Cataclysm Questing is So Linear

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Cataclysm might as well been an Xbox 360 game called Warcraft Adventures.
yeah its linear. its also awesome.
Personal preference does play a strong role here. A couple friends were recently telling me how much they enjoyed the Uldum quests and the cutscenes. They found themselves immersed in the story as they did them.

On the other hand, I actually find the amount of cutscenes and phasing quite jarring. I feel less like I'm engaged in an intriguing story, and more like I'm on a track, watching events unfold in front of me. I actually found myself very mildly annoyed by the fact that my character was taken and made to emote in some of the scenes. I'm not sure why, but I found that unnatural, and countered the feeling of involvement in the events happening.

Again, this doesn't ruin the experience as a whole for me, but I agree with the statement that the quests are too linear. I read people suggesting BC and Wrath questing content be updated, and it makes me cringe. Currently, BC and Wrath questing content is the only questing content that feels like questing to me. The new Cata model feels slow and controlled, and I find myself having a hard time leveling 1-58, and 80-85.
So to be honest. The phasing is fine yest it is more of an emersion into the game Face it 90% of the time leveling a character your by yourself anyway what does it matter if other people are around to see you one shot kill a creature. Some of the cut scenes in Uldam are very bleh and feel really didnt contribute to the story and a few that I recall are basically a few camera angles of scenes with nothing there. Feels a bit unfinished. But for the most part the cutscenes told the story well.The phasing of gathering nodes.. Here is my sarcastic comment. Face it and be honest if its phased dissapears on most players when they get there they feel its theirs since they got there first.. Solotion. 1. drop the greedyness 2. Finish the quest chains and get out of phase and your nodes in the final phase are available to you and the nodes in the other phases are available to the players in that phase. With my herbalist and miner I have maybe come across 10 nodes that phased on me. Not a big deal.
I think there's a balance that needs to be struck. Phasing is a very cool technology that addressed one of the principle criticisms of MMOs, that the actions of your character have no effect on the world. One of Cataclysm's strong points was/is the varied questing mechanics, from interesting vehicle segments to remote turn-ins to cut scenes (overused in Uldum, maybe, but I see what the design intent was). Cataclysm also improved on integrating phasing into the questing experience - phasing in Wrath suffered because every time a phase updated, there was a very obvious "return to base camp, then go back to where you just were" mechanic which hindered immersion.

That being said, I agree with the OP that Cataclysm questing is too linear. I think a good model to go by is Icecrown (which remains one of my favorite questing zones). Phasing so that you feel that you're making a difference, but once you establish the initial outpost, you have several choices of where to go. You can go to the Skybreaker to help the Alliance forces, you can go to the Shadowvault & Jotunheim to help the Knights of the Ebon Blade, or you can go to the Fleshwerks. Twilight Highlands is the only Cataclysm zone that gives you close to that level of choice, and it's still pretty linearly gated - you can't do the Red Dragonflight stuff until you've done Iso'rath, which you can't do until you've done the wedding.

The best thing about Blizzard is that they're very good at learning from the past, and the next iteration of an idea or experience improves upon what came before. So here are my high expectations for questing in 4.1 and 5.0. :)
01/20/2011 1:14 PMPosted by Overture
I definitely felt immersed in the story in this expansion, with the possible exception of Twilight Highlands. In Hyjal, you were the one tasked with freeing the spirits and infiltrating the Twilight Cult, climaxing in YOU helping a demigod and two powerful druids fight an elemental lord. And you weren't just sitting there dpsing, you had to actually help them survive.

Vashj'ir, same story. You were shipwrecked with your crew, and while exploring the zone, you unravel the naga plot and the eventual battle against Neptulon.

Deepholm, you're the one who gains the trust of Therazane and her sons (who all react to you in different ways), and you're the bridge between the Earthen Ring and Therazane, eventually negotiating a temporary alliance to bring down the Twilight Hammer in the area.

Uldum, your caravan is attacked by a mysterious enemy, and YOU are the one who frees your allies and eventually come to learn about the conflict between the two civilizations, culminating in an assault on the Tol'vir (in which you're the one who leads the small group of soldiers up the mountain, and you eventually take down their leaders). Then the Harrison Jones side story is what ties the zone to Deathwing. You didn't feel immersed when the @!*# Goblin made you his right hand man, only to wrongly accuse you of a crime, and then you were saved by Harrison right before being killed?

I agree that they did a great job with storytelling in the quest. It just feels like there's only 1 or 2 quest lines in each zone. Which gets a bit tiring.

I think they could have kept some 'core' quest lines and added more branches to the zones. Branches that don't require you to finish before you open up the next set. I went back and did hyjal after i hit 85, and about 1/2 way in, i couldn't find any quests. I knew there were more, but because I hadn't saved the bears from the trees I was stuck until I flew around to find that quest. The lines being that linear makes absolutely no sense.

02/03/2011 1:18 PMPosted by Lylirra
Overall, we think we were successful in achieving those goals and making the leveling experience more story-driven, but we realize we may not have hit the nail perfectly on the head.

I love the fact that what I do changes the world around me...but you're right that it's not quite there yet.

My biggest problem with phasing is when you're grouped, honestly. I don't mind having the phases, I just hate how grouped members can disappear from each others screens, follow gets dropped, etc....even if you've done the same things as each other and should be in the same phase. :)

My husband and I are dealing with some of those issues. We've leveled 8 toons to 85 together and are on our 9th.
I personally liked the more linear questing. It felt better organized rather than spending so much time running around. I also like the better storytelling. Uldum was definitely my favorite new zone.
I honestly liked the old quests more.
I like linear. I don't have time to AFK around some zone, looking for quest hubs and wondering wth to do next.

If they fix the phasing bugs, then all is good.
OP is trolling.

What he's complaining about is exactly what he's asking for, it's a matter of spin.

See i dont think thats true. Thats why a lot of people dont realize how hard it used to be. Sure a raid could carry a few people but for the most part the whole raid had to know what to do and had to contribute. ONE person could wipe a 40 man raid every damn time.
I liked the idea that if I get sick of an area I could go quest somewhere else or get different quests from different quest-givers or have like 26 quests in my quest log at once and turn in a massive xp rush.

And then the Cataclysm came. As much as you want emergence and emotional involvement into a questline, there are players out there who don't read or want to watch cinematics, we want our 85s and we want them now.

Go fix Tol Barad or all the farm bots running around.

Quit telling us what we should like.
Overall, we think we were successful in achieving those goals and making the leveling experience more story-driven, but we realize we may not have hit the nail perfectly on the head. 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.

If I can make an analogy to pen and paper RPGs. This is was was called DM railroading and was never fun. The questing in Wrath (one of it's highlights even by people that are ultra critical of the x-pac) let you see the story and change the world without being forced into it.

I think Blizz should listen to God for the next x-pac...

When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.
People with out the courage to challenge real progress, post on forums ITT.
I liked the BC version best, I have to say. I could grab 10 quests, do them in a circle and hand em back in at the same time.

And if there was a quest I didn't enjoy I didn't have to do it! In Cata I have to do that annoying, horrible quest if I want to continue through the zone. I don't even go to Vashj'ir when leveling anymore because of a particular quest because I know I'd have no choice but to do it. Ugh!
New questing seems very much like the old D&D modules. Enter zone quest from beginning to end without deviation from the script, move to next modu... er, zone. All the flexability to move from zone to zone freely and select quests is gone, replaced by rail questing. Keep all hands, feet and objects inside the car during the zone. While new questing does have a somewhat better ability to tell a story, phasing vs. gathering professions sucks like a black hole.

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