WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

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WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Fri May 14, 2010 8:41 pm

There are some previews from the expansion hosted at Blizzard: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm/

However, ignoring mechanics changes, there are some major story points. Most of Azeroth is going to be changed (pretty much only Northrend is untouched), and they're seriously fleshing out the quest lines, stories, and lore along the way.

Some highlights:
  • A goblin faction (Bilgewater Cartel) joins the Horde, with a full story on why.
  • One of the old human kingdoms, Gilneas, now under Arugal's curse and thus being worgen, re-emerges and rejoins the Alliance.
  • Garrosh is now the Warchief of the Horde, and just like in Wrath, he's pretty bloodthirsty. Varian Wrynn is the King of Stormwind and more or less the Alliance faction leader, and he's filled with hatred of orcs. They're a match made for the battlefield, and as a result both factions are pushing hard into the other faction's traditional territory.
  • Many of the old zones are drastically changed as Deathwing emerges and the terrain is remade. Gadgetzan is now a port city, the Barrens is split by a canyon of lava, whole areas have fallen into ruins or been lost, other new areas have emerged.
  • The Azeroth default has moved forward several years, time-wise. Old NPCs have died, new NPCs have emerged, old partially-constructed new settlements are now real settlements (or fortresses!).
  • Faction stories are more intertwined -- there's a Gilneas vs. Forsaken plotline that's playing out in both introductory zones. (Sorry, can't say more at this time.)
  • Much new lore about origins, new areas to explore, etc.
I had once mentioned that if I were running a game set in Azeroth, I'd pretty much steal the existing stories. From what I've seen of the new questlines, there's going to be an incredible amount of borrowable material if one wants to stick with the game -- and even if one doesn't, it will provide much, much deeper lore to draw on (and a much more hostile general environment to adventure in).
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Fri May 14, 2010 8:46 pm

Heh, *more* ruins? Hell, outside of the human & dwarven starting zones, *everything* is in ruin! Most of the towns in the mid-high level areas, and all of the elf/draeni/forsaken areas, are built in the ruins of older, now destroyed settlements. In the 50's-60's zones, there aren't any towns, just remote camps surrounded by ruins (ok, there's a goblin town or two). How much more effed up can the world get? :lol:
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Fri May 14, 2010 9:21 pm

night_druid wrote:How much more effed up can the world get? :lol:
Very! Deathwing's opened up primal forces, and the world's surface is dealing with earthquakes and cracks in the surface and all sorts of fun things :-)

Well, Taurajo's been razed, but there are two new Horde fortresses on the west side of what is now the Southern Barrens (the Barrens are two zones now), and Northwatch looks like it's now a full-on Alliance hub, and there's another armed encampment under construction where the quillboar used to be. (This is repeated in a lot of other places -- many new encampments added, some old ones erased/destroyed.)

It looks like the earthquakes have swallowed/shattered some old areas: Rut'theran Village looks more like an island now, and Auberdine is toast. Steamwheedle (and the waterspring fields or whatever they were called, and the ruins between Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle) are underwater now.

Sentinel Hill got a wall and some other stone fortifications, as did several other towns (Brill and Zoram'gar come to mind). There are a lot of new camps, and quite a few old camps are now towns. Marshall's Refuge is now Marshall's Point or something similar, and it's a small, walled encampment with guard towers. Light's Hope Chapel is now a small, walled town.

I probably shouldn't talk too much more about it, but a lot of this was in the screenshots MMO Champion posted before they pulled them.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Fri May 14, 2010 9:50 pm

Heh, almost all of the Horde's "settlements" are nothing more than tent camps, including the Tauren city. ;) A summer thunderstorm could "destroy" most of their towns (and they can just as easily be rebuilt &/or relocated). I don't think I saw much of anything that Horde built that looked like it could survive a good thunderstorm up until Lich King. :lol:

Heck, it sounds more like more is built than what is destroyed, since most of the "destroyed" areas were just temporary camps (sometimes inside ruins) to begin with ;)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Sat May 15, 2010 12:23 am

Well, to be fair, at the launch of the original WoW, the races stood like so:

The dwarves of Khaz Modan were headquartered out of their traditional city inside the mountain (Ironforge), and had been settled in their areas for generations.

The humans of Stormwind were in the recently rebuilt city (it was destroyed in the war 20 years before, and rebuilt -- the refusal to pay for the rebuild led to the Defias).

The night elves grew a new world tree and perched on top of it, but their other settlements were mostly places they'd been for a very long time.

Gnomes driven out of their traditional city by the failures of their own technology, and thus bunking up with dwarves.

The orcs had fled the eastern continent, led to Kalimdor by Medivh, where they started setting up their own settlements, beginning with Orgrimmar.

The trolls had fled their ancestral islands, driven forth by murlocs, and met up with and were rescued by Thrall.

The tauren had been driven from their ancestral lands by kolkar, and were escorted to Mulgore by Thrall.

The Forsaken were Scourge who had broken free of (or had been released from) the old Lich King's control when Arthas assumed Gul'dan's power, and they settled in the plague-ravaged ruins of the former kingdom of Lordaeron.

So, only the human, night elf, and dwarven major settlements even had any history.

Given that coming into the old story, the Horde was recently founded/relocated, it's not surprising that everything was ramshackle. It makes sense from a lore point of view.

That, and they apparently hadn't worked out Garrosh's spiky iron wall theme yet for the art :-)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Sat May 15, 2010 12:52 am

Bonetti wrote:Well, to be fair, at the launch of the original WoW, the races stood like so:
Heh, I know. Seems sorta silly to say "even MORE destruction" when the whole frigg'n world is covered in ruins & rubble. The only parts not in ruin are the human/dwarf areas (what, a couple towns & a few villages?), parts of the elf areas (somewhat rebuilt, but still surrounded by ruins), and the eastern horde tent-cities. All Catacylsm does is rearrange the rubble a little bit.... :lol:
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Big Mac » Sun May 23, 2010 10:48 pm

Thanks for the overview Bonetti. This change looks very much like it is a mini-Spellplague designed as an excuse to bring in cool new stuff and blow up wonky old stuff.

It is very clever, because the old MMO players need new stuff to keep them interested, but yet, if everything is different it would not feel like Azeroth.

I do hope that WoWWiki keeps up articles on any NPCs that have been killed off for Cataclysm.

This seems to be a lot more obstrusive than the Lich King changes, as it hits the low level areas. Does anyone know how it is going to kick in? Are they going to reboot the entire world overnight, roll the changes out server, by server, or keep old-school servers going until their natural conclusion and start up all new servers with the Cataclysm game.

I hope that the WoW RPG fan community can do something with Cataclysm at some point. I'd love to see a guide to adapting WoW RPG to the new era.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon May 24, 2010 5:54 am

Big Mac wrote:It is very clever, because the old MMO players need new stuff to keep them interested, but yet, if everything is different it would not feel like Azeroth.
The biggest reason to do this is because most of the 1-60 experience is really, really showing its age. The beginner areas were some of the earliest completed, so the quest technologies are way, way behind. Honestly, the dwarf/gnome and human areas aren't as fun or organized as the others, and none of them really do a good job of leading a new player around and introducing them to the game.

This is a chance to reboot the initial experience with the game and make it much, much better. (The Worgen and Goblin areas are as good as if not better than any Northrend questline, and the reboot of the beginner areas I've tried so far are very, very much worth the effort and the replay.)
Big Mac wrote:This seems to be a lot more obstrusive than the Lich King changes, as it hits the low level areas. Does anyone know how it is going to kick in? Are they going to reboot the entire world overnight, roll the changes out server, by server, or keep old-school servers going until their natural conclusion and start up all new servers with the Cataclysm game.
At a guess, reboot the entire world overnight.

However, they will roll out parts of the story along the way. Specifically, the upcoming 3.3.5 patch adds a raid instance and some story related to the return of Deathwing. (The new raid boss is effectively a herald for his return. They'd already hinted that he was still around and active in one of the questlines added to Burning Crusade -- the Netherwing Ledge quests hinted that he was rebuilding elsewhere after his earlier defeat. There was also some speculation that Deathwing was behind the Infinite Dragonflight (Caverns of Time enemy) as well, although I don't think that's supported by any real lore.)

There is also an announced and planned event to cover the retaking of Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles (Gnomes and Trolls, respectively) so that there are no shared starting areas anymore (1-5). The event is expected to go live with the last content patch before the expansion (believed to be either 3.9.0 or 3.9.9, but obviously that's just speculation at this point).

The new troll/gnome starting areas still feed into the same 6-10 zones that they always did, although the zones have been revamped. Tirisfal, for instance, looks to have about 50% old quests marginally (at most) re-tolled, and about 50% new storylines woven around the changes. In all, I'd say Tirisfal has about half again as much quest content, and the story is a lot more focused and better communicated. They've also linked it to the Worgen re-emergence from Gilneas. I haven't had time to try the others yet.

My guess is they'll do a week-long event similar to the previous two expansions, with earthquakes, some scripted events taking place, and special NPCs just for the events.

For Burning Crusade, they had an on-going battle with demons around the Dark Portal. For Wrath, they had Scourge invasions at various points in the world, and assaults on the capitals. They also had a zombie plague and a launch-specific questline to cover the story side.

Those were never live on the alpha/beta servers for those expansions, and I haven't data-mined the client for hints myself. So, that's just speculation on my part. At a guess, it'll be announced a little before it begins.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Mon May 24, 2010 4:34 pm

I just wonder if the new level 80-81 starting area will have magma boars... :lol:
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Big Mac » Wed May 26, 2010 2:48 am

I agree totally with the out of character reasons for the reboot. But from a RPG point of view, I'm trying to work out an in character reason for this all.
Bonetti wrote:At a guess, reboot the entire world overnight.

However, they will roll out parts of the story along the way. Specifically, the upcoming 3.3.5 patch adds a raid instance and some story related to the return of Deathwing. (The new raid boss is effectively a herald for his return. They'd already hinted that he was still around and active in one of the questlines added to Burning Crusade -- the Netherwing Ledge quests hinted that he was rebuilding elsewhere after his earlier defeat. There was also some speculation that Deathwing was behind the Infinite Dragonflight (Caverns of Time enemy) as well, although I don't think that's supported by any real lore.)
I hope the WoWWiki team get a good chance to wikify all of this transitional MMO stuff. These one-off events would probably be very useful for RPG games.
Bonetti wrote:There is also an announced and planned event to cover the retaking of Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles (Gnomes and Trolls, respectively) so that there are no shared starting areas anymore (1-5). The event is expected to go live with the last content patch before the expansion (believed to be either 3.9.0 or 3.9.9, but obviously that's just speculation at this point).
Retaking Gnomeregan, is definitely going to be one of the best parts of this update.
Bonetti wrote:The new troll/gnome starting areas still feed into the same 6-10 zones that they always did, although the zones have been revamped. Tirisfal, for instance, looks to have about 50% old quests marginally (at most) re-tolled, and about 50% new storylines woven around the changes. In all, I'd say Tirisfal has about half again as much quest content, and the story is a lot more focused and better communicated. They've also linked it to the Worgen re-emergence from Gilneas. I haven't had time to try the others yet.
Night Druid was talking about doing quest-style plot hooks for Spelljammer, a while back, and I think that if that was done with the WoW tabletop game, GMs could pull in a lot of the non-grinding quests. If the quests in this area have been made to link up better, I think they would create quite a few chains that convert into tabletop adventures.
Bonetti wrote:My guess is they'll do a week-long event similar to the previous two expansions, with earthquakes, some scripted events taking place, and special NPCs just for the events.
Sounds really great.
Bonetti wrote:For Burning Crusade, they had an on-going battle with demons around the Dark Portal. For Wrath, they had Scourge invasions at various points in the world, and assaults on the capitals. They also had a zombie plague and a launch-specific questline to cover the story side.
I hope the WoWWiki people grabbed all of this. It would be a shame if this content was all throw-away stuff, that got abandoned.
Bonetti wrote:Those were never live on the alpha/beta servers for those expansions, and I haven't data-mined the client for hints myself. So, that's just speculation on my part. At a guess, it'll be announced a little before it begins.
I'm sure they don't want to blow all of the suprises.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:40 pm

Not quite sure how I missed replying to this...
Big Mac wrote:I agree totally with the out of character reasons for the reboot. But from a RPG point of view, I'm trying to work out an in character reason for this all.
Well, arguably that's all there -- Deathwing returns. He took refuge in the Elemental Plane, so when he returned he ripped through the dimensions and erupted back into Azeroth. In the process, rifts to the sections of the Elemental Plane opened in various places, and it tore the crust of Azeroth pretty badly. Now, if I were running this, I'd ensure that the PCs either failed to prevent something after getting warning, or accidentally triggered the event (e.g. by recovering and activating an artifact) by waking him.

Mind you, I'd also be playing out the intermediate lore (e.g. Varian taking over the Alliance, Thrall departing the Horde and Garrosh taking the reins -- and might even involve the PCs in the assassination of Cairne if they're Horde).

Personally, I wanted him to be the secret master of the Infinite Dragonflight (the "adversary" disrupting the past which resulted in the creation of the Caverns of Time). Oh, well.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:46 pm

MMO Champion has been tracking the Cataclysm beta (and releasing oodles of the information about it). There's a sidebar which makes it pretty easy to go through the gathered Cataclysm info on a zone by zone basis.

Today's post: http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/192 ... Blue-Posts This includes new in-game maps for all the classic instances, which could (obviously) be trivially raided for tabletop gaming.

And, just for the record, the now Bolvar-based Lich King looks awesome: http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/ima ... hrend2.jpg
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:52 pm

Bonetti wrote:Not quite sure how I missed replying to this...
Big Mac wrote:I agree totally with the out of character reasons for the reboot. But from a RPG point of view, I'm trying to work out an in character reason for this all.
Well, arguably that's all there -- Deathwing returns. He took refuge in the Elemental Plane, so when he returned he ripped through the dimensions and erupted back into Azeroth. In the process, rifts to the sections of the Elemental Plane opened in various places, and it tore the crust of Azeroth pretty badly. Now, if I were running this, I'd ensure that the PCs either failed to prevent something after getting warning, or accidentally triggered the event (e.g. by recovering and activating an artifact) by waking him.
Thanks for that. It might be one way to resurrect a WoW tabletop game where the players feel they have "done everything".
Bonetti wrote:Mind you, I'd also be playing out the intermediate lore (e.g. Varian taking over the Alliance, Thrall departing the Horde and Garrosh taking the reins -- and might even involve the PCs in the assassination of Cairne if they're Horde).
If you are going to reboot the game, you might as well do it properly. I suspect that if the game was still in publication, there would have been RPG books for each of the major MMO changes. Perhaps one day there will be netbooks for them.
Bonetti wrote:Personally, I wanted him to be the secret master of the Infinite Dragonflight (the "adversary" disrupting the past which resulted in the creation of the Caverns of Time). Oh, well.
You can still do that...

...in a tabletop game! :twisted:
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:42 pm

Cataclysm launches tomorrow.

MMO Champion has a pretty good roundup of the changes and information.

Also, they're starting a series of short stories about the various leaders of Azeroth. The first one is posted, and it is about Garrosh Hellscream, the new Warchief.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:13 pm

Thus far, to be honest, I've seen more town-building that town-destroying. Night elves take it on the chin pretty badly, but the human & gnomes have expanded their towns as well as reclaimed a bunch of towns. So I guess the "end of civilization" bit was a bit overblown...(of course, Azeroth was pretty screwed up prior to Cataclysm anyways, so they were pretty much rock-bottom already).
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:47 pm

Tauren were kicked as hard as the night elves, I think -- lost practically everything except Mulgore (which they had to bottle up).

However, there are more outposts everywhere, in part because of increased Alliance/Horde tensions, and in part because it works better for the quest flow (a lesson learned in BC and WotLK).

I've been slowly playing through the updated Durotar (having looked at some other areas in alpha) on a troll druid. They've really improved the starting experience.

Man.

Why'd it have to release the week before finals in the roughest semester I've had since returning to school? EVIL!
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:06 pm

I'm most of the way through Vashj'ir, and one thing I've noticed so far is a much greater emphasis on storylines in the zones. They've really done a good job making the zones a pleasant and meaningful trip (and more like a single-player game) than something to grind through to get to the end-game.

The Vashj'ir storyline could practically be a campaign in and of itself, as could Mount Hyjal (from what a guildie tells me).
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:39 pm

Bonetti wrote:I'm most of the way through Vashj'ir, and one thing I've noticed so far is a much greater emphasis on storylines in the zones. They've really done a good job making the zones a pleasant and meaningful trip (and more like a single-player game) than something to grind through to get to the end-game.

The Vashj'ir storyline could practically be a campaign in and of itself, as could Mount Hyjal (from what a guildie tells me).
Yeah, I'm probably going to spend a little time going through the low-level zones one by one to enjoy the story. And it seems that Blizzard has learned a) questlines that involve 5 zones across the whole frigg'n planet should be *rare* and b) rep grinds suck. I'm kinda hoping the old level 60 factions have much better reputation-building quests than they did (Argent Dawn & Cenarian Ciricle are just *evil*..."bring me 50 elemental cores for 7 rep"..."man, I so want to kill you right now").
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:45 am

night_druid wrote:[b) rep grinds suck. I'm kinda hoping the old level 60 factions have much better reputation-building quests than they did (Argent Dawn & Cenarian Ciricle are just *evil*..."bring me 50 elemental cores for 7 rep"..."man, I so want to kill you right now").
Argent Dawn was trivial, starting with Burning Crusade. No, seriously -- just run Baron Strat over and over (soloable at 70 with most classes, and trivially soloable by any class at 80), and get a chance at the Baron's Mount to boot.

Cenarion Circle was harder, although somewhere during either late BC or early Wrath they rejiggered it to be easier -- upped the rep per twilight cultist in Silithus, bumped how long they gave rep, and removed the rep penalty for severely outleveling the cultists.

Wrath in general had a smarter way -- merging farming instances (including heroics) and letting you pick target rep from the instance via tabard. It looks like that is now in the old/new zones, too (but not yet in Outland), and all the cities have tabards. No more cloth turnins :-)

My biggest complaint with Vashj'ir was that I was 1/3 the way through before I realized there was an Orgrimmar (or Stormwind) portal back to the "save cave" -- the latest phased cavern uncovered in the questlines.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Big Mac » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:09 pm

night_druid wrote:Thus far, to be honest, I've seen more town-building that town-destroying. Night elves take it on the chin pretty badly, but the human & gnomes have expanded their towns as well as reclaimed a bunch of towns. So I guess the "end of civilization" bit was a bit overblown...(of course, Azeroth was pretty screwed up prior to Cataclysm anyways, so they were pretty much rock-bottom already).
I had a look at World of Warcraft at a friend's house (as well as killing thousands of rats for her) and it does look like they have not destroyed the world, as I feared.

I'll be looking forward to see which parts of the new stuff can be exported to a tabletop game.
Bonetti wrote:I'm most of the way through Vashj'ir, and one thing I've noticed so far is a much greater emphasis on storylines in the zones. They've really done a good job making the zones a pleasant and meaningful trip (and more like a single-player game) than something to grind through to get to the end-game.
I remember WotC bringing out a few adventures aimed at a GM with just one player. If this could be done with some "adventure paths" for the World of Warcraft RPG, I think it would be quite interesting.

To be honest, I think that the solo-play part of the MMO is a big part of its draw and I wonder if some of the principles of the Endless Quest books could be combined with MMO-like quest strings and the D&D/WoW:RPG framework to give you a GM-less sourcebook that allows a player to put their PC up against some of the more simplified elements of Azeroth.

It wouldn't be true role playing, of course, because if you were both GM and player, you couldn't surprise yourself*! But it might be a fun way to try out different WoW:RPG race and class options, on your own. I figure that some of the "grinding" things in low level areas are a bit like wandering monster encounters. So those sort of things would be background threats (in Azeroth) and a low level PC could go out delivering messages and also fight wandering monsters (as they come up on the random table) as well as go looking for animals to skin, herbs to pick, rocks to mine and that sort of thing.

* = Not unless there was something like a deck of surprise cards or something that could be randomly shuffled.
Bonetti wrote:The Vashj'ir storyline could practically be a campaign in and of itself, as could Mount Hyjal (from what a guildie tells me).
Hmm. I'll be interested to see where these new storylines go. If they are better connected, more localised and easier to run with a single player, they should be easier to adapt to tabletop play.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by night_druid » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:02 pm

Big Mac wrote:I had a look at World of Warcraft at a friend's house (as well as killing thousands of rats for her) and it does look like they have not destroyed the world, as I feared.
They were never serious about "destroying" the world; what happened is that most of the old content (quests) were removed in favor of new quests. Mostly; some old quests remain as well. There were geographical changes as well, some significant, but probably affecting maybe 10% of the overall landscape. It did hose some zones I like, though.
Hmm. I'll be interested to see where these new storylines go. If they are better connected, more localised and easier to run with a single player, they should be easier to adapt to tabletop play.
Blizzard has greatly improved things such that zones appear quite self contained, such that you don't need to run over hell's half-acre to complete a quest chain. You can complete almost all of the quests without leaving the zone.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Big Mac » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:44 pm

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I had a look at World of Warcraft at a friend's house (as well as killing thousands of rats for her) and it does look like they have not destroyed the world, as I feared.
They were never serious about "destroying" the world; what happened is that most of the old content (quests) were removed in favor of new quests. Mostly; some old quests remain as well. There were geographical changes as well, some significant, but probably affecting maybe 10% of the overall landscape. It did hose some zones I like, though.
I'm not sure how much of the WoW:RPG the changes would invalidate, but then again, I don't think the RPG has a very good map. I wonder how easy it would be to extract maps of individual areas, so that they could have a RPG makeover.
night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Hmm. I'll be interested to see where these new storylines go. If they are better connected, more localised and easier to run with a single player, they should be easier to adapt to tabletop play.
Blizzard has greatly improved things such that zones appear quite self contained, such that you don't need to run over hell's half-acre to complete a quest chain. You can complete almost all of the quests without leaving the zone.
I'll have to look at some of the new quest chains, to see how well they work as localised WoW:RPG campaign arcs. Are there any that look like they are likely to be more obviously useful for RPG play? Have the starting zones got new quest chains that look good for tabletop?
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:45 pm

Big Mac wrote:I'm not sure how much of the WoW:RPG the changes would invalidate, but then again, I don't think the RPG has a very good map. I wonder how easy it would be to extract maps of individual areas, so that they could have a RPG makeover.
Well, one could always use MapWoW if they update it for Cataclysm.

Alternatively, WowPedia probably has a lot of the maps. For instance, take Tirisfal Glades (Forsaken starting area). They have the pre-Cataclysm and post-Cataclysm interface maps (hand-drawn cartography, based on the topographic map), as well as a list of the Cataclysm changes (and a fair amount of information about the zone). I would guess the other zones do, too.

Digging those links out brought me to this site, which has the Cataclysm changes (in a Google-map-like interface, a la MapWow). Bear in mind that this is the actual in-game topography projected into the minimap textures, so it's the actual game map. Using that plus the interface maps should give you everything you need to work out maps for the tabletop game -- and screen shots would reinforce the look/flavor (e.g. the distinct architectures).
Big Mac wrote:Are there any that look like they are likely to be more obviously useful for RPG play? Have the starting zones got new quest chains that look good for tabletop?
That's harder to answer. I've only played three of the revamped starting zones: tauren, trolls and forsaken. The trolls no longer feel bolted on to the orcs (and have their own introductory story now), and you get a taste of the Vol'jin/Garrosh antagonism. However, once you're at Razor Hill, there are a lot of familiar quests. Similarly, the first bit of the Tauren is new, but most of the Bloodhoof questing is very familiar. The Forsaken has very little change (other than visuals and moving some quest points around), except for a new, zone-unifying story built around a new NPC. Parts (or all) of any of these three zones could certainly form the backbone of a tabletop game.

Actually, that's true of all the in-game material now -- extracting the stories from the quests would provide plenty of gaming material. I've done some of this in the adventure paths I sketched out :-)
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by dfryer36 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:47 am

Have you read "The Shattering?" It gives some interesting in story background on the lead up to Cataclysm.
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Re: WoW: Cataclysm, and the resulting world-building

Post by Bonetti » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:06 am

I have not. I was pretty unimpressed by Cycle of Hatred and the War of the Ancients, and so have been a little reluctant to read more of the books :-)
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