WoW: evolution of questing and PVE content

More details are coming out of Blizzcon, normal less WoW-obsessed service will continue after this weekend for those not interested in Warcraft…

Quoting MMO Champion as a source again, I’ll just highlight a few questing related details that interest me. I’m a fan of questing plain and simple, I like stories to follow and the neat package of task+reward in MMO quests. So these promised changes from Blizzard seem all to be pretty positive evolutions of this MMO staple.

  • There will be more optional content and less quest hubs that have to be unlocked by another chain first.
  • The dynamic events from Timeless Isle will appear in the world when you are leveling and Level 100. Right now they are mostly soloable rare spawns, but the WoD events will be more complex and not soloable.
  • Treasures will be hidden down paths that quests don’t send you down and found frequently. They also will have a small amount of story to go with them.

Less focus on questing hubs and more optional content is good news for altaholics as the increasing focus on hubs and phasing through the Wrath, Cataclysm and Pandaria expansions have left the leveling experience feeling linear and forced. Older era WoW was less guided; quests were in hubs for sure, but there were also plenty of quests you could find by-chance out in less trodden parts of the world. The emphasis on phasing also increased the linearity of the experience as you had to unlock quest hubs in a set order.

The dynamic events from the Timeless Isle, as this quote calls them, are pretty basic compared to similar systems in Rift or Guild Wars 2. They are, at least, open world content with more of an emphasis on players working together instead of against one another. That’s a welcome change in direction for a game that has become very focused on instanced content. I’d welcome more complex events though, perhaps with the chained follow-up events for success or failure as we have seen elsewhere (e.g. in GW2).

Treasures sound wonderful to the explorer in me, that they have story attached makes the idea even more appealing. The lore scrolls in Pandaria were fun to find but adding more variety to this concept would be a welcome next step. If the objects aren’t always the same type then that’ll increase the fun of hunting for and discovering such treasures.

  • The world will be more dynamic and less predictable.

This sounds positive as a blanket statement, but it raises questions yet to be answered. Various newer games have promised a more ‘dynamic world’ and have, arguably, failed to deliver. It’ll be very interesting to see if Blizzard can actually deliver a gameplay experience that feels less static this time around.

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