Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quest Log Updated?

I'm a fan of the new LFG tool. It has been a very long time coming, and I'm glad Blizzard finally got it right. However, I fear this may be the final blow in the death of questing.

Maybe it's just my embarrassing RP tendencies showing, or vanilla nostalgia, or just my play style, but it makes me sad that questing has become almost completely unnecessary.  I find it a little funny too that Blizzard is trying to get us excited about the new zones coming up in the expansion.  If everyone hates questing so much that Blizzard has made it obsolete, how good can the expansion really be?

It all started with QuestHelper.  One day you're scouring the Barrens for that one last electric lizard scale, and the next day you've blown through three zones without stopping to take a drink at all.  Where's Mankrik's Wife?  QuestHelper knows.  At least in the Thottbot days it was faster to try and figure it out yourself first rather than have to tab in and out to look things up.  Don't get me wrong, I use QuestHelper.  All the time.  I'd be begging for food on the corner in Dalaran without it to help me do my dailies.  But still, it's such a crutch now.  I tried to leave it turned off while leveling my alt, but that lasted all of about 30 levels (and I've probably done the barrens 10 times or more, so I can run around there in my sleep)

I'm not even going to start about Death Knights.

Heirloom gear is great for those of us with alts, but I outleveled the zones I was in so fast I was barely halfway through some of the longer quest lines.  It's less important for people who've leveled to max before to do it again, but this also leads to a loss of pride in having a max level character.  Back in the day, it was impressive to have a level 60.  Now, everybody has an 80.  The majority have at least two.  There's several people in my guilds that have 5+ 80s. This is along the same lines as "epics" not being all that epic any more.  Orange is the new Purple.

Wrath dailies haven't helped either.  Dailies are quests, yes, but they're a different kind of thing.  It's easy to just jump in and do them every day to get them done.  I don't think anyone really enjoys doing dailies.  At least in Burning Crusade, you didn't get the dailies until you were almost max.  Now, almost from the minute you step foot in Northrend you can do 5 dailies, and are able to do 18+ by the time you're level 75.  I've been surprised at how many people haven't done Icecrown, and get phased out.  The only reason they do Storm Peaks is to... get the Hodir dailies.

In 3.2 they added battleground experience gains.  It's hard to judge exactly what impact this has had on the raiding community, because most raiders I've met despise PvP.  However in the regular ranks of WoW, the number of people who took advantage of the massive XP gains in Alterac Valley is significant.  You don't have to have any gear to show up in a battleground.  Even if you don't AFK, you can run around in your underpants and still get experience for it.

Now in 3.3, with the LFG system, I wonder how many people will level 1-70 almost exclusively in dungeons, then do dungeons and Hodir to 80.

To me, quests are what give the game variety and flavor.  The questing process is what makes the game feel epic.  Without quests, we might as well just fight Boss Template #13: Stay out of the fire.  How many times in a row can I really do Heroic Violet Hold before it gets boring?  Then there's the perpetual whining about how fast the new raids are beaten.  Achievements have only been marginally successful in keeping content fresh, because a lot of people don't care about pets and there's little other reward in doing achievements.

Please, Blizzard, bring questing back up on the priority list when Cataclysm comes out, even for high level characters.  The world is a lonely place when everyone's instanced out in groups of 5.

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