The Daily Grind: Which MMO zone offers the worst questing experience?

Generally, I like to pride myself on being a quest completionist in MMORPGs. I don’t like leaving a zone before wrapping up all of its missions, even the piddly ones that are little more than busy work created by third-tier devs. But there’s a limit to how much I can take when it comes to truly terrible areas.

For example, as much as I love Secret World Legends, I could never force myself to appreciate — nevermind enjoy — City of the Sun God. The gritty visuals, the lack of human NPCs, the endless canyons, and that headbangingly frustrating Black Pyramid quest make this a place that I can’t wait to leave. Therefore, I don’t feel bad doing the bare minimum to advance through it and skip ahead to Transylvania.

Which MMO zone offers the worst questing experience for you? Which area do you avoid like the plague or speed through as quickly as possible because of the subpar visuals, the missions, and the lore?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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87 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which MMO zone offers the worst questing experience?"

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

This is hilarious because I’m just on the verge of going to the City of the Sun God :D Considering how great the rest of the game is in story, quests and interesting areas, that seems like an odd miss. I never played up to it in the original game despite how long I kept my subscription active (mostly to support the game even when I wasn’t getting on it).

Though Funcom has made me wish I didn’t do this because of their bad customer service. But that’s another story for another time :D

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Nicholas Roberts

Champions Online: Finding which dang underwater cave will get you to the quest instance in Lemuria.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

I always had a particular dislike for Thundering Steppes in EQ2. And Angmar was a throbbing boil on the arse of LotRO-SoA.

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Louie

Totally agree on Thundering Steppes. So many gorgeous areas in that game and then you have Thundering Steppes: a flat, uninteresting field with an enemy every 2 steps.

Sarigar
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Sarigar

Corellia in SWTOR is all but unbearable for me. It literally takes longer to get to the widely-scattered mission sites than to complete the missions. Combine that with its relentless monotony and it is the worst place in the game.

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wild-abyss

I want to get my hands on the urban engineers in Corellia, Jedi code or no.

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Jon Sleeper

In SWTOR: Taris, Corellia, and Makeb. The last was the worst, especially when it first started the mobs were so dense you couldn’t get anywhere without having to fight a hundred of them first. Corellia is just…too big. Even with the fastest speeder, just too big.

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Hirku

The Sentinels may not have been flesh and blood, but I thought they were very human.

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Bryan Correll

If Houy’s dialogue doesn’t hit you in the feels you have no heart.

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Koshelkin

God, even though the questline in City of the Sun God made me so infinitely sad I thoroughly enjoyed it. The VO of the kids is great(like the majority of SWL’s VO) and the whole intertwined story, the little fights between the siblings, the hopeful, cheery enthusiams of the kids, the tiredness of the adults and not least the melancholy of the High Priest really make it an astounding zone. You really need to conclude the missions, investigations and all, and listen and try to be empathic. When it all comes together it’s such a bittersweet thing. I really loved it even though I almost break out in tears when I replay some of the missions. The long runs through the zone aren’t much of an issue anymore if you can afford the anima hops/use the story teleports.

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Malcolm Swoboda

It took me a week casually. I’m okay with it now. Ish. I’ve always been better with the zone than others.

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Rolan Storm

I found experience touching too.

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Sray

I used to hate The Hollows in CoH; also that supernatural fog zone I can’t remember the name of atm.

I did everything in my power to minimize time on Corellia in SWTOR (ironic that I loved Corellia in SWG).

Yavin always sucked in SWG.

The jungle zones in Wildstar are the equivalent of ocular vomit, and terrible to navigate too.

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MolleaFauss

Dark Astoria? I still remember Faultline as a nightmare.

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Sray

I spent way more time red side before the Faultline revamp was in place, so my recollections of thw zone are mostly of the revamped, less nightmarish area.

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Alex Willis

Corellia in SWTOR is such a non-place. Is there any other zone in SWTOR that says “GENERIC CITY PLANET” like that one? To call it “forgettable” is to do it too much credit.

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Sray

I’m okay with the genericness, it’s the horrendous layout that I despise. All the streets of a city planet should be on a grid system, yet the street design has virtually no grid layout whatsoever, even with the destruction of the war. Generic environment plus ridiculously complicated to navigate? Unforgivable in my opinion.

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Fred Douglas

CIty of the Sun God for sure. Not Egypt generally, just that specific part. It’s horrible. I’ve completed it twice and then quit the game, once in TSW and again in TSWL.

I really don’t like the Dunland zones in LOTRO, either. Just vanilla and boring to me.

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Paragon Lost

Once again I’m on the outs, I loved the whole concept of City of the Sun God, loved the npcs, the quest/story lines etc. My wife was just recently going through there on a secondary character in TSW and we were talking it over as she was doing it. Funcom really did do stories, npc’s, settings etc so well.

The worst recent questing experience for me was WoW’s current expansion. Why? Because the areas you level/quest through are the same areas that you do daily/repeat content in. It grew rather old and tiresome and made the world feel smaller. Specially as someone who is an altoholic and plays all classes to the cap.

I actually only have six to the cap this time and only three are well geared. A few more are part way through and one is still at the last cap. I just can’t get motivated to finish them all getting to the cap.

Mr. E.™
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Mr. E.™

I love, love, LOVE the CotSG story and its characters. There is something a little “off” about the zone’s design and quest flow — I can’t be more scientific than that, except to say that I notice it every time.

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Paragon Lost

Actually, that’s a good point. The layout/flow does appear uneven. Disjointed maybe? I just tend to write if off as more sandbox in feel. (pun unintended) Anyhow I agree with you on that, it’s probably my only criticism and it’s a very small one that I didn’t bother to mention but maybe should be. Maybe that’s what bothers some players a lot more than it did me.

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Makhiel

In recent memory – Taur Drúadan. I don’t use the quest guide in LotRo unless I absolutely have to but it seems that a lot of quests recently rely on you using it so they don’t bother with proper directions.

laugh with the Woses – but we won’t tell you which ones (not even sure guide would help here)
investigate the edge of the forest – but the spot you’re looking for is far outside the forest
fight your way up a tower – find out you need a key which is one some orc nowhere nearby
kill wood-trolls near some statues – don’t worry we won’t tell you where those are
get to B – but if you miss a spot on a specific path the quest won’t advance

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Paragon Lost

Just finished that area, loved it. It was a really well painted area and had heavy foliage etc that I found really immersive based on my own experiences in various wild locations in the world.

As far as the quests go, LotRO has always required more effort even though they’ve lessened that effort as time has gone on. I honestly like it because it makes me feel like I’ve actually earned something versus pulling a lever and getting a treat like so many mmorpgs do these days.

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Greaterdivinity

Yep, City of the Sun God…precisely where my character is in SWL right now -_-

Though thinking about it a second longer…I’ll add ALL the initial HoT zones in GW2. I can’t even force myself to complete them on a single character, much less progress through on alts. Hate just about everything about those zones designs.

So I lied initially, I’d take City of the Sun God over HoT zones any day of the week.

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Dreema

Moria in LoTRO. It’s been improved dramatically over the years but when I first went there, it was horrendous. Quests all over the place, quests on different levels than the one you were on, passages so dark you literally couldn’t see anything unless you adjusted the brightness on your monitor, not being able to ride and so being forced to walk everywhere, etc, etc. It took me quite a few attempts to get through Moria and when I was finally out of it, it was an amazing relief.

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Paragon Lost

I’ve always approached LotRO like a sandbox. I keep the main story questline in mind but otherwise I just wander around doing things(quests, crafting etc) while exploring. I loved Moria and I felt that Moria was the height of the game’s development over all.

The day I finally hit Dimrill Dale was an awesome day for me LotRO. I actually was getting down in Moria, they nailed it so well and it was a total breath of fresh air to see the daylight at the end there.

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Alex Willis

Moria is still my hands-down favourite MMO zone of all time. Questing or otherwise.

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Paragon Lost

Just finished it up with my hunter a couple weeks ago. Strongly agree. Looking forward to taking my dwarf guardian through it in a few months.

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Bryan Dixon

Any of 65-70 zones in Rift. It’s so much running across the zone back and forth it’s obvious it was done just to extend time of play.

Mr. E.™
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Mr. E.™

I will echo Justin’s sentiments about the Valley of the Sun God in The Secret World/Secret World Legends. As much as I adore this game — and the actual storyline in the zone — the zone itself is a slog-and-a-half.

Whitevale in Wildstar — at least Exile-side — is ridiculously boring. I think part of the problem is that it comes on the heels of Galeras, which is one of my *favorite* zones in any MMORPG. Galeras is so frenetic and fast paced that Whitevale just can’t compete in terms of tone and activity.

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Space Captain Zor

TARIS.

Taris Taris Taris…. Taris.

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Sray

I dislike Taris, I loathe Corellia.

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Paragon Lost

Aka, the planet of sea of moving grass! lol. That place drove me crazy because it was the first planet I hit were the shortcomings of the engine became so glaringly hard to ignore. Five thousand dollar high end computer system with a thousand dollar graphics card and I’m watching the grass redraw in such an annoying distracting wave.

Man did that place get on my nerves for that and it just never got better because OMG…zombies! Yeah we’re gonna make zombies a focus in the Star Wars universe! Really Bioware? Come on man, you’ve got all this lore etc and we’re doing zombies. Ugh.

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Sray

The Star Wars zombie plague is something that was in the EU before SWTOR. It is one of the dozens and dozens of reasons I applaud Disney drop-kicking the pile of burning dog turds called the Expanded Universe out the airlock.

AtticLion
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AtticLion

Yeah, they were in KotOR1 first, but in SWTOR Bioware really doubled down on fucking rakghouls for some insane reason. I mean hell, even the games first event was a goddamn boring as shit rakghoul plague.

AtticLion
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AtticLion

I always rather liked City of the Sun God. It was a nice change of pace after the last half of Egypt proper decided to be boring as hell. Also the last area of the game that wasn’t Transylvania. /vomit

If you want horrible questing, there are so many better zones to bag on. Like…

Blue Mountain
The aforementioned Transylvania zones
Arathi Highlands
Mount Hyjal
Tol Barad
Shadowmoon Valley
Silithus
Literally everything south of Bloodtide Coast in GW2.
Angmar
Ered Luin
The Lone-Lands
The North Downs
Literally every single zone in TESO
Most of City of Heroes tbh. Questing was never that game’s strong point.
Voss
Belsavis
Taris
Corellia
Quesh
Taris again
Whatever the hell that forest zone directly after the tutorial area in TERA was called. Bloody hell.
etc

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Dreema

In other words, almost every single zone in every MMO out there.

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Fervor Bliss

Guild Wars 2 starter/learning quest. I never made it past that.

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Toy Clown

My worst experience has been with anything HoT in GW2 after being gone from the game a few years. When I heard about the expansion, I hopped back in, bought HoT and… questioned my sanity in coming back.

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Tobasco da Gama

I was gonna say Angmar, but then I remembered that GW2 exists.

Orr and the Tangled Depths take the cake there. (Dragon’s Stand at least has the decency to be 100% meta-event, so it gets a pass from me.)

CotSG doesn’t even rate for me. I like it. I don’t understand the hate at all.

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Paragon Lost

Sounds really got on my nerves in Angmar, but then I kept thinking ok Turbine props to you. You’re nailing it, causing me to feel this way about an area that should be bloody unnerving. lol

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Makhiel

Is “getting around” part of questing? Tangled Depths is certainly the worst map to navigate but in terms of events it’s far better than, say, Southsun Cove.

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Tobasco da Gama

Fair enough, I didn’t really spend any time in Southsun other than the really brief part of that one LW3 episode.

styopa
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styopa

Agreed – original Orr was…nuts.
Tough, long TTK mobs all standing more or less close enough together that even the slightest dodge sideways and you’ve aggro’d more.
Oh, and add pats. Lots of pats. And crap drops.

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Melissa McDonald

I think you have to look at Angmar for what it is, a ruined and desolate zone, the fruit of evil, the product of Sauron and his kind. It’s an ugly, gross, unpleasant, dismal place, full of danger and enemies. In that, I think they succeeded. People also complained that Moria was too long, dark, and dangerous – just as Tolkien described!

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Tobasco da Gama

See, I liked Moria just fine, except maybe the Foundations of Stone (cool and atmospheric, but I didn’t care for all the trash mobs) and the Merrevail area.

My issue with Angmar is mainly that, because of its original purpose as *the* endgame for LOTRO, it’s just really, really not conducive to being played solo now that everybody has moved on to other areas.

Also, the fantasy terrain with all the random cliffs and pits does the game’s texture system no favours at all. There’s “dark, ruined, and desolate” and then there’s “we built a zone knowing that our landscape textures would get smeared out and stretched in ways that look just plain glitchy”.

AtticLion
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AtticLion

They were a bit too successful with Angmar & Moria. You just have to spend far, far too much time in those areas for how oppressive and draining they are. Like, the first half of Moria is pretty damn great. It’s new and interesting. But then it starts wearing out its welcome very fast. And your reward for popping out the other side? The really awful western bit of Lothlorien. Ugh.

Mirkwood was bad too, but at least it was short.

I’m glad they learned their lesson with Isengard. The vast majority of Dunland is downright cheery in comparison to Angmar or Moria.

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Siri

Quesh in swtor just absolutely terrible, and Orr but I guess Orr does not count cause what I hate is not the activities but the design of the zone and the horribly annoying mobs that cc you over and over again.

Dantos
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Dantos

I JUST got to City of the Sun god, hit 50, sighed, and went off to elite dungeons. Today, I think im just going to try to push through the MSQ, until I get to Transylvania.

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Ittybumpkin

Forced water zones in any game are what I find to be the worst.

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Pandalulz

Having tried to go back and play through some Burning Crusade zones a few months ago. I vote for Blade’s Edge Mountains. Get a quest, run some circuitous route around the needles for ten minutes, complete the quest, run all the way back, repeat over an over again because it seems to only give you a single quest at a time. It becomes only slightly less annoying when you get flying because then you can fly very very high to bypass the needles which still takes a long time just because of the geometry.
It was definitely designed as an end-game zone to keep you doing busy work forever.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Seriously Justin? Out of all MMOs with so many crappy zones and garbage quests you named The Secret World?

Anyway, for me its most of old world Everquest 1 zones. Almost all quests are mobs grind. Design of zones if pretty terrible for modern standards. Combat is tedious and boring.

malrats
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malrats

The “quest” in EverQuest was purely the adventure. It was the exploration, the grind, and whatever else you made of it. That’s how I always saw it, anyway.

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Ittybumpkin

I know the name is Everquest but the game was not really built around questing. It was built around grinding. So I would be hard pressed to fault it for not having great questing zones.

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Utakata

Currently it’s The Boring Shore in WoW. And to think we will get 3 more of those types of zones in 7.3. /sigh

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Paragon Lost

It’s why I’ve noted finished my usual taking all character classes to the new cap and getting em geared up. I found having to keep going back to the same areas I leveled up on a daily way tedious and boring.

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Utakata

Pretty much. Broken Shore is useful in gearing up and unlocking the class mount quests…but beyond that, it’s place where I rather avoid due to being rather dull, pointless and repetitive.

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Paragon Lost

Really irked me because I love class mechanics. I just can’t force myself to level up anyone else at this time to explore the class mechanics at the new cap. :/

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starbuck1771

Mirkwood – Lord of the Rings Online

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kidwithknife

As obnoxious as the Shadow Shard was, I’m going with Perez Park in CoH. Terrible maze-like construction in a zone that makes no sense feeling like a maze, frustrating mobs, boring stories. Just blech.

I also really didn’t care for the WoW orc/troll starter zone; I forget the name, but it was just very boring to me, loaded with “bring me 12 boar taints” style quests without any humor, and relatively little of the depth that WoW’s Horde races demonstrated elsewhere. Compared to the the atmosphere of that games other starter zones (at the time I played it, anyway) it struck me as decidedly subpar.

nvidia
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nvidia

I’m going to go with Corathus Creep in EverQuest. Terrible music, terrible enemies, terrible pathing. There’s zero reason to go there nowadays unless you’re on your way to a raid (and god help you if your guild decides to raid DoD), or unless it’s a hot zone, which is a highly unfortunate occasion. The quests themselves are all “kill 20 X” where X can often be the rarest mob in the zone.

A close second is probably WoW’s Hellfire Peninsula. Completely boring scenery, very little story. It’s exciting for all of the first 10 minutes that you set foot into TBC. I grew tired of fetch quests for meat and hide very quickly. Moving into either of the adjacent zones is a breath of fresh air.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Orr.

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Alex Willis

Orr is one of those zones that I still enjoy despite its reputation. It feels totally alien to me, and I like uniqueness in my MMO zones. Orr is also one of the few zones with what felt like a coherent story to me — one that I understood at least — which made it more interesting to traverse.

But it’s also horribly mob-spammy. I get why some don’t like it!

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styopa

Orr today is not the Orr of yesteryear.

Orr today is merely a thing. Orr in original GW2 was punishment by a sadist.

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Alex Willis

1. All of the new “jumping gameplay” quest zones in GW2, starting with Dry Top. Quests and dailies were deeply unfun to do here, with twitchy, hitbox-reliant mechanics that made every single push of your jump button an anxiety-producing experience. Haaaaaaaaate. HAAAAAAAAAAATE.
2. The North Downs in LOTRO really bothered me as a quest zone. While areas like Forochel and Evendim were vast landscapes that took forever to traverse, at least they felt, well, vast. The North Downs somehow felt both small *and* big, but with very little to hold my interest. Turning in quests was a chore (if I have to turn in another damned bunch of wolf-hides to some mook hunched around a campfire…) and the topics for quests in the area were so dull. Esteldin was basically a summer music festival campground masquerading as a city. A truly underwhelming, blaaaahhhhhhh of a zone, like air slowly escaping a balloon.

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Paragon Lost

Get this, sometime ago they removed the frostbike mechanics effect from Forochel. :/ Really pissed me off when I realized it. I loved that area. Can’t really agree on the rest of your opinions though. Actually yeah North DOwns didn’t do much for me, thinking about it more.

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Minimalistway

Silithus in WoW, they did not finish working on this zone, not in classic or in Cataclysm, it offer few quests, many of them just killing so many mobs, the zone itself is depressing looking desert with bugs, i’m ok with that but the quests are boring and the zone itself can’t wait to send you to the Blasted Lands in Eastern Kingdoms.

What a wasted potential there, Ahn’Qiraj is one of the best stories Blizzard could show in the game, there is a whole civilization of insectoid race, of course Blizzard 2004 is different than Blizzard in 2017, i wish they go back to old zones and update them, improve the story lines.

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borghive

Pretty much all the zones of ESO, except for Wrothgar.

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Alex Willis

Sounds like maybe you just don’t like ESO?

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Bryan Turner

Map completion in Lornars Pass, way too many points of interest to catalogue and tons of narrow valleys and cave systems up the wazoo (it’s like the Vanilla GW2 version of Tangled Depths).

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Alexandre C. Fernandes

I agree but Tangled Depths still is the worst place to run around with all those chak using reflect/retaliation.

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TheDonDude

The Shadow Shard comes to mind. Beautiful scenery with fascinating lore… filled with a buggy travel system and the most dull, dull, dull task forces and quests imaginable.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Awe, see, I liked the Faathim TF. Numerous AVs, including Laanaru the Mad (my favorite AV), a variety of factions mixed together, including the Rularuu faction itself which caused all kinds of rage quitting. Getting an 8-man all the way through that one was a rare occasion, because you almost always had 1-2- people drop within the first 3 missions.

That said, I always felt The Shadow Shard was an under-developed set of zones. There were repeatable missions, but they were overly monotonous with little story. It was like, we have this great set of zones (visually), and a great setup for a whole lot of content (Rularuu the Ravager), buuut let’s never touch it again. And yes, the geysers were *very* hit and miss (mostly miss).

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TheDonDude

Sadly, from looking at Positron’s various interviews, it sounds like they did have plans to continue the Rularuu story. Alas…

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camren_rooke

When the speed run of Dr Quarterfield still takes four hours, something is wrong with the zone.

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TheDonDude

Whew, you got it down to 4 hours? Way faster than I ever managed it.

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camren_rooke

I swear I was running it with a dev or gm incognito.. They had every jump, every trick to get from one side of the zone to the other.

it was scary how fast we plowed through it and it still took like four freakin hours.

Unlike the scrub run when i first did it which took thirteen. THIRTEEN

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MesaSage

Having just run an alt through Forochel, I’d have to nominate that region for worst questing experience. Mostly kill 10 rats for rng pelts, (actually more like 18 to 20) and the most long distance back and forth bs ever. They send you repeatedly between the Suri kyla and the outposts of the northwest. The quests are designed with a single idea – to sell you expedience from the shop.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Well, 80% of quests in LoTRO are kill rats and collect pelts

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MesaSage

That’s pretty accurate. The thing about Forochel is they decided that they should up the numbers to 18, 20 or 30 and make it rng instead of just kills. It’s more blatant here than anywhere else that they want you to spend Mithril to shorten the misery.

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Alex Willis

I hear what you’re saying. But it’s so beautiful! I will forgive a lot of sub-par LOTRO gameplay if the zone is evocative. But it’s hard to disagree that the zone represents the pinnacle of patience-testing cross-land travel.

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MesaSage

That’s the only reason I run that zone. I do like a good winter region, especially when it’s 95+ degrees during the day here. At that awkward level 40-45 stage when you have to choose between Misty and Forochel (or Angmar if you’re masochistic)… Since it’s snow or snow, I choose to go with snow.

I can make a sandwich during the ride between Suri kyla and Kuru-leiri

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Kristen

I can’t stand questing in Stormheim. I somewhat enjoyed it the first time leveling in Legion, but I don’t like it at all on my alts. It’s dreary and downright depressing! The Kvaldir are interesting, but does it really need to be so drab?

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Reht

Yeah, but it’s far less painful doing those questsin that zone than it is doing Sarumar’s on an alt, even with flying.

malrats
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malrats

Suramar at launch literally launched me into an ongoing WoW hiatus. I just can’t. I stopped at the point when you had to do two mythic dungeons to progress.

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Gooty

I didn’t know you had to do mythic dungeons. I guess they changed it? I think the only thing you have to do is last boss in Emerald Nightmare but you can do it on LFR.

malrats
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malrats

Yeah, I heard they added LFG versions of the two dungeons a patch or two ago. They used to be Mythic only. I’ve never done them. /filthycasual

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