The Convenience Of Questing
Thanks to everyone for the fabulous feedback on my previous post about quest grinding. It was very interesting to hear everyone’s different views and opinions and actually quite surprising for me. I was completely prepared for the majority response to be that questing was enjoyable just for what it is but it seems that most people agree that it is a grind, just in a different format from the original repeated slaying of mobs to accrue experience. It also seems that most people are in favour of group play but just see questing as a convenient alternative (I know that the poll was minuscule in terms of scope but I find this sort of thing absolutely fascinating).
Andrew, from Of Teeth and Claws, made an exceptionally valid point about the convience of questing and how grouping usually isn’t viable if you’re only playing for 30-60mins and that being able to quest is a great alternative. I agree completely with this and have actually found that my play style has changed a lot over the past 12 months. I used to be able to invest the time it took to find or put together a good group and then run some dungeon crawls or instances. Unfortunately now my time in the evenings is more limited and I find myself dipping in for some quick play sessions and quests are exceedingly convenient for that purpose.
Professor Beej also commented that it’s just too hard to put together a group on his server. I know this feeling well and server population is a tough one and I believe the real solution to that is technology, allowing more players to play on a single server or, eventually, remove the need to have separate servers at all.
Tesch had an interesting point about how actually grouping and raiding can result in a more structured, less predictable experience that we think. It’s a good point, not one that I had considered before. The only response I can give is that at least in that environment you still have the social interaction which one lacks when just quest grinding alone.
Ultimately, I think questing is a nice mechanic but I have to wonder if it’s just become too convenient now. Human beings usually take the easiest route from A to B and if that’s by doing soloing quests, their going to do it. In almost every new MMORPG I’ve played in the last two years, solo questing has dominated the leveling process because it’s a lot faster and more convenient than grouping. Grouping, by nature, takes more time and has more risks and thus the rewards need to be significantly greater than solo questing plus it has to be made as accessible as possible.
I love the idea of challenging the conventional play style and trying to introduce new concepts that allow people to play together but still in a convenient fashion. I really like the concept of Open Groups in Warhammer Online for instance and I wonder if something like that could be combined with large scale, open dungeons to produce an easy and flowing group experience. Imagine being able to walk into a dungeon zones, like a huge castle which spans multiple levels, and being able to just immediately join a group and start playing. Pretty cool.