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Cataclysm: New Questing Mechanic

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October 08 2010

Cataclysm: New Questing Mechanic
by Lodur

Spoiler warning

For months we’ve been hearing about how much Cataclysm is changing the way the game is played; all of the new talent trees, new zones and new mechanics. Something that hasn’t been talked about nearly enough in my opinion though, is the changing of the quest and questing system. In Cataclysm, you will still have your gathering quests, and your quests to kill a certain amount of specific mobs, but something very important is happening as well to the quests in the later zones of the expansion.

I’m talking mainly about Uldum and the Twilight Highlands. Blizzard has implemented a new system for questing that allows for the completion and continuation of certain quest lines without having to return to the quest hub. It allows the player to immerse themselves a little more in their quest and lets the quests flow a lot more naturally. It also allows them to inject cinematic quest scenes.

Let us take a look at Uldum. The zone is essentially a giant desert, complete with rolling sand storms, hieroglyphics and pyramids. Harrison Jones is the star of this zone, and as you complete quests for him, his Indiana Jones-esq exploits come complete with full in game cinematic cut scenes. He swings in on a rope to save your character from an evil Hitler styled goblin, evading snakes and blowing up statues, and flying through the air in chests to survive a giant explosion. The flow into and out of these sequences is smooth and is integrated so seamlessly as to not disrupt the experience, but rather add to it.

Twilight Highlands so far may be my favorite zone. It is steeped with heavy dwarven lore, and as most people know, dwarves are by far my favorite race in this game. The dwarves of the highlands hail from the Wildhammer clan, one of the three main clans that are the basis for the dwarven lore of warcraft. If you’ve ever flown on a gryphon in game, you’ve likely at least once talked to a Wildhammer dwarf.

Until this expansion, they had broken away from the alliance but promised to maintain flight paths. Now with the events of Cataclysm, your series of quests in the highlands tasks you with reuniting the clans so that they can reforge their bonds and rejoin the Alliance completely.

One of my favorite quests asks the player to convince two members of opposing clans to marry. These two clans are not each other’s biggest fans. Ogres kidnap the female dwarf Fanny, and you are tasked with leading the charge to get her back. You are accompanied by the Firebeard clan and after you rescue her, she agrees to marry, joining with the Firebeard clan. The player is then tasked with gathering necessary items for the wedding. Beer for the reception, something blue for the bride, food and trophies, and players even help a dwarven bard compose a song to be sung for the wedding. As a reward for your efforts, the players are treated to a cinematic sequence in which they give away the bride. During the wedding, agents of Deathwing interrupt the ceremony. The player rallies the gathered dwarven families (even a dwarven bard to buff you) to defeat the villain and save the wedding.

The entire series of quests and the cinematic cut-scene into the remaining quests is fluid and engrossing, and really showcase the new questing system. All of the new zones are getting this treatment and I can say that while it is long overdue, the results are incredibly impressive. 


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