World of Warcraft is often credited with inserting questing into MMORPGs, but veterans know that classic MMOs like Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron's Call all featured quests, be they simple escort quests for gold or elaborate multi-week quests for epic weapons that required a few dozen of your mates to lend a hand. Those ancient quests weren't designed as "content," exactly; they were a means to an end, and the reward was the point. Quests were just a unique way to gather money or special loot when you weren't hunting or camping in dungeons working on skills and levels.
What WoW did was popularize the idea that quests should be the primary method of leveling up through an MMO. WoW's quests provide experience above all else; few WoW quests award gear worth using at endgame, and most rewards are vendor trash. Now, as quests have slowly become core content across many themepark and sandbox MMOs, we even hear gamers refer to "quest grind," when the reality is that quest-driven leveling was intended to replace something far more boring: mob grind.
By turning something special into something mundane, have MMO developers shattered the mystique of The Quest as a roleplay and storytelling element? Are you sick to death of quests (and dynamic-events-that-are-really-just-quests) as a character development prop? Can designers make questing feel epic once again, or is it simply too late?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!
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