I have to say that my favorite WoW quest is “The Lady’s Necklace”. It’s a very low level drop quest in the Ghostlands (post Burning Crusade).
What grips me about this quest is really the story of the destruction that occurred to the Blood Elf lands and the tragic story of the Dark Lady of the Forsaken, Sylvanas Windrunner. (Link)
Upon turning in the quest, Sylvanas spawns ghostly singers to accompany her in a beautiful and sad song.
It’s not a cut scene, it’s something that even those running in to turn in something else can stop and watch.
This quest is one of the elements of WoW that really makes the kill x of y worth it. Unfortunately it does take time and planning to add it into the game. Also for folks powerleveling, stopping to listen to the haunting song or paying attention to the backstory really isn’t as important as rushing on to the end game.
For me though elements like this in games adds to the suspension of disbelief. It adds to the illusion that you are a part of this magical, fantasy world. Quests like this where you actually report directly to the leader of a powerful political faction makes the player feel a little more important in the game, and a little less well, of a mercinary or gofer.
I’m really hoping that more quests like this will be part of the development plan for the Cataclysm. This one quest line ties in why the Blood Elves have allied themselves with the Forsaken and the Horde. It’s a nice bit of lore that adds the illusion of a personal side to what is otherwise a scripted entity.
It’s tricky and I like it.
While creating a game with only quests like this would remove it’s magic and force players to travel way too much, but it does tend to add a bit more to the game.
I think that in nothing else, the work that Star Wars the Old Republic is doing to add voice overs to quest lines helps quite a bit in adding immersion to the game. I really don’t mind reading the quest text. I actually kind of like watching it scroll across the page in WoW. BUT, if you try out Everquest II where voice overs have been implimented for some quest lines, having the second form of communication does make it easier, at least for me, to get the gist of what’s going on a lot more swiftly. I also found that I retained the information that the quest giver doled out much better when I read the quest text as the quest giver was speaking.
Since using two methods of communicating the quest uses two different neural systems, when you think about it, it’s more likly that you’ll retain a path back to the spot where your mind stored the info. Otherwise you’ll be hitting the quest log every five minutes.
I’m sure this kind of thing is really only striking for folks that may have something like oh, a learning disabilty (*cough* ADHD *cough*). But it is something that I’ve noticed over my gaming experience.
When planning on making a game of my own using the Open Simulator, I toyed with the idea of having videos act as npc’s over building them. This way folks would be able to see an animation as well as hear a voice associated with the quest.
There might be something to that, so I should probably hold on to that idea.
Really NPC’s make it easier for folks to play at any time they want to play. You don’t have to pay them, just script them. Also players logging in at 1am would still be able to participate in the same content as players loggin in at peak server times. While it would be cool to have actual players doling this stuff out, who really wants some asshat to be at the reigns of Orgrimmar? Nah NPC’s are the way to go. They can be human enough to get us attached to them, with out being so human that we feel threatened by them. While yeah we do get annoyed by some of them, we don’t have to feel like we’re bowing to a basement virgin that does nothing but play a game in order to be the ‘king’ of a faction, or having to deliver a quest to someone who’s afk while watching TV.
All of these kind of fit into my idea of why people play games. I’d like to blog on that, especially after Tobold’s series. I really think there are some fundamental aspects of why gamers play that Tobold didn’t hit, or sort of hit but didn’t highlight. I’m just not quite brave enough heh.