Category: Featured

Artcraft is back! This time the series is about the Draenor level design!

Quote from: Blizzard
Artcraft – Level Design Part 1

Hi, I’m Chris Robinson, senior art director of World of Warcraft, and welcome to a special edition of Artcraft focused on environment and zone design. Previously we showed you what it was like to create the Spires of Arak from a purely art-focused perspective, but over the coming days we’ll be releasing a series of articles focused on exterior level design, using Nagrand as a focal point. You’ll be hearing from the team who works with the artists, as well as the quest designers, systems designers, historians, and more to craft and create not only the zones we adventure in, but the visual story that is told about these locations and the creatures and races that inhabit them. For this first article, I’m pleased to introduce Julian Morris, our lead level designer.

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Hey everyone, Julian Morris here, lead level designer for the World of Warcraft exterior level design team.

Exterior level design is the process of designing and constructing the zones of World of Warcraft, from Azeroth to Draenor and everything in between. Our team has planned, plotted, and designed the rise and fall of ancient cultures, as well as shaped mountains, forests, seas, lakes, rivers, roads, ruins, and every land feature imaginable. In addition to the land itself, we also design and create cities, towns, and Battlegrounds (with the random exterior dungeon or two in there every now and then, too).

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The level design team is a hybrid of both art and design. We work hand in hand with the quest design team to build the environmental stories that support the content that defines Azeroth’s lands, cultures, and conflicts.

We also work every step of the way with all of the art groups on the Warcraft team. Working with the environment art team, we sculpt and paint the landscapes to create the rich, vibrant settings that form the foundation of the world. Within those spaces we work with the dungeon team, designing and constructing the thousands of camps, towns, settlements, and cities that provide the unique architectural beauty that anchors all of our cultures and creatures to the world. These locations in turn provide the scenes and staging for the finely crafted set dressing—the tables, chairs, books, and more—that our prop art team creates.

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Level design binds the vision of many groups together, and it takes the passionate effort of all these teams to create an incredibly detailed, hand-crafted experience.

The zones of World of Warcraft are their own main characters that come to life before our very eyes during development. In this series, we’re going to draw back the curtains a bit to show you more on how we approach world-building and how we breathe life into a zone.

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Join us again tomorrow as senior level designer Michael (Mac) McInerney gives you a deeper look into the level design of World of Warcraft using Nagrand from Warlords of Draenor.

Patch 6.0.3

A new patch is coming, which will bring along many more bug fixes!

Quote from: Blizzard
We’re planning to release a patch tomorrow that will bring the live game up-to-date with the version currently being tested on the beta realms. This includes a number of fixes and changes to address issues we’ve identified since the release of 6.0.2, as well as remaining assets and content to prepare for the launch of Warlords of Draenor. As we’ve done in prior expansions, our plan is to not require a launch-day patch, and have a smooth transition to the new expansion in North America at midnight Pacific on November 13.

Warlords of Draenor Garrison Guide

Over the lifespan of the WoD Beta we’ve covered a lot of what you can expect from the Garrisons. however because there’s so much information to cover here’s a complete guide with just about everything you need to know as well as links to our various videos/guides.

The basics

You get your garrison almost right after you finish the Tenaan Jungle intro event. You get a set of quests that take you through all the waves and motions of the Garrison mechanics. Let’s go over each of those mechanics.

Resources

When going about the daily goings of your garrison you’ll need resources. You can earn these from multiple sources: The garrison resource chest, quests, garrison missions, rare mobs and garrison buildings such as the lumber mill and the trading post. Once you reach maximum level you’ll mainly earn the resources from the garrison chest, garrison missions and garrison buildings.

You’ll use resources for things like building buildings, upgrading them and sending followers on missions.

Plots/Garrison Leveling

When you build up your garrison you can build the garrison buildings in plots. The type of plot determines which buildings you can put on them. There are more buildings per type of plot than there are plots, which means you will have to make a choice as to which buildings you want. This matters because you get perks depending on the buildings you choose (more on that in the buildings section).

You will need to level your garrison up to get more plots. Your garrison starts at tier 1 and you can level it up to a maximum of tier 3. See the below table for the amount of plots per tier.

Tier Amount of Plots
1 1 small, 1 large
2 2 small, 1 medium, 1 large
3 3 small, 3 medium, 2 large

 

Tier 2

To level your garrison up to tier 2 you will simply need to have completed both buildings in the plots. You will then get the quest to upgrade your town hall. To do so you have to click on the town hall in the architect interface and click upgrade.

At tier 2 you will also get quests depending on your level to unlock new buildings, these don’t cost extra plots.

Level Required Building
92 The Mines
94 The Fishing Shack
96 The Herb Garden
98 Pet Menagerie

Tier 3

To level your garrison up to tier 3 you simply need to be level 100. The upgrade itself will require 5000 gold and 2000 resources.

Buildings

As mentioned before the plots determine which buildings you can build. At garrison tier 3 you can build 3 small, 3 medium and 2 large buildings. Each building has 3 levels and depending on the level you’ll get perks from having those buildings. Check below for all the different buildings and their perks so you can start thinking about which buildings you will want to build first when you get your own garrison. To build and level up your garrison you will need to get blueprints.

 

Type Blueprint How to Obtain
Level 1 blueprints Become available to you when your Garrison reaches Tier 2.
Level 2 Small building blueprints Reach level 96 or complete the Talador zone
Level 2 Medium building blueprints Reach level 98 or complete the Spires of Arak zone
Level 2 Large building blueprints Reach level 100 or complete the Nagrand zone
Level 3 blueprints Become available as you complete certain achievements across Draenor

Level 3 blueprints are account-wide. Once you unlock one on a character, it’s available to all characters on your account.

Large

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Unlocks patrol missions. Patrol missions have higher than normal follower experience rewards.
2 Allows a follower with the bodyguard trait to accompany you as a guardian in Draenor zones.
3 Increases your follower limit by 5 and grants access to racial guards and banners.  Level 3 Perks Video

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Doubles the chance for your quest rewards to get a rare or epic Bonus Upgrade, and increases the optency of the upgrade.
Allows the collection of armor scraps from the orc clans of Draenor for armor transmogrification use.
2 Opens up work orders for follower weapons and armor in exchange for garrison resources. Also, new armor transmogrification items unlock.
3 Grants 1 of your 3 seals of tempered fate (raid bonus loot roll) at no cost each week.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Unlocks a personal engineer that creates a powerful invention each day. Exceptional work!
2 Your engineer gains access to five new and amazing devices.
3 Allows the creation of a siege vehicle once per day. Drive it to victory in Draenor!

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Allows the collection of ogre waystones from Ogres on Draenor.
These waystones can be used to power an Ogre Waygate of your choice on Draenor. Also occasionaly triggers Runes of Power during combat.
2 Unlocks access to a second Ogre Waygate for a total of 2.
3 Unlocks access to a third Ogre Waygate for a total of 3.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Enables the capture and training of special mounts on Draenor.
Also allows you remain mounted while interacting with objects in outdoor Draenor zones.
 Taming Quest Video
2 You will no longer get dazed by enemies while riding mounts in outdoor Draenor zones.
3 Increases mount speed in Draenor by 20%.  6 Stable Mounts Video

 Medium

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Allows you to mark small trees in Draenor for harvest. Harvested Timber can be converted to work orders for garrison supplies.
2 Allows you to mark medium trees for additional Timber.  You can earn a special follower via the lumber mill.
3 Allows you to mark large trees for even more Timber.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 A merchant shows up each day selling trade goods. Also allows the trade of crafting reagents for garrison resources.
2 Grants access to the Sha’tari Defense or Laughing Skull factions. Also unlocks the ability to acquire parts from around Draenor to build an auctioneer.
3 Increases reputation gain in Draenor by 20%.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Allows you to capture clefthoof, elekk, wolves and talbuk for leather and fur. used for leatherworking and tailoring recipes.
2 Allows you to capture boars and riverbeasts for rare meats used to create the most powerful food. Expected to use for raiding food.
3 Allows you to capture elite beasts to harvest for savage blood, used in all epic crafted armor and weapons. Required for crafting the best armor and weapons.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Increases your out-of-combat regeneration in outdoor Draenor zones and allows the collection of broken bones from defeated enemy players (used for Conqueror’s Tribute).
2 Enables safe fall and underwater breathing in outdoor Draenor zones. Also enables the Nemesis quest series for defeating enemy players of specific races.
3 While below 35% life, all damage taken is reduced by 50% in outdoor Draenor zones. Grants access to the Highmaul Coliseum gladiator tournament. Coliseum Video preview

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Each day, a visitor offering a dungeon quest with generous rewards will spend the day at your inn.
2 Recruits random followers each week. You can specify traits and abilities you’re especially interested in.
3 Unlocks the particularly lucrative treasure hunter missions.

Small

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Allows the production of profession items. Enchanter’s study allows disenchanting of items.
2 Allows followers with profession trait to work here, granting a unique bonus. Also allows up to 14 work orders at a time.
3 Allows up to 21 work orders at a time.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Allows Salvage to be occasionally recovered from missions
2 Increases your chance at recovering Salvage from missions. In addition, you may now discover follower items in Salvage
3 Greatly increases your chance at recovering Salvage from missions. In addition, you may now discover player items in Salvage.

Perks

Level Perk Comment
1 Enables access to your personal bank and increases the total number of active work orders for all buildings by 5.
2 Enables access to your guild bank.
3 Enables access to an Ethereal Trader for Void Storage and Transmogrification and increases the total number of active work orders for all buildings by 15

The Salvage Yard

The salvage yard is the only building for which you will need to earn the level 1 blueprints in a seperate way. You will need to finish the goblin chain quests to the east/southeast in Spires of Arak at lvl 98. Together with the work orders from the Dwarven Bunker, the salvage yard is your main source of follower gear upgrades. But not only that, you can get legitimate item upgrades as well as character creation screen transmogrification sets. Check out some of the possible items below (note the dkp values are from a custom addon)!

The non full set upgrades are now either +3, +6 or +9 item levels.

Followers

As you adventure through Draenor you’ll get the chance to build up your own private army. You can earn these followers through exploring, questing, achievements and dungeons. You can send these followers on missions to earn follower experience, gold and other tidbits. There’s a few things you need to know about these followers.

  • You can have up to a maximum of 20 active followers (25 with lvl 3 barracks)
  • Once you have more than the maximum amount active you cannot send followers on missions until you put followers on inactive (right click follower to do so) until you have the maximum amount of active followers again.
  • Followers can be leveled up to lvl 100
  • Followers have uncommon (green), rare (blue) or epic (purple) quality. These determine the amount of abilities and traits the follower has.
  • Abilities and traits counter mission dangers or give your followers buffs during missions to increase the chance of succesful missions. They can also have profession traits, in which case you can assign them to the appropriate profession building via the architect interface.
  • Once a follower is level 100 they can continue to gain experience until they are of epic quality.
  • Once a follower is level 100 they will have an item level, starting at 600. You can upgrade their gear, which will be needed for harder missions.

For an overview of all the followers we’ve found check out these guides.

Missions

Missions are your way to keep your followers busy. Once you have your very first follower you will be sending them on a mission right away. Missions have many rewards, from gold to experience to follwer item upgrades there’s plenty of reasons to keep sending your followers on new missions. You can choose which follower you send on which mission in the mission interface by dragging them to the open follower slots.

The list of missions you get can grow for a bit, so if you can’t log on for a day there’s no harm done, you’ll still be able to send your followers on plenty of missions without falling behind in leveling them up! Missions at maximum level have 4 tiers, corresponding with follower item level. There are even raid missions, Kalgan explained them a while back:

Once you have followers at ilvl 615, the second tier of level 100 missions unlocks, at 630 the third tier unlocks (includes missions with ilvl 645 gear for your character), and when you have followers at ilvl 645 the fourth tier unlocks.

The fourth tier is special in that they show up rarely, but they’re raid missions for your followers that reward your character with raid quality loot of a tier higher than you’re currently running. If you’re doing LFR, you’ll get normal quality raid loot, if you’re running normal raids you’ll get heroic quality loot, and heroic raiders will get mythic quality loot. Mythic raiders will get mythic loot and 1k gold.

These missions show up rarely enough that you won’t be able to deck out your character in these items before the next raid zone shows up, but having a handful of them will give you a nice edge.

(Note: DKP Value in item is from a custom addon)

Monuments

In your garrison you will be able to put up monuments that commemorate the feats you’ve achieved in draenor. There are currently 6 monuments to earn and 3 slots in a tier 3 garrison to place them in. You can earn them in the following ways:

  • Get 5000 honorable kills in Draenor
  • Craft 50 epic items with an item level of at least 600
  • Complete mythic raiding achievements
  • Win 2000 pet battles in Draenor
  • Collect 100000 Apexis Crystals
  • Complete a likely legendary ring achievement

The monuments are purely cosmetic and allow you to customize your garrison a bit.

Invasions

You will be able to take part in invasion events. In these your garrison is under attack and you’ll need to defend it from various invaders. The fun part of these is that your followers will fight alongside you and that you’ll be able to earn points and try and earn rewards with these!

Outposts

In each zone other than your garrison zone you’ll get to build a garrison outpost. At each outpost you’ll have be able to build 1 building, with the choice from 2. Once you’ve built it you will have access to a garrison ability in that zone. Check out the table below for the overview.

Zone Building 1 Building 2
Gorgrond Lumber Mill Sparring Arena
Talador Mage Tower Artillery/Armory
Spires of Arak Inn Trading Post
Nagrand StablesPerk: Special Mount For Combat, allowing casting while moving Siege Works

 

Concluding Remarks

Garrisons are a big part of WoD (but optional for the most part), and this guide certainly shows it. There are many aspects to it and it might seem like much, but once you play with it yourself and start building your garrison it is actually quite easy to deal with. If you’re a collector you’ll enjoy going around Draenor to collect the followers and build up your own private army!

Welcome to A Look At, an editorial series where we try to keep things lighter than your average guide.

Patch 6.0.2 is live on both the US and EU servers now and it possibly has the biggest amount of changes to the game we’ve seen in any pre-expansion patch. Because of this you’ll undoubtedly run into some things that could be confusing or just broken. Let’s take a look at what you could run into and how to go about dealing with it. (You can always check out the patch notes here)

Class Changes

Let’s face it, one of the biggest things you’ll encounter is the amount of changes you might have gotten to your class. The ability pruning and stat/healer/tank changes were all needed for the longevity of the game but no doubt some things might frustrate you at first. You’ll have to get used to playing your class or spec again in a different way compared to what you were used to. You might even have to switch specs if it turns out due to the changes another spec has more damage/healing output. Icy veins has guides to help you along in getting used to the changes for your class.

Along with those guides what can you do to get up to speed? Practice. Use the training dummies in the city to get used to your new rotation (Raid dummies have been updated to level 100 raid bosses, so use the level 90 dummies in your faction’s shrine in pandaria). It’s ok that it can cost a bit of time, just be patient. There’s a reason these pre-expansion patches are released ahead of an expansion. By getting used to everything now you’ll be able to rock the socks of the Iron Horde when Warlords is actually released.

System Changes And Bugs

There’s no doubt that a lot of the changes are straight forward, especially taking into consideration all of the bagspace changes. However because of all these changes it’s quite possible that there are still bugs lurking beneath the surface because of the complexity of each system. If you come across such a bug, don’t get too frustrated. Again this is why we get the changes now and not when the actual expansion is launched. Report the bugs with as much detail as you can through the appropriate bug reporting channels. You can also check to see if the bug or issue is already known.

  • For the EU, use the ingame bug reporting tool. In WoW go to the menu (escape), help,  click Submit Bug. Then Enter the details of the bug, making sure to follow the guidelines outlined on the submission form. Afterwards click Submit.
  • For the US, other than the ingame way of reporting you also have the bug report forums.

Community Manager Zarhym had this to say about any stat squish issues:

Quote from: Blizzard

If any particular creatures aren’t properly squished, be sure to report them by name in the Bug Report forum so we can hotfix these as quickly as possible.As an aside, Patch 6.0.2 is the biggest change World of Warcraft has ever seen, particularly on the technical side with file structure and coding, as well as on the mechanical side with things like the stat squish, ability pruning, etc. There are bound to be some unforeseen bugs or other issues, which is why we have all hands on deck ready to pounce on these as we find them. With your help and patience we’ll get things sorted even faster.

Addons

As a last mention, due to all the system changes it’s quite possible some or many of your addons might be broken. The process of fixing an addon, let alone writing one, can be quite long. So if your favorite addon hasn’t been updated yet and is completely broken just turn it off for now and wait until it has been fixed by the author. (And you can always choose to find another addon that does the same and has been fixed for 6.0)

Conclusion

Pre-expansion patches are always exciting times, but they can be frustrated too. Just remember a game can be a complicated thing beneath the surface. So just take your time to get used to the new things and report any bugs you might come across. That way you’ll help the developers and be completely ready when the real goal comes around: Warlords of Draenor.