Is anyone else besides me who has been in this genre longer then 2 years wondering what the hell happened to quests? When I think of a quest, you think of high fantasy and epic missions to save the world, or the damsel in distress. Frodo and Sam went on a quest to stop the evil forces. The dude in Krull with the glaive went on a quest to save the girl from the teleporting fortress. William Wallace went on a quest to free his people.
I remember back in the days of Everquest and Asheron's Call 1 (one of my favorite all time games), of undertaking monumentous tasks to acquire weapons of real power that involved the killing of great dragons, traveling to far off places people were scared to go, and trying to accomplish the impossible. Its the sort of thing that would give any adventurer some oak in his pants. The type of missions that would make you the talk of the town when you accomplished it, when "Grats" actually meant something because you had done something extraordinary.
Fast forward 8-9 years later.....
I find myself in Azeroth for the first time with my guildmates. A woman tells me she has a quest for me. I feel the oak starting to pitch a tent in my pants. She tells me to fetch her some water from the well about 20 feet away. I eagerly run to the well, bucket in hand, figuring that this water might need to be hiked across the great land without pilling a single drop. I bring it back and.........quest complete. Huh? I thought you had a quest for me?
The last time an older woman told me to go fetch her some water, it was my mother because she wanted to water the garden. In the real world, you guys know the one without the pixels, I always thought that was a chore. You know what else I would consider a chore? Gathering mushrooms, picking berries, skinning wolves, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, doing laundry, collecting 27 deer antlers, 57 dingleberries, 14 boar hoofs, and 12 bandit masks.
The once epic journey is now a 10 second walk behind the house. The divine truth realized is that pulling weeds isn't fun. The reward is a bad case of poison ivy and some dirty underwear. And the "Grats" lost its value because frankly a 10 year old can go collect butterflies and pigs feet.
Speaking of which, the only thing more rediculous is some idiot developer thinking these sort of tasks are entertaining is the fact that I can kill a pig and get zero feet! I mean how the hell does that happen? Did my one knife stab it took to kill the piggy utterly devastate it to the point where not 1 of the 4 feet were salvage worthy? I mean in theory I should be finding 4 of these off of every pig I kill, and I'm getting lucky to find one!
Let's be fair here though, the glory says of Everquest had their fair share of utter bullcrap. I remember playing a Bard and needing to get a red dragonscale to get my epic weapon. It was bad enough that Nagafen, one of the only red dragons in the game at the time only spawned once a in a real-life week. What was even more silly is that that huge dragon only had 1 scale on his body! The dragon was the size of a mack truck, and he has 1 scale?! Oh by the way, half the classes in the game also need a red dragonscale for their epic as well. Better luck next week, if your in a raid that has dibs on the dragon, and if you beat the dragon, and if the scale drops, and if your the guy who wins it if all of the previous things happen.
Developers need to find the middle ground. Let's start by not insulting the intelligence of every gamer over the age of 12, which is the vast majority in this genre. Don't tell me that folding my laundry and collecting little brown logs from my cats litter box are quests, those are called chores. There needs to be a challenge and a real accomplishment for something to be worthy of the word quest. At the same time, developers need to understand that an entire raid of 40+ people will not be motivated to complete their quest when the the odds of them finding the dragonscale are 1 in 1000 when the damn thing is covered in scales.
If your a player of World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Vanguard, or Lord of the Rings Online, this rant is something you should mull over. These quest writers are insulting your intelligence. I'm not saying this means these games are bad, I for one played WoW for 2 years, and EQ2 for about 8 months. Both are rock solid games, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say the same guy was writing the quests for all of these games. Either that, or everyone thought that WoW did everything right and could do no wrong, so they stole their model for quests. When people say WoW clone, this is the first thing that comes to mind. Go look at a game like Final Fantasy 11 and Asheron's Call where quests would make you sweat. Fletching Tool, Sword of Lost Light / Hope, Greater Atlan Stones (all from AC1) are all great examples of what a quest should be. Maybe someday the quest writers will make "Grats" will mean something again...