Cataclysm Questing is So Linear

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02/03/2011 1:18 PMPosted by Lylirra
For example, we've received a lot of feedback that suggests we made questing a bit too linear this expansion, and we're not in total disagreement.

Oh goodness. Saw this linked on MMO-Champion and came running.

Please, please no. It was so beautiful, wonderful, and perfect this expansion. I didn't have to go searching for hours to find every single quest in a zone. I could just DO them!
02/04/2011 8:03 AMPosted by Auranoctem
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

I would just like to point out that this sums up leveling almost fully. Regardless of linear or not that pretty much sums up 1-85. Just. Saying.
Well if that's what you're into I'm glad you enjoy it. I personally have a VERY hard time leveling I can't hold attention. I'm more of a PVPer although I do enjoy raiding from time to time.
02/03/2011 1:35 PMPosted by Elegies
Linear questlines tell stories. I think it is so much better than pre-BC, where you ran (not flew, RAN...or AFK'd for a 20 minute flight) across a continent to hand off one thing, be rewarded with 2 new quests involving some bit character's personal struggle against local creatures, only to realize you now had to spend another 20 minutes flying back across the world (or worse, across continents) to do something completely unrelated.

In terms of leveling speed, don't forget that leveling is balanced around someone who has no guild perks or heirlooms.

RE: Nodes/Etc
This is frustrating, I'll admit. Do nodes have to be tied to particular phases?

I freaking -hate- trying to get Nagrand Slam and Terror of Terokkar.

HATE it.

There are too many quests zig-zagging back and forth between the two zones, some quests send you clean into Shadowmoon Valley, you don't know what the heck gives what, and have to just keep plugging away and hope you get the achievement *soon*.

Not to mention, the fact that you can make things harder on yourself by forgetting that some quests can only be done BEFORE you get Friendly with the Consortium.

Also, Blade's Edge quests achievement sucks, in that it *requires* several Ogri'la quests, some of them you have to grind apexis crystals for... quite annoying.

It is a huge cluster-beep mess, and I'm glad Cataclysm doesn't have any of that crap.

Northrend is better than Outland, but even it can have its tricky quests to find.
Personally this is both a good and bad expansion for this reason.

Some areas where you are given a linear storyline and progress through it are good but all the areas leaving me with 1 or 2 quests in my quest log makes me feel that I'm being led by the nose. I want to have the choice of not doing something if I don't want to.

I like the epic quest lines in some zones - Deepholm, Twilight Highlands, Ramukanh Uldum quests, not the Harrison Jones ones, but in general I would rather explore them and do what I would like to do. You can kind of skip some stuff in Twilight Highlands.

Basically the major problem I have is that it is possible in some zones to follow the quests and lose access to turning in some of the quests or even doing them due to phasing. This should not be the case.
I admit I didn't read through all 12 pages, but here is the biggest problem I have with linear quests.

I did the fast track of leveling to get to 85 asap. My goal was to go back and pick back up where I left off. Because I thought about this before hand, I did not remove quests already in my log... but many guild mates did.

When trying to track down where exactly they were in the quest line and find the quest giver, it proved to be very tedious, a lot of reading 3rd party sites, and a lot of running around.

Might I suggest for the future (and possibly a patch update as well) putting in a person at the beginning of the zone that can direct you to the person you need to see to continue your quests. Would make it helpful to those that had removed those quests or never knew they would have a desire to come back to finish the lines.
I started playing in TBC, so I can't compare end game vanilla, but here is what I think.

The Burning Crusade.
I loved the way the zones felt. i loved needing to have rep and go to faction specific things and having faction specific (not horde/alliance, but Aldor/Scryer questing) in both Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm.

Wrath of the Lich King.
I enjoyed the questing so much, that I have done all the zones save 1. Howling Fjord. I hate this zone. I hate it with the fury of a thousand suns. It is AWFUL. As you can tell, this (my main) has never done a single quest in that zone. I hit 80 by going BT - DB - ZD - SB - SP and then finished up quest achievements, and got raiding. By the time I leveled my first alt, I deicded to try Fjord. I made it to the second horde town, and I stopped. I went back to Borean Tundra. The questing was great. The cut scene for the Wrath Gate was fantastic. Bridenbrad was an epic line that could have used a cut scene. I would still have done that on all my alts.

Hmmm... I REALLY like that each zone is a phased story progression. I didn't get to quest out any zone but highlands while leveling, but I'm now going back and finishing up the others. There might be too many cut scenes, but for the most part I enjoy them. There are a few that I didn't understand what was going on, or why it needed to be there, but for the most part they have been great. Even the old world cut scenes are fantastic (I'm looking at you Badlands questline that made me sad). There are some cut scenes that I think were done well and epic.

All 3 of the Cutscenes for horde in the twilight highlands. These have an "epic" quality to them. Both come at important story turns, and ensure that you see what happens. The end of the Hero of the Mag'har line could have benefitted from a cut scene like this. In Uldum, (I havent done the whole thing), There are 2 cut scenes that work like this. The intro series (I will count both of the intro cut scenes as one here), and the fall of Neferset City. The others, with Harrison Jones, are cool, but cutting them out wouldn't be horrid.

Linear Progression
I never felt that things were incredibly linear, probably because I didn't completely quest out zones on the way to 85. I did Vash'jir until the fuel line, Deepholm until I was friendly with Therazane, Uldum until i finished the first Pyramid line with Harrison Jones, and then all of the Highlands. I'm going back now to finish the zones for the rep and the gold. (Man Cata leveling is good for gold).

Gathering Nodes.
The Phased Gathering Nodes is the real kicker here. I can understand "why" they are phased. Having them phased keeps people going, keeps people gathering throughout the phases. Is there a way to just remove them from the tracker? I'm unsure how the Database calls for things like that work in game, but simply removing them from being tracked would seem to be the easiest solution.

Overall, I don't have the problems with the questing model in Cataclysm, though maybe if there was an option to turn off cut scenes, that would be nice. Turn off Cut scenes so that you don't have to go through them on alts, fix phased gathering, and I think we have a winner IMO.
02/04/2011 8:03 AMPosted by Auranoctem
A story can't progress in a nonlinear way, it just doesn't work.

The old world had a storyline and it wasn't linear. The old world has us be part of the story while the new one just tells us a story. Some people find the new style immersive for some reasons but it completely kill the experience for me.

We can not all be heroes like the story implies. It just doesn't make sense and it throw me off all the times when the NPCs talk to us as if we are the most important character in the world.

Phasing is absolutely horrible for the same reasons. How can I be at the same place as my friends but not see them? I don't care that the buildings are no longer on fire on my screen because they are still burning for my friend and this is supposed to be a persistent world. It's inconsistent and breaks the immersion way more than it helps. It can be well done, like the wrathgate quests but most of the new zones overuse phasing to the point where it completely break the world around.

Phasing was done so we can see our our character action affect the world but it doesn't work because our characters never have choices. All the changes are scripted and arbitrary. At least before we had the choice to do a quest or not. Sure the visual changes weren't there but the result was still my choice.

I don't like losing controll of not only my character but my camera. I actually like cutscenes but they would be much more enjoyeable if I was the one controling the samera. I am also not a big fan of when my character does emotes that I didn't type.

All of that wouldn't be soo bad if we were free to do the quests we want. It's just a game and I can understand why the devs chose to the story this way even if I don't like it. The quest on the other hands I don't understand. Why are they all linked together like that even when it doesn't help the story? It seems like an arbitrary limitation with no technical explanation behind it unlike phasing. The worst of all is the fact that you can not even start to quest in a zone that is *ONE* level higher than you.
The issue here is that there are two (main) groups of RPG players:

1. Those who enjoy the narrative and want the overall story to progress.
2. Those who enjoy the thrill of open-ended sandbox play and exploration.

Cataclysm was clearly designed with group 1 in mind in that the quests are very linear in order to advance the story quickly to prevent it from being forgotton or disregarded.
I haven't reached that content yet but I have certainly heard a lot about it. I have some issues with phased content and being kept on a tight track that doesn't allow for exploration. But that aside, I was curious to know if this high level content has multiple branching? That might be an area for Blizzard to think about. As it stands, given a quest you have no alternatives. Go kill Joe Badguy, or collect me 10 X items. Do the quest, go on to the next one in the chain. But what if instead of just a single quest to accept from the questgiver, the giver gives you two or three or four choices, and you can only pick one? Having done that one quest changes the other three, or makes them unavailable.

This has a couple of effects. It changes what everyone does, our experiences are more 'unique' in that not everyone made the same choices and thus had the same experience. Given more options, gives the game more replayability. So that when we roll an alt, we'll make different choices, see different content, particpate in different adventures that our main character didn't.

Just a thought.
02/04/2011 8:18 AMPosted by Vieria
There are too many quests zig-zagging back and forth between the two zones, some quests send you clean into Shadowmoon Valley, you don't know what the heck gives what, and have to just keep plugging away and hope you get the achievement *soon*.

Not to mention, the fact that you can make things harder on yourself by forgetting that some quests can only be done BEFORE you get Friendly with the Consortium.

Also, Blade's Edge quests achievement sucks, in that it *requires* several Ogri'la quests, some of them you have to grind apexis crystals for... quite annoying

Why are you doing quests you don't like in outland? You have a choice with the old system, just skip them. It's the new system that forces us to do every quests in order to progress.
I didn't necessarily mind that it was so linear, except in a couple of places where I managed to miss a quest pickup and get stranded half-way across a zone with no quests to do. I searched around for 45 minutes in Hyjal trying to figure out that I didn't pick up a quest by the bears jumping on trampolines. That sucked.

Then, when I made it to Twilight Highlands, I moved too far ahead on one of the starting quest chains and managed to phase myself out of being able to kill invaders inside the starting area of that zone. Thankfully, I was able to find a way around the problem on Wowhead (there are Orcs hanging out behind the fort in the water).

I like questing though. I did all of the quests in all of the new zones. I did that with my main in Wrath too (and that rogue has Loremaster and the 3000 quests achivement). I enjoy the quests, I like the free rep, the blues and greens to DE/sell for cash, and the story telling. I also like the freedom I had in Wrath to follow certain quest lines or skip others with my alts. So I wouldn't have to do long quest chains that lead to blue gear choices of which none are useful to me. It's not possible to skip anything anymore. If there is quest line that isn't worth doing because there aren't any decent blues for me at the end, I can't choose not to do it.

Those are minor annoyances compared to the fact that I basically need to complete entire zones of quests to unlock certain factions. I have some friends that already don't like questing, but they do enough to get them through. They supplement the lack of questing with extra dungeon runs and tradeskilling. Being able to gain experience with gathering is pretty nice.

Anyway, one decided not to do much questing and so now she has to go back and quest through the entire zone to open up Therazane. There isn't an easy way out of it either. It's not like you can easily figure out which quests to skip to just start down the path of getting Honored with Therazane and skip the rest.

The buried quest lines for factions like Therazane where getting to Friendly takes questing through half a zone and then getting to Exalted is going to take lots of dailies or wearing a tabard is pretty terrible. Access to faction rewards shouldn't be buried behind half a zone worth of quests just to open up the quest lines that get you to the daily quests and tabard.

I would have preferred to see something closer to the Wrath setup for shoulder enchants where I could easily do the opening quest chain and then choose between the tabard and dailies or a combination of the two to finish off the rep grind.

Make it easier to access all of the factions and their dailies and add a bit more freedom to choose quest lines would make the overall experience better.

On a positive note, the quests were of higher quality than in the past. I didn't find myself thinking "wow this quest effing blows, why am I doing this 60 times for a green and 5g?" The storytelling and questing was VERY good and I did enjoy the questing.
They gave WoW the final fantasy 13 treatment!
So bascially you would rather do a bunch of random, unrelated quests than a linear storyline after which you feel like you actually accomplished something in the zone?
the only reason it was done, like it was... to feed a "supposed" idea that world pvp matters
Speaking of questing feedback:

In most of the Cataclysm zones, I ended up forgetting who everyone was. It ended up pulling me out of the story because I wasn't really grasping the overall storyline. The factions where I was more clear on who everyone was and what they wanted were the clearly parodic Harrison Jones quests in Uldum and the Therazane line in Deepholm. Harrison Jones is, I suspect, because it was clearly reminiscent of something I'd seen before (what could it be?) and so I could just tie the moment I was looking at to the movies (although even then I lost the plot thread a couple of times). Therazane was easier, because there was a lot less to keep track of: Therazane didn't trust me, but the lieutenants I helped did.

This was less of a problem in the Northrend zones, I suspect, because plotlines didn't go on for very long. You could finish them in a session.
02/04/2011 8:15 AMPosted by Togobox
Oh goodness. Saw this linked on MMO-Champion and came running.

Please, please no. It was so beautiful, wonderful, and perfect this expansion. I didn't have to go searching for hours to find every single quest in a zone. I could just DO them!

It would seem to me both from the responses on the forums and from people I have spoken to in-game that opinion is pretty close to evenly divided regarding this issue. The Blue poster here freely confirms that they have received "a lot of feedback" regarding this and that they don't totally disagree.

This would suggest to me that the real "sweet spot" for a questing system is something that lies somewhere in between the old, real RPG model and the new XBOX adventure model.

I think this is correct.

Has anyone here played through Marrowwind? It had a main story line that was pretty easy to follow and was actually pretty quick to progress through if you just stuck to the main quest givers. But, the main story was a very small part of what was available. There were tons of optional missions, quests, zones and things to do that you could easily get lost in all the stuff there was to do (I know, I got way off the beaten path and it was some of the most fun I had in the game).

But, what it boils down to is that they could leave what they have now with the linear story line. There is no need to change it... too much. But, add in optional story lines, quests and things to do that require you to actually explore and take the road less traveled. They could even make quests that work in parallel to other quests that progress the story and allow for the same phasing, but are different and require the player to choose between one or the other.

Personally, I think they could double or even triple the number of quests in a zone that players can do that are optional and do not require the story line to unlock. This way people can still progress through the main story line in a linear fashion if they choose to do so, but still allow for people to do it in a random way by running around exploring for odd quests that take them all over the place. To me, this would make leveling alts less dreadful by adding in a lot more variety and options so I do not feel like I am doing the exact same missions every new character I make.
Questing in vanilla was a disaster. Quests took you all over the world, quest items had low drop rates, there was almost not story at all, and quest gives and quest nodes were often out of the way and hard to find (before the yellow (!) appeared on the mini map). This was all offset some what the 1st time through by the fantastic sense of exploration and the fact that there we so many quests at every level that skipping quests, hubs or even full zones had no negative effect on leveling. Subsequent leveling up was sped up tremendously by knowing where to go and what quests to skip.

Burning Crusade was a revelation. Every zone had a ton of quests, and were out in a way that made it easy to move through the zone questing along the way with breadcrumbs that go from one hub to another. These zones haven't aged all that well but they are still easy to grind out when leveling a new toon.

Lich King is sort of the pinnacle of questing up to this point (including Cata). The zones were all fantastic other than Ice Crown. The quest nodes didn't quite have the Christmas tree effect that the BC zones had of just presenting you with a million quests and asking you to do them all at once, but you still have several nodes to choose from in every zone. Dragonblight is amazing. When you get their as horde you can get quests at Agmar's hammer, Venomspite, Moaki Harbor or the Dragon Spire. Each one tells a story and pushes you to other quests nodes. Their are several wanted poster and kill quests that provide quality loot outside of the story lines, and of course the zone culminates in the fantastic Wrathgate event. I also thought Zul'Drak was layed out fantastically letting the player move left to right from a variety of quest nodes from different factions, each one having their own objectives and engaging stories.

Ice Crown was really cool, but it suffered from being just to big and probably should have been two 70 quest zones rather than one 150 quest zone. There were to many quests, WAY to many phases, and it was really hurt by the fact that most people hit 80 by mid way through Sholazar Basin or Zul'Drak and many of them stopped questing at that point so Ice Crown always felt a barren of people actually questing. Most of the population there where either farming Saronite or later doing the Tournament Dailies. The phasing and low population especially hurt since there were a lot of group 5 quests there that were hard to get done.

Cataclysm has taken a step backwards, sacrificing the freedom of questing at the expense of storyline. This includes all of the vanilla zones that were re-made. I started this toon after cata came out, because I wanted to see all the work put into the new zones. I didn't use any heirlooms because I didn't want to rush through the zones. What I found however was that I couldn't pick and choose quests anymore. Even though each level range still has 1-2 zones on each continent, I couldn't really bounce between them at all. Skipping a quest or two now usually means abandoning bulk of the quests left in a zone.

The 80-85 zones were even worse in this regard where if you skipped even 1 quest, your were done for that zone. I don't think that saving bunnies from a fire or throwing bears out of a tree should be the lynch pins in my strategy to rid Hyjal of Ragnaros but you cannot proceed with doing those quests. Vashir feels about the same. I have seen plenty of guild chat were players say they are stuck in Hyjal with ~35 quests complete and nothing left to do. You have to tell them that they probably didn't wait around for some cut scene to finish and a new quest giver to spawn. Try flying around the places you have done and find the one quest you missed and do that. It really shouldn't be this way. I don't think that when your in the middle of a zone you should ever have only 1-2 quests in your quest log. We can able to handle at least 5-6!

When ever the next generation of questing zones is created, I would recommend going back to the Lich King model. Give us several hubs to choose from at any given time, and tell more than one story. The small stories populate a zone can be just as entertaining as one long story that takes the full duration of the zone. Bring back ancillary quests like wanted posters or collection quests not tied to a daily or story.And bring back group quests! I don't think there was a single one in Cataclysm. I always liked getting people together to knock out Cruel Intentions or Durn the Hungerer, and getting a blue reward for those felt like you accomplished something. In Cata, I felt like I got most of my blues for watching an NPC do something that I used to do with a group.

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