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.
Zin-kalim, the capital of the Kaldorei Empire, over 12,000 years ago. Inside the higher levels of the glorious, marble palace a little girl paced around nervously. When she noticed a bird sitting on the window-sill, she runs up to it and scared it off. Near her, two royal guards stood guard before a large, glided door. Standing almost motionlessly, they only kept looking at the little girl. They were visibly unnerved by her constant pacing, and yet remained motionless, as was their duty. In their minds, they were just counting time for their shift to be finished. Suddenly, the little girl noticed something – a tall, handsome night elf male was slowly approaching. The guards remained motionless, but watched the new arrival carefully.
Then, the doors behind them opened. A male midwife with a bloodied apron came out, cleaning his hands on a piece of cloth. The girl momentarily stopped walking around and looked at the man. The midwife smiled.
“Congratulations, princess Aszune, you have a sister. Your mother wishes to call her Azshara.” The newly arrived male approached them all and without speaking a word, he kept just looking between them. The midwife looked at him, not recognizing the person. “Who would you be?” the midwife said, “The herald to bring the news to the people?”
The guest smirked and spoke up with an eerily echoing voice. “In a way. I am a herald… of your doom.”
Character: Moira Thaurissan, queen consort of the Dark Iron Clan, wife of Thane Dagran Thaurissan
The ram-driven cart drove quickly up the snowy slope leading up to Ironforge City. Moira, once a daughter of the local thane, hasn’t seen the city in years. In the interest of mending the fences between their clans, her father Magni gave her hand in marriage to the Thane of Dark Iron Clan, Dagran Thaurissan. Moira initially resented the idea of that marriage. Not only it was just another symptom of her father’s dubious love for her, there were always the stories people in Ironforge told about the Dark Iron Clan. That the great-mother of the clan, legendary Modgud, was some kind of cursed creature and her vile blood still remains in the veins of her descendants. That they secretely worship dark creatures and old, forbidden gods. But when Moira got to truly know her husband, she came to love him more than she ever loved her father. Magni, an overbearing man who always wanted to have a son and didn’t believe a woman could govern the clan, was a tyrant compared to Dagran Thaurissan, a warm and loving man who would jump into the pits of Firelands for her.