I’m ready to stop questing
Really, I’m ready to stop questing right now. I’m ready for the next phase in mmorpg PvE leveling design to come along and take us to the ‘next level’. Actually, I would be happy taking a step backwards to the days of grinding mobs in the world and in dungeons solo or in a group over questing. Questing, as this generation knows it, was neat and even fun for a while back when it was introduced in World of Warcraft. The idea of having NPC’s offer me jobs to do for them or adventures to set out on for the chance to earn money, experience, items, and goodies without leaving the immediate area (for the most part) was a “woah!” factor for sure. But too much of a good thing is bad. Questing has turned in to the epitome of slackass development. It, somehow, quickly turned into a means of cramming as much “content” into a tiny little area while at the same time allowing for the world to be neglected because the player no longer looked to the world for the answers but to their quest logs and objectives.
What has happened to us players? Why is this acceptable and even favored by the majority? Are people even aware of how mundane the questing in mmorpgs has become? I was questing lastnight and stopped to analyze what I was doing:
1. I walked into a new camp of NPCs that I had never been to before. Instead of looking around and taking in the sights the first thing I looked for was the quest indicators over NPC heads as though enthralled by the song of the sirens.
2. I quickly gathered up all the quests in the camp. I didn’t stop to read any of them because why would I? All the quest texts these days says the same thing in one way or another: “Go here, kill this” with a “story-line” reason tossed in. “My brother is sick so you need to go here and get this” or “My father was attacked so you need to go here and kill this”.
3. Without even stopping to catch my breath I was out of the camp again heading directly toward the red circle on the mob (or the area the first quest on my list told me to go). I proceeded to complete all of these quests and when my log was full of “complete” signs I returned to that camp of NPCs and picked up the next round of punishment and set out to repeat the process.
After I completed a camp or two of these quests I became so far removed from the experience that I ended up logging off for the night. I’ve had this exact same type of experience countless times. It’s questing fatigue or burnout. Repetitive and ad nauseum, the process of questing has become. I’m sure many of you out there can agree whether in principle or from a similar personal experience.
What happened to the ‘goold ole days’? Does anyone else here remember forming a group of people and having a “puller”? That term probably sounds alien to most of you now but it was when your group found an area in the region that wasn’t too highly occupied by other players or groups and setup camp. The puller then took on the task of going out into the immediate area and pulling in mobs for the group to kill. The group worked together to bring down these monsters and repeated the process; somtimes moving to other areas if the group felt like it. I remember one time I logged in to EQ (the first one) and went to Karnor’s Castle to look for a group. I couldn’t find one for inside but easily found a group among the people hunting outside the castle near the walls. We had pulled mobs (I think they were dryders or something) and all sorts of other beasts that occupied the Dreadlands near the castle. It was through this experience that I made lots of friends and had the social aspects of the game enhanced.
Monsters in mmorpgs were also quite different before the ‘age of questing’. Monsters didn’t go down in a few swings or a few hotkey strokes like they do today. Monsters, often times, took careful thought and the process of taking down a monster for some classes included kiting or the use of many, many abilities. Groups could be fighting a mob for 20-30 seconds before it comes down. Today that type of mob would be considered “heroic” or “champion” or some indication that it’s harder than normal. Groups attacking mobs today swarm them and beat them down in seconds – that’s the sign of a good group now.
The result of the questing system’s impact on mmorpg gaming is having an effect beyond just making the content cheap and the experience repetitive. It’s also removing much of the social game, as I described above. How many of you have honestly ever sought out a group to do quests together? There will be a few of you who like to run them in groups, but for the most part you’ll acknowledge that questing is a system designed for the solo gamer and that having multiple people often increases how tedious the process can be (waiting for everyone to finish) or how little exp you get from the monsters you kill (because you can easily kill them all solo). How many of you have actually met new people from grouping lately? I’d be willing to bet that the only time you ever group up anymore is for “PUG’s” in “instances” (instances being a topic for another day). There is no more incentive to group and no more incentive to meet people. There’s no dependency on others anymore and that sucks.
I’m ready for the next phase please. I have hopes that someone out there will realize that these aren’t Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Single Player Games. Let’s turn out attention back to the gameing world, the social game, and the adventure of playing something more involved than whack-a-mole.
I’m ready to look up from my quest log now.