Call it build 126.96.36.19900
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.
Not many people get to see the Emerald Dream. Or at least, not with their waking eyes or with a capacity to truly remember it. I remember reading that a few adventurers were briefly sent into it to retrieve some items for powerful entities like Keeper Remulos but most of us, underpowered mortals can only dream of seeing it, no pun intended. So when I got the chance to take a peek at its true form I jumped at the occasion, even though I knew I was getting into a combat situation. The fabled Emerald Dream is one of the legendary places that you hear stories about. There are even various theories about its true purpose. Some say it’s a Titanic blueprint, and even that one causes certain confusion. Is it a blueprint to be used in case of reorigination, or is it just an old plan that is no longer relevant with the world’s original ordering completed?
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!
Character: Emperor Chen Stormstout
Chen woke up with a loud yawn. He stretched around a bit and then just sprawled on his bed, unwilling to get up and get to his duties. He had duties now, as much as he hated that idea. After he accepted Shaohao’s nomination to become the new Emperor of Pandaria, he almost immediately began to regret that decision. All the formalities and everything he’s expected to do every day. The entire Pandaria has gone a bit out of rhythm with imperial duties due to lacking central leadership for ten thousand years, but Taran Zhu was quick to dig up all the protocol from Yaochi’s and Shaohao’s times. One of the first decrees Chen made was adjusting some of that protocol to be more… modern. Less time spent on passing judgments on every small thief in the Empire, and more time for beer. But no matter how would he change the protocol, he would not be allowed to continue sleeping.