Usually in an RPG, the main quest is good enough to motivate the player through tens or hundreds of hours of content but sometimes you find some bit of side content, or something off the beaten path that’s just as good or better.
[spoiler]For me, the reason I made this thread is I’ve been playing New Vegas (again) and I recently completed the Legend of the Star quest and remembered just how much I love how that whole thing plays with expectations. So, back story. Throughout New Vegas, you’ll find a certain brand of root beer called Sunset Sarsaparilla. There’s a random chance that each bottle of Sunset you drink will drop a special “Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Bottle Cap.” You can also find a few of these special caps throughout the world. At some point after you’ve obtained at least one, an NPC will approach you and explain the “legend of the Star” that, supposedly, if you collect enough of these bottled there’s some grand amazing prize for doing so. You know. Standard, collection sidequest stuff, it seems pretty innocuous and actually collecting the fifty caps you need isn’t particularly taxing if you’re lucky. He also warns you about a man named “Allen Marks” who’s been murdering people for their stars.
Eventually you’ll reach Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters, and you’ll find “Festus” an old decaying novelty robot that the company installed for tourists. Hell explain that the Sunset Stars were part of a contest- the kind of thing companies in the real world do all the time. And this is the first sign that something fishy might be going on if you’re paying attention.
Anyway, once you get fifty stars you give them to Festus, and you get your prize: A lecture on the history of Sunset Sarsaparilla. That’s it. The best part of this though is that when you finish hearing the story, the game tells you that you FAILED the quest. Because of course you did. You did all this for treasure! Not some shitty story.
Once you express your disappointment, Festus DOES give you the key to a “prize room” as consolation but even that’s a trick. The prize is literally just a bunch of cheap plastic sheriff badges. And you find the Allen Marks, finally. Already dead.
It’s just. It’s such really good quest design and it plays with expectations so well I love it.[/spoiler]