I’m Getting Soft…


… and I blame it on MMOs lately.

The last two MMOs that came out recently seemed to have built QuestHelper into their compass/minimaps. Okay, so it probably didn’t start with QuestHelper because before that I saw EQ2Maps in EQ2. Though you might say it first showed up with the Legacy of Guk maps in EQ1 and all the custom maps people developed. It’s just gotten a lot better and more user friendly.

Which does mean the user doesn’t really have any thinking, reading or exploring to do.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I think a lot of the choices players make and the sense of freedom in a MMO is negatively impacted by this. Instead of exploring and completing quests as you go or even reading the text to find out where to go gets lost in this. You go from having to explore, find things or asking others to simply following the arrow on the compass.

I’m not sure how this differs from being forced to go in some direction or being led around by the ear. I’m starting to think that MMOs are moving away from playing a game and towards being a time filler.

Zubon made a good post about this sort of thing, though less specifically aimed at quest helpers, take a read.

Sad thing is, going to pick up some groceries for the wife is more challenging than MMOs lately. I can wander an aisle for ten minutes looking for something that is supposed to be there because the sign over head says “Baking Needs” but in recent MMOs, everything is laid out for me and I have to actively try not to find it to explore.

Oh and I’m getting soft because there is a quest in Fallout 3 that I found myself lost with. It’s a part in the Blood Lines where you get to Arefu and are supposed to find these “Family” guys and Lucy West’s missing brother. I can’t find them for the life of me. I wandered for hours and checked the locations specified, still nothing.

QuestHelper? Where are you?!

I actually like that I’m stumped on a quest… does that make me a masochist? Or do I simply like some challenge in my games?

10 thoughts on “I’m Getting Soft…

  1. I hate RL’s chat system and I couldn’t find any spoiler sites for the location. And no, picking up groceries is no fun because my class is OP so everything is trivial. I don’t know why I even bother. Clearly, it’s just something to do. :)

    Okay, no, I don’t roam the aisles for ten minutes, I usually ask or just pick up something that is ‘close enough’ and take the faction hit from my quest giver.

  2. You know, there was a time when grocery stores were pushing towards a QuestHelper kind of system. A little computer on the handle, started out with a calculator. Sadly, I do not think it was cost effective (damage), and has disappeared. Imagine the possibilities with a little lcd screen and an in-store gps kinda thing.

    I’d like to grab my shopping list from the internet from it, it could even chart my course through the store. And here wer are using old metal carts with bum wheels.

  3. Yup. There are some places where technology really doesn’t need to advance even though it could. All this to say I’m having a MMO low.

    Is it sad when you hear someone mention a MMO name and you have an urge to subscribe to it too and give it another shot? I was listening to Shut Up We’re Talking today at work and it got me thinking about trying EQ2 again and giving my Warden another go at it. One of the guys from work actually asked me if I was going to pick up the upcoming expansion (EQ2 popped his MMO cherry) but I declined. Okay, I listened to the first half about three times because a test tool was clobbering my browser window where I listening to it from so maybe there was something more subliminal to it.

    Anyway, the upcoming EQ2 expansion sounds neat. It has a lot of the dungeons I really liked in EQ1 but I just can shake the LDON feeling of it and the underlying fear that they’ll ruin my memories of Guk. :(

  4. QuestHelper was nice for alts. After my umpteenth time rolling alts, most of those leveling quests had lost their luster a long time ago; just get me to the objective, get me back, and give me the damn XP.

    But not something I personally would use my first time through. That’s a personal choice, though. Everyone has their own playstyle.

    Add to that some quest writers should be publicly flogged anyway. I don’t mind if the text gives me fairly precise directions, maybe point out a few prominent landscape features that will prompt me to do my own exploration of the area but also arrive at the objective relatively quickly. If I’ve read and re-read the text a dozen times and I’m still stumbling around lost in the area it describes, only to discover on a website that the real location is on the other side of the map, I start having less-than-angelic thoughts about the author of that text.

    Prompt me to explore but don’t force me. Prompt me to look at the environs rather than showing me a glowing dot with GPS coordinates pin-pointed by a spy satellite (unless it’s a game where that technology exists, then by all means). Prompt me to think and make a few light decisions so I feel I earned that discovery, but keep in mind this is also a videogame not an aptitude test.

  5. Yup, that’s part of the reason why I’m not keen on having those built into the MMO from the get go (AoC and WAR).

    Amen Brother Talyn!

  6. I have a new mod in WoW now called TOMTOM, well not new but new for me. It shows me only KILL quests to level by. No collection quests. It highlights the next quest NPC on the map as soon as I finish my current one. I take the quest and then on to the next one. WoW without collection quests is fairly straight forward grind fest, but since I have played it 4 years I dont care at this point.

    Now for Wrath, ALL MODS ARE OFF. Nothing beats a new Blizzard expansion. Good times

  7. Well, having 20 million dollars dumped on you would beat a Blizzard expansion, but let’s face it, the Blizzard expansion is more likely to happen. :)

    I’ve got a pretty short mod list at the moment. When I was playing my Hunter I had a bucket load.

    I think it currently is:
    - bagnon
    - bartender 4
    - iceHUD
    - auctioneer
    - polymorph count (I forget the name)
    - omen
    - questhelper

    Yeah, I know I railed against QuestHelper and the like, but my main beef was in new games where the content is fresh and exploration is new. I’ve done the starting areas for both factions so many times it’s ridiculous.

  8. I always liked RPHelper too. It was just fun having your character saying all kinds of different (and customizable) things to different situations. Silly fluff, but it was fun.

    Liked it so much I was made lead dev (ok, only dev — the whole project was handed to me) for several months before TBC came out and I left the game. At least the person I handed the project to continued with my “to do” list of improvements! :)

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