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  1. #1

    Reinvention: Stratholme


    Stratholme Renewed
    Level 45-50 Questing Sub-zone

    Introduction:
    I suppose anyone paying attention (or quickly checking my post history) knows I tend to enjoy throwing ideas around, often taking existing content and reconfiguring it. Cataclysm has the potential to take everything as it is now and transform it, so lately I've been thinking; after 5 years, what changes have come to various corners of the world?

    During another recent thread, I offhandedly commented that Stratholme needs a little tinkering. After all, it has been burning for 5 years now. All attempts at explanation aside (magical fire, etc.), there's really no reason for the city to remain as it is now. For one, Eastern Plaguelands is changing from a Level 60 zone to a level 45-50 zone, so the level of mobs is no longer relevant. Though we don't know exactly what will happen to the Scourge, it can be assumed that they will be weakened or redirected elsewhere after the events of Icecrown Citadel.

    Thus, this thread; a reinvention of the Stratholme dungeon to better suit the world of Cataclysm.

    Lore:
    With the Lich King's full attention turned towards the defense of his Citadel, the Plaguelands grew have steadily grown less hostile. Seeing an opportunity to reclaim the devastated landscape in the name of the Cenarion Circle, Rayne and Rimblat Earthshatter have spent the last year (before the Cataclysm) attempting to restore balance to the forests. Knowing that a weed will regrow if not completely uprooted, the Druids set their sights on the dark heart of the Plaguelands; Stratholme.

    Meanwhile the remaining Alchemists of the Apothecary Society have been narrowly evading capture in Northrend. With Putress slain and Varimathias unaccounted for, the leaderless band of Forsaken have rallied around Plaguemaster Morell, a politically ambitious and calculating individual. While leading his fellow alchemists to Howling Fjord, Morell came across a band of cultists who had abandoned the Cult of the Damned when Arthas fell. Revering the former Lich King as a God, these men and women were making a pilgrimage to Stratholme, with plans to take the city of their Lord's finest hour and establish a permanent base there.

    Seeing an opportunity for both desperate factions, Morell and the Cultists banded together, hijacked a dozen ships from the Fjord, and sailed straight towards the northern coast of Lordaeron. Landing not far from Stratholme, the cultists quickly set about slaughtering the last of the Scarlets within Scarlet Bastion while Morell and his alchemists took control of Dawnstrider Harbor.

    The region is now in turmoil, and at the heart of the chaos stands a much greener and tranquil Stratholme. Though still plague-ridden, large parts of the city have begun to yield to the Cenarion Circle's efforts. It is within this notorious city that adventurers will find themselves, helping to further the restoration of Nature while holding back the devious plans of the Icecrown Cultists and Apothecary League.


    Implementation:
    Stratholme has been changed from an instanced dungeon to an open region connected to the rest of the world. Players who enter the gates will find the city radically changed; what was before a bustling city and became a diseased inferno has transformed into a ruin, reclaimed by nature. Stratholme is now designed to serve as a questing hub, with players venturing through the grassy streets and vine covered buildings, nurturing life and driving away lingering threats.

    Several of the buildings have had interiors added, and though it does not appear on these maps, the interior sections found in the Culling of Stratholme instance are available (even the sliding bookshelf works). Beneath the city is a vast network of sewers (see Maps, below) where the plague still lingers. Players will encounter several twisted forms of life beneath the ground, as well as passage to and from the North Lordaeron Zone.

    Note that this concept is sister to another revamp I've done, one involving "North Lordaeron", or an area of the coast north of the Plaguelands. The thread discussing North Lordaeron can be found here. Here's a link directly to the map to show how Stratholme now fits into the world at large.


    Concept Images:
    (Found images suggesting a mood or feel. I claim no ownership of the following images, with the exception of the first. I have re-hosted them for convenience.)
    http://i48.tinypic.com/4pz5no.jpg
    http://i50.tinypic.com/30rpis2.jpg
    http://i49.tinypic.com/sde34l.jpg
    http://i48.tinypic.com/2r3j8r5.jpg
    NEW: http://i45.tinypic.com/u4vfs.jpg
    NEW: http://i47.tinypic.com/35kmzvo.jpg
    NEW: http://i49.tinypic.com/35jx8np.jpg
    NEW: http://i48.tinypic.com/2s6uk21.jpg


    Maps:
    Stratholme:

    Map Notes: Because of the current layout of Eastern Plaguelands, the 'backdoor' of Stratholme does not properly align with the current map. Cataclysm could 'retcon' the back door to be closer to the city or simply have it collapse and no longer functional. I have elected to seal it off with a rockslide.

    Strath, in it's current form, would also impact upon Ghostlands. However, I have gone ahead and shifted Ghostlands a tad north and east to accommodate.


    Stratholme Sewers:

    Map Notes:There are three entrances into the Stratholme Sewers 'micro dungeon'; the Sinkhole at the north, the Cultust Chute in the south, and a hidden entrance accessible via the building interiors. This last entryway is inside the hidden passage seen in the Culling of Stratholme instance, inside the cage players pass on their way to Malganis.

    The passages to Banewood lead players to just south of Cadem's Cove, at ground level and to an exit high above the water surrounding the Scarlet Bastion (one-way).



    Points of Interest:
    Rayne and Rimbalt have established a camp in the corner of King's Square, just inside the city gates. Here they have a few tents set up, and an enterprising Goblin has also erected a small flight tower, allowing adventurers to fly to nearby Light's Hope Chapel, Tranquillien, and Chillwind Camp, as well as the recently implemented flight paths in Western Plaguelands and at The Bulwark.

    This small camp has several quests that send players to the various regions of the city, tasked with collecting soil samples, preening corrupted growth and eliminating various manifestations of the plague that have emerged (See "Sample Quests" below). In general, the Cenarion Circle is here to restore harmony to the most unbalanced section of the world, and they need your help.

    Several Paladins have made a pilgrimage to Alonsus Chapel (including a few Tauren, working hard to sanctify it after their Blood Elf brethren almost burned it down). Part of their mission in Stratholme is to reclaim the Scarlet Bastion. After Saidan Dathrohan, leader of the Scarlet forces in Stratholme, was revealed to be the Dreadlord Balnazzar, the Crimson Legion began to falter. It was only a matter of time before the Bastion was lost, and the remaining Scarlets escaped and joined their brothers in the North Lordaeron Campaign.

    Shortly before the Cenarion Circle arrived, a cult of Arthas worshipers slipped into the city and converted the Bastion into a Cultist Compound. These Icecrown Cultists have dug in, hoping to drive out the Cenarion Circle, and reclaim the city in the name of their prophet. Players must assist the Paladins and Druids within the city to drive these demented followers out.

    Several lingering or corrupted spirits remain within the area known as The Gauntlet, especially around the Ziggurats. Though Rayne and Rimbalt have succeeded to some degree in purifying the Eastern-most Ziggurat, the foul taint of the Scourge refuses to relinquish its hold on the city. Players will need to assist in the purging of the undead if life is to return to this corner of the world.

    Finally, playes will need to venture into including Slaughter Square, home to the Slaughterhouse and a vast sinkhole. This pit leads into the abandoned sewers and eventually winds down into the Banewood Marshes. Players will need to enter the sewers and purge the undead from the city for good.

    The Stratholme Sewers are a non-instanced micro-dungeon that connects various parts of the city and introduce an abundance of new quest opportunities. In the southern most crypt, the Bronze Dragonflight's Chromie waits for adventurers willing to help her recover an artifact somewhere in the past. Players will also find a one-way exit from the Cultist Compound, two passages into Banewood, and a variety of other surprises.

    The final task required of any brave adventurers is to enter the Sewers, draw forth the Echo of Rivendare from his crypt, and defeat the phantom of the Deathknight that still lingers.


    Sample Quests:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rimblat Earthshatter
    The Constant Gardener:
    Sometimes it seems as if the plague itself is a willful force, capable of thought. Rayne says I am cynical, but I've never seen contamination move like this. Without testing the soils on a regular basis, the areas we have already purified may become corrupted again.

    Travel out into the city and collect samples of the soil for me. I may be cynical, but it doesn't mean I'm wrong...

    - Market Row Sample
    - Crusader's Square Sample
    - Elder's Square Sample
    - The Gauntlet Sample
    Quote Originally Posted by Rayne
    Prudent Pruning:
    For years we worked to study the flora and fauna of the Plaguelands. We are more than familiar with even the slightest corruption of natural life. You must learn to spot this as well if you are to be of any assistance.

    Travel into the city and destroy the tainted growth...

    -4 Corrupted Saplings destroyed
    -4 Plague Mushrooms destroyed
    Quote Originally Posted by Rayne
    For their own good...
    Now that you've dealt with the greenery, you must become acquainted with the more violent forms of life that have sprung up. We cannot allow corrupted life to compete with the healthy individuals, not if Stratholme is to recover.

    Journey back out into the city, and do what must be done. Elune forgive us...

    - 6 Wandering Darkhounds
    - 4 Corrupted Treants
    - 2 Shambling Rots
    Quote Originally Posted by Rimblat Earthshatter
    Vile Sources
    Our progress is still limited. Something or someone is keeping the plague active, but I can't find where. There's nothing else in the city that would... in the city...

    Head towards Crusader's Square and use this key to unlock the Waterworks Gate. The Aqueduct and pump house that supplies the city lies beyond, and the answer we're looking for may just lie there.

    - Investigate the Pumphouse

    (Note: This quest takes players into the North Lordaeron map. They will travel inside and on top of the Aqueduct that leads towards the Thondroril Spring, eventually reaching the Pumphouse. Inside is an elite Level 58 Abomination, Festerlord Gurk, who's existence within the Pumphouse corrupts the water within the city.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Chromie
    These Ancient Bones...
    Huh? Of course I'm not surprised you found me down here... you're quite expected!

    I'm searching for something valuable that may provide answers I seek. I need you to venture back into the past, to when Stratholme still burned, and find the Skull of Chrono-Lord Epoch. It should be right where Arthas left it, and if my calculations are correct it should be the only chronometrically stable part of the Infinite Dragonflight to have survived within the timestream. We need that skull if we're ever going to unravel this mystery.

    (Opens a portal to "Old Stratholme", the Vanilla version of the instance).
    - Skull of Epoch

    Enemies:
    Enemy Appearance / Location Map

    Buried Ghoul: Undead that spring up from the ground.
    Icecrown Cultist: Those who worship Arthas have made a pilgrimage to Stratholme, site of his downfall.
    Wandering Darkhound: A corrupted wolf, wandering into the city from outside.
    Lingering Citizen: (Non-aggressive) Former citizens of Stratholme who refuse to pass into the afterlife.
    Corrupted Treant: (Non-aggressive) A nature elemental, twisted by lingering effects of the plague.
    Walking Rot: A shambling elemental infected by the plague.

    Thank you for reading.

    Legal Mumbo Jumbo:

    To the extent possible under law, Will Armstrong has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Stratholme Renewed. This work is published from United States.
    - Renowned expert in the field of Paladinery -
    - & Author of -
    The Highly Acclaimed "Reinvention" Threads
    North Lordaeron - Stratholme
    - Angor Coast-

  2. #2

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    wow good job mate. impressive.

    Would be awesome if blizz grabed your idea.

    Also from the pictures it sure would look great.
    BoOoOoOmMmM!

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Rivehn's Avatar
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    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Very cool. This is exactly what i'm hoping to see in cataclysm. No more snow.


    Thanks this is what i'm preying to see.

  4. #4

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    I like it. I'd also love to see more recovery/reinvention of the lore introduced in WC3, preferably not in long RP instance form.

  5. #5

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Very interesting stuff, you certainly put a lot of work into it.

    Large and dull places like Desolace and Barrens are getting changed like this, Stratholme's current setting is no exception. This stuff, combined with the phasing, will renew it's purpose and make it look like the progress of the Cenarion/Earthen Ring and the work of heroes is finally bearing fruit.

    It sort of reminds me of Fallout 3, where you found an almost magical grassy land in an otherwise harsh, nearly inhospitable nuclear hellhole.

    Again, very interesting stuff, and i hope Blizzard Devs do something like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Respen
    I was very disappointed in the screenshots. I usually base my entire gaming experience around ground textures and so far it seems like Cata will be totally unplayable.

  6. #6

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    great idea would b fun

  7. #7
    Scarab Lord Buckwald's Avatar
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    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Very nice! I would love to quest here.

  8. #8

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Very talented, i support it 100%..

    However i couldn't help but wonder, if this was a blue post would people be as supportive or just say "lol bliz fail" xD

  9. #9

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    I agree with you that after this many years something should change, and Stratholme (while I will admit is a leap of faith) is an amazing place to start.
    Excellent idea and I would love to see the GM's take it. My only question is could there be perhaps a person in the New Stratholme who has a "magical orb to the past" or something of the sort so that you could still do the instance?

  10. #10
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    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    this would be awesome. very good job on everything!
    Following the Light since 2006.

  11. #11

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Quote Originally Posted by Balance
    I agree with you that after this many years something should change, and Stratholme (while I will admit is a leap of faith) is an amazing place to start.
    Excellent idea and I would love to see the GM's take it. My only question is could there be perhaps a person in the New Stratholme who has a "magical orb to the past" or something of the sort so that you could still do the instance?
    Maybe that portal at the end of Stratholme could be changed into a hidden area in which Chromie hides. She'll have a quest for you to enter Stratholme after it was destroyed and prevent the black dragon flight from, doing...something...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyou
    [Shadowmourne, I went to Icecrown and was hoping for The Ashbringer but all I got was this lame axe]
    Ret Pride

  12. #12
    The Lightbringer Rivehn's Avatar
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    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    See its ideas this this that i wish blizzard would take from players. Hey but you never know with blizzard.

  13. #13

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    I've had this thought as well, not quite to this detail admittedly. Mine was more tuned to the Cenarion Circle trying to get the land to retake it and it would phase that way. It would start as an instance (modified from it's current in game form to an undead revolt setting making it utter chaos in there), then the next phase would be a non-instance trashed version with random undead sauntering around. Next phase would be cleanup, then the next phase would be nature trying to reclaim it but some cultists have moved in and are trying to undo your work.

    I actually like OP's idea much more, kudos!

    As far as Blizz actually using this idea, not gonna happen. I used to know a senior GM (he doesn't work there anymore) and he said Blizz won't take such specific ideas for story or game play from players for legal reasons. There was an old Illidan story line a guy came up with hat just blew the socks off what Blizz ended up doing. Blizz actually wanted to use the guy's idea but legal showed up and bitch slapped that whole thing down before it even had a chance to get off the ground. It sucks, but with a game this big, they have to cover their asses. General ideas make it in, like flying mounts, but that would be REALLY hard to claim in court as your own.

  14. #14

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalladubb
    As far as Blizz actually using this idea, not gonna happen. I used to know a senior GM (he doesn't work there anymore) and he said Blizz won't take such specific ideas for story or game play from players for legal reasons. There was an old Illidan story line a guy came up with hat just blew the socks off what Blizz ended up doing. Blizz actually wanted to use the guy's idea but legal showed up and bitch slapped that whole thing down before it even had a chance to get off the ground. It sucks, but with a game this big, they have to cover their asses. General ideas make it in, like flying mounts, but that would be REALLY hard to claim in court as your own.
    Yeah that sucks big time, especially when you see someone blurt out what would've been an awesome improvement/story/zone/etc if they, well...hadn't blurted it out.

    http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/legal-faq.html]Blizzard's Legal FAQ[/url]. :'(

    Maybe Blizzard could ask for an idea every once in a while, as their FAQ says "...unsolicited ideas or submissions."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyou
    [Shadowmourne, I went to Icecrown and was hoping for The Ashbringer but all I got was this lame axe]
    Ret Pride

  15. #15

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    A few notes, and then I'll get to any questions / comments I wish to address directly.

    First, I'm not quoting everyone directly, but a big 'Thank You' to Insanus, Inarus, Dyonos, Caradinist, georgevonfranken, AgentBuckwald, and alreven33 for the compliments. If your name isn't on the list, it's because I responded to you directly. I expected much more negativity... maybe that's scheduled for tomorrow? ;D

    Second, I've added four more concept images I found, to kind of suggest the general look and feel. I also added a disclaimer because the images are things I found, not made, and can't rightfully take credit for.

    Finally, if anyone is linking my post to any other forums (especially the Official forums), please post a link to it so I can see what others are saying and respond to any comments or questions directly.

    Alright then, on to the quotes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wesz
    However i couldn't help but wonder, if this was a blue post would people be as supportive or just say "lol bliz fail" xD
    I would imagine if Blizzard did announce it, it would be slipped in as an update to their Cataclysm page, and people would oogle it. I dunno about everyone else, but I'm looking forward to touring the old zones and seeing what Blizzard has changed. If they made changes like the one I've posted, I would spend a great deal of time just wandering around taking in the sights. I'd hang around in a sub-zone like this and just sort of enjoy the radical change, and tell new players "I remember when this was a hellish inferno overflowing with undead... now look at it."

    We pre-Cataclysm WoW players will now have memories of places that have changed or been destroyed. We can now say 'I remember when...'. For an MMO to evolve along those lines is a pretty mind-blowing concept that can really only be seen on games that have large established communities (so, very few) and have lasted long enough to merit such changes (again, not so many). If Blizzard doesn't take advantage of the opportunities Cataclysm offers, I'll be saddened (but not surprised).

    Quote Originally Posted by Balance
    Excellent idea and I would love to see the GM's take it. My only question is could there be perhaps a person in the New Stratholme who has a "magical orb to the past" or something of the sort so that you could still do the instance?
    An interesting point that I had considered; if Blizzard followed this course, they would be removing a dungeon from their lineup. Now, admittedly, most players just bum-rush to 58 and head to Outland, and I wonder how many people still bother to run Strath anymore. If Blizzard re-tooled the instance (Enemy levels, loot quality, etc), it might not be so bad, but if they just leave it as is, I doubt many will continue to run it on a regular basis (lore nerds, completionists, and geeks like myself excluded).

    An item you can interact with is a solid idea, as is Pally power's suggestion of making it a Caverns of Time variation. Blizzard's stance on changes to the game world has been "when it's gone, it's gone", but that generally applies to the landscape, not dungeons.

    My vote is for a Caverns of Time variation; add a new NPC just outside the current Culling of Stratholme section, and allow them to teleport you to "The Immolation of Stratholme", which basically functions as the instance does currently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalladubb
    As far as Blizz actually using this idea, not gonna happen. I used to know a senior GM (he doesn't work there anymore) and he said Blizz won't take such specific ideas for story or game play from players for legal reasons.
    This is absolutely correct. I've dealt with legal departments a bit myself, and generally you have to sign a release/consent form before a company will even LOOK at your idea. That's one of the reasons I'm posting it here instead of at the official forums (that, and the intelligence level of the posters here tends to be higher). I guess since it's come up, I'd like to state that I claim no ownership of the concept and it is free for any party to use at their discretion. Not like I did anything exceptionally amazing or original anyways, but should somebody stumble in and like the idea, they're more than welcome. My credit/reward is getting to hang out in an awesomely redesigned zone.

    Thanks again to everyone for reading. If there's a continued positive response, and anybody feels like making a suggestion, I might take another little corner of Azeroth and beat some new ideas out of it. Any thoughts?
    - Renowned expert in the field of Paladinery -
    - & Author of -
    The Highly Acclaimed "Reinvention" Threads
    North Lordaeron - Stratholme
    - Angor Coast-

  16. #16

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Mark your post with a Creative Commons free license. It's like a GNU GPL only they don't have to share any changes.

  17. #17

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Brilliant topic.

    I personally spent some time a few months ago designing maps and boss fights (some of the mechanics ended up in ICC, call us psychic) for a pseudo-Grim Batol.

    I really enjoy looking at your concept and thinking, wow, this is what Cataclysm SHOULD be.

    Go forth. Beat the snot out of Thousand Needles.
    Beets, Bears, Battlestar Galactica.

  18. #18

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Quote Originally Posted by Schrute
    I personally spent some time a few months ago designing maps and boss fights (some of the mechanics ended up in ICC, call us psychic) for a pseudo-Grim Batol.

    I really enjoy looking at your concept and thinking, wow, this is what Cataclysm SHOULD be.

    Go forth. Beat the snot out of Thousand Needles.
    I actually enjoyed 'discovering' Grim Batol in game when I was still a newb. I saw the cliffside in Wetlands and thought "There has to be something up there!", wandered into it and was promptly destroyed. I spent a while running and rezzing until eventually I got to the doorway, and was happy to discover Grim Batol was in game (I remembered it from WC2).

    I just wish it wasn't a raid; I'm not particularly fond of raiding anymore, but we'll see.

    As for Thousand Needles, that's another zone I'd like to dig into. The topic has come up once already; here's my contribution to that thread.

    Since SNES did a pretty solid job describing Thousand Needles out already, I may just focus on Zul'Furrak or just kick around ideas until something sounds good. Thanks for the suggestions though.
    - Renowned expert in the field of Paladinery -
    - & Author of -
    The Highly Acclaimed "Reinvention" Threads
    North Lordaeron - Stratholme
    - Angor Coast-

  19. #19

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    Wow. Great work mate.

    Being a paladin, I just loved EPL & WPL. I remember staying there even after 60, because it had simply amusing quests, a great lore, and Stratholme. I still visit that place from time to time, brings back old memories.

    This way, I can feel like all the work to drive the undead from the land, as well as the effords of Argent Dawn are not in vain. :3
    ~

  20. #20

    Re: Reinvention: Stratholme

    This would finally give a reason for me to quest there!
    Etz auzom!
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