World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness (MMO Ideas)
Hey all. As I wait for the release of Classic WoW, I’ve preoccupied myself with creating my perfect MMO for me (and maybe you). This post contains an extremely rough outline of certain aspects of gameplay, gear, characters, and lore. I have included 2 maps of the Eastern Kingdoms during the Second War (remade and rebalanced, to an extent) as well as some gear, talent, and raid explanations. Obviously, some stats or gear or talents may seem overpowered or underpowered, but this is a super rough draft. Take everything with a grain of salt! ENJOY!
Table of Content:
I started this process with two separate, yet related topics.
Firstly, I’ve fully immersed myself in the lore of the First, Second, and Third Wars. This time period, to me, is the most interesting and versatile in respect to character development and possibility.
Secondly, I began to look at why I thought Classic WoW would be great and what made a great MMORPG in general. I’ve played a lot of MMOs in my life (WoW, Runescape, Tera, Rift, Warhammer Online, Black Desert, Archeage, Albion, Aion, ESO, and so on) and a lot of them fell short for one reason or another. But, a lot of them also had some really great aspects.
Rift and Archeage had an amazing talent system, where you choose 3 trees to advance down out of a limited list. Rift went one step further, having both “Branches” and “Roots” in the talent tree. You would advance through the branches, spending your points where you please, and simultaneously you would unlock new spells in the roots.
Runescape, Albion, and Archeage had diverse economies that were supplemented with unique and engaging skills/professions. Each of these professions would strengthen your character in some way, leading to either new moneymaking opportunities or allowing you access to new zones, quests, or nodes. As a result, demand for even the lowest leveled resources was always high, as players attempted to progress their accounts through more than just combat.
Warhammer Online and Archeage had meaningful PvP combat where choices you made in the world, mattered to your character development and the resources at your faction’s disposal. Large sections of zones in Warhammer were specifically designated as PvP zones with capture points, siege-able castles, and progressive content. Eventually, this would culminate in the attacking of the opposing faction’s capital city.
Lastly, ESO and WoW offered intense and challenging PvE progression that expanded from single player content into large group battles. Even to this day, the raiding and dungeon content of WoW is the penultimate PvE content in any MMO. Challenging mechanics and a focus on group play, helped forge the community of WoW. (Except LFR)
Now, you may have noticed that this has been written in the past tense, and that’s because I do not currently play any of these games. I often ask myself, despite the great memories and experiences I’ve had in some of these MMOs, why don’t I play them anymore? Well, the simple answer is, because they stop becoming engaging. WoW lacks the community of the past, Warhammer lacked dev updates and simple bug fixes, Archeage is plagued by microtransactions and pay to win, Runescape… Well Runescape is great.
My Perfect MMO
So, what would my perfect MMO look like?
My perfect MMO would feature in the World of Warcraft universe during the Second War. The Old Horde vs the Alliance of Lordaeron. Some of the lore would change, just a wee bit, to make a semi-balanced dual faction game. Tol Barad, Zul’Aman, Stormwind, Grim Batol, Khaz Modan, the Steamwheedle Cartel, will all have minor changes to make things fit more concisely together. This game would feature dynamic world events, across all zones, the outcome of which may trigger more world events and further instigate player choice. This would keep the game world feeling alive and immersive, instead of an obstacle to other content.
Players will also have access to 10 potential Talent Specializations that could be mixed and matched to create a unique character with unique abilities. 7 of these Talent Specializations would be shared between the two factions, the other 3 would be unique and faction specific. The combination of your Talents and the primary focus would determine your role and playstyle (IE: An Alliance character that focuses on Defense, Combat, and Holy, would be a Paladin. Or, if they chose to focus on Ranged, Stealth, and Combat, they would be a Ranger). This allows players to be unique, but also would help to maintain faction identity as 3 of the Talent Specializations are faction specific. Players would obviously have to level each Talent Specialization up, and won’t have instantaneous access to all of them at max level.
Progression would focus on a more horizontal, as opposed to vertical, path. This would help make gear and level upgrades have more weight while simultaneously helping to combat against power creep. And, due to the uniqueness of each character’s Talent choices, different gear sets with crazy stat combinations may see more use. For instance, a curse and bleed heavy Horde character (Combat, Blood, and Shadow in the form of a Hexer), may want to use both Strength and Intellect to pump out insane damage over time effects.
PvP and PvE will both have a large focus, not just one or the other. The Second War setting also greatly helps with this, due to the bitterness shared between both factions. Traditional PvE raids and dungeons would exist, but so would PvP raids and world events that pit both factions against one another. Zones such as Stormwind, Zul’Aman, the Thandol Span, and more, would act as brutal war fronts for both factions. I also think casual and solo play is an important aspect to any game. It won’t feature as the penultimate content, but instances such as ESO’s Delves would be a nice way to break up the traditional grind to max level.
Lastly, in order to keep a healthy economy and allow for various modes of play, I would implement an in-depth profession system. The highest end crafted gear, would be on par with the highest end raid and PvP gear. All players will have access to all professions, allowing for a new set of skills to grind outside of combat. The Commerce profession can be used to instigate open world PvP, as players take on Trade Contracts to escort goods between cities (often through hostile territory). If the caravan makes it to the destination, they are rewarded with gold and items. Yet, caravans can also be raided by the opposing faction and the goods stolen.
This would be my perfect MMO. A game that has balance but isn’t completely balanced. A game where a player’s decisions matter to both themselves and the world. A game where an active and open community is required to get things done. A game where new content doesn’t completely invalidate old content. A game where PvP and PvE flourish.
TLDR: Using the lore of WoW and a combination of attributes from various MMOs, focusing on player choice, player interaction, progressive PvP and PvE, I created a rough outline of a WoW MMO set in the Second War.
When creating a character, you not only have a choice on a faction and race level, but also on a house/clan/kingdom level. For instance, when you create an Orc, you can choose which clan you wish to join. This may offer different cosmetic choices, a different storyline, and maybe even a slightly different racial ability.
This would add a lot of extra flavor to your character and your character's journey.
- Orcs (Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer)
- Black Tooth
- Bleeding Hollow
- Burning Blade
- Trolls (Chieftain Zul'jin)
- Ogres (Chieftain Cho'Gall)
- Fire Gut
- Splinter Fist
- Goblins (Trade Prince Steamwheedle)
- Humans (King Terenas Menethil)
- Kul Tiras
- High Elves (King Anasterian Sunstrider)
- Dwarves (King Magni Bronzebeard)
- Gnomes (High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque)
- Stamina: Stamina acts as the primary source of increased health.
- Strength: Strength acts as the primary source for all physical damage abilities and attacks.
- Intellect: Intellect acts as the primary source for all magical damage abilities and augments.
- Spirit: Spirit acts as the primary source for all healing abilities and regeneration.
- Agility: Agility acts as the primary source for critical strike chance and critical strike damage.
- Toughness: Toughness acts as the primary source for all armor and physical defense.
- Resilience: Resilience acts as the primary source for all resistance and magical defense.
- Haste: Haste acts as the primary source for attack speed, cast speed, and action point regeneration.
- Plate: Plate has the highest base Defense and Resistance of all armor. Plate also decreases the duration of crowd control effects against the wearer.
- Leather: Leather has a medium base Defense and Resistance. Leather also increase base attack damage and haste.
- Cloth: Cloth has the lowest base Defense and Resistance of all armor. Cloth also decreases the cast time of abilities and reduces the chance of interruption.
- Tiger: Strength and Agility
- Gorilla: Strength and Intellect
- Falcon: Agility and Intellect
- Wolf: Agility and Spirit
- Owl: Intellect and Spirit
- Crocolisk: Strength and Toughness
- Dragon: Strength and Resilience
- Shark: Strength and Haste
- Raptor: Agility and Toughness
- Dolphin: Agility and Haste
Neutral Talent Specializations
Defense (Focused on tanking and protection)-
- Shield Slam: Swings your shield at the enemy target, dealing Physical damage and dazing them for 6 seconds. If the target is struck by another Shield Slam before the daze wears off, they are instead stunned for the duration.
Shield Slam’s cooldown is reduced by 2 second for each successful Block.
- Enchanted Aegis: A Magical shield is raised around the caster, increasing the block chance from all Abilities and Attacks by 10% each second for 10 seconds. After Enchanted Aegis wears off, the caster is healed for 100% of the blocked damage.
- Guardian: Applies a protective shield to a targeted ally, instantly knocking back and stunning all enemies within 5 yards of the ally and transferring 50% of the damage taken to the caster for 8 seconds.
Combat (Focused on melee and engage)-
- Mortal Strike: An instant attack that deals Physical damage and reduces the effectiveness of healing on the target by 50% for 10 seconds. Mortal Strike’s effectiveness is reduced by 10% every 2 seconds.
- Intimidation: Roots the enemy target for 6 seconds and fears all enemies within 8 yards for 4 seconds. If the targeted enemy is below 50% health, apply 3 stacks of Sunder Armor.
Sunder Armor reduces the enemy target’s armor by 4% per stack. Can stack up to 5 times.
- Mighty Blow: Instantly consume all stacks of Sunder Armor, dealing bonus Physical damage for each stack and refreshing all Bleeds on the target. If the target is below 20% health, Sunder Armor stacks are not consumed.
Arcane (Focused on magic and support)-
- Spell Steal: Steals a beneficial Magical effect from the enemy target. If Spell Steal is successful, the ability can be recast to apply a 20% slow on the target for 8 seconds.
- Reflective Mind: Applies a Magical buff for 5 seconds that reflects the next damaging spell done against the caster, back to the enemy and silences them for 5 seconds.
- Arcane Blast: Hurls a bolt of arcane energy at the enemy target that deals Magic damage and applies 1 stack of Clarity to the caster.
After 3 stacks of Clarity, the next spell with a casting time less than 5 seconds becomes instant and deals increased damage or healing.
Ranged (Focused on range and disengage)-
- Endless Assault: Fires 5 consecutive projectiles over the course of 5 seconds, dealing Physical damage and decreasing the target’s movement speed by 20% during the assault.
Movement will not interrupt Endless Assault’s channel.
- Explosive Shot: Shoots a ranged projectile at a targeted enemy, applying a 5 second timer. Activating Explosive Shot a second time or allowing the timer to wear off, detonates the shot. Detonation deals Magic damage and stuns the target.
The damage and stun are increased the longer the timer is active on the target.
- Snipe: Shoots a powerful projectile towards an enemy, dealing Magic damage to the target and all enemies in the projectile’s path. Snipe cannot be evaded, blocked, or parried.
Stealth (Focused on stealth and ambushing)-
- Shadow Step: Teleports the caster behind a targeted ally or enemy and increases movement speed by 50% for 3 seconds.
Shadow Step’s cooldown is reset if the caster was in Stealth during its use.
- Illusion: Creates 2 additional copies of the caster, which mimic abilities and attacks for 20 seconds at reduced effectiveness. When an Illusion is killed, a Smoke Bomb is dropped at its location.
Smoke Bomb silences all enemies within 5 yards for 4 seconds.
- Marked for Death: Marks an enemy for 12 seconds, increasing the caster’s damage and critical strike chance against them by 10%. After Marked for Death wears off, the targeted enemy receives additional Magic damage equivalent to 50% of the total critical damage dealt to them by the caster.
Nature (Focused on healing and buffing)-
- Life Bloom: Heals the target over 15 seconds and increases movement speed by 5% every 5 seconds. When Life Bloom wears off or is purged, the target is instantly healed for a large amount and gains 30% movement speed for 3 seconds.
- Living Seed: Places a Living Seed on an ally that increases their haste by 15% for 6 seconds. After the effect wears off, all allies within 10 yards are healed and all enemies are rooted for 4 seconds.
- Whispers in the Wind: The caster becomes immune to all silence effects for 10 seconds and converts 25% of Magic damage received into health.
Control (Focused on crowd control and defense)-
- Mental Tear: Deliver a shock to the enemy, dealing Magic damage and interrupting any spell casting. If Mental Tear is successful, the ability can be reactivated to allow the caster to instantly cast the enemy’s interrupted spell.
- Enervate: Weaken the enemy’s resolve, increasing the duration of crowd control effects against the target by 30% and damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds.
- Indomitable: Removes all crowd control effects from all allies within 5 yards of the caster and grants crowd control immunity for 4 seconds.
Alliance Talent Specializations
Holy (Focused on healing and shielding)-
- Light’s Shield: Places a Magical shield on an ally for 15 seconds that absorbs damage. After the shield is broken or wears off, the ally is healed for 100% of the damage absorbed.
- Atonement: Places a blessing on an ally for 30 seconds, granting a 15% chance for damage against the target to be converted into health.
- Holy Shock: Hurls a burst of light to the target. Holy Shock deals Magic damage to an enemy or healing to an ally. If Holy Shock lands a critical strike, the caster’s next direct spell deals 50% increased healing or damage.
Holy Shock has double the normal critical strike chance.
Tinker (Focused on support and crowd control)-
- Flash Bomb: Instantly throws a bomb to a targeted area, dealing Magic damage and disorienting all enemies in 5 yards.
- Electrified Charge: Shoots a bolt of energy to the target, applying Electrify for 10 seconds. Enemies have 10% reduced haste and have a chance to be stunned for 3 seconds when hit. Allies have 10% increased haste and have a chance to deal extra magic damage on hit.
- Mech Suit: Encases the caster in a metal suit for 20 seconds that increases armor and resistance, grants a temporary absorption shield, and supplies the caster with a new set of abilities.
- Flame Thrower: Channels a burst of Magical damage in a cone in front of the caster that applies a Burn to any enemies hit. The Burn is refreshed with each tick of Flame Thrower.
- Hook and Grind: Fires a hook towards a targeted enemy. The first enemy hit on the hook’s path, is pulled to the caster and dealt physical damage. Activating the ability a second time, roots the target and applies a Bleed.
- Shock: Hurls a jolt of electricity at an enemy, dealing magic damage and stunning the target for 4 seconds.
- Jump Pack. Jump through the air toward a target location, slamming down to the ground and dealing Physical damage. The trail behind you is lit aflame, dealing Magic damage to any enemy that stands in it.
- Field Repair: The caster begins to channel repairs to the Mech Suit. Each tick of the channel heals the caster and applies a burst of energy that shields allies within 5 yards.
- Eject: Abandon the Mech Suit, firing you in the air to a targeted location and applying a parachute.
Runic (Focused on buffing and debuffing)-
- Rune of Balance: Places a magical rune on the target, purging one positive effect from an enemy or dispelling one negative effect from an ally.
If Rune of Balance purges an enemy, the enemy becomes silenced for 4 seconds.
If Rune of Balance dispels a negative effect from an ally, the ally may activate the rune to recast the negative effect on an enemy.
- Rune of Power: Places a rune on an ally that increases their damage by 5% for 30 seconds. The ally may activate the rune to increase damage and haste by 20% for 5 seconds.
- Master Rune of Sanctuary: Inscribes a large rune on the ground for 10 seconds. All enemies within 10 yards of the rune are dealt Magic damage and all allies are healed every 2 seconds. After the rune wears off, all allies receive a Rune of Sanctuary.
The Rune of Sanctuary grants health on hit. The ally may activate the rune to grant a magical absorption shield.
Horde Talent Specializations
Shadow (Focused on curses and magic)-
- Twin Souls: Curses an enemy target for 10 seconds, dealing Magic damage each time they cast an ability or attack. The caster is healed for 200% of the damage dealt. Twin Shadows deals more damage the lower the enemy’s health.
- Master of Agony: Places a Steadfast on an enemy target that prevents all curses from being dispelled or removed for 8 seconds. If a curse wears off during Master of Agony, it is immediately reapplied.
- Horrifying Visions: Places a curse on an enemy that slows them by 10% each second for 6 seconds. If Horrifying Visions wears off without being dispelled, the target is feared for 6 seconds.
Blood (Focused on buffing and bleeds)-
- Enrage: Grants an ally a Steadfast for 8 seconds that causes all direct attacks and abilities to apply a stack of Lacerate to the enemy target.
Lacerate is a bleed that deals Physical damage over 10 seconds and applies a 5% slow. Lacerate can stack up to 5 times.
- Call of Blood: Places a Physical buff on an ally that increases haste by 15% for 5 seconds. After the effect wears off, any damage done to the targeted ally during Call of Blood is healed.
- Transfusion: Releases a wave of blood magic in an area around the caster that transfers all Bleed effects from the primary enemy target, to all enemies within 8 yards.
Elemental (Focused on healing and support)-
- Cleansing Storm: All enemies within 10 yards of the caster are slowed by 20% and knocked away, while all allies are healed and cleansed of 1 negative Magical effect.
- Call of the Elements: Hurls an elemental blast at the target that bounces between 4 additional allies and enemies. Any enemies that are hit suffer Flame Shock and Earth Shock, while any allies that are hit benefit from Water Shock and Air Shock.
- Flame Shock: Deals Magic damage over 5 seconds.
- Earth Shock: Roots the target in place for 5 seconds.
- Water Shock: Heals the target over 5 seconds.
- Air Shock: Increases the movement speed and haste of the target by 15% for 5 seconds.
- The Third Eye: Resets the cooldown an all abilities with a base cooldown shorter than 3 minutes on the targeted ally.
- Tol Barad
- Grim Batol
- Alterac City
- Tomb of Sargeras
(Having the end raids focus on Medivh and Gul'dan is important to give a sense of closure to the Second War and helps bring the story full circle to the two that started it all.)
- Tol Barad: Baradin Hold is Tol Barad’s central structure; an imposing prison, housing devious criminals and untold monsters alike. Sinister secrets can be found deep in the prison’s chambers, many inmates going mad from the ceaseless whispers that echo through its darkness. In recent years, it seems that even the wardens and mages that guard the prison’s walls have succumbed to the curse of insanity.
End Boss: High Warden Anisor (Ek’itrathix)
- Zul’Gurub: Zul’Gurub is the capital of the Gurubashi trolls; a tribe that once controlled the vast jungles of ancient Kalimdor. Now a mere shadow of their former greatness, the Gurubashi seek to once again hold dominance over Azeroth. Taking advantage of the war between the Alliance and the Horde, Jin’do the Godbreaker has begun preparations to summon Hakkar the Soulflayer into the world.
End Boss: Hakkar the Soulflayer
- Grim Batol: Once the proud capital of the Wildhammer Clan, the city was besieged by the Dark Iron Clan during the War of the Three Hammers. Led by Modgud, the wife of Thaurissan, the Dark Iron Clan called on ancient shadows from beneath the earth to curse the city and attack its defenders. Even after her eventual defeat at the hands of Khardros, the shadows summoned by Modgud continued to haunt the under-halls and forges of Grim Batol.
End Boss: Modgud the Undying
- Alterac City: A small kingdom situated between Lordaeron and Stromgarde, Alterac has always felt threatened by her larger neighbors. Isolated and alienated, King Aiden Perenolde was reluctant to bring Alterac into war against the Horde. After having finally conceded to join the Alliance, King Aiden just as quickly betrayed it. In the end, Alterac’s loyalties remain only with itself.
End Boss: King Aiden Perenolde and the Alteraci King’s Guard
- Karazhan: Following the death of Medivh, the last Guardian of Tirisfal, Kharazan and the surrounding landscape has settled into an unending darkness. A terrible curse suffocates the land, drawing all manner of abhorrent constructs and monsters. Yet, the knowledge and power within Karazhan’s towers remain intact, with the Dark Riders at its core.
End Boss: Medivh’s Shadow and the Dark Riders
- **Tomb of Sargeras:**The ancient and watery Tomb of Sargeras has resurfaced near the island of Balor through the twisted magic of Gul’dan and his Shadow Council. At the behest of Medivh through the promise of godhood, Gul’dan was tricked into serving the Legion and bringing the Horde into Azeroth. His treachery to both the Alliance and the Horde has left him with few friends.
End Boss: Gul’dan
- Stormwind City
(Although in the lore, Stormwind is not retaken until the end of the Second War and Zul'Aman was not touched until BC, these two zones represent perfect areas for PvP raids and invasion points. Other zones such as Arathi Highlands, Wetlands, and Stranglethorn Vale also work for great open world PvP zones with capture and control points)
- Stormwind City: The penultimate conclusion to the First War between orcs and men, saw the siege, capture, and destruction of Azeroth’s crown jewel, Stormwind City. Under the leadership of King Llane, the men of Azeroth defended their city and their homes with a steely determination. However, at the height of battle, King Llane was cut down by the Horde assassin Garona Halforcen. Anduin Lothar, now regent of Stormwind, seeks revenge against the Horde and a chance to start anew.
Alliance Leader: Anduin Lothar
Horde Leader: Teron Gorefiend
- Zul’Aman: Reluctant to fully commit themselves to the aid of the Alliance, the High Elves of Quel’Thalas were caught unaware by the power of the Horde and their Amani allies. Relying on the raw magical power of the Sunwell to protect Silvermoon City, the Elves eventually stabilized and resisted the Horde. In a series of retaliatory campaigns, Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner was able to subdue Zul’Aman. Zul’jin will not stan for this and seeks to reclaim his lost city.
Alliance Leader: Sylvanas Windrunner
Horde Leader: Warlord Daakara
- Mining: A gathering profession focused on extracting metals and precious gems from rocks.
- Logging: A gathering profession focused on harvesting wood, fruits, and fibers from trees.
- Skinning: A gathering profession focused on removing furs and skins from slain beasts.
- Herbalism: A gathering profession focused on harvesting herbs and flowers from bushes.
- Fishing: A gathering profession focused on catching fish from fresh and ocean water.
- Blacksmithing: A crafting profession focused on refining raw metals and forging plate armor and weapons.
- Leatherworking: A crafting profession focused on tanning hides and producing leather armor and goods.
- Tailoring: A crafting profession focused on weaving fabrics and producing cloth armor and goods.
- Woodworking: A crafting profession focused on carving wood into staves and ranged weapons.
- Jewelcrafting: A crafting profession focused on cutting gems and producing valuable jewelry.
- Enchanting: A crafting profession focused on creating magical scrolls and enchants.
- Alchemy: A crafting profession focused on concocting potions and consumables.
- Engineering: A crafting profession focused on creating various gadgets and unique items.
- Cooking: A crafting profession focused on combining edible ingredients into food.
- First Aid: A crafting profession focused on sewing bandages and creating antidotes and cures.
- Commerce: A support profession focused on trade contracts and sale of goods.
- Farming: A support profession focused on growing crops and raising animals.
- Thievery: A support profession focused on slight of hand and the unlocking of doors, chests, and lockboxes.
Any and all feedback is welcome!
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