I have been playing EQ2 for way too long. It is a huge, souless, cobbled-together world. It's definitely designed by a committee of really bright-minded individuals -- no sarcasm intended.
In fairness, though, it is a lot of fun. My girl and her daughter and I have formed a little guild. We have spent many a Saturday all plugged in, chatting and killing and grinding. We are slowly grinding our guild's way to thirtieth level. So now, anything that has a reputation point associated with it is pursued like a bright-eyed squirrel.
Hence my berserker was in New Tunaria, finishing up a Signature Quest. I made a couple of mistakes. First, I didn't spend anytime looking at spoilers, so I had no idea where I needed to go or what I needed to find. Second, I had chronoed my berserker to seventy-fifth level. The quest was seventieth, so I thought it would be fun, but not TOO hard.
I love the way quests are written -- sarcasm intended. I guess now that we have have quest helpers and spoilers and such we don't need quests to be well written. The quest giver told me to get a shield from one of the paladins in Felwithe, which is now New Tunaria and populated with elitest, aggressive, 'pure' elves. There are no paladins in New Tunaria and none of the elves there carry shields.
But I ain't gonna spoil the quest for you.
While learning this, I realized how huge -- freakin' huge -- the zone is. New Tunaria is a fully realized town, with shops and temples and palaces and towers and bridges. I realized that the character-select screen's background is from a bridge in New Tunaria. The whole zone is designed beautifully and some interesting things happen when night falls. I enjoyed exploring it.
So, I couldn't help but think: where has this zone been? Why aren't more people here? How many people actually enjoy this zone?
Earlier I had said that I had chronoed my bersker down to seventy-fifth level. What I need to point out is that most of the zone was grey to her. Admittedly, this made it easier to explore: if she had been a few levels lower she would have had to fight dozens of heroic mobs to get anywhere.
Again: So, if she had been the right level she wouldn't have seen most of the zone, but would have been forced to spend a heck of a lot more time there. But, the "right level" window ain't but ten or so levels long.
Am I the only one that sees a problem with this picture? Developers design these worlds that are only experienced by miniscule amounts of their customers. Customers are paying for a product of which they can only use fraction.
I have been playing level-driven games for decades now. I understand the advantages of the mechanic. I also know that there are other options, better options. I would like options that keep places like New Tunaria fun and interesting.