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.
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!
I hate Winter Veil. It’s the ultimate exercise in deceit. Everyone pretends to be happy and nice to everyone else because they’re expected to show this “holiday cheer”. People usually pretend all year long, but never does this giant lie reach such giant levels as during Winter Veil. And don’t get me started on all those tacky decorations. Trees cut down en masse and placed in houses only to be decorated by these awful lights and glass bulbs. Seriously, who came up with this stuff? I can’t stand looking at those Winter Veil trees at all. And then come the presents. Because everyone pretends to be nice, they have to spend more gold than they have on presents for their loosely defined friends and family. And don’t try to forget about someone who thought was your friend, or imagine buying the wrong present for someone. Suddenly all that deceit of holiday cheer is dispelled. Humbug!
A long time ago, in a distant and strange universe, a race of intelligent beings arose from their earth. These beings were remarkably human, both in appearance and in intelligence. Many among them argued who gave them life and intelligence, but a small group argued all life in their universe originated from the Nexus – a shining beacon of magical light that could do anything one could imagine. In time, that small group found that light and discovered their myths of the Nexus were true. This light transformed them and let them ascend to another level of existence. From there, they looked over their world and saw it as imperfect. They imposed their will on their world and became known as the Arbiters – the source of power and knowledge to all in the world that became known as the Nexus.
But their new found powers let them see past their world and see many, many worlds not only in their universe but others as well. Azeroth, Draenor, Tarsonis, Char, Earth, Tuul, Sanctuary… All they saw in those worlds was imperfection that they needed to correct, which they believed could only be done with their guidance. But they knew they could not take over these worlds with the few followers they had now. They needed commanders, generals, heroes of the coming storm. They opened rifts in time and space through which they pulled the great heroes of these worlds towards them and brainwashed them to fight in great games in which they honed their skills until they could truly become…
Heroes of the Storm
We found ourselves in a version of Stormwind far more diverse than we would guess. Cities were full of races delegated to be monsters normally. Furbolgs, arakkoa, mogu, even races that are part of the Horde were walking freely in a human city. Walking across the Gilnean District that took place of the park, we found a Worgen scholar and asked him for some details. Krasus was one of the first people I asked about, and the scholar was certain Krasus was an elven archmage of Dalaran who disappeared mysteriously some time during the Cataclysm – around the time he died in our timeline – and Rhonin was still the Grand Magus. Even more surprisingly, Broxigar was still alive and well, and an advisor to Warchief Dranosh Saurfang. All this pointed to the fact here they never went back in time. That resulted in some vastly different personalities… which apparently resulted in Alliance and Horde working together?