Devs, Why so serious?
I mean, why so linear?
I will start off by saying there are some great quests in this game. Most of the great quests in my opinion are the quests that have a high replay value. When I say high replay value, I do not mean xp or items, I mean the fun factor, the factor that makes a quest less boring to run repeatedly. But I have noticed a trend in the past several adventure packs, and this trend is quests tending to be extremely linear. Go from begin to end in a straight or zigzag line, with little to know thinking and extremely low replay value.
In my opinion some of the great quests in this game are the ones that offer multiple outcomes or multiple paths to the end of the quest.
For example the following quests.
First take a look at one of the best designed packs quest wise in my opinon. The Amrath pack for example.
Genesis Point (one of my favorite quests in design, but I am not a fan of the Amrath lore)
Within this quest there are various objectives to complete along with puzzles, traps etc. The puzzle mechanic is great, the first time doing this quest actually took some teamwork and problem solving skills. Upon learning these mechanics they do not become tedious or delay the progress of the quest. The thing that gives this quest such a high replay value in my opinion are the multiple endings. At least 4 choices on how to end the quest, which makes it less boring to repeat the quest itself.
Sins of Attrition
While Sins is not too mazelike it does offer 6 possible endings, by choosing items upon the table halfway through the quest, it will determine the end boss that you fight. Another nice addition to this quest are the random rare encounters that award the player for exploring the entire dungeon.
A New Invasion
I personally love the layout of this quest. So much is randomized, from levers to portals, to drop points. I just love the maze factor in this quest, keeps the quest interesting while you repeat the quest.
One negative thing about the quest is the timed factor, I just hate timed quests in general.
Litany of the Dead
Out of all the quests in the Necropolis this is hands down my favorite. It has an interesting layout and several surprises along the way. Halfway through the quest, you meet the dragon and you have a choice between four possible end fights, that each have a special item that you can use in the end fight. The riddle halfway through the quest(or the end of the quest) was just a great add-on in my opinion, especially the first several times running the quest. The fake floors, the fake treasure chests, they all got me the first time around. Mainly it’s the multiple endings the just increase the replay value in this quest for me.
Here are some others that I consider good quests in design.
The Cursed Crypt
I know most people hate this pack, but I enjoy this quest, always reminds me of Castlevania for some reason. This quest is not as linear and does have some random elements to the quest. One big negative thing though is the time limit.
Although this quest is a low level quest, I feel it has some great mechanics to it. Here is a quest that has multiple optionals that can have an effect on the end fight. The quest is interesting and has a very unique puzzle along with some surprises for first time adventurers. Another great thing about this quest is the optional after the quest is finished to test the strength of the party fighting the optional boss in the backroom.
Against the Demon Queen (pre raid)
Although this quest does not have the multiple ending factor, I do think the riddle mechanic in the beginning is a nice element, it effects the course of the quest and the order that you proceed through the quest. Some more random elements would be ideal.
Now take for example some of the new quests over the past year.
This quest has a nice outdoor setting but its extremely linear. One pathway through the forest, no puzzles, no riddles, nothing but a pathway to the end. Extremely low replay value in my eyes.
Don't Drink the Water
This quest is marked as long for some reason, but again its one pathway through a cave to the boss. No real surprises along the way, no puzzles, riddles etc, same boss fight every time. Low replay value.
Lost in the Swamp
Again another quest that is pretty much a one pathway to the final boss. Nothing really surprising in this quest, nothing too interesting. Only thing that was very challenging was the first time doing the quest and trying to get the chest on top of the pillar after the boss fight.
Out of all the new quests over the past year or so, I only find one of them to be truly unique and that is ‘in the belly of the beast’ I found that quest to be very enjoyable but not a great replay value. I just don’t understand the direction that the quest design has taken over the past 1 or 2 years. Put the group on a path, walk to the end, finish. It would be nice if some of the new quests could be as interesting and unique as some of the old quest designs. I really hope a new pack comes along with the uniqueness and imagination that the Amrath pack brought to DDO. I don't know, maybe I am in a minority group for what I find fun or what I find to have a high replay value. (note, I have not tried the new beta quest s on Lam)