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Eka’s “Supreme Ward” Dungeon Conclusion

November 7, 2010 1 comment

On October 9th I began my second epic journey delving into the heavily-longed-for yet missing world of the other capital cities with this post. In brief I shall go over my points for those who do not like to click back into the past and recall what was said.

  • Point 1 – Mythic has stated that they have no intent of bringing in the other capital cities because they would take away from the current campaign style. My solution was to bring them into the game as PvE extensions of the end-game city siege – only by defeating the enemy king could you gain access to the other two enemy capitals. However, after first access via king-kill, further access into the cities could be purchased with currency only available in RvR (Royal Crests and Medallions).
  • Point 2 – The other capital cities would be living dungeon encounters – you would be invading the cities with an invading army. Even after defeating mobs and pressing the battle forward mobs would still spawn and engage your army, they would simply be neutral to you. This would be a full scale invasion, not a 6-man assault on a city which seems rather absurd.
  • Point 3 – Clearing the city-dungeon of hostile mobs would require advancing the battle via capturing hostile rally flags and turning them contended locations. Capturing a flag would allow your invading army to press forward to that location and secure it for you.
  • Point 4 – Party Roles would exist to aid the non-boss fight mechanics of the dungeons. Commanders would be the only ones to capture flags; Second-in-Commands would allow summoning of reinforcements; Siege-Masters would summon siege weaponry and air-units to clear enemy siege positions; and two Purifiers would have the ability to destroy scenery in order to stop enemy mob spawns or clear buildings.
  • Point 5 – The primary defense of the city would lay in siege equipment – the easiest way to counter the siege weapons would be to use the neglected renown abilities, whether it be Deflect Oil or Bypass Defenses.

With these points in mind I now go into the eight course meal I used to analyze Mythic’s dungeons and attempt to analyze my own.

Time Commitment – I approach this two ways. First of all I don’t want a dungeon whose access depends on zone availability. In my design of the capital-city dungeons their access is only limited to first time visitors, the access granted by defeating the enemy king. Once you and your party members have entered the enemy cities via the king-kill then you may enter every other time via purchasing entrance with RvR currency. In this way the dungeon can be regularly scheduled and zone domination does not work against time commitment. The dungeons themselves I would venture to say would last 4-6 hours each. Keeping in mind that each faction has two dungeons this is a total time commitment of 8-12 hours for complete clears of both. Again, this is the ultimate PvE encounter in the game so it shouldn’t be a cake-walk.

Layout – I abhor linear dungeons that force you to waste hours killing bosses you have no need for. Winged dungeons are ok, but I went a dozen steps further and designed my dungeons to be open free flowing dungeons. This means that if you only need tank shoulders, you do the tank shoulders boss. If you only need your helm, you do the helm boss. You don’t have to clear bosses you have no desire for. Being that these are cities with many avenues this wasn’t hard to do at all, in fact to attempt to do the capitals as linear or winged dungeons would have been not only incredibly challenging from the design aspect, but also a flawed approach to the concept of a city.

Design – As much as I think a large scale PvE encounter could be interesting, I kept my dungeons to six-man instances simply because given the population of the game I see this as the easiest approach. However, to counter the thought that a six-man is decioblideviannihilating a city on their own, I put the entire invading army at their back and incorporate the invading army into the dungeon. The invading army both helps push the battle forward via party roles, and helps hold positions for easier access through a living dungeon. Your six-man is but the spearhead; without the invading army acting as the shaft of the spear, you would quickly get swamped.

Boss Mechanics – This was truly the most difficult part of this project. Designing 36 different boss-fight mechanics is by no means easy, especially when you aim for something somewhat new or fresh. I really wanted to stay away from the mechanics of random breaking-of-aggro and of juggling a ridiculous amount of buffs via acrobatics. If I want acrobatics I go play a Wii, not Warhammer. Each city is defended by nine bosses: 4 representatives of the archtypes present in Warhammer, a leader of the faction’s army (Shining Guard, House Uthorin, etc), three classes that exist in the table-top yet not in WAR, and the king. My aim was to create bosses with built-in random shifts of momentum and tactics, because predictable fights get dry and boring after so long. With this random factor in mind I created the 66 MPAT to give the four archtype representatives a built-in random factor. Of course I didn’t simply leave it at ‘archtype x is a 66 MPAT’, I tried to give them other twists in the fight. The other five bosses in each city had less randomness to them, but certainly still had it to some degree. While I could have simply mirrored the bosses from Order over to Destruction, I felt this would be both bland and a cop-out; I have a brain so I used it to design different elements. Of course some mechanics from Order city bosses cross over to Destruction city bosses, but only in part. No two bosses are intended to be the same.

Loot Mechanics – Pouring all my thought into layout, design, and bosses I did not fry my brain attempting to think of clever loot statistics or what not. For lack of a better name, I labeled the armor set from the capital cities the Monarch set, which would mirror the Sovereign set. Once again, each city had nine bosses, with a total of eighteen per faction. The entire Monarch Set was available for every class dispersed among the eighteen bosses. Going back to my set up of four 66 MPATs, a faction leader, three tabletop classes, and a king I divided the gear as such: the dps 66 MPATs would drop dps Belts, Boots, Shoulders, and Gloves, and the same would apply for tank/healer 66 MPATs (the belt and boots were paired in one city, and the shoulders and gloves were paired in another); the faction leader and three tabletop classes would drop archtype specific accessory pieces (i.e. the Cape and Jewelry piece – the cape being in one city, and the Jewelry in the second); and lastly the Kings of each city would drop a universal helm or chest. All armor pieces were repairable. Additionally, each boss would drop a class-specific weapon; bosses that dropped tank/healer armor would drop dps-class weapons and bosses that dropped dps armor would drop tank/healer weapons. The intent was that everyone present had a stake in the boss fight – it wasn’t just the boss fight for the tanks or healers. I did take the effort to think of clever names for the weapons, yay me.

Lockout – If I had a say in this matter I would leave the lockout per dungeon at 3 days starting upon killing the first boss. This way you could take three days to do one city, three to do the second, and after a day of rest you could start all over!

Lore – I worked really hard to tie lore into all my cities. Where lore was present for city design or places of note I used it. Most of my lore however went into the bosses themselves. I looked high and low for named heroes or lords in the world of Warhammer to be represented in the cities – I took NO regard to who Mythic put in the storyline and killed off. Yes, I know Tullaris is a hero in a PQ or Shadowblade is a regular mob in an epic quest. It was not my concern how Mythic killed off epic people in lore. I sought to give all these characters fights fitting of their status. Also trying to tie lore into the fights, I took the time to research weapons, armors, and mounts of these noteworthy characters in lore and use these to the best of my transmutation-abilities in Warhammer. Translating effects from tabletop to WAR is difficult, and I no doubt rubbed someone the wrong way, but I tried. I am by no means an expert on lore, but I put my heart into keeping as much in tact as possible and keeping Games Workshop’s vision in mind.

Overall Rating – Why I’d give myself a 5/5 of course! Every day I wait for Mythic to beg me to work for them and design a master piece. Alas I fear they loathe me as much as I loathe pickles. They’ll probably just shamelessly steal my ideas and claim them as their own.

In my aforementioned link I set out several goals for my dungeons. Did I achieve them? I tried. I tried to design dungeons so vividly both visually and in words that you could see them as I would. I tried to make boss fights that weren’t bland tank-and-spanks but rather had dynamic roles for all those present. I tried to create a product that Games Workshop would say ‘Yes, that is Warhammer to the core’ and that Mythic would say ‘Yes, that is a PvE experience fit for WAR’. The true rating of my dungeon design lays in the hands of my readers. Would this be something you would want to do? Is this fit for WAR? Should Mythic steal my brain, preferably attached to my body?

I sadly conclude my second epic journey. Sadly because I gave life into a concept dear to many in Warhammer Online and Warhammer the tabletop. In my head I created a complete vision, yet I feel nothing will come of it. Alas this is all just hypothetical anyway… until next time!

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Categories: Supreme Ward Dungeon

Malekith’s Fist – Fifth Floor

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Atop the final floor of the central tower of Malekith’s Fist is the Witch King’s Throne Room. The stairs from the Black Guard Barracks on the fourth floor emerge at the center of the room, in between which lays a raised dais upon which the Witch King sits and plots the downfall of Ulthuan and images of himself upon the Phoenix Throne. Unlike other royal palaces which are lofty and full of chambers and guards, the Throne Room of Malekith’s Fist is but the Witch King’s seat of power while he sets sail to attack Ulthuan, his true seat of power lay at Naggarond. Ascend to the Witch King’s Throne Room and rid Ulthuan of its greatest threat! Read more…

Malekith’s Fist – Fourth Floor

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Ascending the dual spiral stairs from the third floor one enters the fourth floor of the central tower of Malekith’s Fist. Beyond the walls of the stairway are the Black Guard Barracks, the final line of defense before the highest reaches of the Black Ark. The circular room is lined with eight buildings along its outer edge, four greater barracks, and four lesser barracks. In between each barracks a bridge leads to the eight towers of the Black Ark which below housed the chambers with the Crystals of the Dark Winds.¬† Within the upper levels of each of the eight Towers of the Dark Winds a Black Guard lieutenant keeps constant vigil over the surroundings of the Ark, every wary of attacks from all sides on the Witch King. The chamber of the Black Guard Barracks itself is essentially a training area for the legendary guard, but also acts as the most formidable defense before the Witch King. The Black Guards are the personal guard of Malekith, residing exclusively with him in Naggarond and traveling with him where ever he goes. Naturally the predominate color in the chamber is black, the little light entering the chamber from the tower windows and the sconces lit with dark flames. Read more…

Malekith’s Fist – Third Floor

November 4, 2010 2 comments

Ascending the ramps from the outer walkway of the second floor, one comes upon the third floor of Malekith’s Fist. Once again the floor is ringed by a small outer walkway which opens up at the center upon wide corridor through the heart of the tower at the center of which is a dual spiral staircase leading to the fourth floor. This floor is divided into two chambers, one at the front of the Ark, and one at the back.
At the front of the Black Ark on the third floor is the Blood Temple of Khaine. Here the Brides of Khaine give living sacrifices to their god to appease his thirst. Five altars ring the outer wall of the room with giant statues of Khaine looming above them, each with Khaines sword pointing at the center of the altar as if poised to strike the killing blow himself. From these alters channels collect the blood of the sacrificed and direct them to a massive pool of blood at the center of the chamber. It is said that the Brides of Khaine obtain their savage strength and thirst for blood by bathing in this pool. As the blood of their victims flows into this pool of blood, the souls of the sacrificed victims is drained down through the floor as it pours into the fonts of the Abyss of Souls in the floor below.
The second half of the third floor is reserved as the diplomatic section of Malekith’s Fist, where visiting ambassadors may stay and rest. Here in the Council Quarters Malekith’s closest advisers plot and seek to secure the Witch King’s favor. The two factions with greatest presence in the Council Quarters were the House Uthorin and House Arkaneth, but with the rapid success of House Uthorin, it has been projected to the forefront of the campaign against the Phoenix Throne and the forefront of Malekith’s attention. To better keep the devious plotting lord under watchful eye, Malekith ordered Lord Uthorin to leave the Nemesis in the hands of a trusty captain and aide the invasion in Caledor. Here in Malekith’s First House Uthorin is kept under careful watch as their strength is put to the test against the Shining Guard. The security of this floor is left to House Uthorin as its guards patrol both the Council Quarters and the outer walkway, leaving the Witch Elves to partake in their blood-orgy behind closed doors. Read more…

Malekith’s Fist – Second Floor

November 3, 2010 1 comment

Ascending the circular ramp from the first floor, either at the Forge of Sorrows or the Hall of the Cries of the Weak, the invaders come upon the second floor of the Black Ark. This level is composed of an outer walkway and an inner structure, which is itself divided into two halves. The outer walkway is ringed by eight massive towers known as the Towers of the Dark Winds. Within these towers dark crystals pulse with the dark magic that keeps the Ark afloat and gives power to the sorceresses that walk its halls. Ringing the edge of the outer walkway are repeater bolt throwers and their crews, ever vigilant. Also at the back end of the outer ramp are pens full of the ferocious manticores utilized by Dark Elf nobles as mounts.
The interior of the second floor is a large structure divided into two halves. The front half of this structure consists of the Abyss of Souls, a massive temple devoted to Khaine. Here the disciples of Khaine harvest the souls of their victims and store them in massive cauldrons. The hall has an eeirie purple glow about it, as the soul essence of sacrificed victims from the upper levels drips down onto fonts which in turn direct the soul essence into the cauldrons. The back half of this structure consists of the Chamber of the Frozen North. The Chamber of the Frozen North houses the library of Malekith’s Fist and more importantly the sorceresses of the Dark Convent that aid Malekith in his struggle. The dark winds flow from the Towers of the Dark Winds and a cold blue hue fills the room. Read more…

Malekith’s Fist – The Dark Pit

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Deep in the belly of Malekith’s Fist a deadly predatory lays concealed from the outside world. Below the main floor is the sub level of the Dark Pit, a chamber so vast that a keep could fit inside it. The entire substructure of the Black Ark is in fact an indoor harbor for the personal corsair fleet under Malekith’s command. The substructure gains its name from the waters that fill it, reflecting no light from the black stone and iron of the Black Ark, and also lacking light from the outside world.
The upper levels of the Dark Pit dangle from massive chains as thick as trees, gently swaying with the tide. The upper levels are divided into three distinct areas: the central platform serves as a slaver market where the corsairs sell their plundered wares; stationed as the Ark currently is in Caledor, looking north one approaches the holding pens for slaves recently captured; to the east and west of the slaver market lay the corsair barracks. Hailing from the bread-basket of Naggaroth, Clar Karond, the corsairs play a crucial role in the economy of the dark elves as they plunder foreign costs bringing foreign products and slaves back to the frozen wastes of Naggaroth. Connected to the corsair barracks, and operated by the corsairs, are four massive sea gates which can be opened to allow the corsair fleet to set sail from the belly of the beast to raid the coasts for fresh slaves.
The lower level of the Dark Pit is a massive harbor, the home of the private corsair fleet of the Black Ark. Within its hold twenty corsair ships  lay at dock, and within their holds deadly corsair crews lay in wait, ever vigilant for the call from the Witch King to sail out and sow seeds of destruction amongst the weaker races.
A gruesome feature of the Dark Pit consists of the cold one feeding pens from the Hall of the Cries of the Weak above the Dark Pit. The feeding pits and holding cages for the cold ones protrude from the ceiling of the Dark Pit, and through the bars that compose the walls of the holding cages the corsairs can see their hard earned catches put to use. As the cold ones shred the screaming victims apart and pick the bones clean, blood and bones fly out of the cages dropping into the waters of the Dark Pit, a constant reminder to the corsairs what their toils reap.
The Dark Pit represents the far reaching arm of Naggaroth, an arm which must be severed if the coasts of Ulthuan are to be safe from the constant attacks from the corsairs. Read more…

Malekith’s Fist – Main Floor

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Upon entering the Black Ark of Malekith, one is immediately greeted with the sight of grim dark barracks crafted from the cold iron of Naggaroth, mined by the slaves of Har Ganeth. The entrance of the mighty citadel is suitably also the training ground and barracks for the dreadful executioners of the city from whence the iron was mined, Har Ganeth. The cruel executioners have no pity in their hearts and drive their slaves to death. In the Witch King’s army they fulfill an equally terrorizing role as brutal soldiers and slave executors for the blood harvest. The color grey is predominant in the entrance of Malekith’s Fist. It is here in the Forge of Sorrows that many visitors to the Black Ark, mostly in the form of slaves, meet their fate and lose all hope. The executioners of Har Ganeth’s sole purpose is to strike at the very soul of their enemies and deprive them of hope.
Behind the Forge of Sorrows and up a ramp lay the Hall of the Cries of the Weak, a hall where green is the predominant color. This hall serves as the training ground for the Cold One Riders and Beast Masters. They chamber gains its name from the constant pleas that fill the air, that is pleas, followed by bloody shrieks. The noise in the Hall of the Cries of the Weak would be sure to drive those of the weakest constitution insane, but the Dark Elves are of iron hearts and feel not for their victims. Here the victims of the numerous slave raids from the Black Ark are taken and kept in pens, pens with retractable floors. Below the pens in a submerged level lay the Cold One Pens, and when it is feeding time the Beastmasters open the floors of the feeding pens and watch with vicious glee as the prisoners fall into the snapping jaws of the cold ones, torn limb from limb. Read more…