Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Post: Further Reflection on Game Changes

An Adventuring Tunnel: Relish your time in the Maelstrom because you can only come here as a part of a quest, and presently, there is absolutely no way to come back once that quest is done.
[Merinna's Note:  Somaric has been further evolving his comments from last week, regarding the style of questing gameplay that seems to dominate this new expansion.]

I realized that my previous posting was a little incomplete.  The message that I was trying to get across was that the original World of Warcraft was, more of a sandbox environment, in which one could openly explore and find different quests to do from different places. Now, it seems that the Cataclysm addition has taken WoW into an adventuring tunnel. There is only one place to start, and basically one place to finish. And if you lose something along the way, it holds up any progress that you might make. 
What has prompted this examination of the old WoW versus the new WoW is the fact that poor Somaric got disconnected in Vashj’ir.  He lost the quest giver and couldn’t continue with any quests.  A search of almost the entire Vashj’ir area revealed not one unscripted quest.  Nothing.  What is this Night Elf hero to do? 
I am happy to report that Somaric finally found the quest giver. And, he was able to take up questing again in Vashj’ir.  The problem it seems, with losing a quest giver is that, all the rest of the questing is predicated on FOLLOWING A SCRIPT.
From finding the quest giver, Somaric received a couple more quests, then had to find a hidden cave, check it out, etc.  Then another hidden cave with more quests.  This is a tunnel. One could go exploring on your own into these places, but you wouldn't find any quests there unless you completed what came previously. 
The appeal for WoW in the beginning, for me, was the fact that, as an adventurer, a hero, you could explore the world looking for quests.  Quests were everywhere.  You happened upon them all over the place, or in the most unlikely circumstances.
Take for instance, the little known quest One Shot, One Kill.  Poor Aynasha is stuck in a small crevice in the far south-eastern part of Darkshore, just before you enter Ashenvale.  You wouldn’t find it if you weren’t doing some unscripted exploration.  You save her from waves of Furblogs. Pure adventure. But there were no lead-in quests to this adventure. It sat completely outside of the major quest devices of the zone.
Another classic is Faldir’s Cove.  Now, Faldir’s Cove is sandwiched between the top of Wetlands and Arathi Highlands.  If you weren’t looking around for herbs, ore or adventure, you would never happen upon this lengthy series of quests.  Plus you get to fire a cannon at attacking Naga.  Pure stuff of adventure and all unscripted. [Merinna's note: Now, an NPC at Refuge Point will suggest you go down to Faldir's Cover in a breadcrumb quest].
I’ve realized that I no longer have use for my quest log.  I’m not carrying that many quests and, all I have to do is call up my map to see where I go. 
So, is this the future of World of Warcraft?  Heros follow a predictable chain of questing?  It would be sad if the sandbox were totally taken away.

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