Before I begin today's post, there is something I want to go ahead and get out of the way. After some earlier comments about the whole "Ads vs Donations" discussion a few days back, I've decided to go ahead and throw up a donation button. I may make it something more elaborate later where it can show how much has been donated, the goal, and just some type of funny interaction. But as I have no earthly idea how to do that (If you do, I would love for you to drop a comment/email and explain how.) it's just a plain old button until any future modification can be made.
Now WHY should I have the audacity to ask for donations is something you may be thinking.
It's really there for a couple of reasons. One is my whole raffle idea seems to be very popular, and I'm quite excited to give out presents to people such as a World of Warcraft subscription card, Key chains from Jinx, and other nerdy items. I could either...
A: Do this maybe a few times out of the year using my own funds
B: Accept donations from the community, help pay back what I spend on the site and help fund more events such as this.
To put it simply, the button is there if you want to use it. Nothing will change with the site if you do or do not except for perhaps more public fun events where I can give out prizes.
Now on to the post and discussion for today!
Imagine this, if you would.
You had just recently killed Illidan Stormrage, Lord of Outland. You are at the apex of power in your little MMO, World of Warcraft, and there is no longer any challenges left to conquer. Then you go on to fight Kil'jaeden, the last known leader of the Burning Legion...
So what are some of the first quests for the next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King?
Kill 6 snow mice.
My thoughts for you today are about questing in MMOs. How effective quests can truly immerse a player into a virtual universe and make them feel like the actual hero they are playing, and how a horrible quest can utterly ruin the experience to bored tedium and /quit.
So what IS questing exactly? Well kiddies, it's basically a task given to you by an NPC(Non-playable Character) for you to perform for some type of in-game reward. Generally there is some type of lore associated with the task as well in an attempt to draw the player more and more in that virtual universe. This generally ranges from very menial tasks for low level characters (IE Delivering items from one NPC to another, Killing low level monsters, performing some type of task that can be done without any assistance.) to assisting with a threat to a kingdom or the entire world.(IE Killing Onyxia, Stopping Rallos Zek, Stopping the fabric of Time being ripped.)
It's interesting to note that the game EverQuest was really lacking in the whole quest department until recently. Most players would only ever complete maybe 3-6 quests during their entire time playing. Not a day, but from the day they started to the day they quit the game entirely. However one of EverQuest's strong points in my opinion was the "epic" quests for each class. Each class would have a quest specific to them alone that could take months, even years, to complete. Part of the reason was due to the game's horrible use of low drop rates on rare items and their use of "place holders" for monsters.
(Simply put. You would have maybe a 5% chance for the "rare" monster to spawn instead of a normal one, then a similar chance for the item you want to drop. It could take hours/days to get the monster you want to spawn....let alone drop the item you wanted.)
Now while the process could be horribly tedious, the tasks you were performing were not menial in the sense of some level 80 Deathknight being told to sweep the floor. With that point let me escape this tangent and get back to the main subject.
A good use of questing to make the player (YOU) feel like you're part of the game's "story". That you are changing it with your actions instead of the world staying forever in a static state of existence. (Which it is, why haven't the gnomes moved back into Gnomeregan yet? I've killed Thermaplugg at least 20 times..) This is called immersion, ambiance, atmosphere, and what have you. This was the charm of Dungeons&Dragons and many popular single player RPGs. A good use of questing is also simply good story telling, except you're letting the player take an active part of that story..
Which is what the player wants.
The polar opposite applies as well. Horrible use of questing only breeds boredom. Having players perform drudgery isn't going to make them happy, no matter what the in-game reward happens to be. It also a clear reminder that the player is doing just that, playing a video game. Now while menial tasks is expected at low levels, it shouldn't be expected after a player has just recently slain a demi-god.
Let me play Devil's advocate here however. Is it feasible to ask developers to make every single quest an epic encounter? No. For the simple reason that eventually what is epic and the highlight of your MMO career is suddenly the norm. I wouldn't be so proud of my achievement of finishing my Paladin's epic quest in EverQuest if I had performed dozens of similar quests. A player wouldn't be proud of doing the Wrath Gate quest series in World of Warcraft if he had done a few hundred similar quests prior/after.
So where is the happy median?
That wasn't a rhetorical question! What is it?! That is today's discussion. What is the balance needed for fun, entertaining quests and to keep the epic quests from becoming simply average? Or if you want, just talk about your experience with questing in various MMOs in general, or any quest that you found particularly memorable.
Discuss, and enjoy the Super Bowl(Commericals)!
- ▼ 02/01 - 02/08 (6)