Top 5 Most Annoying Types of Video Game Missions

I list off the Top 5 most annoying missions in video games.

There is always that one type of mission that brings gamers to the point of breaking their controllers in frustration. Here are some picks for the top five types of annoying missions. These missions have been around forever, and will undoubtedly carry on to current and next-gen games.

5. Required Side Missions

These are the missions that switch the focus away from the main story, and place you into the shoes of someone who isn’t really a part of what you’ve been working for this whole time.

The Strikeforce Missions in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are a perfect example. These missions take you away from the game's main characters and give you control over ground troops and robotic drones to defend certain outposts. These RTS-style encounters don’t feel like they add to the story. They only pull you away from a character or setting that you were just getting comfortable with.

4.  "Beat this within a certain time to unlock different endings."

These missions are less common nowadays, but they do still exist. Let's look at Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. In one mission, you must fight Frieza in one of his final forms. One of the secondary requirements is to beat him within 3 minutes, even though the fight itself can run longer than that amount of time. However, if you take the full amount time allotted for the fight, you can’t unlock the next level.

It's missions like these that make no sense. Why give us the extra time when we can’t technically win with it? That only adds more stress and ruins the desire to keep playing the game.

3. Kill X Amount of “This” Missions

These have existed in many online games, from World of Warcraft or to newer titles like Destiny. They're simply a cop-out in terms of missions - sending us to kill the same things we were killing before, but requiring that we reach a certain number or percentage before moving on.

In Destiny, this happens pretty close to the beginning, as the game sends us scouting to pick up random missions on the battlefield. A large majority of those missions are this exact type, or the similar “Collect X amount of This" missions. The NPCs are clearly trying deliver a blow to the enemy’s forces. But that's nearly impossible when the group you just killed has to respawn in a minute or two so you can reach your mission number/percentage goal?

2. Escort/Babysitting Missions

These missions almost took the number-one spot. There are even some games that base their entire stories on these missions. Ico, The Last of Us (though that one was redeemable), and parts of Resident Evil  4 were all designed to have you protect someone important while they do nothing to help stave off the waves of baddies.

Sure, some games get it right and give the escortee reasonable A.I., allowing them to defend themselves if need be. But that isn’t always the case. I’d rather not spend hours of gameplay listening to a character scream because I let one enemy past me and they can’t take a second to fire their own weapon . Why designers think this is a good mechanic is beyond me.

1. Underwater Missions

This one can be a mission or a level. But we can all agree that underwater gameplay for characters should not be required for characters who aren't acquatic natives.

We can look all the way back to the Sega Genesis days and see Sonic as a great example. My dreams are still haunted by its music, warning you that you're about to drown. The altered movements and doing puzzles while floating underwater are hard enough, but the limited amount of air, coupled with sparse opportunities to come up and breathe are even worse. And thsse are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad aspects of underwater missions. There isn’t one gamer alive who doesn’t dread underwater levels. 

Fun party game: mention the World Water Temple. Watch anyone who has played Ocarina of Time shudder violently. 

So which one is your least favorite? Was there one I didn't mention that should be listed? Comment and let me hear what you think.


Have been writing since I can remember, have always loved reviews (gaming mostly), and have a knack for the written word.

Published Sep. 22nd 2014
  • topher339
    Babysitting takes top spot for me. Water levels I can deal with specially where Mario is concerned.

    As for Ocarina's Water Temple...yeah, shudders. I have found if you do it all in one go it's not bad. If you stop for just a day you'll spend a week figuring out what you were doing in the first place.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Great list. Babysitting/escort missions are definitely #1 for me, and anything with any time restriction at all is a close second.
  • Konfess.
    I hate these kinds of posts, this isn’t a feature. Jay wrote, “they can’t take aim a gun.” I suspect he meant, they can’t aim a gun. And that is why this isn’t a feature.

    I have asked in countless thread for alternative to the basic quest types, and have yet to get an answer.

    1. Challenge is what we hope to accomplish by changing the environment. Make the game less child's play and face roll easy. If puzzles and altered environment are too difficult for you, then maybe Jazz Jackrabbit is more your style.

    2. Empathy, why we should even try to nurture it in a community so clearly devoid of it is beyond me. Most game developers are basically artist, we create to express what it is we are feeling. Unfortunately our audience can’t, or won’t empathize with what we create. A.I. Is one of the most complex systems, it literally takes a Doctorate to perform. Every time we add functionality to a game we limit how much space we can waste on A.I. Fancy Art, Models, and animations all take space away from A.I. Instead of Cry3 we could go Doom 1 and A.I. When we ask consultants, how do we make escort missions more real? The answer is, “the escortee should die at the most tragic moment.”

    3. This is my absolute favorite mission type, and in fact it should have been your number one. I saw a cartoon that compare WoW to GW2. The WoW quest read, kill 10 bandits and collect 10 apples. The GW2 quest read, defend us from the bandits and rescue the stolen food. Now the WoW quest probably used the exact same words as the GW2 quest, but all anyone focuses on is the 10 of Name. A game is a GUI to a data base. Kill 10 of X is a goal that can be tracked and achieved. We could just say, “I hear town Y is in need of food go there and see if you can help.” On the way there you happen to pass apple tree. If the player has enough sense to investigate the trees, they learn they can pick the fruit. Picking the fruit triggers an attack from bandits. A smart player may realize the fruit is a way to help the starving village they are going to. A typical player will not, until they read the leveling guide another player has made. The typical player will arrive at hunger town with one apple or none. They hungry people will ask if your saw any food on the way here, and they will keep asking until they are feed. The player will kill NPC cats, dogs, chickens, sheep, and cows looking for easy food before going near those attacking bandits in the apple orchards. That is my idea of a “sandbox” kill 10 of X, collect 10 of Y quest.

    4. Most games are designed in levels, you are provided with opportunities to rise in level to meet the next challenge. If you fail to use the given opportunities we may add gates.
    do (
    notReady = false;}

    You continue to gain levels until you are ready for the next phase. Or you can start a game, ignore all the content and just do the final battle unprepared. Much like you do in real life.

    5. The purpose of side quests is to show you that nothing is done alone. The game you are playing was made by a team, the role you are portraying is accomplished as a team, and no hero’s journey is done alone.
  • Capt. Eliza Creststeel
    Amen on the escort missions. I hate missions where I'm stuck sniping and providing cover for an NPC. The struggle usually comes from dealing with enemies from multiple angles and an NPC who doesn't or can't fight back the brief second it takes me to draw a bead or swap a clip. Arrrgh..
  • mohit singh
    The most annoying of them all is black ops 2 side missions .its a very nice topic to write about and nicely written

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