Tag Archives: Thrall

Infinite Azeroths 2: Time and Again, part II

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.”

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Game Design Exercise: Dream of Creation, pre-expansion patch

Concept map Remember when I said concept map? It means it's not a finished artwork.

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.

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Character Profiles: Riktal Bluefingers

Riktal during her visit to Frostfire Ridge

Name: Riktal, daughter of Tagal, of the Frostwolf Clan
Race: Orc
Gender: female
Age: 21
Class: Mage (frost)
Professions: herbalism, inscription
Religion: Shamanism
Alignment (per D&D): Chaotic Neutral
Traits (per CK2): quick, ugly, shy, kind, just, diligent

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Infinite Azeroths: Dranosh

Timeline: Azeroth-18
Character: Warlord Dranosh Saurfang, Warchief Varok’s son and heir

Being the heir of a Warchief is a rather fickle business. As much as we like to pretend we abandoned our old bloodlust and that we no longer hold the villains of the Old Horde in high regard, we are still orcs. We still love battle, and at a moment’s notice, someone can jump out at Varok, I meant father, and decide it’s now their turn to lead the Horde. I do not fear for father’s life, for he is a warrior like few others, but everybody has a bad day from time to time. Or someone could poison the blade of his enemy and make the new Warchief win without honor. So as certain as I can claim to be in public, I am never completely certain if I will ever become the Warchief. Or if I want that to happen to at all.

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Infinite Azeroths: Trollbane

Timeline: Azeroth-31
Character: Galen Trollbane, Chieftain of the Arathi Clan

Galen sat in his tent, calmly eating grapes and drinking wine from golden goblets. Although the tent was full of jewelry and luxury goods, it was clear they were not bought or produced by his people. These were spoils of war, taken from cities and traders and haphazardly thrown about the tent to present them to their leader. Although there were still stains of blood on Galen’s skin and leather jerkin, he didn’t seem concerned – he was resting after a long battle and taking in everything he managed to take from his enemy. But his enemy didn’t produce most of it either – they were dangerous savages, invaders from another world who burn and pillage everything in their path. The orcs, as they call themselves, were however unlucky to ever step on the lands of the Arathi Clan – because the humans were just as savage.

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Frostfire Ridge

Riktal-WoDRecently, Krasha reactivated some kind of magical rift he once had in his basement. I am told he used this to get into some other timeline that he then couldn’t get out of. Naturally, I doubted at least a large part of the story he told us, as did everyone else. Would you believe if your absent-minded employer told you a story about how he saved an alternate timeline and personally healed Jaina Proudmoore from a poison inflicted on her by Kel’thuzad himself? It sounds like a pretty tall story… until you get to realize it’s all true. Or at least it’s mostly true, as I recently had the chance to experience this alternate timeline, albeit from a completely different angle.

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