Moo Tang Clan: Flying over content, such a waste

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flying over content, such a waste

The Moo got his winter woolies on the weekend and then proceeded to explore the rest of Northrend. Flying over Storm Peaks was fun, but when I started flying over Icecrown I was struck by the magnificent desolation there, that and the legions of undead arrayed about. The geography of the place is very much linear, with huge elites guarding gates from one subzone to the next. Ominous and spooky added to the scene.

It looks like one huge outdoor raid zone, I can easily imagine a guild or two of raids carefully slogging their way through the zone, capturing safe bases along the way, establishing a tenuous foothold before waves of zombies come in the night and overwhelm what few defenders haven't logged out yet.

Such a pity then that players will simply fly over all that beautiful zone design.

I would design the zone such that there was progressive zone unlocking like the Isle of Quel'danas: fill the air with nasty flying mobs which get cleared in limited flightpaths by establishing a series of ground bases. These ground bases would have ground gunners and magnificent magics keeping the air clear around them, as well as launching powerful NPC patrols back to the prior base.

I can imagine that some of the quests could be escorting caravans of NPCs to forward bases. As each wagon arrives an additional NPC resource gets unloaded. This way, even if you're not on the quest it's in your best interest to help them get through.

Progressive unlocking of the zone, but with a temporary nature - after midnight the zombies, ghouls, wraiths, and stitched horrors come out in greater force, easily overwhelming the NPC defenders, and even overwhelming the lesser numbers of players on at that time of night. Not a good place to log out in, obviously. Don't have any inns where players could set there hearthstone to (not a good idea from the players' perspective anyway .. who wants to hearth into a zombie infested burning ruin?)

Throw in some lower tier rewards for participating in the ground assault, something requiring sustained effort (not just a quest or two). Make it such that the top tier raiding guild would still be overwhelmed by the enormity of it all - sure, they could easily capture successive staging objectives, but they wouldn't be able to do that while simultaneously defending the previously captured bases, and anyway the long slog would be an enormous time-consuming grind before they even get to the raid instance. The top raiding guilds would require the assistance of the rest of the player population, who would already be participating for the ground assault rewards anyway.

Plonk in a few smaller dungeons along the way, some on the main path of the ground assault, some down divergent gullies. Thus: don't have just the one possible path which gets unlocked - this design opens the possibility of a guild rallying the general population to go unlock a side path one weekend, and another side path some other day. This keeps the zone interesting long after the top tier blazes the main trail.

I'd love to play in that world. Much better than the static theme park of raids where you must be "this high" to ride.


Melf_Himself said...

Sounds like a great idea.

I don't think it would necessarily solve the problem you started out to solve, however, it still sounds like crazy fun :)

Garumoo said...


The only flying over of content would be along limited flight-paths which have been cleared and established by the ground bases. You could then easily and quickly fly to the front lines, but no further. Try flying elsewhere and you'll quickly be eaten by flocks and swarms of undead bats.

Now, as more and more players skip the earlier land bases, the more those bases are under threat from re-capture. If an earlier land base falls to the scourge then supplies to the front line stop, and without those supplies the defenses there will slowly be whittled down too. Better defend those ground gunners if you want to fly.