- The Jade Forest quests had a very clear story, but it also had a lot of side quests that could bog you down.
- In Warlords of Draenor, your map will show you where to go to continue the main storyline, along with the locations of bonus objectives.
- The bonus objectives no longer have any story text that go with them, just a list of objectives. Now when there is quest text, you will know that it is really worth reading."*
My first, flippant remark on Blessing of Kings' comment section was that Blizz is cutting corners rather than being innovative. And really, on the face of it that sure seems to be the case. But I wonder if this is just another nail in the coffin for all previous WoW content.
Consider: you buy WoD, you can get an instant L90 upgrade. You'll also be allowed to purchase additional L90 upgrades as well. Both of these, taken together, mean that you don't have to play any of the previous content at all to play WoW.
Now, add the quest "slimming" to the mix, and you've got a recipe tailor made for people who say "the game only starts at max level". The only way it could get easier to get to max level would be to show up in different places, watch a cutscene, battle a boss, and move to the next location.**
I'm sure Blizzard is viewing this as a win-win situation. After all, consider the following positives:
- Less time coming up with clever ways to describe how to kill ten rats.
- Shuts up the complainers who say that leveling is a bore and takes time away from raiding.
- Partially cuts the legs out from under the shadowy business of third party "we'll level your toon for you" routines.
- Focuses the storyline so that authors don't have a myriad of new names to keep track of when writing novels.***
- Makes the game seem more like Guild Wars 2, which has a similar mechanic, but on a reduced scale.
- Allows Blizzard to put more time into Scenarios and Raids for important content, rather than spending time trying to explain side quests.
However, all I can think of is one thing:
Side quests give a zone a flavor just as much as art and music. Were it not for the side quests, the "kill ten rats" quests, we'd never have come to know Mankrik's Wife, one of the most well known memes in the game. The original Green Hills of Stranglethorn quest --that maddening quest that would fill up your bag space-- gave pre-Cata Stranglethorn Vale as much flavor as all the ganking going on. The old questline in pre-Cata Thousand Needles to assist Magistrix Elosai in searching for a cure for the Blood Elves' magical addition would be gone, as would Apprentice Mirveda's attempts to cleanse the Dead Scar in Eversong Woods.
Life --even online MMO life-- is filled with little quirks and oddball things. Quest slimming would eliminate a large part of that, in favor of speed and efficiency. Which begs the question: is this a game, or a job?
*MMO-Champion is referencing this developer interview held at PAX East 2014 on YouTube.
**Or you could just buy a max level toon. Opening up Pandora's Box by allowing people to buy an expac's starting level means that it's not out of the realm of the possibility.
***Any expanded universe of novels --Dragonlance, Thieves' World, Forgotten Realms, Star Wars, or Star Trek, for starters-- has to deal with this problem. And, I've been told, it's not pretty.