a reality check to realize just how far down the rabbit hole of ludicrous we've gone.
I've been lurking on reddit for years, and on the tarkov subreddit for over 6 months now, but after complaining about it between my insane veteran friends and new players of the game alike, as well as recently hearing it on GeneralSam's latest video, I felt compelled to make an account just for this post.
In the context of the game world, and what I (potentially erroneously) percieve to be nikita's vision for the game after listening to alot of his ted talks, many of the quests make sense, but many don't, at all… Therapist needs help getting more medicine, sure! Many of the traders also seem to have their own things that need solving in the 'raid zones', such as grabbing key items and delivering them back, or marking items of interest. These quest concepts, even if not always perfectly, attempt to provide a clear motivation, or purpose, for why a trader would even want it done, let alone reward you for it. Sweet!
Then… Elimination quests…
I want to be clear that there are some elimination quests which make sense. I can see some of the basic "kill x scavs at y location" quests, clearing enemies out to make way for the trader or their comrades. There is also the peacekeeper quests where you have to kill scavs wearing UN armor, which would theoretically give the appearance that the UN are doing something to control the situation, which would benefit peacekeeper personally. In terms of quest design, this is cool! Do this! It's an interesting way to increase difficulty while maintaining realism!
But then the absurdity begins with the specificity of these elimination quests increasing. There is the all so infamous Jaeger quests, as well as prapor's punisher quests, but many other traders have this degeneracy as well, ever increasing the insanity as you push through it.
Kill scavs with 12ga shotgun, headshots only, kill pmc's while blinded, kill scavs 40m+ away with a mosin with no scope. Can we just be honest and say this is clearly just an attempt at forced difficulty?
Yet again, back to reality, these traders are characters, that have motivations and tasks they need done. What exactly does any trader gain, if I do a handstand before using a shrimp to get a 20m pmc leg shot while wearing a pom pom? Well, we can try to look at the explanation for these things straight from the game (for the elimination quests that even try to have in game explanations cough cough).
Take the Spa Tour p.1 for example. It directly states Peacekeeper's motivation, there are too many scavs at the resort. I could just kill them for you, but you only want them to be killed with shotguns, 12ga specifically, and only headshots… This is the trend for a ton of the 'kill scav with this gun in this way' quests. They state a clear understandable motivation only to add random conditions to make it harder because how else can we make it difficult? And even then, like I said, this is for the elimination quests that even try to have a motivation.
I could also go on about Jaegers "tarkov shooter" quests framed as a test that, if passed, will get me set up with "Sniper", but only if I get kills with a speific subset of gear, within certain times, etc. but this is already very long.
So just to Recap:
- Traders are characters, they have motivations for what they need done, and tasks should represent that motivation directly.
- Making tasks increasingly more specific, requiring the stars to align for them to count towards the quest, is a poor way to increase difficulty, and destroys immersion into the game world.
- You can still have specificity that makes sense, as seen in the UN peacekeeping missions, just don't abuse specificity for difficulty.
As another quest idea, maybe give prapor and therapist some quests to capture 'insured gear' from hot areas like dorms, factory, etc. Setup a few 'pre-dead' PMC's on the map and have the instance choose one at random. Searching for the specific dead PMC for your instance would be creating difficulty while simultaneously making prapors spec-ops insurance collection make sense.
And before everyone shouts, this is a beta! Quests are placeholders! They are not finished! Of course it's a beta, that's why I'm giving my feedback, I love tarkov! I would love to see tarkov's game design, a style I love dearly, paired with a potentially engaging backstory and world design.
TL:DR – Traders are characters, they have problems / tasks they need done, and quests should directly represent the solution to the problem. There are a few good elimination quests, use them as a benchmark to make good tasks that aren't artificially difficult.
edit: changed TL:DR so it makes more sense to read.