Recently, Black Desert revamped its Balenos quest chain - the first major quest chain most BDO players encounter when they first start their adventure. The revamped questline is a bit more streamlined, according to Pearl Abyss, and adds some more flair including voice-acted cutscenes and emphasizing the characters you'll need to know as you continue your journey.
The idea of streamlining quests isn't new to MMOs, though it doesn't happen as often as I think it should. In fact, it's not even really new to Black Desert, as one of the main philosophies behind the recent Mountain of Eternal Winter expansion was to create a new starting zone and quest that felt more cohesive and streamlined compared to the Balenos chain.
The most recognizable MMORPG to do this in recent years, though, has been Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV. One of the major hurdles for FF14 players has always been the slog it is to get through multiple expansions, not helped by the fact that A Realm Reborn can at times drag on and on. Being such a story-heavy MMO, Final Fantasy XIV needed a way to distill that story to its most important beats while still providing a great leveling experience for new players testing out the generous free trial.
As a result, the streamlining of A Realm Reborn afforded players the chance to get the story without the slog, moving onto Heavensward and Stormblood without much friction.
It's something I wonder if more MMORPGs should do, especially older ones where there is such a uphill battle for players to get through years and years of content. The Elder Scrolls Online gets around this issue neatly by ensuring that each of its newest expansions can be played by everyone without any prior knowledge. But a title like EverQuest, which has been around for more than two decades, or even The Lord of the Rings Online, a 15 year old MMO, these games have large, large backlogs of story to sift through.
I'm definitely not saying that all quest chains in an older MMO need to be streamlined, or even that older games should start ripping apart their delicately crafted stories. Rather, there should be a way to make these older chains easier to navigate while not feeling like a slog.
Do you agree? Do you think MMOs, especially older ones, should look at revamping their older content, specifically story content, to make it easier for new players to digest? Let us know in the comments.