Wednesday, March 28, 2007

World of Warcraft quest series

Great fun yesterday, I finished the Hero of the Mag'har quest series. Not only does that give you some unique insight into the history of the orcs, but you also get two blue items as reward. In this case I was lucky, because everybody gets a necklace that is only useful for melee dps, which is nice enough for my warrior with whom I did the quest, but would have been useless for my priest. The second blue item is leggings, and there you get a choice of cloth, leather, mail, and plate, so there is something for everyone. The plate legs are really good for my warrior.

Now finishing this quest series isn't easy. You don't even get to start the quest before you haven't finished all the other Mag'har quests. Then you have to do a long series of solo quests, and then you need a group to kill the last boss in the Auchindoun crypts, and then at least one partner to kill 15 elite mobs in Nagrand.

I noticed that in World of Warcraft quest series often start with lots of solo quests, and end with some group quests. And I can see both advantages and disadvantages in that. The disadvantage is that if you follow a quest line and come to a group quest, you might get stuck there for some time, unable to find a group to help you to continue the quest. That makes for an ugly break in the story telling. You'll frequently find people complaining that their quest journal is full of elite quests. With Blizzard having repeatedly dropped the ball on their LFG functionality, finding a group outside your guild is as hard as never, with no more global LFG chat channel, and a shitty LFG interface nobody uses.

The advantage of quest series ending in group quests is that it encourages people to join with strangers into groups, and make new friends. After all, this is not a single-player game, even if there are lots of people playing it like one. As the final quest of a series usually gives a blue item, they provide a strong pull to overcome the reluctance to group.

So what do you think? Is encouraging people to group by putting elite quests at the end of quest series a good thing? Or is all "forced grouping" a bad thing?

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