Aug 7 2010

Family Feud


I know that Blizzard have announced that the Loremaster achievement won’t be affected by Cataclysm, but it feels appropriate to do it with the Vanilla content. For that reason Belmann – the only character I pursue achievements on – has been trawling around Eastern Kingdoms for considerable time.

I was sick and off work for a few days, so took the opportunity to grind through to get the Eastern Kingdoms part finished. I must emphasize this was done by playing an hour, sleeping two, in spurts through the day.

Anyway, I finally had the thought ( prompted by EveryQuest) of picking up the starter quests in Elwynn Forest, a few I’d missed there, and finished off with some tucked away in Badlands.

The interesting part for me were the quests I had never noticed in Elwynn Forest that illustrate how, and how far, Blizzard’s thinking has changed. There are a few breadcrumbs quests that send you down from Goldshire or along the main road to Fargodeep mine. What is not apparent is that there is a fun set of quests associated with the two farms flanking and slightly south of the mine.

The thing is that there are no breadcrumbs to lead you to either farm, and because of their location most players won’t visit them. Blizzard obviously expected that players would explore each zone thoroughly and so stumble on quests like this. There are a lot of instances of this in the old world – and none in Northrend.

Part of this is their obvious desire to carry players through a more or less linear narrative now, rather than constructing their own less directed narrative. But surely part of it comes out of a far more sophisticated understanding of how to build the zone and contained quests.

And one thing I definitely don’t miss from the old world are the “epic” quests that saw you spending hours travelling from one side of the world to the other. I appreciate the designers intent with these – finishing an epicly long chain that involved epic travel through epic landscapes an epic number of epic times felt like an epic and heroic achievement… The first time. After that it just gets plain annoying. At least you can read a good book while you fly.