World of Warcraft Quests: By The (Insane) Numbers

It wasn't all mistakes and regrets for former World of Warcraft director Jeffery Kaplan during today's "The Cruise Director of Azeroth" panel at GDC.

The jam-packed presentation also saw the release of many World of Warcraft statistics, including the average number of quests completed daily, and the circumstances that led to the extremely popular MMO sporting, at last count, some 7650 different quests.

  • Between 6/30/2007 and 3/5/2009, some 8,570,222,436 quests were completed in the World of Warcraft.
  • Daily average of quests completed: 16,641,209
Kaplan, now working on Blizzard's next MMO, talked about designing the original release of World of Warcraft, saying that the first total quest target was 600. This number was a result of needing to compete with EverQuest's estimated 1200 quests--a total that he and others estimated by looking at EverQuest "spoiler sites."

The team designed a game with enough quests to keep players busy, but not so many that they didn't run out occasionally--which turned out to be a contentious issue within the studio.

Said Kaplan: "And then we went into alpha, [and testers were] going, 'What the fuck?' Because we focused so hard on the newbie experience, you're going to have a totally quest-driven game... and we did that, and we had the internal alpha, I think it ended around level 10."

While players of other MMOs might be used to running out of quests, the other Blizzard designers "wouldn't stand for it."

"All of the other teams were coming to the WoW team and saying, 'This is BS, my quest log is broken.'"

"We were comparing ourselves to other games, and we found that WoW had evolved into its own thing that felt really broken any time you had an empty quest log."

As a result, the following statistics were presented:

  • Target total quests for original WoW release: 600
  • Original WoW total quests: 2600
  • Burning Crusade: 5300
  • Wrath of the Lich King: 7650
"We felt like discovery and exploration are really cool, valuable things, but not when it comes to your core game experience," added Kaplan.