Joining the Dots: my love for ? and !
Larisa wrote a fantastic post (as usual) the other day about those ? and ! and how they have shrunk her world, and playing experience.
After reading through it, I found I didn’t agree, I said as much in her comments, but felt I needed to reveal the truth to you all.
You see, those poor ? and ! are sitting targets, easy to see and easy to blame for not experiencing the whole World of Warcraft Experience. In fact, if anything I have found recently that they are the opposite, not restrictors, rather keys to open the doors of Warcraft.
How can this be?
Well I have been running around Azeroth lately trying to prove my worth as an Ambassador, and true hearted Gnome.
To do this, I have revisited a lot of long forgotten places in Azeroth. Places that I never bothered to explore previously.
My allies in this task were:
- The Track Low Level Quests option, and
- The low level quests themselves.
Sure the Exploration Achievements ensure you travel to every far flung gray spot on the map, but let’s consider 1 thing.
If it wasn’t for the quests, and the items in the landscape, the developers would never have bothered to create that part of the world in the first place.
Sure it might be nice landscape, but hell, would you really bother to code in a new section of a map without there being more purpose than “people will take screen shots of this place”?
So you see these quests not only take you around they world, but they help you to understand the reason for it’s existence.
- A camp fire in the middle of nowhere?
Possible, but unlikely.
- A campfire with a NPC in need of assistance… definitely!
I was riding down the road in Darkshore the other day, when I noticed a blip on my radar. Sure enough, perched behind a tree by the side of the road was an Elf in distress.
Did I stop and talk.? Yes!
Did I help him out? You betcha!
He helped me to understand a part of Warcraft that otherwise would have been just another 1280 x 1024 pixels.
So, if the ? and ! have been framed, who are the real criminals in this trial of Warcraft shrinkage?
Early on, we have one form of locomotion (queue /train emote), our feet.
We run here, we run there (or I guess on a RP sever, swagger), through every forest track, mountain tunnel and paved road. That is, until the 1st criminal steps forward and tempts us.
Exhibit No.1 Flight Masters
At some point, usually in our 2nd or 3rd zone, we give up on the foot walk, we want to protect our new Green boots, and want to fly. The Flight Masters tempt us with affordable and fast transport anywhere in the discovered world.
The thing is, once we got the taste for it, we weren’t satisfied. No, it wasn’t good enough to have a high level friend drag us around to the flight points for easier travel in the future.
No we wanted:
More flight paths.
There weren’t enough, give us more… soon more were popping up in the game (think Barrens)
More direct travel
Was that good enough.. Hell No! Those stupid griffons flew down mountain valleys when they could fly over the mountains. The players screamed out for straight flight paths… “As the crow flys”
Was that good enough? Of course Not! No we weren’t happy sitting in the transit lounge, we didn’t want to stopover at each flight master. Get us a flight that took us straight from A to Z, and make sure our luggage comes with us!
Exhibit No.2 Mages Teleport
Ohhh, but Mages found a way to skip even that much content. We could just click our four fingers and zap though space and time to reach our destination. Were people envious.. Hell yeah, but the skipping of content was a guilty pleasure for us Mage for a few levels. People have suggested in the Past that Mages do more harm than good to the world through their meddling, and in this case I might just agree.
Hell, if us Mages were bored we could blink a little as we ran… always nice for those of us with short legs (and attention spans to match)
Exhibit No.3 Land Mounts
Ahhh, let’s speed up the land travel. Let’s allow players to move 60% or even 100% faster. Why enjoy the journey when you can just get to the destination.
At least we got to see some of the scenery… flashing by…
Exhibit No.4 Mage Portals
OK, those envious people then started chasing Mages down back alleys in Stormwind “Port PLZ!”.
Yep, why only spoil your own game experience when you can spoil the experience of 4-39 others? No need to trampse back to home now, just get the Mage to send you home.
The only joy in this are those Evil Mages that like to stack Portals, so it becomes a lucky dip.
Maybe you will get to experience Darnassus afterall!
Exhibit No.5 Warlock Summons
Yep, why face the challenge of reaching the Instance portal? Why fight through the armies of the opposite faction to prove you deserve to run an instance? Just get a friendly Warlock (do they exist?) to summon you to their place of choice.
Exhibit No.6 Summoning Stones
What no friendly Warlocks? (told you!)
Well, Blizzard make it possible for you to skip lots of content, straight to the door of your favorite instance.
In fact, this was a great way of getting to the Tempest Keep Instances, and more to the point, picking up the nearest Flight Path without ever wandering the wilds.
Exhibit No.7 Flying Mounts
So we weren’t satisfied with the location that the flightmasters would get us to, then hoofing it the rest of the way. Noooo, we wanted to fly all the way.
So what’s the problem?
I challenge you to mount up, and fly somewhere (a zone) you have always flown (say the later BC zones), then land and try and make it home on foot. There are cliffs, mobs, waterways. All sorts of things to get in your way… I mean, to enjoy the view of.
I remember once helping a land-bound mate out. I flew near to him, landed, then spent the next 15 minutes trying to traverse the 5 centimeters (on the map). There were all sort of obstacles in the way.
No wonder Blizzard didn’t want us to fly in Northrend until we got Cold Weather Flying!
Exhibit No.8 Shattrath Portals
Why walk, fly, or even bug a friendly Mage (we are all friendly) for a portal, when you can just head to Shattrath and get one yourself… Talk about making the world smaller…
Exhibit No.9 Dalaran Portals
Ohh yeah… If it was good enough for Shattrath, then Northrend better have one too.
I guess we are just lucky that the factions can’t afford to introduce the same technology into the Old World.
How to change things
Remove all forms of transportation apart from feet… It would be a bit harsh to cust us all off at the knees now wouldn’t it?
- Hand in your non-functioning Mechanostrider for Engineering parts.
- Turn over your horse for dog food.
- Sell that flying carpet at a “Persion rugs price to sell sale, all stock must go, under instructions from the liquidator!”
- Set the mammoths free!
Mmm not likely to work is it… I bet if I asked you to live with only your standard land or flying mount you would cry for hours.
OK, what else?
Achievements – Exploration & Quest.
I remember way back, when I was playing Dungeons and Dragons, that there was a limit on the amount of experience we could gain until we trained to go up a level. It didn’t matter if we had reached the xp required, if we hadn’t trained we neither got new skills or additional experience.
So how about limiting the growth of our experience until we have completed one of two achievements for a Zone. Either exploration or Quantity of Quests complete.
Limit the gaining of new levels until certain achievements are completed.
Sounds like a great idea… but it probably wouldn’t happen. Maybe if there was an option you could turn on to prevent yourseld levelling before clearing all zones in your range… hehehehe, you are going to select that option right?
More ?’s and !’s
Well, maybe not more, but how about we all convince James, and the other electronic levelling guide developers to go one step further. We don’t just want a levelling guide, a “1st to 80 guide”, no we want an anal-retentive completionist’s exploration guide. Something that tells you how to pick up all the quests, every last pain-in-the-bear-butt kill x mobs, collect y flowers, take this to fred 10 foot away, take this to Dave 10 zones away quest.
Screw Dailies, let’s have Completely’s
Take 25 dailies and see me in the morning… gawd it’s so friggin boring… I get sick and tired of saving the Shatter Sun Offensive, and of collecting glasses for cooking quests…
How about giving us a real incentive to go back to the starting zones and do all the quests again…
Sure you can AoE all the level 3 mobs in 20 seconds… but you realise it takes you longer to complete those level 1-60 quests than it does a daily… No flying mount, so you have to run everywhere, out to find the sparsly distributed mobs, that you can’t AoE, cause as soon as you have their attention they have died on your Molten Armor.
Give us 5g and a backrub for doing the quests… No more server lag, no more waiting for respawns, the old world reinhabited..
It’s win, Win, WIN!
If Blizzard are really fussed, and in the interests of ensuring that we do get to see the whole world, one pizel at a time, the condition of getting full gold/xp/reputaton credit will be that you must be unmounted at all time (unless required by the quest)…
I think that’s another Win!
Anyway, I think that’s enough persecution of ? and !. Let’s take the real criminals down one by one. You know, people power. Refuse to mount up/teleport/portal today. Do yourself a favor and gooooo sloooow!
Gnomer and Out!
PS: This isn’t the same post I made in my iPhone before it got destroyed… Then it never is. I remember the time I wrote a High Distiction deserving essay for Uni.. It was great, I loved it… I would have given myself a pass for the who unit, not just for the piece of work. Unfortnuately I was working my my mates notebook, which ran out of juice. In my rush to save the document (not realising at that point that the notebook would have just suspended, and kept everything as it was), I saved the trash I was cutting out of the essay over the 99.99% complete essay.
Can you guess what mark I got for the 2nd attempt…. yep bare pass.
Hopefully this one is slightly better than a bare pass, but in future I need to be more careful and save my work every 3 words…