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Category Archives: Game Design

GDE: Dream of Creation, Verdant Plains (part 2)

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Last time we ended up a bit abruptly. The post grew longer than I expected, because the story detail required for a full zone of an expansion was unsurprisingly large. I managed to detail the first four chapters of the zone’s storyline, which included a lot of worgen, arakkoa, and Wild Hunt lore. Today, we move on towards the last two chapters of the zone, leading up to the climactic resolution of the storyline began in the pre-expansion patch. This time I do not have long rants prepared, so we’ll head into the story proper in a minute.

But before we do that, I wanted to give the proper attention to an actual game design point lost somewhere in the body of the text. It’s about the garrisons and Dream of Creation, and how their question is solved by me. In short, in every zone your central quest hub contains an Outpost – a special, unique building that contains a few garrison services. The first is the mission table, which works just like the one currently in the garrisons. The second is the work order table, which replaces building up an actual garrison. The work order table lets you assign a follower with the proper profession trait to a fitting work order. The resulting items are then left in the box outside the Outpost. If you had an inn in your garrison, there is also a headhunter waiting for you (it might not require building an inn – TBD). Your bodyguard followers are also found there, awaiting your orders. Finally, in all of Emerald Dream you have one garrison ability, Call to Arms, identical to the one from Shadowmoon/Frostfire. That resolution allows you to continue the best aspects of a garrison, without the “facebook game” aspects of it. And yes, the new zones do give you new followers – I just didn’t decide on them yet.

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Posted by on 21.03.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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GDE: Dream of Creation, Verdant Plains zone

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Welcome back to Game Design Exercise, where I try to write up an expansion to World of Warcraft as I would have done it, despite about three or four people total caring about what I post here! As I would have done it, if I had a thousand pairs of hands and a mountain of money to spend. Really, it’s my wish fulfillment fantasy, taking the best parts of various expansions and doing them in the context of the Emerald Dream. Like I said in the last post, I’m in a slightly resigned mood when it comes to these. In the time since the last post I’ve been thinking about various other design options. A Dishonored sequel about an Overseer who becomes the next Outsider! My original game idea about playing as a guild, which turns out to be a lot like Garrisons: the Game! Ultimately, all of those ideas are extremely unlikely to become anything more than ideas and with this one, at least I have a few more people reading it. So I might as well keep going.

Now, to end the rant, today we’ll embarking to the first zone of the expansion proper, Verdant Plains. Like in Warlords of Draenor, I decided to go with an Alliance/Horde split between starting zones. In part because I thought it worked, and in bigger part because I decided the entrances to the Emerald Dream become the racial mini-capitals for the new races. It would be like Alliance players entering the Cataclysm zones through Bilgewater Harbor. So today’s post is the beginning of the Alliance storyline, and involves several factions, including Greymane Crossover (a new Alliance reputation faction), Skettis Exiles (the arakkoa racial faction), a continuation of the Wild Hunt storyline and an introduction to a few new elements.

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Posted by on 20.03.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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GDE: Dream of Creation, Satyr starting experience

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

We return for another Game Design Exercise: Feelings of General Irrelevance Edition. When I started these exercises, it was partly due to just wanting to test my design skills for something that I can’t actually design, and the one thing that interested me the most out of the possible options – World of Warcraft patches or expansions. The other part was having some kind of written material to show off as proof of my skill. Well, turns out the second part is pointless because “make believe doesn’t count”, according to a Blizzard employee I asked about this, although half-jokingly. Now, I don’t hold this against him but it did make me feel rather… irrelevant and my efforts pointless. Sure, I can design this stuff but it’s not going to be made real. The only design I can actually do is for games I have little interest in. So in other words, I can’t do the design that I want, period.

I still enjoy to just “make up stories”, as it was once called by Chris Metzen, so I will continue doing these but it just doesn’t feel the same. It’s just the soul-crushing realization that all of my efforts here will never be received by the people I aspired for. But no, it’s all fine. I’m not trying to get anyone’s sympathy – just thought I’d share this… insight with my readers, as few as there are of them.

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Posted by on 09.03.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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GDE: Dream of Creation, Arakkoa starting experience

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Call it build 7.0.0.21600

Welcome back to Game Design Exercise. The first thing you might notice is I decided to shorten the title. “Game Design Exercise” was taking up a lot of precious character space, so I decided to shorten it in case I ever need a particularly long title for one of the sections. The second thing you might notice is that the map posted this time is different from the previous one. I continue working on it and although most of the additions are things I hid from public view (because they spoil future content before it’s ready) there are some zone shape and size changes. They stem from me noticing that Ravenwood and Thornbranch are definitely too small. Most starting zones aren’t much smaller than regular end-game zones, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to realistically squish in a full 1-13 experience in those areas. They are now bigger, partially at the cost of the oversized Verdant Plains.

Another thing I wanted to talk about before the break is a concern that was raised on Twitter recently. Dream of Creation is adopting several fey creatures from Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy sources and one of those creatures is called a hag. They’re ugly troll-like creatures that undeniably bear some resemblance to a caricature of an old woman, and the term likely comes from there. To me, a person with a certain fantasy gaming experience, hags were just a normal thing that didn’t raise any red light. I was however told that the term is considered offensive. I mean, it’s obvious calling a real person “hag” is an offense, but a person was concerned that using it as a name of a fantasy creature is offensive as well, regardless of the term’s past in the genre. Personally, I don’t see it, but if enough people see it as a valid concern, I will adopt it. So, what do you think? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

So, I invite you to read my take on arakkoa starting experience for Dream of Creation, an Emerald Dream expansion. They are arakkoa from the main timeline, so they continue storylines from the Burning Crusade and only influences from Warlords of Draenor are clarifications about the common past of both timelines and references – such as WoD characters showing up here in their main timeline incarnations. Enjoy!

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Posted by on 02.03.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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Game Design Exercise: Dream of Creation, pre-expansion patch

Concept map Remember when I said concept map? It means it's not a finished artwork.

Welcome back to next part of my game design exercise about the Emerald Dream expansion, which I dubbed Dream of Creation. For a while, I was struggling with the idea of how exactly should I divide up all the potential material into posts. Since designing an expansion takes up a lot of space and time, and many internal elements are very intertwined, I can’t really design everything in one, specific order, like I was able to with Farahlon. Take for example designing leveling zones. Let’s say I want to have space for six chapters of the zone’s storyline, but I can’t leave it at that. I need space for not only level cap content, but also for potential future patch areas, like parts of Krasarang used in patch 5.1. So while designing even the first leveling zone, I have to take into account how many reputation factions or other level cap activities I want to have. And when I decide how many reputation factions there will be, I have to decide what role they will have in distributing gear… so yeah. My point is, it’s a really complex system and a lot of thought has to go into it. Even when you have just one post written, you have to keep in mind almost everything else right from the very start.

So how do you decide what post to write first? I decided the best way to present this expansion will be to present it in the same order a player would normally experience it. In short, we start with the pre-expansion patch, and continue to leveling. Next post will describe at least one of the new races’ starting experience, and we will continue through leveling zones, and into endgame content of patch X.0, and only then proceed to further patches. Because I want it to feel as “real” as I can make it, I will keep information about those future patches hidden until shortly before their respective posts’ publication. So now, I invite you to the X.0.1, the Wild Hunt – the pre-expansion patch to Dream of Creation.

Another thing I wanted to speak about before the break is something else I felt would help the immersion of this exercise. Basically, after a BlizzCon announcement you’d have a Q&A session which would reveal various small (and not so small) details about the coming expansion. Well, we didn’t have it. To create one, I invite you to ask Q&A questions in the comments below. I will gladly answer all of them, pretending to be a real game dev when I can.

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Posted by on 21.02.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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Game Design Exercise: Dream of Creation

Hello again, we return for another Game Design Exercise post. As promised, we are done with Farahlon (unless I decide to make a proper art map for it one day) and we are moving on to our next topic. You probably already know what to expect from the title and my previous GDE post, but hey, when an expansion announcement at BlizzCon comes we usually know the trademark and the obvious implication of what comes from the trademarked title. So let me put on my best impression of Chris Metzen and “announce” this thing.

Ever since World of Warcraft began, it had a deep, expansive mythology. Although we started with just Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, we always knew there was so much more out there. And we always wanted to bring all of that rich universe to life in the game. Since before the game came out, we had plans for how we would implement various elements of this universe. And as time went by we slowly implemented those realms into World of Warcraft. We visited Outland and defeated Illidan. We went back to Azeroth to go to Northrend and finally deal with the Lich King once and for all. In Cataclysm, we visited the Elemental Planes. And we always knew Pandaria was out there, and Mists of Pandaria we finally got to see it. We even went to Draenor before it was destroyed.

But there’s one element that we haven’t visited yet. One element that we always knew was out there. A special, magical realm underlying all of Azeroth. And we always struggled how to properly represent it, given its vast size and all the lore behind it. But we thought, it’s time to finally get it done. To finally let the heroes of Azeroth into this mystical realm… realm of dreams… and nightmares. A realm that was once again comes under attack by nefarious forces and needs our help. Because if we no longer can find safe haven even in our dreams… how can we ever feel safe?

Ladies and Gentlemen… Dream of Creation!

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Posted by on 15.02.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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Game Design Exercise: Farahlon Horde Storyline

Farahlon

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.

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Posted by on 03.02.2015 in Game Design, OOC

 

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