Wednesday, August 1, 2012

5 Things I Loved and Hated about Cataclysm - #4 Quests

I have always enjoyed questing. It is one of the things that has always drawn me into the game, and it allows me to be apart of the world that Blizzard has created.

Cataclysm gave us a new questing format. The linear quest type that began in Wrath has continued into Cataclysm, but in a more structured way. The quests are obviously designed to take you through each theme and storyline of each zone as an individual area. There are also overarching themes and stories that carry you from one zone to another or through a group of zones or continents such as the story-lines through the first 4 zones of the Horde-side Forsaken 1-30 areas comprising Deathknell, Brill, Silverpine and Hillsbrad. And of course we can't forget the main baddie; the Cataclysm zones and the story lines involving Deathwing and his many minions and cults that can be found in the new 80-85 zones.

What I most enjoyed about the linear questing is that you participated in the story as it unfolded. You were a part of everything that was happening and affecting the areas around you. This was a great idea that continued on from Wrath. It became more about the story and less about the out and backs and the search and destroys that encompassed so many of the old vanilla quests. Cataclysm integrated these quest types into a story that made it not so mundane. The story-lines are very laid out for you and it is obvious what is going on. For those of us who feel compelled to do every quest in the zone this was awesome. I never felt like I was going to miss something because the quest chains wouldn't let me.

In the revamped 1-60 zones I found this refreshing. I remember having to search all the nooks and crannies of some of the original areas looking for quests that I might have missed; and I remember being frustrated and having to resort to wowhead and add on's to find everything. It was also a bit harder to figure out the story-lines. When I was new to WoW I fell in love with the lore, but it still amazes me how people pull interesting lore facts out of quests. For some reason I never noticed this stuff when I did them. The disconnected story lines in the original game left me wondering what was going on at times. I still don't understand the whole Ashbringer thing and I wish I did, but I guess that quest story line is gone forever now. 

As for the new zones I found this questing experience interesting and engaging. The stories were well laid out and made sense. I knew I would experience every area of each zone, I just had to wait for the story to take me there. I could quest without wondering where should I go next, or worrying I might miss something. I didn't have to have a plan on how to tackle a zone and the story unfurled for me as I went along.

What I found is there is also a down side to this type of format.

While I enjoyed the hassle-free questing I found it boring after the first go through. Uldum, even the first time around, with all the cut-scenes, was annoying. Being the completionist I am I just couldn't bring myself to hit escape and blow by them. That left me feeling uncomfortable for most of the zone. This was also the one place where it was possible to lose the quest chain, which I did. And once lost it was really hard to find again. Thank god for Wowhead or I don't think I would ever have finished this area. 
The stories are great the first time through but if you have alts this becomes unbearable. After traversing Vashj'ir or Hyjal for the 6th time I really think I'm really over it. And believe me, it takes a lot to get me to "over it". 
Ok, so not that all the vanilla questing was all that great to go through over and over but I felt like I had choices and could vary my questing experience. There are still revamped vanilla zones I haven't gone through, such as Swamp of Sorrows, that I'd still like to see. The BC and Wrath expansions offer so many lands that you could kinda pick each time you went through where you wanted to go. Hellfire and Zangarmarsh? Zangar then Nagrand with some Netherstorm? Lots to choose from and even more in Wrath. You start in Borean or Howling Fjord, but then once you started leveling you can go to any of 4 other choices from there, and from there 4 other choices. Here, with only 5 zones in this expansion, there is just not the number of choices we have seen previously. Even more limiting is the absolute linear quest chains. You cannot simply go into a zone and pick an area you'd like to do over on an alt. You HAVE to progress through the quests as they are presented to you. There is absolutely no other way to do it. Did you like the Dwarven wedding in Twilight Highlands? You won't have far to go but you will have to go through ALL the quests from the landing port to get there. If you are interested in the Twilight Cultist quest chain you have even further to go. Good luck. It can be grueling and boring and will take you nearly a full day of questing to get there. Hope you enjoy it once you arrive. 
And don't get me started about Vashj'ir. This zone was really new and innovative when it came out, and presented an interesting and new experience for all us long time questers.  But man! After the first time through if you go back you're crazy! I have been back twice with alts, no maybe 3 times.... (ok, I'm a little crazy) Usually every 4 months or so I get the itch to see something different and take another toon through. By the time I hit the battle-maiden quests I'm wondering what got into me.

The linear questing in Cataclysm gave us a new albeit structured experience, that had both pros and cons. What I most regret about these changes is the lack of choice that came with this expansion when it comes to questing. It allowed me to get bored fast with the game and forced me to find new things to do. I raid but it does not encompass a ton of my WoW time. Finding new things to do this expansion has been difficult, and I found for the first time I'm not logging in more than once or twice a week right now. Hell, I even took up archeology. I truly consider that a last resort.

That alone makes me concerned about what Blizz has in store for us with upcoming expansions. I know MoP is supposed to offer more end-game options. I certainly hope it lives up to this promise.  


  1. Repeating quests, for the most part, do feel like a slog. However I have always LOVED dailies. Call me crazy, but I really do love them. So for me, the addition of vastly more dailies and removal of the cap is great in my mind!

    Also, I have grown to realize that my greatest enjoyment in WoW is not raiding, but rather in 5 man content. I love incredibly challenging 5 man dungeons, so for me, Challenge Mode 5 mans will be my bread & butter come Mists, I'm sure of it.

    1. :) I agree Ril. I love 5 mans as well but for some reason Cata 5's are not as much fun as BC or Wrath was. Challenge modes sound fun but also sound like they have the potential to be full of more yelling and screaming in PUG's than ever. Here's to hoping for more guild/real ID runs. I'm covering 5 mans, specifically difficulty level, as one of the my loved/hated top 5 so that post will be coming soon. Thanks for the comment!