WOO II An Exploration in Design - July 2012 - By Stoneghost: Dalaran

 

WOO II - Questing

 

Questing delivers the mythology of the game. Raider, Fighter and Crafter activities may all fill in the myth with stories of their own, but Questing provides the overall structure and main story line.

All characters may Quest, and the attributes needed for questing are available via the Talents tree. Thus, as characters level up in via their Life Paths, they may also acquire abilities that improve their questing, and this means that quests may increase in complexity and difficulty with level.

Mythos

The game needs a story, and Questing is the primary mechanism for delivering that narrative. For a number of reasons, this task cannot be properly handled within the Life Paths. For one thing, each Life Path has a unique focus:

For another, the mythos of the game needs to be accessible to all characters. Pursuit of the story cannot require the assembly of a group, the possession of a certain level of gear, the accumulation of massive wealth, or any other specific criteria. What it does require is a desire to learn and a willingness to go out into the world and chase certain rumors and legends to their sources.

The story can be delivered in many ways. The basic choices supported by WOO II are "solo" and "puzzle-adventure". That is, for reasons described in the next section, questing is designed as a purely solo activity. And questing is presented as an alternative to combat ... quests are adventurous, which implies some amount of danger and killing, but the focus is on solving puzzles and learning the story.

It is hard to say, ahead of time, if there should be a strict order to the Quests, and if so, what the order should be. Probably, lower level quests will provide the beginnings of story lines, and higher level quests will fill them out. This would let players discover more of the story as they leveled up. However, game expansions, because they add new levels, would need to add new story lines. Presumably, these would stretch all the way back to the earliest levels ... which would not be a problem as players could relevel to start a Quest chain.

Solo Venues

In WOO II Questing is a solo activity.

After awhile, unrelenting combat becomes tiresome. The same is true of unrelenting farming and selling. Questing is a qualitatively different kind of activity ... puzzles and stories rather than killings and harvests ... and it will give Players a way to take a break from their regular routine. Thus, questing is intended to give Raiders and Fighters some time off from the intensity of group play, and it is intended to give Crafters an additional activity during times when they must wait for their crops to grow and sales to occur.

To this end, Questing is designed to proceed at a leisurely pace, giving players time to think about the story as it unfolds. This implies that no player should be able to form a group and "power quest" his or her way through the story. Nor should any player feel that he or she needs to form a group in order to accomplish some aspect of some quest.

To enforce this provision, a quest will normally culminate within an instance. No groups may enter the instance, thus putting the player is on his or her own. Many quests will likely be "chains", some of which will contain multiple instances and others not. In general, it probably makes sense to put any part of a quest that generates a significant reward inside an instance.

Instances also serve to preserve the Questing ambiance for all players. Few things are as annoying as being near the end of a quest only to have a group of people come rushing through and clear out the cave or castle or whatever and ruin the ending for you. Questing instances will be small, and they will be entirely personal.

Adventurers

Some players will likely enjoy questing more than any other part of the game. They will like exploring new areas, they will spend days waiting for their one shot at that rare pet, they will kill a monster 1000 times waiting for the 1 in a thousand mount to drop. Questing should be designed with these people in mind.

Once questing is no longer needed as a conveyor belt for leveling, it become possible to design a wide variety of encounters. Consider the current game's Archaeology skill, for example. It would be interesting to arrange for random items, to initiate a quest for something more interesting. The outcome might be a part of the mythos, or it might be an item that could be sold for cash, or an enhancement relevant to Questing. In this way the Questing venues could not only deliver the story of the game, but also provide hours of supplementary entertainment.

Categories of Quests

Quests can be loosely divided into three categories:

Ambiance

Although Questing includes some combat, it is not a combat centered activity. Instead, it offers puzzles, games, stories, treasures and adventures. Variation in ambiance can help advance the story, but its main purpose to oppose boredom. Some quests may be limited (i,e, not too difficult) "dungeon crawls" where the character fights through a group of monsters in the manner of a solo dungeon, or a quest may be:

Fishing

Fishing is put under Questing because it is available to characters of all Life Paths and is a solo activity that provides rewards. However, fishing is seldom, if ever, instanced.

Fishing is a unique activity that many players find restful and contemplative. It is one way to enjoy the rather beautiful spaces that the game provides. Fishing should continue to include quests and contests, as in the current game. It is under no obligation to advance the mythology, but perhaps an occasional ancient artifact could be fished up ... who knows?

Rewards

Questing does not give leveling achievements; these are provided by the character's Life Path.

Questing does give currency rewards, and is one of the venues for "daily" or "weekly" activities designed to provide characters with cash.

Questing also gives titles (especially related to History and Archaeology), and enhancement rewards. Enhancements are primarily cosmetic, though some may relate to attributes useful for Questing.

 

NoteS

  1. If the technology allows it, some Quests could be personalized ... the instances could be spawned differently for different characters depending on their attributes.
  2. The character attributes gained through choosing Talents are partly intended to serve as the front end for Life Path skills, and partly intended to support Questing. Many Talents will do both.