Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The ghosts of Darrowshire

Something I really enjoy about World of Warcraft is the effort the designers make to create a compelling backstory for events and quests in the game.  Quests, in WoW, are tasks you're given by non-player characters (NPCs), and usually involve exploring locations,  delivering messages, gathering items or escorting other NPCs on dangerous missions.  In themselves they're pretty simple and repetitive.  What makes them interesting are the stories, or lore, that accompany the quests.  As you accomplish various goals you learn details about the history of Azeroth (the World of Warcraft), details about the characters who inhabit it, and you develop your reputation with different groups, or factions, that operate in the world.

The best quests, in my opinion, are those that form what's known as a "quest chain."  These are a sequence of tasks which, when accomplished, lead you to a deeper understanding of the lore, and a greater involvement with the game.  The more you do, the more you learn.  Some of what you learn is significant to your advancement; some of it just makes the game world richer.  A great example of the later is the quest chain that begins with the ghost of Pamela Redpath in Darrowshire, in the zone known as the Eastern Plaguelands.

Pamela's ghost starts you on a quest chain that ultimately takes you across Azeroth, and, if followed fully, gives you insight into some of the game's human-based lore.  To get a hint of what that might entail, have a look at this machina video created by a fan of the game, using in-game action combined with a song he'd written:

Admittedly, not the greatest song in the world (sorry, Cranius), but it should give you a sense that there's more going on here, emotionally, than just slash-and-hack.

Though there's a lot of slash-and-hack too.

Anyway, check it out, and I'll catch you later, in the Outlands...

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