Structure in a Chaotic World (of Warcraft)

I have chosen to address the second option for my blog post. One aspect of the game that I think is important to focus on is the questing system. The reason why it is so important to look at this mechanic is that it is integrated into every character’s progression and is the driving force for completion in dungeons. A statement is being made through the game’s procedural rhetoric that you have to work hard before you even get a chance to fight your biggest battles.

The role of battle systems in quests and dungeons are both very well planned and can be translated into more identifiable systems in our society. Let’s run through a general path that a quest takes and see how it might be similar to an essay we would write in class. At first I go to a character to accept a quest, which gives me a general structure of how I will be able to complete it. I look at my map and determine what the best or fastest route I should take is. I equip myself with armor and set off on your journey. Immediately I can see a connection between our classroom and the gaming world. I come into class and am given an essay to complete. I look at my options for how I would like to write my essay and what I want it to be about. I gather all of my resources, such as the books we are reading in class, notes that I’ve taken on the subject, and past bibliographies for more information. Back in the gaming world I start my journey and decide to go through the forest instead of along the path. In order to get to the “boss” I first need to kill many smaller opponents along the way; they may not seem like much, but they add up after a while. Finally, I am ready to kill the character listed in my quest. It takes a lot of time and effort and can call from help from others, but I defeat them and return back to the character to complete my quest. Another parallel to be drawn here is the process of writing an essay. It starts with me researching my topic and getting sources to cite. When I am all ready, I finally write my essay and typically enlist the help of fellow classmates for assistance. Once completed, I return to my professor and hand in my completed essay. Although the two processes are not identical, there is similarity up to a point that allows them to be put side by side.

I can openly say that I do not think that the role of quests in this game is to make a statement about writing essays. I used it more of a means of comparison to highlight the message being discussed. However, the process of preparation and working hard to be ready for a tough challenge is definitely one to consider. In general, I believe that this game is making its case for why training is essential to any positive performance.

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7 Responses to Structure in a Chaotic World (of Warcraft)

  1. devilzadv0k8 says:

    So what you’re saying with your analogy that the quest is analogous to any task that is assigned, prepared for and then completed. I’d be curious to know how you feel about the fact that quests are the way that new users are introduced to the game. A player must complete hundreds of quests before doing anything interesting. We talked briefly in class about why it is that the game is so boring for new users. Is the point you’re making that quests are necessary training tools? I’d like to know more about why you think the developers of this game decided to make it so that new users must complete a painfully boring amount of quests.

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    • pittpanther8 says:

      The best way I can explain my thinking about this subject is by trying to give real world examples. I think the developers put in such a large number of boring quests to show what an actual progression of earning a goal is. You can’t go out and run a marathon if you’ve never run.

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  2. jmc211 says:

    It’s interesting that WoW uses quests as a method of training and reaching a higher reward. In most games quests are how you get through different parts of the narrative of the game, but in WoW I find myself rushing through them and learning very little of the story behind them. Often there doesn’t seem to be much of a story at all.
    Skyrim is another open world game with tons of quests, but I never found myself thinking of them as work, but rather an adventure.

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  3. epiratequeen says:

    I think I understand what you’re trying to say about quests in the game and their equivalents in real life. Last week, I accepted two quests in a row that required me to go to the same area, completed both of them, and returned to turn in both at once. Within the same day, I had two hours in between classes to get stuff done, so I went to my building, put my laundry in, left to get groceries at IGA, stopped on my way home at Towers to buy a bus ticket from Panther Central, and moved my laundry into the dryer before bringing my purchases upstairs to my apartment. That procedure really mimicked the game for me, which was pretty eerie.

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  4. mjd105 says:

    I am really drawn to your connection between a quest and a every day task that we do like preparing for a test or going to class. Like most people commenting on this it seems that you have really opened our eyes to the oddly similar life we live to our fictional characters running around in WoW. There is a very well defined process for both the game and our lives and you draw on that very well.

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  5. thawardasa says:

    I like your analogy of WoW quests to life progression. Life is all about surviving and building yourself up to face more increasingly difficult challenges, just as quests do the same. While some are boring, each quest serves a purpose in building strength for future quests, just as life events and challenges build on each other to build a complete person. It’s an interesting comparison that makes a lot of sense in how the game was created. Practice makes perfect, they say.

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  6. kalihira says:

    I resonate very strongly with what you’ve said in this. Additionally, I feel like it is similar to one of the class discussions, which said that “essentially, we pay 15 dollars a month to work for Blizzard”. Each game mechanic trains you in some way for the next one coming up, (Quests to dungeons to raids, with maybe battlegrounds in the mix somewhere), but the quests themselves are not very rewarding at first, similar to working your first job. The task itself may not be glamorous, but it is the reward, or even the potential of a reward, of gaining experience, and eventually making your way to the next level (a more applicable job or a promotion, or dungeons), that make the grind worthwhile.

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