With all the bad things people can say about warlords it is very easy to forgot about some of things that the expansion did well. You can complain about no dailies, no reason to do dungeons after release which valor and it associated gear could have cured early on, no flight at release, ashran not living up to what some people expected and I could go on and on with more, very reasonable, complaints we have heard. Because of things like those ones I mentioned it is a fairly safe assumption warlords is near the bottom of more than a fair amount of peoples lists, but that does not mean that warlords did not do a few things right.
In the first of a series of posts addressing the things they did right, and only those things, I want to take a look at the questing experience, which in my opinion, was done exceptionally well this expansion.
Warlords did questing well.
I know a lot of people still consider the warlords questing experience to be quite linear in nature but I have to disagree. As someone who actually enjoys questing, both the act of doing them and reading the quests that accompany them, I would like to consider myself a connoisseur or sort when it comes to questing and I believe it is in fact the best job they have ever done making it non-linear.
To support my claim that the questing is in fact not linear is the fact that the "end of zone" reward, the book we get that we can trade in for a garrison blueprint, can be attained in each and every zone without doing the entire zone. Heck, in one of those zones, Nagrand, you get it near the beginning of the zone. That is the "big" zone reward. So the fact that you do not need to do the entire zone to get it is about as much proof that the questing is not linear as you need.
Linear questing is such. You need to do A to open B then do B to open C then do C to open D and continue along. If you want to see what real linear questing was, go quest in cataclysm content. In each and every zone on Draenor you can do the quests you are given to start with or you can choose just to turn the lead in quest in and not pick up the quests it sends you to and go exploring. You will find many quests you can pick up that give you little hubs in that area and did not require you to do anything to open them. You really can choose which quests you want to do and which you do not.
If you so choose to quest as I do, where I do the ones that get me followers and the "end of zone reward" as fast as possible, yes, you can call it linear, as I make the most efficient path to get the rewards I want and as such it does end up being the same on every character. But the fact of the matter does remain, I do not have to do it that way, I choose to.
It is that open questing, those choices of which hubs you want to do and which you do not, that makes questing this expansion such a breath of fresh air over what we were used to in the past expansions. Never before has the questing experience given us so many options of which quests to do.
And it does not stop there, as questing is usually a means to level and blizzard did not stop by making that questing experience better over all they made it so there were extras in it. Not only the standard extras where a certain quest might offer a toy or something fun either.
They had rare mobs, although they were not as fun as the mists rares where you could kill them over and over and they had what could be a quality drop for you, they were one off kills this time around, they were still something to help break up the questing experience and offer another way to get some experience points for leveling. Also there were a lot more in one single zone then in all of Pandaria combined making it so it would be near impossible to not run into a few of them while questing. Most were easy, some could be a challenge for some classes, and some where without a doubt over tuned, but they worked as a fair distraction to the standard questing design.
They added bonus objectives that in reality were nothing more than combining four different quests that usually would be the complement of a hub into one large bonus objective. Some people did them, some ignored them, but they were there as an option and even if all they really were was a collection of quests bundled together into one, some people really liked them. More than a few people I know that are adverse to questing, they just despise it, loved doing all the bonus objectives, even if, as I said, all they really are were quests. Packaging together quests as something new and different, worked exceptional for the questing experience and was a good addition to the game.
But wait, that is not all, there were also treasures all over the place. Some might say treasures are not part of the questing experience but once more I respectfully disagree. Where did I and many others come across those treasures? While questing. Did we take a few steps off the questing trail once in a blue moon to pick up one of those treasures? I know I did. Do my alts make sure to grab all the treasures they can to speed up their leveling experience while questing? Your damn skippy they do. Treasures played a very intricate part of the leveling process through questing. They gave us something to break up the monotony, sometimes gave us something we could use, and lets not forget the nice little chuck of experience you got for finding them. I actually almost had the 200 treasure achievement as soon as I hit 100 on my first character the day the expansion came out because I was collecting as I went, while questing. So yeah, it was part of the questing experience.
Another little tid bit that people who do not play alts are always do the same things on each character they play might not have noticed is that depending on which building you decided on in each zone you opened up a different sub quest hub based on that building. Like in gorgrond you could either end up doing the upper quests or the lower quests, gathering wood or breaking rocks, it made the experience different, if you decided to take that path. And for those completionists out there like myself you could even switch building after you did all the quests and do the other set of quests which also gets you different followers when you do it, because each of those buildings has a follower associated with it and which building you choose dictates which follower you get the quest for. It might not be much, but it was a kind of cool way to spice of questing for people with multiple characters or people that wanted to see it all like myself.
There are a lot of bad things people can say about warlords but when you pick it apart piece by piece there were some things it did well and in my opinion the questing while leveling experience has never been more open, optional or diverse as it was this expansion and it was surely something I think warlords did right.