Remember that time when Pandas were made a playable race and it turned out to be an April Fool’s Joke… until they proved so popular that Pandaria happened? Today’s suggestion to improve the next Warcraft expansion comes straight from another gag, but with a twist. The Textual Attendance plays on a certain generation’s obsession with the ‘play your own’ adventure which did indeed give the perception of not simply free will, but actual ability to make a book last longer than the time it took you to read it once.
Now, I ask myself, why can’t this be done with questing in Azeroth?
One of Legion’s major selling points was that you could do any zone in any order, thanks to the wonder of zonal scaling. This is great on (hand waggle) two or three runs, but after that you’re faced with the same quests, like it or not. Yes, treasures and the like, plus dungeons and pet battles create some notion of diversity, but that’s really all there is. After twelve years of the same linear approach, time and again, there were hints with the Warlords Garrison that at least some kind of variety might be possible, but the failure of that project to ignite popular interest appears to have scuppered any form of variance this time around.
I really feel it is time to start creating quests which can have different outcomes based on the individual decisions players make at first interaction.
So why can’t questing be like this? It is still a step by step process, but your initial quest giver sends you to a place where you have to choose from one of two rewards. By doing so, the next step of the process provides further options: some of them have a ‘bonus’ element which you can pick up, others just give a larger, comparable reward in gold. However, for those of us with alts: if three of them all do different branches of this quest whilst levelling, and pick up the three bonus branches, you’re then rewarded with a SPECIAL BONUS QUEST that any of your alts can go do, with a set of nice rewards that you can collect as well.
Really, is this too much to ask after over a decade of just being asked to do the same old stuff, over and over again?
What this requires is an element of storytelling that I feel was present in both 100-110 levelling and Suramar, but which seems lacking on Argus. By that I mean a depth to the stories of supporting characters, which in 7.3 have gained the status of simple set dressing. Everything appears to be about the Light and Shadow, and although I’ll grant you we are only three weeks into what I’ve been promised is ‘epic’ lore, I’m betting there won’t be the variety of Suramar storytelling on offer. What that zone benefited from undoubtedly was a compelling narrative. It also allowed us to become invested in the whole rather than simply parts: although there are clearly elements at play which are attempting to do this now, most people are not on Argus for the lore anyway.
We all know why the place exists, and it is as distraction for the next six weeks.
One of the consistently great takeaways from this Expansion has been the Professions questing, which is is EXACTLY and the depth and breadth I feel is required for content going forward. If there is the possibility to combine this with something that isn’t simply a case of following a line from A to B it would be really, REALLY brilliant. We could even go back to the Suramar mentality that, when you reached a certain reputation level, existing quests could reset with a differing set of outcomes and a new group of phased ‘backgrounds’ to match.