Cataclysm Questing is So Linear

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02/04/2011 8:54 AMPosted by Shilpa
They gave WoW the final fantasy 13 treatment!
I agree that it is quite linear, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I thought it worked awesomely well in places like Uldum.

Also if you follow along the quests, it gives you a chance to 'take a break' and go work on something else every now and then if you're getting tired of what you've been working on. I think phasing is awesome and I love all the cutscenes.

Working as intended.
/agree on it being linear, but I like it better.

I enjoyed the story-telling in each zone immensely. There was a cohesive story thread running throughout the whole zone, and I felt like the phasing, overall, was used very well in the context of pushing the story forward.

But I would agree on the impact of phasing on tradeskills. That's unfortunate. I'll sometimes see a nice mining node on the minimap, only to see it disappear when I get close. Also, for farming volatile fire, I found the fire elementals in hyjal very nice, and then saw them phased out. But honestly, that's the only thing I would change about the progression. I thought questing seemed less grindy with the more linear, story-driven quest structure. I enjoyed being able to finish off a quest hub and not feel like I would miss something if I didn't swing back by that one later to see if anything new had popped up.
The part of this argument I find most humorous is the comments stating that the first time through is fine, but it becomes more linear and boring with each subsequent playthrough.

How is this not the exact same game we were playing 5 years ago?

Everything is fresh and different the first time through. Even in Vanilla, people eventually developed a formula for leveling their character in the most fun or efficient methods possible. That is a linear experience. The only difference is that you took the stew but picked out the meat and potatoes, because you only like the broth.

If you want a unique experience from one playthrough to another, level both horde and alliance characters.
I actually love the story-driven questing in Cataclysm, it's one of the things I was really looking forward to and am glad to see was done so well.

The actual quests themselves have sometimes been disappointing to me though. I understand that not every quest can be elite kill quests, but since those are the only ones that I find challenging, and without any challenge I feel like I'm playing an interactive movie rather than a video game, those are the only ones I find fun. So when 90% of every elite quest I encounter now has some kind of quest item or event that makes the elite mob extremely easy to kill, it's a bit disappointing.

I understand low level zones need to be friendly to new players, but I do wish the hand-holding would be a bit less once you get to the 20+ questing zones. That and mini-game quests that are impossible to fail (like bombing runs) have been my main source of frustration with quests this expansion.
Honestly, I felt the quest progress was far better in Cataclysm than it has ever been before. It was tiresome and depressing when the method of questing in a zone was 'Go over here, pick up 13 quests, most of which don't relate to any central storyline, then go like a quarter of the zone north to this hub, pick up another 15 quests, ditto.' That, coupled with exorbitant amounts of EXP needed to level made Northrend pretty miserable after the first time through each zone. You feel like you're never making any progress. If the 9mil EXP grind from 84-85 had featured a questing zone like that it probably would have taken me days to hit 85, instead of an afternoon.

I liked the story in every zone, and would be sad to go back to the '15 Marshal's Refuge hubs per zone' method of quest leveling that was used in BC and LK (BC is not a big deal anymore, since it's still a short grind, but still, the quest flow...).
02/03/2011 1:18 PMPosted by Lylirra
When it comes to questing, it's matter of finding a good balance between story and gameplay, and that tightrope can be a hard one to walk.


I prefer the current state of the game in this regard, compared to what it was before. Is it perfect? No, of course not. But I feel you've done a pretty good job of it; I enjoy being more involved in the story, instead of feeling like I'm just being sent out to farm whatever mobs are in a particular zone.

It's good that you're taking a look at some of the shortcomings of phasing, but I certainly hope you retain the baby if/when any bathwater is siphoned off.

02/04/2011 10:20 AMPosted by Mercias
The part of this argument I find most humorous is the comments stating that the first time through is fine, but it becomes more linear and boring with each subsequent playthrough.

How is this not the exact same game we were playing 5 years ago?

Everything is fresh and different the first time through. Even in Vanilla, people eventually developed a formula for leveling their character in the most fun or efficient methods possible. That is a linear experience. The only difference is that you took the stew but picked out the meat and potatoes, because you only like the broth.

If you want a unique experience from one playthrough to another, level both horde and alliance characters.


^this

The phased stories make the zones actually feel like the world changes as you move through quests. Since vanilla the zones were very static/dead, this is a vast improvement. If they add more optional (non-phased/prerequisite) quests I'm sure that could make some of the spin the bottle/random questers happy.

Questing is very much a single player aspect of the game but they should fix the issue where a party can't interact on the 'lowest/earliest completed phase' and see one another.

Some random exploration daily 'area quests' (where you come across a floating ! in a zone, that spawns a phase/attack/etc. - which is only active for that particular day) and more mob-induced (red !) quests would be nice. Exploration and enjoyment of the zone is mostly on the shoulders of a player..

The overall story experience shouldn't suffer because you personally don't feel there shouldn't be direction. Like Warcraft 3, they are trying to get a story across and if players are just doing bits and pieces and guessing on how the zones connect that doesn't really tell the story very well.
I liked it being linear from an achivement standpoint. It was a pain in the rear trying to figure out which quests I missed to get lore master
I honestly prefer the linearity, but I believe that there should be many more entry points. Deepholm is the most obvious example of this in my mind, as I skipped it on this character on my journey to 85 since I had already done it on another char of mine. Then I realized I needed to do it for Therazane to get shoulder enchants... at which time I discovered you have to do pretty much every quest in deepholm to unlock the therazane line... It was extremely annoying and felt exhausting.
Questing now is way too linear. I do love some of the new quests. I really like how you can do a flying bomb quest at low levels now. However, questing has completely lost it's open ended exploration. I don't think it's even possible to get a red difficulty quest now. I think one way to help improve this is by allowing questing hubs in zones become available without having to do a particular hub. Not everyone wants to be spoon fed story lines and have their hand held while questing, especially after they've already leveled through the zone with another alt. Before Cata, when there was an item I wanted, I could go to the hub and do the quests required for the item. Now if there is a particular item, you can't even get the quests for it unless you've already done the previous hubs, which sucks if you've out leveled the previous hubs, due to instances and BGs.
I think overall the improvements in the leveling process have been fantastic. I do think there are a few challenges within the phasing that do have impact from missing flight points all the way to farming nodes. I know personally I had more challenges with the linear quest lines leveling my Worgen especially in the level 15 to 30 area that was magnified by the faster leveling..

Probably my biggest complaint during the 80 to 85 leveling process with the new linear quest lines was the bottlenecked areas. Between the sheer volume of people (especially on a PVP server) you really didn't have a choice but to wait it out if you encountered a bugged or bottle necked quest. You couldn't really get anywhere else until the bug was fixed or the vast majority of the population either completed the quest or it was late/earlier enough that server traffic was minimal. But as with all things as the big rush was over, the volume has settled down but if a buggy quest is at one of those critical points where there aren't any further quests available until completed, it certainly narrows your options to continue leveling until it is fixed or you find a solution.
02/04/2011 10:20 AMPosted by Mercias
If you want a unique experience from one playthrough to another, level both horde and alliance characters.


Oh ok, then you realize that once you get to 80-85 Cataclysm zones, almost every single quest in those zones are identical, because the factions are neutral.

Hyjal: the rep faction is neutral, and the quests are ENTIRELY the same for Alliance and Horde

Vashj'ir: another neutral rep faction with identical quests, with the exception of the first few quests, and a handful of quests after that.

Deepholm: one faction, again with the exception of a handful of quests at the Temple of Earth. Almost identical for Horde and Alliance.

Uldum: identical for Horde and Alliance.

Twilight Highlands: probably the only zone that really has any divergence for each faction. Unfortunately, it's at the end of your leveling experience, and you'll probably ding 85 before the zone ends, and only return to get the achievement.

When you compare this to Wrath zones or TBC zones, the quests that are the same for each faction are few and far between, so at least you could gain some extra replay value if you rerolled your opposite faction. Now, you can't even do that for 80-85 because everything is completely identical. For most people, I'd wager there is literally zero incentive to do 80-85 more than twice, because there is so little divergence even when changing factions. Really, the game just doesn't feel complete, regardless of the 1-58 content now available.

I'd rather be able to choose my own story than try to pretend that I'm the most important person on Azeroth, especially when it's obvious that the 6 people next to me are doing the exact same quests I am. In Vanilla and TBC, you got the sense that you were part of some bigger story that you'd only comprehend as you got closer to max level. You knew that once you encountered Dark Iron Dwarves and began to learn about Ragnaros and Thaurissan, you weren't powerful enough to defeat them yet. As you got into higher level zones, you developed the storyline even further and eventually realized you're getting stronger and closer to fighting the important NPCs.

Now, every single zone has its own individual plot, and there's absolutely no sense of having any overarching story. You enter a zone, discover that something Deathwing did has disrupted the zone, and you're acclaimed as the greatest hero, and essentially the only person that can liberate the zone. You complete the zone, and move on to the next, in which something Deathwing did has disrupted the zone, and you're acclaimed as the only saviour. Repeat ad nauseum from 1-58.
The linear questing is one of several reasons I'm allowing my time to run out and not renewing.

The world doesn't even feel like a world anymore. It's this weird phased place with 1-2-3 quests and few people following the Archeaology Rng God wherever he may lead them.

I used to like finding obscure quests (like on my NE, that one wounded sentinel in Darkshore, well off the beaten track, who you could help hold off furbolgs with) or jumping around picking up quests here and there, just 'cause. It made each leveling experience feel somewhat unique. Now, it's 1-2-3, start to end, exactly the same every single time. And with phasing you can't always even see other players (or nodes) making the world seem emptier and more frustrating.

On top of that, most people are in instances or waiting for instances.

It's just not really a world anymore. It really is a theme park now. If you like that, that's awesome. If you don't, well, tough luck for us I guess.

What this new questing does for us

+ Super fast levelling speed
+ So soloable content you can only die if you AFKed or DCed
+ Some nice questlines though pales in comparison to pre-Shattering- -

- Makes you not level your prof
- Gave us buggy FPs again cos Blizzard thinks it is necessary to put 3-5 FPs in 1 bloody zone
- No choice of late 50-60 zone (One for 50-55 and one for 55-60 on both EK & Kalimdor)
- Cannot dismiss nor control all these annoying NPCs who keep joining you for quests
- Cannot select quests (God I must went back 5 times to that new NE outpost in Darkshore cos they only gave me 2 things to do!!)
- Inconsistent changes, why is SM not undead and having the same mobs, but the higher ranking guys turned into forsaken undead ?!
- Broken old rep and old quest turn in items as well as some profession recipes and tier 0.5 (why do the dungeon bosses drop 'the same loot' but not tier 0.5?!)

Well enjoy your new questing speed freaks...

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