If there’s one person out there more passionate about MMO’s than I am it’s Paul Barnett. He can take anything in a MMO and make it sound so exciting that you want to sit there and listen to him simply talk about more than you want to play the game itself. So I just finished listening to the Warhammer Online Quest Tutorial (check it out at GameTrailers.com) and woah… I never realized – okay I realized but Paul makes it sound good so he gets the credit – how stupid the questing system can be in mmo’s these days. Like he said, you’re adventuring when you come across a guy surrounded by bears. So you slaughter these bears to get to him and he wants you to… kill bears. I think all of us out there can relate to this “wtf” moment when we ask ourselves what we just did to save this guy and why we’re now having to do it again. Apparently in Warhammer Online we are blessed with the “smart servers” that already know we have butchered bears and are rewarded thus for our deeds! How awesome is that.
In addition to the previous type of quests I just spoke about, they’re called “kill quests”, WAR will offer “christmas present quests” and “RVR Quests” and “Public quests”. First I’ll comment on the xmas quests because they sound so freaking awesome! Imagine wandering in the forest and coming upon a half dead elf with a sword in him (yes I’m using Paul’s scenario). In WAR you can actually pull the sword out of the elf, killing him, and keep the sword as a reward! And these types of quests are apparently littered everywhere. I can just imagine wandering around pulling the armor and weapons from dying soldiers eventually ending up fully geared and ready to do battle.
Next there’s the RVR quests that ask you to literally kill other players to progress the story. I’ve always wanted to be tasked with orders to go out and do battle against other players for rewards. Not only does this seem to add purpose to the mindless battling but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Paul gave an example that as Chaos you’ll be asked to go out and gather limbs from your enemies to throw in some magic thing to create buffs and such to help your team win the war. To me that sounds awesome.
Lastly, the public quests are quite possible the greatest thing to ever be added to an MMORPG. Public quests, or as I believe they will soon be called “Pubs”, are quests that anyone in the zone actively participates in. Just by entering a certain region you are given the quest to help your side complete a series of goals that will eventually lead to fantastic rewards for everyone. For example, the Greenskins are massing an attack on the stunties(dwarves) and need to break their big dwarven wall thing. To do so the Greenskins must get a giant drunk and tell him to pick up a bomb and throw it at the gate. Paul goes on about this in greater detail and makes it sound all British and such which definitely adds to the dramatic effect. What’s so fantastic about these public quests is that the reward is based on your time and contribution. Let’s say you can only participate for 30 minutes but the quest will last 2 hours. You’ve essentially contributed to 1/4 the effort and you will be rewarded. Behold my fellow gamers – the answer to the casual players dream of having the chance to compete.
Warhammer Online is shaping up to be the first MMORPG to reinvent the wheel. Not since our genre has been plagued with “mass appeal” have we seen such innovation and revolutionary game design. I for one hope that EA Mythic can shove it in the faces of those who claim MMO’s are forever stuck in evolution.