Design Corner: Time-Lost Halls of Karazhan Part 1

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.


2 Comments

  1. Riley June 23, 2015 12:59 am  Reply

    I think that this is a very interesting idea! However, I think that it should include Medivh’s Son Me’dan (from the Warcraft comics) as a major character in this theoretical piece of content. This would be the perfect way to introduce this awesome character Me’dan. He was even mentored by Vindicator Maraad! It would be awesome to see this in-game.

    • Mezzy June 23, 2015 1:06 am  Reply

      Thanks! It’s an interesting idea. Me’dan has been a sensitive subject for some of the WoW fans. I wasn’t planning on including Me’dan but who knows.. with all of the 6.2 guides I’ve had to make, the design corner has taken a backseat. Once 6.2 settles down I can get back to designing the next wing and we’ll see where it goes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *