Questing – it’s easily the most important and the most overlooked part in every new expansion or game launch. Aside from completely leveling within battlegrounds or other forms of PvP, questing has always been the Draenic standard for direct character progression. Warlords of Draenor hosts a staggering amount of quests to do as players charge against the Iron Horde in a variety of different flavors that may intrigue, inspire, immerse, or irritate, truly depending solely on a player’s tastes. If you couldn’t care less about what I have to say specifically about questing in Warlords of Draenor, then skip on down to the bottom of the article to see the run down and find out quickly if questing is right for you this expansion.
Draenor v Pandaria
A lot of Pandarian veterans know how horrid it was (or is) to level back in the whimsical panda’s homeland, as it was riddled with plenty of repetitive fetch and kill quests, the massive experience needed per level, large masses of land that needed to be trekked from end to end just to finish a quest or to find one, and the arguable alienation of the WoW player through environment. If you didn’t understand the last one, it just means a lot of people didn’t like happy-happy Pandaland. All these things put together has made for a very bad experience in Pandaria, making the grind from 85 to 90 one of the worst in WoW’s history.
Warlords of Draenor, in general, isn’t safe from the standard fetching and killing, but overall, when compared to Pandaria, grants a quicker and faster rewarding for these quests. Many of them are short and sweet, quickly resolved and finished as they have simple instructions and simple modes for completion. Some might consider it to be a bad thing, but overall, Warlords of Draenor’s reduced quest experience is made up for the plethora of quests in every single area, and when combined with the previous statement, makes level progression incredibly quick and rewarding.
It’s the ease of attaining the reward and the swiftness of finishing a quest that gives Warlords of Draenor a bigger edge in repulsing the monotony. Players find themselves jumping quickly from one place to another, giving the impressions that they achieved more. While many might consider this merely to be an illusion that Warlords of Draenor is able to pull off and, in reality, is actually not much shorter than in Pandaria, I would argue that it would not matter in the grand scheme of things.
What actually matters is that it does at least delay monotony that questing can ultimately create. Longer or not, it is effective at keeping the attention of the player through the sheer entertainment from them in comparison to Pandaria or even the older expansions, and I believe it has a better chance at seeing more players hit the level cap than any other.
Rares and Encounters
As it was stated earlier, quests in Warlords of Draenor are quick and sweet, not lingering for too long for a player to lose interest. Remember in the older game where, once a certain quest is finished, the turn-in is right on the spot and then another quest appears as a follow up, sometimes repeating several times over in the course of the journey? Yeah, I hated those. I hated the feeling that it still wasn’t over and I was stuck in a specific area for another hour or two, and those became even more prevalent considering we all had other quests to do besides the long one we’ve been doing. When a player finishes a quest, it’s done, end of story. Get the reward, get the glory, get that level up: That’s all there is to it. This makes leveling feel faster in Warlords of Draenor and makes it feel way less of a chore that just has to be done before you can go and actually play the game.
Questing is much more linear in this expansion as each story-related quest leads players easily to the next hub and other miscellaneous-in-betweens are found along the way, making it less likely for a player to miss a chance at much needed gear upgrades or that sliver of experience left for the next level up. And, as said earlier, kill and fetch quests are still common, but there is a whole lot of variety to keep things interesting, like piloting a shredder to eviscerate hundreds upon hundreds of mobs (oh, what great fun!), or assassinating trees through a hit-list made by other trees.
There is little need to go off the beaten path, but when players do, there are a lot of other hidden activities to be had, and Warlords of Draenor does it well. There are many Warlords of Draenor rares that have a 100% chance to drop their unique item upon a player’s first kill, but then the player becomes barred from ever receiving it again after the first, making the occassional detour very profitable. Plus, they sometimes have their own little story event when encountered.
Bonus objectives are a new element to questing and every area has a few of these. They add a layer of depth to the game, but they really aren’t anything more than repackaged kill quests. They often offer about four to five quests worth of experience at the cost of needing to travel to their area, usually way off a player’s intended path and, as I said, can be such a bore at times. It doesn’t add anymore positive sentiment to them especially considering that a player doesn’t even need to explore to find them but are instantly visible on the world map. Seriously, the only merit to doing any of these is because they may incidentally reward reputation for killing the NPCs and/or the massive experience gain when completed.
Opposite of the bonus objectives are the random events that aren’t as easily spotted on the world map and vary in objectives. These can be started in a number of different ways like speaking to a special NPC that had just appeared or fulfilling a hidden requirement like killing nearby goren to produce the actual objective of the event. Triggering or engaging these events can be really tricky at times since the requirements aren’t always as obvious, especially if they don’t have an interactable NPC. But it can be easily known by using some context clues from the event’s title. These events can be easily found on the mini-map marked by crossed swords, rewarding players with experience, gold, and unique items. Unlike bonus objectives, these events are a great addition to questing.
Hey! That was MY Corpse to Burn!
There have been a few revamps in WoW’s questing system and the most prominent of them is the shared tagging for all quest boss monsters. Remember back in the Burning Crusade where you’ve been waiting for a quest boss to respawn for what feels like an eternity and then this <insert class here> bolts in, taking the first hit, leaving you to wait for another century until it respawns? Forget the Burning Crusade, remember, oh, I don’t know, everything before Warlords of Draenor? Well, they fixed it up here and there isn’t any need to steal these commodities or attune to questing paranoia when other players are around. But not only that, some quests and their required quest objects are instanced as well.
Another revamp that was introduced in Warlords of Draenor, which players may either love or hate, is the new quest object/character interactable highlight. Replacing the previous default of sparkly yellow/blue highlight from previous expansions is a soft white outline on the object or character, similar to that of Diablo III. While it looks nice and seamlessly integrates into the world, it can be, at times, a dreadful deterrent to continue questing. It melds with the environment so flawlessly that, sometimes, quest items, especially smaller ones, are extremely difficult to find. Even at subsequent playthroughs, even if a player knows the quests and areas well, it can still prove to be difficult. Personally, I prefer the older version because I don’t like running around an area for an hour just to find a tiny box that I’ve been apparently passing by thousands of times before noticing.
Questing is also heavily influenced by Warlords of Draenor’s newly implemented garrisons and outposts as these give players differents tools and skills to use that greatly shape the way their journey to 100 will be. Outposts, especially, are more influential than a player’s garrison in Frostfire Ridge or Shadowmoon valley because many of the quests and rewards change with the two different outposts for each area, with a player only being able to choose one path. From support artillery fire to summoning powerful companions, outposts offer a plethora of different experiences and flavors throughout a player’s journey in Warlords of Draenor.
Reputation Grind and Dailies
If you don’t know about Timeless Isle, you may be surprised (or unsurprised) to hear that non-raid related reputation with Emperor Shaohao found on the isle is just as bad as the raid related rep grinds of old like the Ashtongue Deathsworn or the Hydraxian Waterlords. Despite Blizzard’s experience and advancement in MMO development, they decided to take a step backward in the same way Timeless Isle was. The few reputations available in this expansion require the regular number of points to max out, but this time around, there are but a few or sometimes even no daily quests that can be done for them, forcing players to kill a massive number of creatures that give very little reputation per kill.
While it isn’t strange for WoW to have horrendous rep grinds, Warlords of Draenor has devolved back to the MMO grind basics, making a part of the current end game experience very undesirable. What makes matters worse in this regard is that rep affects, whether directly or indirectly, other elements in the game like the garrison with the example of followers and invasions, or even PvP through the examples of gear and progression, but those will be divulged in future articles that focus on them.
In this present build of WoW, the greatness that regular questing in Warlords of Draenor has strived to build up was taken apart by the end game grind, reversing what little good it had done in this aspect of the game. This may very well be the grim nadir of reputation and dailies, though it may still be a farcry from the older times. However, it is apparent that this practice of Blizzard in ensuring time-lost policies are made permanent are as pervasive as ever in the present and what may look like to be the future of their other games.
To sum it all up, here are the pros and cons to questing in Warlords of Draenor:
+ Questing in Warlords of Draenor is quick and immediately rewarding
+ Questing is more linear and easily found without breaking flow or momentum
+ Revamped world and quest mechanics make questing smoother and imparts less stress on the player (i.e. shared monster tagging and a few instanced quest interactables)
+ Scenarios are seamlessly integrated into the game world, forfeiting instance queueing
+ Despite linearity, there are many secrets and events to be found when treading off the beaten path through many different bonus objectives, rares and rare encounters
+ Flight paths are faster and well thought out in design
+ Other elements, such as garrisons, play an integral role in a player’s experience in Warlords of Draenor, integrated amazingly into the game without being too off and awkward and enhancing the questing experience through a variety of different paths to be taken by a player.
– Aside from Skyreach and the legendary questline, there are no other quests that lead you into a dungeon
– Daily Questing and Reputation grinds are horrible as ever, perhaps even more so than before Warlords of Draenor
– Quest highlights are weird
– Minor bugs and a few glaring ones exist that can pretty much annoy anyone, aside from the present server instability issues
– Fetch and Kill quests are still common, ruining what could have been a great thing in bonus objectives
All in all, questing in Warlords of Draenor is a huge improvement to how it was in the past. Eschewing long and heavy quests for small and quick ones, as well as introducing new elements like the garrison/outpost quest influence and random events and rares, Blizzard has learned better on how to pace players with the introduction of a new level cap, though end game grinding seriously needs to be thought out more. No one wants to kill a billion demons just to get a pint of reputation over hours and hours of repetitive killing. This review gives questing gameplay a solid 7/10. Tune in next week as we tackle garrisons and dungeons in Warlords of Draenor, and how they may have done good or bad to the World of Warcraft.
And if you want to read the first part of our World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor’s review in progress, you can find right here.Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Expansion, Review, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday