A part of World of Warcraft that is critically associated with the game’s narrative is the way in which characters in the game are able to obtain quests. In WoW, quests are necessary in order to level up your character, which is necessary in order to unlock certain aspects of the game that are important in order to keep reaching higher levels, such as better armor or ability to fly an animal.
The access and progression of quests are very set and the same from player to player. A person will get the same quest as other people online playing the game and they can learn ways to complete quests if they are confused. Because of the nature of the narrative being so predictable, WoW forums and online chat rooms are utilized extremely well because almost all players have completed quest that the players at a lower level are at.
When thinking of the game as a novel, these forums could almost be considered spark notes for the gamer. They allow you to skim the quest information for the end result that is needed and the gamer can merely search the forum for how to find what they need to complete the quest. There is no critical analysis involved in completing the quests and these alternate routes of finding information make the processing of the narrative the game is portraying faster, more goal-oriented, and less invested in the actual sequencing of events.
In the two weeks I have spent playing this game, I could not tell you the actual people or storyline that the game was trying to invoke by sending me from one quest to another and back to the first again. All I would look at was the objective of what I needed to acquire and from there, I would Google what I needed to find rather than read the actual objective description. Some quests are a little better at describing how to get to the end goal but for the most part I wanted to complete the quests as fast as I could, and that involved not reading the quest narrative and going straight to the information I needed to complete my quest and gain the experience and rewards that I needed.
The problem with this way of playing the game, and I can only assume I am not the only one who plays this way, is that the whole narrative and storyline that the game is presenting is lost on the gamer. I noticed that at some points it was predictable what the next quest would be based on the last one, but these assumptions were based solely on the things I needed to complete the quest rather than the actual character plot that WoW is trying to develop. The game is set up in such a way that quests seem like unrelated chapters in a larger novel, the only constant being the gamer’s player. Quests are almost like little stories that the player has to come to a solution for, and analyze in a different way than a novel. A novel would be analyzed by meaning and points that the author is trying to make to the reader, whereas WoW is primarily analyzed by the gamer as to the fastest route to get done what they need to in order to complete the quest. Another interesting distinction is that WoW never has an end point. Yes each individual quest has an end point, but in itself, those little question marks are more and more frequent the more quests that a gamer completes.