Monday, April 20, 2009

Patch 3.1 Daily Travel Quests

WTFspaghetti has a map of the new argent tournament daily quests. In addition to these dailies, the patch introduces a new random-location fishing daily quest which sends players to one of five locations (some of which are relatively far afield), and makes one of the Wintergrasp dailies substantially easier to do on off-hours (NPC guards now count for the "kill players" quest). Adding these onto the map can make the daily quest travel route span literally the entire map.

Realistically, solo daily quest content is not going to be very challenging unless it relies on something like the vehicle system that gives the devs absolute certainty as to players abilities and damage potential. With the sheer range of classes, abilities, and specs, content that pushes the best solo specs to the limit would be impossible for others. So, we get mounted jousting and we get dailies where the challenge is external to the actual task at hand - the Wintergrasp quests present the possibility that you will encounter and have to fight the enemy, while the others fill out the time by making you travel across the world.

The latter is frustrating and lazy design. Unless you're stuck waiting for a respawn when you arrive, the time it takes to travel to the locations of most of the new dailies significantly outweighs the time you'll spend there once you arrive. There's no challenge, thought, or entertainment anywhere in the process; the devs have simply decided that each quest should take a certain amount of time, and placed the quest objectives accordingly.

For example, one mob literally involves flying across two zones, killing a single nonelite mob, flying across two more to use the quest item, and then flying (or teleporting part of the way, for mages and owners of the Dalaran hearth rings) all the way back to the start. Seriously, they might as well have frozen my character in a block of ice for 10-15 minutes and awarded the quest complete for all the interaction the quest requires on my part.

Overall, some of the content is still well done, but it is very disappointing to see "watch your character fly places" play such a major role in the content pacing.


Daniel said...

I agree with you. In fact, the shear number of quests it takes to level is starting to grind on me. In Northrend, for the first time, I have actually stopped playing because there were so many quests to do taking up so much of my time. I calculated that at level 73, if each quest reward is 20K XP, then you need about 79 quest just to level. If each quest takes 20 minutes (on average) then a playing time of 20 hours just to level is not unrealistic. Depending on how efficient you are the actual time might be more or less than then this. But even ten in-game hours is a long time. And the sad part about that is that much of that quest time stems from just moving around, going back and forth.

Green Armadillo said...

The distinction between time spent traveling for leveling content and daily quests is that you only do the leveling content once.

Wrath has actually done a pretty good job, in my view, of placing the local quest hubs near the associated content and allowing players to pick up multiple quests to be done on the same trip through the area. Doing this once lets you see the world, use the content, and experience the story. If you actually like doing solo PVE content, having enough content to last 10 hours per level is an advantage, rather than a disadvantage. (If you don't like solo PVE, well, Blizzard will take your money, but they will also launch the expansion with a one-month gap before the arena season and a single full-sized raid consisting of recycled content.)

By contrast, daily quests are designed to be repeated multiple times. You're not merely spending time traveling, you're spending time traveling OVER content that you've already been to and cleared. Also, as I said, they've gone out of their way to send you across multiple zones for these dailies, something which is not at all common for leveling content.

LarĂ­sa said...

Hm... I never thought about it this way: that they're deliberately forcing me to spend time on journeys because they were too lazy to give me more content. I actually think you're onto something there.
Makes me feel a bit tricked.

Daniel said...

GA. I see the distinction you make and it's a fair one. Having said that, I still think that Blizzard could do a better job of making quests less time consuming.

Maybe it's just the way I play the game. I am one of these players that likes to go around the zone riding and unclearing all the parts before I start questing. I don't like to follow the quest progression to discover new areas. Further, both my professions are gathering professions. As a consequence, I often have to go over zones multiple times to level skills. Since I don't do any of it all at once, the net result between the questing, the exploring, and the gathering is that I see zones until I want to puke. In this way, the final quests in any area very much resemble daily quests for me. I've probably traversed the same area a dozen times by the time I get those quests.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I must say that as a player with limited time, the "travel" quests, while cute the 1st time, are a PITA ever after.

I want to do 4 Tournament quests that take 10 minutes... plus 20 minutes travel time.

Screw it, I will do one....