I remember the old days, log in, start swinging. Kill until you get killed or come up against something that requires running. Hope you trigger rare spawns, drops, or other roaming random chaos.
Quests? Quests are for single player RPGs. If I wanna be told I’m a hero by a bunch of scripted NPCs I’d play those (they do it better anyway). This is an MMORPG. I play these games to be among other players. To interact with them. To meet them. To explore with them. To fight them. None of that requires “quests”. Like all of you I was born with a magic quest maker, it’s called “imagination”. If I really needed the sense of “questing” I would make it up myself. In a way I always have.
I would often imagine having feuds with certain NPCs. In SWG Jawas were KOS. My character hated them! I had a long standing feud with some Tuskens after they ambushed and killed me as a youngling. In WOW if a murloc crossed my path it was as good as dead. Entire murloc villages fell to my character. I do exactly what scripted quests tell you to do, I just cut out the annoying wall of text in the middle. It just slows me down and (like most quests in MMOs) makes me anti social.
Truthfully I have never liked written quests in my MMOs. I was perfectly happy with the SWG system of go here, kill this because we want it dead, get paid. I never needed any more reason than money. From my perspective quests were the things you did to snag some easy cash and get some XP. They weren't an “experience” they were just a means to an end. The end was always what I played for. It was at the end that the game really started and I could put all this “leveling” time sink stuff behind me.
If I built an MMO every single character would be max level on day 1 . They would be given points to distribute to make that character unique, but they would be “leveled” as far as unlocking moves and such. Skills like strength and endurance would level over time depending on how you play. Your skills with weapons would also increase as you used them. Neither of those stats would make you capable of 1 shotting a day 1 player, but they would help hedge the fight in your favor.
(but Tierless, you just said you didn’t want levels, then said you would have levels for stats)
Levels (as they are in MOST modern MMOs) server as carrots on sticky, they isolate players from the whole, they force friends to separate, they make content exclusive, they are not in the best interest of a social game. Slight stat increases over long stretches of time (long enough that people don’t even try grinding for them) do none of those things. They tend to be forgotten about until once in awhile you see a message that says you increased one. WOW like levels are as outdated as quests. They are a way to keep you on the wheel just a little longer. They give players a status to look down upon other players from.
Leveling is cool the first time, after that, let us make max level alts please. Repeating the same lame stuff over and over is just annoying. Besides, once I’m alting I’m doing it to max out that class to have it should I want to play it, not to re-experience leveling. Again, leveling is just the annoying thing I have to tolerate because it’s easier than finding an innovative way to keep us paying for a bit longer.
I’m not joking, I’m not trolling, and if you like levels and quests it’s fine with me. I just don’t see how in 2013 the genre hasn’t figured out something better, or just got rid of them. They are both unnecessary if you make your game right but making your game right is probably where most of the “modern” mmos go wrong. They don’t make them to have a circle of life based end game that keeps players invested long term (see EVE). They make them to have a finite leveling experience to sell the box (see SWTOR). But I’ve already covered that before haven’t I.