Category: Design Corner

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it. The following designs and mock content are NOT official content.

You can find the introduction, the lore and the first wing of the raid instance here: Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 1
You can find the second wing of the raid instance here: Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 2

Last time we found ourselves in the Halls where we encountered the servants and occupants. But today, we climb the tower of Karazhan where we will find our final challenge to overcome before the rift in time and space can be closed: The Echo of Medivh.

When designing the final wing/boss I wanted to make something that was memorable. It was a final boss fight, but didn’t necessarily have to be complex. In the end it does have some more chaotic elements to it that you can’t control, but also some more fun aspects to it through the fighting of not just the Echo of Medivh, but the echoes of foes you’ve fought in the past. In normal/heroic you fight just those within TLHoK, but on mythic you’ll encounter the abilities of foes beyond the halls. Which in the end makes for a really fun (theoretical) encounter!

Due to the amount of abilities the encounter has, it’s been split into 2 tabs below. The first being the normal/heroic fight and the second tab being the mythic changes. These mythic changes replace the Echoes of normal/heroic. As usual, the encounter journal entires are at the bottom of the tabs.

Other than a video I hope to release in the future to bring the Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan further to life, this will be it for the TLHoK. I certainly hope you enjoyed it!

Echo of MedivhThe Echo of Medivh prevents the Time-Lost Halls from disappearing, keeping the portal to Draenor open. Defeat the Echo to close the rift in time and space.

Encounter description and design notes:

  • Arcane Blast – Deals 80,000 arcane damage to the target. Medivh gains Arcane Infusion on target.
    • Arcane Infusion – Increases Arcane Blast damage by 15%. Increases all magic damage by 1.5%. Stacks.
    • Note: Just means Medivh will do increasing damage on the target with this ability.. had to change wording to fit it in the photoshopped dungeon journal entry.
  • Arcanic Thunder – Puts an arcanic storm in the targeted area, any player standing in it will take 120,000 arcane damage per second.
  • Mana implosion – Medivh expels the mana from the targeted players, causing their mana to be depleted and spawns mana orbs around the room for each player’s mana that was depleted.
    • Mana Orb – Restores 30,000 mana when picked up by a player.
  • Mana explosion – Medivh detonates the mana orbs floating around in the room, dealing 30,000 arcane damage to every player per orb.
  • Consume Essence – Every 20% health the Echo of Medivh will draw on the essence from enemies once defeated, resulting in one final echo from your foes. Medivh can have up to 2 essences active at the same time. Resets Arcane Infusion stacks.
    • Howl of the Den Mother – Echo of Medivh summons Fel Pup Echoes.
      • Fel Pup Echo – Deals 30,000 auto attack damage every second.
    • Fire Pulse – Deals 100,000 fire damage to every player every 5 seconds. Medivh gains a stack of Fired Up! Resets on Essence change.
      • Fired Up! – Increases fire damage dealt by 1%.
    • Summon Duplicate Echo of Atiesh – The duplicate Echo of Atiesh deals 50,000 arcane damage to a random player.
      • Sore Spot – Increases magic damage by 10% per stack. Resets on Essence change.
    • Arcane Beam – A beam of arcane energy travels around the room, if the player gets hit by it they will take 250,000 arcane damage.
    • Empowered Staff – Atiesh becomes heavy, dealing heavy physical damage to the player
  • Wrath of the Last Guardian – At 30% health Echo of Medivh goes into a frenzy, breaking the barrier between the magical ley lines and the Time-Lost Halls.
    • Mirror Image – Summons 3 Mirror Images that each cast a bolt in a different spell school.
    • Sargeras’ Wrath
      • Sargeras’ spirit deep within the echo unleashes his anger, destroying any mortal who gets hit. Find cover!
      • Demonified Medivh voice over: “Die you pathetic mortals!”
  • Development notes:
    • The tower room is very big and circular. Next to the Echo of Medivh there are holograms of each of the previous bosses that have all been defeated by the raid. Medivh is seen channeling a beam with which he’s drawing the essence from Celeus.
    • During the 2nd phase, the air color will change, showing the collapse of the dimension of the Time-Lost Halls. After the defeat of the Echo of Medivh the environment will continue to have this light, creating a sense of urgency to get out and escape the dimension, back to Draenor.
    • Sargeras’ Wrath gets cast at 10% health, causing an explosion of chaos damage. A bubble safe zone will appear for players to stand in to not get killed by the ability.
    • When Mana Implosion is cast, the more mana a player had, the more mana orbs will spawn. This means later in the fight it’ll have less effect.

 

Echo of Medivh Dungeon Journal Entry

On Mythic Difficulty Medivh draws upon the powers of enemies you have faced in the past, outside of the Time-Lost Halls. This replaces the Echoes from normal/heroic.

Development/Encounter Notes:

  • (M) Echo of the Lich King
    • Infest – Deals 75,000 Shadow damage to all players. In addition, the targets will take increasing Shadow damage per second. This effect is removed when the target has more than 90% health.
  • (M) Echo of Garrosh Hellscream
    • Touch of Y’Shaarj – Corrupts the targeted players minds. The targets snap out of their corruption when they hit 20% health.
  • (M) Echo of Yogg-Saron
    • Summon Crusher Tentacles – Summons 2 Crusher Tentacles that reduce the players damage done by 20% each while it has no target to attack.
  • (M) Echo of Lei Shen
    • Thunderstruck – Echo of Medivh hurls lightning at the targeted area, dealing 400,000 nature damage damage to nearby enemies. Damage decreases the further an enemy is away from the point of impact.
  • (M) Echo of  Illidan Stormrage
    • Agonizing Flames – Deals 200,000 fire damage to every player and continues to deal 75,000 fire damage every 3 seconds to every player.

Mythic Changes Echo of Medivh Dungeon Journal Entry

So what do you think of the final encounter in the Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan? Do you like the raid instance as a whole? Let me know in the comments!

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it. The following designs and mock content are NOT official content.

You can find the introduction, the lore and the first wing of the raid instance here: Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 1

In the first wing of the raid instance we found ourselves in The Courtyard, where a variety of beats and demons resided that had come in through the portal from Draenor to the zone or were already occupants of this alternate karazhan created by the distortion in time and space.

The second wing is the Time-Lost Halls itself. The main servants and occupants live here and just go about their business not realizing they shouldn’t exist in this pocket of time and space.

Time-Lost Halls Bumper

In designing this second wing I went for a bit more of a simplistic approach. The first boss is designed with the design philosophy of current raid bosses, the other two have been held back in that regard a bit. Not every boss needs a million different abilities and environmental factors.

Each boss description below (in the tabs) has a boss model, design notes with things such as ability descriptions and dungeon journal entries! Let me know in the comments what you think of this next wing in this self-designed raid instance.

Would you enjoy fighting against them? What would you like to see in a raid instance? And what do you think of modern raid design? Are there too many abilities and mechanics per boss fight? Or has it been dialed back enough? (Siege of Orgrimmar vs Tier 17 vs Hellfire Citadel)

Arcanus Model

Arcanus, Watcher of the Halls was created by the Battlemage Grandfurth while experimenting with arcane magic. Arcanus now patrols the halls and keeps order. He will not react kindly to unknown visitors.

Encounter description and design notes:

  • The ground of the encounter area is divided up into tiles, which make up 5 rows.
  • An array of arcane related abilities have to be dealt with:
    • Arcane Trap – Traps 2 random players, rooting them in place for 10 seconds. Player is immune to Arcane Beam and Arcane Pillar when trapped.
      • Mythic only: Duration reduced by 5 seconds. Will jump to another player when it expires. Player is not immune to Arcane Pillar.
    •  Arcane beam- Travels around the room, has to be jumped over
    • Arcane Explosion – puts a debuff on random players. This will pulse AoE damage to anyone within 8 yards. After 8 seconds the target and anyone within 8 yards will be thrown into the air. Only the debuffed player will receive a slow fall. Instantly kills those trapped in an Arcane Trap.
    • Arcane Pillar
      • Tiles on the ground will light up and arcane energies will explode on that tile after 2.5 seconds. Players that get hit will take a big spike of damage and take 50% increased arcane damage for 30 seconds.
      • Mythic only: 3 entire rows at a time will light up at a time
    •  Arcane Empowered – Arcanus’s auto attacks deal arcane damage
    • Arcane Malady – Increases arcane damage taken by 20%
  • Encounter Design Goals/Intentions:
    • Make the players deal with movement and mechanics, which are somewhat more random than other encounters.
    • On mythic mode a lot more coordination will be required. The Arcane trap debuff can be passed on to another player within 30 yards by using the extra action button. Especially Arcane Pillar will require this coordination.

Arcanus Dungeon Journal Entry

Quartermaster ModelQuartermaster Modir spends his days training those that wish to become his disciple in the art of combat. Being in a place pulsing with magic such as the Time-Lost Halls has given him unhuman strength. Rumor has it he can even throw swords as if they were knives.

Encounter description and design notes:

  • Broadsword – The Quartermaster’s attacks hit the closest person next to the target for 50% of the damage.Sunder Armor – Reduces the target’s armor by 5%.
  • Expose Weakness – The Quartermaster throws knives at his targets exposing their Weaknesses. After 4 seconds he casts Throw Sword on those targets.
  • Throw Sword – Modir throws a sword at the player, if it hits them it will deal 85% of their maximum health as damage to them.
    • Mythic only: it will kill them if the sword hits them.
  • Shattering leap – Quartermaster jumps to a player’s location dealing 200k physical damage to anyone within 8 yards.
  • Whirlwind – Modir deals 80k damage to every player every second for  6 seconds.
  • Notes:
    • The sword from Throw Sword can be intercepted by a player standing in between the boss and player
    • The amount of expose weakness targets increases as more people are in the raid, 3 targets at 20man
    • This is mainly a dps and healing check, keeping away from gimmicks in this fight. The damage numbers in the journal likely need to be increased.

 

Quartermaster Modir Dungeon Journal Entry

 

BattlemageHaving access to huge amounts of magical power, Battlemage Grandfurth has trained himself to overcome the weaknesses of being a caster. He has infused himself with the raw power used in magic to strengthen his physical body. This of course means that other than physical attacks, his magic is not to be messed with. Note: Since the creation of the dungeon journal entry, a new ability has been added. Brute force will not show up in the journal image.

  • Burn Essence – Stacking debuff on targeted player, deals 60k arcane damage every 3 seconds per stack.
  • Empowered Staff – Grandfurth’s staff is empowered to hit like a heavy mace.
  • Brute Force – Grandfurth slams his staff against the target dealing 600k physical damage.
  • Incinerate – Deals 180k fire damage to the targeted player and leaves a debuff on the player dealing 50k fire damage every 3 seconds.
  • Wall of Ice – Grandfurth slices at the target, throwing a wall of ice dealing 300k frost damage to anyone that gets hit by it.
  • Summon Arcane Elemental – Summons 2 Arcane Elementals
    • Arcane Elemental
      • Unstable Magic – While the Arcane Elemental lives it will deal 30k arcane damage every second to every player.
      • Arcane Malady (mythic only) – Every Pulsing Arcane also gives the stacking Arcane Malady debuff, increasing magic damage taken by 2%.
  • Frostfire Bolt – Deals 300k frostfire damage to the target. Interruptable.
  • Encounter notes:
    • The main goal is to prevent getting hit by as many abilities as possible.
      • Frostfire Bolt can be interrupted.
      • Wall of Ice can be dodged.
      • Cooldowns will have to be used for Brute Force.
      • At the same time dps have to kill the elementals as quickly as possible to reduce the damage on the raid as a whole.
      • If the abilities aren’t dealt with properly the raidgroup is going to have a nasty time.

 

Battlemage Grandfurth Dungeon Journal Entry

 

Previous Design Corner Articles:
Design Corner: Future WoW World Content Design
Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 1
Design Corner: Improving the Garrison in 6.1
Mythic Dungeons and how they’d fit in the current system

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it. Keep in mind that this is an editorial/article and the following designs are NOT official content. Today we’ll be taking a look at class specializations within WoW.

Now this is an idea that I’ve been mulling on for many months and you might have heard parts of it on our podcast. Adding to that the recent announcement that in WoW: Legion we’re going to see a diversification of existing specs, this was the right time to flesh out the idea and write it down.

An issue that we’ve had for a while now is that specializations (specs) for some classes have become so similar due to homogenization, while others have remained similar (for the most part) through multiple expansions. If you’ve played the game a long time that could make it feel stale, and while you could reroll to another class to get a new(er) game experience you would still feel the loss of progression you put into your character.

To add some new life to the classes themselves Master Specializations could be added to the game. Now keep in mind that it is unlikely that it would be added on a mass scale due to the work of tuning it would bring to the table, but we’ll disregard that moving forward to take a look at the full idea/fantasy.

What are Master Specializations?

A blast from the past

A blast from the past

Master specs are specs outside of the (usually 3) regular specs for players to play their class in a completely different role. To prevent new players from getting overwhelmed, unlocking these specializations could be done through a class quest chain where in you interact with some npcs of your class who think outside the box. A few examples, some of which we’ll flesh out below:

  • A hunter could become a tank, drawing on the power of their pet
  • A hunter could become a healer, instead of using the elements to damage npcs they can use the elements to heal players
  • A mage could become a melee dps or tank (think of the battlemage in Dragon Age: Origins)
  • A shaman could get a support spec, in which totems are central to the gameplay to boost the performance of other players
  • A rogue could get a ranged dps spec focused on poisons and bleeds, but also find weaknesses increasing damage taken by the enemy by 5% for the entire group
  • A priest could get a support spec that focuses on reducing damage taken and shortening debuff durations instead of absorbs/heals

A word on the possibility of a new support role

Totems

Adding a support role would present some challenges for the community to solve. How would a support player stack up compared to a healer or dps? Are they worth the raid spot? We love our damage meters, it would suck not to see the damage we reduced or the damage we added show up on our record in the meters!

When it comes to the meters, they are not everything. As a raid leader I find myself having to say over and over, tactics over numbers. Killing the boss is the goal. Would you not still be a vital part of the team if your strength of the earth totem increased everyone’s damage by 5% for 8 seconds every 30 seconds? Imagine having that in a fight where adds spawn regularly (and they do in a lot of fights these days). A potentially dangerous mob that could wipe your raid would die much quicker because of you being able to increase everyone’s damage.

Or imagine that you could stand in a pillar of light every 30 seconds for 5 seconds to reduce your damage taken by 5% on a fight that has regular raid wide AoE. Also not uncommon these days.

On top of that, the community could be helped out by blizzard by having a new combat log event being created that says how much damage or healing (or damage reduced) the support role ability provided. Addon developers could work with that, update their addons and then they would be able to compare support playing players to each other.

There are problems with adding a support role, but they’re problems that can be solved. Adding on top of that, Master Specializations are mean to give you an alternate gameplay style. You can always choose not to play it and play one of the normal 3 (or 2 or 4) specs as you always have!

Going into detail on a few masters specs

Given that I play a hunter myself, I’ll go into more detail on 2 different hunter master spec ideas, and 1 priest master spec. We now know that Survival hunters will become a melee spec in Legion, but when originally coming up with the concept it made more sense to me to make Beastmastery a melee spec. The numbers on the spells are obviously not final, but a representation of how the master spec could function.

Beastmaster Tank Hunter

rexxar

In the master spec version of Beastmastery, the hunter takes on the Aspect of the Bear. The hunter is able to draw power from their pet and depending on the pet that the hunter is using they will have different abilities/cooldowns. The master beastmaster would tank as a regular melee tank and use melee weapons. In order to be nimble the master beastmaster prefers to use 2 one-handed weapons.

Aspect of the Bear: Increases health and armor by 20% and threat generation by 100%. The hunter gains bonuses to their abilities based on the pet they have active.

Toughness (passive): Combat hardens the hunter, every time the hunter deals a critical hit he gains a stack of Toughness. Max 30 stacks.

Wild Reflexes (Active Mitigation): Consumes Toughness. The hunter gains 30% chance to dodge attacks. Spells can also be dodged, but this will reduce the damage taken by spell by 15%. Lasts 0.5 seconds per stack of Toughness consumed.

Unbreakable Bond (passive): The hunter’s pet will share 3% of the physical damage the hunter takes. If a magic based pet is active it will share magical damage instead.

Sacrificial Bond: The hunter’s pet feels the pain of the hunter and shares 20% of the damage taken for 10 seconds. Unbreakable bond’s damage percentage goes up to 5% for the duration of Sacrificial Bond. 2 minute cooldown.

The master beastmaster’s kit would of course be rounded out with a taunt, interrupts and damage dealing abilities.

Survival Healing Hunter

In the master spec version of Survival, the hunter infuses his arrows with the elements with the intent to heal instead of deal damage. There are 3 options this spec could take in regard to pets.

– The pet could attack enemies as they do now, providing some extra dps to the raid.
– The pet could act as a support element, intercepting hits of damage from other players, reducing the amount of damage some players take.
– A new pet family, similar to the spirit beast, could be created to provide the master survivalist with pet that heals those with lower health.

The master survival hunter can have most of their current spells (pre-legion) converted into healing spells. Black Arrow would be on a shorter cooldown, allowing the master survivalist to become a HoT-oriented healer. The kit would need to be rounded out with a few cooldowns.

Regenerative Shot: Reduces the target’s damage taken by 30% and increases the healing of your healing over time spells on the target by 20% for 6 seconds. 2,5 minute cooldown.

Volley: Shoot a volley of nature infused arrows to the targeted area. Channel for x amount of healing every 1 second for 5 seconds.

Aspect of the Viper: Attacking an enemy npc for 3 seconds will give you x amount of spirit for 3 seconds.

“Cleric” Support Priest

PriestA priest who uses the Cleric master spec infuses the light into beneficial spells for their group, increasing the chance of success in fights.

Pillar of Light: Guide the light to the targeted location for 5 seconds. Every player standing in the pillar will take 5% less damage. 30 second cooldown.

Repel Malady: The duration of any debuffs the target gains in the next 8 seconds will be reduced by 20%.

Infuse Light: Channel the light onto your target, reducing their magical damage taken by 5%. Channel lasts up to 8 seconds.

Power of the Naaru: Increases the effectiveness of the target’s active mitigation for 8 seconds. Also reduces their damage taken from all sources by 30%. 2 minute cooldown.

It’s now been announced discipline is moving towards atonement play in Legion, but my idea had been to have the Cleric have atonement as well for filler spells, to contribute to both damage and healing in this new support role.

Some final remarks

These are just a few examples of possible ways classes could play a different style to prevent it from getting stale. Some classes have more possibilities than others due to their fantasy/lore background giving more opportunities to work with. Nevertheless, this is one addition I’d love to see in WoW. Hopefully the class diversification will offer some new play as well.

A counter argument to not implementing the master specs could be that it would mean if a master spec x is so good, but plays much differently players would not appreciate it. However that seems to be a risk worth taking as the complete SV spec is being changed in such a manner in Legion already.

And lastly to point out by giving pure dps classes a chance at a different role, they could help reduce the queue timers for looking for group tools.

What do you think of the Master Specialization idea? What master spec would you like to see be added to which class? Do you think a support role would work out? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to follow WoW Weekly’s social media in the side bar on the right!

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it.Today we’ll be taking a look at dailies and world content.

In the past 2 expansions we’ve gone through all types of degrees on dailies and more recently exploration content in the form of treasures. In Mists of Pandaria we started out with a huge amount of dailies, then it got brought back to singular daily hubs and the unlocking of new dailies over time in the throne of thunder. We ended up in the timeless isle with many rares and treasures but no real direction which would turn out to be an experiment for Warlords of Draenor.

Optimized-Azeroth

The problem of Mists was that at the start of the expansion there was a daily overload, you had to unlock multiple factions to do more dailies for gear and profession rewards. This burnt out people from dailies which gave some an aversion from the concept of dailies.

As you know in Warlords we had the apexis dailies which would push you into going to different areas every day where you would kill mobs, rares and destroy objectives. It would allow you to slowly grind up the reputations and see different parts of the world to prevent getting sick of the same area. Unless you got The Pit over.. and over.. and over.

One of the issues was that the reward, apexis crystals, didn’t really get you anything that was still useful by the time you had saved enough. The other issue was that there was no story connected to them at all.

Now we’re in Tanaan where we get more dailies that makes us visit different parts of Tanaan every day and we have the option to continue to do the remaining bonus objective areas if we want even more apexis crystals. At the same time we have 3 new reputations that gain rep either through dailies and a weekly quest or grinding out the Saberon mobs.

While this is definitely an improvement over what we had in 6.0, going to the same areas every day despite the added structure will burn you out quickly.

So how can world content be improved? Well for starters let’s look at what worked and should come back.

  •  Slowly gaining reputations through dailies and weeklys is a lot better than the passive grind we had in 6.0.
  • Going into a different area every day helped prevent burnout from the same environment
  • Both one time and recurring treasures were a nice extra niche to explore
  • The same goes for one time and recurring rares. If anything it would be nice to see a combination of Mists and Warlords style rares.
  • Reputations having rewards that still mattered by the time you got them leveled up.
  • And the rotating daily npcs such as Harrison Jones in the garrison.

So let’s take these elements, put them in the next continent and give some structure to it. How should the world content look like next?

Optimized-DraenorTo illustrate it we can use the map of Draenor to get a better picture. Have 3 or 4 reputations that give useful gear and profession rewards along with the usual toys, mounts and pets. Have 7 different areas that are possible daily hubs each day. An npc will send you to one of them each day, and for that day you will be able to do a set of dailies in that area. Each reputation can be earned in 2 of the areas, leaving 1 reputation for just 1 area and allow thatreputation to be grinded out through mob killing.

And then finally have the rotation of these areas set just like the current profession npcs in the garrison so that you don’t get the same area 4 times in a row and every reputation has a chance to be gained equally.

Now this will eventually become boring like all content eventually becomes. However the diversity should prolong it before this does happen. Keep in mind that while you have these dailies, there will be rares and treasures out in the world as well.

Now while they will help we need more dynamic content. Which is why I would love to see world invasions being introduced to the world as well. These would be similar to the rifts in Rift. Have random invasions out in the world where you have waves of mobs attacking a certain area, ending in a mini-boss.

Helping get rid of these invasions will reward the player with a currency that they can turn in for certain items. Think of items like account bound reputation tokens. Which would allow you to speed up getting reputation with a certain faction if you feel the rotation of hubs doesn’t give you reputation quickly enough or extra reputation for your alts.

Of course that’s just one example of a possible reward, but think of items that don’t give a massive character power boost, but are useful for a while. Later patches could of course introduce new rewards to keep invasions relevant.

Which concludes how I’d design future world content. What are your own thoughts on what type of world content should be added to the World of Warcraft? Let me know in the comments! If you liked this video please subscribe and like the video to help us out. For now, I’m Mezzy and I’ll see you again next time.

Welcome to the WoW Weekly Design Corner! In this editorial series I (Mezzy) look at different parts of WoW and see how I would design the next new thing, or perhaps improve upon it. The following designs and mock content are NOT official, they are my own ideas. As great as it would be for it to be, it will never actually be ingame content.

It’s been a while since the last Design Corner article, but I have finally had the time to flesh out one of the bigger ideas I have had. In the next 3 articles I’ll be designing my very own raid instance, including lore and art (boss art done Drakopoulos Designs).

Keep in mind that this is NOT actual content planned by blizzard, even though I would very much like it to be. It’s no secret that I would one day like to be designing games myself (perhaps at Blizzard? 😉 ), and I hope you’ll enjoy this what if scenario! So without any further adieu, welcome to WoW Weekly Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan!

There are a lot of different elements to the general instance and the first raid wing on it’s own, so to not make this a kilometer long article, the design has been put into different tabs: Lore of the zone, ingame narrative and of course each of the 3 bosses in the first wing!

time-lost gladeDue to the shenanigans (yes that’s right, shenanigans) of Kairoz, the Time-Lost Glade has become quite unstable. Strange spirits have been reported around the Glade and have started invading multiple zones within Draenor. In a time when the Horde and Alliance are taking out threats in an alternate world, the cause of their passage to the savage lands themselves is now threatening to overwhelm Draenor. It is up to the Alliance and Horde to right the wrongs of Kairoz and investigate the new portal that has opened up.

Patch x.x will open up the portal to the Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan. As Prince Malchezaar forewarned, all realities, all dimensions were open to him. Could his possession of Gorehowl back during The Burning Crusade have already foreshadowed that he knew of this alternate Draenor we would be visiting? Could the gorehowl he had, be from Garrosh himself? What reality will be awaiting the brave, foolish souls that step into the portal?

Before heading into the raid instance, players will learn about what is going on through a quest chain. The spirits wrecking havoc on Draenor are those that escaped the TLHoK, as a throwback to the original Karazhan they will have the same simple model. They learn that the portal that has opened up goes to an alternate Karazhan which has been distorted and corrupted by the disturbed timeways. Not only is it an entirely different version of Karazhan, where even the structure is different, it’s inhabitants of the past, present and future that are/were/will be dead might not be dead anymore/yet.

Khadgar himself, who wields Atiesh, feels a strong sense of urgency to clean up whatever is lurking in the TLHoK to prevent it causing any more chaos in this already troubled world. So Commander, it is up to you to help out this possible new guardian and find out what has been causing all this trouble.

These circumstances would also allow for a great way to introduce in-world invasions (like the rifts from Rift)

The Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan will consist of 3 wings.

  • The Courtyard (3 bosses)
  • The Time-Lost Halls (3 bosses)
  • The Tower of Karazhan (Final boss)

Originally the instance was going to consist of 5 wings and 15 bosses. But due to the size of the project it had to be cut down to 7. While now the courtyard leads straight into the time-lost halls, originally the courtyard would lead into the basement, revealing that the courtyard was magically set up to look like it was outside, but was in fact inside.

We were also going to have custom art for each of the raid bosses, but due to real life circumstances, only 1 raid boss was done before the artist had other obligations to tend to. To balance this I have made custom dungeon journal entries for each of the bosses.

Celeus, the Ethereal Hound

Beasts(1)

Celeus is a 3 headed guard dog who has eaten 3 fel infused beats from draenor. These unlucky beasts went through the portal and were greeted by Celeus. Due to them being fel infused, it had some side effects on Celeus and players will have to face each of them when battling Celeus.

Encounter description and development notes:

      1. Boss has eaten the 3 beasts and takes on their powers in a rotation of 45 seconds per animal and uses their abilities
      2. Khadgar emote: “Fel energies? Here? Is Gul’dan lurking around?”
      3. Aspect of the Elekk
        1. Enrages after 30 seconds to run around in a mad stampede for 15 seconds, becoming untankable
        2. Shout of Anguish – Frontal cone dealing x amount of fel damage and increasing damage taken by next shout of anguish by 200% (stacks)
      4. Aspect of the Wolf
        1. Ravaged Armor Debuff, increases damage taken by 15% per stack
        2. Howl of the cursed den mother – summons fel wolf cubs
          1. Fel wolf cub: Have aggro table, deal x amount of auto attack damage
        3. Tear Weapon – steal the weapon from your target, disarming them for 5 seconds
      5. Aspect of the Clefthoof
        1. Fel Infused Stomp, damaged the entire raid for X damage per second for 5 seconds
        2. Infected bite – deals 300k damage, damage is reduced in half if active mitigation is used
      6. Encounter Design Goals:
        1. Introduce tank swapping (debuffs)
        2. Introduce adds that dps have to switch to, and tanks picking them up
        3. Introduce raid healing with coordinating CDs
        4. Introduce dodging things like charges
        5. Introduce using active mitigation

Celeus Dungeon Journal Entry

I originally designed this encounter before Blackrock Foundry had even released and I had no knowledge of the Beastlord encounter. Because of this there are similarities, but as all abilities will continue to persist in a cycle I felt it was different enough. Also it feels like a good encounter to be the first one in an instance. So that even those without raid experience can get their first taste of dealing with different elements in raiding.

This encounter is missing mythic changes. The mythic change would likely be that instead of 1 of the 3 aspects active at a time, the raid would have to deal with 2 at the same time.

Ethereal Demons

As you’ll notice the instance has a heavy magic theme and you’ll see it in these 2 Ethereal Demons right away. They have been twisted by their master and are now attuned to all forms of magic. To not be overwhelmed by one school of magic, players will have to use traps that spawn to temporarily encase that school of magic.

On mythic difficulty the players will have to empower the traps to not only encase the demonic magic, but harm the demon as well in the process.

Which demon model they would use is uncertain, however they will be ethereal like the spirit beasts. As their magic school changes, so will the color of the demon.

Encounter description and development notes:

      1. The demons deal auto attack damage in their school.
      2. Each 5 seconds they will pulse an aoe with damage of that school, and each time the damage increases
      3. The raid triggers a change in school by letting the hounds walk over a trap infused with the school of magic opposite to the hound’s magic
        1. If fire, trap in frost
        2. If Frost, trap in fire
        3. If Shadow, trap in arcane
        4. If Arcane, Trap in Shadow
        5. If Fel, trap in Holy (Mythic only)
        6. When they get trapped they get a stacking buff increasing their damage done by 5%
        7. When a trap gets used it’ll take 45 seconds before the next one spawns.
        8. Mythic Only: The traps have to be empowered by attacks of the school of magic. The more damage the trap has taken (for example from shadow damage), the more damage it will do to the hound.
      4. Other than their pulsing AoE they will cast a bolt spell of the school they’re in which can be interrupted.
      5. One more special ability/debuff depending on the school of magic:
        1. Fire: Lasts 10 seconds, puts fire under the player every second
        2. Frost: Puts the player in a frost prison that has to be dispelled
        3. Shadow: Entire raid takes extra ticks of damage for 10 seconds
        4. Arcane: After 8 seconds the player explodes, rooting anyone within a 15 yard range for 5 seconds.
        5. Fel: Stacking nondispellable debuff that increase magic damage taken by 2%.
      6. Encounter Design Goals:
        1. Introduce interacting with the environment (traps)
        2. Introduce Moving debuffs out of the raid
        3. Introduce soft enrage mechanics
        4. Make players choose when the damage is getting too high and should be reset

Ethereal Demons Dungeon Journal Entry

Read left to right, top to bottom

With Agitation (spelling mistake in the journal entry) being in play, there will be a soft enrage active to make certain that eventually players will either overcome or fall to the demons.

Prince Malchezaar, Traveler of Dimensions

Malchezaar is back and this time he has a little more up his sleeve instead of 2 random axes. He’s been collecting artifacts in different dimensions and isn’t afraid to show it. The encounter has both old and new elements to it and it should make for an interesting fight.

Encounter description and development notes:

      1. The fight starts with 2 infernals blocking the door, flames will then surround the raid to determine the encounter environment
      2. After the infernals die a demon gate opens up and Prince Malchezaar steps through
      3. Emote: “What are you doing in this dimension?!”
      4. Instead of his old axes that attack random people, artifact weapons he’s collected and players have encountered over the years:
        1. Gorehowl
          1. Physical auto attack damage
        2. Arathar the Eye of Flame
          1. Fire auto attack damage
          2. leaves a stacking dot, dispellable
        3. Thunderfury
          1. Nature auto attack damage
          2. Can proc windfury
          3. Mythic: Can proc “super windfury”
        4. (Echo of) Atiesh
          1. Arcane bolts “auto attack damage”
          2. Mythic: Increases magic damage taken by 10% per stack when hit by arcane bolt
      5. Stacking debuff on the tank: Increases all shadow damage taken by 15%. Deals 25,000 shadow damage every 2 seconds. Lasts for 30 seconds.
      6. Amplify Damage returns, debuff on all players increasing all damage taken by 100% for 8 seconds.
      7. Of course the infernals will be dropping from the sky again
        1. These will drop on players specifically, making players run around as a group. Disappears after 2 minutes.
        2. Mythic: After 2 minutes these become active adds, pulse aoe damage within a 20 yard range and have an aggro table
      8. but also summons felhunters as adds
        1. that can silence (done after 1 minute on a random caster/healer if still not dead),
        2. dispel buffs and
        3. leave a shadow dot on players.
        4. Emote on summon: “I see you defeated my ethereal hound, there’s more where that came from!”
      9. At 30% 2 alternate versions of malchezaar join the fight
        1. Emote “All realities, all dimensions are open to me!”
        2. A small one, as big as a human
          1. Casts shadowbolt volley, interruptible
          2. Mythic: Life drain for 5% of health per second for 10 seconds, converts into +1% health / second for add
        3. One half his size that’s quite fat
          1. Heavy melee hitter
          2. Mythic: Moving him will cause an earthquake dealing aoe damage
        4. All other mechanics still apply
      10. Encounter Design Goals:
        1. Introduce players to a changing layout
        2. Let players continue practicing other things such as interrupting, add switching and dispelling
        3. Let players prioritize targets and feel the consequences of not doing so

Prince Malchezaar - Traveler of Dimensions Dungeon Journal Entry

Read left to right, top to bottom

On mythic it should get really interesting as players will not only have to deal with the aura from infernals that become active after 2 minutes, but they will not want to move Malchezaar the Heavy around too much.


 

Concluding Remarks

No testing can, of course, be done for each of the encounters so damage and timer numbers are technically placeholders. As such they are not properly tuned, but do give an idea how ability damage compares to other abilities.

The next wing is still in early development, I’m hoping to be able to release it within a month but we shall have to see! In the meantime I am very curious as to what you think of the zone and encounter ideas. Do they seem appealing? Are there too many abilities or too few? Are there any adjustments you’d make to what you’ve seen so far.