I like quests. I like journals. I like maps. I don't like to be spoon fed.
Because of this I thought about how I would like to have stories guide my gameplay, but have something like a journal and map to help guide me.
I don't always have a lot of time to play, so when I return to a game after a few weeks or months, I often have trouble catching up to what I was doing. Because of this I would love a journal.
However, I don't like the idea of an automatic journal. It should be up to the player to create a journal entry when an NPC says something that sounds interesting. Oblivion's chatter system was a nice idea, albeit very repetitive. But I wouldn't mind seeing a variation on this in VQ. With the difference that the player should click on the speech bubble, and choose to add this topic to their journal manually (or ignore it if it doesn't sound interesting or fun).
The same possibility should exist for interesting topics that come up in chat with an NPC. A way to mark an interesting topic for further inquiry and to write it down in your journal.
I suspect the traditional "Rumours" option would work here.
In the real world, when someone tells you that the dragon lives in the mountains nearby, they'll point and you'll be able to see the mountain. In a game like VQ or even minecraft, this isn't possible because of limited viewing distance or viewpoint.
Morrowind tried to solve this by giving you roadmarkers and a description of the road, but more often than not I got lost and became a bit frustrated. Oblivion went the overkill route and pointed to the exact spot where you needed to be.
I'd like to propose a solution in between. Let the NPC tell the player in which general area they'll find something. If they're talking about the mountains in the North, then allow the player to attach this knowledge to a map, linked to the quest entry in the journal.
Jack and Gill are talking to each other about strange smells coming from one of the farmhouses to the West of the town. You pick up on this chatter, and add it as something worth investigating in your journal. At this point, the journal entry creates a very broad area on the map "west of town" where the farm could be.
You could now talk to Jack and/or Gill, and with the journal entry available you're able to ask them about this information, and you get a more detailed description of the location of the farm, including the extra knowledge about how many people are living there, and if they're the welcoming kind of people or not.
I realize this system probably wouldn't serve much purpose in the roguelike part of the game, but it could work well in the sandbox mode. Any other ideas or comments?