So I’ve hit level 20 on my troll mage over on the undrgeared blue challenge at greedy goblin. Big deal, I hear you say. Level 20, wow, you’re really going fast. Well, in my defense, it is the freaking Christmas holiday period. I mean, the good goblin could have picked an easier time for this. Still, I have a few weeks off work so I should be able to dedicate some serious time to this over the next few weeks.

Playing a mage is quite fun, even though I am somewhat of a glass cannon. As long as I can keep the mobs away from me I am awesome. If they manage to get up close and start actually touching me, I am buggered. At the moment I have a fire spec but I’m probably going to switch that to arcane and have a play around with that for a bit. So as I was saying, playing a mage is quite fun. Group questing on the other hand, not so much. You know what it’s like – you take a seemingly ordinary looking go out and kill ten rats quest, and before you know it you’re up to the 8th quest in a long line that has taken you all over the planet, and you get to the culmination of the dreaded group quest.

“Go and find some worthy comrades and slay the dreaded monster of the five heads. If you manage to do this you can pick from one of these 5 awesome loot blue pieces!”

It’s the rewards that bugger this up. I could just leave it but after all that traipsing around I really want those nice blue legs or whatever. They would be perfect for me. They would be perfect for me right now, not in 5 levels when I could come back and take out the horrible 5 headed whatever by myself. By that stage the awesome blue pants will be the suck. So I have to group. I have to group … and I hate having to do stuff. Okay, no biggie, I’ll use the LFG system and have it running in the background and in a few hours someone will surprise me by wanting to do that quest.

Oh, not anymore. The brand new awesome LFG system has cancelled out grouping for quests or zones. Well, it might do this but I haven’t figured out how, (before I get horribly flamed). So what do I do? Ask my guildies? I hate doing that. Apart from the fact that we are spread all over the world so anyone around my level is going to have a hell of a time getting to me, I don’t want some higher level guildie to come in and run me through it. Because that’s not fun, it’s just lame. I could spam local chat but once again, that is not fun. It is also lame and will often result in getting grouped with a bunch of loser bed wetters. I don’t know why MMO’s still do this, the group quest thing. Come to think of it, that’s when I stopped playing Age of Conan, when I got to around level 18 in Tortage and started seeing all my quests have little figures of three people next to them. I was like, oh man, are you kidding me? I have to group quest now? I have to talk to people?? I’m in a game to get away from talking to people!!

I think I might have an answer though. Hiring henchmen. What did you do in a Dungeons & Dragons game when you were short a priest or needed a couple of brawny local lads to come and give you a hand with a bit of old fashioned dragon biffo? You’d head off down to the local inn and see who would be there. So why can’t we have the same thing in our MMO’s? You head into Goldshire, walk into the inn and see who’s having a drink. They could make it random every day, so there’s not the same dudes sitting there every time. You walk up to one of them and ask for his services. A tab screen drops down where you can choose from your current quests. Then the cost of his services comes up, and maybe also another tab of other hirlings that he knows in the area who might be interested. Then off you go. They could scale for level, so the ones hanging out in the Goldshire inn are a random mix from levels 5-10, while those down in Booty Bay would be from 35-40 etc. And you could make it so they remember what they’ve done with you, so the next time you come in you can’t do the same stuff twice. They could turn around and say something like,

“Dude, yo we’ve taken out that Hogger guy already.”

You could also have a random generator that decides how good they are. So you could get someone who is awesome, someone who is passable and someone who just plain sucks. And I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. Lovely.