Questing

Hey guys,  I am still raising money for the Extra-Life event.  A dollar is all you need to do to help children get a second chance at life.  You can donate here:
http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=29102
Thanks in advance for the donations, I know we are in a hard time economically, but these are kids who might never see a brighter future without our help.  Plus, if you donate, I will play whatever games you want on that day.

Think of an MMO, now think of all the things you do in that MMO, is that everything?  Sure?  I know when I think of MMOs and all the things you can do in them, I forget about something very fundamental; Questing. That is right, that thing you do with the various NPCs with large yellow exclamation points floating over their head, complaining about all of their problems and how they are unable to do anything about it despite there being no reaction by the quest giver.  Oh dear!  Pirate Ninja Zombies who are also Vampire Robats are burning my barn of puppies made of puppies to the ground!  Do something!  Well, why are you standing there, blank expression on your face while poor innocent puppies are burning!  Also, why is your barn made of puppies…  You know exactly what I am talking about though.  We all have had this experience before where you are tasked at doing something seemingly important only to have them not really react to the situation, only guiding adventurers to the general direction of where they need to go with a bit of text and rewarding them with experience and gold.  However, all of it doesn’t seem to matter in the great scheme of things.  That person is forever plagued by Pirate Ninja Zombies who are also Vampire Robots (don’t think about it too hard, but a picture would be cool) and will never see relief until the next hero walks by and clears the field until they respawn only to plague the poor puppy barn owner yet again.  Its a vicious cycle of unimportance.

How many of you dread the concept of question and only see it as a means of getting from level 1 to level cap?  Outside of the first play through of the game/faction/race, I get really bored with it.  Its cool to learn that lore, but having to do the same kill ten rats quest on each character I make plus in each area just gets boring and feels very much like a chore.  It is so bad that I avoid leveling other characters after that point or look for other means of getting through it.  I would much rather take a longer time and enjoying myself than spending the least amount of time and wanting to kill myself with how boring it is.  There is absolutely no variation on the kill ten rats scenario.  Every human paladin you ever make in World of Warcraft will have to kill the same 10 rats as all the other human paladins before him, in fact, every human you make will have to go through the same 10 rats.  Every orc, every undead, troll, gnome, and dwarf will all go through the same quests as those who came before.

Questing in general has been in a serious need of a rework.  Games that have come out still keep the same model.  SWTOR has the same model, but they add cinematic story telling to mask the fact that they didn’t do anything to the actual system.  You still walk up to an NPC with a giant exclamation mark over their head, they still stand there and expect you to do something for them without doing anything themselves (although now they whine a bit more), and then you kill the 10 space rats for your gold and experience.  While the cinematic storytelling definitely adds more to the system, it definitely makes it far more entertaining, but its still has the same problem where every character you make of that class will have the same storyline.  Every Jedi has the same story.  Every Sith has the same story.  The feel of questing being epic is completely gone.

Now granted, this is a problem every game has, every adventure game, every RPG.  But those games have an end to them rather than the traditional MMO experience where the game doesn’t end and thrives off of subscribers continuing to play their game.  There is no end to MMOs until they either stop production or the MMO goes under.  However, MMOs always develop and always add new story.  Awesome, so you slew Illidan, now time to slay Arthas.  This aspect is quite interesting because it shows a continual development in the world, however, despite this it is still doomed to end, it just might take 12 years, and 12 years is a long time to play one game when most games can be completed in 20-40 hours.

But there are some things good about questing.  Do you remember your first time in a MMO doing quests?  I remember walking through the Orc starting area, completing quests, and while they were simple, they only got more epic.  The story telling got better, the events bigger, the bosses bigger and more difficult.  I remember walking into Hellfire Peninsula and encountering the Fel Reaver for the first time and being forever afraid of it pathing behind me while doing another quest.  That fear made that area so much more exciting.  It was full, it was complete.  That same feeling was missing from Wrath of the Lich King.  I don’t remember which zone I started in, but I was bored with the first 20 minutes of boat ride followed by the lackluster quest design.  While I am probably one of the few who actually believe that Wrath was worse that BC, this is how I felt about the change from expansion to expansion.  I felt that Blizzard dropped the ball between those two expansion, and this is probably because Burning Crusade set a huge standard for me and the overall feel of questing.  Where has it gone?  RIFT questing was entertaining, but it hardly felt epic, it felt like it was a means to an end.  Taking care of the RIFTs and fending off Invasions felt amazing, like they world really was doomed.  But as the game declined, less people started doing them and they turned into a farm fest.  The same part is that despite the Rifts being the title feature of the game, they got boring because they were always there.  Sadly, when the world is in constant peril, you begin to get bored because that constant peril is just the same as the poor farmer with the puppy barn that no matter how many enemies you slay, they will never cease.

So how do you fix a system that hasn’t changed for years?  Especially when the only change to the system has been to change the presentation.  Questing has been a tried and true system, which is why it hasn’t changed, but people are starting to get bored.  People were saying that SWTOR was going to be the WoW killer, and we all see how that is going.  I am a firm believer that the only thing that will kill WoW is Blizzard when they decide to kill it.  GW2 will not spell the demise of WoW, and that is something we shouldn’t be worried about, but it is still doing a lot of things differently than what else is out there.  SWTOR has a modified PvP system where everyone goes in at max level, but you do not have the same capabilities as those of level 50, so its unfair, whereas GW2 PvP is balanced around level 80 and you have access to everything.  There will not be any raids, and there is a music player somewhere in there that lets you replace the in game music with your own music.  But what about questing?  Well, there are no quests in Guild Wars 2.

That’s right, no quests in Guild Wars 2.  This does not mean that to get to the level cap, you have to farm out mobs, its just that questing has been replaced by Dynamic Events.  Rather than going through Tyria, looking for lifeless people with giant exclamation marks over their heads, you explore the world and find real problems happening to real people.  If a town is being attacked by pirates, a lack of action will cause the pirates to burn down that town and kill all of its inhabitants.  If you save them, they might not be back for another week or so.  Because of this, every time you make a character in GW2, the only same dynamic events you take place are the first one and the occasional ones where you happen to re-experience due to being in the same area at the right time.  This will make you quest hunters have to spend a lot more time collecting information and camping areas looking for a single quest, but, for us who are not quest hunters, this means that leveling will be unique again, this means leveling will feel epic again.  This is a very exciting proposal and as long as Arena Net can keep up with your statements, this will definitely be a game a lot of people will be checking out (and with no subscription, a lot of people will be more inclined to try it out).

So questing hasn’t changed, and maybe the dynamic event system wont be as dynamic as its being led onto, but so far, its looking like it will be as they are constantly adding more to the game.

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One response to “Questing

  1. Pingback: GWOnline.Net » Guild Wars 2 Weekly

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