Once upon a time WoW was a game that offered mysteries to be solved, adventures to be experienced. The world was there for us to explore and it was endless. Not so anymore. It’s like if the whole concept of questing is turned into something that requires as much brain activity as fishing.
I’ll quote the notes in case you haven’t seen it already:
Quest creatures and objects will now show on the player’s world map.
- A skull graphic will be placed on the map in the general area where players can find creatures they must kill for a quest.
- A skull graphic with red eyes will be placed on the map in the general area where creatures can be found that must be killed in order to collect quest objects.
- A gear/cogwheel graphic will be placed on the map in the general area where players must loot quest objects found in the world.
- A chat bubble graphic will be placed on the map in the general area where players must interact with a specific NPC for a quest.
- A yellow question mark graphic will show on the map to provide the location of a NPC whose quest the player has completed.
Now, before I’ll throw myself into my doubts about the change, I must admit that I’m a bit torn in my opinion. I can see why they do it. It’s a part of the ongoing mission to make levelling up a bit easier. Completely new players can more easily work their way through the more or less dead zones and reach the +70 zones where most players hang around. They don’t have to wander around for ages, annoyed and frustrated at quests that sometimes are pretty cryptic and poorly written.
And to players who have been around for a while it doesn’t change anything. They’re using Questhelper or Lightheaded anyway, which do about the same thing. Now those features are built into the game, which means they have an addon less to update and to put strain on their system.
So, OK, I too see the reason for it. And probably I deserve to be called a hypocrite, since I too use Lightheaded and TomTom to give me the coordinates and directions when I level my druid alt.
All this said I still want to vent a bit of the sadness I feel seeing this happening.
What bothers me is that somehow the “being efficient and do things as quick as possible, ticking off things from your list” concept has completely overtaken the “experience, explore and lose yourself into a different world” idea.
I think back to my own first levelling experience, two and a half years ago. I started in TBC, at a point where there was already tons of information available to facilitate your questing at institutions such as Thottbot. But I was all new to gaming, I didn’t know anyone and I had no idea those tools existed. I played the game vanilla, the way it was presented to me, fumbling for quest objectives in complete darkness for my first levels. And how I enjoyed it!
A typical example of this was when I completed the quest Retrieval for Mauren, which is handed out by a guy standing close to the mage tower in Stormwind. There was something in the quest description that really kicked off my curiosity and imagination:
Travelers keep asking me about the Stonetalon Mountains. It seems to be a popular place for adventure--it doesn't matter if you're seeking wyvern, elementals, or you have business with the Venture Co.Within the Charred Vale, deep in Stonetalon, there used to be a species of basilisks whose scales, when ground to dust, made a wonderful reagent for some spells I've created.
If those basilisks still live, I would love to have a few of their scales.
Take your time, it is no rush, but I can pay well.
Off I went on a journey that seemed endless. Completing this single quest took me three nights – at least. I didn’t have flight points anywhere, I didn’t have any mount. I don’t remember how I finally got there, but I can vividly imagine that I didn’t find the shortest route. And my corpse runs were countless. All this for just a crappy wand as quest reward. I remember teleporting back to SW, turning in the quest and then wondering: was this all? And then I went back to questing in whatever area of Easter Kindom I was working on.
This was of course a waste of time and effort, measured in xp/hour efficiency, and I’d never ever consider doing it again on any on my alts. But was it fun? Absolutely! The world was endless and almost everything on the map was dimmed. I didn’t know where I was heading, I didn’t know where to go, what to do, and this gave a sort of immersion that I think is hard to obtain if there are skulls and crosses all over the map.
Probably I’m just a sad old lady, longing back for an era of youth and innocence that WoW lost long ago. I guess I want to protect the new clueless “Larisas” coming to the game today from getting too much information. I want to let them enjoy their first steps in the game the way I enjoyed them. But it’s a lost cause, since those players were quite rare when I started and hardly exist at all anymore.
WoW is aging quickly and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can walk down the memory lanes and mourn what’s lost and gone, but the development isn’t in our hands. If we want adventure and exploring we would probably be better off trying a new game.
Still I come to think of the brilliant prediction of the patchnotes 5.2 that Gevlon made a while ago:
- "an "adventure guide" NPC was added to all starter zone who provide quest "kill 3 boars" for XP to level to 100streamlining classes: the complicated rotation of the 2 spells/class introduced in 5.0 has been revised. Now every class have one spell "Ipawn" doing 50000 damage to all hostile cratures in 20 yards and heals 60000 damage for all friendlies in 20 yards up to 10 targets.Reputation requirements for "awesome screenblocking flying whale" mount has been reduced to Whale Tamers friendlyNew Whale Tamers daily quest introduced, providing 500 Rep for bringing a letter from Whale Tamer Jack to Whale Tamer Joe, both standing in the largest building.Material requirements for ilvl 400 legendaries have been reduced to 10 dream cloth/dream skin/dream bar and 1 ultimate earth/fire/shadow/life"
I’m afraid that this isn’t just sarcasm. It’s exactly what’s going to happen. Changing the maps in 3.2 is just another brick in the wall.