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Posts with tag questing

Progressive drop rates

Jeff Kaplan has said some interesting things at this year's GDC (expect a full account from us soon). One of them concerned a new technology that debuted in Wrath of the Lich King which I, for one, had not heard of before: progressive drop rates for quest items.

Pre-Wrath, if you're on a collection quest, whatever you're trying to collect will drop at a constant rate (35% was apparently the standard). Overall, this averages to a predictable amount of kills per quest. But probability being the way it is, it was altogether possible to have terrible luck and have to kill 100 foozles to get your four gizmos, or to have great luck and get your gizmos in only four kills. It was the bad streaks that the devs were particularly concerned about, as those are very memorable and never fun.

In Wrath, according to Kaplan, drop rates for quest items are progressive - the more foozles you kill, the higher chance each one has to drop a gizmo. The standard quest item drop rate has been raised to 45%, and each kill you make raises that drop rate by some amount. Kaplan said that it can eventually reach 100%, at which point every kill would drop your item. This puts a hard cap on just how frustrating a collection quest can be. Seems like a smart idea to me. I hadn't really noticed Wrath collection quests being easier, but then, I wouldn't - I simply wouldn't have bad-luck streaks, the absence of which might not be easy to notice.

[via Shacknews]

Filed under: Items, Quests

Kaplan on being the "Cruise Director of Azeroth" at GDC '09

Jeffrey "Tigole" Kaplan, former WoW Lead Designer who just recently headed off to work on Blizzard's new MMO, held a panel at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this week in San Fransisco called "Cruise Directior of Azeroth," in which he talked about some of the design decisions behind World of Warcraft, where Blizzard got their inspiration for a lot of the gameplay now made famous by the game, and even some of the mistakes they made in putting the world's most popular MMO together.

WoW Insider had correspondents there on the site, and they sent back audio of Kaplan's speech. We've paraphrased the salient points, and you can find them all after the break. There's some really interesting stuff in there, including the fact that in the past two years, 80 billion quests have been completed in North America's Azeroth alone, and just who is behind the frustration that is The Green Hills of Stranglethorn (hint: it's Kaplan himself).

Hit the link below to see what Kaplan told the crowd at GDC.

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Filed under: Warlock, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Expansions, Classes, Death Knight

Quests added to mob tooltips on the PTR

The Godmother over at ALT:ernative ducked into the PTR recently, and noticed something new: Blizzard is apparently testing adding Questhelper-style notes to tooltips of the quest-related mobs you come across. This looks so familiar that I thought it was an addon, but no, apparently Blizzard really is planning to tell you when a mob you're looking at happens to be the target of a quest.

It shocked me for a second -- not only is this dumbing down the questing game even further (maybe someday we will have a large red arrow pointing out a quest target from zones away), but it seems to be an awfully big break in immersion. Blizzard is basically telling you that "this is the mob you need, right here," and actually reading the quest text becomes even less necessary.

But then I realized that tooltips themselves aren't exactly paragons of game immersion -- it's already a little jump in the reality of the game to see a box with a mob's name and level whenever you mouse over it. Tooltips are already where the UI meets the road, so to speak. And as for the "dumbing down" of the game, most experienced players already had this functionality through addons like Questhelper and MonkeyQuest anyway (and if you do plan to complain that this makes things way too easy, make sure Questhelper is out of your Addon directory before you start typing). But if the tips stay in the game when the patch goes live, questing will be that much easier for people who stick to the basic UI.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Finding unfinished quests

Alan on LJ is having a problem I've been thinking a lot about lately -- like me, he wants to go back and finish the Loremaster achievement, which asks you to clean up all of the quests in the old continents. But like me, he's wondering just how he'll find all of those old quests -- unfortunately, there's no way to know which quests have and haven't been done, and while of course, there's a "low level quest" tracking option, that still requires you to run around to all of the different quest locations to find them.

A forum thread like this one is a huge help, but still, there's no way in the game to really go back and easily find which ones we've missed. Even with a list like that, you might spend twenty minutes trying for a drop before realizing you've already done that quest. Blizzard promised us a little while back that they'd be changing the "discovery" mechanic (so that we'd be able to see on the map which areas we hadn't discovered for the achivements yet), and an option like that might be helpful for cleaning up old quest -- say that low level quest tracking might work over the entire map, or there might be a magic box in Dalaran that would have whatever quest items we might need.

The good news here is that Blizzard has built a fair amount of leeway into the quest achievements -- you won't need every single one to get the points, so the more obscure drop-based quests can probably go undone without worry. But just like the World Exploration achievements, a little more help finding the quests we might have missed would go a long way.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, NPCs, Achievements

Are disenchanters getting robbed by rolls?

Sardonis sent us a note the other day, with an interesting, if probably controversial, point inside: when we're in instances, Skinners take their skins, Miners take their ores, and Herbalists take their herbs (or of course they rotate around if there's more than one). At the end of the instance, we don't sit down and /roll on all of the herbs or ores that people have picked up. So why do we do it, Sardonis asks, with disenchanting shards?

Good question. My first response was that everyone needs enchants, and everyone can use those mats. But if everyone can get their friendly guild enchanter to enchant something, can't you get your Leatherworker to use skins, or your Blacksmith to use ores? Of course, you could argue that Leatherworkers can get skins from anywhere, but disenchanted blues only show up in instances. If it's an item that required five (or even 25) people to get, everyone should have a chance at it. There are herbs and ores in instances, true, but those can be found elsewhere as well -- they don't need a group to get them. And what about Rogues who unlock chests in instances -- sure, we need them to open the chests, but they need us to get them there.

You can get blues through questing and drops, though, too, so who knows who deserves what. Sardonis is at the point where he won't even say he's a disenchanter -- he'll just do a greed roll like everyone else, and if he gets the item, then he'll DE it. The tradition seems to be that we all roll when we've all helped drop some boss loot, but it's true that we'd never get the shards if it weren't for DE'ers. Maybe they do deserve to take what they make.

Filed under: Enchanting, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Enchants

When questing is the reward


I've never been a big fan of quests. I've always done them as a means to an end, whether to level up or to earn a bit of Gold. My questing rate dropped considerably once I hit Level 80, with the only quests I did consisting mostly of Wintergrasp dailies and about a week's worth of Ebon Blade dailies in Icecrown to raise my reputation. But the truth is, quests in Wrath of the Lich King have been downright phenomenal. They are well-designed, fun to do, and -- if you actually stop to read the quest text (something I'm often guilty of skipping) -- wonderfully written and filled with story.

I finally got off my lazy butt to do the long Sons of Hodir quest chain, a "necessary evil" to raise reputation with what Alex has dubbed one of the most important factions in Wrath. There was little urgency for me to do the chain, considering I was satisfied with the Wintergrasp shoulder enchants even though they wasted points on Resilience. On the other hand, it became increasingly frustrating for me not to be able to assist my wife whenever her character (often) became the target of merciless gankage. You see, like many parts of Northrend, the Storm Peaks zones where you do Sons of Hodir quests are phased. I simply wanted to get to the point where we would be in the same phased stage, so using Alex's handy guide to the Sons of Hodir quest chain, I set off on what was a surprisingly good and fun adventure.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Wrath of the Lich King

The value of questing after level 80

I'm always amazed when people hit 80 and then start wondering how to make gold. Sure, there are all kinds of money tricks floating around (playing the AH is always fun, and everyone has their own tips they've picked up), but quite frankly, the easiest and most reliable way to pick up a ton of money at level 80 is just to do what you've been doing: go quest. Blizzard has made it so that there's no way you've hit all the quests in Northrend when you've reached the highest level, so odds are that you've got at least one (if not two or three) untouched zones of quests to do. And as folks have discovered on the forums, there's a ton of money to be made there.

Given that after level 80, experience turns into gold, the return on time invested with leftover questing is awesome. You can pick up over three thousand gold easily just by clearing out the zones you haven't hit hard, and by vendoring off the quest rewards that you get for completing the quests, you can pick up even more. Sure, some folks will have AH schemes that will bring in more money, but Blizzard has done their darndest to make sure there's money in them there questgivers, so if you're slouching around at 80 wondering what to do, go finish up your quests.

And of course if you really have finished up all of the quests in the game (and seen all the amazing storylines and character development that go along with doing so), then there's always daily quests to work on. While they won't pay out quite as much as one-time quests, when you break down the time you invest versus the gold you get out of it, they're often the best way to cash in your playtime as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Economy, Leveling, Factions, Guides, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: What's your questing style?


It seems like there's a few basic questing styles I have noticed in Northrend. There's the guys people who just sort of go where the wind takes them, maybe try a few quests out of this zone, a few out of this zone, and play around. Others are focused on the level 80 and rep grinds, so they have the quests they want to take mapped out and plotted, the best to get to that end game so they can start heroic dungeons, raiding, PvP, or whatever else it is they want to do after they're done leveling. Then there's the people who want to get into every nook and cranny of a zone, trying to finish every quest before they move on.

I'm generally in the last category myself. There's so much interesting lore and compelling story in Wrath that I don't want to miss risking a questline anywhere I go. Besides, if I finish all the quests, I'm that much closer to becoming a Loremaster, if nothing else. I do mix it up sometimes if I want to head into a zone early to grab a specific quest reward, such as heading into Borean Tundra to get my Axe of Frozen Death before heading back to Howling Fjord, but for the most part, when I head into a zone, I like to get it nice and cleared out from end to end.

How do you quest, and why? Do you fit one of the types above, or do you have another method?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Leveling, Achievements

Officers' Quarters: (Group)

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

With every expansion comes a slew of new quests, many of whom have that word at the end that's both aggravating and exciting: (Group). It's exciting because the rewards are generally better. But it's aggravating because now you need a few extra hands on deck to move forward with the questline.

Finding help with these quests is easy when everyone is still leveling. But eventually most of your guild will be 80, and those lagging behind or leveling up secondary characters won't have as much luck finding groups. In a month or two, guild chat across every server will be filled with people asking for assistance. In small, tight-knit guilds, it won't really be an issue. Ironically, it's usually people in the larger guilds who have trouble finding groups -- and we as officers can wind up providing most of the help. This week, one reader wants to know how to prevent this scenario.

Hi Scott. I'm the assistant GM of a guild with over 400 members (225-250 accounts), and an issue that keeps coming up is the lack of response for help, either with instances or quests. The problem I have faced personally is that at one point I went out of my way to help anyone who has asked and eventually had to make an alt to hide on. If I logged onto my main I couldn't accomplish anything that I wanted to do since all I did was help others. This also happened to one of my Officers. Then there are those who won't help anyone at all unless there is something involved that they need.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

That sinking sensation


There are a few quests I've done so far that have really made me squirm. I play Horde, and you just know that most things the Forsaken are wrapped up in are going to be kind of dodgy. A lot of our early questing in Northrend concerns the Apothecary Society's attempts to find a Scourge-specific plague (...right), and that doesn't end particularly well. I can sort of accept that, because the quest series skates a thin moral line between plausible deniability on the character's part as to the apothecaries' true intentions, and what actually ends up happening. But there's one quest in particular that has nothing to do with the apothecaries that really gave me pause. It's actually one that has an Alliance equivalent as well, although it ends somewhat differently there.

If you're not that far into Dragonblight quests and don't want to be spoiled, I'm putting it behind the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Encrypted Text: On our way to the top, part 1

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll be talking experience of leveling from 70 to 80 in Northrend.

Blizzard recently announced that December 16th would be the official start date of Arena Season 5. At just over 1 month from the launch of WotLK, it sounds like it's their expectation that a large number of players will be at the level cap and ready to PvP when the Season hits. While the numbers may make it seem like a daunting task, leveling in Northrend is easier than ever before.

Rogues have it pretty good when it comes to questing and grinding. We're finely tuned killing machines with the defensive capabilities to prevent unnecessary deaths and the offensive capabilities to turn those Group quests into solo outings. I've been fielding several questions from other Rogues about where to level, questing tips, and gear choices. After the cut, I'll break down the first couple levels of the trek to 80 and share what I've learned so far.

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Filed under: Rogue, Features, Leveling, Classes, (Rogue) Encrypted Text, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask A Beta Tester: Questions I wish we'd been asked


Here at WoW Insider sometimes we go a little nuts around big news events due to sleep deprivation or sensory overload in conjunction with large hits of caffeine. When that happens while we are writing "Ask A Beta Tester," occasionally we ask ourselves questions ("Why am I not in bed?") that we later realize might actually be useful.

As Wrath of the Lich King's release date creeps up and the beta becomes more and more deserted (seriously: Dalaran is a ghost town these days, not that my computer's wheezing hardware doesn't appreciate it), I find myself turning to a few topics that readers generally never asked about, but wound up being game-defining experiences in the beta. By necessity, most of them are a little more general -- overall impressions, things you wouldn't necessarily think to ask about unless you were a fresh arrival in Northrend and noticed the differences -- but I've included a few specific things that I hope people will find interesting. Unlike --

Why are you not in bed?

What makes you think I'm not?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Expansions, Features, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Barrens Chat: All hands on deck


This week's comic I have decided to do by hand while waiting around for various people and events to catch up to my time line. In other words, the only thing I used my computer for this week was some minor touch ups, framing, straightening, and of course sticking it up here for all of you to razz.

I don't know how common a problem this is for other people, but when I'm actually playing World of Warcraft in the same room as my significant other, he tends to use me as his hotkeys. I'm the "M" key when he wants to know where we are on the map, for instance. I don't know if this is something that happens with everyone who plays in the same room as another person, or if it is just a singular case. Do any of you have instances like this one where you end up being the macro, hotkey, or info guide for someone else?

For the record, I'll go back to doing things with photoshop next week. Small drawings are evil.

See you next week!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck


Barrens Chat is a weekly comic strip that has gone back in time to the good old days of markers and pencils. Although the emo oozes were shiny, and the water elemental looked like a fun time, nothing beats some retro action. Don't worry, everything should be back to normal next week!

Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Hunter, Shaman, Comics, Barrens Chat

The Death Knight starting experience


A couple of days ago, it was with a little good fortune and a lot of soul-selling by WoW Insider lead Elizabeth Harper that I finally got my grubby little hands on a precious Beta key. Over 2 Gigabytes worth of installer and patches later, I found myself creating a Death Knight. It is a fair certainty that every player who upgrades to the Wrath of the Lich King will create one. In fact, after playing the class for just a short time, I have to say that every single player should. The Death Knight starting experience is the single most immersive role-playing experience in the game.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not too big on role-playing. I mostly skip quest flavor text and go directly to the objectives. But the Death Knight starting experience -- it's really called that -- is just game design at its finest. Blizzard mentioned that one design flaw in The Burning Crusade was not making Illidan's presence felt early on in the Outlands. In fact, aside from the raiders who managed to set foot in the 25-man raids, a large number of the player base never got to see the bad guys driving the story of The Burning Crusade. Well... when you play a Death Knight, you won't just feel the lore, it punches you in the face and knocks you off your feet the moment you log into the game for the first time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

What's wrong with leveling?

This post isn't going to be about how to "fix" leveling or make it faster or easier or anything like that. Instead, I'm writing in defense of the leveling process. I actually enjoy it even though I'm having a hard time thinking of anyone else I know who doesn't just want to get it over with. I enjoy questing and I enjoy the charge I get when I learn a new spell or add a new talent point. When I hit level 70 I was quite disoriented without the XP bar to cheer me along. I can't get my head around the idea that I no longer need to log out at an inn because the resting bonus doesn't apply any more. In fact, I'm such a quest addict that I'm still doing leftover quests all over Outland.

Everyone seems to want to get to the endgame as soon as possible. An entire dirty business of buying level 70s has sprung up around the idea that power-leveling is king. But for me, it feels a little bit like the endgame is the End of the Game. There is a shade of "now what?" flying through the back of my mind. No more content to experience, no more places to explore that I haven't already wreaked havoc through. One way to replace XP as a motivation tool is to work on gaining faction chits, I guess, and battleground marks. Sigh. What a grind; it doesn't have the zing that dinging a new level does, or even just seeing the blue bars fill up across my screen. On top of that, there are so many dang factions and rewards and things to collect I need an accountant to help me keep track of what items I should be collecting -- or even what gear, for that matter!

I guess gold is my new XP since those epic flying mounts cost so much. Let's say that I decide to measure my success by my gold balance. I can do enough quests and sell enough stuff at the Auction House to get the 5000G eventually. Then what? I have this super-fast flying mount and no reason to do anything with it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Quests, Leveling

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