Quest design – ur doin' it rong

Here’s an example of how not to modify a quest that’s already in the game.

In WoW, there’s a daily cooking skill quest, one instance of which requires you to find 4 sacks of sugar for the poor orphans of the city. Up until about 6 weeks ago, these sugar sacks spawned in about 5 or 6 buildings around town, in a single location — it was a bit of a wait to get them all, sometimes, but mostly people would queue good-naturedly and just wait their turn. (You could also buy a sack or two at a time from certain vendors, though respawn is fairly slow. This hasn’t changed.)

A few weeks back, this was changed. The sugar sacks still spawn in the same building locations, but now they spawn in up to five different spots in each building, and they don’t spawn any faster than they used to. Which means that now everyone is running around like a loon  trying to be the lucky bastard who catches one of the 1-5 spawn locations in a given building. Any sense of good nature is gone as people snarl at and elbow each other out of the way — it’s like Sale Day at Bergdorfs, only with more F-bombs. Camping and queueing is more a case of spitting and clawing.

So the designers basically did one of two things: either they did a very well-meaning but insanely stupid thing, or they’re downright sadistic and someone thought it would be fun (for them, anyway) to make this irritating daily quest even more frustrating and time-consuming. If the former, then I’d have thought they were paid to be smarter than that, unless this got shoved off onto some noob designer; if the latter then thanks, and if I ever meet you, I will not be buying you a beer. Count on it.

6 thoughts on “Quest design – ur doin' it rong

  1. Wow, that does sound like a rather crappy change. It would be one thing if they at least upped the spawn rates, but that sounds really annoying.

  2. My bet is on a junior designer with good intentions. They would not put any senior designer to modify such a quest and might not even bother to have it reviewed by a senior designer.

    But the decision to change the request must have from something; I guess probably a bunch of individual complaints from players that they had to run around too much. And the designer decided to fix what they complained about instead of fixing the problem.

  3. That’s right. Let the anger flow through you. Use it. And post more often! 🙂

    I doubt it was a malicious change. Your experience was probably an anomaly, where people on other servers just sat around the one location and clicked madly to get the bag. Or, some idiot on a giant mount sat on top of the spawn point to make it harder for others who have never used the target item key. So, someone changed it to avoid this problem, but it introduced new problems on your server.

    Remember, people are broken. And, as old Lum used to say, there’s no patch.

    1. It wouldn’t be a rant if I didn’t completely and unfairly abuse people who totally didn’t deserve it. 😀

      And, as always, Lum was right.

      I’d still buy you a beer though.

  4. And I’m reminded again why I never got into the cooking and fishing dailies in Cata. I miss the TBC cooking daily 🙁

  5. This is actually the way one of the cooking dailies in Wrath worked. Wine glasses would spawn randomly all over Dalaran. Tables at inns, rooms at inns, random end tables in shops, etc. It was the same, some people would camp spawn spots, some people would run around like their hair was on fire.

    I hated that quest.

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