Questing in WAR sounds great!

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.  The quest didn’t have to be that mundane.  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.  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).  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.  That’s six different paths of progression for 1-40 which makes for a lot of replayability and adventure.

I’m excited.

  • That sounds fantastic. When I played the Aoc beta and the combat didn’t click with me, I was hoping they at least put some work into the questing system. With the exception of the night time quests it was just like any other MMO. I am getting more excited for WAR every day.

  • It would be nice if someone would create quests that didn’t require you to go back to the quest giver. You got your reward as you completed the quest, not when you had a chance to find the NPC that told you to go do it. Now I realize some games have some quests like this, I just would like it to be more so.
    AOC quests give me the same feel as WoW quests, except I can tell the NPC to bugger off. Which in essence is just like saying goodbye. Since right after I tell them to bugger off I can pick up the quest and go about my merry way doing the quest as though I never said a mean thing.
    Why give the illusion of choice if you don’t really have any. At least WoW doesn’t try to make you think you have a choice.
    Also I would prefer all rewards be something you can use. It is just dumb to go through a big quest line to find out you can get cloth armor, stealthing ring, and a gun, when you play a 2 handed armor toting tank. Preferable if not then the end part of the quest would provide a randomish item that was not a Bind On Pickup, so you could trade it to another player for something they got. Force community with fun ideas, not by ram rodding it down our throats. Oh and solo-play is great at times but seriously why play an MMO if you aren’t going to be at least partially social!

  • Maybe I’m being cynical, but I think I’ll need to wait to see some examples for myself to believe it. I’ve lost count of how many rpg’s have claimed to reinvent the questing wheel and then fallen short on release (not to their detriment, as it’s a frighteningly hard problem). Kudos to Mythic if they’ve done it, but I’d need more than concrete than that review to be convinced.

    On the other hand, the old way of questing floats my boat more than it does others, so I’m not itching for a change as desperately, which may be coming into it.

  • Even from a few months back, the stuff described for the quests seemed to me like the feature of WAR that would appeal to me most.

    But I’ll agree with Shutter too: I’m enthusiastic that they sound like they’re trying to innovate with the quest system, but I’m not so certain it will work as described.

  • Well I read the PC Gamer preview that said that starting of WAR is actually quite bad and it doesn’t give you a sense of what the game is going to be like. They saw it feels pretty much like WOW opening. Not exact words but that was the general feel of it.

  • They are on the right track with these quests. I get more and more excited as time goes by. They’re doing some great things that I have wanted to see now for a long, long time.

  • I’m not a big fan of questing in general. I have found it is a tool to help you level faster, not to further the content or the story in most situations. What LOTRO did that I enjoyed was implement a story based quest that had a long chain to it, and where there would be many videos that depicted what was going on in the world around you. That was the best I have seen to date as far as questing being fun, challenging, and rewarding at the same time.

    WoW’s questing was bland and was used as a tool to level faster, some of the instance quests that started events were fun from Wailing Caverns escort the Tauren to the Molten Core’s Epic Boss fights. To sum things up, we are a very visual group base here that needs to feel immersed into the story, not be given random quests that have no impact on the world.

    That being said, it is hard to give a brand new player quests that will make them feel empowered to save the planet when they are just starting out in a new world. I do like the fact that even the smallest, weakest of characters can make a impact “hobbits” but realistically it takes time to get strong enough to “slay the dragon”. EVE Online uses actual real life time to level their skills instead of grinding on mindless quests, does it work? I guess so, but it lacks immersion to the point of becoming senile.

  • Graev and I were talking about something like this just lastnight. We both agree that questing has really been devalued in mmorpgs. What used to be “A quest!” is now just another mechanic for leveling. We remember years and years ago when our characters would take up a quest and we truly thought “okay, this is going to be something special!” now it’s like “okay where’s the 15 quests i need to progress to the next area?”.

    I long for the days where quests were long and truly ‘epic’ in every sense of the word. I want mmorpgs to return to those days where there are long quests that really require more from the player than the systems currently implemented today.

  • I’ll be surprised if WAR questing really manages to seem all that different from every other MMO out there, but even if it does boil down to the same old ‘kill 10 rats’ in the end, I’ll be happy so long as the gameplay of killing 10 rats is enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with killing 10 rats, so long as killing 10 rats is fun. If it feels like a chore because combat is slow, tedious, frustrating, or just generally unrewarding . . . well, that’s another story.

    So, if it is as good as gamespy suggests I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If it’s not, it won’t bother me at all.

  • Nice to hear that WAR may be a bit more fun although I would take that article with a grain of salt. WAR will need to have some really, really unique stuff to pull me away from AoC.

    The Chronicles of Spellborn also seem to be focusing a lot on details for quests.

  • @Keen (post #10)

    Very true. I think most quests in MMOs could more accurately be renamed ‘Tasks’. Killing 10 rats isn’t a heroic quest spanning three continents and two novels worth of dialogue, it’s a simple task that any monkey with a mallet could do.

    I much preferred LoTRO’s book quest system where you followed a story throughout your whole career. Those were what quests should be. Getting caught on multiple chapters that required a full group kind of killed it for me though . . .

  • I’m beyond excited now for WAR. I think it’s just got a little of everything I’ve been wanting in an MMO. Also seeing the monthly Dev podcasts really gives the impression on how excited they are as well.
    It’s nice to see an MMO where the Dev’s seem just as excited to play as everyone else.

    Also, the comment about the PCgamer comparison of the starting areas… all I can is … nope didn’t feel that way 🙂

  • @Graktar #13

    I totally agree with the word “Tasks.” That is a good descriptor for most quests in a majority of MMOs.

    Interactive quests that deal with abnormal things on a bigger scale, is what it needs. Dropping bombs on incoming Orcs or attacking some High elfs positions, even if its smaller and at a low leve, is the right track. Thinking outside the box and mixing quests up isn’t that hard. You can have mindless quests in there but they ALL CANT be mindless.

  • In some areas, WoW had some really great quests. Especially some of the areas introduced in TBC. Some of them really made you feel like you were accomplishing something. Helping somebody, thrawrting somebody else. Others felt just like they were filler.

    I imagine WAR will be much of the same. It takes immense man power to come up with the story lines to make that many interesting quests. Until I see it I’m going to be skeptical.

    It would not surprise me if WAR had some really interesting noob quests to capture you from the moment you start playing. From what I’ve read, that’s a big problem with AoC — it’s good quests don’t come until later.

    But remember, WoW had some pretty good noob quests, too. The Orc Peon club quest still makes me chuckle.

  • Their idea of the questing sounds great, but when watching those videos of WAR on gamespy (when raiding that city) I felt something was missing. Their combat system looks a little rough around the edges and could certainly still use some polishing. The special effects on some of those striking attacks didn’t look too apealing and when they defeated a town enemy they just collasped… Whats with that? In AoC atleast we get to see heads rolls or even better, the fatality moves! To me, it feels a lot more satisfying to see a head roll or blood splattering all over my screen then just seeing my dieng enemy just collopse to the ground.
    On the other had, the attention to deatil on WAR’s armour sets look fantastic. Its going to be eye candy for me everytime I see a new trailer come out about the game.

  • @Slikk: The gameplay being shown in videos recently is using placeholder animations with all the bells and whistles disabled for graphics. Still 6 months off from release and Mythic is using this time to test the gameplay while leaving the graphics turned down to avoid probably exactly what I’ve been talking about over the past few days with AoC’s graphics being a barrier.

  • It’s nice to see that the discussion here for questing in WAR has been level-headed, and that most everyone seems pleased with the article while still taking it with a grain of salt. I, like most of you, am taking all the articles (both good and bad) and filing them inside my leaky mental dewey decimal system, then when the game is released they will SPRING forth and help me make sure I’m making an unbiased decision. Though, having said that, I suppose it’s a tad odd to be reading biased material to make an unbiased decision. Now, I’m not saying all magazines and game sites are biased, but hey some times game journalists get fired for not liking a game *cough* Kane & Lynch *cough*.

  • That’s precisely why I write on a blog instead of for one of the few dozen sites that have offered me a position. I want to give my honest opinion instead of one that is censored to meet the requirements of the site it’s being published on.

    I am also pleased that people are able to be a bit more level-headed. 😉 It’s nice not having to arm myself before reading comments on my own blog. 😛

  • You’re a better man than I. I’m not sure I could turn down a few dozen offers to write on game sites. Hell, that’s partly a dream of mine. You lucky bastard.

  • It’s the same ol’ same ol’ stuff just with the theme of WAR behind it. There is really nothing new about WAR’s questing than WoW’s other than much of it is based on the central theme of the races being at war with each other. So I wouldn’t get your hopes up that much.

  • @kmxs: That’s a very old article. His impressions are of the game back in August 2007 and the article was written in January before the game was even delayed for an addition 6 months. Interesting read, but not very reliable now because of it’s age. I’m hoping to bring back some newer impressions and maybe even video from E3.

    @Everyone: I’m deleting NDA violations guys. Save yourself some time and don’t post them here. Feel free to speculate or talk about what you think the game will be like but if you start talking about your impressions from beta or anything of that sort I’m going to remove them.

  • So keen, please explain to me then how questing in WAR is different, I’d really like to know.

  • Well you’re hyping their questing as supposedly being better than WoW and AoC’s. Explain to me why it’s better?

  • I’m not saying it’s better than WoW (where did I mention WoW?) or AoC’s nor do I really feel that I’m hyping it. I thought it was pretty clear that I simply said I’m excited that Mythic is taking questing than trying to do more with it and simply leave it as a blatant task system. I’m sure it will still be very much a “kill ten rats” system but, according to this article and others I have read, Mythic is doing more to create a purpose and experience along with it.

  • “A definite sense of place”
    “The early environments seem to be designed around highly-visible events, the consequences of which are evident all around you.”
    “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.”

    all of this is very subjective….I don’t know any MMO imo that has a random mob in the middle of a random field asking you to do somethign for no reason….every MMO pve quest I have done has had somewhat of a story around it….and it always lead me to another one…I don’t see how this is truly any different.

    anyways, im a pvper…a quest is a quest is a quest to me….so whatever. =/

  • There’s nothing subjective about the fact that the environments are being designed around highly-visible events that bring about evident additions to the game’s atmosphere. How you choose to let a system like this impact your gameplay is where subjectivity comes into play. You either like it, or you don’t. I like stuff like that.

  • @ Q

    Though I do agree that no quest in modern day mmo’s is completely arbitrary, I believe that the author is trying to say that Mythic has placed a sense of scope, structure,and pacing to their quests that is on a grander scale than what you’ve seen in the past. And, indeed it may not appeal, or be a big deal to those who find more enjoyment in PvP. That’s fine,in fact to those looking to do end-game pvp questing may be no more than a means to an end. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just means the quests won’t be terribly scrutinized by those folks.
    I do enjoy questing, specifically with friends, it sort of reminds me of my old D&D days, and I hope that one day people find a way to pace and structure quest lines so it plays out on a scale akin to the half-life series.

  • @ Troy

    Well if it isn’t a grindfest – that is good. However, from what I read – there is nothing write that really gives me a picture of new kind/evolutionary pve system. The pve, for the most part…will still feel the same…imo. For someone like me…AoC pve and WAR pvpe (from this reading) isn’t a big deal…nor will make a difference at all for me.

  • ^ ..addon: I feel as if AoC could of said similar quotes…all of this:

    “A definite sense of place”
    “The early environments seem to be designed around highly-visible events, the consequences of which are evident all around you.”
    “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.”

    just equals pve has a storyline…yeah and what?

  • Awesome if this approach is the same way at all levels we might have an experience that rivals or exceed wow…

    And questign can be a form of great end game content that all playstyles can appreciate cause most of the time its once you get to max level its a small unimportant story with the bigger picture bieng on the raid or pvp experience….

  • @Q: Except that anyone who has actually played AoC knows it’s not that way, Q. The quests are the standard “Kill ten rats” and save for the single-player storyline none of them have a definite sense of place. Quest areas in AoC are the standard wandering mobs placed arbitrarily around like a wax museum. See my example in the blog post.

    But don’t get up in arms. There’s nothing really too wrong with that. It’s how WoW, LOTRO, Vanguard, and every other mmorpg made in the past four years are designed.

    @Trix: Well said. 🙂

  • “A definite sense of place” = AoC’s unique and authentic world (Hyboria) based on the book.

    “The early environments seem to be designed around highly-visible events, the consequences of which are evident all around you.” = AoC’s storyline and quests that lead you into Hyboria, you start as a slave and have to become a hero – blah blah, war/gore all around you – gritty world…very visible.

    “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.” = game has storyline…fishes are in water…tigers in the jungle…snakes in the desert…enemy NPCs near their huts….

    None of this is new….its just the same concept/ideas of every MMO PvE….

  • @ Q the destiny line from Aoc was awesome jsut wish there were more of it. Lord of the rings did a great job in the sense of questing and story to bad the rest of the game was bland….

  • “@Keen: if i have to kill 10 rats for no reason at all (no story, NPC didn’t tell me why)…and its part of the MAIN QUEST…and not MINI quest…than i agree…AoC pvp makes no sense…but i find that hard to believe.

  • @ Trix: I still think GW was teh best game ever made…pve and pvp was amazing…just wish they didnt instance the PvE so much…but the storyline and game was 10/10 for me.

  • I agree with Q that the quotes and information in that article don’t set War apart, they can be said about any game. It’s the gypsy sales approach to marketing, and it works no doubt, but it doesn’t actually say anything at all.

    That is the vibe I get from like 80% of the Warhammer videos. Like a ton of hot air about how excited they about their version of a pre-existing system, when the only real information they give you isn’t unique.

    Basically the the information I have read about Warhammer so far is that. Warhammer is DaoC with all the best ideas from WoW included, and a more refined RvR system. That isn’t necesarily a bad thing, but its not going to innovate the industry other then to add a few improved tweaks to already existing gameplay elements. The tweaks are generally so subtle though that Blizzard could easily just update WoW with them.

  • @Q I kidna agree and disagree reason being while yeah I was solo questing in the Mmo’s like wow and Aoc. Guildwars which i still play the quests didnt really catch me I dont know.

    BUT the beauty of guild wars is the ease of it just log in and do what ever you want pvp or pve its a great game.

    To think of it I just kinda hated fighting the legions of mobs just to get a quest done some quests can take hours lol…

  • I’m getting really tired of arguing semantics with you guys. Q you’re missing the entire point and I now know you have not played Age of Conan past Tortage. Kmxs you seem set on twisting everything I say to fit some agenda. Enough please. I respect you, but I’m not the type of person who wants to argue every point into the ground.

    If you guys are hellbent on defending AoC OR Attacking WAR in a topic about how I feel Warhammer’s questing system looks to be a great change of pace on the current questing system then please stop commenting. You’re not going to receive any further acknowledgment from me on it and I’m going to clear out the comments that are cluttering the discussion. If that bothers you then please start your own blog.


  • Thats the thing Kmx we are all makign assumptions cant really say crap till the game comes out jsut take the information and go with it till openbeta or close to release.

    They are promising alot and if they come through you have to give them the props they deserve.

    Blizzard and subtle updates go hand to hand/

  • @Trix – I agree, I am more trying to steer clear of “spin” articles that Mythic seem to love throwing out there. I haven’t read so much hot air from a Dev before this point. I can spend hours reading War articles and come out the other side not really having learned much about their game at all other then how excited they are to be making, good for them.

  • Ok, here it goes, my knee-jerk encapsulated thoughts on questing:

    I would love to see quests that have direct alteration on the world around you. For instance, if there was a series of quests to re-take the city of Gnomereagan in WoW, then after the series of quests were completed by x amount of people BOOM gnomer is a damn alliance city. Then guess what, those troggs will try and take it right back. Or perhaps quests that are well structured that lead up to world events. They don’t always have to be big world events ie. Rescuing some damsel in distress then using her to bargain entrance into a kingdom you couldn’t access before. Again these are just quick thoughts of choices that could be built into quests. In no way are my ideas revolutionary, but I think they could be fun. One thing I hope WAR does do is eliminate the immersion killer that is go and kill x number of y, and while you’re doing that watch everyone else do it to. For christ’s sake, how many wolves are going to try and over take a small abbey.
    Word up.

  • @kmxs: That article was not written by a dev. It was written by someone who actually got to play the game. The person then shared their experiences with those interested in reading. The article simply said that the scope and atmosphere of the game really give the quests a sense of purpose and place. He also said that the questing areas are designed with the same structure in mind thus avoiding the “wax museum” effect that we see in many mmorpgs today. No one ever said that it’s different from “Kill ten rats”. It’s simply a more structured approach that I’m hoping turns out really well. That’s all.

    @Troytanning: WAR is being developed with a few of those things in mind. Paul Barnett’s explanation of the questing system and how the Tome of Knowledge comes into play with it give me faith that perhaps the “Kill x of Y” will be less mundane and repetitive than usual. And although it’s not really the world altering effect that many want, public quests are a very innovative way of introducing ‘event like’ quests that play out before you. Hopefully those are fun. 🙂

  • @Bildo: I do as well.

    I want to take a minute and make one thing clear guys. I don’t appreciate having the comments section derailed into a “game vs game” debate unless that is what the topic is about. In this case the topic is about how Warhammer’s questing system is being designed to introduce a greater scope, sense of purpose, better atmosphere, and structure than we have seen in the past from a “kill ten rats” type of system.

    I can appreciate and understand everyone’s desire for discussion and wouldn’t dream of telling anyone their opinion does not matter. However, please respect that on this blog we do not welcome comments containing arguments for the sake of arguments, bashing, flaming or even blind fanboy love from our readers. By all means feel free to start your own blogs and have your say if you feel that our policies are not to your liking.

    You’re welcome to agree or disagree to your heart’s content with whatever we have to say as long as what you have to say is relative to the discussion taking place.

    Note: We’ll be IP banning anyone who repeatedly (excessively) can’t control themselves. Yeah, it sucks that things have to go that far. If you find that you can’t post comments feel free to email us or IM us and maybe we can work something out.

  • @ Keen – fair enough. but can we use the current discussion in relation to another game? ie: AoC

  • ^ addon: same discussion/topic on WAR and AoC…and not just 1 the post was written about.

  • @Q: I don’t care if you talk about AoC in a topic like this but keep in mind I don’t want to see any more of the bashing towards WAR going on. You don’t see me doing that in the blog entry and I don’t expect it from comments either.

    Example of an acceptable comment: “I think AoC will have a similar system”

    Example of an unacceptable comment: “Hahha War is going to suck compared to AoC! Everything I read says AoC is better! That article is all marketing!”

    Hopefully you can discern what I’m trying to make abundantly clear here. Common sense.

  • well…

    I think AoC will be very similar in nature… pve is pve…and the post sounds like marketing to me. I can imagine Funcom saying the same things about AoC.

    @ Keen: If I imply I think WAR will “suck” is that breaking your rule? how is that in different than your recent AoC posts? I should be able to say why I think WAR won’t be as good as AoC and even present evidence? Do you not do the same thing? no?

    – I agree…flaming/bashing posts should be deleted…but is would this be bashing? it can be subjective…i guess a tone of voice is the best reasoning…if so i hope you know my tone is very calm.

  • ^ addon: in relation to the discussion/post..and not implying why a game is great/sucks for no reason.

    ie: given evidence to prove otherwise/contradictory to a post/discussion.

  • I’ve played AoC beyond Tortage and have decent experience with the questing. It’s unfortunately not much different from WoW’s system. You talk to the NPC’s scattered around and they say “Go kill ten of this” and you wander out beyond the quest hub and find the camp of mobs and kill it.

    Now, the difference between this WAR article being true or just marketing is pretty simple. It’s not done by Mythic or anyone with an agenda, but instead it’s done by someone who is trying to share real impressions from a Mythic press event on how the game played at lower levels. Additionally this is not the only article or person saying these things. People who have played the game at similar events have all said the same things.

    To answer your question yes, I will delete your comments if they imply that WAR will suck if you don’t provide reasoning or constructive ideas to back your claim. I’ve never said AoC will suck. Heck, I’m going to be playing AoC. I’ve simply been critical of experiences I’ve had in the game such as performance.

  • Wow… big comment thread. Wish you could subscribe by email to these comments.

    My take is this… the reason why the quests in WoW & most other MMO’s are repetitive is that they’re way too short. I don’t know how many quests there are exactly in WoW but it has got to be many hundreds. There is no way with that many quests to design that you can get any real detail into them.

    The best way to improve quest quality is to make less of them. Completing a quest should be a big deal that should take a longish time and effort. By this I don’t mean making huge quests lines either where completing one quest leads to completing another quest which leads to… well you get the idea.

    With fewer quests designers can focus on details which would give a much more epic feel. The consequences of working through the quest should have significant impacts on the world at least for a reasonable period of time. Quests should also have multiple ways of completing them. For instance you might have a mostly solo path to complete a quest or a more cooperative path where you can go in as a group.

  • “To answer your question yes, I will delete your comments if they imply that WAR will suck if you don’t provide reasoning or constructive ideas to back your claim.”

    – I said would it be ok to imply if I gave evidence…not if i didnt. But oka we agree.

    To address the rest you said: Like you have I read other articles and talked to players that have played both AoC and WAR…and have said the total opposite…so as long as i can talk about opposite views with evidence to back them u – whther it be blogs or articules…that is fine.

    Final – none of us have really played the retail version of these games…so all of this is just speculation…even if you read other articles…there is no 100% guarantee the game will play out like that in reality or even for you.

  • @Glen: Yep, I agree about length. Graev and I wish quests felt more like … quests.. and not tasks. Right now questing feels like I’m an errand boy instead of a hero on a quest.

    @Q: While no one has played “retail”, quite a few of us have played in closed beta. It’s basically the retail version and nothing about the quest system will change. So that’s not speculation when I say that AoC’s questing system is like WoW’s.

    Where AoC and WAR (in theory) differ is simply in the scope and presentation. AoC takes the traditional WoW approach and WAR is trying to add a sense of scope, structure,and pacing to their quests that is on a grander scale than what you’ve seen in the past. Both might be the “kill ten rats” model but they are two different takes on it.

  • @Keen

    Since we’re on the subject of questing, what are your thoughts/desires for quest design from MMos? Are there other game experiences (ie, table top games or consul games) that you thought tackled questing in a way that was not only novel but brilliant? Obviously single player and Co-op face different challenges, though there are sometimes ways to merge the lessons learned between genres.

    The reason I ask is only to see what you look for as far as questing. I have been guilty in this thread of throwing around words like: scope, structure, pacing; all without being clear as to what I expect from those concepts. But, seeing as this is your site I was curious as to learn what concrete ideas/concepts that you thought should be introduced to modern day MMO questing.

    And, feel free to just dismiss this post, as it is a tad off topic.

  • @Glen LOTR’s book/chapter quest line is one of the longest if not the longest single quest chain in current MMOs….parts are soloable and parts need friends. It is the backbone of the entire LOTR experience.

    @Keen It is my hope that you keep us informed as the game launches as to how you feel about AoC in it’s “final” form…and at the same time keep an eye on WAR developments.

    Also, many of you may or may not remember, that Keen was pro-AoC for quite awhile. He never bashed the game and was the most hopeful of all of us. It has been his ‘hands on’ experience that has allowed him to adjust his view of how this game will come down. AND he will be the first to let us know if that experience remains the same or gets better with release. I am sure he will continue to share both ends of the spectrum with AoC as it unfolds….including things beyond the questing system.

  • “@Q: While no one has played “retail”, quite a few of us have played in closed beta. It’s basically the retail version and nothing about the quest system will change. So that’s not speculation when I say that AoC’s questing system is like WoW’s.”

    @Keen – some of us have also played Closed Beta – and even it its concepts and design are similar to wow…that doesn’t mean it will be worse than WAR’s PvE. What IS speculation (in regard to yourself) is when you imply WAR’s PVE will you different/better in design/concept…or even that there is a scope…Hope can we believe one article and not another that says the opposite? that is my point.

  • Grammer check 64.:

    – if* not it
    – How* not Hope

    Man wish there was an edit feature =/

  • ^ addon to 64.: im not saying there is anything wrong in thinking it will be better – im just arguing for the simple fact we don’t really know.

    *don’t want you to think im flaming or bashing =/*

  • @TroyTanning: Good question. I can best describe the “ideal” quest from a mix of things. Back in the early EQ1 days quests were not all too common. They were something you really had to work at over an extended period of time. They really meant something when completed and you really felt that sense of accomplishment for seeing it through. So that’s one part of the equation here. I wish quests were longer and gave more sense of accomplishment.

    I also wish quests would have more impact on storyline. While I think it’s great that the town guard needs food for his men and wants me to go kill 10 boars… there’s something to be said about a quest that actually progresses a story as you complete steps. One of the best examples of this is LOTRO’s Book quests. Those were/are great.

    And lastly I have a few concepts and ideas that I have yet to see implemented in any mmorpg. I won’t go into those too much because it would take me pages to describe them. One quick example: I think that quests altering the gameworld would be great, but perhaps too grandiose for a mmorpg. So why not have them impact your character more?

    And lastly I think that questing as it’s used now still has a place in mmorpgs, but it needs to change slightly. Warhammer is doing precisely what I would do in their place. Having the world feel more ‘alive’ because of the quests is great. Having that constant event going on in the background while you work on your quests adds quite a bit to the experience. If you played Horde in WoW do you remember that quest in the Barrens to take the banners and kill the leader of the centaurs (right near the Xroads). That little tiny mini-event quest was my favorite in that entire area. It didn’t take much to make that one quest feel special, but it worked.

    Probably not the best of answers I could give you but it’ll have to do until I write an entire blog entry or book on the subject. 😛

    @Sandoz: You bet. Graev and I WILL be playing AoC and sharing our thoughts on the game as it unfolds before us.

    @Q: Don’t worry about amending your grammar mistakes in the future. 😉 I wish there were an edit too but don’t feel bad – we can manage and get the gist of what you’re trying to say.

    Definitely don’t confuse what I’m saying about WAR that it will be “better” – you’re correct in saying that such statements are subjective. I’m simply saying that WAR’s system (in theory) sounds fun to me and even more fun than AoC or WoW. That does not imply that AoC is inferior, just different. Once I play WAR I’ll state which I like more and at that time I might declare one better than the other, but as always that’s only my opinion and I leave it up to my readers to decide if they agree or not.

  • AoC never tauted revolutionary questing to my knowledge. Their focus was on Open World PvP, Gritty world and sharp graphics.

    I believe the varying focus of these two games does tell us something about where the strengths of the game MAY lie.

  • If anyone here ever played EverQuest 2, their “Heritage Quests” I LOVED, and I wish there was more quests like THAT in MMOs.

    Basicly they were just really long quests, all with amazing rewards, not only items, but they helped your guild rank up. They could take a week or longer to finish. Many of them had entire instances devoted to that single quest.

    There was one quest that actually let you change faction, I did it once and went from good to evil, it took me ~2 weeks. You had to go all over the place, talk to many differnet NPCs, and you even had to sneak in a castle and slay a queen (or try too) it all tied together really well.

    So, quests like that, IMO need to be done more. I can’t say I’m an EQ2 fan boy, I haven’t played it in a long time, but gotta give credit where it’s due. 🙂

  • Perfect example, Scykoh. Heritage quests are great! I totally agree with you that quests like those belong in every mmorpg.

  • @Keen

    Not a bad answer at all, and yes, I do remember that quest in the barrens it was great. Though I do agree that world altering would be possibly too difficult, I look forward to that grand horizon where MMO game worlds are shaped in real time by those that play in them. That will be a day indeed.

  • yeah just to addon to previous posts ppl have made. I believe AoC has at least tried to revolutionize PvP (fail/pass in time)…I would love to see someone do it with PvE…though I think WAR PvE might be more “scoped” or what not…I don’t think it will be a new concept/design compared to past MMOs…

    That leads me to think…How can developers truly change PvE concept/design? like..I can’t even imagine a evolution in PvE to the point were I go “wow this is really different!”

  • ^ addon: not that WAR ever said it was going to revolutionize PvE…in fact, it didnt. I am just saying I don’t believe it will be that drastic of a PvE experienced many of us have played before.

  • @Q

    Well, I think drastically changed PVE will happen as the proveribal frog boils. So one day we will just wake up and realize HOLY-SHIT this is totally different.

  • Yep, I agree. PvE isn’t going to change overnight. It’s going to be a slow covert change over the course of a decade before we realize that things are entirely different. Look at the industry now… not much has truly changed. Any company that claims complete revolutionary ideas is just kidding themselves. Innovative ideas, sure.

  • Well, a bit late, but here goes:

    When it comes to quests, it pays to look at what the word originally meant. It is a “journey towards a goal” by the hero. Slaying the dragon, getting the golden fleece, revenge, throwing a ring in a volcano, etc. Single-player RPGs have such a “central drive” as well. There can be sidequests; in stories they serve to define the hero through his/her actions or show how the world is; in games they can serve this role, but also add variety to the gameplay and help in the Avatar’s personal “growth” (XP, items).

    MMORPG’s have a problem: there is no overriding central “drive”, no real “central quest”, except for reaching the level cap (or having the best spaceship / sailing ship possible). That is because there is also no player-centric story: the players are, effectively, cheap extras in the story (whether good, bad or just lame) devised by the game’s developers.

    What are called quests in MMORPGs are therefore really sidequests. Of their original purposes (showing the world, defining the character through his/her actions, character “growth” through XP and items) quests that mainly (or only) rely on giving XP and items are easiest and cheapest to mass-produce. Producing sufficiently large numbers of interesting, immersive quests (involving storytelling and interesting moral choices and so forth) is hideously expensive in terms of time and thus money; moreover, it requires a lot more skill (and creativity) than fetch/kill quests and their ilk.

    That is also the main reason why I am sceptical whether EA Mythic can consistently produce “immersive” quests, It’s just so bloody expensive. It takes Bioware, Bethesda et al large budgets, big teams and years of hard work to produce a series of quests of sufficient quality and quantity to keep their players occupied for weeks (sometimes, in the case of a relatively “short” game like Jade Empire, merely days…). Producing that level of quality in sufficient quantities for an MMO would require huge numbers of skilled designers and lots of time. Even though EA isn’t exactly a poor company I doubt they will either cough up the necessary dough nor allow the needed time.

    Provided the Gamespy reporter’s experience is representative (personally I don’t rate Gamespy very highly, but that doesn’t mean that it’s “just” hype), I have a sneaky suspicion that EA Mythic worked on what the MMOgamer reporter disappointed so much: the early quests.

    The real question would not be whether the early quests are immersive (it’s good marketing since the early experiences in a game have to be as good as possible in order to hook the player and then reel him in), but whether there is a sufficient proportion of “good” (storytelling et al) quests later in the game.

    How that works out is anybody’s guess. If they get more of the better quests in than say WoW or LotRo that would be an important selling point, at least to me. Time will tell; there’s also the fact that a MMORPG’s “quest content” (numbers and quality) generally improves over time: what is also important is what EA Mythic adds in the years after launch (WoW got a lot of criticism for mostly adding content “at the top”, rather than in the middle or – to a lesser extent – in the lower levels).

  • If my choice of leveling in an MMO lies between the quick “help feed my men by killing boars” quests and mob grinding…I live for the quests. I agree that longer, more involved quests which help define the world and my character are the best – remember the Linkin quest chain in WoW, there were some shortcuts, but it had you running the length of the world to complete it. A worse example from WoW would be the Alliance Ony key quest chain which meant doing the same instance more then once 🙁

    Here’s to hoping WAR can actually immerse me in the quests!

  • Yep I’ve seen that video. The footage is pretty old and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like dynamic lighting, shadows, or high res textures on but overall I think it looks great. 🙂

  • Well, I beg to differ…

    I liked some of the old footage way back when it was first published, but now much of it feels, erm, “suboptimal”, in the sense you can see how low-poly some of that stuff is (look at the wheels of the train and the muzzle of the cannon). Use of colour is pretty depressing as well (though perhaps that is the intention, Warhammer supposed to be grim and all that).

    I’ve seen better movies, this one got thrown off my harddisk real quick. I am not sure why the EA Mythic guys published this movie with old footage, I think it makes the game look bad. “Ever forward”? why not show old footage followed by new footage of the same place, with all the effects and polish? I don’t quite get this movie.
    I think a lot of people who see this, then the WotLK movie with footage of, say, Zul’Drak, will feel disappointed.

    The chickenfight at the end was cool, though.
    Any chance of EA Mythic ever introducing a “Dark Chicken” hero class?