Epic feel to quests

templecityI’ve done almost every quest in the Borean Tundra zone, which has taken me about 1/3 of the way through level 72. The quests have been entertaining and interesting. There are very few of the “kill 10 poachers” type of quests, and the ones that are there are not so bad because the respawn rate is high.

So far the best quest chain was the Temple City of En’Kilah line, culminating in the “Last Rites” quest at the top of the Temple. This line had an epic feel to it, and really made me look forward to reaching the end to see how it turned out.

What makes quest lines like this stand out?

  • It has a story… quests that have you go collect mammoth skins are just busy work. A quest giver who has a story that is unfinished is much more engrossing. It makes you feel like you are part of the lore instead of just an observer.
  • Each step gets progressively harder… the worst thing after turning in a “kill 10 scourge” quest would be to get a “kill 10 different scourge” quest, because its just more of the same. A quest line where each step gets more challenging than the last creates a sense of build-up before the culmination. In this quest chain, the later steps have you go farther into the Temple City and kill named mobs.
  • Its in an enclosed space… in WoW, I think that going in anyplace makes the encounters feel harder. In a cave or a building, you have limited room to avoid mobs, little to no space to kite them, and if you run you’ll just aggro more of them. I’m sure that we have all paused at an entrance to a building and thought, “should I go in there?” I think the fact that we had to go inside a scourge-ridden Temple City makes the quest line feel inherently harder. Its almost like a non-instanced instance, with a boss encounter at the end.
  • The final step is either entertaining or challenging or both… in the Last Rites quest line the last step is a group quest because it would be tough for a level 70-71 to solo En’kilah. That’s one way to make it tough. Other ways would be to have some kind of unique mechanics, or to use a special item that was obtained through earlier steps in the chain.

As a contrast, there was a long quest line in Amber Ledge that involves freeing sorcerers from prisons, and culminates in a “rescue” of Lady Evanor. The quests leading up to it kept you running up and down the same hill to the same place, killing the same mobs. At the end, when I saw that I would get to ride a huge red dragon as they mounted a rescue mission, I was very excited. However, that’s all it was – a dragon ride. The rescue was scripted.

I don’t consider the quality of the reward as part of the “feel” of a quest line. Yes, the Last Rites quest gives nice blue items, but that’s something to consider after the fact.


3 Responses to “Epic feel to quests”

  1. November 19, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    You know, I’d never thought of it, but you’re right. Stepping into a building, or a cave, or anywhere inside, I suddenly get much more cautious.

  2. 2 YeOldeGit
    November 19, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I don’t know about you, but I like the enclosed spaces for another reason: they’re often more sinister or creepy than the outside. For example, at Gjalerbron in Howling Fjord the vrykul are performing various rituals. Outside there are the usual guards, and a few prisoners in cages, and not a lot else. It’s only once you go inside that you see not only scourge but also necromancers who are bringing dead vrykul back to (un)life. The atmosphere inside there – with zombie-like scourge, dead vrykul lining the walls, pinky-purple beams of light coming from the rituals, cobwebs everywhere – appeals to me so much more than back outside, where you can always see trees and stars and snow, which tend not to be creepy at all. (There are actually one or two rituals happening outside too involving named mobs, but they’re not only well out of the way but also lack the impact of the ones inside.)

  3. November 20, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I agree. I look at the scenery a lot while I play, and you can do a lot more with an indoor area than you can with an outdoor zone.

    That said, I think Duskwood is still my favorite zone because it was creepy no matter where you were.

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