Is sandboxing the way to raid the WoW MMO for the RPG?

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Is sandboxing the way to raid the WoW MMO for the RPG?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:13 pm

Over in the Spelljammer forum, I created this thread: [Planetology] Bat in the Attic "Sandbox" tutorials.

I won't go too much into Robert S Conley's Sandboxing methods (you can read my other post and his tutorials for more on that), but I've just come to wonder if the part of the system where he gets you to plonk down things in hexes is the best way to "import" MMORP content (i.e. World of Warcraft) into a tabletop (i.e. Warcraft RPG) game.

I know that Night Druid has had issues with the map (and to be honest, I agree with those issues) but it seems to me that a process of picking up MMORPG elements could rapidly flesh out the RPG world. Cities, towns, NPCs, monsters and even quests are given exact positions in the MMORPG and (although I know the respawning seems annoying to some people) I can imagine that it would be possible to port over the entire World of Warcraft "plot" and then allow the players to move around and do stuff.

I figure that (initially) that would have a very similar feel to the online version of the game, but as soon as the players realised that they could clear out a lair (and not have it get repopulated 10 minutes later) they would get a sort of feeling of empowerment that could make them realise that they could change the world. Of course, I think it would be the GMs job to "push back" and simulate the fact that the NPCs would also be trying to move things in their own direction, but I don't think that a GM would (necessarily) need to cancel every change that the PCs made.

I can see a lot of this coming down to the actual content of an "area"*. If you have an open wilderness and WoW gives us a dinosaur that walks up and down in an area, then a tabletop GM can extrapolate from that and put more dinosaurs in nearby open areas. If you are close to the sea or a river and WoW gives you murlocs, then a GM can spread the murlocs along the rivers. But the dinosaurs would not get up cliffs, just as the murlocs would not go inland. I think it would take time, but you could count the number of critters in an area, and then try to use that ratio to extrapolate encounter tables (or that sort of thing).

* = I don't know if I would be going for hexes, or what, but I figure that all mobile encounters would be restricted to some sort of territory and that fixed encounters would be at specific points within a specific area.

I would say that if you look at territory in that way, you could lock down some "if you walk into this area, you will encounter a dinosaur" encounters, as well as having some areas, where the dinosaur might not be there all the time. The same applies for murlocs and all other critters.

Random encounter tables might be able to get things to work in the more open wilderness, but perhaps it might be fun to have more MMORP-like creatures hovering around the properly mapped out locations. I think that if I can find a way to suck this sort of information out of Throttbot (or some other MMORP tool) I might try to see if it could be made to work as a GMs tool.

Or course, this sort of logic might not work so well if the PCs decide to hang around and sneak into a village at night. I'm not sure if the MMORP deals with sleep patterns (of monsters or creatures), but I do think that sandboxing could be a fast way to thrash out a campaign.

And if I can use this existing R&D to "win back the cash I paid Blizzard to play World of Warcraft" that could only be a good thing! :twisted:

EDIT: "[Warcraft]" tag removed.
Last edited by Big Mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to milk WoW for the RPG?

Post by Bonetti » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:30 pm

FWIW, the vast majority of the material in the original WoW launch was drawn from the Warcraft RPG (back in the day) -- including towns, leaders, tribes, zones, etc.

However, most of the story/quest information is built anew for the game, as is a lot of the information on Outland (formerly Draenor) and Northrend. Based on the old RPG books, everything in the world is scaled down by (probably) a factor of 10 or so -- maybe more, geographically.

I had toyed with doing this at one time -- running the game's stories as a campaign. Then again, none of my players played the game, so they wouldn't have had the disconnect.

I think it would be a lot of fun to build an adventure path around the game's contents -- using the useful bits, discarding the rest, and stealing NPCs left and right. In 4e terms, Heroic Tier would be a base Azeroth story (probably culminating in foiling the Iron Dwarf plans in Blackrock Mountain, or maybe the Scourge plans in the Plaguelands, i.e. one of the Level 60 endgame stories), Paragon Tier would be the opening of the Dark Portal, resolving some Outland material/Burning Legion material, and finishing in Northrend (Icecrown Citadel and Arthas). Then mine the forthcoming expansion's ideas for Epic Tier, defeating Deathwing at 25 or so, and building a post-Deathwing story culminating in beating Sargeras.

I think that would tie a lot of the (non-Elder God) material into a single story with an appropriate feel within the new game.
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to raid the WoW MMO for the RPG?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:39 am

Bonetti wrote:FWIW, the vast majority of the material in the original WoW launch was drawn from the Warcraft RPG (back in the day) -- including towns, leaders, tribes, zones, etc.

However, most of the story/quest information is built anew for the game, as is a lot of the information on Outland (formerly Draenor) and Northrend. Based on the old RPG books, everything in the world is scaled down by (probably) a factor of 10 or so -- maybe more, geographically.
Hmm. I have never heard this before. That is very intersting.

If the 10-1 ratio is something that can be confirmed via maps, then that would imply that converting WoW to RPG could often be done by multiplying things by 10.
Bonetti wrote:I had toyed with doing this at one time -- running the game's stories as a campaign. Then again, none of my players played the game, so they wouldn't have had the disconnect.

I think it would be a lot of fun to build an adventure path around the game's contents -- using the useful bits, discarding the rest, and stealing NPCs left and right. In 4e terms, Heroic Tier would be a base Azeroth story (probably culminating in foiling the Iron Dwarf plans in Blackrock Mountain, or maybe the Scourge plans in the Plaguelands, i.e. one of the Level 60 endgame stories), Paragon Tier would be the opening of the Dark Portal, resolving some Outland material/Burning Legion material, and finishing in Northrend (Icecrown Citadel and Arthas). Then mine the forthcoming expansion's ideas for Epic Tier, defeating Deathwing at 25 or so, and building a post-Deathwing story culminating in beating Sargeras.

I think that would tie a lot of the (non-Elder God) material into a single story with an appropriate feel within the new game.
Hmm. Well, there are definately easy, medium and hard levels to WoW and it would make sense to write adventures that follow these character levels.

EDIT: "[Warcraft]" tag removed.
Last edited by Big Mac on Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to milk WoW for the RPG?

Post by Bonetti » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:52 am

Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:FWIW, the vast majority of the material in the original WoW launch was drawn from the Warcraft RPG (back in the day) -- including towns, leaders, tribes, zones, etc.

However, most of the story/quest information is built anew for the game, as is a lot of the information on Outland (formerly Draenor) and Northrend. Based on the old RPG books, everything in the world is scaled down by (probably) a factor of 10 or so -- maybe more, geographically.
Hmm. I have never heard this before. That is very intersting.

If the 10-1 ratio is something that can be confirmed via maps, then that would imply that converting WoW to RPG could often be done by multiplying things by 10.
I can't remember if I mentioned it before or not, but a good friend of mine was on the WoW team until relatively recently. I've heard some stuff about the development process (no, nothing juicy), but he was the one who shared the information about their original means of tracking lore. These days, with the team being so much bigger, they have a library and plenty of internal tools to track all the details.

The 10:1, however, is more or less my own invention. That's based on my recollection of trying to find a comfortable scale, and it may be understated. It's probably closer to 25:1 for size of zones, or larger. I should dig out my books and see if they have a scale on the maps...

(I think I mentioned that at one point I was going to run a game set in Azeroth. I looked into some of this back then, but at this point I'm relying on my own faulty memory :-) )

I think it's about 1,000:1 NPC in the book vs. NPC in the game. For instance, Ratchet has (at a guess) about 20 NPCs in-game, and (I think) has an expected population of 20,000 in the books. In that sense, I think the game is better served by treating the contents as symbolic, not simulated.

1,000:1 is a bit much for the geography :-) I think I'd say Crossroads to Ratchet was either a 1 or 2 day journey, and use that as the measurement for world size.
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to milk WoW for the RPG?

Post by night_druid » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:01 pm

Stranglethorn is 1 mile (scale) from end to end; that's what I use as my measuring stick (since its a confirmed size from what I can tell). The total area is about 1/2 a mile, since its roughly triangle shaped. At 10:1, that makes Stranglethorn a bit bigger than Manhattan Island. At 100:1, its something close to Bulgaria in size. At 1000:1, it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Peru.

The lore seems to suggest something on par with the 100:1 scale, which would make the kingdoms range from small to medium sized when compared to Europe. At the 1000:1 scale, the kingdoms would be pretty huge, especially Lorderon, but would match with some of the lore regarding the jungle trolls (who had great empires).
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to milk WoW for the RPG?

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:47 pm

Bear in mind that if population is scaled on a 1000:1 scale, areas would be on a 33:1 scale (square root of 1000), since people generally occupy an area, not a length.
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Re: Is sandboxing the way to raid the WoW MMO for the RPG?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:03 pm

Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:FWIW, the vast majority of the material in the original WoW launch was drawn from the Warcraft RPG (back in the day) -- including towns, leaders, tribes, zones, etc.

However, most of the story/quest information is built anew for the game, as is a lot of the information on Outland (formerly Draenor) and Northrend. Based on the old RPG books, everything in the world is scaled down by (probably) a factor of 10 or so -- maybe more, geographically.
Hmm. I have never heard this before. That is very intersting.

If the 10-1 ratio is something that can be confirmed via maps, then that would imply that converting WoW to RPG could often be done by multiplying things by 10.
I can't remember if I mentioned it before or not, but a good friend of mine was on the WoW team until relatively recently. I've heard some stuff about the development process (no, nothing juicy), but he was the one who shared the information about their original means of tracking lore. These days, with the team being so much bigger, they have a library and plenty of internal tools to track all the details.
You might have mentioned your friend before. That statement sounded familiar.

Either way, if your friend likes D&D, please feel free to invite them. We can use extra people in our WoW RPG forums.
Bonetti wrote:The 10:1, however, is more or less my own invention. That's based on my recollection of trying to find a comfortable scale, and it may be understated. It's probably closer to 25:1 for size of zones, or larger. I should dig out my books and see if they have a scale on the maps...

(I think I mentioned that at one point I was going to run a game set in Azeroth. I looked into some of this back then, but at this point I'm relying on my own faulty memory :-) )

I think it's about 1,000:1 NPC in the book vs. NPC in the game. For instance, Ratchet has (at a guess) about 20 NPCs in-game, and (I think) has an expected population of 20,000 in the books. In that sense, I think the game is better served by treating the contents as symbolic, not simulated.

1,000:1 is a bit much for the geography :-) I think I'd say Crossroads to Ratchet was either a 1 or 2 day journey, and use that as the measurement for world size.
Well we can either all guess (which is fine if other people know we are guessing) or we can work out the details methodically (which is also fine, but could take longer).

If there is actually canon stuff in the WoW RPG books, then I would suggest sticking with that. But I was thinking that missing stuff could be extrapolated from the WoW MMORPG if the ratios between the two game could be estimated. It sounds like places like Ratchet could be used as yardsticks for Rachet-like locations on the MMORPG that are not documented in the RPG.
night_druid wrote:Stranglethorn is 1 mile (scale) from end to end; that's what I use as my measuring stick (since its a confirmed size from what I can tell). The total area is about 1/2 a mile, since its roughly triangle shaped. At 10:1, that makes Stranglethorn a bit bigger than Manhattan Island. At 100:1, its something close to Bulgaria in size. At 1000:1, it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of Peru.

The lore seems to suggest something on par with the 100:1 scale, which would make the kingdoms range from small to medium sized when compared to Europe. At the 1000:1 scale, the kingdoms would be pretty huge, especially Lorderon, but would match with some of the lore regarding the jungle trolls (who had great empires).
I suppose it is possible that the ratios might not always be exactly the same. It makes sense to scale up a city on a 100:1 ratio, but possibly not a lone farmhouse. Actually adding 99 other random farmhouses might make the area work better.
Ashtagon wrote:Bear in mind that if population is scaled on a 1000:1 scale, areas would be on a 33:1 scale (square root of 1000), since people generally occupy an area, not a length.
You are totally right. I was generalising, when I should have been more specific. :oops:

Other ratios might also apply. Critters like murlocs would be able to hunt in a volume of water. I'm not sure if that would have an impact on their food.

And if you expand cities, fortifications like castles might be built taller, as well as wider. That might alter the total number of defenders that can fit inside them.

EDIT: "[Warcraft]" tag removed.
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