[GW] Start the Mission

Here is a bad design decision that seems easy to band-aid. Guild Wars starts missions in Prophecies and Nightfall with a button under the character list, while in Nightfall and Eye of the North with an NPC dialogue. This is poor, having something be a UI element in one place and part of the world in another. I started in Nightfall, as most seemed to recommend, then played some Eye of the North and just this week visited Factions. Nothing tells you about the “enter mission” button. There is absolutely nothing in-game that tells you how to start the mission unless you notice that a button appeared in the UI.

I have commented on how Guild Wars players and wikipedians assume that you have a sizable resource base. It reaches a new tier when the developers forget that they designed the game as three expand-alones rather than a base Guild Wars with expansion packs (and then one actual expansion pack shared across the three). There is a handy mission to introduce you to the other campaigns, but whoever wrote it must never have thought that you might be starting with Nightfall and not already know how things work in Prophecies and Factions.

The in-game help is already a link to the wiki. Your players should not need to then Google to try to figure out what they need to ask the wiki.

: Zubon

Psychonauts did the same thing by giving you inventory items without telling you that you have an inventory or how to access it.

15 thoughts on “[GW] Start the Mission

  1. moondog548

    “The in-game help is already a link to the wiki. Your players should not need to then Google to try to figure out what they need to ask the wiki.”

    Dear sweet jesus THIS. I love GW for who it is deep down but hate it’s goddamn Aspergers way that it [fails to] communicate with me. :p

  2. Msenge

    While I agree that it should be consistent through all parts of the game, I can see why they changed it up in Nightfall. Nightfall introduced heros into the game that not only helped you filling empty spots in your party, but also participated in the game’s story missions. Most of those story missions required that you have a specific hero in your party before you can even enter the mission (a sometimes annoying mechanic). Having to talk to the mission NPC helps convey the lore reason why those heros have to be there. Otherwise players might get confused by the ‘You do not have the required hero in your party.’

    While I think it’s a less than great way to solve that issue, I can kinda see their logic.

  3. Randomessa

    Heck, even within Prophecies (my first campaign) I had issues with the “Enter Mission” button – why? Because my first time doing a mission I was playing with my significant other, who was the party leader, so I never saw the button. At the end of the night I found myself in a new outpost with this button taunting me and I had no idea what it was supposed to do.

    Good on you for keeping us appraised of your progress in GW1. There certainly is a lot of tribal knowledge to accumulate, and you’re being a champ about it.

  4. Jonathan

    Have to agree here. Sure would be nice if, having decided that the game would be improved by having missions start from NPCs, they had ported that back to the missions in Prophecies and Factions. Especially since there are people that fit the role of “mission starter” who give in game mission advice.

  5. gwj

    One of my friends had the same problem with the first mainland mission in Factions (Vizunah Square). Having worked through Prophecies with my brother a few years back and reading all the text to make sure I knew what was going on (it took me 2 weeks to figure out how to use skills — file under “Should Have Read the Manual”) I don’t remember having a problem noticing it, but I’m sure people venturing through with friends who know the game would get lost at first.

  6. Cyndre

    I just hit level 5 in Nightfall and I still have no clue what I am doing half the time. It is a very cluncky and confusing UI and the mission UI is downright frustrating… I am following the arrow, then i add some side quest and now I am going the wrong way. It shouldnt auto reroute you like that, or it should provide mutiple arrows, and when you hover over the arrow it should say which quest its for…

    I am having fun, its only my second day, but it shows its age in many regards.

    ~Cyndre

    1. GLN7

      I don’t really get your problem, since the UI of Guild Wars is one of the most adaptable one I’ve ever seen in games (without using mods). Hit F11 and it lets you change positions, size and even let you eliminate parts of the UI you think you don’t need.

      What of it is it that is confusing?
      I could unterstand any newbie being swept away by the vast amount of skills (especially if he or she starts in Nightfall, where you’re not just having your own build and equipment to manage, but also your hero’s).
      But the UI being confusing, I cannot understand.

      Oh, and what mission UI? The only mission that you should have hit with level 5 is Chahbek, which is more of a tutorial/training area than a real mission. The area it plays out in is that small that you can overwatch all of it from your starting point. I’d really like to know the problem there.

      1. Zubon Post author

        When you pick up a new quest, it changes the arrow on your quest tracker to that quest. If you were on your primary quest line and picked up a side quest, the arrow would guide you to the side quest. The player is not asked whether they want this behavior, and I cannot check from here whether there is even an option to change that. If the side quest is in the same zone as the primary quest, the new player might not realize that it changed until he arrives and is in some other story.

        Compare to other games that track multiple quests and indicate the closest, all on mini-map, etc. If you open the quest screen and place it on the right side, it looks a lot like the standard MMO quest tracker, but it behaves very differently.

        1. The Ogre

          It’s slightly annoying to have to do, I suppose, but it’s not exactly hard to open up the quest log and left-click the quest you want the arrow for.

        2. Zubon Post author

          No argument, fully agree, and that is explained in the tutorials. Around level 5 was also where I had that realization that the quest arrow was auto-updating to new quests and I needed to click back to reclaim it. The moments leading to that realization may be more jarring for some than others.

        3. Nom

          I’m with Zubon and Cyndre on this one. Having the “active quest” always change to whichever one was last touched is an annoyance I’ve learned to work around, rather than something I appreciate.

  7. Cyndre

    I just wrote my thought on Day 2 in GW1 on my blog, but the cliffnotes to answer your question GLN7, I am a smart MMO player, as is Zubon, and GW does not have intuitive UI elements and it takes too long for a new player to figure things out. It wouldn’t have been too difficult to patch in some of these elements to accommodate new blood drifting into their old game.

    The UI issue with Missions is a multi-tiered problem. Sure there are workarounds, but in today’s MMO environment, “work-arounds” are unacceptable. We enjoyed UO and EQ despite its flaws, but the market is significantly less tolerant of these flaws in 2012, and GW suffers from many of these sins of the past.

    Zubon’s post got me excited to play, so even though he is bashing some things to do with it, he still is playing and having fun. I am doing the same. We are writing the critical realities of starting new in an old game and it is what it is.

    Someone who has 7 years of adapting to the flaws can’t see them objectively any longer, but we are acutely aware of them and that’s all it is.

    1. GLN7

      I am not criticizing you for criticizing the game.
      I simply do not get your problem.

      Thanks to your blog, I finally get what you mean with mission UI – you are not talking about missions (just like in your Day 1 entry, where you are attacking the graphics engine for not being able to jump or climb – you simply hit the wrong target, since the one has nothing to do with the other)but the quest interface. Little word, but big difference.

      Oh, an it was only elonbel that was level 15. The corsair commandand is level 4. I know former is way stronger than you, but on the other side you have a team of four people, even if three of them are NPCs. If you only take Koss whith you the game is not the one to blame. There is even a quest introducing you to henchmen:
      http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Never_Fight_Alone
      Or, if you missed the quest:
      http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/A_Friend_In_Need

      The only thing I understand by now is that you do not like the quest UI, because it does not display all quests at once and the distance to the next quest switch. Also you want a difficulty indicator (There is one! There are master quests, elite quests and normal ones. As long as there is no red “Master” or “Elite”, the quest is normal difficulty and designed for your level.)

      For all your other points you are making you are lacking specifics, making it rather hard to even get what you are talking about. You say it is not intuitive. What is, and why?

      I would never dare to try stopping you from criticizing the game. I simply want to know what you are critisizing and why. So please be clear what you are talking about, no offense intended.

      1. gwj

        Actually, to my knowledge, “Master” and “Elite” quests are just harder for the level you should be if you’re questing in the given area. I’ve never seen them change depending on your level.

        1. GLN7

          I did not intend to say that they would. I meant the level the area is designed for. Sorry for being unclear.

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