I love a good story. When a narrative grabs me, I get much more involved in the game. That was one of the things I loved about WAR. The chaptering system, which we’ll get to later, gave you a vehicle to traverse the plain of your character’s life. When paired up when the individual story lines of the quest givers, you could really pull a lot of plot and purpose out of the game. WoW, on the other hand, based everything off of individual quest givers and zone “themes.”


Since I started playing WoW, I’ve noticed the storylines are pretty “hit or miss” when you’re levelling. Some quests are really well done. Others, as I’ve commented before, are pretty shallow. Most importantly, the quality of quests seems to change with the zone.


Take Duskwood for example. In Vanilla WoW, it was by far my favorite zone. There were quests of relative depth and intrigue. One, dealing with the Embalmer, finds you the unwitting accomplice in a sociopath’s maniacal scheme. The whole zone had a Halloween vibe to it. It sticks out in my mind as a fun place to level.


Then you have places like Desolace that are just drear, boring, and filled with “kill 10 demons and collect 5 horns” quests. They’re forgettable.


This kind of thing has really become a staple of WoW to me. I thought the trend had disappeared with WotLK, and maybe it has improved, but it’s far from gone. I’ve recently moved from Dragonblight into Grizzly Hills and I’m seeing the same thing. Much like Keen noticed, there seems to be a lot more kill/collect quests without a whole lot of purpose. In all honesty, I’m feeling a little let down by the zone. Hopefully it’ll improve because I hate pushing though content just because it’s necessary to continue.


It seems like different people write the stories for different zones and then tie them together afterwards. My question is, why don’t they approach story design like Mythic did? Having consistent story quality can do a lot for a game and it’s not an impossible task to achieve. I understand that they need to fill a quest quota to ensure there’s enough for players to do. I understand that not every quest is going to be epic or really lend anything to the main storyline. When a player walks away feeling like “collect 8 bear flanks” was the majority of the zone though, there’s a problem.


I guess the reason it sticks with me, even though I should be used to it by now, is because the first few zones in Northrend were exceptional. The story was better than I’d ever experienced it before.


Mythic had a stroke of genius with their chaptering system. Chapters, of themselves, are not epic pieces of story. What they provide is backdrop. They introduce you to the main players in the “act” you’re beginning. They set the scene and give context to the quests.


Now, I can guess what many of you are thinking: “But Raegn, in Wrath the central scene and context are already set!”


That’s true. But the WAR chaptering system resides in conjunction with the overall theme and reinforced context presented in the quest text. To put it succinctly, it adds another layer.


I’m not saying WAR is better than WoW and I’m certainly not advocating WoW steal chaptering from WAR. What I am advocating is more consistency in the quality of what’s presented. Shallow quests are part of MMO gaming but it’s possible to deepen the kiddy pool. Add another layer.


Maybe it’s just the one zone. Hell, maybe it’s just that the zone begins rather boringly. One day though, maybe even the next expansion, we’ll see a game without these gray spots on an otherwise experience.