Beta Key Giveaway Week 3: Winners have been selected!

  1. #1

    Ecosystems in the Warcraft Narrative

    So, I just saw this article about writing in Magic the Gathering

    https://www.mtgsalvation.com/article...-worldbuilding


    It’s easy to take nature for granted. Every moment of your life you are surrounded by nature. There is nowhere you can go to escape it. It’s just there, so your mind often filters it out.

    Nature is often taken for granted when building fantasy worlds. Authors love characters and narratives and human things. The nonhuman things, the verdant, burgeoning, snarling things of nature, are also important tools for immersion. Magic: The Gathering learned this early. Focus on creatures, environments, and cultures; an audience that can see the forest for the trees will be more invested in your game.

    Today I want to walk through the ways in which ecological-minded worldbuilding can create more immersive, believable worlds for fantasy stories. I’m going to focus on three axes along which ecology can build a world: creating fantasy creatures, having your people interact with their ecosystem, and environmental storytelling.
    With what we've seen of Zuldazar, Kul'tiras, and to a lesser extent large parts of the Broken Isles and Mac'aree, Blizzard does seem to be making the ecosystems of the world more developed, but what are some other ways, both in concepts taken from this article and from your own thoughts, that Blizz can develop the zones environments and ecosystems further, and tie them to the story?
    Twas brillig

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Skytotem View Post
    but what are some other ways, both in concepts taken from this article and from your own thoughts, that Blizz can develop the zones environments and ecosystems further, and tie them to the story?
    As far as ecosystems are concerned, I've always wondered why there aren't herbs/cooking reagents to be gathered from up in vines or trees... They are seemingly always on the ground. How that would enrich the story is beyond me. Maybe ambush enemies in the trees (drunk pirates, saber-toothed whatevers). Treasures could be up there, Hell, we could even have to climb up and run across canopies and branches. Could use a simple quest to gather bananas with one special location for a unique quest item that reveals something in the distance.

    On a sour note, I was always a fan of the eco-domes in Netherstorm from the BC expac. So you can guess how thrilled I was in WoD when the whole zone was missing. Spoiler: I wasn't pleased.
    "The only constant in the universe is inconsistency"

  3. #3
    the hearthstone expansions are a good way to revisit old content that suffered from badly developed environments and ecosystems. i loved what they did to gadgetzan, i only wish they were able to do the same within the mmo. they certainly have improved alot over the years though, i think suramar is a good example of that.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathena View Post
    As far as ecosystems are concerned, I've always wondered why there aren't herbs/cooking reagents to be gathered from up in vines or trees... They are seemingly always on the ground. How that would enrich the story is beyond me. Maybe ambush enemies in the trees (drunk pirates, saber-toothed whatevers). Treasures could be up there, Hell, we could even have to climb up and run across canopies and branches. Could use a simple quest to gather bananas with one special location for a unique quest item that reveals something in the distance.

    On a sour note, I was always a fan of the eco-domes in Netherstorm from the BC expac. So you can guess how thrilled I was in WoD when the whole zone was missing. Spoiler: I wasn't pleased.
    There's a daily in Hyjal in which you climb the trees and throw baby bears.

  5. #5
    I liked how the Broken Isles had more fluid transitions between ecosystems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sathena View Post
    As far as ecosystems are concerned, I've always wondered why there aren't herbs/cooking reagents to be gathered from up in vines or trees... They are seemingly always on the ground. How that would enrich the story is beyond me. Maybe ambush enemies in the trees (drunk pirates, saber-toothed whatevers). Treasures could be up there, Hell, we could even have to climb up and run across canopies and branches. Could use a simple quest to gather bananas with one special location for a unique quest item that reveals something in the distance.
    We had treasures in trees in WoD, some accessed via glider, some via running/jumping up branches, and Legion has a WQ where you "climb" a walking ancient and gather flowers.
    This can sure be expanded upon, but it's certainly not ignored completely

    Quote Originally Posted by Sathena View Post
    On a sour note, I was always a fan of the eco-domes in Netherstorm from the BC expac. So you can guess how thrilled I was in WoD when the whole zone was missing. Spoiler: I wasn't pleased.
    Those wouldn't have been there on Draenor, as Farahlon was a completely different forested island back then.
    Last edited by Nathanyel; 2018-03-14 at 02:20 PM.
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  6. #6
    Ecosystems are in essence, a web of competition.. In nature there are a few factors that allow for diversity. Blizzard already uses those ecological tools but I’ll list them for sake of clarity.

    Spatial: Creating barriers means different systems based on location
    Temporal: Based on the time and season, an entire zone could transform and allow for a new experience.
    Resources: Depending on who is looking for what, controlling the presence of a substance creates competition.

    If a Blizzard wanted to make any zone increase its gamer “biomass,” they could simply add one of these factors to do so.

    Spatial: add an upper canopy or caverns to a zone, Duskwood has an underground crypt that makes the zone feel more alive (no pun intended)
    Temporal: Holiday events, seasons, and rare spawn minions all add a bit uniqueness to a zone.
    Resource: This is a bit more complicated than simply “stuff for the auction house,” but adding mobs, items to gather, and more interaction means more diversity.

    You can create the architecture of an ecosystem with those factors. Afterwards, a concept artist can decide how to depict those forces.
    Last edited by Zeos; 2018-03-14 at 09:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sathena View Post
    As far as ecosystems are concerned, I've always wondered why there aren't herbs/cooking reagents to be gathered from up in vines or trees... They are seemingly always on the ground. How that would enrich the story is beyond me. Maybe ambush enemies in the trees (drunk pirates, saber-toothed whatevers). Treasures could be up there, Hell, we could even have to climb up and run across canopies and branches. Could use a simple quest to gather bananas with one special location for a unique quest item that reveals something in the distance.
    Real trees / woods aren't exactly existant in WoW.

    Look at Elwynn forest, most trees are actually super giant trees which basically give you a feeling being in woods because they cover the sky, when in reality, woods / forest are actually a fuck ton of trees right next to each other.
    Aside from that, things that are on the ground are simply much easier to detect.

    It comes down to the fact that going for realism simply would really hurt the gameplay, think of a "real" Elwynn forest where you can't walk a straight line because trees block your way / sight.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kralljin View Post
    Real trees / woods aren't exactly existant in WoW.

    Look at Elwynn forest, most trees are actually super giant trees which basically give you a feeling being in woods because they cover the sky, when in reality, woods / forest are actually a fuck ton of trees right next to each other.
    Aside from that, things that are on the ground are simply much easier to detect.

    It comes down to the fact that going for realism simply would really hurt the gameplay, think of a "real" Elwynn forest where you can't walk a straight line because trees block your way / sight.
    Forests on Earth.

    Azeroth is completely different planet. While there are many similarities to Earth, its fundamentally different. Why do the fricking crocolisks have 6 legs????
    Quote Originally Posted by Friendlyimmolation View Post
    When an orc eats an orc, two orcs rip out of the orcs stomach, they eat each other and a brand new orc walks through the door, and then his chest explodes and 20 full grown orcs crawl out of his body. They then eat each other and the bodies until there are 3 orcs left. The mystery of the orc reproduction cycle.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafoel View Post
    Forests on Earth.

    Azeroth is completely different planet. While there are many similarities to Earth, its fundamentally different. Why do the fricking crocolisks have 6 legs????
    My theory is that dragons are distant relatives of crocolisks. You don't evolve extra limbs out of nowhere. Their wings had to come from something.

    On a more relevant note; Azeroth is climatically close enough to earth if things like dogs, cats, and humans evolved. That means the atmosphere must be similar so it stands to reason that trees would be similar.
    Last edited by Veredyn; 2018-03-14 at 11:34 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoJitter View Post
    the hearthstone expansions are a good way to revisit old content that suffered from badly developed environments and ecosystems. i loved what they did to gadgetzan, i only wish they were able to do the same within the mmo.
    Agreed! I also love the revamped Un'Goro Crater. I like to imagine that the in-game MMO version is an abstraction of a region that is closer to the Hearthstone version in terms of scale and inhabitants.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Veredyn View Post
    My theory is that dragons are distant relatives of crocolisks. You don't evolve extra limbs out of nowhere. Their wings had to come from something.

    On a more relevant note; Azeroth is climatically close enough to earth if things like dogs, cats, and humans evolved. That means the atmosphere must be similar so it stands to reason that trees would be similar.
    I believe it's just magic unfortunately, far less interesting. The Dragon Aspects began as proto drakes, who have only the 4 limbs if I remember correctly. They were transformed by the Titans (or in more recent versions the Titan Keepers) into the dragons we see today, and are the ancestors of all dragons.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by AwkwardSquirtle View Post
    I believe it's just magic unfortunately, far less interesting. The Dragon Aspects began as proto drakes, who have only the 4 limbs if I remember correctly. They were transformed by the Titans (or in more recent versions the Titan Keepers) into the dragons we see today, and are the ancestors of all dragons.
    The Proto Drakes actually have six limbs just like modern Dragons, they are just tiny T-Rex arms that hang.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Sathena View Post
    As far as ecosystems are concerned, I've always wondered why there aren't herbs/cooking reagents to be gathered from up in vines or trees... They are seemingly always on the ground. How that would enrich the story is beyond me. Maybe ambush enemies in the trees (drunk pirates, saber-toothed whatevers). Treasures could be up there, Hell, we could even have to climb up and run across canopies and branches. Could use a simple quest to gather bananas with one special location for a unique quest item that reveals something in the distance.

    On a sour note, I was always a fan of the eco-domes in Netherstorm from the BC expac. So you can guess how thrilled I was in WoD when the whole zone was missing. Spoiler: I wasn't pleased.
    There was also a quest back in Nagrand (Outland) where you worked with a Goblin to rocket or trampline ontop of a tree lol

    I was also disappointed when Farahlon (Netherstorm) was ommited from WOD, was really looking forward to that one. It was also the original homeland of the Laughing Skull Clan until WOD when they retconned them to Gorgrond.

    - - - Updated - - -

    OT- I always wanted to see a Zangarmarsh done like the concept art they had for it back then. I still love the Zangarmarsh we got and the mini ones in multiple zones in WOD but that concept art was really alien and cool.
    Last edited by Kresh64; 2018-03-15 at 02:05 AM.

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