Monday, 9 November 2009

Shifting the questing paradigm

One of the interesting things about levelling up from the original game and through the expansions is seeing how Blizzard has changed how you go about picking up quests and going through the zones.

From about level 20 onwards you generally find yourself in one or more zones, going back and forth grabbing whatever quests were available and within the right level range. Often this could be quite annoying especially if you have to wait to level before continuing with a quest chain and the constant travelling could really eat into your play time.

Things got worse as you headed towards 60, chances are you'd only be doing 1 or 2 quests in a zone before having to fly/ride off to another zone.

Once you ride through the dark portal things change slightly, suddenly there are entire zones to complete at any one time before moving onto the next one. Each quest hub you approach is suddenly awash with yellow exclamation marks which you can run around and pick up before heading off to complete the objectives. Naturally there will be quests that can be completed at the same time, but you are going to have to figure that out yourself otherwise you may well spend lots of time riding back and forth to the same spot.

Finally the frozen north beckons and you find yourself on the coast of Northrend with a whole new set of zones to quest through and quest hubs springing up. However this time instead of being awash with exclamation points there are only one or two and as you complete quests you either progress the chains or open up new quests to do. The other main advantage is that when doing quests they tend to be all grouped up in the same area.

Of the three models I definitely prefer what has been done in Northrend, the story lines are much easier to follow and I don't feel I'm wasting time travelling around trying to sort out the best order to do all the quests in. I really hope that Blizzard keep this questing model for future expansions, or indeed find some way to improve upon it.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Hitting Outlands (again!)

My paladin levelling has carried on apace, and in no time I found myself at level 58 and a choice. Stay in Azeroth for the next two levels or head through the dark portal to a land of increased XP and shinier quest rewards.

Unlike a certain shaman who carried on with the plaguelands, I decided to run the risk of orange quests and hit Hellfire Peninsula. It turned out that there wasn't really much of a problem, killing demons and having plate armor meant I ran through the quests in short order and found myself at level 60 and a letter in the mail inviting me to purchase a flying mount and the skill to ride it.

Being able to fly makes a massive difference, no longer do I have to run around avoiding hellboars and questing becomes a lot more point to point rather than following the terrain. Personally this is a good thing, I've ridden around Outlands twice and it was fun at the time, but with the current expansion my sights are set on Northrend so these things that help me get there quicker are obviously a good thing.

I'm still enjoying the retribution tree which puts out a decent amount of damage while being able to stay alive through emergency heals. In fact I'm getting so comfortable with the play style that several of the elite group quests are falling easily beneath my axe.

Just four more levels and I'll but hitting the fjord again, but will also have to fit in levelling professions and trying to get epic flying skill again. Ah, good times.