Leveling and the Plot


#1

Hi everyone,

I had a conversation about how to reform WoW’s leveling to present the :poop:-y story better. At the moment there might just as well not be any bigger story while leveling at all, since you really won’t get to see anything come of it, before you change addons/zones. And even if you didn’t… much of the greater story is inaccessible, since it was told in deleted quests or novels… Even key moments you really need to understand what is happening, like giving up your artifact are just…gone. And you usually skip any patch content while leveling anyway. So… the lore while leveling is… kind of just not there. We can argue if that is better or worse than really noticing lore, but… I hope we can agree that Blizzard wouldn’t think that.

So… what could realistically be done without fully recreating the game? Other MMOs that kind of care about the story have a clearly marked main story. Is there some way for WoW to introduce something like this? Could a zone rework help, or are there just too many zones to do that stuff?
Could they just slap on Lorewalker Cho or Chromie telling a abbreviated version of the story you can quest through to get the real highlights and to understand what was going on?

I’m not really sure here what can be done to bring the story experience of Warcraft leveling to an adequate level, and I would be interested in some ideas on that.


#2

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but adding a scaled down version of world quests/bonus objectives themed to both the zone and the current expansion would help integrate the overall story and make the world feel more dynamic.

You could be questing in the Barrens for example, and a world quest is up that involves beating back a Centaur invasion on Crossroads, tying to the theme of the zone. At the same time, an Alliance strike force is moving through the barrens to break the barricade at Mor’shan rampart and open supply lines to the Nelves, with a few world quests to stop them. The next day it could be quilboar hitting Ratchet, while some Nelves are moving across the northern mountains to spy on Orgrimmar. And so on.

Once we move past BFA into, presumably, an old god themed expansion, the BFA themed quests of the faction strife could change to be focused on Old God minions, Twilights Hammer etc who are trying to attack/find artifacts/disrupt things. That way players feel connected to the current expansion at low levels.

Some older content needs a sweep to simply focus on “local issues” and remove outdated references. Such as the multiple warchiefs problem on Horde side. If these were removed most zones could have a consistent, “localised” story thread that doesn’t feel out of place after 1 expansion. With world quests/events complimenting that.

Overall the world could use a revamp tooto clean up some of the sillier cataclysm changes like the daft volcano in Ashenvale or silly cyclones in Darkshore and Westfall, and to show how the races have adapted to changes such as the flooded areas of Durotar or Wetlands. With the story revamped and cleaned up to reflect that.


(Anouk) #3

I think the best way to handle this in my opinion would be to keep the world in a timeless state with random updates here and there and utilizing the caverns of time to access the continents in their past state.

For example: Update Kalimdor to the current timeline and put it in a more or less timeless state, so it wont matter whether it exists during expansion X or expansion Y. Then put up portals in the caverns of time which let you access Kalimdor during it’s Vanilla state and Cataclysm State. Same with pretty much any continent that has expansion relevant content on it.

As for how to update the continents with minimal effort: Just remove any quests that are expansion relevant (Deathwing and Lich King stuff for example) and don’t replace it with anything. If people want to do the quests of the past, they can simply use the caverns of time to access them.

Also: Make newer races transform into older races. Void Elves fighting the Lich King make no sense.


#4

Thanks for the replies. I do think both are interesting possibilities. With the World Quests and the dynamic spawning systems we see in Island expeditions we do have powerful tools that could be used to provide variety for the leveling experience. These aren’t tools that can reasonably be used to tell a cohesive story, but they can be used to showcase the kinds of threats the areas face, and might indeed be easier to update with new content. I like that idea.

I also like the idea of making the leveling process “timeless”, in that it shouldn’t really be dependent on the politics of the day. I don’t think changing quests afterwards, like making BfA faction quests about Void stuff is feasible though, since it sounds like quite a lot of work they would have to do with every update.
But if the quests aren’t changed… Removing them (and leaving them repeatable somwhere else, I guess) like @Anouk suggested, might be the only option not to have a confusing half-narrative like we have now… With world quests that accompany leveling in these zones that might be ok, I guess…

But what would still be missing would be a way to actually follow what happened until this point in WoW. Do you think a quest revamp could give enough of a summary for newer players to follow? Or would your goal rather be to let the past die and kind of start anew, making what came before something that people can read up on if they like, but no one in the game should have to know to understand what is going on?