I am Karphat Preung, and I have the pleasure of introducing you to my world, Svarloka. I am very excited to represent Svarloka among a new group of arrivals. Since your people started appearing here a few months ago, many stories started crossing the Nether. Some say your world is “the First Ordering”. Some say it’s “the Last Light”, the final bastion standing against the Burning Legion. Well, when it comes to the latter legend, either that isn’t happening for centuries or someone failed to notice all of us here. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they did – if we can hide from the Burning Legion that well, we can hide from others. But do not fear, I see many opportunities for both our worlds – and for others as well. We are not as far apart as you might imagine.
Tag Archives: Arakkoa
The outskirts of Stormwind were filled with rickety, provisional homes, draped in multi-colored cloths and filled with ringing and clanking bells and windchimes. Despite what someone from Azeroth Prime would say, it was not a goblin camp. It was a shanty-town built by the vishkanyas when they arrived on Azeroth in this timeline. Azeroth-7, or as some know it, the Illidari timeline. Maiev failed to stop Illidan from cracking Northrend apart. The Lich King died, and the Scourge was wiped out. While some would feel that was a positive change, no one expected what followed. Not only the tidal waves from the melting glaciers destroyed numerous cities and broke ancient dams, Illidan went on to become an unchallenged Lord of Outland. And with this power, he took fight to the Legion and fought them across the stars. Numerous innocent worlds found themselves in the crossfire, including the vishkanya world. A small percentage of their people successfully escaped to Azeroth through one of Illidan’s portals.
Now, they live here, in the outskirts of Azerothian civilization. Cast out, abandoned, unwanted. Although King Varian accepted them and let them stay, most of the humans feel they have enough problems with orcs and draenei “squatting” on Azeroth, some feel the vishkanya are the final nail in the coffin of humanity’s power.
Agam was careful to cover her face when she was crossing the streets of Stormwind. For about ten years she lived in this city and knew what the people on both sides were capable of. Does the perception filter even work when she’s in her own timeline? It does, after all, filter out only the extraordinary and on Azeroth-7 her eyes are not something completely out of place. No, they are just something that could get you in trouble. Luckily, Llore was at her side, showing his face without a care in the world, drawing attention away from her hooded face. Together, they walked right out of the Dwarven District and continued down the path to the outskirts.
Once there, she could finally take off the hood and look at all the lights and bells, and take in the smells of the familiar cuisine. She could finally once again hear the familiar noise of her native language, even if it was the crooked merchants hawking their wares and old women yelling at disobedient brats. For all its issues, this was home.
“Agam,” she heard from behind. She quickly turned around and saw what appeared to be a large, muscular human with a bronzed skin… but with eyes just as serpentine as hers. Llore looked up at the man who was showing a rather forbidding visage.
“Is he trouble?” Llore asked her.
“No,” Agam responded, smiling. Suddenly, the mustachioed man smiled back. “He’s my brother.”
Meanwhile, a human guard was leaning on the walls of one of the houses and looking at the two vishkanyas, and then frowning at the sight of Llore – a human, unusual in this district. He snarled and looked back to another guard, sitting nearby and sipping wine someone left over at his porch.
“You seen him?” The first guard asked.
“Whom?” The second answered, for a moment getting the bottle out of his face.
“That one,” The first guard continued, pointing at Llore. “Looks like we got ourselves a snake-fucker.”
They don’t send me on these away missions often. As the main healer of our humble establishment, they prefer to keep in backup. So I sit there in my room and spend most of my day reading and occasionally treating a minor bruise or a cough someone caught and is then convinced he’s dying (I’m looking at you, Hwarnë). Sometimes, something interesting happens. I remember when we got attacked by that Iron Horde task force and the darfellan guest stepped right into a patch of poison Aeresham dropped, so I had to work my non-existent ass off to treat an alien poison on an alien individual. I’m not complaining, I like a good challenge. It’s different when I get to go on a mission. The field healing magic may not be exact and leave some ailments untreated, but it’s an interesting change of pace.
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.
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.
For some time, Mr. Krasha was looking for people interested in going to one potential mission, one that wasn’t very popular among most here. Ever since our crews started going out into the other worlds, we all heard about the Xa’tac and the terror they sown across known worlds. This “Space Scourge” was furthermore rumored to recently re-emerge after centuries of presumed extinction at the hands of the Burning Legion. So when the boss was informed by the Gnadra that our gnomish friends, Captain Matus T. Manks’s crew, was abducted and held on that world, few were interested in actually going there. I know it’s common among the adventurers to quote Draenor for being so savage, but this world was the home of an interstellar empire of terror and undeath. Even if they are presumed to be dead, who knows what kind of terrors still lurk within? And we weren’t too far off.
PREVIOUSLY: Time and Again, part I
Tarakan was tied up to a chair in a dark room. When he woke up there, his first instinct was to timewalk away but not only were his legs tied to the chair, his gear was gone as well and as a hunter he had no magical powers of his own. Through the few beams of light coming from a hatch in the door he managed to spot a strange, red stone lining the walls. Red stone… he heard about it before. Tarakan’s brother encountered it. A stone that negates all magic where it’s around so no one can enter the room magically, including the arcane serpent being unable to phase through the walls. Most people would have no idea how much time has passed. But he was not most people – he was a Timewalker. Time was his domain.
Suddenly, the door opened and a lot of light burst into the room – something especially painful for a cursed arakkoa. But in that burst of light emanating from the door frame he saw a human-shaped shadow. The shadow stepped in and the door closed behind him, as a faint lamp turned on near the roof. The shadow was no other but Khadgar. But not our Khadgar. It was a parallel Khadgar from this timeline, one that grew up to be a very different man. He was smiling and scratching his goatee, contemplating his captive.
“We meet again, Timewalker,” Khadgar said. “I must admit, I expected you to already turn into a dragon and attempt escape by now.”
Tarakan sighed. “I’m not a dragon. I’m a Timewalker. I am a mortal servant of the bronze dragonflight.”
Khadgar chuckled. “Mortals willingly serving dragons? Do you think we had no dragons over here? The capricious, gluttonous things wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from eating mortals standing around nearby.” Either dragons were very different in this timeline, or Khadgar was lying. “Especially ones that look like they would taste like chicken.”
Tarakan frowned. Cannibalistic jokes never amused him, and especially the numerous ‘do you taste like chicken’ lines from orcs who thought they were oh-so-clever. “You don’t know the first thing about us. And I’m not going to help you find it out.”
“We’ll see,” Khadgar said, “We’ll see how much pain and hunger a… not-dragon can withstand.”
Time travel. It’s complicated. And I don’t mean just the extremely powerful magic necessary to make it reality. Once you’re there, in the past or in another timeline, there is an almost infinite number of factors you have to take into account. Every step you take can end up undoing hundreds of possible lives. And every major change that brings a given timeline out of its alignment… out of its one, true fate can be disastrous. This is what the Infinite Dragonflight has been attempting for… forever, I will have to say because our mundane descriptions of duration or time lose meaning here. They attempted to throw timelines out of alignment, and thus to disintegrate them. Why? To bring chaos, entropy. And when all universes, all realities are destroyed, our entire multiverse ceases to exist and the only thing left are the Old Gods – external parasites from beyond all of creation. Without our universe to contain them, they are free. And perhaps they deserve to be free, but not at the cost of uncountable myriads of innocent lives.
Azeroth-28. An empty, dark corner of Dalaran, one that is ruled by a militaristic, jingoistic and magi-elitist Kirin Tor. One that enviously looks out to other worlds out there in the galaxy and seeks to dominate them all – but lacks the manpower and resources to do so. Not long ago, their Emperor, Khadgar, went into the white tower of Karazhan, using its temporal instability to seek new power that could overthrow the other worlds out there. He went missing for years and his Council tried to keep the Empire intact. Until, one day, he reappeared as mysteriously as he disappeared – having witnessed an alternate Azeroth, one much less developed and already embroiled in a conflict with yet another timeline. He saw this as an opportunity. Now they could command not one Azeroth, but two… or more. An infinite number of Azeroths, all striking out at the potential threats among the stars. But he underestimated the defenders this Azeroth had – the Timewalkers.
In that dark corner of Dalaran, suddenly a magical vortex opened. But this time, it was not another lazy mage quickly transporting himself from the top floor to the street. This time, it was a dwarf clad in bronze robes with the symbol of infinity on his tabard. Or rather someone that looked like a dwarf – it was, in fact, a bronze dragon, Keeper Morozdormu. And behind him, three more characters, subordinates, step out. An arakkoa hunter with a pet arcane serpent coiling behind him – Watcher Tarakan and Pita. Then, a red-haired human male with a hopeful look – Historian Llore. And finally, a dark-skinned, human-looking female mage – Weaver Agam. The four looked around until the dwarf spoke up.
“Alright, folks,” Moros said, “it looks like we landed safely, with no witnesses. Time to work.” He raised his left hand, with a strange hourglass in it. “According to our Vision of Time, we can safely stay here for just over a day. Let’s get digging!”
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.
I have a certain respect for the mo’arg. The engineer dudes, not the beefy mooks. They’re smart, they’re dangerous and their appearance incites terror. When you see a mo’arg going at you, you know you’re in trouble. Sure, they’re going a little extreme with the whole “replacing body parts with machines” thing, but everyone has got their own little obsession. I must admit, mine is probably collecting. Not pixelated monsters in a tiny hand-held device, not cards or teddy bears – collecting people. The more varied and stranger their races, the better. Just seeing all kinds of creatures working together fills a certain, warped sense of collectorship in my mind. And I always wanted to have one of these – the mo’arg. I worked with, and fought, Sal’salabim so I know what they’re capable of. But only recently I got the chance to get one of them in my employ.