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The Daily Quest - How can we bring back exploration to MMOs?

Posted Dec 03, 2015 by William Murphy

Today's Daily Quest comes courtesy of Rob Lashley:

Earlier this week Bill asked, “What does the MMO need?” In that piece he focused on group content. I’d also argue that another thing that MMOs need to bring back is a real sense of exploration. But how?

We can’t blame all of this on the developers, but we can’t blame all of this on ourselves either. Before there was a Thottbot or the quest trackers players had to read quests and learn what they had to do. Now we have come to a point that the majority of players do not even need to read any of the quest text in a game.

When you arrive at a new NPC that has some variation of a ! over their head you can just accept all the quests they give you with no regards for what they say. You can then run to the area on your map that was just given a colored overlay when you accepted those quests and kill until you find x number of random item that is so desperately in need. But in doing that we lose touch with the world that we inhabit. Azeroth could just as easily be Nexus for all most players know.

How do we back away from this place that we have found ourselves at and move in a direction where exploration provides a sense of wonder and excitement? A game where you care what is over the next hill? Where you stumble upon a cave that you didn’t immediately know was there and follow it to find that next adventure? Or am I alone in thinking these things matter?

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William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.
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