Gamespy released a preview yesterday with impressions of the newbie experience from a hands-on that Mythic gave during their latest press event. Usually these little preview articles are “oh the game looks great” or more rehash of what we’ve already been devouring for the past few months. Rarely do these articles impart really solid impressions of the game, but this one had a few great words worth quoting:
“To its credit, the early quests in WAR seem to impart a definite sense of “place.” Think about how the early quests in WoW make you feel as if you’re “clocking in” to quest-givers, subsequently running out into the field a few yards to fulfill objectives, and returning to clock out by delivering your quests and collecting rewards. There doesn’t seem to be as much of that in WAR; rather, the early environments seem to be designed around highly-visible events, the consequences of which are evident all around you. In the Dwarf areas, the context is a Greenskin invasion, with the tunneling goblins and squigs and the orc-manned artillery beyond the ramparts. For the Dark Elves, it takes the form of an invasion mounted from enormous naval structures called “arks” — think a floating city the size of an island.”
I have been hoping for a long time that this is how Mythic would handle WAR’s questing. While the “kill ten rats” seems inevitable in these games it doesn’t have to feel like your clocking in and clocking out with the same npc running heinous tasks all day. I’m reminded of a quest I did a few days ago in Age of Conan that asked me to kill 8 snakes and 8 scorpions. I went out and killed those creatures then came back and he told me he now wanted me to kill 10 more of a different type. I went out and killed those then he wanted flowers picked so I went out and picked those flowers. I finally came back and the npc basically thanked me and gave me a choice of 3 really crappy items. I felt a big “Argh!” building in my belly.Â The quest didn’t have to be that mundane.Â Effort can be made to better an experience like that.
The author imparting these impressions really used some good words here to describe how it felt:
“A definite sense of place” – A purpose behind what you’re doing
“The early environments seem to be designed around highly-visible events, the consequences of which are evident all around you.” – A sense of atmosphere that augments and allows immersion to thrive.
And lastly this quote from the preview really hits home that sense of place and atmosphere: “Quest areas don’t seem to be places that wandering monsters simply arbitrarily inhabit; at least in the two areas we checked out, there was a definite rhyme and reason for mob X to be patrolling site Y.”
Although these are just impressions from two of the six starting areas I hope that Mythic has taken this much care and attention to details in the rest of the world.Â I believe it was Jeff Hickman (maybe Josh…) who talked about each of race’s areas being essentially their own game from 1-40(lvl cap).Â You can stay in your race’s areas and follow the story and events from 1-40 or you can mix it up and visit other race’s areas and run their quests and story.Â That’s six different paths of progression for 1-40 which makes for a lot of replayability and adventure.