Cataclysm Questing is So Linear

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As for group quests, crucible of carnage was awful, waited until a month after the expansion before completing.

Needs to be some queuing system so that those that start first quest are allowed to keep going until the last Mob is killed or there is a wipe.

I'm glad to finally hear acknowledgement that this was a flaw in Cataclysm. Many of us have been providing this same feedback since beta, with no apparent effect on Blizzard's design.

In addition to the pacing and route inflexibility, I'd like to reiterate the negative effect it has on attempts to quest with others. Unless you happen to be precisely in synch with someone throughout the entirety of your progress through a zone, it's impossible for you to do anything together.

I can't tell you how many times I've spent a few minutes talking with someone about our mid-80s characters, trying--and failing--to find any content that we can actually do together.

"Vashj'ir?" "I'm up to about Nespirah." "Ah, I'm at the beginning, it'd take me hours to catch up to you." "Uldum?" "Can't, I'm only 82 and all the quests are minlevel 83." "Deepholm?" "Can't, I don't want to get out of sync with <otherplayer> there."

The whole point of a multiplayer online game is sharing a persistent world with others. Phasing goes against the very fundament of that, by separating us into our own little microcosms.
The quests are so linear because it drives a story.

Cataclysm questing is all storytelling, and I like it.

Also, makes it a lot easier to do all the quests in the zone and not feel like you're missing something.
Personally I found that Wrath was far more effective in making the questing engaging just with superior story-telling and the mystery surrounding Northrend. It was far better at making us care about the characters and their struggles. In Cataclysm there really wasn't much story besides "There's some Twilight Hammer/Naga/bad Tol'vir/Orc/Dwarf, kill them." There were a few moments here and there, but overall my eyes would just glaze over at the endless quest text.

The only thing I like about Cataclysm over Wrath questing is that the Cata questing is over in a merciful length of time while Wrath is daunting on alts.
My biggest complaint with the linear and phased story telling in cataclysm is that it essentially turns it into a single player game. How am I supposed to invite friends back to the game when I have no way of participating in it with them if I've done the quests already?

I've had 3 friends come back to the game and it was a very frustrating experience until they were 85. Two didn't even make it to 85. =/
I feel pretty good about the Cataclysm questing experience. The linearity is okay by me. The phasing does some pretty neat stuff, gathering nodes aside. Use of vehicles and quest-specific items keep things fairly varied. There are only a few things that threaten to spoil it:

1) "Jerrick, Savior of Azeroth!"
I can suspend disbelief far enough to believe that events are unfolding as I participate in them. But I can't quite believe that, on a server populated with thousands of players, I am the ONE GUY who is saving the world. This is a very strong theme in the questing experience and really makes it hard for me to immerse myself.

2) Uldum
I respect the "let's-do-something-different", but I did not care for all the cutscene business. A couple of those cutscenes were pretty neat, but it was WAY overused. I felt that the watching-a-movie theme fell flat.

3) Dirty Jokes
Either my mind has fallen further into the gutter or there are far more dirty references and crude jokes in Cataclysm. Adarrah is one thing. I mean, she's supposed to be a bit...liberal. And I think that's only obvious if you're actually looking for it. But "Premature Explosionation" followed by "Just the Tip"? "Camel Tow"? When I get these kind of references, I wish that I hadn't. Or failing that, that the references weren't there in the first place. I don't think these jokes have a place in a game with the audience that World of Warcraft enjoys.
I like and dislike at the same time, I enjoyed the non-linear because you had more options, but I hated...

Guy in Winterspring: Hey I am writing an essay and I had let that guy in Silithus borrow my favorite pencil, could you go ask him for it?

Guy in Silithus: Alright I'll give you the pencil to give back, but first I need you to kill 30 of those bugs out there.

Guy in Silithus: Thanks man here is the pencil.

Guy in Winterspring: Thanks man, now I'll let you unlock the quest hub, oh and here is a little something for your efforts.

(You receive 80 silver and 3000 EXP)
Phasing sucks fix it quick i'm entitled to what I want
02/03/2011 2:36 PMPosted by Dagdagiel
For Cataclysm, we wanted to create more immersion with better storytelling, and we wanted your characters to feel connected to ebb and flow of Azeroth. This was something we hoped to accomplish through a number of mediums including quests.

I love the questing / story. ^_^ Sylvanas is just a totally misunderstood lady, and I so glad I got to bond with her when I was still level 10-30. :D I hope there is some follow up with Koltira. >:D

Really, in all honesty, that's what I like about the game best. Quests and story. Its one thing to kill all the mobs and take their stuff, but if I have a quest or story explaining why I am going to mercilessly immolate their dungeon, so much the better. :)

I also love baby murlocs. <3 So cute.

I also really enjoyed the story telling in the new quest system as well. The questing experience was a lot more fun than Wrath. The nodes need to be accessible in all phases thou. The node issue is the only thing that bothered me.
Linear quests allow the a story to flow. I for one enjoy a progressing story along a zone as opposed to the old model of:

1. Go to town
2. Kill x mobs, find y items, get z drops
3. Kill some named guy that has been giving the town trouble
4. Go on to next town

Non linear questing basically means there is no true story. Just you going from village to village doing random chores for people. It's a lot more fun to be a hero in an epic tale as opposed to an errand boy or glorified mercenary right?
The storyline and cut scenes in Uldum are brilliant. I liked the humour injected by the Brann Bronzebeard and Harrison Jones characters.

The "Vision" cut scenes and phased gameplay as well as the cut scenes and phased events at the end of the Vashj'ir (submarine then fighting then descent into the swirling vortex etc) made it all worthwhile with the swimming ensuring there was no sameness to the zone.

Deepholm is more traditional but it worked for me and rates an honourable mention although only one of my toons has played all the way through there.

But.... some aspects of Cata have been troubling for me.

In attempting to level quickly I have not killed certain trash mobs. Thus I have not been able to pickup some quests and therefore my quests in some zones have dried up.

I have been penalised for economical game play, and penalised for not carelessly pulling in trash in my AoE, for example. If not for a 3rd party addon I would never have finished Vashj'Ir as I had no idea where to pickup more quests, despite intensive searching. Experience told me that I must have missed a trash mob. But which one...

A second place where improvement is needed is that the "Vision" quest chain in Vashj'ir is easily broken. A third party addon helped fix that for me. I knew to anticipate this well known problem but still fell victim.

Thirdly, in Uldum towards the end of Harrision Jones we have one cut scene following another. Fun and cheaply obtained XP. But I would have preferred some actual game play in between. I expected to have to work more for my XP. But I really loved the cut scenes and humour, especially Brann's "slow walk" gag.

Based upon my broken phase / quest chain problems in Vashj'ir I knew that once I "seemed" to enter a heavily phased part of Uldum I must NOT log out - I must see it through. And I must get Quest Completeist up and I must have wowpedia and wowhead ready on my browser to ensure I miss nothing as certain quests will strictly be unobtainable later and some trash must be killed right now.

This should not be necessary.

An overall comment is that if I rushed away after completing a quest I might sometimes miss the next quest being offered. Has happened several times to me. Sure I should learn my lesson but I forget sometimes that there might be a delay before the next big yellow "!" appears on my monitor. This might be a phase problem.

I have at times tried to farm herbs or ore and the item just cannot be found, despite appearing on the minimap. I dont just mean that it might have spawned in a really awkward ledge or actually be deep underground. I mean places where there is no alternative - like a clear flat area with no caverns underneath. Sometimes it can be seen from above. As I descend on my mount towards the ground the item might suddenly disappear. Annoying.

I like questing in Dragonblight. It doesnt seem linear. The Cenarian Expedition quests in Zangarmarsh dont seem linear and sometimes I have quite a few going at once.

Combining that kind of questing structure with the new style cut scenes and the vastly different environment in Vashj'ir and the cohesive and well thought out environment and storyline in Uldum I think would be a perfect blend of old and new.
Linear quests allow the a story to flow. I for one enjoy a progressing story along a zone as opposed to the old model of:

1. Go to town
2. Kill x mobs, find y items, get z drops
3. Kill some named guy that has been giving the town trouble
4. Go on to next town

Non linear questing basically means there is no true story. Just you going from village to village doing random chores for people. It's a lot more fun to be a hero in an epic tale as opposed to an errand boy or glorified mercenary right?

You're conflating two different things. It's still possible to create quests that have a sense of purpose and story, while not relying on heavy gating and phasing. The new model is:

1. Go to town, possibly populated by my own people, being visibly overrun/burned down/etc.
2. Be unable to do anything or become involved because no one there will talk to me.
3. Eventually figure out that they wouldn't let me help with their burning houses because I hadn't collected murloc eyes for stew for some other guy in the previous zone.

This is better how?
Phasing is a significant problem with gathering. I have an herbalist who is part of the way through Deepholm in a very short phase (maybe 2-3 quests long) where there are lots of heartblossom nodes. I don't dare do any further quests in the zone because the heartblossom is needed for my spirit flasks.

Also, phasing creates pvp problems without pvp solutions. Hellfire Pennisula is a very popular ganking spot for Horde with apparently nothing more fun to do than camp people ~25 levels below them. However, there is a pvp solution... get mains, guildmates, kill them... demonstrate that they aren't "all that". Often people ganking have very minimal gear or skill (why they are picking on lowbies anyway); therefore, it doesn't take much effort to clear them out.

On the other hand, Mt. Hyjal shifts phases every few quests leaving lots of places where you cannot get anyone to help you because people either haven't completed enough quests or have completed too many quests. If someone (and there are a lot of them) decided to stop at an isolated questing place to be able to camp everyone's alt of the opposing faction after reaching 85, no mains can assist. No other guildmates can assist. Every caster and healer is required to quest in Hyjal for the head enchant. The only "solution" is to let the Horde camper win, log out dead, and hope to find a point in time when no one is camping your particular phase to be able to progress at all in the zone.

If there were either less phasing or less linearity in questing, their would be pvp solutions to the pvp problem.
For me the problem with questing in the 5 new Cata zones is how utterly predictable it was. 90 percent of the time you go to a new quest hub, get 1 quest to kill 10 dudes, 1 quest to kill a boss dude, and 1 quest to collect 8 things while you are there. You do these, get a breadcrumb to the next hub, and then do it all again. Maybe my glasses are a bit rose tinted, but I don't remember wrath being nearly as predictable in the questing. I mean, I know there were kill 10 guy quests, get 8 thing quests, and kill named mob quests, but I don't remember being able to predict what quests I would get from a quest hub before I got to it.
I don't mind the quests being linear for the main story line. That is what I would expect. But, at the moment that is all we have to level through is the main story line. This gets boring quickly if you try and level more than one character. Below are my suggestions on how to improve on what Blizzard has already done.

1) They need is to add more random quests that require exploration to find and open up a whole line of quests that are completely optional but deal with the lore of the zone, or progress a story line that is just an offshoot. Every zone should have one or two optional story lines (in my opinion) in addition to normal story line that they have now.

2) They need to add more diversion in the story. Allow us to choose our path in the zone. Give us options, where if we pick one quest giver we cannot do the quests from someone else. Make the quests achieve the same goal, have the same number of missions, but require completely different tactics and items so there is variety in what we are doing.

3) Provide more Sandbox quests, mob dropped missions, world elites, and easter eggs in zones that encourage people to explore, kill random mobs, try new things, talk to NPCs and otherwise interact with the world. Add in mini raid bosses that need to be teamed up to defeat at level and phase them for only people on the quest (or in the team of the person on the quest). Not everything has to be soloable at current level unless it is part of the main story line.

4) Add quests that are tied to professions, like there used to be. Allow people to use their professions to accomplish quests and possibly get some decent, level appropriate, rewards. My Hunter is a Leatherworker and I remember there being quests in Feralas and in Azshara that were tied directly to being a Leatherworker. I also remember Blacksmith quests in Tanaris and in the Burning Stepps. Make having a profession meaningful as we level and not just something that gives us a stat bonus for raiding during end game.

5) Remove about half of the current flight paths that were added. I understand the need to have a few more, but I think Blizzard went waaaayyyyyyyy overboard in this dept. Each zone should have two, maybe three, flight paths depending on the size and layout. but, take Eastern Plaguelands as an example. There are like 8 flight paths in the zone. This is serious overkill and not needed. I just stopped picking up flights after a while because a lot of them were just not needed or wanted. I may be in the minority in this, but I really think there are too many now.

6) Finally, we need some mechanism that makes teaming at all levels of the game engaging, accessible and encouraged. Currently it is a single player game until you hit level cap because nothing requires a group and if you do group it is tedious, at best, to keep track of missions and completions of team members unless all you do is run instances. Look to City of Heroes as a good example of how to make teaming at all levels fun and rewarding. There has to be some way to make it better than it currently is, and I really hope that Blizzard takes the time to make it happen.

Anyway, those are my suggestions to improve the leveling process. I like what Blizzard has done so far, I just think it needs some tweaks and additions to really make it feel complete and offer variety to the leveling process.
Questing is the best part of Cataclysm. Shut up.
I'm not here to participate in your storyline, I am here to forge my own storyline in the world you created. Storyline wise there is only one group for both horde and alliance that completes all the content in the game. My adventures are exactly the same as your adventures.

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