Game Design Exercise: Farahlon Horde Storyline


And we return again to designing Farahlon, for the last time. But fear not, this is not the end of me trying to pretend I’m designing World of Warcraft. Because I still have too much time on my hands, I will return in about a week with a new project – Emerald Dream expansion! Yes, it’s a potentially much bigger project, which is also why we will probably go into less detail with specific design parts, or with every small storyline present in the expansion. But until that happens, let’s return to Farahlon and see what the Horde is doing while Alliance is busy being all heroic saving the draenei towns and protecting monasteries from ravenous looters.

Fate of the Laughing Skull

We left off the new Horde ally, the Waverider Clan, establishing their presence in Farahlon in their major settlement on the northern shores. While they’re preparing for an assault on the Bladewind Fort nearby, you are sent to investigate what happened to your other allies in this zone – the Laughing Skull Clan. You originally went to Farahlon on the orders of their new warlord, to check what’s happening to those members of the clan still in Farahlon. So Marrow leaves with you towards the southern parts of Farahlon, where the Laughing Skull used to have their largest settlements.

To everyone’s shock, as you fly over the settlement together, you find the settlement taken over by the Iron Horde. If you pay attention, you can see Yrel and her troops running nearby from Arklon to Enkaat (which is part of Alliance storyline). Marrow then spots a campfire south of the settlement and orders you to land there. When you do, you find a number of refugees who fled the settlement when the Bladewind invaded. The shock of their town’s destruction made them sane and although they still want grizzly death upon their oppressors, they have far less glee about it.

Of course, like in the Alliance storyline, you do not have enough forces to take on the new Iron Horde fort and will return there later for a bonus objective. For now, you are set to strike the outlying Iron Horde forces, including those in the ruins of Arklon. As you are fighting them, burning their supplies and pinning the corpses up for display, another boat lands with a new Bladewind captain. After you defeat said captain after a heated battle, he mentions you will never defeat Warlord Uraga, Bladewind’s leader. Now having a name to your threat, you follow the trail of dead bodies towards Enkaat. On your way there, Warlord Uraga finds you herself, having just been pushed back from Enkaat by Yrel and the Alliance champions. After you defeat what remains of her army and fight her in person, she retreats once again towards the Bladewind Fort, complaining about setbacks.

After this, you return to the Laughing Skull refugee camp and inform the locals of exacting their vengeance. While they urge you to go back towards Bladewind Fort and finish off Uraga, you get a message from the blood elves that arrived at Summer Hall, a southern Waverider settlement. Magister Rommath himself requires your immediate attention.

Tragedy at Summer Hall

When you arrive there, you find the Summer Hall to be orcish huts placed in and around ogre ruins. When you talk to Rommath, it turns out this place used to be an ogre fort in ancient era, and it was once headed by a powerful magister, who some believe is now worshiped by ogres as god of magic and learning. Unfortunately, this fort was destroyed in a great fire known only as “tragedy at Summer Hall”. Nobody knows what really happened, but an explosion killed the magister and all his staff, and the subsequent fire killed or banished everyone living there. Centuries later, Waveriders arrived at the area and found the fort abandoned and locals speaking of it only in whispers. Apparently, it was haunted by the spirits of those who died there. This didn’t deter the Waveriders from settling in the outer parts of the fort, but deeper in, even they did not dare to tread.

Rommath and a contingent from the Reliquary arrived in this fort with a dual purpose in mind. Officially, they are here to help the newest Horde ally in fully reclaiming their settlement. Unofficially, they’re interested in whatever the ogre magister was working on and any artifacts still left over from that era, and couldn’t care less about some orcish raiders. You first venture into the Inner Halls and deal with a few ghosts that are still trying to perform some kind of ritual, as well as gathering some materials scattered around. You proceed into the heart of the fort, to find the ghost of the ogre magister still working inside, and still on fire. You engage in an epic fight during which the ogre attempts to cast a massive fire spell, which Rommath easily counters due to his mastery of magic. After killing him, you collect the Titanic artifact he was studying.

The Reliquary now wants you to take that artifact to Rek’tak Excavation Site. They heard about the Iron Horde unearthing a powerful Apexis construct inside, and hope the newly acquired artifact can help you take control of it. So you delve into the excavation similarly to Alliance players, but have far less objectives inside due to your work in Summer Hall. When you finally reach the deepest parts of the excavation site, you see Apex, the giant Apexis construct, and the orc attempting to control it. Like in the Alliance part, he gets smashed into pieces, but this time, Rommath and the Reliquary mages launch the artifact and try to use it on Apex. It fails and results in an explosion that Rommath contains at the cost of losing your Reliquary escort. Turns out Titan and Apexis technology do not work together at all and you have to destroy Apex.

Battle of Farahlon Fields and Camp Nanisannah

After you emerge from the excavation site and return to Summer Hall, you got two places to go. The first is the optional objective of visiting Camp Nanisannah, a tauren camp near Ultris Tower. There, you find Bovan Windtotem with his chieftain, Bielas Ghostdancer. The two arrived on Draenor seeking to understand the differences between this world and Azeroth. They were investigating the nearby swamps when the flashes in the sky heralded the arrival of the Sky City. A number of creatures descended from the Sky City and disturbed the balance of nature they were studying. They send you to go into the swamp, rescue whatever remains of nature there, and destroy the constructs that fell from the Sky City, as well as lay the Apexis ghosts to rest, finally ending with getting rid of High Architect’s messenger.

The other quest will take you the final part of the main questline. You return to the Waverider Fort and find everyone preparing for the next attack on the Farahlon Fields and Bladewind Fort. Most of this battle resembles its Alliance counterpart. It’s a big, cinematic event similar to the Battle of Thunder Pass, where most of the characters you encountered in Farahlon will play a part in achieving your objectives. The Waveriders and the Laughing Skull will help you kill the Bladewind forces, while the Reliquary will help in dealing with the constructs thrown your way, taking control of them the more traditional way. Ghostdancer tauren will arrive as well, calling out the ancient orcish ancestors to help you. While as Alliance you helped protect the monastery from Waverider looters, this time you help the looters and steal the priceless, spiritual artifacts and deliver them to Warlord Rongar.

At the end of the battle, you face Warlord Uraga again, and Rognar expresses a rather sleazy view of her. When you win the battle and she retreats to be dealt with in the dungeon, Rongar yells after her that… he will take her as his mate, whether she likes it or not. That comment pisses off practically everyone around him, including some Waveriders, which causes Durotan to declare a mak’gora for the leadership of his clan. Rognar is furious and almost immediately calls his cronies to assist him. Durotan calls Rognar completely honorless and calls his own allies for help. Marrow and you join the fight and swiftly deal with the Lod-breaker. At Durotan’s insistence, his daughter (which you previously met in Summer Hall) takes the title of Waverider Warlord and promises to be a better leader than him.

And this is the end of Farahlon storyline, and of all of my Farahlon design. Of course, many smaller questions remain. For example, what exactly will the legendary questline here entail? Probably collecting more random drops from bosses in the Sky City. Where exactly are all the bonus objectives? If an area is marked on the map and wasn’t mentioned in the main storyline, it probaly is a bonus objective. What of the garrison campaign? Potentially, all of the side quests from previous posts could be converted to continue it. They are smaller issues that could undoubtedly be fun to answer, but are hard to write about at length. If you have any questions like that, be sure to leave them in the comments below. If you have any praises or swear words to share with me, you’re welcome to leave them below too. I’ll see you all soon in the Emerald Dream expansion design exercise.

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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