Friday, April 23, 2010

Key Quests

Vanilla WoW and early Burning Crusade, players had to complete very lengthy quest chains to unlock raid content. Every raid had a key chain. For instance, in BC, you had to do several solo quests and then partially run some 5-mans that you had probably already run before. All to get into the first raid instance. The next instance required completion of the first raid instance and possibly the construction of an item that might require some farming of an outdoor raid boss or another handful of 5-mans. By the time you reached the second or third major raid you might have to run previous content over again for weeks while also completing a large string of difficult solo quests. For some these were good times, for others...not so much.

For the first people in a guild to complete each key chain, times were good...for a while. But after having to help the 30th replacement complete their group/raid key chains, it was more a job than fun. Suddenly top guilds might only be accepting players who had already completed the chains...somehow.

Coming late to the game was show-stopper. Any guild that was willing to take on a new player by then was not getting far. They were lucky if they could even get together enough people for dedicated 5-man runs.

Thus, by the "end" of the game, only small percentages of guilds were seeing end-game content, let alone completing it.

Thankfully Blizzard fixed that. However, as they are so often apt to do, they over-killed it. By removing key quests altogether, they took out an "epic" part of the game. What they could have done is place key quest chains onto solo content. Place a few solo dungeons into the game world and allow players to follow extremely lengthy chain quests to unlock those dungeons. I don't really care what kind of gear would be there, maybe just fluff items (mounts, pets, gear with fun uses...etc).

Why solo content? Why not? So what if the game is multiplayer, no one is stopping anyone from grouping with their friends. But many players just like being in a game world where they can be among other gamers and have to put up with them. For instance, I have a choice to hang out at a noisy club or the bookstore. In one place there is lots of interaction, while the other place is very little.

Anyway, key quests do not have to be out of the game permanently. They could be fantastic tools to occupy solo players. Even hardcore raiders might want to tramp around by themselves once in a while.

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