My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here. Z’s post about this topic can be found right here.
I think this is one of the trickiest topics we’ve had for this challenge. I had to stop myself from reading other peoples’ posts about the zones they would design because I didn’t want to get discouraged (we have some AMAZING contributors to this challenge!!!) but also I didn’t want it to impact what I had in my head.
Oh how I wish I was an artist!! I can visualise this so well in my head, but my words just aren’t going to do it justice. I’ve made do by finding other bits and pieces of images – I hope you get the idea!
So for me, when it comes to designing my zone, I had to think about what I liked most about existing zones in WoW. This is what I came up with:
- There is a reason for us to be there (i.e. it fits in with the story of the the game)
- There is loads of lore and story to reveal
- There is a reason to go back
- The zone grows and evolves as we journey through it (think Suramar and Shal’Aran)
- They have AMAZING music
- They look beautiful
- There are lots of awesome rewards
One of the newer things I love most of all has been Suramar and Shal’Aran, and the way that zone has opened up for us as we progress through the story. I love the tree growing each day, and I love that the environment changed based on where we are through the story.
With all of those things in mind, this is what I have come up with.
The Cracked Eye of Aman’Thul
One of the storylines that has always fascinated me is that of the Infinite Dragonflight, and I’ve been curious about how they’ll come back into the main story. My thoughts were that, given Kairozdormu’s involvement in getting Garrosh to alternate Draenor and leading us to bring back another Gul’dan, I feel like we’re due for another visit from the Bronze/Infinite Dragonflight to keep their plans on track. Having a read through Anne Stickney’s Know Your Lore post about the infinite dragonflight, and given we’ve now got the Eye of Aman’Thul, perhaps it’s coming sooner rather than later.
The Pillars of Creation around the Eye of Aman’Thul
Thanks to recent battles in the Nighthold, we currently have in our possession the Eye of Aman’Thul. The Eye of Aman’Thul was used to create the Nightwell in Suramar, and has some wobbly wobbly timey wimey stuff going on with it, too. Aman’Thul was the titan that gave Nozdormu the responsibility of taking care of guarding the “one true timeline” (not sure if he’s been doing such a good job of that…) As we know, Nozdormu saw his death, was corrupted and at some point in time turns into Murozond. This change hasn’t happened yet – where we are in time, Murozond has not yet been created, and Nozdormu is still around somewhere.
It seems to me that the Eye of Aman’Thul would be a very attractive item for both the Infinite Dragonflight and Nozdormu to have. Nozdormu himself could see this as a way for the Bronze Dragonflight to regain their ability to move freely through the timeways, and may also be a way for him to stop becoming Murozond. The Infinite Dragonflight would want to stop that from happening, and would seek to claim the Eye to control – if Nozdormu were to succeed, time would be rewritten and the Infinite Dragonflight would not exist.
So I see a bit of a battle over the Eye. Someone will come to claim it, and try to take it away from Azeroth, with others giving chase. They make it away from Azeroth to one of the nearby moons where the conflict takes place, during which the Eye is damaged and cracked. The explosion could also trap Nozdormu in time at the core of the Eye, leaving us to fend off the Infinite Dragonflight, find a way to release Nozdormu before he turns into Murozond, and seal the Eye of Aman’Thul before it explodes all time and energy.
The main base of this zone would be somewhere on the outer edge of the damage. The base itself would probably be relatively barren, but would have a very faint glow of golden and silver light from the Eye’s core. It would be a base of operations rather than a full city or hub.
The rest of the zone itself is quite fragmented – we’re only getting little pockets of places here and there where the leaking tendrils of power and time from the Eye stretch out and reach the pieces of the shattered moon. Each fragment is quite small (this isn’t a whole expansion I’m thinking of here, just one broken zone, although I suppose it could easily be expanded.)
Imagine something similar to this video, but with the central point being much larger and not moving around (only the little tendrils moving), the tendrils are all gold and silver, and just to the outer edge of the Shattered Moon picture above.
Where the tendrils from the Eye reach a fragment, the fragment reacts and shows what it would have been before it became a piece of a barren moon. Essentially all of the fragments would be the same world, but they would be at different points in its lifecycle. And because they are bathed in time and power, they will live and die for different durations of time. The fragments closest to the core of the Eye are the most affected, with their areas fluctuating through the lifecycle very quickly, trapped in a fast loop of growing and dying. The creatures on these fragments are very strong, thanks to the power of the Eye. Fragments that are further away are slower to age, and their enemies less strong – this is where we start.
Maybe because I’ve been watching too much Dr Who lately, but I imagine everything quite gold and silver, with the time energies casting their light over each of the fragments.
I am an absolute sucker for beautiful forests and mountains with lakes, so this is what I imagine the moon would have been in its prime:
All fragments, therefore, are variations of this, fluctuating on the full lifecycle of the birth and “death” of a planet. These cycles would happen over and over again, so there would be versions of the fragment that are still gold, but dead, and others that are brand new life growing from the barren fragment.
The creatures would be more than likely your usual forest type animals – bears and deer and birds and what not, but they would be affected by the energies around them, giving some of them strange powers, and others slight deformities. And of course the Infinite Dragonflight would be everywhere, trying to corrupt the world around them and stop players from saving Nozdormu.
I also like the idea of some fragments holding memories – this could be a neat way to have scenarios or dungeons etc., but can also help bring more lore into the zone. These memories could be used to put the pieces together to help find a way to defeat the Infinite Dragonflight and save Nozdormu. Or it could show us some of the events from when the Titans were around, and may show us a way to stop the Eye of Aman’Thul from collapsing completely.
One of the other big factors for this zone is that, because it’s a shattered world and we need to move from fragment to fragment, this would need to be a flying required zone.
- An initial quest would need to be done to develop a barrier for players so that they themselves are not directly affected by the time energies of the Eye (so that we don’t just walk into a zone and die within a few moments). This would be a short quest chain. (or maybe we have a natural protection from the energies thanks to our “Gaze of Aman’Thul” buff we get for getting all of the pillars of creation together.)
- I would also love a series of quests to give players access to flying within a couple of weeks. When we first arrive, we don’t know how to handle the time waves, so flying through them to get to the fragments is dangerous (and deadly!) We will rely on a series of portals to help us get around the fragments initially. But we don’t want to do this forever – we want to train our flying mounts to be able to manage flying around the area safely, so with the help of some Bronze Dragonflight members, they will train us to avoid the tendrils from the Eye to get us from fragment to fragment. This might unlock similar to the way we raised our little Cloud Serpent mounts back in Mists of Pandaria, but at the end of it, you get to unlock flying for yourself in a short period of time.
- I see this has a maximum level type zone that would unlock in the same way that the Isle of Thunder unlocked – with different areas/fragments being made available over time as we get stronger. Quests would be different all the time because different parts of the zone are being unlocked, but also because the fragments will be in different stages of their lifecycle, so it always feels like there are lots of different quests and you aren’t doing the same ones all the time.
- It goes without saying that there would need to be a blue box quest somewhere…
The overall goal of the zone is to get strong enough to unlock world fragments that are closer to the core. When we eventually get to the core to Nozdormu, there could be a raid where we either save him, defeat him, or save him but have events unfold as they currently exist and he turns in the Moruzond anyway.
There would be your usual recipes and gear and what not. I personally would really love to see some transmog rewards.
Related to the flying quest line – once players have unlocked flying for their own mounts, there could be a follow up series of quests and challenges that will unlock a new unique mount for you.
And of course there would need to be a mount reward from the game. This would hands down have to be an Infinite Dragon of our own. Not the new time walking one, but one that looks like the original infinite dragons, like Epoch Hunter.
So there we have it. What do you think?