My fiancé is playing “Dragon Age: Origins”. I figure at some point in the future I may play through it.. but not yet. Right now my plate is full and I don’t need more things to fill up my time. That said.. occasionally I’ll glance over his shoulder and see what he’s working on. For the most part DA:O reminds me of a “pick your own adventure” book interspersed with some WoWish fighting. I’m vaguely interested in the idea that your character would have to make choices and that those choices would have consequences.
In WoW the quests are linear. The quest giver asks you to do someting.. and either you do it (and get the reward) or you don’t do it (in which case you’ll be mocked for eternity by the quest exclamation mark that will never disappear from your screen). Even in cases where you are morally troubled by the contents of the quest (torture in Borean Tundra) the only decision you can make about the quest is to choose to -not- do it. The future of your toons is effected not one whit by the fact that you haven’t done the quest. It just remains .. undone. IN FACT you get greater benefit (gold, XP, future quests opening) by doing the morally questionable quest than by leaving it undone. There’s no “choice” in WoW questing. You’re simply completing a (long and sometimes boring) task list.
In addition to the element of “decision” in your character’s play DA:O also has some interesting puzzles. So far I’ve seen three of them. In one case his party was confronted with a magical disappearing bridge.
From the Lethal Gaming Community forums:
The bridge is comprised of four tiles that have three states: Invisible, Partially Visible and Solid.
The goal is to find the right combination of pressure plates to make a part of the bridge solid, move one character onto it and then proceed changing the remaining party members around the tiles until the bridge is crossed.
I helped my fiancé to solve this problem. I found it challenging.. and interesting and intriguing. I got a glow of excitement when I figured out the “trick” and an even bigger glow of accomplishment when I got his characters across the bridge.
I wish WoW would incorporate more things like this. I’d like to be able to make choices in the game and live (toonishly speaking) with the repercussions of those actions. I’d LOVE to be confronted with a puzzle to solve as part of a quest line or part of an instance. I hope things like this are coming in Cataclysm. Unfortunately.. I don’t think they are.. and that’s too bad. I didn’t realize I’d been missing these things.. but I do and I think WoW as a game is more shallow because of their lack.