Tag Archives: Varian Wrynn

Infinite Azeroths 2: Home

The outskirts of Stormwind were filled with rickety, provisional homes, draped in multi-colored cloths and filled with ringing and clanking bells and windchimes. Despite what someone from Azeroth Prime would say, it was not a goblin camp. It was a shanty-town built by the vishkanyas when they arrived on Azeroth in this timeline. Azeroth-7, or as some know it, the Illidari timeline. Maiev failed to stop Illidan from cracking Northrend apart. The Lich King died, and the Scourge was wiped out. While some would feel that was a positive change, no one expected what followed. Not only the tidal waves from the melting glaciers destroyed numerous cities and broke ancient dams, Illidan went on to become an unchallenged Lord of Outland. And with this power, he took fight to the Legion and fought them across the stars. Numerous innocent worlds found themselves in the crossfire, including the vishkanya world. A small percentage of their people successfully escaped to Azeroth through one of Illidan’s portals.

Now, they live here, in the outskirts of Azerothian civilization. Cast out, abandoned, unwanted. Although King Varian accepted them and let them stay, most of the humans feel they have enough problems with orcs and draenei “squatting” on Azeroth, some feel the vishkanya are the final nail in the coffin of humanity’s power.

Agam was careful to cover her face when she was crossing the streets of Stormwind. For about ten years she lived in this city and knew what the people on both sides were capable of. Does the perception filter even work when she’s in her own timeline? It does, after all, filter out only the extraordinary and on Azeroth-7 her eyes are not something completely out of place. No, they are just something that could get you in trouble. Luckily, Llore was at her side, showing his face without a care in the world, drawing attention away from her hooded face. Together, they walked right out of the Dwarven District and continued down the path to the outskirts.

Once there, she could finally take off the hood and look at all the lights and bells, and take in the smells of the familiar cuisine. She could finally once again hear the familiar noise of her native language, even if it was the crooked merchants hawking their wares and old women yelling at disobedient brats. For all its issues, this was home.

“Agam,” she heard from behind. She quickly turned around and saw what appeared to be a large, muscular human with a bronzed skin… but with eyes just as serpentine as hers. Llore looked up at the man who was showing a rather forbidding visage.

“Is he trouble?” Llore asked her.

“No,” Agam responded, smiling. Suddenly, the mustachioed man smiled back. “He’s my brother.”

Meanwhile, a human guard was leaning on the walls of one of the houses and looking at the two vishkanyas, and then frowning at the sight of Llore – a human, unusual in this district. He snarled and looked back to another guard, sitting nearby and sipping wine someone left over at his porch.

“You seen him?” The first guard asked.

“Whom?” The second answered, for a moment getting the bottle out of his face.

“That one,” The first guard continued, pointing at Llore. “Looks like we got ourselves a snake-fucker.”

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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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Infinite Azeroths: Blackmoore

Timeline: Azeroth-14
Character: Kel’thuzad, Court Sorcerer of Lordaeron

“I proclaim you guilty!” a verdict sounded across the throne chambers of Lordaeron. “I hereby sentence you to death,” King Blackmoore proclaimed with a hit of his royal scepter against the glided arm of the throne. The peasant threw himself on the floor, begging for mercy on his knees.

“Please, my king, forgive me,” he begged, “I just wanted to feed my family!” Aedelas Blackmoore was never well respected in the kingdom. He was always considered a ruthless ruler who claimed to be just but was anything but it.

“Enough!” Blackmoore shouted, and silenced the whispering crowd with a wave of his arm. “I proclaimed the sentence. There are no more appellations. You will be hanged at dawn.”

Although the peasant protested, he was carried away by the guardsmen. Many in the crowd murmured about the unjustice of this sentence, but I didn’t care. Justice is a term mortal men made up to make themselves feel better. The only thing that really matters in this cruel world is power. And Aedelas Blackmoore had power. By serving him, I would share in this power. But an even greater power evaded him…

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Infinite Azeroths: Shattered

Timeline: Azeroth-2
Character: Yara the Half-Troll, former lover and personal assassin of Sargeras-possessed Anduin

Yara the Half-TrollThe Black Morass. It’s quite an apt name. It’s dark and gloomy and although it may not literally black it makes you feel black. You know what I mean. The atmosphere, the smell… it makes you think of death. It is rather fitting to my current state of mind. I know what you gonna say, I should seek out happiness right now but… just… not now. You have no idea how I feel. You can’t have any idea how I feel, sista. You did not go through what I did. You did not find out… things about people you loved, things that made you regret you ever loved them. Things that made you regret you did what you did for them. Things that made you regret that you were even alive. Things that make you think that perhaps if you were never born, things would have been different. Better for everyone involved. Before you think I just feeling depressed, listen carefully. Yes, I am depressed. But I have good reasons.

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Alternate Azeroth 2: the Alternate Boogaloo

VerroakNo rest for the wicked, as they say. The moment I returned from the alternate Draenor, I was greeted by Krasus. Yes, Krasus, also known as Korialstrasz, the Consort of the Dragon Queen, also known as “dead”. But it wasn’t our Krasus, as you might expect. It was the one I met on the alternate Azeroth the Arbiters of the Nexus sent me to some time ago. After dumping all of my duties on Menrim’s head again, I consulted Krasus to hear what is it that led him here (and how he even got here, considering the trouble I had to go to). Turns out there’s trouble brewing in the alternate Azeroth. Or at least, an even greater trouble than I left it in. Who knew that just killing the big bad guy rarely solves the problems that created him in the first place?

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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