Okay – let’s talk about the goals of the new quest UI: 1) Clearer communication of information. 2) More interactive interface. 3) More interesting interaction. 4) Better (or more consistent) gameplay between quests and pvp and even raids. I think #1 and #2 are clear winners with the updated UI. It’s not clearly shown in the mock-up but loot items will be better highlighted when they drop. #3 and #4 are things that might come as sort of a phase 2. The new interface will allow for different players to do different damage based on their stats and the mobs to do damage to the player taking into account the player’s armor and ability to dodge (again based on stats like speed). I only mention raids because I want to move in that direction for them as well (using players’ stats – perhaps not in tier i but maybe starting in ii or iii).
I think the Close button is a little more clear than the X, and that’s why I went in that direction. I agree though that more of the game design elements could be integrated. That might be a phase 2 thing as well.
The repeating boxes are a part of the design – some are a little artifacted as the quality of the image was reduced from the original high-res version to reduce the file size and therefore download time.