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Old 11-21-2010, 05:17 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Default Revamping Outland and Northrend level flow and storyline

We don't have any good thread about this, just minor discussions here and there. This thread could help gather all the discussion in a single compact place.

You can see the current level flow here: http://www.wowpedia.org/Zones_by_level_(original) (it's an archive version for Cataclysm, so no one is supposed to edit it). Our main objective would be to create a clear flow, just like with Cataclysm.

My level flow ideas so far:

Outland

We have 10 levels, and 7 zones. If we force players level through the 7 zones, 4 zones would give 1 level, and 3 would give 2. However, I don't think this is a good idea. I'd rather have the player play through only 5 zones. This would allow a flow of 2 levels per zone, something like this:

(60-62)/(62-64)/(64-66)/(66-68)/(68-70)

Now, the key is to decide which 2 ranges have 2 different zone options. The obvious one is to split the 2 last zones, making everyone share the first 3 zones, but I don't know. By the current flow, Terokkar comes before Nagrand, so that complicates it a bit. The answer could be to put Nagrand before Terokkar. It would look like this:

-(60-62): Hellfire Peninsula
-(62-64): Zangarmarsh
-(64-66): Nagrand
-(66-68): Blade's Edge Mountains ~ Terokkar Forest
-(68-70): Netherstorm ~ Shadowmoon Valley

Northrend

This one will be harder than Outland. We have 9 zones, and again, 10 levels. Making the players run across all the zones is just not an option. Covering the 10 levels with 5 zones doesn't feel right, either. 6 could be a good number. This distribution could work:

(70-72)/(72-74)/(74-76)/(76-78)/(78-79)/(79-80)

Since we have 2 entrances to Northrend, I think the key this time is to split the beginning, and then split the ending like Outland. It would look like this:

-(70-72): Borean Tundra ~ Howling Fjord
-(72-74): Sholazar Basin ~ Grizzly Hills
-(74-76): Dragonblight
-(76-78): Zul'Drak
-(78-79): Crystalsong Forest
-(79-80): Icecrown ~ Storm Peaks

Whatever, I don't feel comfortable with this yet. Dragonblight -> Zul'Drak -> Crystalsong is a must-for-everyone, imo, and Grizzly Hills should be optional. I'm still not sure.

Well, opinions or ideas?

--------

Also, I've made my own "zones by level" chart with my custom 1-60 flow at WoWPedia, and since I'm happy with it, I'm looking towards doing the same for Outland and Northrend.

If you have an account at WoWPedia, you can try building your own chart using the same tools I used. Open www.wowpedia.org/User:<your_user_name>/Zones_by_level and copy the layout I have here: www.wowpedia.org/User:Lon-ami/Zones_by_level

The template is goddamn easy to use (I made it myself). If you need documentation, just look here: http://www.wowpedia.org/Template:Level

If you want a visual result of your level flow idea, this is a great way to do it, imo. Give it a try .
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:26 AM
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Ah, now here we go! This is something I feel a bit more passionate about than a new expansion so I'll write up some ideas now!
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:23 AM
Nindoriel Nindoriel is offline

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Level flow isn't that important to me I think it's ok right now. What I'm more interested in is the design of the zone and the storyline. What does a post-WotLK Outland look like? What happens to Kael'Thas and Illidan and their raids, what's with the naga in Zangarmarsh, what's with the blood elves in Netherstorm, what's with the Illidari and the Dragonmaw in Shadowmoon Valley?
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:08 AM
Urth Urth is offline

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Didn't we do this already? I distinctly remember trying to photoshop maps of Outland, moving Tempest Keep to a dock at Firewing Point. HED or someone didn't like my idea of reducing the 60-70 level flow to only 3 zones and then sandboxing the rest for 85-90.

Is this a thread were we imagine Outland or Northrend being the location of another expansion or do you really think they'd just "clean up" the quests and story for a middle level range that's zoomed through with heirlooms and zone-wide xp buffs?
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:21 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urth View Post
Didn't we do this already? I distinctly remember trying to photoshop maps of Outland, moving Tempest Keep to a dock at Firewing Point. HED or someone didn't like my idea of reducing the 60-70 level flow to only 3 zones and then sandboxing the rest for 85-90.

Is this a thread were we imagine Outland or Northrend being the location of another expansion or do you really think they'd just "clean up" the quests and story for a middle level range that's zoomed through with heirlooms and zone-wide xp buffs?
I don't remember that, if it was done, I'm sure it was inside another thread, and not one with a related title.

As for the point of this thread, it's to apply the "Cataclysm" treatment to Outland and Northrend, updating everything to make sense lore-wise and softening the level flow to make it more entertaining to play.

In my opinion, both Outland and Northrend have the same "mess" factor of vanilla. With Cataclysm, you start the next zone when you finish with the current one, and you don't suffer "I could already leave for the next zone, or stay here and get 2 levels more" problems, that carry to doing quests that are for lower levels and stuff like that.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:23 AM
Exxile87 Exxile87 is offline

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That's all well and good, but what about the story? I'll go work on my take and be back with it later.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:26 AM
Nindoriel Nindoriel is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urth View Post
HED or someone didn't like my idea of reducing the 60-70 level flow to only 3 zones and then sandboxing the rest for 85-90.
I actually love that idea and I had a similar one.
The thing with Outland is, you can't revamp everything for leveling beyond level 85. You'd take away the level 60-70 experience. So you either revamp part of Outland for 60-70 and part for level 85+, or you just go back and make the 60-70 stuff cohesive to the Cataclysm storyline. I think it would be cooler to have a level 85-90 story there as well, there's still so much in Outland you can do there.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:29 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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I think we need a concise level flow before getting the story out. In the Cataclysm model, where progression is more controlled, most of the quests reference events that happened in the lower level zones.

We need to be careful with that.

Also, as for Lich King and Illidan, I don't know what treatment should they be receiving. Maybe the expansion where they update these continents can be linked to the zones, providing new villains to replace the original ones, but I seriously doubt it. I think that "the bad guy is still around" treatment is the best one. That, or some sorts of "memory".

For example, at the Black Temple, we could find a party of Sha'tar, that are going to clean the place, and we need to fight the "soul" of the crimes committed here or something.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:40 AM
Nindoriel Nindoriel is offline

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I'm thinking. Can demonic power resurrect someone? I'm not sure if that's something I'd like to see, but wouldn't the Illidari at least try to bring him back? Wouldn't that make sense?
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:50 AM
Sonneillon Sonneillon is offline

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Originally Posted by Nindoriel View Post
I'm thinking. Can demonic power resurrect someone? I'm not sure if that's something I'd like to see, but wouldn't the Illidari at least try to bring him back? Wouldn't that make sense?
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:57 AM
Urth Urth is offline

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Nindoriel:

Cataclysm's changes to level flow suggest each zone can support 5 levels for a player's progression. As we get bigger and bigger, zones need to get bigger to support enough quests and mobs to level us.

BUT, lets say Outland 2.0 has 3-4 levels per zone.

Hellfire Peninsula: 59-62
Terrokar Forest: 63-66
Shadowmoon Valley: 67-70

BBL folks.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:04 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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I don't think any of us would want that. A logical minimum is 5, imo. Note that Cataclysm has only 4.

There shouldn't be more than 2 levels per zone.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:17 AM
Gurtogg_Bloodboil Gurtogg_Bloodboil is offline

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Originally Posted by Sonneillon View Post
Kael'thas
Well, that's not technically true since Kael'thas never actually died. We just beat him into intensive care and Priestess Delrissa gave him what amounted to a demonic pace-maker.

However, we have seen that arcane magic can resurrect someone: Medivh.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:27 AM
Exxile87 Exxile87 is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lon-ami View Post
I think we need a concise level flow before getting the story out. In the Cataclysm model, where progression is more controlled, most of the quests reference events that happened in the lower level zones.

We need to be careful with that.

Also, as for Lich King and Illidan, I don't know what treatment should they be receiving. Maybe the expansion where they update these continents can be linked to the zones, providing new villains to replace the original ones, but I seriously doubt it. I think that "the bad guy is still around" treatment is the best one. That, or some sorts of "memory".

For example, at the Black Temple, we could find a party of Sha'tar, that are going to clean the place, and we need to fight the "soul" of the crimes committed here or something.
How can you expect to send someone through the zones without some idea of WHY they're in those zones? Story should come before the map.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:31 AM
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Add a portal from Silithus to Zangarmarsh to begin with. Make Zangarmarsh 60-62. Otherwise I don't think level ranges need to be messed with too much. And yeah, update the story, blahblahblah.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:41 AM
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Not so long ago, I did write up how would I revamp the level flow of Outland.
You would start either in Netherstorm or in Hellfire, which are both 58-60 now. You get to Netherstorm from either Exodar or Silvermoon, there are now portals to the Tempest Keep, which is the first Sha'tar hub. In Netherstorm you fight with a new insurrection of the Felblood Elves, who seem to believe Kael'thas is still (or again) alive (spoiler: he isn't). In Hellfire, druids seem to have planted quite a jungle in the area around the portal, but as you come to your faction's city, you discover a new influx of fel orcs. As you discover, Magtheridon "respawned" and is now heading the new army - once he's unleashed, he burns down the jungle, and you are sent to raid his ass.
Then, I didn't do much story, only the general level flow - Zangarmarsh 60-62 (you get there from both previous zones), Terokkar for 62-64, then Nagrand for 64-66, and finally Blade's Edge and Shadowmoon for 66-68.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:09 AM
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Here's my thought: instead of having a single levelling path, why not split Outland into two separate levelling paths, like the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor have become? At every point, you have a choice of which zone to go to. This gives you something different to do when you level up the next alt, and keeps every zone relevant. I agree wholeheartedly with Aldrius's idea for the portal from Cenarion Hold to Zangarmarsh - this way, both that storyline and the Blasted Lands->Hellfire transition can be almost seamless.

Then we have:
Hellfire->Terrokar->Blade's Edge->Shadowmoon (Legion storyline)
Zangarmarsh->Nagrand->Blade's Edge->Netherstorm (Outland storyline)
(60-63)->(63-66)->(66-67)->(67-70)

The level flow when you have an odd number of zones may always be a little awkward - which is why I have the idea that both sides could work in Blade's Edge briefly, though in different parts of the zone.

My two storylines work something like this:
The Legion storyline focuses on their constant attempts to break through into Azeroth, raged by the failures of Kil'jaeden and Varimathras (main players: humans, dwarves, gnomes, draenei, orcs, blood elves, goblins).
The Outland storyline focuses on the region's continual deterioration, as the player attempts to stop Draenor from collapsing completely (main players: night elves, worgen, draenei, orcs, undead, tauren, troll).
Obviously, both storylines will expand out to be a little more complex than that. I anticipate that the Outland storyline will involve more of the native races of Draenor, while the Legion storyline will focus more on the Azerothian races establishing a foothold.

Gah, now I have all sorts of cool ideas. This is fun.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:15 AM
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Some possible major storylines for a revamped Outland:

1. Return of the Apexis: These ancient arrakoa returned after the death of Terrok. It appears they controlled their race through this false god. They forged an alliance with the Nexus King's faction and try to control outland.
2. Netherwing corruption: Surviving demon forces get their hands on the Netherwing eggs and massproduce nether infused fel dragons. Also there will be fel ogres.
3. A'dal reaches the end of his cycle: As the most powerful void god he opens many void portals all over outland which plaque the shattered land even further.
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:07 AM
Lon-ami Lon-ami is offline

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I think it should be split, but less "forcedly".

Outland has an "E" form. The branches are easy to detect:

-North branch: Blade's Edge Mountains -> Netherstorm
-South branch: Terokkar Forest -> Shadowmoon Valley

Also, North is pretty much Burning Legion, without Illidari around, and South is just the opposite, Illidari territory.

Hellfire Peninsula -> Zangarmarsh -> Nagrand should be for everyone, imo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exxile87 View Post
How can you expect to send someone through the zones without some idea of WHY they're in those zones? Story should come before the map.
Not if you want the story to be progressed through the different zones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
Add a portal from Silithus to Zangarmarsh to begin with. Make Zangarmarsh 60-62. Otherwise I don't think level ranges need to be messed with too much. And yeah, update the story, blahblahblah.
I like this. It would be an easy way to have the Cenarion Circle linked with the Cenarion Expedition. The only thing I dislike of this idea is that 2 zones of the same level would be stick to each other, and that feels bad designed.

However, they could always have some other way to level the levels of Hellfire Peninsula, like at Ahn'Qiraj: The Fallen Kingdom, and then send you to Outland from an Emerald Portal or something.
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:23 AM
Jigsaw Complex Jigsaw Complex is offline

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I hope that Outland is revamped to have us cleaning up the Burning Legion there, while leaving some bread crumbs to tease us about a future expansion.

Also, Northrend MUST have a chain that ends with the player coming close to discovering that the Lich King isn't really dead only to have Darion Mograine, Bolvar's warden and guardian show up to be like "It would be best if you leave...'
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:34 AM
ScytheRexx ScytheRexx is offline

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You know one idea I was playing with was to reverse the level flow of Outland if it goes through some Catacysm-style changes.

Basically, the Burning Legion has come back in force, and secured the Dark Portal. They add demons streaming out and the Horde and Alliance forces (including the named guys from the Dark Portal side that retreated) are now fighting them, much like the Burning Crusade pre-release event.

Both factions have instead opened portals that lead to either the now Naaru controlled Tempest Keep, or the Shattered Sun controlled Black Temple. Obviously in the interests of allowing people to do the old raids, the instance portals would still be there (or relocated, maybe have a Bronze Dragon there with a new portal that says "Hey want to go back and see "insert raid here"? Then allow me to show you!")

Then the level flow will move outward from these zones back towards the Dark Portal.

Shadowmoon Valley, the story will be about the Shattered Sun fighting the Burning Legion and what remains of the Illidari. Certain areas like Netherwing Ledge will remain high level, otherwise all the mobs are lowered to a starter level.

Netherstorm will be in the process of revitalization thanks to the Consortium, with the help of the Naaru. However the remains of Kael'tha's forces have come out of hiding and making that process difficult.

I don't want to talk about every zone, so let's skip now over to the last one, Hellfire Pennisula. It has basically become the highest level zone with lots of changes to the geography. The Fel Orcs and Burning Legion are the main threats in all areas still, but now they control the Dark Portal. Thrallmar and Honor Hold are the last fortresses, trying desperately to hold off the Burning Legion and retake the Dark Portal, which they are pumping full of energy in order to open another "pathway" to a demon world, Argus. "Argus" would be the final raid and once again involve Kil'jaeden.

As for other dungeons are raids? Due to all the demon activity many of the other portals are being opened all over the place (Nagrand's Twilight Ridge, Zangarmarsh's Western Doorway). I actually consider this expansion the "planar" expansion because all the new dungeons are basically other worlds, for instance the hound world portal in Blade's Edge, or a new portal in Netherstorm that leads to K'resh.

Even if they don't reverse the level pathway, I still think using Outland as the hub for a planar expansion would be a great idea. Then you can add new dungeons and places without really doing a lot of editing to the old world. Maybe even rather then dungeons make a few of the portal locations into "zones".

Quote:
Also, Northrend MUST have a chain that ends with the player coming close to discovering that the Lich King isn't really dead only to have Darion Mograine, Bolvar's warden and guardian show up to be like "It would be best if you leave...'
The "player" already knows he is not dead, since the game assumes the "player" was part of the events killing Arthas. Just because we don't see our characters in the little mini-cinematic does not mean we are not there. Bolvar even points this out when he says "You and these brave heroes".

In essence we would be trying to figure it out for other people, which would be kind of odd since we already know.

Last edited by ScytheRexx; 11-21-2010 at 10:43 AM..
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:34 AM
Ashendant Ashendant is online now

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Originally Posted by Jigsaw Complex View Post
I hope that Outland is revamped to have us cleaning up the Burning Legion there, while leaving some bread crumbs to tease us about a future expansion.

Also, Northrend MUST have a chain that ends with the player coming close to discovering that the Lich King isn't really dead only to have Darion Mograine, Bolvar's warden and guardian show up to be like "It would be best if you leave...'
I think the "player" knows
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:41 AM
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I think the "player" knows
No he doesn't (we're not supposed to see that video).
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:45 AM
ScytheRexx ScytheRexx is offline

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No he doesn't (we're not supposed to see that video).
Yes you are, I mentioned it above, but the "player" is still there somewhere on the platform. It points this out when Bolvar says "You and these brave heroes have your own destinies to fulfill." If the "player" was not there he wouldn't have to say that second part.

The only reason we don't see the player is because Blizzard didn't want to have to make two videos, one with generic looking Horde, and another with generic looking Alliance, so they have Bolvar just imply your somewhere off-screen.
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:48 AM
HalfElfDragon HalfElfDragon is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urth View Post
HED or someone didn't like my idea of reducing the 60-70 level flow to only 3 zones and then sandboxing the rest for 85-90.
Yeah, that was me. For the record, I'm still not a fan of the concept.
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