Last time, I presented to you all a general overview of what my design of Farahlon would look like, including a handy map presenting most major points of interest. I promised to go into details about the specific points later, and here I am. In this part, I’m going to present the storyline that introduces you to Farahlon. There isn’t much in terms of very unique gameplay in this specific part, so that will have to wait for the next parts.
Tag Archives: Jaina Proudmoore
Game Design Exercise: Farahlon
Recently, we were told in a developer interview that Farahlon may never come, or at least not in Warlords of Draenor (which lowers the possibility of it ever appearing by itself). Not only that, it was also suggested it might be retconned to have been Ashran all along, which is a total disaster from lore perspective. Although it has been since reported the retcon will not happen, the thought that it was even a possibility remains frightening. And you know I’d love to see Farahlon in-game, so the news was rather shocking to me. I thought, if they don’t see a place for it in game, I’ll show them how to do it – I’ll design Farahlon myself, basing it on the way rest of WoD is designed. (Also, usually when I get to making something, Blizzard then announces they’re doing it, so that helped too)
Damaging the Timeline
Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Doing Sargeras’s Bidding
So there I was, in the middle of Dalaran, now ruled by Kel’thuzad, who was conspiring with Sargeras to create a plague of undeath that would easily completely ravage this world. Remember, on this Azeroth there are no paladins to stem the tide. There is no Prophet Medivh to warn the leaders to leave for Kalimdor. If the Scourge rises here, this Azeroth will left completely destroyed, and when the time comes, the Burning Legion will invade what remains behind and finish the deal. There isn’t even a Lich King that could use an equivalent of Arthas to rebel against the Legion. And I was expected to help these events to come.
I was in no hurry to actually go see Kel’thuzad and went for the Dalaran libraries to find some kind of spell that would help me get to Kalimdor and to Caverns of Time. Yes, I would leave this world to devastation – it’s not my world, in two different ways, and I didn’t want to damage the timeline that wasn’t mine either. Unfortunately, as I was looking through the books, I met Krasus, aka Korialstrasz, the consort of the Lifebinder, still alive in this timeline. As you might expect, the goddamn OP protagonist saw right through my human disguise and ordered to arrest me. Only by telling him I have information about Kel’thuzad’s treason he recalled the guards – but still forced me to go with him.
I was brought to his office in the Violet Citadel where together with Rhonin they began to interrogate me. Seeing this as a chance for getting out of the whole “helping destroy the world” thing, I told them the truth. That I’m an alien AND I’m from an alternate timeline, and that Sargeras is now inside Prince Anduin and sent me to help Kel’thuzad devise a plague of undeath that will bring forth Legion’s invasion. Although it sounded like a pretty tall story, some of the details that I shouldn’t know in this timeline convinced them. In the end, they decided they would get me a transport to Kalimdor if I help them save Jaina – still alive, but comatose.
When I arrived with them to Jaina’s chamber, she appeared barely alive. Very pale, very shallow breath – yet there no was immediate danger to her life, as she was in a stable condition for a while. I took a sample of her blood and with one of the simplest test, I found that Kel’thuzad must have created a unique contagion specifically for these cases. It was mostly made from Nether ingredients, making me unique suited to treat her. You see, no one in that universe, barring Kel’thuzad himself, would be able to help her. As I lived for long years on Outland, a continent consumed by the energies of the Twisting Nether, I gathered (and still had with me) plenty of nether-infused herbs, just the right thing I needed to combat this contagion. These herbs just don’t exist in this timeline.
So I started working. Treating her took me better part of the day, because I had to find all the right ingredients in all the right amounts, but in the end, she started stirring and her skin got its color back. Finally, late in the evening, she woke up and started screaming at me, thinking I’m some monster Kel’thuzad summoned, but Korialstrasz quickly calmed her down and explained everything. That’s when she explained how she got in that position – she found proof of Kel’thuzad’s dealings with Sargeras and his plague laboratory. The archmage quickly stabbed her with a needle full of his new contagion and took charge of the city, to make sure no one stops him anymore. Unfortunately for him, his plan was just ruined.
With Jaina still weak from weeks in bed, Rhonin and Krasus left her under my care and went to confront Kel’thuzad. I don’t know what exactly transpired, but soon after they entered his chambers, a lot of lights and noise started coming out of his windows. When the two mages came back a couple of minutes later, they explained that Kel’thuzad is dead, but he didn’t go down without a fight. As he was dying, he apparently told them they’re too late and the Scourge is already spreading. Rhonin thinks he was bluffing, but Krasus wants to make sure he wasn’t.
Nevertheless, I waited for the next day and the two mages fulfilling their end of the bargain. Before I could leave, I was however called to testify everything I knew about the situation before the Council of the Six and some special guests. The remaining five archmages gathered together to choose the new sixth. At the same time, King Kael’thas got wind of the recent events and arrived in Dalaran with Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner and one of his top magisters, Aethas Sunreaver. Additionally, Uther was transferred to Dalaran from Alterac. When I was called in to the Council chambers, Aethas was already made a member of the Six, and Kael’thas, Sylvanas, Uther and Turalyon were listening to my explanations.
At first, Uther didn’t want to believe me, but after Jaina told him how “selflessly” I treated her (really, I was doing it for my own gain), he agreed to listen. After I explain Anduin’s true identity, the Six agreed they must act to stop their plans. As their first move, they sent Uther with Turalyon back to Stormwind to unmask Sargeras, while I was given the passage on a goblin ship going to Kalimdor, currently docked in Southshore, occupied by Dalaran-friendly forces after the battle I witnessed couple of days prior.
I don’t know how Uther’s and Turalyon’s mission went as I quickly proceeded to Southshore. Once on board with the goblins, I could finally drop the human disguise, as the goblin crew was informed what I was, and in Kalimdor it would be pointless. I mean, they were informed I’m a bird person from a “far away land”, not an alien from an alternate reality. I finally left the Eastern Kingdoms to their own devices and my return home wouldn’t take much longer.
Next on Arakkoa Chronicles: The Road Home
Doing Sargeras’s Bidding
Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Kingdoms of Azeroth
Having little other choice, I played along with the mission Anduin/Sargeras gave me for the time being. I embarked on a trip throughout the Eastern Kingdoms with the stated intention of reaching Dalaran. However, while on my way north, I kept looking for ways to sneak away. I concluded that probably the only people capable of sending me back are the bronze dragons, and they live in Kalimdor. Obviously, I inquired Abbot Turalyon what do they know about Kalimdor and he spoke of it like about a myth – speaking of minotaurs, centaurs, harpies and “other mythical creatures”, including some unfounded tales of “minotaurs” (read: tauren) being carnivorous and living in labyrinths. Seriously, who makes those up? Tauren and labyrinths?
Most of the trip went pretty smoothly, at least its early parts did. Elwynn Forest is very similar, and yet oddly different. I never spent much time there, but I think the trees are all different, probably because the orcs never ravaged these forests. Redridge was a bit greener than you folks may know it, and it was definitely calmer. While in Redridge, I briefly spoke to a man called Tirion Ellerian, but I don’t know if he’s of any relation to the Queen of Stormwind. We then went on to Burning Steppes which were still, unsurprisingly, burning. They lacked a giant statue of Anduin Lothar though, as well as there being no orcs running across the landscape. The Dark Iron Mountain, as Turalyon insisted on calling it, was still considered a dangerous place because of the black dragons that keep lairs in there, but the Dark Irons themselves were apparently gone after Magni Bronzebeard collapsed the central pillar and destroy Shadowforge City.
Searing Gorge bore more trails of the war between Dark Irons and Ironforge, as especially noticable in the Cauldron, where all the Dark Iron machinery was in ruins. It was here that we first heard of some people called “Blackwyrm Cultists”. Turalyon explained they were dangerous and crazy people who worshiped not only the black dragons, but their mysterious masters as well – clearly the Twilight’s Hammer of an Azeroth with no orcs. When we came up to the gate between Searing Gorge and Loch Modan, we realized it was barred, due to the war and dwarves officially keeping out of it. Seeing no way to open it and not wanting to lose our time on killing that stupid thunder lizard, we had to go through the Badlands.
Let me tell you, it’s odd but refreshing to see Badlands not completely torn up and without the giant mark in the middle of it that looks as if Deathwing landed on it with his gonads. Just as I was starting to wonder what’s going on with Theldurin the Lost, a man I had contact with in our reality, a group of Blackwyrm Cultists appeared and demanded us to kneel before their dark masters. Little did they know, I only kneel before my dark masters, so we had to kill them, including “Theldurin the Mad”, their local leader. For the rest of the trip, Turalyon kept bugging me about the spells I was using, having never seen a druid in battle before. Oh yeah, did I mention Sargeras gave me that human disguise? I should’ve mentioned that earlier. I pretended to be an old human hermit called “Deckard Cain”. What, they never heard that name before.
Unfortunately, the dwarves have erected another gate in the pass just north of Uldaman, barring all entry to their territory from the south. This time, however, we got to talk to the dwarves manning it and with some mental gymnastics, we were able to convince them to let us through. I still don’t know how we were able to do that. Nevertheless, when we go to Thelsamar we went through another control. We had to some basic illusions to conceal my Outland herbs, but we were finally allowed through. We continued on fairly peacefully through Loch Modan and to Dun Algaz, finally leaving to the Wetlands. At this point I thought of running off to Menethil Harbor, but I realized that even if it exists in this timeline under another name, they likely won’t have ships sailing to Kalimdor.
When we were almost through the Wetlands, we got attacked by another group of Blackwyrm Cultists, this time led by a giant gnome who I did not recognize at first. Deformed by some magical experiments, he looked like some unfortunate, inbred half-dragon. Only when he opened his mouth, I knew who we were facing – “mighty Millhouse Manastorm” who was trying to light up “our sweetcheeks”. Unfortunately, at this size, his pyroblasts were the size of a small meteor so we could not afford to wait or even kill him. We ran as fast as we can, as he continued to devastate the local flora. We quickly made it through Thandol Span, which he was far too large to cross.
As Abbot Turalyon prepared to sleep, I decided to try another way of getting off the Eastern Kingdoms. I remembered there are pirates in Faldir’s Cove and as soon as Turalyon was soundly asleep, I ran away. To my surprise, there is no “Faldir’s Cove” in this timeline. There are just Stromgarde Docks, which I didn’t even know the city had. In the morning, Turalyon started looking for me and told the Stromgarde guards that I’m a senile old hermit who may have wandered off into the wilderness. They found me near the city and I agreed to rejoin Turalyon, knowing I have to keep playing along for at least some more time.
Rest of the way through Arathi Highlands and Hillsbrad Foothills was pretty uneventful, at least until we realized where we found ourselves. Through my spyglass, I noticed an army coming from the north, from Tarren Mill, under Stromgarde banners, headed by Danath Trollbane. From the south, from Southshore, was coming a Lordaeronian army led by Uther, a simple knight in this timeline. Realizing we found ourselves right on the frontlines, we quickly hid in a nearby cave. You know the cave under one of the Fingers of Hillsbrad that is full of yetis? That’s where we hid. There were no yetis inside, and I cannot explain why. From our safe hideout, we observed the battle and although Uther was still quite a formidable commander and fighter even as a knight, his army was still defeated. As we would later learn, Uther was captured during the battle and transferred to Alterac’s dungeons as a valuable hostage.
With the battle out of our way, we continued across Hillsbrad Foothills, around the Fingers, and finally came across the Dalaran Plains. Some of the local farms were burned, and the farmers explained to us it was done by a Lordaeronian commander, Garithos. Without much trouble, we finally got to Dalaran. Abbot Turalyon found us a nice accommodation with a view on the Cross Isle (it still exists in this timeline) while I looked for the Violet Citadel to check the situation in the city. You would be surprised how odd this Dalaran felt. I’ve never been to old Dalaran before, and the structure of the city was completely different than its current one. That was, unfortunately, the most pleasant of the surprises there.
When the Supreme Magus was supposed to do his proclamation to the people of Dalaran, I expected Jaina, who Turalyon informed me to be the leader, but instead I saw Kel’thuzad. As it turned out, Jaina fell ill with a mysterious disease and remains in a coma. While she was gone, Kel’thuzad took her duties as an Acting Supreme Magus. This really complicated things if I wanted to get out of helping the Scourge, and it seemed at the time I would no longer get out of that.
Next on Arakkoa Chronicles: Damaging the Timeline
Kingdoms of Azeroth
Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Enter the Nexus
When I realized I was in an alternate timeline, I needed some way to find out what exactly is going on. I shifted to flight form and flew around the town, looking for clues. Then I noticed a big statue of Medivh in the graveyard and to my surprise, Medivh has died two years prior in “mysterious circumstances”, and the plaque was dedicated by his apprentice – in this timeline, Prince Anduin Wrynn. Close by was the grave of King Llane Wrynn who died several years ago in a hunting accident. Medivh’s death was a surprising turn of events, but it could mean two things – someone realized his plans and got him killed, or he orchestrated for himself another host, perhaps his child or apprentice.
I needed to actually ask some people for direct information, but I knew that with no information about Draenor, my natural form would cause too much consternation. So I shifted into moonkin form and attempted to talk to the city guards. Unfortunately, they immediately started yelling at me for being a “monster on the loose”, which meant there must be no druids in here either. So I flew off and started looking for something that could help me get around. In the end, I decided to look for a human disguise in the Royal Library in the Stormwind Keep. Unfortunately, Prince Anduin was staying up late in there. And as it turned out, he wasn’t quite himself.
Anduin immediately recognized me as a Draenor native, which he shouldn’t have, given this world’s history. Then, he immediately asked if Kil’jaeden sent me. To save my hide, I complied and listened what he wanted to say. Everything immediately became clear when he started talking about his experiences from Medivh’s point of view. This wasn’t just Anduin, former apprentice of Medivh. Inside was Sargeras, the Dark Titan, who jumped host at the time of his death. Despite being allegedly so colossally intelligent, he just assumed Kil’jaeden sent me and didn’t question me much. But then again, the fact of being a Draenor native on Azeroth with no Dark Portal might have been odd enough.
Turns out that while Medivh was still in contact with Gul’dan, a version of Garrosh Hellscream from the future appeared on Draenor and manipulated rise of the Horde. Through his actions, the orcs never drank the blood of Mannoroth and formed the “Iron Horde”, which very quickly failed to either exterminate the draenei, the arakkoa or do much of importance at all. Somewhere around this time, Gul’dan was slain and Medivh lost contact with Draenor, realizing his Dark Portal plan was done for. He started scheming for a new plan, but a chance to strike didn’t come for years.
Meanwhile, a scion of a long-lost Alteraci noble family appeared in Alterac, named Daval Prestor. Yes, that’s Deathwing – but none of the humans in that timeline apparently realize his true identity. Daval Prestor managed to put himself in an influential position on the court of Alterac and got the heir of Alterac, Aliden Perenolde, betrothed to his daughter, Katrana Prestor (Onyxia). No, I do not know where’s Nefarian. In his time in Alterac, Daval Prestor took tutelage of Renault Mograine, here the young son of a knight from Stratholme, Alexandros Mograine. Prestor’s influence over the young Mograine was strong, and coupled with Mograine’s apparently naturally villainous behavior, lead to drama.
When Renault Mograine came of age, Alexandros died by the hands of “an unknown assassin” who killed him with his own sword. Renault immediately started brandishing some ancient claim his family had. Apparently, the Mograines are descended matrilinearly from the ancient Arathi kings of Stratholme, a kingdom now defunct after it was incorporated into Lordaeron. When Terenas Menethil died of natural causes about six years ago and Arthas was about to be crowned, Renault started demanding he be crowned too, as a King of Stratholme. Arthas obviously denied and Renault rose up in rebellion in response.
Through Prestor’s machinations, almost all of the nobles in eastern Lordaeron supported Mograine’s claim. In addition, Alterac, now ruled by King Aliden Perenolde and his wife, Queen Katrana Prestor, supported his claim as well and mustered their armies. Soon, he manipulated Jaina Proudmoore, Supreme Magus of the Kirin Tor, and Galen Trollbane, King of Stromgarde to stand in his support. Fearing for his safety, newly crowned King Arthas rallied King Genn Greymane of Gilneas, Daelin Proudmoore of Kul Tiras and King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind to his defense. Thus, the War of Stratholme, also known as the Great War, began.
For the first time since centuries, the human kingdoms were at war with one another and for the first time in recorded history it was a conflict of that scale, involving all the kingdoms to some degree. While Ironforge (which has conquered the Dark Irons and allied with Wildhammers) and Quel’Thalas remain officially out of the conflict, they unofficially send resources and volunteers to Lordaeron and Stratholme, respectively. By now, the war has been going on for over six years, devastating all the kingdoms and devouring some of the greatest heroes. Genn Greymane died on the field of battle, and Liam Greymane is now King of Gilneas. Alonsus Faol was killed in the siege of his Monastery in Lordaeron. Anasterian Sunstrider was poisoned by an unknown assassin.
If that wasn’t enough, Sargeras revealed to me his further plans. When he was still Medivh, he began developing a highly contagious plague with the help of no other than Archmage Kel’thuzad of the Six. That plague is meant to turn its victims into undead minions that would do Sargeras’s bidding and destroy both sides of the war. However, when the plague was still in its infancy, Medivh’s body could no longer hold the power of Sargeras and he had to evacuate. Medivh died in the dark ritual that transferred the spirit and power of the Dark Titan to the body of Prince Anduin. Now isolated on the wrong side of the conflict, he needed me to go to Dalaran and help Kel’thuzad in devising this world’s version of the Scourge.
I may be evil, but I had no desire to help with this kind of devastation. However, I had to play along and go on this mission, lest Sargeras realized something’s amiss and killed me on the spot. Using his influence as the crown prince of Stormwind, he got me the companionship of Turalyon, Abbot of Northshire, conveniently providing exposition whenever needed. This man is nothing like the Turalyon we know. Without finding the purpose in life in fighting the Horde, he became a fat and careless priest. We embarked on the long road to Dalaran, with me thinking only about a way to escape to someone who could bring me back home.
Next on Arakkoa Chronicles: Doing Sargeras’s Bidding