There was a surprising tidbit on MMO-Champion yesterday:
- The Jade Forest quests had a very clear story, but it also had a lot of side quests that could bog you down.
- In Warlords of Draenor, your map will show you where to go to continue the main storyline, along with the locations of bonus objectives.
- The bonus objectives no longer have any story text that go with them, just a list of objectives. Now when there is quest text, you will know that it is really worth reading.
What I find is that this lacks context, lacks those small stories that weave together. For example, in Elwynn Forest in WoW, I really enjoy the Young Lovers questline. It's nothing amazing, you take a note from Maybell Maclure to Tommy Joe Stonefield, get Grandma Stonefield to direct you to her old suitor, the alchemist William Pestle, kill some mulocs for ingredients for an invisibility potion, and give the potion to Maybell so she can elope. Nothing amazing, just a short little story. But I guess I'm a romantic at heart, so I always enjoy doing that questline.
The thing is that, so far, the hearts in GW2 really lack that. They're just a bar on the screen to be filled with repetitive tasks. And the tasks don't really build on each other to form a story, except in the vaguest, most general sense. (There are bandits attacking the farm. You kill the bandits. The farm is saved.) It's also very UI-driven. At least normal questing has a semblance of interacting with the people in the world.
Now, in the end, maybe normal questing is just the same. That the stories of side quests are just an illusion, a fig leaf over reality, and it's all about filling up many smaller bars instead of one bigger bar. But it turns out that I like--and maybe even need--that illusion.
GW2 Hearts are quests for people who think that skipping through instant quest text is too much work.