This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Handholding in MMO" by bastionix. In the thread, bastionix asserts that all the handholding in today's MMOs make him feel like a "helpless baby" and wonders why things have changed so drastically from the past:
MMO used to have no quest markers, maps, minimaps, quest updates (0/10).
Let me put this into terms of how I experienced this:
EQ: No handholding.
WoW: Maps, Quest markers, Minimap, Quest updates
Rift: Maps, Quest markers, Minimap, Quest updates, Range to NPC, Direction to NPC, Area of mobs to kill highlighted, Marker over their head
What's next? A homing device and a tricycle? Is this really the future of MMO?
I'm supposed to be a hero who can save the world, not a helpless baby.
Dameonk notes that prior to all the built-in quest help players were creating guides and using database websites such as Thottbott anyways:
I'm actually with zymurgeist on this. I remember when first playing WoW I would have thottbot open on my 2nd monitor and every time I got a new quest I would look it up and see where the mobs are I needed to kill. Really the way the games are doing it now just cuts out the middle-man for a lot of people.
LOTRO just recently added this to their game, it was something the players have been asked for. Companies don't just add these kinds of features on a whim.
Rydeson is more inclined to agree with the OP, feeling that all the help has indeed become a bit ridiculous:
Agreed.. the hand holding is getting rediculous anymore.. do this, do that, then this, then that.. I like questing, but questing should be with a purpose.. A SERIOUS and meaningful purpose and not just used as a breadcrumb trail.. Anyone else remember EQ1 epic quest? Those would take weeks or months to complete.. Remember the Coldain Prayer Shaw questline? I remember questing the wisdom shield that was in Luclin.. I cant' remember the name of it, but it had a lion's head on it... Those quest actually gave me the sense of accomplishment.. These go kill 10 X task are over played and over used.. I don't mind repeatable if done right.. Sometimes camping a location in the zone is a good thing..
donkeys takes things one step further, noting that players have been getting around exploration going as far back as the days of the original EverQuest, where players were apparently known for drawing up maps on pen and paper (my how far we've come!):
No, people made their own EQ maps with pen and paper:
Players would be crying to mommy if they had to do this now.
I have mixed feelings on this whole situation. I can agree to some extent, I mean I've found myself feeling the quests I've been doing in many contemporary MMOs (Rift included) to be kind of going through the motions and pointless, and I do blame the handholding. I recall playing LOTRO back in the day and seriously having to read the quest text and refer to the landmarks and direction from which I should proceed from those landmarks to find my objective.
I don't take joy in long-winded scavenger hunts to complete a quest, I'm not a masochist, but not being led around helped me actually appreciate the game world and veer off the beaten bath. If I saw something in the distance while searching for a quest objective, I might go ahead and take a detour and check it out. But when I have so much information pointing me to where I need to go I feel less inclined to look anywhere but my UI and simply head from quest marker to quest marker, so on that level I agree with those of you who are frustrated by all the handholding.
It doesn't mean I don't want quest tracking or information of any sort, as looking around for two hours for a needle in a haystack isn't something I want to repeat again. Things could certainly stand to be toned down a bit, or at least have options in the UI to disable certain elements of the tracking (as long as the quest text/cutscenes are also adequate enough to provide solid directions).
What do you think of all the handholding? And what do you propose as a solution? Share your thoughts in the comments below!