I recently dipped a toe into Eden Eternal on a friend’s recommendation. It’s a super-sugary fantasy MMO with a pretty flexible class system in a Final Fantasy ‘job’ manner. The thing I’ve noticed most however is what I would call the high ‘questing efficiency’.
I can quote some examples of this, with varying mechanical implementations, from other games:
Vanguard: overlapping starter zones
This one is probably more a random find than by-design but on my Varanjar shaman I stumbled across the Vulmane starter area and found that a lot of the quests overlapped with the same or similar goals in the same zones. This really gave me big boost on questing efficiency for a level or two.
SWTOR: Bonus missions
The Old Republic has by design throughout the various missions, chains of bonus missions. Sometimes it’s just a Kill Ten Rats variant. Often it might be several steps with the last stage causing a gold elite mob to spawn, killing that will net you several planetary commendation badges. Bonus missions can show up on class missions, planetary mission arcs and even heroic group missions – there’s a lot of extra experience up for grabs. Easier to do these generally when grouped though as it can add a lot of extra killing time if you’re solo wading through so many opponents. Also it negates the general efficiency of avoiding killing everything vaguely in the way – you can complete missions far faster if you don’t have to kill every mob you see.
LoTRO: quest design
Sometimes quests will overlap in a zone nicely – for instance recently I had have to kill orcs, collect relic fragments, kill grebyg (insect pests) and look for a missing expedition member all within one smallish area. This overlapping of quest objectives is generally well done in LoTRO. As a rule though LoTRO probably has the most ‘to and fro’ quests where you travel to a very distant NPC (Elrond!) only to return to whence you came for the next step.
Rift: quest design and rifts
Generally Rift has a certain amount of overlapping quests to allow you to grind away the levels efficiently. It did give a few more options than most games though as you also had the rifts themselves, which act sort of like XP piñata that respawn regularly while you’re wandering around a zone. Invasions also offer a pretty high XP/min reward ratio if you have a sufficient number of interested players in the area to form a raid and thus trigger the later stages.
Eden Eternal: story books
One of the more innovative features of this game is the story books you buy from merchants. Each book tells a story set in the current zone involving NPCs and monsters. This equates to a multi-quest chain of kill quests. If you buy the books upon first entering the zone you’ll be able to keep your ‘book quests’ roughly in step with your general questing giving double credit for killing certain opponents. It’s a very nice additional XP boost with a nice little story as additional lore.
The general questing in Eden Eternal is very well organised from an efficiency perspective, plenty of overlapping quest objectives with the books adding an extra layer on top of that basic design. Other games have moments of this, but I’ve never seen a game that has such solidly well planned questing. There are also treasure maps in parts to collect and follow for some bonus loot although they fall out of this articles main topic.
There is also the elephant in the room in modern MMO gaming, the experience booster. Turbine’s games and SoE’s games have XP booster items in their respective cash shops. World of Warcraft has had for a long time the heirloom items that give a percentage XP boost up to a certain level. SWTOR’s legacy system can unlock an XP bonus for alt leveling. I’ve made use of some items in the past, but I prefer fast leveling to come from well layed out questing paths and simply “loosing track of time” from enjoying the game than from artificial speed up items that aim to bypass the gameplay.