Quests be this way, yarr…

As is obvious by my wee Achievements widget, I’ve been doing a lot of quests over the last week. If I’m lucky I MIGHT (and I use the word advisedly) get all of the new Eastern Kingdoms quests under my belt come Tuesday. What I have found, in my travels across Arathi, Burning Steppes, Badlands, Searing Gorge, the Burning Steppes and the Blasted Lands is just how much the entire quest experience has altered, and in most cases for the better. I’m pretty certain the new mechanics I’ve seen will be popping up in Cataclysm too, so I’m using this time as a prelude to the main action next week.

Deathwing in human form, just before I punch him. Rar!

If you do one quest before Cataclysm, I’d recommend it’s The Day that Deathwing Came, which you can find in the Badlands. It takes about five minutes, comes in three parts and is a great showcase for Blizzard’s ‘self contained cut scene’ mechanic, that takes you out of the ‘normal’ game word and into a special window where you control a specific character. I’ve also encountered one of these cut scenes in the Burning Steppes at the end of the quest line that begins with Keenshan’s discovery when you arrive in the zone. Their ultimate beauty is, I think, that you remain in the game world but are well aware that you’re watching a cut. Although not as epic as the Wrathgate ‘cinematic’ there’s something uniquely compelling about you being a part of what’s going on. I’m really hoping there’s a boatload of these kind of interactive experiences in the 80+ zones…

Goblin Signage: awesome AND obvious! This way, you say?
The Goblins and Worgen’s introduction to the game is seamlessly handled, even at this low level. It’s hard to believe we survived without the Goblin’s Beach Party presence in the Swamp of Sorrows, for instance, which with the Blasted Lands are two of the zones I’ve enjoyed questing in the most. The Swamp makes very clever use of the phasing technology, allowing you at one point to fight as Alliance inside the Horde town of Stonard to help secure the Alliance’s dominance of the zone. I think this is a great step forward as it allows the feel of actual storyline progression. The Steppes is still very familiar: you’re called upon to stop the cultists in the area from summoning a Demon you may already have banished once before, but the story line’s a little more complex, and this time encompasses the Dark Portal’s involvement. Most importantly for me it gives the first real look at the Worgen’s involvement with the Alliance… and frankly it doesn’t go too well. I’m sensing the people of Gilneas aren’t having the best time of it of late, all told. I hope things can improve with the the Night Elves helping them.

Questing post The Shattering is something I recommend everyone has at least a look at before Tuesday. You might learn something about the grind ahead :D

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