Moo Tang Clan: wresting control of a zone from mobs

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

wresting control of a zone from mobs

Imagine if Halaa was controlled by NPC mobs instead of the other faction. Imagine if that basic design was extended to an entire zone. Lethal mobs would spawn constantly .. but only while certain locations remain uncaptured. If the number which has spawned exceeds a base level, they would group up and move to attack other locations. Locations deep within hostile controlled territory would have more terrible beasts and demons being spawned. Once an location is captured by players, mobs would no longer spawn from that location. Mobs would still travel to that location from other locations, putting it under constant threat.

Control of the zone would ebb and flow throughout the day and week - 3am would see it overrun by hostile NPC mobs, while during peak player hours more of the zone would be under player control.

There could even be more than npc faction in play here. In Nagrand, there are two ogre factions, some occult worshippers, the demons, and two factions of space mummies. Probably even more factions. Each NPC faction would have their preferred territory, but specific locations could well be in contention between more than one NPC faction. Some of these might well form temporary alliances, some might viciously fight each other given the right provocation. Players could thus factor this into their broader strategy - instead of fighting tooth and nail for objective A, they could go attack objective B (weaker due to fewer reinforcements?) .. and then stand back as many of the occupants of objective A issue forth to capture objective B. Now would be the time to strike at objective A, which they might now willingly retreat from.

Locations could include quest centers, grave yards, repairs, mines or other resource gathering locations, vendor centres, etc. The entire zone would have one final objective, being a major instance - the entrance to the instance would be guarded by elites that spawn from nearby locations, and opening the gate may even require the assistance of an NPC from another location .. thus you won't be able to just rush in on your fancy flying mount.

Logging off in the zone wouldn't be a safe thing to do. More exactly, logging back on wouldn't be safe .. you might find yourself totally surrounded by elite hostiles, where you were previously surrounded by friendly NPC guards. It would thus be sensible to have the base camps for Horde/Alliance being located on the edge of the zone.

This zone would be interesting for casuals who could enter the fray at any time to do their small part, perhaps doing a daily quest or two. It could also be designed to reward group efforts, with deeper locations controlled by an elite boss with massive loot drops - a guild group could thus conduct an hour long (or longer) campaign and thus be in position to be the ones to capture a strategic location and claim the loot.

(The backend infrastructure of WoW doesn't really support this style of design at all - they have very minimal server side status/AI going on at all. The zone-wide progress measures at the Isle of Quel'Danas is peanuts compared to this. More the pity.)

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