09 December 2010

Quest maaaniac, maaaaniac, I want more

Over my dead body
Quests, you guys. Today I`ll limit myself to gushing about the revamping of the old world quests into something to be proud of. The whole concept of questing in a zone has been totally rethought. Loremasters like Aka may be irritated to learn that although they retain the meta-Loremaster, they now have nearly each zone listed as incomplete. They may be further irritated to learn that although there are many new quests, lots of them are the same as before, only slightly reworked to fit the new zone narrative. Suddenly having incomplete achieves made me a little grumpy, but I`m enjoying completing them so much that I`ll allow it. Half-finished Loremaster hopefuls like my nelf might be a bit put off to discover that although the rumor was that "some quests will still count in Cata", the percentage is so small it`s basically insignificant. You have the entire project ahead of you again! But fear not! Up till now I`ve completed 10 zones and always had quests leftover after hitting the required achievement.


No, I don`t mean raiding. I mean the pure joy that is being logically directed around a zone in order to follow a quest chain, or at least a breadcrumb. Incidentally, this ties in with the new Warchief`s message board, where you can find a level-appropriate breadcrumb quest. As an aside, I love these features and I straight up cannot understand the argument that this is "too handhold-y". Say you level to 30 via dungeons, then decide you want to quest. Sitting in UC with your thumb up your butt will not magically divine where you should go to quest. Flying/riding around every single zone in search of exclamation marks is imprecise and time-consuming. Tabbing out to do a search is also needlessly time-consuming, and strikes me as wholly unnecessary. Having a signboard/breadcrumb/taxi isn`t handholdy, it`s elegantly practical! I want my quests to take care of me when it comes to being told where to go, especially if the alternative is memorizing every single zone level range and quest hub location for what, bragging rights?

Just around the riverbend!
Rant aside, the quest progression is so well done now. In particular I noticed it in Southern Barrens, where there are questgivers tucked away in unlikely places, but a breadcrumb gets you out there rather than hoping you`ll randomly come across it while lost looking for something else. The one place I did not experience this was Dustwallow Marsh, but as I had 9 quests holdover from pre-Cata, it`s likely that the breadcrumbs were included in that. Testing with a new toon is required. Also, I don`t think it`s impossible to show up to a new zone and start questing, but bopping around between quest hubs suggests that if you don`t follow the set order for hub to hub, you may not have unlocked quests in out of order hubs. This also means that the story has become much more linear and rigid, which can be frustrating if you want to skip a particular quest or hub. So far it hasn`t been a problem questing on my main, but I`m curious to know what it`s like for a leveling toon, or a player that starts at the "wrong" hub and doesn`t know where to go.


Work it, gnomeboy
You may have noticed that starting zones are no longer required, and in fact have no trackable progress. I suppose this is because some starting zones are race-specific. Seeing as I don`t need any rep on Aka, I`ll save those for my new gobbie :D As far as the achievement zones go, it`s easy and natural (as an 80, at any rate) to reach the achievement in the course of events. And there are almost always between 5 and 10 leftover quests, should you miss any breadcrumbs or skip some quests. Breadcrumbs between zones or quest hubs count, breadcrumbs that lead to dungeons do not. You should never have to enter a dungeon to complete a zone - this bears more reflection as it seems that doing dungeons while leveling is becoming even more unusual or unexpected.

Word on the street is that XP gain is so generous that you`ll quickly outlevel your quests (and professions!), and dungeon XP may be a detriment to seeing a quest chain play out (rather than abandon it as it goes green or grey). That is great for fast or compulsive levelers, a bit of a letdown for lorenerds. I can only assume that if you are the type to stop and smell the peacebloom as you level, you`ll avoid heirlooms and dungeons, or complete grey quests, or both.

I also remember strange "hidden" quests from before, such as the goblin in Durotar who offered Allies quests. Since dominant zones of the other faction don`t even appear in your achievement list, have all instances of quests like these been removed? Or could they still be there as easter eggs? Without and achievement to prompt, who would go looking for them...

Damn you dirty...dragons!

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