Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Want Epic Quest Chains? You Got 'Em.

In all the Wrath of the Lich King commentary of patch notes, loot, talents and new professions WoW Bloggers (and I don't excuse myself from this group) have tended to gloss over what I find to be the most enduring parts of Warcraft: Quest and Lore. Except, that is, for a flurry of speculation on on the Ashbringer and WoWInsider's excellent Ask a Lore Nerd column. Hopefully the following post will whet your appetite for more Questing in Wrath, rather than mindlessly rushing to 70.

[Warning, the following post may contain mild spoilers]

Wrath of the Lich King is an evolution from The Burning Crusade in a few key areas, but none are so pronounced as the system of questing. Previously I was quite snooty about it being not much of a step up from TBC, and yes there's still plenty of 'Kill 10 Rats Kobolds'. But Blizzard has been inspired by the more popular quest lines in the original and first expansion to make the chains longer, more lore-heavy and have a much more satisfying pay-off.

The Grand Masquerade was probably the first truly epic storyline in the game. It had 4 Acts spanning both Continents and has, in the unmasking of Onyxia, probably the most memorable scripted event WoW has produced. The only criticism which could be levelled at it was that the real finish was the Onyxia encounter, which regrettably many only saw some months after it felt relevant.

By comparison the Hero of the Mag'har chain, whilst remaining a long chain, finished with the scripted event that was a pay-off for all those Horde who had completed the quest chain. All it required was the aid of four warm bodies to help you on your way. I'm not sure that there's anything wrong with this chain, apart from having it spoiled by seeing someone else trigger the event whilst you're in Nagrand.

What's wrong with this picture?

In Wrath of the Lich King the quest chain you will hear of most often early on is 'The Battle for The Undercity'. The prerequisites of the chain stretch from Vengeance Landing in the East to Warsong Hold in the West, and must be at least a couple of dozen meaningful quests. There's a great solo/group/raid set piece at the finale, and from what Ghostcrawler has said a cinematic detailing just what happened to set off this chain of events. Lore continues, Heroes die, and Azeroth changes meaningfully. Plus, the Alliance finally gets a badass of their very own.

Yes, there are similar quest lines for both Alliance and Horde all based on the same catastrophe but from very different perspectives.

It is a tour de force for Blizzard's Phasing technology, and just as much as the lvl55 Deathknight chain it's worth the price of admission. They've finally realised that a quest line doesn't need to reward purple loot to be epic.


Elsewhere we learn a little more about the Infinite Dragonflight with a quest from your favourite gender confused Gnome Priest Chromie, play dress-up to free a tribe of Murlocs, induct a new tribe into the Horde and interact which each of the 5 Dragonflights. Dragonflights which I suspect are all being corrupted by something more sinister...

So if you are a lore junkie and play the game more for the story than getting phat epics there's plenty in there for you, and that's just from levels 70-74. Since I've been in the Beta they've greatly fleshed out every quest node so that questing in an instance once again feels like a meaningful activity. There will no doubt be plenty more on the way to 80 and beyond, and there could be no better time to team up with two or three (or more) other people and experience all this content together. Your only problem will be leaving something for your alts to experience.


ADDED: Seen the Cinematic for 'The Battle for The Undercity'. It is awesome!


(no, this isn't an excuse for me to test out 'post summarise' and 'read more' code. Honest.)

2 comments:

Galoheart 23/09/2008 02:56  

Yeah I wrote a little summary about that as well about quests. All the way to 80 I've come across and done many very "Epic" quests in all the zones.

Many those quests had allot if Lore in them and was enjoyable as they made the questing very memorable. I have screenshot of all of them as well. I did remember the one in the picture above as well fromin eastern dragonblight as that was very fun.

But you will find them in most zones especially the later zones and they are Epic. There are some with Arthas in some the last zones that are really epic as well in experiencing the lore. For me they were all very fun.

Mordiceius 23/09/2008 23:28  

Yeah, I've personally been loving the hell out of these questlines. I just recently finished the battle for the Undercity and since Blizzard says that is "Act 1", I can't wait to see how the story ends up for this expansion.

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