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Old 07-11-2016, 01:23 AM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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Default Crow's Custom Campaign Concepts

So maybe about a year ago I was thinking about trying to learn how to utilize the HD WC3 assets that were made available for SC2 to make some custom campaigns that would let me tell some stories that took place pre-WoW, using the WC3 campaigns as a model for storytelling.

To make a long story short, the combination of an excitable toddler, a crippling physical injury, subsequent depression, and scope creep ultimately delayed me enough that I no longer feel confident that I could deliver on the concepts myself, but I wanted to share what I was thinking of with folks who might either a) be interested in collaborating or b) might simply have an interest in such things.

So here goes:

First War
The Fall of Draenor: WoD's rendition of how Draenor looked at the time of the Horde's creation provides fertile ground for a lot of ideas, but the chief thing is to show what the rest of the Horde is up to on Draenor while Gul'dan and Blackhand are tussling with Stormwind. This goes along with a headcanon concept I had awhile back that explained the absence of notable orcish heroes like Grom and Kargath from Azeroth during the First War by focusing their efforts on defending the Dark Portal from the Gorian Empire (and everyone else that we know is on Draenor per WoD, like the arakkoa, the saberon, the botani, etc). Having actors like Tormmok, Imperator Mar'gok, and the establishment of stuff like Gruul's ownership of Gorgrond/Blade's Edge that we'd later see in BC would be kinda neat.

Human Campaign Remix: The core mechanism here is to use WC3's storytelling method to characterize the human and orc campaigns, setting up characters who will become more important throughout the franchise.
  • The campaign starts after the failed first siege of Stormwind, with Anduin Lothar tasked with raising new levies to fight against the Horde. He's joined by Sir Gavinrad of Goldshire (thanks Baron) and Lady Mara Fordragon, the High Clerist of Stormwind.
  • Later on, as the concern over the invasion spreads, Aedelas Blackmoore is sent with a battalion from Lordaeron to aid Stormwind (which is considered the very least Terenas could do, since Blackmoore is considered a brutish drunken lout from a disgraced family and his troops are really not Lordaeron's best).
  • Lady Mara and Blackmoore cooperate to rescue Lothar from the Dead Mines after a parley with the Horde goes wrong. It turns out that "the Horde" they were parleying with was really a small splinter group led by Griselda Blackhand and her ogre lover Turok, who escape when the human forces find them. This burns much of the interest that the Stormwinders had in trying to negotiate with the Horde.
  • Llane's mother, Queen Varia, is discovered by Lady Mara to be leading an apocalyptic cult that considers the Horde's arrival a sign of the end times, and which has been providing some intelligence to the Horde as a result. This leads to Varia kidnapping the young Varian Wrynn with the intent of sacrificing him to the Old Gods for power, but when Lady Mara intercedes and rescues the boy, the Queen Mother sacrifices herself instead, becoming a Faceless One whom Lady Mara is forced to destroy.
  • When Medivh's betrayal is revealed by Khadgar and Garona, Lady Mara pleads for Medivh to be summoned to Stormwind to explain himself before the king, which Llane agrees to. Lothar takes Khadgar and Garona with him, along with a strike force of his personal guard, to confront Medivh personally, since he's more convinced by the evidence Khadgar presented.
  • While Lothar recovers from the attack on Karazhan, Lady Mara and Blackmoore take advantage of an apparent conflict within the orcish ranks (explained below) and decide to strike at the Dark Portal itself. The Burning Blade clan, given the task of securing the portal against just such an attack, fights hard, but Lady Mara succeeds in killing many of the heads of the Burning Blade, including Dharl of the Thrice-Blood Blade, his son, and two grandsons. Dharl's daughter, Azuka Bladefury, duels Lady Mara before the portal, fighting her to a standstill before being forced to withdraw, ceding control of the portal to the Stormwinders.

Orc Campaign Remix: Much like the human campaign, this attempts to place greater characterization on many of the actors in the First War from the orcs' perspective. Unlike the precedent set by later RTS games, however, the orc and human campaigns overlap with each other in terms of timeline.
  • Blackhand, having failed to defeat Stormwind quickly, opts to secure a headquarters with better resources for a drawn-out campaign, and takes the bulk of the Horde with him to the Burning Steppes so that he can take control of Blackrock Mountain. He leaves his second, Orgrim Doomhammer, to lead a campaign of harassing the Stormwinders and testing their heightening defenses.
  • Joining Orgrim are his friends Durotan and Draka, who are not in Gul'dan's favor. Durotan suspects that Gul'dan is up to something shady but has no proof, and Orgrim implores him to play by the rules.
  • Blackhand gives Orgrim the task of hunting down Griselda, who has gone rogue. Orgrim tracks her to the Deadmines and kills Turok, but Griselda bargains for her life by revealing the existence of the Shadow Council (but not who is on it). Durotan promises to learn more, and Griselda disappears.
  • Dentarg, Ner'zhul's ogre lieutenant, appears to aid Orgrim, and presents him with a message from the spirit of Durotan. The spirit explains how Durotan, Draka, and Drek'thar uncovered the truth about the Shadow Council and Gul'dan's machinations to empower himself at the expense of the orcish race. Durotan sends Draka and Drek'thar to gather the Frostwolves, while he himself goes before Blackhand to reveal what he's learned. This is when Blackhand reveals that he knows the whole story already because he's on the Shadow Council, and promptly kills Durotan.
  • Orgrim turns on Blackhand, taking his troops north to throw down with Blackhand in a mak'gora at Blackrock Mountain, which Orgrim wins.
  • Orgrim returns south to find the war has shifted dramatically: the humans crushed the Burning Blade at the Dark Portal, but then retreated when their king was assassinated by Garona, who is being kept prisoner. Orgrim rescues Garona, and learns from her where the Shadow Council have been holed up since Orgrim's takeover.
  • Orgrim butchers the Shadow Council, killing everyone except Cho'gall and Gul'dan.
  • Having rallied Azuka Bladefury and marshalled all of the Horde in Azeroth under his command, Orgrim leads the Horde to conquer Stormwind. Lady Mara leads a defensive action to cover Lothar's escape as he leads refugees out of the city, but Azuka gets her rematch with Mara. Azuka wins the duel, but Mara then calls down the Light, incinerating the two of them together. The Horde is victorious, but humanity remains defiant.

First War Side Stories: "Flight of the Frostwolves" is a single map that covers what happens to the Frostwolves after Durotan's death. Principally, Nazgrel, Drek'thar, and Draka work to evade Gul'dan's assassins (sent because Blackhand told Gul'dan that the Frostwolves knew the truth, and also because Gul'dan needs Durotan's son, who is touched by destiny). Ultimately, Naz'grel and Drek'thar escape with the clan, while Draka is ambushed by Gul'dan's demons. She's able to kill them, but is mortally wounded in the process, and sets Thrall adrift before dying. (Also, I can show you the timestamps, I wrote this a full year before the Warcraft movie came out).

Other mini-campaign (like one-map campaigns) concepts include Lothar and Khadgar protecting the Stormwind refugees during the flight from the city, and Zuluhed the Whacked uncovering the Dragon Soul.

Second War
The Reconquest: A campaign covering Varian Wrynn's efforts to secure Stormwind and re-establish the kingdom after his years in exile. A big part of this is helping to establish the scenario leading into WoW's version of Stormwind.
  • Wrynn is joined by his foster brother, Bolvar Fordragon (Lady Mara's last remaining kin) and Gelbin Mekkatorque, the High Tinker of the Gnomes. As they get situated in Stormwind once again, they encounter expert sharpshooter Tiffin Ellerian, Varian's betrothed, whose noble family stayed in Stormwind's lands fighting against the dregs of the Horde.
  • In the process they also rescue the stonemason Edwin VanCleef, cleanse Stormwind from the shade of Azuka Bladefury, and secure the Blasted Lands for the planned Nethergarde Keep.
  • Chief among the opposition that Wrynn faces in this process are the Black Tooth Grin orcs, led by Rend and Maim Blackhand. Killing Maim and driving Rend back into Blackrock Mountain is one of Wrynn's top accomplishments.

I'm interested in feedback about these concepts, and again, I'm still interested in making them a reality, but I don't think I can really do it on my own anymore.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:31 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Well thought. Not how I am doing it, but there are some similarities.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:53 PM
Ethenil Ethenil is offline

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Hah, when I read this I immediately thought of Marthen and then, next post here he is!
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:02 PM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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I wanted to expand on a few specific Hero units here:

Lady Mara: In a lot of ways, Mara's role as a High Clerist is meant to make her a kind of Hero-unit version of the Human Cleric units from WC1. It's also meant to foreshadow the evolution of paladins in WC2, which means that while Mara can and should be a hero who uses a combination of Light magic and combat abilities, she still has to be something of a proto-paladin. The only image of her in-game uses a standard statue with a sword and a round shield (which delineates her from mounted paladins with warhammers) but that's a malleable thing.

Blackmoore: If Lothar is there to represent the wise general, and Mara the idealistic/moral center of the Alliance, then Blackmoore is really there to demonstrate the xenophobic and unscrupulous aspects of humanity. In addition, it helps to seed his importance to the narrative, places him in a better position to scoop up baby Thrall, and provides a hero unit for human Footmen units, which is a position he'll yield to Danath Trollbane in WC2.

Tiffin Ellerian: In a lot of ways, I wanted to showcase a romance that acts as a counterpoint to Arthas and Jaina's relationship in WC3; namely, that was a relationship that came apart at the seams because of what the two of them believed. Varian and Tiffin's relationship can have different shades to it, especially with the sense that a) Varian is more interested in fighting and vengeance than he is on courtship and marriage and b) Tiffin resents Varian for hiding in Lordaeron for so long while his people suffered. The idea that the two of them could come together and bond over the central idea that Stormwind's people are more important than Stormwind's landmarks or military legacy would help to build both Varian and Tiffin into the leaders who establish the new Stormwind during the Third War.

Meanwhile, from a unit design standpoint, having Tiffin be a crossbowman hero unit helps to call back that unit from WC1 and give her a unique silhouette from other Warcraft archer characters, namely Sylvanas and Tyrande.
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