Glimpse Inside - Push Missions
February 10, 2003

In the typical online roleplaying game, a character who wants missions or quests has to acquire them himself. Whether through talking to an NPC or going to a mission terminal, Earth & Beyond has also followed this accepted system. Until now.

While the standard NPC and job terminal missions will remain in the game, a new option is due to be introduced into E&B with the next patch. We’re calling them “push missions,” because in effect the game will offer you these types of missions out of the blue.

Here’s how it will work. You might be engaged in your everyday activities, such as mining, trading, or combat, when you are notified that you have an incoming message. You’ll be alerted by an “Incoming Message” button that will appear on your chat button interface. Clicking the button will trigger a talktree and mission offer from an NPC, who will give you the details of the mission you’re being offered. (By notifying you with the Incoming Message button, we avoid a pop-up talktree that could interrupt combat or some other immediate activity.)

The NPC will offer you one of several types of missions, including rescue missions, seek-and-destroy jobs, delivery contracts, etc. While the mission types will be similar to those you would normally get from a job terminal, the experience and monetary rewards will be much better. It’s also important to note that the first iteration of push missions are also intended to gauge player interest, and if push missions prove to be popular, then more varied and expanded types of missions could be added in the future.

The goal for push missions is to offer them to a player, on the average, once per play session. (This is simply a goal; logging in and out repeatedly will not increase your chances of getting a push mission.) Of course, the frequency with which you receive missions will vary depending upon how much you play, and which sectors you tend to utilize. (A mission will be offered, randomly, to one player per sector during a set period of time.) The missions will be tailored to your character’s level, and will vary from sector to sector. While it’s possible you might be offered the same push mission from time to time, there will be 35 missions in the first iteration, so there shouldn’t be too much repetition.

When you’re offered a push mission, you have up to 30 minutes to accept it. After that time your “Incoming Message” button will go away. You’re not required to even click the button and look at the mission if you don’t want to. If you do read the message and hear the NPC’s offer, you’ll still have the chance to accept or reject it, with no penalty for declining the mission.

The idea behind the push missions is to give players the feeling that the universe is reaching out to interact with them, rather than the standard formula of forcing players to initiate action with the game universe. By adding this layer of interactivity, it should give players a sense that there is much more going on in the galaxy than what they are immediately aware of.

So if you’re cruising through the trade lanes in the near future and get an urgent message asking you to assist with some immediate issue, consider lending a hand and seeing what’s going on. It may look like a standard mission on the surface, but it’s also a step forward in interactivity for online games. No longer will you be required to request missions from the game; now the tables will be turned and the game will approach you to ask for help.