MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

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MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:50 am

I just had my moderator hat on to split a question about Mists of Pandaria out of a thread about Azeroth's moons. After doing that, I read the new thread and a thought started to form when I made a reply. Rather than go off-topic in a new thread I just fixed, I've decided to quote my question and make a new thread:
Big Mac wrote:Do you think that the changes in individual patches could be used as a plot arc for the tabletop game?
We now have five versions of the MMO, each of which was modified by a number of patches. Some of those patche changes were bug fixes, which are meaningless in a tabletop context, but others have introduced plot changes, which might be useful if anyone wanted to treat each version of the MMO as a plot arc in a tabletop game.

Wowpedia has a lot of information on patches:
  1. World of Warcraft classic
    1. Patch 1.1: World of Warcraft - 1.1.0 - 1.1.1 - 1.1.2
    2. Patch 1.2: Mysteries of Maraudon - 1.2.0 - 1.2.1 - 1.2.2 - 1.2.3 - 1.2.4
    3. Patch 1.3: Ruins of the Dire Maul - 1.3.0 - 1.3.1 - 1.3.2
    4. Patch 1.4: The Call to War - 1.4.0 - 1.4.1 - 1.4.2
    5. Patch 1.5: Battlegrounds - 1.5.0 - 1.5.1
    6. Patch 1.6: Assault on Blackwing Lair - 1.6.0 - 1.6.1
    7. Patch 1.7: Rise of the Blood God - 1.7.0 - 1.7.1
    8. Patch 1.8: Dragons of Nightmare - 1.8.0 - 1.8.1 - 1.8.2 - 1.8.3 - 1.8.4
    9. Patch 1.9: The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj - 1.9.0 - 1.9.1 - 1.9.2 - 1.9.3 - 1.9.4
    10. Patch 1.10: Storms of Azeroth - 1.10.0 - 1.10.1 - 1.10.2
    11. Patch 1.11: Shadow of the Necropolis - 1.11.0 - 1.11.1 - 1.11.2
    12. Patch 1.12: Drums of War - 1.12.0 - 1.12.1 - 1.12.2
  2. Burning Crusade
    1. Patch 2.0: Before the Storm / The Burning Crusade - 2.0.1 - 2.0.3 - 2.0.4 - 2.0.5 - 2.0.6 - 2.0.7 - 2.0.8 - 2.0.9 - 2.0.10 - 2.0.11 - 2.0.12
    2. Patch 2.1: The Black Temple - 2.1.0 - 2.1.1 - 2.1.2 - 2.1.3 - 2.1.4
    3. Patch 2.2: Voice Chat! - 2.2.0 - 2.2.2 - 2.2.3
    4. Patch 2.3: The Gods of Zul’Aman - 2.3.0 - 2.3.2 - 2.3.3
    5. Patch 2.4: Fury of the Sunwell - 2.4.0 - 2.4.1 - 2.4.2 - 2.4.3
  3. Wrath of the Lich King
    1. Patch 3.0: Echoes of Doom/Wrath of the Lich King - 3.0.2 - 3.0.3 - 3.0.5 - 3.0.8 - 3.0.8a - 3.0.9
    2. Patch 3.1: Secrets of Ulduar - 3.1.0 - 3.1.1 - 3.1.1a - 3.1.2 - 3.1.3
    3. Patch 3.2: Call of the Crusade - 3.2.0 - 3.2.0a - 3.2.2 - 3.2.2a
    4. Patch 3.3: Fall of the Lich King - 3.3.0 - 3.3.0a - 3.3.2 - 3.3.3 - 3.3.3a - 3.3.5 - 3.3.5a
  4. Cataclysm
    1. Patch 4.0: Cataclysm - 4.0.1 - 4.0.1a - 4.0.3 - 4.0.3a - 4.0.6 - 4.0.6a
    2. Patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari - 4.1.0 - 4.1.0a
    3. Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands - 4.2.0 - 4.2.0a - 4.2.2
    4. Patch 4.3: Hour of Twilight - 4.3.0 - 4.3.0a - 4.3.2 - 4.3.3 - 4.3.4
  5. Mists of Pandaria
    1. Patch 5.0: Mists of Pandaria - 5.0.4 - 5.0.5 - 5.0.5a - 5.0.5b
    2. Patch 5.1: Landfall - 5.1.0 - 5.1.0a
    3. Patch 5.2: The Thunder King - 5.2.0
    4. Patch 5.3: Escalation - 5.3.0
    5. Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar - 5.4.0 - 5.4.1 - 5.4.2 - 5.4.7 - 5.4.8
  6. Warlords of Draenor
    1. Patch 6.0: Warlords of Draenor - 6.0.2 - 6.0.3 - 6.0.3a - 6.0.3b
    2. Patch 6.1: (no name yet) - 6.1.0 (PTR)
    3. Patch 6.2: (no name yet) - 6.2.0 (NYI)
Wowpedia also has information on the pre-release patches. I'm not sure if they could be used for a pre-MMO-era campaign, but they might be worth looking at.

Another thing worth looking at could be the removed content, as things taken out of the world could possibly be used as adventure hooks.

EDIT: List of patches (and links to pre-release version and removed content) added. (I'm figuring these could maybe be adventure modules within an adventure path.)

EDIT2: List of patches edited to include the sub-patches. (I'm figuring some of these could maybe be chapters/plot ideas within specific adventure modules.)

EDIT3: Mists of Pandaria patches updated and first Warlords of Draenor patches added.
Last edited by Big Mac on Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:31 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by night_druid » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:53 am

Patches largely serve to implement fixes to the game. Sometimes, they're used to release new content, which is basically the same thing as a GM buying a new module to run or a sourcebook to add to his existing campaign.
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:07 am

night_druid wrote:Patches largely serve to implement fixes to the game.
Yep. And we would largely be ignoring bug fixes in a MMO-tabletop-raid.
night_druid wrote:Sometimes, they're used to release new content, which is basically the same thing as a GM buying a new module to run or a sourcebook to add to his existing campaign.
I agree. That is kind of what I was trying to get at with this thread. After posting it, I edited my first post to include the patch titles and you posted while I was still editing.

With the exception of patch 2.2, I think that the patch titles would all make pretty good adventure module titles. Even with the patches that have no effect on Azeroth, the evocative titles could inspire some sort of plotline (perhaps one that changes things for the PCs, but not something that impacts on all of Azeroth).

The five versions of the WoW MMO are somewhat incompatible with each other (from a plot point of view) but each one (including the classic one) could serve as an adventure path made up of a number of adventure modules (perhaps backed up by some sort of era-sourcebook for Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Litchking, Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria to provide information needed in the adventures).
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Pre-realeas patches as inspiration for tabletop plots

Post by Big Mac » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:23 pm

I've decided to have a look at the pre-release patches. They may be of no use, but there is a small chance that they could act as a bridge from Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game to World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game.

Here are some links from Wowpedia for 0.x – Pre-release:
  • Pre-release Patch 0.6: 0.6
  • Pre-release Patch 07: 0.7
  • Pre-release Patch 0.8: 0.8
  • Pre-release Patch 0.9: 0.9 - 0.9.1
  • Pre-release Patch 0.10: 0.10
  • Pre-release Patch 0.11: 0.11
  • Pre-release Patch 0.12: 0.12
Doing a bit more research, it seems that 0.6 is not the first patch and that Wowpedia is lacking information about the earlier patches, but I'll have a look at 0.6 in detail, to see if there is anything useful in it:

Pre-release Patch 0.6

In the Major Changes section I see Rest State, Inns & Hearthstones.

Hearthstones were new back then (and tie into lore about Hearthstones that are very rare). This could maybe be turned into some sort of plot hooks where PCs can borrow a Hearthstone. The link with innkeepers in the MMO, could be used as a way to control where a PC could link a Hearthstone to. Certainly there could be a quest (or quest element) to go to a specific inn and get a Heathstone linked to that inn.

I'm not sure if Hearthstones are in any of the tabletop books. I don't see any citations to RPG books on the Hearthstone article on Wowpedia.

The Recommended home locations section of the Hearthstone article could possibly be used as inspiration for a number of different Heathstones, so maybe Heathstones (for Alliance PC races) linking to Goldshire, Dolanaar, Azure Watch or Kharanos would have a lower cost than a Heathstone that links to Shrine of Seven Stars in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

Another way to do this would be to have a Heathstone as a rechargable magic item that gets recharged at specific places (including inns). Heathstones are a bit of a plot-jumping device. The MMO already has them not work during combat. I think it might also be good to have them not work in the middle of adventure locatioins (like castles and caves). I'd be interested to see what things like the novels say about them.

The New Skill System was another Major Change. I think it would be good to use skills within an 0.6 inspired adventure. (The Other Changes section later goes into more detail on Tradeskills.) Without wanting to emulate the sort of boring grinding you get in parts of WoW, it might be fun to have some interesting Tradeskill trainers and have PCs earn money (and maybe make some useful stuff) from using Tradeskills.

Another Major Change was with Cloaks. These were made visible (for the first time) by popular demand. It might be fun to have a fashion craze for cloaks.

In the Other Changes section mentions Cities/Zones and Dungeons. These could be logical loctions to incorporate into a RPG plot.

Another Other Change was that the Guild system was fully implimented. I think that establishing an adventures guild, as an organisation run by the PCs would be an excellent way for them to feel they are making a mark on the world. Even if they can't fully establish a guild (because there are only four of them and they don't have followers) they could write up their charter and interact with NPCs that are possible recruits.

I'm not sure if anything useful could be made from that lot. I know that Bonnetti's Quest Chains have a lot of potential. Maybe this could be a good way to deal with low-level PCs and put them onto the start of a few Quest Chains that deal with specific areas.
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Teazia » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:17 am

Don't forget Patch 1.0- Screw the Pallies and make them cry until 2009.
:p

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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by NPCDave » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:15 am

Not directly related, but I recall a thread on RPG.net where someone provided an in-world explanation for why the locals in an MMO have to constantly keep asking for new parties to perform the same quest over and over.

I may be misremembering, but the basic jist was-

The campaign setting of WoW(or your fav MMO) has an unstable reality and history. Unlike our world where if something happened, then it happened, in WoW if something happened, it could suddenly UN-happen. And the only way to stabilize that reality is to make sure that event happened again...and again...and again.

That is why your party, who just cleaned out the orc cave, will find that as you collect your reward you will notice new adventurers being hired to do the exact same task once again.

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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:28 am

NPCDave wrote:The campaign setting of WoW(or your fav MMO) has an unstable reality and history. Unlike our world where if something happened, then it happened, in WoW if something happened, it could suddenly UN-happen. And the only way to stabilize that reality is to make sure that event happened again...and again...and again.

That is why your party, who just cleaned out the orc cave, will find that as you collect your reward you will notice new adventurers being hired to do the exact same task once again.
Sounds like one way to go with that.

I think I'd rather just use all that content once. Bonetti has done some pretty good work at sorting out quest chains, and I'd go with that sort of thing.

Spelljammer had a module called SJA2 Skull & Crossbows, that had a number of mini-adventures in it. I was thinking that something similar could be done for the World of Warcraft tabletop game with the patch-release titles being used for a netbook that introduces one or more quest chains, maps of new locations and other associated content. I was figuring that would give you a tabletop experience that was fairly similar to the MMO (but without the dying and coming back to life, the grinding or a queue of other NPCs trying to chop the head off of the same guy you are trying to kill).
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Teazia » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:18 am

Where is the Bonetti info you are talking about? I would be interested in seeing it. New Azeroth (and up) could be a pretty cool sandbox for an rpg, sort out the quests in a (starting area), print out a map, generate a wandering monster table, get some players, and go.

Have maps of a nearby dungeons and place monsters D&D style around it (with wandering monsters too) and it could be pretty interesting, even if the players don't go for any quests. One could even scratch off the serial numbers and drop it into GH or FR or whatever.

Hmmm

(It would be best to do it with folks who haven't done the new starting areas yet).

Do it with D&D Next and you could generate some interesting feedback on the project, and generate some buzz too as well as learn a few things about how ttrpgs and crpgs can/can't work together.

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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:22 pm

Teazia wrote:Where is the Bonetti info you are talking about? I would be interested in seeing it. New Azeroth (and up) could be a pretty cool sandbox for an rpg, sort out the quests in a (starting area), print out a map, generate a wandering monster table, get some players, and go..
I've been trying to find the best threads. It isn't easy as Bonetti has dropped a lot of hints about how MMO lore could be converted to RPG fanon.

Here are a few threads, started by Bonetti that might really help the process of converting patches to campaign arcs:
Teazia wrote:Have maps of a nearby dungeons and place monsters D&D style around it (with wandering monsters too) and it could be pretty interesting, even if the players don't go for any quests. One could even scratch off the serial numbers and drop it into GH or FR or whatever.
I've always preferred more realistic looking maps to hex maps (as they look like in-character cartography) but this is probably an area where hex maps of Azeroth could really help you distribute things around the map evenly.

Night Druid has already spoken about filing the serial numbers of the quest system and using it for Spelljammer. :)
Teazia wrote:Hmmm

(It would be best to do it with folks who haven't done the new starting areas yet).
Maybe you could also go back to version 1 and find players that never did the original starting quests.
Teazia wrote:Do it with D&D Next and you could generate some interesting feedback on the project, and generate some buzz too as well as learn a few things about how ttrpgs and crpgs can/can't work together.
I want to do iit with 3rd Edition, Bonetti wants to do it with 4th Edition, I think Night Druid would use AD&D. All we need now is someone to retro-convert WoW: RPG to BECMI and we will have a full set! :lol:
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Bonetti » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:06 am

Big Mac wrote:I want to do iit with 3rd Edition, Bonetti wants to do it with 4th Edition, I think Night Druid would use AD&D. All we need now is someone to retro-convert WoW: RPG to BECMI and we will have a full set! :lol:
Hah!

No, doing a WoW 4e conversion is beyond the scope of what I'd tackle. I'd be happy to do some tinkering and contributing if someone else shoulders the burden (*cough* Ivellius *cough). I've tackled developing a game from scratch, and I'm not doing that again! (I was using 4e because it mapped the easiest, mechanics-wise, and that's how I was thinking due to my tabletop D&D game at the time. We've been on hiatus for the last 18 months while I wrapped up some Real Life things, but may resume soon. Will likely build up some more Darokin story until D&D Next is out and we decide that's a better system.)

BECMI should be fairly easy, actually, but I'd almost rather see it done in Dark Dungeons just for the Piazza-ness :-)
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Bonetti » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:20 am

night_druid wrote:Patches largely serve to implement fixes to the game. Sometimes, they're used to release new content, which is basically the same thing as a GM buying a new module to run or a sourcebook to add to his existing campaign.
I'm going to clarify a little.

Except for 1.x (classic), basically the patches are divided into content patches (x.y.0(ish)), bug fixes (x.y.z, with the same x.y, and an incremented z), and "OOPS something needs fixing immediately after releasing the patch" minor fixes (x.y.z[a], e.g. 5.0.5a). Sometimes, they're a little weird (Mists's mechanics patch was 5.0.4) by not being zero-indexed.

A new X in x.y.z means a new expansion, a new y means new content. Note: that doesn't necessarily mean new questing zones, but since BC it's typically meant a new raid. Also, it only sort of applies to classic (1.x). Mists may change this up by doing more patches in the expansion cycle, with new raids only every couple of patches. 5.1 is already on the test realms, and early indications are that Vol'jin is important in it (model update, for instance). He's got my vote for next Warchief, or would if the Horde wasn't autocratic :-)

Not all content is necessarily good for story, not all is necessarily good for adventure. For retail through BC, there was minimal "new" quest/story content. For 1.x, the first two patches were releasing dungeons which were planned for release but not finished in time (Maraudon and Dire Maul), and half the patches were mechanics updates as they went through and fixed all the classes (in some cases, in the veterinary sense -- see Teazia's earlier comments on Paladins). Retail really only had two big "story" additions: AQ (which had an interesting storyline leading up to it) and Naxx (which built out the Argent Dawn). Battlegrounds were mechanically nice, but not as obviously tabletop useful.

Wrath started balancing content so that they tried to introduce both raid and casual content with each major content patch. So, Argent Tournament (as an example) yielded a 5-man instance, a raid, and a bunch of new dailies, a new currency and new matching goodies (cosmetic pets, mounts, non-group epics). Icecrown added three new 5-man instances plus the Arthas raid. Cataclysm's Firelands added a rather well-done phased zone (the Molten Front) which had a developing in-game story. Granted, it becomes a grind on your second (and later) characters, but it was fun once-through and quite easily adapted to a tabletop game.

Short form: they've changed their approach over time (and claim to be changing it again for Mists, but they've sung this song before...) Concentrate on the major patches starting with BC to find the actual per-expansion story advancement.

I may take the time to wander down amnesia lane and extract the highlights, if you guys want.
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:36 am

Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I want to do iit with 3rd Edition, Bonetti wants to do it with 4th Edition, I think Night Druid would use AD&D. All we need now is someone to retro-convert WoW: RPG to BECMI and we will have a full set! :lol:
Hah!

No, doing a WoW 4e conversion is beyond the scope of what I'd tackle. I'd be happy to do some tinkering and contributing if someone else shoulders the burden (*cough* Ivellius *cough). I've tackled developing a game from scratch, and I'm not doing that again! (I was using 4e because it mapped the easiest, mechanics-wise, and that's how I was thinking due to my tabletop D&D game at the time. We've been on hiatus for the last 18 months while I wrapped up some Real Life things, but may resume soon. Will likely build up some more Darokin story until D&D Next is out and we decide that's a better system.)
Actually Ivellius is not into 4e either. VoidWalker is the only person in that thread that seems to be a 4e user.

WoW:RPG material for D&D Next might be fun for people doing the playtest. :twisted:
Bonetti wrote:BECMI should be fairly easy, actually, but I'd almost rather see it done in Dark Dungeons just for the Piazza-ness :-)
I would love to see support for Dark Dungeons. It would be poetic. Although my preferred rules are the 3e rules. Maybe we should have a topic about what rules people would want to play WoW:RPG with. :?
Bonetti wrote:
night_druid wrote:Patches largely serve to implement fixes to the game. Sometimes, they're used to release new content, which is basically the same thing as a GM buying a new module to run or a sourcebook to add to his existing campaign.
I'm going to clarify a little.

Except for 1.x (classic), basically the patches are divided into content patches (x.y.0(ish)), bug fixes (x.y.z, with the same x.y, and an incremented z), and "OOPS something needs fixing immediately after releasing the patch" minor fixes (x.y.z[a], e.g. 5.0.5a). Sometimes, they're a little weird (Mists's mechanics patch was 5.0.4) by not being zero-indexed.

A new X in x.y.z means a new expansion, a new y means new content. Note: that doesn't necessarily mean new questing zones, but since BC it's typically meant a new raid. Also, it only sort of applies to classic (1.x). Mists may change this up by doing more patches in the expansion cycle, with new raids only every couple of patches. 5.1 is already on the test realms, and early indications are that Vol'jin is important in it (model update, for instance). He's got my vote for next Warchief, or would if the Horde wasn't autocratic :-)

Not all content is necessarily good for story, not all is necessarily good for adventure. For retail through BC, there was minimal "new" quest/story content. For 1.x, the first two patches were releasing dungeons which were planned for release but not finished in time (Maraudon and Dire Maul), and half the patches were mechanics updates as they went through and fixed all the classes (in some cases, in the veterinary sense -- see Teazia's earlier comments on Paladins). Retail really only had two big "story" additions: AQ (which had an interesting storyline leading up to it) and Naxx (which built out the Argent Dawn). Battlegrounds were mechanically nice, but not as obviously tabletop useful.

Wrath started balancing content so that they tried to introduce both raid and casual content with each major content patch. So, Argent Tournament (as an example) yielded a 5-man instance, a raid, and a bunch of new dailies, a new currency and new matching goodies (cosmetic pets, mounts, non-group epics). Icecrown added three new 5-man instances plus the Arthas raid. Cataclysm's Firelands added a rather well-done phased zone (the Molten Front) which had a developing in-game story. Granted, it becomes a grind on your second (and later) characters, but it was fun once-through and quite easily adapted to a tabletop game.
Thanks for the clarification.

I did figure that not all the patches would have content useful for tabletop, but figured that if NPCs, quests or areas were added in a specific patch, that might make that patch number a good way to collect together content that might somehow be made to fit together.

The class tweaking patches are going to be fairly useless for tabletop gaming. I suppose that you could build magic items that tied into class abilities and insert them into patch inspired netbooks, but that would really be clutching at straws.

Maraudon and Dire Maul sound more promising, as it could be possible to look for a way to use both of these dungeons as inspiration for some sort of WoW:RPG dungeon crawl. If the dungeons kicked in then, I would guess that related quests must have kicked in at the same time.
Bonetti wrote:Short form: they've changed their approach over time (and claim to be changing it again for Mists, but they've sung this song before...) Concentrate on the major patches starting with BC to find the actual per-expansion story advancement.
Why start with Burning Crusade? is there really nothing in any of the 1.x patches?

Patch 1.4.y "The Call to War" for example seems to be connected to The Balance of Light and Shadow, Ancient Sinew Wrapped Lamina. (I'm not sure if there are other quests connected to these two, as Wowpedia have not listed all the quests that kicked in by name.

There is also the (now depricated) honour sytem. The PVP system itself may be of limited use, but perhaps the rank system could be used to inspire some sort advancement charts for a pair of in-character military organisations (one for the Alliance and one for the Horde). This could possibly fit in better with the concept of a "Call to War", so maybe it could be useful.
Bonetti wrote:I may take the time to wander down amnesia lane and extract the highlights, if you guys want.
I was hoping to go through Wowpedia and extract details, so any thoughts you have on the best patches would be very welcome. :cool:
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Bonetti » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:09 pm

Big Mac wrote:Actually Ivellius is not into 4e either. VoidWalker is the only person in that thread that seems to be a 4e user.
My bad, misattribution. Sorry, VoidWalker!
Big Mac wrote:Maraudon and Dire Maul sound more promising, as it could be possible to look for a way to use both of these dungeons as inspiration for some sort of WoW:RPG dungeon crawl. If the dungeons kicked in then, I would guess that related quests must have kicked in at the same time.
All of the instances are, at their heart, dungeon modules. I mean, sure, you might have wings or an advancing story (see the Icecrown Citadel instances, for instance), but that's more like the G1-3 or D1-3 trilogies. Essentially, the instances are (mostly) self-contained dungeons in an MMO paradigm. Every one of them could be converted into a dungeon, and you'd preserve what role they serve.

...except you run instances over and over to get loot (since what would normally be a couple evening's of tabletop play becomes a 20 minute whirlwind of computer gaming, you need a way to "extend" the usefulness of the content).

The related quests are the "DM's background" and "Player's background" paragraphs/boxed text.
Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:Short form: they've changed their approach over time (and claim to be changing it again for Mists, but they've sung this song before...) Concentrate on the major patches starting with BC to find the actual per-expansion story advancement.
Why start with Burning Crusade? is there really nothing in any of the 1.x patches?
The retail patches are messy. Starting with Burning Crusade, the content patches were further apart and usually tried to put in content for both casual (non-heroic/non-raid) and hardcore (heroic instances/raiders), and sometimes PVP, in each content patch.

Vanilla's patching was inconsistent. Naxxramas was hinted at by launch, back when raids were accessed through dungeons. The raid portal for Naxxramas (the final raid instance) was in Stratholme at launch, as was Blackwing Lair (in Blackrock Spire). Both raids were launched later (BWL in 1.6, Naxx in 1.11), but a lot of the lead-in was already in the world. Very little "new story" was added even when they introduced new content.

From the 1.x series, I would consider the following worth pulling out:
  • 1.2: Mauradon (as a module)
  • 1.3: Dire Maul (as a module)
  • 1.6: Blackwing Lair (as an epic, end of campaign "tier" event)
  • 1.7: Zul'Gurub (as a module)
  • 1.8: Silithus zone revamp tells an actual story, and ties in with...
  • 1.9: Ahn'Qiraj (as a pair of linked, epic modules telling a campaign-altering story)
  • 1.11: Naxxramas (as a late-game module)
That being said, Naxx works better with the Wrath material anyway. They did very little quest changing (I think Silithus was the only real zone revamp in the 1.x series, and post-Vanilla 1.8 and 1.9 would've been a single content patch so they had casual (dailies, new quest hub) and raid (AQ20, AQ40) content).

BC was the first patch series where they really found their storytelling-in-an-MMO groove and you can rely on each [2,3,4].X patch having content. The patch numbering system isn't a guide for Vanilla, it has its own logic.

(Note: Yes, you could probably turn Alterac Valley into an interesting adventure, but the battlegrounds are more like an MMO-styled FPS team game: Capture-the-Flag, King-of-the-Hill, etc. than a tabletop story. As a result, I discount the battlegrounds for conversion. You'd be better off taking the elements and crafting your own story around them.)
Big Mac wrote:Patch 1.4.y "The Call to War" for example seems to be connected to The Balance of Light and Shadow, Ancient Sinew Wrapped Lamina. (I'm not sure if there are other quests connected to these two, as Wowpedia have not listed all the quests that kicked in by name.
Based on my experience, I wouldn't run that sort of thing with most groups. I have only had one gaming group over the years that was willing to let one character get that sort of focus (even temporarily) without raising jealousy among the other players.

For the record, they are (mostly) solo quests to take an epic drop from the end of Molten Core and turn them into Epic Equipment (a staff for a priest, a bow for a hunter). They moved away from class quests (for the most part) since they were too much content effort and too few players saw them. (There used to be a comparably awesome quest line for the Warlock's epic land mount. Paladin's had one, too, but it was not as epic -- at least the Horde one wasn't, I never saw the Alliance version.)

It's still harvestable, except that the content's gone now.
Big Mac wrote:There is also the (now depricated) honour sytem. The PVP system itself may be of limited use, but perhaps the rank system could be used to inspire some sort advancement charts for a pair of in-character military organisations (one for the Alliance and one for the Horde). This could possibly fit in better with the concept of a "Call to War", so maybe it could be useful.
The old honor system sucked badly. However, the titles have returned as part of the rated battlegrounds achievements, so I'd either use that (or the ranks from the current Stonetalon quest story) if I were building a military rank chart.
Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:I may take the time to wander down amnesia lane and extract the highlights, if you guys want.
I was hoping to go through Wowpedia and extract details, so any thoughts you have on the best patches would be very welcome. :cool:
The thing is, at this point, all the patches are background noise. So, for instance, 1.2 introduced the Feast of Winter Veil (in-game winter holiday, very Christmas-like). However, it's gotten expanded every couple of years, and if I were going to use it as a game element, I'd use the current version.

I'd say that one could just take the instances as they are (and unless they're linked to other stories) treat them as adventure modules. The zone quest storylines make good medium-length campaign arcs, and if there's an instance nearby, they probably tie into that story. My writeup of Defiant Machinations show one way to do that sort of thing, although the content's probably been outdated by the Cataclysm zone revamps.

The actual linked stories I see:
  • 1.7: old Zul'Gurub could be a troll-centric adventure, but I'd link it with Sunken Temple (launch) and Zul'Aman (2.3) for a long, evil Troll Gods-centric campaign. Supplemented by Troll archaeology lore and maybe other quest areas. Oh, the new level 85 questline in Stranglethorn (when ZG and ZA returned as 5-mans (4.1)) can tie in, too. Really, they do these launches better now.
  • 1.8 + 1.9: Silithus storyline + Ahn'Qiraj gate event + Ahn'Qiraj instances. Note that this could be supplemented by the Night Elf and (possibly) Nerubian archaeology lore and by the old Night Elf quests. I'd do something like old Teldrassil + Darkshore + Ashenvale + Feralas + Moonglade and keep dropping hints of evil under the earth, then end it with the Cenarion Circle enlisting the party's aid, the gates opening after all this time, and just play AQ straight.
  • 2.1: Black Temple, plus some lead-in quests. Note: they still did raid attunement here, so the attunements could be part of the story buildup.
  • 2.4: Sunwell. Note that like AQ, this had a server-wide raid "unlock" sort of event, where participation in the new Quel'Danas daily quests opened the raid instance. This was also the first patch that really fit the "new" paradigm: dailies (casuals), a new 5-man (small guilds), a new raid (hardcore).
  • 3.1+3.2+3.3: Argent Tournament (3.1, dailies) into the instance/raid (3.2) into Icecrown Citadel with Argent Tournament allies. Very obvious story chain. Lots of dailies (released in increments across the patches) to add to the story. I'd ignore Ulduar altogether unless one wants to put together a Titan Lore campaign.
  • 4.2: Molten Front daily quest phasing is an obvious campaign setup, into a Firelands (elemental plane of fire) epic confrontation built around the raid. Continues the stories of Mount Hyjal as a quest zone.
  • 4.3: "future history" 5-mans lead into Dragon Soul (Deathwing raid), linking all that material into one story would make a good campaign arc.
Some of those are worth writing up. If no one beats me to them, and I get bored and have time, I might do so. No promises! :-)
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Bonetti » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:27 am

Bonetti wrote:
  • 4.2: Molten Front daily quest phasing is an obvious campaign setup, into a Firelands (elemental plane of fire) epic confrontation built around the raid. Continues the stories of Mount Hyjal as a quest zone.
I should add that this could work well, mixing it with earlier storylines -- Molten Front uses Ragnaros and the Firelands. One could actually start with the Dark Iron Dwarves and Blackrock Depths as the initial storyline, meet the ambassador in BRD which leads to a trail into Molten Core (perhaps with NPC allies) and the (too early) wakening of Ragnaros, allowing him to be banished from this plane...

...all by Level 10.

Then, for Paragon (11-20), play out the elemental threats to Mt. Hyjal, tie in with the Cenarion Circle and Earthen Ring's attempts to guard Azeroth, play through the Mt. Hyjal zone quests (wakening the ancients). Then, just as it all seems to be winning, right at the end of the tier, a gate opens and the Firelands assault begins.

For the Epic Tier (21-30): Play through converting Molten Front (less grindy, but keep the overarching story of creating a druidic foothold in the Firelands, building up/converting as things are defeated), and spend the last couple of levels of the Epic Tier going through the Firelands raid storyline. Since this has some serious story development (Staghelm's conversion, Leyara's back story), there are opportunities to tie it into other lore events, e.g. Staghelm's son's death in the War of the Shifting Sands. I could even see two separate campaigns with two different parties, one built around Silithus, Ahn'Qiraj, etc. and the other around this -- and the players getting an "Oh, wow!" moment as they realize the stories touch at this point.

One overall key point with MMOs is this: there is an end-game, but there is no ending to the game. What I mean is that, like a tabletop game, new enemies are introduced. Following the overall MMO story, you can see how they've been introduced in the MMO -- and it can be used as a blueprint to do the same sort of "a new enemy has appeared!" event in a tabletop game. Blizzard has gotten better at building up the story, one should probably take advantage of it where one can :-)
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Re: MMO patch releases as inspiration for tabletop plot arcs

Post by Big Mac » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:42 am

Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Maraudon and Dire Maul sound more promising, as it could be possible to look for a way to use both of these dungeons as inspiration for some sort of WoW:RPG dungeon crawl. If the dungeons kicked in then, I would guess that related quests must have kicked in at the same time.
All of the instances are, at their heart, dungeon modules. I mean, sure, you might have wings or an advancing story (see the Icecrown Citadel instances, for instance), but that's more like the G1-3 or D1-3 trilogies. Essentially, the instances are (mostly) self-contained dungeons in an MMO paradigm. Every one of them could be converted into a dungeon, and you'd preserve what role they serve.

...except you run instances over and over to get loot (since what would normally be a couple evening's of tabletop play becomes a 20 minute whirlwind of computer gaming, you need a way to "extend" the usefulness of the content).

The related quests are the "DM's background" and "Player's background" paragraphs/boxed text.
Something like G1-3 or D1-3 would be exactly the sort of way I'd love to take inspiration from the patches.
Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:Short form: they've changed their approach over time (and claim to be changing it again for Mists, but they've sung this song before...) Concentrate on the major patches starting with BC to find the actual per-expansion story advancement.
Why start with Burning Crusade? is there really nothing in any of the 1.x patches?
The retail patches are messy. Starting with Burning Crusade, the content patches were further apart and usually tried to put in content for both casual (non-heroic/non-raid) and hardcore (heroic instances/raiders), and sometimes PVP, in each content patch.

Vanilla's patching was inconsistent. Naxxramas was hinted at by launch, back when raids were accessed through dungeons. The raid portal for Naxxramas (the final raid instance) was in Stratholme at launch, as was Blackwing Lair (in Blackrock Spire). Both raids were launched later (BWL in 1.6, Naxx in 1.11), but a lot of the lead-in was already in the world. Very little "new story" was added even when they introduced new content.

From the 1.x series, I would consider the following worth pulling out:
  • 1.2: Mauradon (as a module)
  • 1.3: Dire Maul (as a module)
  • 1.6: Blackwing Lair (as an epic, end of campaign "tier" event)
  • 1.7: Zul'Gurub (as a module)
  • 1.8: Silithus zone revamp tells an actual story, and ties in with...
  • 1.9: Ahn'Qiraj (as a pair of linked, epic modules telling a campaign-altering story)
  • 1.11: Naxxramas (as a late-game module)
That being said, Naxx works better with the Wrath material anyway. They did very little quest changing (I think Silithus was the only real zone revamp in the 1.x series, and post-Vanilla 1.8 and 1.9 would've been a single content patch so they had casual (dailies, new quest hub) and raid (AQ20, AQ40) content).
Thanks for that. I love the way that you seemed to suggest that the 1.x patches were not so inspirational but then still made a lot of positive suggestions! :cool:
Bonetti wrote:BC was the first patch series where they really found their storytelling-in-an-MMO groove and you can rely on each [2,3,4].X patch having content. The patch numbering system isn't a guide for Vanilla, it has its own logic.
I'm a lot more ignorant of the Burning Crusade and later versions of WoW:MMO, having never bought any of the additional products. I did play after BC came out, but without the additional things you had to buy.
Bonetti wrote:(Note: Yes, you could probably turn Alterac Valley into an interesting adventure, but the battlegrounds are more like an MMO-styled FPS team game: Capture-the-Flag, King-of-the-Hill, etc. than a tabletop story. As a result, I discount the battlegrounds for conversion. You'd be better off taking the elements and crafting your own story around them.)
Battlegrounds are one of the parts of World of Warcraft that I find a bit silly. Sure you could say that they are tournament areas or maybe areas where gladiator-like combat is fought, but they are not really adventure locations. The best thing I can think to do with Alterac Valley is have the Horde and Alliance both send a group to fight a combat that settles some sort of confrontation. But even that feels a bit lame to me.

Perhaps they could turn, more literally, into proper battlegrounds, where much larger combats take place and the PCs are a small group in a larger war. Sneaking through enemy lines to find out things about the other side, kill or capture key NPCs might be a way to present a battleground. :?

Another way might be to just have the PCs sneak into one side of a battleground and out of the other side. Used that way, a place like Alterac Valley could be the front line in an ongoing skirmish and the PCs could just treat both sides of the conflict as an obstacle.
Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Patch 1.4.y "The Call to War" for example seems to be connected to The Balance of Light and Shadow, Ancient Sinew Wrapped Lamina. (I'm not sure if there are other quests connected to these two, as Wowpedia have not listed all the quests that kicked in by name.
Based on my experience, I wouldn't run that sort of thing with most groups. I have only had one gaming group over the years that was willing to let one character get that sort of focus (even temporarily) without raising jealousy among the other players.

For the record, they are (mostly) solo quests to take an epic drop from the end of Molten Core and turn them into Epic Equipment (a staff for a priest, a bow for a hunter). They moved away from class quests (for the most part) since they were too much content effort and too few players saw them. (There used to be a comparably awesome quest line for the Warlock's epic land mount. Paladin's had one, too, but it was not as epic -- at least the Horde one wasn't, I never saw the Alliance version.)

It's still harvestable, except that the content's gone now.
Hmm. I've seen a few solo tabletop adventures. I suppose that something like that might help with a one-GM-one-player situation. But, like you, I'm not too keen on a multi-player adventure that makes one PC the centre of attention. I think you could maybe get away with something that gave each PC a spotlight that rotated around the entire group, but that would only work if all the players were onboard with the idea of taking turns and supporting each other's PCs.

Maybe those plot ideas could be adapted to make the work for a group. Perhaps the person who is the centre of attention could be turned into a special guest NPC. :?
Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There is also the (now depricated) honour sytem. The PVP system itself may be of limited use, but perhaps the rank system could be used to inspire some sort advancement charts for a pair of in-character military organisations (one for the Alliance and one for the Horde). This could possibly fit in better with the concept of a "Call to War", so maybe it could be useful.
The old honor system sucked badly. However, the titles have returned as part of the rated battlegrounds achievements, so I'd either use that (or the ranks from the current Stonetalon quest story) if I were building a military rank chart.
Sounds good to me. I'm certainly not looking to simulate all the mistakes of the early MMO era. I'm looking purely for inspiration for an ongoing storyline. So if an early content update introduces something that is much improved later, I'd be inclined to use the improvements of the later system for inspiration alongside the context of the introduction of the early system.
Bonetti wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Bonetti wrote:I may take the time to wander down amnesia lane and extract the highlights, if you guys want.
I was hoping to go through Wowpedia and extract details, so any thoughts you have on the best patches would be very welcome. :cool:
The thing is, at this point, all the patches are background noise. So, for instance, 1.2 introduced the Feast of Winter Veil (in-game winter holiday, very Christmas-like). However, it's gotten expanded every couple of years, and if I were going to use it as a game element, I'd use the current version.
Sure. Something like the Feast of Winter Veil should really be something that has been part of culture for a long time.

I've found some of the stuff associated with the holiday content seems a little bit silly. It is more self-mocking, than funny. I'd probably be inclined to drop the silly stuff, and just keep the theme of a holiday festival.
Bonetti wrote:I'd say that one could just take the instances as they are (and unless they're linked to other stories) treat them as adventure modules. The zone quest storylines make good medium-length campaign arcs, and if there's an instance nearby, they probably tie into that story. My writeup of Defiant Machinations show one way to do that sort of thing, although the content's probably been outdated by the Cataclysm zone revamps.
Turning instances into adventure modules is probably for the best. I'd be inclined to stick to the order they were released in, as the order they happen. But if they can't all be played that way I still wonder if the history of the instances could be used to locate them on the tabletop timeline*.

* = Assuming there is no canon showing how long various cave-based lairs have existed, I'd be inclined to use the MMO publication dates (from the patches) as a way to decide what order the lairs were set up in.

As for the Cataclysm map changes, I'd be using the old map locations for anything that was pre-Cataclysm era and then moving things to the nearest post-Cataclysm location for anything run after the tabletop game hit the Cataclysm event.
Bonetti wrote:The actual linked stories I see:
  • 1.7: old Zul'Gurub could be a troll-centric adventure, but I'd link it with Sunken Temple (launch) and Zul'Aman (2.3) for a long, evil Troll Gods-centric campaign. Supplemented by Troll archaeology lore and maybe other quest areas. Oh, the new level 85 questline in Stranglethorn (when ZG and ZA returned as 5-mans (4.1)) can tie in, too. Really, they do these launches better now.
  • 1.8 + 1.9: Silithus storyline + Ahn'Qiraj gate event + Ahn'Qiraj instances. Note that this could be supplemented by the Night Elf and (possibly) Nerubian archaeology lore and by the old Night Elf quests. I'd do something like old Teldrassil + Darkshore + Ashenvale + Feralas + Moonglade and keep dropping hints of evil under the earth, then end it with the Cenarion Circle enlisting the party's aid, the gates opening after all this time, and just play AQ straight.
  • 2.1: Black Temple, plus some lead-in quests. Note: they still did raid attunement here, so the attunements could be part of the story buildup.
  • 2.4: Sunwell. Note that like AQ, this had a server-wide raid "unlock" sort of event, where participation in the new Quel'Danas daily quests opened the raid instance. This was also the first patch that really fit the "new" paradigm: dailies (casuals), a new 5-man (small guilds), a new raid (hardcore).
  • 3.1+3.2+3.3: Argent Tournament (3.1, dailies) into the instance/raid (3.2) into Icecrown Citadel with Argent Tournament allies. Very obvious story chain. Lots of dailies (released in increments across the patches) to add to the story. I'd ignore Ulduar altogether unless one wants to put together a Titan Lore campaign.
  • 4.2: Molten Front daily quest phasing is an obvious campaign setup, into a Firelands (elemental plane of fire) epic confrontation built around the raid. Continues the stories of Mount Hyjal as a quest zone.
  • 4.3: "future history" 5-mans lead into Dragon Soul (Deathwing raid), linking all that material into one story would make a good campaign arc.
Some of those are worth writing up. If no one beats me to them, and I get bored and have time, I might do so. No promises! :-)
I like the way that you say that 1.7 ties up with 4.1. I'd be inclined to leave those in the order of the MMO patch timeline, so that the players can have their PCs meet some "old friends" after a long time of campaigning.
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