Casually Casual WoW 2: Uninspired Questing

Welcome new and returning readers alike to the second edition of Casually Casual. For those just joining us, Casually Casual is my own personal niche right here at Ten Ton Hammer where yours truly gets the chance to give you the readers an intimate view of my thoughts on all things casual. Last week I had the pleasure of sharing my own personal story of transformation from a hardcore raider, to more casual player.

I was fairly nervous with the posting of the first Edition of Casually Casual. I even had that first day of school, what should I wear, I think I might puke on my shoes feeling. In the end I did not puke on my shoes (thankfully) and I was pleased to see that the column managed to garner quite a few responses from various points of view. One of the most prominent themes I saw amongst the replies was the idea that there is no difference between the casual and hardcore player.

The first time I read this I did a very distinctly Scooby-Doo confused sound, complete with head tilt. The difference between these two play styles is very distinct and real to me. Hardcore players to me are those players who spend every moment possible pushing to be the best of the best at some aspect of the game. Casual players in my view are those who play when they can, and get what they can accomplished in that time, if they fall short of a goal no sleep will be lost because the game is just that, a game, and one that will be enjoyed at their leisure. Using those basic definitions I think it’s clear that there is a difference between casual and hardcore players, and it can cause strife and ill feelings between the two. I personally have been on the giving and receiving end of such conflict.

I won’t dwell much more on the subject, I just wanted to throw my last two cents in there, as well as give my definitions of the words hardcore and casual in the hopes of better explaining my position. Regardless of if you agree or disagree with my views on the subject, I enjoy  all your responses and criticisms. Moving right along let’s sweep out the old and usher in the new topic of discussion for the week; the unfortunate state of questing in the World of Warcraft.

Uninspired Questing

Questing to me is an unavoidable evil. A penance (not the Priest spell) I must pay in order to play an otherwise amazing game.  I might be coming off as a little overly dramatic here, and before the die hard questing fans break out the torches and pitch forks, let me say that I do not inertly hate questing. In fact given the right circumstances I could even find it downright enjoyable. These conditions are not often met, and for the most part I find questing in World of Warcraft to be sorely lacking.
Mind numbing, repetitive, and obnoxious, are just a few of the words that come to mind when thinking about questing. It wasn’t always so, my first time questing, making that seemingly impossible climb from 1 to 60, is still a fond memory. Even with the extra levels added with the expansion packs, exploring the new zones and immersing myself in the quest lines was not overly traumatic. I will admit I was disappointed that while the zones were new, and so were the NPCs, the quests were basically the same with a few gems thrown in here and there. I mean you can only collect useless objects with an abysmally low drop rate for an apparently helpless Quest-Giver for so long before it starts to get to you (think Jack Nicholson in The Shining) .

Overall though, leveling up with my first toon was relatively pain free. The problem arises when you consider that almost every single player in the World of Warcraft has at least one alt. Logic says that if you wish to do anything useful, at some point you are going to have to begin the quest grind over again in order to gain a respectable level. Do this enough times (or perhaps just once) and you will find that you are able to complete the quests in your sleep. Questing is in my opinion one of the most neglected aspects of the game.

Blizzard has made some strides to remedy this problem. In the Burning Crusade new types of quests were introduced, and really who didn’t enjoy flying around Hellfire Peninsula bombing everything in sight? In Wrath of the Lich King questing came even further, with Blizzard introducing zones that changed as you did

This comic created by Syaovera and featured on the official WoW site makes light of the frustrations of questing.
quests. This change of course has it’s pitfalls, including not being able to see players who have not progressed as far in the quest line as you have, but it’s a great idea, and make the questing experience that much more interesting. I think though that Blizzard needs to take questing even further.

I can complain about it, but what do I actually want done about it you ask? Well it just so happens that I made a spiffy little list of some of the bigger changes I would like to see:

Fewer Repetitive Quests - I know it’s hard coming up with original quest ideas, and I certainly don’t want to do it, buuutttBUT could we please cut out quests that take forever and make players want to gouge out their eyeballs with spoons?

More Zone Changing Quests - This is a great idea, and I want to see more of it. Having the incentive to actually see the zone changes because of quests I have done gives me great incentive to want to push and complete them.

Different Quest Paths - This is the idea that I would like to most see implemented. I want to be able to choose different quest paths, and be able to have a different quest experience depending on what path I would choose. Blizzard has already done this in a smallish scale with faction quests (Aldor/Scryer) and I would love to see this done on a grander scale. It would take a ton of work, but I think it would help keep the questing experience fresh.

Faction Betrayal - We have faction changes, but I want to take it a little further and introduce faction betrayal. How awesome would it be to decide that instead of taking the normal route your character will instead be working for the enemy?. I’m undecided if the character should be able to complete the opposite faction’s quests, or be offered a whole difference set of quest opportunities, either would be acceptable to me. I can see many kinks that would need to be worked out if this idea was implemented but I think it is an option that many players would like to see added.

A few of these ideas will probably be seen in the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. Others we may never see at all, but one can dream. Even if none of these (or other) changes are made to the questing experience Cataclysm does at least offer a short respite from the mundane. More zones will be added, and new quests will come with them. This does end up being a double edged sword in the end though. The new zones will offer a plethora of new quests, but the new expansion will also attract hordes of people, making what might have been an amazing questing experience nothing short of frustrating.

Cataclysm will also irrevocably change the face of the old world as we know it, ushering in a new era of quests that will offer a new and exciting experience for those leveling up, at least the first time. Obviously there cannot be unlimited quests, or questing options in the game, but I do feel that much more could be done to help keep the mundane at bay. Hopefully in Cataclysm and beyond we see such changes made, so that the questing fire can be re ignited. If you have ideas of how the questing experience could be improved, please share it on our forums, and until next time I wish you happy gaming.

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