While the dialog and books do a fantastic job of expanding on the general lore of Kingdoms of Amalur, it’s the side quests that flesh out each zone. Much like an MMO, the open world is split into zones with their own names and subsequent quest hubs. Completing a zone is satisfying, it plays on my enjoyment of checkbox gaming.
Dalentarth is the region the game starts out in. This is the Fae forest where the Fae mostly live secluded away in their city of Ysa away from mortals. However, I discovered upon visiting Ysa that mortals live there too and the Fae didn’t seem to happy about it. For the most part, the zones in this region had a series of side quest that had a story arch. For example, In Webwood the city has been under siege by spiders and all of the quest center around finding out why the spiders are attacking and stopping them. Glendara has the city of Didenhil which is experiencing a plauge brought on by the sudden appearance of bogarts in the area. The quests here center around getting medicine and finding out where the boggarts are coming from. These mini stories made going through the zones really enjoyable.
The Plains of Erathell have not given me that same experience. The Wolds was the only zone that had any kind of theme around it. This is where refugees were escaping to from the war but the town didn’t want them so they camp out on the roads hoping for a better life once their allowed in. Tala-Rane was a zone filled with monsters and ruins of a city that used to be there but for the most part was a “kill 10 rats” filled zone which wasn’t that interesting. However, I enjoy the scenery in the Plains of Erathell zones more than Dalentarth.
I’ve visited tow major cities so far: Ysa and Rathir. These cities are whole zones themselves. Almost all of the quests take place within the cities themselves. Again this adds a lot of flavor to the cities via lore. Rathir has a whole homeless population living underneath it even though it’s a hub for wealth. There’s even a faction of people underneath who live by sorting through the garbage of the rich and selling it elsewhere. Ysa has the contentions of the Summer Fae living amongst the “lesser” mortal races.
Here’s to hoping that Detyre and the Klurikon are more like Dalentarth with their zone quests. I’m looking forward to Klurikon the most with zones like Cursewood and the Drowned Forest.