Away From Reality

March 11, 2011

AFR #122 – I’ve been questin’ on the railroad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — tabulacandida @ 8:50 PM

<<First comic <Previous comic | Next comic> Latest comics>>

I do enjoy and appreciate the redesigned world of Cataclysm, but I keep getting caught off guard by the way they’ve changed questing flow.  Used to be you’d roll into a new zone, pick up all the quests, venture out into the wilderness and do everything, then come back for your rewards.  Some of those quests would continue as longer chains, which you would go back out and work on until you ran out of quests.  If you were lucky, one of those chains would end in a breadcrumb pointing you to a higher-level zone, otherwise you just upped stakes and moved on when you ran out of stuff to do.

Now, you rarely have more than two or three quests open to you at a time.  Your movement through the zone is tightly controlled, sometimes with phasing, with quests constantly pushing you from one place to another on a carefully mapped path.  If you miss or choose not to do a quest, you get locked out of the rest of the zone, even if there’s no logical reason why you should have to defeat the local bandits before you can feed the farmer’s chickens.

I miss the old design, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its problems or that the new design is a bad choice.  In the old days, you felt more like a wandering hero, facing the dangers of the world far from the safety and comfort of civilization, but at the same time questing often seemed pointless and unconnected to anything tangible.  How many times did we look at our quest log and ask: “Who are we killing, again?  Why do we want their handkerchiefs?  Where did we even get this quest, and what are we supposed to do with the dohickey the questgiver handed us?”  In the new design, everything is immediate, you always know where to go next, and you get to watch a story unfold around you.  On the other hand, your character ends up as just one more cog in the machine, going through the same rotations as everybody else.  If you want to do a zone, you have to do it the same way as every other character, no deciding to go kill mad cultists first and gather ingredients for stew later, or choosing to skip the goat poop quest this time around.

Of course, as writer of a silly comic, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t make fun of the new system, just like I made fun of the old one.


  1. Looking at your linked comic and this one, I have to say, I think the old comic is a lot more relevant to its time than the new one. From what I’ve seen, Cata has at most 10% of quests that are really what I’m going to call “kitty spew” quests, while in the pre-Cata days it felt like 40% or more of quests above level 40 were either the type in the linked comic or the “high level bucket of grapes” type from another one of your quest-related strips. That being said, improvements in Blizzard’s quality control don’t make this strip any less awesome. Also, I’m totally going to use the phrase “kitty spew quest” in conversations now.

    Comment by BrokeWarlock — March 12, 2011 @ 2:34 AM

  2. Ugh, don’t get me started on what happens if one of those quests in the new format bugs out on you. I got locked out of the second half of Hyjal the day after Cata released, I was sooooo frustrated.

    Comment by Zy — March 13, 2011 @ 11:00 AM

  3. I got a ton of elementium and pyrium in twilight highlands when TH bugged out for… well… everyone. No one stayed in the zone… the ore was all mine. 🙂 very little quest progress for me that week though.

    Comment by ~LC — March 13, 2011 @ 7:41 PM

  4. Hehehe Kitty spew! Awesome

    Comment by Creep — March 18, 2011 @ 1:46 AM

  5. yeah, I agree! while I like some of the new quests, I really don’t like how quickly we blast through content! heck, even the new quest zones are non-cohesive! Like in Vashjir, I ran out of quests and nobody gave me any indication of where to go next. I miss the old flow! >(

    Comment by coffinshaker — March 20, 2011 @ 7:43 PM

  6. And now we have MoP, where – instead of completing X quests (any quests) in a zone for the achievement – you have to finish a “storyline”. I pretty much love that. 🙂

    Comment by ButMadNNW — July 25, 2013 @ 5:56 PM

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