Tag Archives: Vol’jin

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: 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: the Soulflayer

Timeline: Azeroth-47
Character: Vol’jin, Avatar of Hakkar

The view from the top of the pyramid was breathtaking. Quite literally, in fact, as countless lives have been taken and countless souls have been sacrificed to the Blood God. Vol’jin sat comfortably on the richly adorned throne at the very top, as the priests brought yet another human sacrifice before his altar. The human stopped wrestling with his captors long ago, because he knew there was no point to it. He had just one thought – in one, final act of defiance he would look the troll chieftain in the eye and spit him in the face. But when the human raised his head and looked into the eyes of Vol’jin he saw something he could not comprehend. Madness. Ancient hysteria. A thirst for blood that could rival only the Old Gods. The eyes of the troll chieftain were no longer his own – now there was only Hakkar.

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Constants and Variables

VerroakWe 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?
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The Road Home

Previously on Arakkoa Chronicles: Damaging the Timeline

Swimming out of Southshore, I was finally on my way home. I regret that I could not learn the fate of Anduin, Sargeras or Uther’s and Turalyon’s mission, or how Daval Prestor’s machinations end up, but getting back home was my first and foremost objective. I have done enough damage as it was, and probably irrevocably changed the balance of power. I know you all are probably going to say I changed that world for the better, but I don’t care about these things. This isn’t my world, nor is it my timeline. I have no business in influencing the events, especially not to that degree. I simply had no other option – if I had to change this world, I would change it for the better.

Most of the way through the Great Sea wasn’t particularly eventful. We did however notice a chain of small island close to the Maelstrom. The goblin captain was thinking of stopping by these islands for a short time to rest, but I noticed through my spyglass something very interesting. On the islands, there was a couple of destroyed troll buildings, and what I think was graves, and then more bones strewn about. Also, a lot of murlocs everywhere on the islands. Islands near the Maelstrom, dead trolls, murlocs, I connected the dots – these are the Darkspear Islands and Vol’jin and his entire tribe appear to be dead. I instantly recommended to leave the vicinity, lying to the captain that I saw a sea witch. Not risking meeting one of those, the captain ordered to sail away.

As we were closer to Kalimdor, we noticed two doomguards in the sky desperately trying to catch up with the ship. Doomguards should be a pretty rare sight on this Azeroth, and everyone was surprised but I knew that Sargeras must have learned of my betrayal and sent his demonic servants to kill me. After some time, the doomguards finally landed on the ship and started killing goblins, but with the help of the ship’s captain, we managed to slay the demons and dump their bodies overboard. I hoped there would be no more surprises of this sort.

We reached Kalimdor safely the next day, in what we know as Dustwallow Marsh. I recognized the Theramore Isle nearby, but it did not bear that name in this timeline, and was full of murlocs. Is that what Jaina had to go through when she founded the city, murlocs? I do not envy her. Nevertheless, I continued on my way south towards Tanaris and was quickly reminded that black dragons are still a thing in that universe. I saw plenty of them soaring overhead in the Marsh, probably patrolling the area of Onyxia’s Lair. With her being a wife of Aliden Perenolde, who knows what’s going on in there. Hopefully not some ugly half-dragon babies. I don’t know if it was an entirely good idea, but I switched to moonkin form to pretend to be a night elf druid. Luckily, no dragon decided to take me for a snack.

When I left the Marsh and passed into what we know as Splithoof Heights, I found to my surprise a large Demon Hunter training facility, manned by night elves and tauren. I took this as a chance to find out the history of Kalimdor in this timeline and sought out their leader, Altruis the Sufferer. As it turns out, Kalimdor remained in peace for a few more years, until C’Thun broke out and his Qiraji and Silithids began to rampage throughout the continent. The night elves had a very tough fight on their hands and tauren were decimated by their fight with centaurs – Altruis never even heard the names Cairne or Baine, the tauren High Chieftain being Bovan Windtotem.

As Altruis related, Tyrande broke Illidan out of his prison. This time, he greatly helped the war and led many young demon hunters, some of them tauren, to victories against the Qiraji. However, their numbers were nearly endless and he had to look for a way to get rid of their god. Illidan then sought out the Oracle of Stonetalon and learned from her that the Scepter of the Shifting Sands contained a piece of C’Thun’s soul and as such, it could be used to slay him. Then Illidan embarked on a long quest to obtain the Scepter, and finally sneaked his way into the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, defeated some of C’Thun’s top lieutenants, including General Rajaxx and the Twin Emperors, and proceeded to stab C’Thun in the eye with the Scepter. The resulting explosion killed them both and collapsed the temple. Without the leadership of their god, the Silithid armies quickly crumbled and the Kaldorei won the war.

Illidan is here lauded as a hero, and Demon Hunters are openly trained in many facilities across Kalimdor, including this one. Having satisfied my curiosity, I proceeded down, to the Thousand Needles, walking through its dry surface. You know what, I think they’re much nicer looking this way. All the water makes them look so mundane. Anyway, soon I had to walk through the Shimmering Flats, lacking a raceway here, and had the chance to complain about the dryness. I swear, all this salt was probably sucking water straight out of me. If that wasn’t enough, the next place on my journey was Tanaris.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long to reach Gadgetzan where I resupplied myself with water. It seems that one city is the same hive of scum and villainy in every timeline. The only difference I noticed was that Noggenfogger wasn’t the Baron, here still eking out a living as a small trader. Oh yeah, and there was no Thunderdrome. Probably not enough demand for gladiatorial fights without the Alliance and Horde going around. I continued through the desert and before long, I had Caverns of Time in my sight.

My true form immediately got the dragons’ attention and I was allowed an audience with Anachronos. Then they told me to wait for him for hours. You would think that if anything, time would be something the bronze dragons would have plenty of. Nevertheless, after the few hours have passed, Anachronos talked to me and after my explanations, agreed that it is for the best that I leave this timeline immediately. The bronze dragons then dug up a large ring-like device with many glyphs on its sides. When they activated it, images of multiple other realities started passing through and I was told to identify my native timeline. Here I saw a couple of interesting realities, but all in only brief flashes, until I finally saw a reality where Garrosh Hellscream was in chains, Vol’jin was the Warchief and Prince Anduin looked just like “mine”. After they locked on, I went through.

Unfortunately, I found myself in the very scene presented in the image, that is, inside Hellscream’s cell in Pandaria. Knowing that neither he nor the Shado-Pan would be very happy if they found me there, I had to pull some strings and got Wrathion to help me out a little. He sent a Blacktalon to get me out of there and told me there’s no price attached, but I’m afraid I’ll come to regret this. I went on to sleep at the Lorewalker Seat of Knowledge that day, knowing that I am finally safely back home.

After inspecting Lorewalker Cho’s projector and him rejecting my sale offer, I continued to the Shrine and went through the portal to Stormwind. Unfortunately, after I reached Maginor Dumas’s tower, I found that SI:7 has confiscated my rift while I was gone. I know that I was gone to another reality for a couple of weeks, but that’s no reason to steal a man’s work! I obviously investigated and Mathias Shaw himself told me that my rift was taken by an individual known as “Arcturus Mencius”. I probably owe you a bit of backstory on that. A week or so before this whole thing started, a guy called Arcturus Mengsk arrived from the Nexus via my rift. He immediately left and I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but it seems he installed himself as a human noble in Stormwind. And now stole my rift, along with all my equipment.

I couldn’t let it stand, but I couldn’t do it on my own either. So I conscripted another dubious ‘ally’ and contacted Sicco Thermaplugg for some help. His servant opened a portal for me and through came a couple of leper gnome warriors and a Crowd Pummeler. With their help, I was able to get through the defenses “Mencius” has set up in his manor and finally reached him. Can you imagine, he tried to bribe me in the very end. So I just shoved through the rift back to the Nexus. Let’s hope he enjoys fighting for the Arbiters. After getting my equipment away from the leper gnomes and sending Sicco a frequency to let him make another such rift of his own, everything was finally back in its proper place.

Except the whole thing where I was living in Stormwind and trying to figure out the whole temporal anomaly in Draenor. Could it be related to the thing I heard about Hellscream arriving from the future and changing Draenor’s past? Could the alternate Azeroth I was in be the result of the events that were about to happen here, including Garrosh’s escape? Perhaps. But perhaps it was yet another Garrosh that made all that mess. I’m certainly not going to damage another timeline by getting in the way of established events.