Another derailment

With the Scholazar Basin done, I moved on to Zul'Drak. Zul'Drak is a zone which is a one big city, and thus I was hopeful. I liked the city of Kurast in Diablo 2, and hopefully the designers compared their notes.

However.. the very first quests are not promising. The very first quest involves killing a 100k hp mob which cannot be snared or slowed, and hits for 2.5k. Then there's a Wolvar rescue quest, where the supposedly friendly mobs were angry at me for being saved. And then there's a quest about Drakuru, the troll whose real agenda was supposed to be the big reveal of Grizzly Hills. Er.. what? Grizzly Hills has the same level range as Zul'Drak, yet the designers expect people to fully finish one before the other? They even share an instance, with build-up quests on both sides. It seems like the people assigning levels were not talking to the people making the quests and in the process ruined a perfectly good Nice Job Breaking It Hero moment the quest guys set up at Drek'tharon. In the Grizzly Hills, you first meet Drakuru, who has been captured by your local questgivers. Because the player fights the Drakkari elsewhere in the zone, doing some quests for Drakuru seems harmless enough. Of course, unlike the other questgivers, Drakuru only sends you against the pure Drakkari, not the plagued ones. But if you go to Zul'Drak first, Drakuru is already the local taskmaster for the Scourge, not some whiny little troll in a cage. It's obvious that the quest designers wanted Grizzly Hills and Drek'tharon to be completed first, but the overlapping level ranges undermined that. 

To think of it, it seems that the same issue is behind the design of Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord. The events of Borean Tundra happen before the events of Howling Fjord, which is why nobody in the Fjord sees the sudden contact with the Taun'ka odd. I think I'll opt for clearing the Storm Peaks before entering the Icecrown, just to make the storyline seem coherent.

Oh, and there's also one quest reward which was clearly unfinished. The Fire Extinguisher has staff graphics.. but is not a staff. It has DPS, it's a two-hander and it has weapon speed and flavor text. But that's it. There's no stats at all, leaving the item useless for both melee and casters. This would have been okay in the beta, but this is not even the release version. This is the patched version, and it still has a bug that's blatantly obvious to anyone who starts Zul'Drak.


Tobold said...

Grizzly Hills is lower level than Zul'Darak. I did all quests in Howling Fjord first, then all quests in Grizzly Hills, before I even did the first quest in Zul'Darak. So for me the Guru of Drakuru quest line happened exactly as intended.

Rohan said...

The Fire Extinguisher is deliberate.

It's a vanity item for RP purposes, or a Small Dream Shard or 15g.

Personally, I think it's kind of weird, but it allows rogues to carry a staff, so maybe some people will like it.