The first thing I met when I started playing WoW was a huge yellow exclamation mark. I scratched my head, did what they said in that little instruction book - talked to the man. And by doing that I had started out the first quest out of the hundreds, not to say thousands, that would follow.
In the beginning of my WoW career I was just as enthusiastic at any kind of quest I had, no matter what they were about. Killing 15 of the x-sort and 15 of the y-sort or standing grinding monsters type A until 20 objects B had dropped - was just as fun as to disguise myself, look for lost things, escort or whatever I could do. Quest as quest I thought, with true newbie enthusiasm.
As time has passed I've become a bit harder to charm and I'm not quite as delighted when I feel thats it's just another repeat, a quest model following the Blizzard standard formula 1A. That counts especially for quests, that in fact only consist of pure grinding with a little extra carrot in the xp reward at the turning in. Or rather: that kind of quest won't make my eyes sparkle, won't make me giggle happily at the cleverness of the game developers, it just makes me shrug my sholders and sigh a bit, it's just something that has to be done. Sometimes I challenge myself trying to do it twice as fast, trying new spell sequences, trying a new pattern of moment or something like that, everything to give it a new flavour, some kind of variation.
But I'm not only reluctant. I also know how deadly efficient the grinding quests can be if you want to level fast and with discipline. They don't take any research, no afterthought, now time consuming complications. You only have to go to the right spot, kill, kill, kill and se how the xb bar rushes to the top. Sometimes that's all that you want. Just because of that the racing arena in Shimmering flats is such a brilliant place to quest at if you're just above level 30. Everything in one spot, all you have to do is to grind scorpions, turtles, basilisks, birds and all sorts of creatures, until you suddenly have jumped up one or two levels.
But the quests that stay in your mind are totally different kind of quests, those that you only do once and then never more. Quests that you, provided you got the opportunity, would like to do over again, just because they gave you such a laugh.
I remember one quest like that, that made me literary laugh out loud. It was Fragmented Magic, a quest that all mages that want to extend their polymorf repertoire to pigs have to do. This quest is picked up in a rather far away place of the world, Aszshara, that I've got the feeling isn't very populated these days - the naga inhibited ruin settlement is mostly void of players. In this remote corner the old Archmage Xylem dwells in a tower, only possible to visit by teleportation. He's the starting point for a little quest chain, where the first part is nothing special - simply a thing that you get down in the ruins behind a fat old naga. But the next step is fun! You're supposed to aoe small sheep, as many as 50 of them. The small sheep appears when you sheep a naga, use the thing you fetched and suddenly see the sheep clone into a bunch of tiny miniatures. Just the very sight of the little sheep running around in all directions was hilarious. And the feeling to let hem explode in the air and fall down into pathetic little heaps was too. There's something irresistible in killing so many innocent little lamb at the same time. Bloodthirsty or not - I just regretted it ended to fast.
I've also got a weak spot for quests that includes flying. I remember very well Mission of the Abyssal Shelf, the quest in Hellfire where you for the first time get up into the air, trying out bombing. I was a disaster as a bomber and had to make a number of flights before all the targets were down. But what did I care about that, I was sitting there with a big smile on my face, just enjoying the flying in itself. At last something new, a model I hadn't tried out before.
Absolutely unique you have to call Are we there,Yeti, where you're having fun with some friends of Umi, frightening them with a mechanic yeti (you get one for yourself as a reward).
Another quest that charmed me in all it's simplicity, was Deeprun Roundup. You didn't have to be heroic at all, just running around, blowing a flute, peacefully enchanting the little rats, just as in the fairytale. I was enchanted myself.
Escort quests are often quite charming, especially when they include long dialogues and a lot of lore. I guess that's why I never grow tired of the Durnhold instance. The best escort I've made so far is In Dreams i Eastern Plaguelands. You actually don't have to do anything special at all, just following the main char in stealth, seeing the hero make his dutys and enjoy a number of dialogues and fights. It's the end quest in a long quest chain that tells you the story of Tirion Fordring and that among other things include a visit in Stratholme. The chain includes some ten steps and takes quite a lot of work. The rewards are hardly astounding these days, with the coming of TBC you can easily get much better things in Outlands at that level. I guess that's why few players do it. But if you like me want to experience unique quests, I really want to recommend it.
So far I've mainly been talking about positive quest memories, but of course there are nightmare quests that you'd prefer to forget. One I remember is from Searing Gorge, Stolen: Smithing Tuyere and Lookout's Spyglass. The Smithing Tuyere dropped from a small group of mining and smithing guys, that I spent hours and hours killing over and over again. The drop rate seemed to be in class of The Suneater, which I wrote about the other day. Eventually it turned up, after several nights of hard work. A few days later a guildie was doing the same quest. I informed him about what to expect. But of course it only took him one or two mob kills before it dropped...
Now we're counting down for the expansion. And the question is: will there be some completely new kinds of quests, offering challenges we hadn't thought about before? I hope so. I don't have any illusions, I'm convinced that Northend will offer grinding as well, probably some kind of pigs that we must slaughter one way or another, to deliver snouts, livers or hooves. Probably they'll have a bit thicker fur than the pigs in Westfall in order to survive in the winter climate. But still. There will be pigs, trust me. Just pick out your fork and your knife and start eat them out, piece by piece.
But surely we'll also have some surprises, quests with that funny touch or touching dialogue that at least makes me surrender. After running a couple of thousand quests, it's still not only a necessary evil to make it possible for me to level. Sometimes it's really, really entertaining.
2 days ago