Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lack of proper attention to design

I should have written this a few days ago, but I wasn't in the right mood for it. In fact, I'm not in the right mood for it now, either, but I have to write it just to get it on writing.

You see, I started questing with Pupunen, and as per my modus operandi I chose the area which is generally avoided nowadays in the level range 30-35: Desolace. And now I know why.

The quests in Desolace are awfull. The area is like grey Blasted Lands or Badlands, which makes it even worse. And if someone comes and says that there are different shades of grey in the quests, I beg to differ.

The main questlines evolve around the Centaur hostilities, and the player -whether Horde or Alliance- is offered 'the freedom of choice' in befriending one faction or the other. Magram or Gelkis, it's up to you, but never the less it requires killing 50 Centaurs of the opposite faction to open the chain.

And the rest of the quest lines in the area are mostly killing ten foodles and collecting three dingies. Mostly killing.

I think that people are avoiding this area also because of the fact that you have to make the moral decision to start killing neutral mobs which cause you no trouble when you are questing. In a sense, you are ushered to kill for the sake of killing. I don't see any difference in this compared to the much discussed torturing in WotLK, as it makes you do something you as a player wouldn't normally do. "But you kill mobs all the time" I hear someone say. True, but usually the mobs have been painted as opposing and hostile forces, justifying the act: in the case of the Centaur Clans, neither are better or worse than the other, it's up to the player to decide which peacefull faction to kill.

And it sucks.

Because after killing the 50 needed to befriend the faction you get another quest to kill 30 of another Centaur Clan: for Horde this third faction is easy, as it is Kolkar which have been pestering the Horde in the Barrens already. But for Alliance, this is just more of the same.

And at the coastline you have to kill Naga's for several quests. And Burning Blade zealots.

On the positive side, the area has also the funny moments: the vendormats for recipes for Mystery Meat, the missing merchant quest line ( with distinct references to Star Wars ("Whoever attacked the wagon was efficient and swift."), the nice Kodo roundup and naturally the fact that the area is empty of competing players. But the area is a pain to go through: Once I finish the area, I'm not going back except to visit Maraudon, which I still consider one of the most beautifull Old World instances.

I think Desolace was created for the grinding kind of players, but without proper attention to the design: the are is bleak, the variation of mobs is weak (centaurs, nagas and mannoroc's) and the grinding is... grinding.

I want more quests with more variation. And no moral decisions which make you feel bad afterwards.


Jason said...

I don't play WoW anymore (WoW free for over a year), but Desolace used to be one of my favorite zones.

I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment or I have selective memory. :)

Jason (resident drunken idiot of Channel Massive)

Copra said...

Desolace is grind heaven compared to others places I have levelled. Or at least it feels more of a burden in there. It seems that the quests require more to be killed and the more are usually boring.

Like I stated, Desolace doesn't feel that bad for a Horde toon, as the enemies are old acquaintances, but for and Ally it's a forced decision to start killing Centaurs. Which makes it even harder to get motivated.