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Posts with tag Quests

Know Your Lore: Quests, story, and you in Warlords of Draenor

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

A new expansion is certainly about delivering new content, but it's also a vehicle for story progression -- and the end of Mists of Pandaria left behind plenty of questions waiting to be answered. Unfortunately, any questions having to do with Pandaria or Azeroth will have to wait, as we have other, more pressing matters to think about. In Warlords of Draenor, the Iron Horde looms just over the horizon, a threat eerily reminiscent of the old Horde that began the First War so many years ago. Except the Iron Horde is stronger, more organized, and bolstered by the knowledge of just what's on the other side of that Dark Portal they are constructing, thanks to Garrosh Hellscream.

That story, the story of Warlords of Draenor, is taking us in a different kind of direction, the likes of which we haven't seen before. While Mists may have pushed the button on innovation as far as max-level content was concerned, its seemingly never-ending cycle of daily quests upon daily quests quickly grew from entertainment to frustration as players quickly grew tired of the cycle of daily gated content and rewards. Warlords has none of that -- but it does have a whole host of new ways to make the story feel important, without overpowering how the player approaches the game.

Please note: The following Know Your Lore contains small spoilers for Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Solo scenario and quest improvements

Leveling content and design has been an ongoing process since day one of WoW. In vanilla, quest chains would literally send you from one end of Azeroth to the other and back again in search of some relic or document or other item that was vitally important to the NPC who happened to be on the wrong continent to retrieve it. As time went on, quest flow was re-designed again and again, with more of an eye for keeping things bite-size and compact, less lengthy and drawn out. In Cataclysm, that envelope was arguably pushed too far, featuring story-heavy leveling zones that felt like they were on rails, leading players from one hub to the next with little exploration encouraged. Thankfully, Mists relaxed the rigid structure and went a little more free-form with quest flow.

It's hard to describe the differences in quest progression and flow on the beta for Warlords. Although the test servers are currently riddled with players, which means they are also riddled with extreme amounts of lag here and there, it's still possible to get an overall idea of how the quest design and flow has changed from Mists ... and there are some major changes afoot.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Could WoW have an expansion without raiding?

I have raided in World of Warcraft since the beginning. Raiding has always been a big part of why I play the game. If not the reason I play, certainly a reason. So when I was sitting up last night and it occurred to me that I've never gone an entire expansion without raiding, I didn't initially think anything of it -- to me, raiding is what you do in WoW. But then I started really thinking about it. Because lots of people don't raid. Before the rise of LFR and flex, a lot of players -- the majority of players, really -- never set foot in a raid at all. They had 5-mans, and that was basically it for group content for them outside of PvP.

So I started asking myself if it would be possible to release an expansion with little to no raiding content at all. Would players accept it? It's a cliche (and an overused one among the community) that Blizzard didn't do this or that 'because it would cost us a raid tier' but let's really consider -- what if we could have the expansion next month, but it wouldn't have any raids? Would that be an expansion people would be willing to play?

One of the reasons I consider this a more controversial question that it would have been at the end of Wrath is because now, raiding is far, far more accessible than it was even then. With the advent of LFR and the recent development of flexible raiding, it's never been easier to raid than it is. While Warlords of Draenor is changing the raid game, those changes will only make mythic raiding in any way more restrictive -- the rest of raiding will remain very accessible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

No new class, no new race, no problem

This is one of those title says it all posts, but I'll elaborate: the fact that there is neither a new class nor a new race in Warlords of Draenor isn't a problem. First up, there's the obvious fact that we're getting redesigns for the eight original races plus draenei and blood elves. In terms of art design, that's an incredible amount of work, far more than designing one or even two new races. Racial abilities for each race are also being redesigned, meaning each will play differently. Moreover, by not introducing a new race or class, we don't need to have a starter zone designed for them, meaning that content design can focus on content for the 90 to 100 player, especially since thanks to the level 90 boost, it can be assumed that anyone who picks up Warlords and wants to play it can.

As has been said elsewhere, new races and classes are not content in and of themselves. They consume time and development resources to create them, and often they have content associated with them, and that content is usually only playable when you create one of them (although the monk did not actually get that treatment - save for one location in Pandaria that offered monk only quests, as a kind of home base, monks didn't see the death knight starter zone style experience) but by themselves a new race or class is just a different way to experience content. This is not to say they are not important. New classes offer new gameplay options, new abilities and spells, and sometimes new roles for players who did not enjoy, say, tanking or healing on previous classes.

But I think it's fair to say that World of Warcraft doesn't need the added complexity of three new specializations to balance right now. There's going to be a lot of work needed to balance out new spells and abilities, adjust item levels, change the way healing works while ensuring it does still work, implement entirely new gameplay like garrisons without also figuring out how to keep another class in the mix with the other 34 specializations we already have. Similarly, while I mourn for my alliance ogre paladin and horde arakkoa druid, do we need two more groups of racials to balance out?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

How much should an expansion cost?

We've talked about this briefly in a recent Breakfast Topic, but that's not the same as actually standing up and taking a position on an issue, and I (specifically, I, Matthew Rossi, not all of WoW Insider) do have a position on this one - namely, that this expansion will likely contain as much if not more gameplay, art assets, and overall design work as any game coming out, and that frankly the last couple of expansions have been under what they should have cost.

I didn't come to this decision in a vacuum, either - I come to it as someone who does not want to pay the price as established. I'm extremely penurious. almost outright parsimonious when it comes to money. I don't like spending it. So when I heard how much the expansion was going to cost (the day the pre-orders became available) I immediately balked at it. It's only ten bucks more to buy Titanfall, I said to myself, and that's a completely new game. And then I read this post by Kim Acuff (who often comments here at WoW Insider as Ember Dione) a developer on Skylanders, and I started to rethink my position on the relative cost of the expansion, how much it should cost, and the validity of the whole "as expensive as a new game" discussion.

Because here's the fact - each WoW expansion has effectively been a new game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3, Warlords of Draenor

8 quests you might have skipped, but shouldn't

Northshire quest giver
Right now in WoW is a time many of us know all too well: the pre-expansion lull. The last major content patch of Mists of Pandaria is out, and we're not going to see much new stuff until whenever 6.0 shows up on the horizon. Many of us are casting about looking for things to keep us occupied in the game until then--things such as finishing up old rep grinds, working on achievements, collecting mounts, and putting together the perfect transmog set.

Something else you might consider doing is going back and finishing up some old, low-level quests, even if you're not working on your Loremaster title. And why might you want to do this? Because some low-level quests are pretty dang fun, good for a laugh, and offer some interesting perspectives in terms of fleshing-out Azeroth's world. I've picked out eight low-level quests (or quest chains) that are a particular delight. I've tried to focus on those in some of the world's more overlooked areas, so as to highlight a few fun adventures you might have missed. Unless otherwise marked, all listed quests are available to both factions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

What is World of Warcraft?

On December 23, 2004, I rolled my first character in World of Warcraft. It seems almost impossible to imagine that this was a little over nine years ago, but I still remember the day clear as a bell. A friend told me where to make a character and what faction to use, and offered me a guild invite the moment I logged in -- an Alliance guild that, to my knowledge, no longer exists. That began a journey that was a long, impossible at times, climb to level 60. Along the way, I made a ton of friends both in the guild and out, and when I hit level 60 it seemed like an incredible accomplishment. But as I shook off the haze of congratulations and cheers, I realized I had little to no idea what came after you hit level 60 -- and frankly, neither did anyone else.

Ironforge was the place to be. If you were Alliance it was the only place with an Auction House. Players spent hours upon hours outside the front gates dueling each other. There was no PvP as we know it today -- Battlegrounds didn't exist, so PvP was relegated to long, drawn out battles between Tarren Mill and Southshore. The options seemed to be as follows: Run Stratholme, Scholomance, and UBRS to collect your blue dungeon set. Go raid either Molten Core or Onyxia's Lair. And ... that was it. Needless to say, my next option was to roll an alt and find a raid guild. What other choice did I have, at the time?

As the game has progressed over the last nine years, those choices have expanded into a flurry of content that dwarfs everything that has come before it. And that makes me wonder -- just what is World of Warcraft, now?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The Mists of Pandaria that never was

The Mists of Pandaria that never was
It wasn't until after a few weeks of raiding Siege of Orgrimmar that it really hit me: Mists of Pandaria is winding down. Unless Blizzard has a fast one up its sleeve, this is the last tier of raiding before the new expansion, whatever that happens to be. It seems almost too fast, seeing as how we've just hit the one-year anniversary for Mists, but at the same time the faster pace has left me very little time to be bored. Between patches with raid content and patches with quest content, there has always been something to do -- and in patch 5.4, we get not only a new raid, but a delightful island on which to while away the hours.

And I was flying to the Timeless Isle to go farm a rare mob or two when I started thinking about the expansion as it comes to its end. More specifically, the Jade Forest. A lush, tropical paradise the likes of which we hadn't really seen in such scale, the gorgeous scenery and introductory quests ushered players through what ended up being an emotional, gripping, and overall entertaining roller coaster of an expansion. But there's a catch to that. Once upon a time, the Jade Forest wore a very different face -- and had it gone live, Pandaria itself may have looked very, very different to players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Getting your Noodle Carts

Pandaren Noodle Cart
There are 3 new cooking recipes in patch 5.4: Noodle Cart Kit (250 stats), Deluxe Noodle Cart Kit (275 stats), and Pandaren Treasure Noodle Cart Kit (300 stats). When you use one, you temporarily turn into a vendor and anyone on your faction (not just group members) can purchase up to 5 Noodle Soups for free! You can also do a few emotes while the cart is active, such as cooking, dancing, or inviting people to buy your soups. For my money, the carts are a lot nicer than the old banquets. Everyone in your group or raid can purchase five noodle soups from each cart, so you only need to drop a cart every 5 wipes.

Quest Guide

The quest chain to get all three carts is surprisingly involved for a cooking quest. It will take you from the Timeless Isle, into several dungeons, back to the Isle, and finally into the new cooking scenario.

In order to begin this quest, you must first meet several requirements:
  • 600 Cooking skill
  • Have completed at least the first part of each "Way of Cooking" quest at Halfhill in Valley of the Four Winds (Way of the Wok, Way of the Brew, etc.). If you already have your Master of the Ways title you are good to go from start to finish.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What is WoW's most moving storyline?

Breakfast Topic What is WoW's most moving storyline
It's my firm opinion that the most moving moments in World of Warcraft are the ones that sneak up on you. You're nonchalantly questing through a zone when you realize you've become anxious about the fate of a particular character. As the whole picture begins to come into focus, you find yourself racing to find out what happens -– or if you're like me, you find yourself holding back, stricken with horror at the possibilities you suspect may unfold at your next destination.

Most players seem to have fond memories of a story they encountered somewhere in Azeroth that unexpectedly tugged at their hearts. We've created a poll with a few staff favorites, although we know there are many, many other storylines that have become beloved to players. Which storyline was the one that did it for you? (We've linked to the quest lines in the paragraph just below the poll, if you'd like to refresh your memory.)

What storyline punched you right in the feels?
The fate of Crusader Bridenbrad834 (20.1%)
Pamela Redpath and Darrowshire1254 (30.2%)
Tirion Fordring and his son Taelan418 (10.1%)
Oronok Torn-Heart and his sons95 (2.3%)
Sunwalker Dezco in Krasarang553 (13.3%)
Gidwin and Tarenar in East Plaguelands189 (4.6%)
Ezra Chatterton154 (3.7%)
Leyara's story196 (4.7%)
Draenei starter zone culmination177 (4.3%)
Other (tell us about it below!)276 (6.7%)


For more information, see: The fate of Crusader Bridenbrad; Pamela Redpath and Darrowshire; Tirion Fordring's quest to free Taelan; Oronok Torn-heart and his sons; Sunwalker Dezco in Krasarang; Gidwin and Tarenar in E. Plaguelands; Ezra Chatterton; Leyara's story; or (oh, happy day!) the Draenei starting zone culmination.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Faction change? Travel back in time to experience the Pandaria starting quests

Faction change Travel back in time to experience the Pandaria starting quests
My main characters have been Horde for quite some time, but this week I decided to change things up on my priest. It's a bit disorienting to faction change after playing one faction for so long. So far I haven't flown into the wrong Shrine, but I know my day is coming.

While my faction change processed, I passed the time thinking about how much of a butthead Garrosh is. And what about the Alliance's arrival in Pandaria? I wanted to experience it. Well, Blizzard had me covered. As soon as I made my way to Stormwind, I received the quest to head out to Pandaria on the Skyfire. After zoning into Pandaria, I immediately fell to my death because the Skyfire disappeared from under me.

I assumed my quest had ended there because I'd already been introduced to Pandaria through the opposite faction. My slight OCD for quest completion pushed me to visit Wowhead, where I discovered that I could complete the Alliance-side starter quests after all. Woo!

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Track your Isle of Thunder to-do list with this handy addon

horridon i think
Patch 5.2, much like the Mists of Pandaria expansion overall, is practically dripping with content. There is content simply oozing out of Lor'themar Theron's over-sized pointy ears. Keeping track of it all is not the most fun thing in the world, and who wants to bother with that, anyway? If you're feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, you're not alone, and post-its are not the only answer to your problem.

Over at the WoW subreddit, redditor mfontani did us disorganized messes a favor by plugging a guildmate's addon creations. User Saregon has several addons designed to help keep our pixellated lives just that little bit more tidy. Isle of Thunder Weekly Check will open a window to let you know which weekly events your character has completed, so you don't get confused across level 90s. In a similar vein, Daily Tamer Check tracks pet battle daily quest completions, so you don't have to. If you've been looking for a handy way to keep tabs on all this stuff, this may be the solution you've been seeking.

Filed under: Add-Ons, Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: What are your quest nightmares?

Breakfast Topic What are your quest nightmares ANY
All in all, I think the World of Warcraft questing experience is easier than ever. Quests can be tracked and shown on the screen, locations are automatically marked on your map, and anything you need to kill -- or anything that drops quest items you need -- is marked clearly when you approach, with more details when you mouse over. While some of the mystery may be gone, a lot of the annoyance has gone with it.

However, while the overall experience is much better, you do run in to the occasional quest that seems to be stubbornly holding out to Blizzard's new, streamlined questing philosophy. Quests that require you to kill ten beasts for a single tooth to drop (why don't they all have teeth?) or run around for an hour (or more) waiting on painfully slow respawns. Recently, while leveling through Outland, I ran into the quest Veil Lithic: Preemptive Strike, which asked me to redeem 3 arakkoa hatchlings and slay 3 arakkoa hatchlings who couldn't be redeemed. It seemed simple enough: Veil Lithic had several nests that spawned eggs. When the eggs spawned, all I had to do was click on them to free the hatchling, which would either fly off or become aggressive. Except after freeing 3 hatchlings, no more clickable eggs appeared. Not in 20 minutes, not in an hour, and not in two -- and though I did manage to collect a lot of arakkoa feathers, the whole thing seemed like a big timesink (several days later, I've still only managed to slay 2 out of 3 hatchlings). At this rate, my attention span is certain to run out before the quest does. (In fact, I'm surprised it's lasted this long.)

And what about you? Have you run into any quests -- now or in the past -- that are the stuff World of Warcraft nightmares are made of?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Patch 5.2 PTR: Introduction to Thunder Isle

Patch 52 PTR Introduction to Thunder Isle
With patch 5.2 slowly getting closer to a release on live servers, a minor quest has been added for both factions to help send players to the Isle of the Thunder King. You'll see a quest discovery on the side where you'll be summoned.

Your help is needed.

Warning: Spoilers for patch 5.2 content incoming! Don't hit the link if you don't want to know what happens or why the Alliance and Horde are here!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

We don't need daily quests anymore

We don't need daily quests anymore
I think I've firmly established that I really love doing quests, and that I'm fine with daily quests as a whole. Sure, some of them may have had their moments of extreme frustration, but by and large the daily quest system in Mists of Pandaria is pretty entertaining. But while it's entertaining to me, and it's fine with some players, there are others who cannot stand the system. They hate daily quests. The sight of a blue exclamation point is a source of constant irritation.

And it doesn't really matter how you wrap up that package, it's still going to be annoying content that players feel they must complete in order to be competitive. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter what is tied to the system, or if it offers rewards of value, like Lesser Charms or valor points. Adding the value to the daily quest system doesn't make completing the quests any more compelling, it just makes them another chore that must be completed.

Which is why daily quests need to go away.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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