WoW Storylines

For the last 6 years, Azeroth has been basically the same. Same NPCs, same quests, same rewards, same instances, same progression towards endgame. Even the expansion areas follow this same pattern. Even though in lore, players have fought off the Burning Legion and defeated Kil'jaeden's plans at the Sunwell, when you go to Outland all of the storylines about helping defend Honor Hold and killing massive amounts of creatures for Nessingwary and assisting the nether dragons in defeating the Dragonmaw clan are still there. All of these stories have played out as far as the game is concerned, yet there they still are.

Now they are wiping the old world slate clean and starting it over with a fresh 1-60 batch of everything. This is only a temporary solution though. In two more years, all of the new questing experience is going to be old too, and the same inconsistencies are going to pop up.

They have all these neat phasing technologies which they use to great effect in the new race starting zones (and the new old race starting zones). Why didn't they do that with all of the other races' starting zones? Hell, why don't they do that with ALL of the zones?

Imagine it this way: each zone has six states. The first state is the default state for players at or below the appropriate level. I'm going to use Westfall as an example. In Westfall, the default state is that of first walking in at level 8-10. There's Old Blanchy and Farmer Mr. and Mrs Whatstheirfaces. There are Defias problems everywhere. The crops are in a perpetual state of total crap famine. Players can play through these quests all the way through to the end of the massive quest chains helping destroy broken Harvest Reapers, save peoples' farms, and foil the Defias plots. Players will stay in this game state until either they finish the quest chains or they level to a point that those quest chains no longer grant experience.

This puts the game into state 2 in which all of the major problems are solved. The local inhabitants are happy and getting back to their lives. There are repeatable or daily quests from almost all of them which don't give XP as a reward (to encourage players to GTFO and go level somewhere else), but do give money and possibly other items, such as mats needed to level crafting professions. Once a player has reached a certain level, say a bracket above the Stage 2 trigger point (this point would be level 30, and the next bracket would start at level 40), then the game advances to state 3.

State 3 is basically State 1, only with an entirely new set of problems that are updated for the new level range. Maybe after the Defias were driven out, Murlocs could swarm the shores. Players could then complete these quest chains to solve the new problems, or get to the next point (level 60 in this case) to take the game to State 4, which is State 2 for the higher level range.

State 5 begins at 85, and would probably be patched into the game zone by zone according to different tiers. Some would be available right at Cataclysm launch, others such as our Westfall example would become available at a later time (the release of Heroic Deadmines in this case, if that's not happening at launch) such as after a player completes a certain raid tier.

This updates those Zones to be relevant to the Deathwing destroying the world storyline. While the Cataclysm happens to the entire world for all players, player interaction with Deathwing starts out very low and ramps up as they advance through the zones culminating in these stage 5 zones where he is literally doing fly bys at 5 feet over your head trying to barbecue and/or eat you. Completing all of the quests in the stage 5 zones unlocks a large number of dailies similar to how Icecrown has tons of dailies all over after playing through the storylines.

There are a lot of other things which could play in here too, like reputation gear for lower level characters based on stages, but those are a different story. The main idea here is that as you go through the world, the story of the world actually changes around you as your character has his or her adventure. Things that happened are in the past where they belong. Players also get a much wider choice of where they can go for each level range to level in. Instead of having 3 or 4 level 40 appropriate zones, there become 8.

I guess I'm just kind of disappointed that they didn't take a golden opportunity to put some realism and immersion back into the game that doesn't affect game play ability.

(and before anyone says it, they haven't announced any CoT plans yet, so if players want to go back and do quests from old states they might have missed or get quest rewards they missed out on, perhaps our Bronze dragonpals could allow us to do that.)

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 12/03/2010 11:18:00 PM


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