Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whose quests are they really?

I tweeted today that I have made a terrible find, which isn't a surprise at all. All who have read this blog any longer than last few months know that I love stories and quests and have been very much disappointed with the heroic/raid kind of playing. Now I took my warrior, switched to Arms dps and started doing the Loremaster achievement in earnest.

And I'm loving the quests which I'm unfolding. Which I have not completed. Which I have neglected back then, or abandoned because I over-levelled them outrageously.

Granted, my main interest is to do the Old World quests before Cataclysm. I know, it's a bit time intensive goal, especially as I know already I'll be travelling due to work things for two weeks during the time. On the helpful side, I have already almost two thirds done of them, in Eastern Kingdom I just crossed 577/700 quests done as I was checking Wetlands for unfinished quests.

Before that I finished the Grizzly Hills achievement and found some nice quest chains which can easily go neglected if you are just levelling up. The Drakuru-chain is obvious, as it has an achievement in itself, but how many really stumbled upon - and completed - the Arugal chain? I do not have to finish it, but I want to, really.

While I was doing the Grizzly Hills quests I noticed something I don't think I have noticed before. The odd quests and small chains in the Old World emphasized this notion even more.

Whose quests is the player character actually doing?

As far as I can see, the quests are always important to the questgiver, and are of utmost important to them. I can't remember right from the top of my hat any quests or questlines where the player character was impelled to do the quests for personal involvement or which would have revolved around the player character in any real way.

The personal involvement of the player through her/his character's personal involvement is seriously missing in the quests, as far as I can tell.

Like in the business world, the reward of money or gear isn't enough a drive to make the quests enjoyable or rewarding to the player. (In some recent studies on salary being a reward in a job they found that after certain salary level the salary ceases to be the reward or reason to work for more.) If there is no personal involvement or enticement, the player is pretty much alienated from the questing and thus the quest-reward cycle feels like a grind, something you must do to get on with the game, to level up.

I'm a strong advocate for choice in quests and equal reward for making a choice that affects the position and demeanour of the character in the world around him. You make the choice and you face the consequences rather than you do the deed and the NPC enjoys the outcome.

What would be your solution to this lack of personal involvement in WoW quests?