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Dunland’s quests: Why humor and engagement are important

August 26, 2011

Now that the NDA has been lifted, I can post this look at the new quests that will be coming in Isengard (don’t worry, not spoilers!).

I think the main thing I was disappointed in was the lack of instances below raid size. I am like many others in that I am casual and often don’t have time to raid. That doesn’t mean I don’t have 2 hours at a time, I often do. It means I don’t have a set time to play like others in my kin, so getting 24 people together is not really possible sometimes.

I love 3-mans especially, because it encourages quick thinking, especially with unusual group makeups. The lack of 3- and 6-man instances this go around is disappointing. But never fear! They will be coming soon!

So to bide my time in the Beta, I leveled a Hunter and Captain through the quests in Dunland. Questing is always something I enjoy, as it is like playing a game attached to a really good book.

In the past I have felt the “kill 10 rats” syndrome of “this is really not epic.” You know, like picking up poop in Enedwaith. I was thinking the whole time “I have fought the Nazgul in Dol Guldur, why am I picking up POOP?!?!?”

That being said, I am very happy with the new quest lines. The Dunland quest chain is much like Eregion and the revamped Evendim in playstyle, with a very defined quest-hub system which makes traveling through really enjoyable. There is a real sense of the story of these peoples, and it is one of the more rich stories portrayed in the game, which is in part I’m sure because Turbine can do so much with this zone due to the fact that not a lot of the Lore is set in stone.

Later on in the chain (ok, spoilers slightly), players help the Rangers in some of the quests running with a box of apples, collecting leather for armor, etc. The usual MMO fare. The thing that made this quest chain so funny is a Ranger there with you who is outraged with having to muck the stables, which is hilarious. I just want to /pat him on the back and say “I feel your pain, buddy!”

In all honesty, up till this point in the game, I didn’t really understand why so many “kill 10 rats” quests exist. The Ranger was exactly like me, a man on a mission that is sidetracked by the needs of a community he barely knows. In some way, the humor of this situation helped me see the reason behind the madness.

I think Turbine has done an excellent job of taking the standard quests that have to exist, the “kill 10 rats” quests, and give them new meaning. They breathed into them new life. As multiple Epic Book quests say as you go “Help the people of *place* before moving on.”

Our story is not one of the Fellowship, an ultimate defeat of Sauron. Ours is the steady behind-the-scenes work that eases the hurts of the world behind us as we go to help the Fellowship where we can.

So I like the new zone and the quests and I think that Turbine is doing what they do best: creating a wonderful story of which we are a believable part.

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