Cataclysm Questing is So Linear

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02/03/2011 7:31 PMPosted by Insular
I disagree.

Phasing has taken the game to a whole new level. Leveling during BC I could care less about the reason I had to go get 5 logs or something stupid. Because nothing ever changed, I'd complete the quest and the crumby building behind the quest giver is still crumby.

Each to their own I guess, but I cared EVEN LESS because;

I was micro-managed ALL the way.

I want to do it my way damnit. With friends as well.

Why couldn't you quest with friends? Me and my friends did, even if one of us got ahead. The rest would catch up.

I've honestly never had a problem with phasing. Well, nvm. During wrathgate where you had to go back to UC to attack it I got really confused/lost.. I ended up taking a Zep back to org and then got even more confused.. I figured it out >.> eventually...

Either way, everyone likes different things.
More proof that complaining will always happen as long as cockroa- I mean humans are still around.
Blizzard's overuse of linear phasing has killed the one thing they were trying to give us: more immersion and the feeling that our characters can make a difference.

As others have pointed out, I feel like the new style is more MY story now instead of just some random participant. There's more to questing than just killing 10 boars that don't have livers.

Previous to phasing, I never felt like I was making a difference. Despite some huge, epic questing adventure, the city I had "saved" was still over-run. Nothing ever got rebuilt or fixed, armies never advanced, the enemies never died. I much prefer the more-linear style of Cataclysm. It tells a better story and I DO feel like I've made a difference.

Plus, I don't skip quests anyway.

Why couldn't you quest with friends? Me and my friends did, even if one of us got ahead. The rest would catch up.

I went away for a weekend.
Ed: From that point on I was locked out of their game and they were locked out of mine.
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?

In the Twilight Highlands, you actually help Alexstrasza fight (unsuccessfuly) against Deathwing. I sure as hell felt badass when I did those quests.
02/03/2011 1:18 PMPosted by Lylirra
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.

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. It's cool that your character has a visual impact on the world and can watch as key events unfold, sure, but sometimes it can feel a bit awkward when you're unable to explore content at your own pace because you're still locked to a particular phase. We also hear your concerns about cut-scenes, tradeskill nodes, and the effects phasing has on groups.

We're taking all these criticisms in stride and will be using them to improve the questing experience for future expansions and, to an extent, future patches. 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. Your feedback keeps us from swaying too far in any one direction, though, so we greatly appreciate threads like this one. Keep it up.

/high five
/respek knuckles

It's quotes like these that make me feel that the devs might be listening after all, what you have responded to is exactly how I feel and partly why I'm not playing or leveling alts, atm... the rest I am not sure is fixable without a real overhaul, ie 40 minute cues.
01/20/2011 12:58 PMPosted by Tyrenn
Blizzard's overuse of linear phasing has killed the one thing they were trying to give us: more immersion and the feeling that our characters can make a difference.

this statement is a contradiction. the linear progression through every single zone puts you at the front lines of each event. I've played since vanilla, I couldn't tell you a single plot line until this expansion.

that said, the questing is no longer something you can jump into. each zone requires a bit of rp before you unlock the rest of the line. if that is your gripe, then I'd agree with some sort of "I did it already. just port me to dragonmaw please"

first time around? epically immersing.
waaaay too linear. Felt like i was playing a consol game. What I loved about vanilla wow was just how wide open it was. There was an excellent mix of instantly available quests, usually in quest hubs, as well as epic quest chains that dragged you across azeroth, as well as hundreds of "hidden" quests that started as either drops or from quest givers that were in random, often hard to locate places. You were free to do as many or as little as you wanted, and could pick and choose which you wanted.

Now, if I despise the 1st 3 quests in a zone, I'm stuck and cant bypass them AT ALL. Yes the world changes as you progress. I dont see why this couldnt still happen, but make the questing be nonlinear.

and what the heck happened to group quests????? /sigh
The way phasing is used can have a big impact. Think of the Ebon Blade and Argent Dawn areas. Small contained areas that utilized phasing in a seamless way.

Fixing building, moving mobs, clearing out a hub. Small applications with huge effects. Phasing massive swaths of land every few quests is causing a lot of the issues.
We also hear your concerns about cut-scenes, tradeskill nodes, and the effects phasing has on groups.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the first time I've seen a blue post even acknowledge that one... now please tell me you intend to do something about these nodes in a patch soon and not just wait until a new xpac or major content patch?
I have been talking to a lot of guildies/friends and the general vibe is all around the same with how the new questing design is in comparison to pre-Cata Azeroth, Outland, and Northrend. With the older continents you would show up to a zone and have a quest to go to the camp/city in the area. This would lead to normally 5-10 quests you could pick up in there and do in whatever order you want, and there would still be the major questlines that would take you through the entire zone that lead you to the other towns in the zone that had more quests, (Wrathgate for example).

Now, in Cataclysm, all the quests are done in groups of 3 for the most part and there's for the most part, one major questline you do per zone(Repairing the tower in Deepholm, working with Brann/Budd in Uldum for whatever reason I forget, etc). The part that the entire zone is focused around one major questline is cool but the problem with this is there is way too much of a linear game feeling, rather than an open world RPG. You start at point A and go to point B then C then D and so forth, the problem with this is you can't advance directly from point A to C, which limits you greatly in what you can do in that respect. Also, the fact that it's only 3 quests and they're all grouped together in most cases really hurts the whole "open world" feeling because you're forced to do those 3 three quests at that same area to advance.
cataclysm questing did a lot to break the monotony of typical WoW questing, but i personally feel that more could have been done. I would like to see the classic "kill/gather x amount of gnome mojo" de-emphasized even more. I would like to see more story driven content in the future, along with more original ideas for fun quests. I don't know if it's even possible in an MMORPG, but i really want to be driven to play/level up for the sake of fun, not just because i want to get to the finish line.

I noticed that Blizzard changed the pacing of when players earn talents and skills, and i feel that this is deliberate. However, this is only classical MMORPG skinner box material, and I want to see more genuine fun from what I believe to be one of the greatest game companies in the world.

One of the things I really enjoy in this game is Rated Arena, and it really saddens me that they had to add some form of "grind" to it, and that being the gear. I always pictured arena being like a classic roman gladiator arena type thing, where the combatants got to choose their weapons/etc in advance before fighting.

Expertly designed, but the psychology behind it doesn't work on everybody.

FUN should be the first priority (i got a little off topic with the arena thing, but the point applies to questing as well). My 2cents. :)
Let's make it sandbox and we can steal cars..
I really think the Cata questing so far is the best it's been in the game. It is different though, and could certainly be improved upon even more.

Briefly, I like that quests tell more obvious stories about the world now, without the story needing to be inferred by piecing together disparate quest texts with out-of-game resources. I won't say that the quests tell *greater* stories than they did before, but they do tell them more clearly. Also, it's nice having the feeling that you're never out of quests and scratching your head trying to figure out where to go to next (but to be honest, that matter was really fixed with BC).

However, it's sometimes a drag feeling like you can't be a free-spirited explorer wandering wherever the wind takes you because you're so beholden to your "hero" duties. Many of the most memorable moments for me while leveling this character (my first one out of a starting zone) came from travelling the vast world with the wind at my back and only a few mere trinkets to carry along with me.

I remember a particular quest I happened upon in Stormwind that tasked me to go all the way to Stonetalon mountains (low enough level that I didn't have a mount yet, and long before Stormwind had opened its own harbor). Back then I was able to think for a minute and say, "sure...why the hell not? I've got nothing better to do!" Then I picked up my bags and disappeared into the wide open world. I had just recently joined a small leveling guild, had no knowledge of TS or Vent, and this was my first MMO, so when I blazed off Westward into the sunset it felt like I was really, actually separated from the friends I just met. It wasn't quite as easy to just apparate all around the world back then.

On the way to my quest destination, I met a few people that had additional quests I could do and I helped them out locally (like some stuff in Astranaar and the Gnome overlooking the Venture Co. mine). By the time I finished the first quest I started upon, I had leveled a few times (so when I got back to the city I could learn some new spells) and managed to fish up a Blue Sapphire which eventually made me the money I needed for my mount another dozen or so levels after that even!

So, while I think Cata has been pretty awesome in the quest department for what it has intended to do, I do think (and have said before) it's a bit too linear. Some of the whole concept of being an *adventurer* has been lost, when everything tells you exactly where to go next, and when where to go next is right next to where you already are.

I think a good thing to consider for future expansions and games is having people get early quests that direct their character to a far away place or some far away mission, but that literally *cannot* be completed until other steps along the way are accomplished. It would be nice if the player knew what the destination was beforehand, and let the journey be a surprise, instead of the other way around.

An example I can think of off the top of my head would be in the new version of Darkshore. Say, when you get there you're given a quest to help Malfurion close the twilight portal. But there's no real other direction, and you're clearly not powerful enough to do so yet (the quest could be red and specify it's for characters that are level 18-20 when you're only level 10-12). Along the way to get to Malfurion, you run across other quest hubs with people that need help. If you help them, you wind up getting both more powerful, and enlisting the allies you need to help you and Malfurion both (like the Ancient of Lore and the Furbolgs). Instead of each quest hub sending you to the next one like some cosmic coincidence, you're driven onward by the fact that the quest to help Malfurion still isn't finished yet, so you say your goodbyes and wander off again.

After all, Frodo knew pretty early in the story that his real quest was to toss the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. And while I think there is the obvious overall goal in the Cata expansion to "stop Deathwing," it's a bit too abstract and distant for that to really guide people to the next place they're supposed be and make them really feel like they are an Adventurer.

That's just my 2 cents :)
I think on the whole it was an improvement, maybe just overshot where it needed to go. I wrote some other stuff about this, which my browser ate, so I'm just going to be like Fermat and assert that it was great, but for technical reasons it can't be posted here :) But I really wanted to make this one point:

02/03/2011 1:18 PMPosted by Lylirra
We also hear your concerns about cut-scenes, tradeskill nodes, and the effects phasing has on groups.

Another thing you should probably add to this list is the effect of bugs. Both of the lowest-level Cataclysm zones, Hyjal and Vashj'ir, had (have?) some buggy quests so that some people spent days unable to progress at all.

I don't think it would be good to design gameplay too much around the idea that there will be bugs. Of course we all want "no bugs" as a goal. But everyone here who's ever programmed knows that there are always at least a few. Bugs happen, and sometimes design does need to reflect that a little.

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