Big Cats and Quests That Aren't

So it ended up taking me an extra four levels until my night elf hunter was able to afford her mount. I'd forgotten just how much I love nightsabers; they are so majestic. Unlike my taurens' kodos, whom I see as purely functional, I actually love watching my hunter ride along on her big new cat, especially with a smaller cat running alongside it. It's just a joy to watch. Now I only have to remember to actually mount up more often - turns out that simply throwing on Aspect of the Cheetah for 24 levels is a hard habit to shake.

As usual I'm really loving the fourties - circling between Stranglethorn Vale, Tanaris, Feralas and the Hinterlands is just good fun all around. One thing I found interesting to revisit and which I hadn't thought about in a long time were the hippogryph eggs in Feralas. It's an interesting mechanic that's kind of like a repeatable quest but not exactly.

Basically there is this gnome in Gadgetzan that has a couple of conversation options about hippogryphs in Feralas, how they are threatened by the Gordunni ogres and how she wants to preserve them by collecting their eggs. You may find yourself reading through these gossip options after another quest sends you to talk to this NPC, but she doesn't actually give you a quest for hippogryph eggs.

However, if you do find yourself in the mountains near the ogres in Feralas and you keep an eye out, you might find nests with eggs in them, and somehow you can stuff an egg that's almost as tall and twice as wide as your character into your backpack. (Though I guess the size might explain why it's labelled as unique and you can't carry more than one at a time.)

If you then return to the gnome in Tanaris, you can stick the egg into the machine next to her and it assigns the egg a quality (bad, ordinary, fine, or extraordinary). Based on the quality of the egg, she will then offer you a reward box. So like a quest really, but not using the usual language of floating exclamation marks and quest log entries.

There are a few of these in Classic (another one I can think of is the Shady Rest Inn - while there are a number of quests associated with it, there is a big "gap" in the middle where after being sent to Theramore and talking to various people there who bring it up, you need to actually find the place on your own and pick up the clues scattered around the area before being given more "proper" quests).

I do think these are pretty neat, and I quite like picking up another egg every time I'm in Feralas now. It also makes me wonder how I'd feel about playing an MMORPG where all the quests required more "discovery" like that instead of simply always being indicated by UI markers... (though chances are I'd not find it as intriguing and more tedious if it was just the default).


  1. Feralas has that great, overgrown, wild feel to it that Stranglethorn doesn't quite have. STV is more a "jungle with those damn trolls" in it, whereas Feralas is a "you can't really see what's there from the road, so you have to dismount and go investigate" vibe.

  2. I think "an MMORPG where all the quests required more "discovery" like that instead of simply always being indicated by UI markers" was pretty much what ArenaNet were shooting for with GW2 in beta and at launch. Some people, myself included, loved it but I can very clearly remember general chat in the first few months being filled with plaintive or frustrated expressions of confusion as many players struggled withthe concept. People were constantly asking where they should go next or what they should do. The Personal Story, the only really obvious questlike structure in the game at launch, moved in ten level steps and people were desperate to get to each decile so they'd have a clear idea what to do.

    While ANet never went as far as to add quest markers, over the years the whole game had been re-designed to include questlike structures with very clear stages and prompts. It seems there aren't enough people out there willing to structure their own gameplay around events they discover while exploring to keep an AAA title commercialy viable.

    1. Interesting, I never would have thought of GW2 like that. The way I always understood it was that the original pitch was that it simply had no quests, because quests are bad™ - something I strongly disagreed with at the time and which was one more reason I had no interest in playing it.

    2. Yes, I agree that the GW2 gameplay was structured toward "what's over that hill?" more than "where's my next quest locale?"

      When I get into playing it, I find that I spend waaay too much time exploring, and it sucks up so much of my time that I look up and "Wow, it's 4 AM. Whoops."

      Consequently, I've really dialed GW2 gameplay back a bit so I don't slip into that mode where it sucks up all of my available time.

  3. Be careful what you wish for. My blog probably wouldn't show it, but at the start I was kinda wary of WoW, not really interested and didn't immediately jump on the band wagon despite being a Warcraft fan.

    I played Ragnarok Online at the time and the main draw towards WoW was actually having proper quests instead of 95% grinding and a few (in my opinion) horrible quests. They were high-level char only, I'd easily compare them to the MC attunement chain in length and difficulty (just solo, sometimes you could get help), a lot of running and porting and TLDR: I hated all of them.

    Might have been me, though :)