On Tuesdays we run what is essentially a static group, Halfling Commandos all, but with most of the roll staying invariant from one week to the next. We’ve been doing Sagas, one quest at a time, knocking off two or three every Tuesday, working this batch of first-life characters to cap.
We are not there yet. We finished the last Saga this week but are still only level 29; we’ll have to finish off with non-Saga quests. But that is not the important thing about this; because we are running Sagas instead of high-XP quests we are hitting every quest in the game. All of them. Including quests that some of our group had never run before.
And that is the important thing, I am learning, that. How much better the game is when you are (1) experiencing content for the first time, or (2) accompanying people on their first runs and allowing them to actually explore and discover. When people are excited and engaged, it is contagious; everyone becomes excited and engaged. And nothing is more exciting and engaging that discovering a fun quest for the first time.
I guess, by agreed-upon forum definitions, that I am talking about “flower-sniffing”. So be it, I do so unapologetically; the first time you encounter new content it is appropriate to take your time, to explore the nooks and crannies, to discover the optionals and secret doors and whatever else the quest may be hiding. Or not hiding, as the case may be, but the only way to know is to check. So check. Or, if you are the vet, let them check.
Speed runs can be fun too, but it is a different fun. And frankly, a lesser one. Yes, it is challenging to see how quickly you can complete a puzzle. But it was more fun to figure out the winning configuration in the first place. What does this puzzle do? What happens if I do it wrong? The final rush of endorphin when you get it right!
But all of this requires something:
This most recent Tuesday, the quest was What Goes Up?. An unusual quest, with several parts that are completely different from each other, and a sequential end fight where one must perform several specific tasks during the battle. It really feels more like a raid than a quest, and I wonder if maybe it wasn’t originally designed to be the Menace of the Underdark raid?
The quest is a winner. Very pretty, with unique visuals that are not found anywhere else and which seem to have a higher fidelity than other dungeons. If that is even possible? Very stylish and interesting. Beautiful, really. And not just beautiful but difficult! Requiring unusual care, not something easily zerged even if that is your goal. Which it wasn’t, in our case, we only planned the one quest for the evening; there would be plenty of time for flower-sniffing.
And that was by far the best part. Hanging back and letting the newbies figure out how to proceed. We provided guidance when necessary – the end fight is particularly confusing if you don’t have any clue as to what to do – but for the most part we (those of us who knew the quest) just kept quiet and let them (those of us who did not) cipher it out.
And it was so much fun. I was so engaged by everything that I took several screenies. Here, I’ll share:
And in the end we won. At level. It was only on Hard, I am not trying to paint us as some kind of unstoppable force. But we played well, solved all of the things that needed solving and defeated everything that needed defeating. With fresh eyes and full engagement.
It is so rare for me to see those fresh eyes. I forget how important they are, and how much fun they bring.
Fresh eyes and new content.
So much fun!
🙂 😀 🙂