WOO II An Exploration in Design - July 2012 - By Stoneghost: Dalaran


WOO II - zones and Hubs

The main objective of releveling is to make lower level venues playable for players at all levels. In turn, this should attract players to more venues and spread the players out over the game map. With more players in more places on the map, the current notion of a "zone" as being restricted to certain level activities might be problematical. And, since it makes sense to put a full range of character services in the Fun Houses and Theme Parks, it may be possible reduce the population of the current major city "hubs."


Starting zones remain more or less as they are in the current game ... protected areas in which novice players can learn the basic skills needed to play the game. It would make sense to surround the starting zones with "tutorial" zones containing dangers appropriate to the level of the new players.

Other zones, however, have no need of segregation by level:


With the exception of Stormwind and Ogrimmar, the cities of the current game are already pretty much deserted. Each expansion has created new hubs, and each of these ... Exodar, Shattrath, Dalaran ... has faded. Nor have the racial centers proved to be attractive - Thunder Bluff is an amazing city, as is Undercity, and Ironforge, but no one ever goes there anymore.

On the other hand, Fun Houses and Theme Parks are timeless. As destination points for Raiding, Fighting and Crafting they will naturally draw crowds. And, since their purpose is to attract exactly those players who most want to congregate, it makes sense to establish them as WOO II's de facto hubs.

The main objective of Fun Houses and Theme Parks is to give the short attention span "lets kill something NOW" players, as well as the long term "I wanna grind out some reward points" players, a place to go. This is not so much to satisfy their desires as to get them out of the hair of the players who want to play the PvE and PvP venues with others who are of like mind.

But these locations will also be popular with players who need services, such as banking, auctions, or farmers' markets, or who are in transit to dungeons, battlefields or arenas. The odds are good that many players will spend much of their "down" time in one of these places.

One advantage of these as hubs is that they are instanced. They are reachable only by teleport, and they have no direct connection to the "outside" game world. This means that new hubs can be launched as needed, and/or that the sizes of existing hubs can be adjusted to accomodate the demand.

It might also mean that Guild areas could also be spawned inside them. Imagine, for example, a large hall with big doorways for the three Meta-Guilds, and a number of other doorways leading to hallways with doors for other guilds. Guilds probably should have to pay a fee to rent their spaces ... and one doorwayy could lead to a hall populated by guilds who have paid a cash bonus to be "up front".

Game world cities should likely then be planned with non-hub uses in mind. Some could be the focus of Questing chains. Others might house dungeons ... or be used, รก la Wintergrasp, as battle zones.