Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Need Some Milk. And Eggs.

Today I would like to address a topic that I find rather irksome: quests in WoW that send you to the exact same spot you were just in. I am not talking about multiple quest givers each wanting you to do something in the same area, I am speaking of completing a quest and then going back to the exact same spot for the next quest.

One of my characters is in Felwood and just completed the Well of Corruption series. You first need to fight your way to a particular pool and test the water and then fight your way back out. That is all well and good. Then you need to go back to the very same spot and do something else and of course, fight your way back out again.

I find this not only irritating, but boring as well. WoW has generally good quests, so the bad ones really stand out.

Eventually, there will be a quest like this:

Grothgar the Hideous: Say, , I seem to have misplaced my keys. Could you go down to the bottom of the Black Pit of Slashing Razors, fight your way through the Incontinent Poodles and Insurance Salesman, and retrieve them for me?

Me: Sure!

An hour later, after two deaths.

Me: Here are your keys!

Grothgar the Hideous: Great, here is 20 copper for your troubles. By the way, Im also missing my reading glasses. I think theyre in the room next to where you found my keys.

Me: I have to go back? Sure.

An hour and a half later, but only one death.

Grothgar the Hideous: Well, youre gonna laugh at this one, but these are my wifes glasses. Mine must be in the next room over, the one with the Butt-Fanged Rodent.

Me: Isnt he an Elite Level 60?

Grothgar the Horrible: Sure is!

Me: Joy.

Three hours later, after getting a group and wiping twice.

Grothgar the Hideous: Those are the ones! Heres 5 silver for a job well done! You know, my gout is acting up and I need my pills. If you could go back down and fetch them for me, that would be spiffy! Theyre in the nightstand next to Phil the Horribly Beweaponed.

Me: Why the hell is all this stuff down there? Fine!

Four hours and an incalculable number of deaths later.

Me: There! Happy?

Grothgar the Hideous: Wonderful. Heres a magic item you cant use! Hey, if youre not busy, the dog needs to go walkies. However, he will only poop on the carpet of Bartholmandingis the Insanely Under-Conned. If you could just drop back down into the dungeon, that would be super. Theres some Boar Meat in it for you!

Me: Im going to stab you now. Not sure when Im going to stop.

So if you happen to be a designer writing quests right now, stop and ask yourself: Is returning to the exact same place really that fun? If the answer is yes, next time you have to go grocery shopping, buy one item. Return home and then go back to buy one more item. Repeat. If you still think its fun, you probably need professional help.



Gillsing said...

And this is why reading about MMORPGs is much more fun than playing them. But just to satisfy my curiosity, did the thing you had to do the second time depend on the result of the testing of the water? For all I know, the questgiver didn't know ahead of time exactly what would have to be done until you'd tested the waters and brought back the result.

Jason Janicki said...

Well, the quest giver doesn't 'know' what the result will be. Quest givers, after all, will often have you talk to the guy standing ten feet away.

The quest writer, on the other hand, knows exactly where you will need to go next.

All I'm asking for is some variation :)