World of Warcraft lead designer Tom Chilton says that removing the upper limit to the number of daily quests a player could complete in a single day has promoted an unsustainable playstyle.
Speaking with PCGamesN at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Chilton said: “We shot ourselves in the foot when we removed the limit on the daily quests that you could do. So there was a pressure to maximise everything, and that really leads to burn out.”
Chilton also expressed regret over design decisions such as quest markers that removed the incentive to explore and discover the game world organically.
“I think we’ve really trained players over the years to say, ‘If there’s no quest or mark on the map that tells me to go in that cave, I’m wasting my time.’”
The new Timeless Isle zone coming in patch 5.4 has been designed to address both of these issues, added Chilton. There are quests on the island, but their locations and objectives have been left deliberately vague.
“Once you’re on the Timeless Isle, it’s open-world adventuring at your own pace,” wrote Blizzard earlier in August. “There are a couple quests on the island, but they’re not going to tell you exactly where to go and what to do. Instead they exist to encourage you to explore caverns, discover underwater grottos, and battle all manner of frightful beasts for great rewards.”
Chilton finished by noting that after a poor initial reception, the pet battles system had won over many long-time fans. “The response we’ve gotten to it compared to archaeology is just night and day. I think a lot of players went into it being very sceptical, and ended up becoming completely absorbed into the whole pet collection and levelling up gameplay.”
World of Warcraft patch 5.4, The Siege of Orgrimmar, is coming on the 10th of September.