Game Design Exercise: Open Objectives in Farahlon

Farahlon

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I told you more than once that I wasn’t abandoning the project – just delaying it until further notice. Of course, that notice took a bit longer than expected, but we’re back. The thing that propelled me to come back the most was constant hits I’m receiving on the Farahlon articles, as well as my other ideas that I want to develop in these posts. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, Farahlon!

Also, a few things have changed since our previous publications, or rather were clarified and seen by players in Warlords of Draenor. One of those things is the final fate of Socrethar. Previously presumed to be a boss in a future Shattrath Shadow Council raid, he now dies to the commander and the Sha’tari Defense Force during a Garrison Campaign quest. Because of that, we can no longer have Rhaze meet up with him and depart for Shattrath when the player arrives at Socrethar’s Seat. Now it will probably be Gul’dan that Rhaze is meeting and departing with and he’s leaving for… the Sky City, which will be my fake patch’s raid. Yup, it now includes three dungeons and a raid to be described.

And now, to the proper topic of this post – open objectives!

Fields of Farahlon

The main open objective in Farahlon is the area best known as “Fields of Farahlon”. What are open objectives and how are they different from existing content in Warlords of Draenor? Imagine various bonus objective areas in the game, for example Everbloom Wilds in Gorgrond or the Broken Precipice in Nagrand. There, you simply go in and do whatever is nearby – kill mobs, pick up items, interact with objects – to fill a mysterious bar that pops up at the side of your screen (if your quest log isn’t as clogged up as mine). You don’t really know how much of what you have to do, or the real speed of your progress and the whole process is a little bit mysterious. While this was designed so that you don’t have to do very specific actions and have a more free reign, here’s a way to maintain it being freeform, and at the same time make it a little less arcane.

First trait of the open objectives is that they never end. You can remain in the area for hours and complete the objectives again and again, if that’s your fancy. There’s no limit to how many times you can do it per day, other than your speed and time allowance. You still get a progress bar that slowly fills up, but once it does, you get your rewards (inlcuding Apexis crystals, gold and other currencies) and then it rolls over to zero letting you start over. This is so that if you missed one day, but have extra free time on the next day, you can make up for your lost playtime.

Second trait is that there is now both the big bar of mysterious progress, and lesser, more specific objectives. On the Fields of Farahlon, you not only fulfill your faction’s nebulous goals, but also get more specific targets. For example, the Waverider Clan may want you to steal three holy draenei artifacts from the “Stormspire” monastery. You can steal just one of them, and then continue killing random Iron Horde orcs on the Fields, and fulfill just the main mystery bar. Or, you can steal all three… and be allowed to steal them again as soon as they respawn. The smaller objectives are neverending too!

The entire fields are a field of battle between the Iron Horde and opposing native forces, supported by the player factions. The Waverider Clan of orcs will task the Horde players not only with generally slaughtering the Iron Horde, but also taking your spoils of battle. They will expect you to steal valuables from both the Iron Horde and the Farahloni draenei. For every piece of special loot you bring to them, you get other rewards, including increasing your reputation with the Waveriders. Farahloni draenei, on the other hand, are more defensively minded. You’re supposed to protect their monastery (from Iron Horde and Horde player looters alike) as well as building defensive structures and saving farmers. The monks and farmers will give you tokens of gratitude which you continue to exchange for reputation with the Farahloni draenei.

The rewards are not only gold and Apexis crystals, but also – through reputation factions and other means – exclusive loot, including raid-worthy weapons and armor, as well as unique mounts and battle pets. The Waveriders and Farahloni also have special perks for your garrisons. At Revered, they send people to your garrison not only as new followers, but also as help for your existing buildings – for example, they send an experienced wrangler of teroclaws to your Stable, letting you to tame for yourself a flying mount – a blue Teroclaw, which just so happens to look like a reskin of Ji-Kun – which will test your patience and Mario Bros skills even more!

Apexis Towers

The other open objective is the previously mentioned Apexis Towers. Like the Fields of Farahlon and potentially other new sub-zones in Ashran and other places, the gameplay at them never ends. When you’re sent to your first Apexis Tower, you are told to help the Alliance/Horde soldiers sent to claim it but find your soldiers dead and the Tower overrun by the Iron Horde forces. Obviously, you cannot let them lay claim to the mysteries of the Apexis, so you intervene and kill the Iron Horde forces, filling your first bar (which is shorter than your usual bars in, say, Magnarok). Once that is done, first stage of your initial quest is done, and then the Primals attack. You have to defend the Tower until all the attacking forces are slain and then, your faction’s reinforcements arrive and your quest is complete.

But like I said, the content there never ends. After you hand in the quest, you’re encouraged to return to the tower (as well as seek out other towers) and then you find it at the state it really is on your server. That state can be one of four – Alliance, Horde, Iron Horde or Primal. If the tower is currently controlled by an NPC faction, you’re expected to defeat the enemies and claim the tower for yourself. It will probably take a few people to defeat all of them, and once you’re done and receive your rewards for that stage, you can wait for a new wave in a few minutes. That wave will be from either of the NPC factions and you can defend the tower from them.

But, the towers are a mixed PvP/PvE gameplay so fighting NPCs is not all you do there. If a tower is currently controlled by Alliance and a Horde player shows up and starts fighting the Alliance guards, the countdown to next NPC attack is halted. You are encouraged to attack the player faction-controlled towers and claim them for yourself to get PvP rewards. If your enemy faction is not very good, you will mostly only fight the NPCs – but if player opposition arrives, you will get a PvP fight that will reward you appropriately when the phase ends. You can keep doing it as long as you want, to keep getting more rewards.

I think by now you get the general idea of open objectives and how they fit into the rest of Farahlon. If you like my improvements, be sure to spread the news. If you don’t… well, please don’t swear at me. I can block you and stuff.

Next time (whenever that will be) we will visit something that does not lie entirely on Farahlon – namely, the three dungeons that delve into Apexis mysteries and the new motives of the Rhaze’s Dark Conclave.

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About Arakkoa

Verroak Krasha, an Arakkoa druid with over 50 years of experience. Formerly from Farahlon, during the Orcish expansion relocated to Skettis, then to Sethekk Halls, then to rebuilt Shattrath, following the heresies in each of those places. Finally, he founded his own succesfull alchemy business and set out into the wide cosmos to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and boldly go where no bird has flown before. View all posts by Arakkoa

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