Monday, October 10, 2016

Legion's Gameplay Loop: World Quests

Click here to go back to the intro article on Legion's Gameplay Loop to view other topics.

World quests on paper seemed very promising and, as I pointed out in my article on time gating, appeared to be an evolution on previous iterations of time-gated content like daily quests. I also have a tendency to emphasize solo content in my suggestions and while I didn't mention that world quests could help to fill a void of much needed solo content, it seemed like it would since a majority of questing content can be done alone. While I wasn't entirely accurate on my optimism regarding world quests, they more or less provide plenty for a player to do solo. Furthermore, the options are plentiful and refresh often enough that waiting to do more isn't as much of an issue compared to previous iterations of similar content. After weeks of experiencing the content and gathering data, I will explain my findings and provide a general idea of what the world questing experience seems to be like from a perspective emphasizing gameplay.

Introductory Explanation

World questing as a gameplay loop involves a few steps: Check objectives, travel to and complete objectives, collect reward. This can be repeated until world quests are exhausted, after which players have to wait for more quests to show up, which seems to happen every 6 hours. The next two sections will cover the aspects of world questing that involve direct player interaction with it, which will then be followed up by a typical day of world questing from my perspective and some critique in the form of suggestions.

World Quest Types

Prior to actually going out to complete objectives in order to finish world quests, I find myself opening my map to see what kinds of world quests are available. I then pick and choose to do specific quests based on the type of objective they have. These categorizations don't cover every world quest in the game but should cover a vast majority of them. Some world quests may fall into multiple categories. The categories are as follows:

These world quests are basically recycled objectives from Legion's leveling quests or bonus objective areas. The objectives may be slightly different due to being an amalgamation of multiple quests or having different values to complete compared to the original quest, which does mix things up a bit. While some players may find this objectionable due to the blatant recycling of content, I think these quests are good for at least the following reasons:
  • They are probably easier to make than other world quests, so Blizzard can make a lot of them and add them to the world quest pool, which allows for more variety.
  • Players can re-experience quests they enjoyed while leveling again.
  • Rehashed quests effectively fall into a similar type of content as Timewalking, both of which are intended to reduce the problems of obsolescence and can be considered elegant game design when done well.
Either way, I'm not surprised that Blizzard decided to add a large number of rehashed objectives from old quests to world quests and was expecting it from the beginning considering it has been done before with dailies.

These quests are more flexible like Warlords of Draenor bonus objective areas in that players can do a number of tasks within the area such as killing enemies, destroying objects, or helping NPCs to progress to 100%. Upon doing do, the quest is completed. It is worth mentioning that these areas as well as the ones players can run into while questing normally seem to progress at greater rates compared to the areas in Warlords of Draenor, with some increasing progression by 8% or more per normal enemy kill.

I usually call this kind of quest the "bombing run" but in truth they're more of a power trip since players are given access to some way to something immensely powerful, whether it be a vehicle NPC with strong abilities or an item, and are then assigned to complete an objective that usually involves killing many enemies. This is something I've been wanting more of for a while and they appear to have become a lot more common with at least three zones having such quest(s).

These quests are almost exclusive to the Wardens reputation but they all share a common objective of killing one fairly strong enemy. Many of these enemies are also rare spawns, which makes them relevant to kill again since, much like Warlords of Draenor rare spawns, rare spawns in Legion only drop their major loot once. To be fair, Mists of Pandaria rares were potentially a little too rewarding, so having rewards for killing them again on a world quest only is a decent compromise between the past two systems.

Either way, I personally like this type of quest the most and tend to prioritize them. They are usually fairly quick to complete and challenging compared to the other quests. Furthermore, there's some mechanical variance since in addition to the enemy's existing mechanics, some draw abilities from a random pool of abilities shared between many of them. These abilities even change between kills, which increases the variance and replayability factor of the quests more.

These types of quests are more of a modifier for other types of quests indicating that they are best done in a group due to the challenge involved. So far, they always seem to involve Elite or Rare Elite enemies. I personally like doing them alone as a challenge and apparently others do too, but it's nice to do them together with others without a group. This behavior, while not exclusive to elite world quests, shows that content that can be done solo can also be done in freeform groups with no need to use the party system. As a bonus, Elite quests tend to have very good rewards.

There are few Dungeon world quests, but they sometimes pop up with decent rewards that further provide incentive to run that specific dungeon, which seems almost excessive considering dungeons by themselves are fairly rewarding and I'll explain why in that specific article. These quests are comparable to the daily heroic, which eventually evolved into the Random Dungeon bonus on the Dungeon Finder. They fulfill a similar role of providing players with a reason to run content they vastly outgear if they really want to get the quest done quickly (since not everyone has time to do Mythic or Mythic+)

Also known as "Warden's Tower" quests, these quests take place in PvP subzones that always have the same objective. While I have yet to run into anyone of the opposite faction in such a zone, I also haven't done a lot of these quests since I don't have much interest in the rewards. However, this is also because I'm not interested in farming Honor, which these quests reward a significant amount of in addition to the base reward. Thus, while I don't personally find these quests that beneficial, I can imagine plenty of players do. It's also worth mentioning these quests expire and refresh fairly quick, so players might be able to do many over the course of a day.

All professions have associated world quests related to them. Whether it involves bringing a crafted item to a specific NPC or gather items from a specific NPC or area, these are some of the briefest quests. For gatherers, they serve as points of interest to acquire a decent amount of materials. For crafters, the quests can potentially reward materials or recipes related to their profession. These are usually more of a bonus world quest that are on the map in addition to the standard world quests rolled for that time.

These world quests are also something of a bonus and often reward pet battle-related items. They're really more of a replacement for pet battling dailies and may actually be a downgrade since trainers can be a reliable source of experience, items, and Pet Charms. Also, they don't seem to count towards Emissary quests.

Kirin Tor

The objective of Kirin Tor world quests are rather minigame-esque and can involve solving puzzles, pseudo-platforming, and racing to gather energy within a time limit. While there's some issues such as racing quests being unreliable to complete since nodes that grant energy don't seem to always show up, the objectives in general are fairly quick and refreshing compared to more typical quest design. The fact the quests are quick to complete also means that players who don't like these kinds of gimmicky quests can get them out of the way without much hassle.


These are not actually world quests but serve as a bonus incentive to do at least four of a specific type of world quest, after which significant rewards are received. While the most notable reward is a high amount of reputation with one of Legion's factions, players can also receive Artifact Power and a cache that can drop goods that world quests can yield. Emissary quests are received once per day and up to three can be held at a time. This effectively makes world quests a lot more approachable since instead of feeling overwhelmed to the point of feeling obligated to complete all the world quests or completing world quests every day, a player can instead focus on completing emissary quests and otherwise customize their world questing at a slower pace without feeling punished. It's even rewarding to wait for emissary quests to stack since some quests fulfill multiple emissary quest requirements.

World questing in the pick-and-choose fashion that emissary quests allow for is beneficial to all types of players. From a casual perspective, it allows for several bite-sized experiences that ultimately result in a significant amount of progress. Players with more time on their hands may want to vary the experience, so they may also end up doing only some world quests along with other content that Legion has to offer such as Mythic+ Dungeons. Emissary quests are also decent for altoholics who otherwise literally might not have enough time in a given day to do a significant amount of world quests and other content for each character they play.

Ultimately I can conclude that I like the overarching gameplay loop that emissary quests provide for world quests, which is made more effective due to the emphasis on its rewards, even if the gear rewards could use adjustment (as of 10/12, emissary quest cache gear drops seem to scale like world quest rewards do).

World Quest Rewards

When picking and choosing world quests, objectives are only part of what I look at before determining which to do. Sometimes, if the reward for completion is great enough, I'm willing to go out of my comfort zone and do world quests I otherwise detest doing. While there's not a lot of reward types, they are as follows:


Almost all world quests award a small amount of reputation (typically 75 per world quest). More difficult world quests award more and emissary quests typically award 1500. Based on these values, emissary quests are the most effective way to farm reputation and anything rewarded by world quests is really more of a bonus. This will especially be the case once reputation isn't relevant to a player anymore.

Artifact Power

Artifact Power, as I mentioned in the previous article in this series, is effectively Paragon experience since players will almost always find it useful to farm in order to empower their Artifacts, which will be a time-consuming affair. It is no surprise then that Artifact Power is a major reward from doing world quests, which helps to keep them relevant and basically makes world quests like the tasks I suggested in a previous article.


Much like with basically any quest, gold is a standard reward sometimes given for completing world quests. The quantity can be as little as 70, but as great as 700 or more based on the difficulty of the quest. These values are a little high and might contribute to some inflation issues, but it's worth mentioning that not every world quest awards gold, so the amount of gold earned per world quest balances out a little.

Order Resources are used in the Order Hall much like Garrison Resources were in the Garrison. The major difference is that world quests are the primary source of Order Resources and players can't earn the currency passively. This fundamental difference will come into play when I discuss Order Halls in the future, but even if a player doesn't use their Order Hall much, Order Resources do have some other uses, so it's far from a useless reward.


Occasionally, much like traditional questing, world quests can award gear (and artifact relics). Not only can the gear upgrade through the Warforged/Titanforged system, but the gear's item level seems to scale based on the player's. While this appears to cap at 835 for most world quests at the moment, that alone may be enough to keep geared players interested in doing the content, especially since it has a better chance to Titanforge itself into a significant upgrade. There's usually multiple gear rewards from world quests on a daily basis, so players have plenty of chances to get such an upgrade, which feeds back into my point on randomness and how it can be tempered with a player's ability to have some control over it. With that said, I still think the randomness of Warforged/Titanforged gear could be tempered further.

However, I think the gear rewards for now are functional and I expect them to scale upwards as more raid tiers come out.


Item rewards are mostly for doing profession quests, but some world quests may award Blood of Sargeras in particular. While they might not have a major use now, they will be useful to everyone soon so I think it's a nice reward that roughly equates to other rewards.

A Day of World Questing

A typical day of world questing starts with me opening the world map and checking the emissary quest. While I'm close to maxing out all my Legion reputations, I consider the other rewards worth acquiring so I plan my world questing around completing the necessary number of world quests to complete the emissary quest. I then determine which other world quests I should do and create a plan as I travel around.

My method for selectively choosing world quests is based on the simplicity of the objective and reward, hence why I have a tendency to focus on Wanted quests as I mentioned above. This allows me to determine the most efficient world quests to complete from my perspective. I also quickly plan routes around usage of the Flight Master's Whistle, since while some quests are near flight masters, others are not. I usually try to bundle a few world quests together when I can so that I have something to do during the 5 minute cooldown.

After I've done the world quests that seemed most rewarding to do, I repeat the process on other characters. World quests I skipped are usually what I end up doing when waiting (usually for a queue) since they tend to take longer and thus occupy my time. I have yet to run out of world quests to do as a result of the above methods, though I also don't seem to spend as much time on WoW as I used to. Regardless, I can safely say that world questing alone is a strong piece of evidence to show that players aren't going to run out of things to do this expansion.


However, world questing is far from infallible as content and personally I think it's only the beginning of what could be a great source of content for the distant future of the game. While world questing is great now since it potentially occupies hours of a player's time each day with less waiting in between than ever, the following could improve it further:
Add more world quests to the Broken Isles world quest pool.
I suspect Blizzard will probably do this anyways in future patches since they've added more daily hubs in the past and adding more world quests would be the equivalent. It's worth pointing this out just in case though since if left unaddressed, there will eventually be an issue of repetition with the amount of world quests available at the moment. While rewards (which should also improve over time) will keep the issue of repetition at bay somewhat, there is a joy to be had in doing new and potentially original content and world quests are no different.
Allow players of both factions to share quest mob tagging with each other.
This is really more of a quality of life fix that allows Alliance and Horde players to share kills since it may address population imbalances and the like. This already applies to some mobs like those in the Wanted quests and previously applied to world bosses and rare spawns but more generic mobs are excluded. This inconsistency results in infuriating scenarios and in my case, guilt since I tend to tag mobs with ease (being a Hunter helps immensely).
Start adding world quests to older zones as well.
This suggestion doesn't need to happen immediately, but if implemented, world quests in older zones can tap into obsolete questing content that may have been considered enjoyable. It also provides players with a reason to visit the older zones and if possible, such quests could scale so even lower level players can do them. Such an implementation would make world quests even more similar to the task system I envision, though it should be a lot deeper than what I proposed.

Final Statements

World questing is basically like Mists of Pandaria daily quests done better. Unlike in that expansion, players are typically obligated to finish a few world quests at a more relaxed pace instead of doing many quests every day. It also helps that there's a greater variety of quests to choose from. Other Legion content can also compete with world quests as they are all quite rewarding and generally keep the player engaged, which further reduces the feeling of world quests being a mandatory activity while still being a decent activity to dedicate one's time to. At the moment I think world questing, while it may need some quality of life changes and future proofing, is a decent type of content with a more engaging gameplay loop than past content that has me optimistic about future iterations of similar content. Maybe the idea of being forced to wait to do content will become a thing of the past soon.

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