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Old 03-17-2017, 02:10 PM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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Default [Theorycraft] Warcraft 1/2/2x: Chronicles Edition

So with the release of Chronicles Vol. 2, we have Blizzard's definitive order of events for the First War, the Second War, and the events of "Beyond the Dark Portal." While there are certainly some deviations from what was presented in the original games and in the novelizations for 2/2x, the Chronicles account tells a cohesive story that gives a lot of prominence to many of the named characters who participated in those wars.

Now that we have this version of events, I want to suss out how to create the structure of a series of campaigns, in the vein of the campaign structure of WC3, that would allow this new edition of the First and Second Wars to be told through RTS gameplay.

So given what we now have before us in Chronicles, what would these campaigns look like? How do specific events translate into discrete missions? What events not specifically mentioned in the book would make sense as missions?

For example, here's a rough outline of discrete missions and side-missions for the First War. The (xxx) indicate the pages on Chronicle Vol. 2 referencing the specific events.

Orc Campaign: The Invasion of Azeroth

• Brightwood, Westfall, Redrige Mountains ("entire villages" 124)
• The Twilight's Hammer gets unruly (127)
• Orgrim avenges Durotan & Draka (129)
• Blackhand seizes Redridge (129)
• Retreating from the Siege of Stormwind (132)
• Mak'gora vs. Blackhand (135)
• The Second Siege of Stormwind (136)
• Destroying the Shadow Council (138)
• Sidestory: Flight of the Frostwolves (123)
• Sidestory: Bleeding Hollow vs. Gurubashi (125)
• Sidestory: Cho'gall claims Blackrock Spire (132)

Human Campaign: Defenders of Stormwind

• First contact w/ the Horde in the Black Morass (119)
• A number of small victories (119)
• Gavinrad ambushes raiding parties (124)
• Lothar defends Lakeshire (130)
• The First Siege of Stormwind (132)
• Assault on Karazhan (134)
• Evacuating Stormwind (136)
• Sidestory: Khadgar's arrival at Karazhan (121)
• Sidestory: Khadgar meets Lothar in the Black Morass (121)
• Sidestory: Khadgar and Garona discover Medivh's treachery (133)
• Sidestory: Khadgar and Garona report to Stormwind (134)

There are easily ways to expand on this further in order to create more complete campaigns for both races (especially if you draw some inspiration from the arcs of these campaigns from WC1) but just as a general framework, there's a lot to work with here.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:36 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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EDIT: You edited your first post! I hadn't read your outline yet when I posted this. But I will!
[/EDIT]

I don't have the details of the book, so my info is probably off. But for the Second War I gathered this:

* Khaz Modan (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Seas of Fire (Horde)
* Hillsbrad Foothills (Alliance)
* Durnholde Keep (Horde)
* The Hinterlands ?? (Alliance)
* Quel'Thalas (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Capital City (Alliance)
* The Alterac Mountains ?? (Alliance)
* The Broken Isles (Horde vs. Horde)
* Crestfall (Alliance)
* Ironforge (Alliance)
* Blackrock Spire (Alliance)
* The Dark Portal (Alliance)

-----------

A single campaign could alternate between playing orcs and humans.

Two campaigns could co-exist with overlap. As in...
The Alliance campaign could have Hillsbrad, Hinterlands, Capital City, Crestfall, Ironforge, Blackrock Spire, and the Portal.
The Horde campaign could have Khaz Modan, the Seas, Durnholde Keep, Quel'Thalas, Broken Isles, and escaping through the Portal.

An adaptive campaign (such as in Civil War Generals 2) could have both sides playable but change missions depending on who wins. As in, a Horde victory at Hillsbrad Foothills could result in an early attack on Capital City.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:58 PM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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EDIT: You edited your first post! I hadn't read your outline yet when I posted this. But I will!
[/EDIT]

I don't have the details of the book, so my info is probably off. But for the Second War I gathered this:

* Khaz Modan (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Seas of Fire (Horde)
* Hillsbrad Foothills (Alliance)
* Durnholde Keep (Horde)
* The Hinterlands ?? (Alliance)
* Quel'Thalas (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Capital City (Alliance)
* The Alterac Mountains ?? (Alliance)
* The Broken Isles (Horde vs. Horde)
* Crestfall (Alliance)
* Ironforge (Alliance)
* Blackrock Spire (Alliance)
* The Dark Portal (Alliance)

-----------

A single campaign could alternate between playing orcs and humans.

Two campaigns could co-exist with overlap. As in...
The Alliance campaign could have Hillsbrad, Hinterlands, Capital City, Crestfall, Ironforge, Blackrock Spire, and the Portal.
The Horde campaign could have Khaz Modan, the Seas, Durnholde Keep, Quel'Thalas, Broken Isles, and escaping through the Portal.

An adaptive campaign (such as in Civil War Generals 2) could have both sides playable but change missions depending on who wins. As in, a Horde victory at Hillsbrad Foothills could result in an early attack on Capital City.
I need to take the same time to write out the treatment for the Second War as I did for the First but I've got some family stuff to get to first. Just wanted to lay the groundwork here.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:01 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
EDIT: You edited your first post! I hadn't read your outline yet when I posted this. But I will!
[/EDIT]

I don't have the details of the book, so my info is probably off. But for the Second War I gathered this:

* Khaz Modan (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Seas of Fire (Horde)
* Hillsbrad Foothills (Alliance)
* Durnholde Keep (Horde)
* The Hinterlands ?? (Alliance)
* Quel'Thalas (Horde) (multiple missions?)
* Capital City (Alliance)
* The Alterac Mountains ?? (Alliance)
* The Broken Isles (Horde vs. Horde)
* Crestfall (Alliance)
* Ironforge (Alliance)
* Blackrock Spire (Alliance)
* The Dark Portal (Alliance)

-----------

A single campaign could alternate between playing orcs and humans.

Two campaigns could co-exist with overlap. As in...
The Alliance campaign could have Hillsbrad, Hinterlands, Capital City, Crestfall, Ironforge, Blackrock Spire, and the Portal.
The Horde campaign could have Khaz Modan, the Seas, Durnholde Keep, Quel'Thalas, Broken Isles, and escaping through the Portal.

An adaptive campaign (such as in Civil War Generals 2) could have both sides playable but change missions depending on who wins. As in, a Horde victory at Hillsbrad Foothills could result in an early attack on Capital City.
Several things here Baron. I believe that Hillsbrad should be multiple missions, altering between the Horde and the Alliance. Unlike Tides of Darkness, there were many battles there according to Chronicle, and the whole situation was described as a stalemate (according to Chronicle, Doomhammer did not pull out of Hillsbrad because he were beaten, but because he realized he'd need the Amani to gain an edge over the Alliance, and because he realized that by fighting there, the Alliance could easily gather reinforcements in Lordaeron, gaining an edge over him). I think these should be reflected in the hypothetical campaign.

Furthermore, Chronicle mentions that when Gul'dan pulled out of Quel'Thalas, he had to fight some human holdings on his way to Hillsbrad. I think that a hypothetical Caer Darrow mission could fit there, ultimately, the path around Darrowmere is the only he could have taken, to the west was Doomhammer, to the east, in the Hinterlands, was Lothar and a bulk of the Horde.

Finally, the Horde's retreat from Lordaeron. There's two important things there. Unlike Tides of Darkness, Lothar had never actually managed to wipe out the Hinterlands bulk of the Horde, they rejoined Doomhammer as he marched towards Khaz Modan. Moreover, the Dragonmaw formed the rear of the Horde, fighting the Alliance, slowing them down and leaving nothing but ash behind. I think this could warrant its own mission, perhaps even two. I also could see a diversion attack against Stromgarde there, with Thoras and his men defending it (successfully).

Edit: I'd also argue in the favor of an Eastweald (the Plaguelands) mission. Given Chronicle's comment about the Horde razing countless cities and villages and the roads from Hillsbrad to Quel'Thalas being filled with corpses, Matt Burns' own comment about the Horde being like Subotai, and the fact that there is absolutely no way to reach Quel'Thalas without crossing the Eastweald, I think it is pretty safe to assume that the Horde did a lot of damage in the region.

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Old 03-19-2017, 09:53 AM
Ethenil Ethenil is offline

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Indeed, @Marthen

Towns and cities such as Southshore, Tarren Mill, Hillsbrad, Darrowshire, Stratholme, Tyr's Hand... Almost certainly saw very heavy fighting, if not complete burning.
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:27 PM
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Indeed, @Marthen

Towns and cities such as Southshore, Tarren Mill, Hillsbrad, Darrowshire, Stratholme, Tyr's Hand... Almost certainly saw very heavy fighting, if not complete burning.
Well, seeing the following map, it is hard to imagine the Horde would have not at least attacked Stratholme on their way north.



Anyway, regarding the Stromgarde matter. I have re-read the passage, there are tw interesting things. First, the book says the Hinterlands bulk of the Horde cut through Lothar's forces. Since we know Lothar were west of them, I believe this clearly means they move to Hillsbrad first, before marching for Stromgarde. Second, the book describes the further movement as long weeks of hard marching and sporadic battles. This means that they must have fought in Stromgarde, and it also means they must have breached Thoradin's Wall. In the light of this, I'd say that the hypothetical campaign could easily feature two missions happening in Stromgarde. One would be the Horde's breaching of the wall, the other would be Thoras fighting the Horde as they marched through Stromgarde, or perhaps defending his city from a diversion attack.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:19 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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^ Stratholme has complications. I know WC2 has it razed, and I don't usually give a lick for WC3's storylines... but Metzen went out of his way in Of Blood and Honor to keep Stratholme preserved through the Second War. Then when Arthas culls it in WC3, as a perfectly good and preserved major city, it's a huge deal.

Without Blizzard specifically confirming it, I'd hesitate to assume Stratholme was damaged at all before Arthas touches it. But we may learn more in Chronicle 3.

EDIT: But Blackwood is still fair game, since Chronicles didn't specifically deny it.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:40 PM
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^ Stratholme has complications. I know WC2 has it razed, and I don't usually give a lick for WC3's storylines... but Metzen went out of his way in Of Blood and Honor to keep Stratholme preserved through the Second War. Then when Arthas culls it in WC3, as a perfectly good and preserved major city, it's a huge deal.

Without Blizzard specifically confirming it, I'd hesitate to assume Stratholme was damaged at all before Arthas touches it. But we may learn more in Chronicle 3.

EDIT: But Blackwood is still fair game, since Chronicles didn't specifically deny it.
What of an unsuccesful attack?
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Old 03-19-2017, 08:12 PM
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Here's the summary of events for the Second War that appears to cover all of the major opportunities for engagements. I don't have it divvied up between horde and alliance this time because I was multitasking, but I'm still really committed to doing faction-exclusive campaigns that are still contiguous in storytelling.

• Sidestory: Zuluhed uncovers the Demon Soul (141)
• Sidestory: Bleeding Hollow vs. Bronzebeard (151)
• Sidestory: Nekros moves into Grim Batol (155)
• Sidestory: Anasterian drives the Amani from Quel'thalas (173)
• Sidestory: Bleeding Hollow hide from Danath (175)
• Sidestory: Rend & Maim seize Blackrock Spire (175)
* Sidestory: Khadgar builds Nethergarde Keep (178)
• Invasion of Khaz Modan (150)
• Siege of Ironforge (150)
• Building the invasion fleet in the Wetlands (151)
• Proudmoore assaults the Horde fleet near Zul'Dare (157)
• Battle of Hillsbrad (158)
• Jailbreak at Durnholde (160)
• Saurfang's Rearguard action (160)
• Into the Hinterlands (160)
• The Battle of Aerie Peak (161)
• Gul'dan seizes a Runestone (162)
• The Horde burns Quel'thalas (164)
• The Siege of Silvermoon (164)
• The Alterac Gambit (165)
• The Siege of Lordaeron (167)
• The Retreat (168)
• Black Tooth Grin battle the Twilight's Hammer (169)
• Black Tooth Grin battle the Stormreavers (169)
• The run through Wetlands & Khaz Modan (171)
• Battle of Crestfall (172)
• Siege of Blackrock Spire - Orgrim defeats Lothar (172)
• Siege of Blackrock Spire - Turalyon defeats Orgrim (173)
• Gorefiend flees to the Dark Portal (174)
• Khadgar destroys the Dark Portal (174)

PS: The "sidestory" missions are missions that generally don't involve focal characters, so they make more sense as extra missions rather than critical parts of the narrative.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:28 PM
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but I'm still really committed to doing faction-exclusive campaigns that are still contiguous in storytelling.
I think that means your final Horde mission will be the Tomb of Sargeras /Broken Isles.

You first Alliance mission would have to be breaking a siege at Capital Ciry or Silvermoon. Or Thoras closing the Alterac Passes, if that's still in Chronicles.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:54 AM
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I think that means your final Horde mission will be the Tomb of Sargeras /Broken Isles.

You first Alliance mission would have to be breaking a siege at Capital Ciry or Silvermoon. Or Thoras closing the Alterac Passes, if that's still in Chronicles.
Silvermoon? Mind to elaborate? Are you speaking of Anasterian fighting the Amani?
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:15 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Silvermoon? Mind to elaborate? Are you speaking of Anasterian fighting the Amani?
Yes.

I mean... if you limit Alliance missions to those during and after Tomb of Sargeras, then you'll only have access to the endgame.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:49 AM
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Yes.

I mean... if you limit Alliance missions to those during and after Tomb of Sargeras, then you'll only have access to the endgame.
That doesn't really give the Alliance an opportunity for a narrative arc.

Broadly speaking, the Horde is really the protagonist in the First and Second Wars. For the most part in both cases, the Alliance is just reacting to what the Horde is doing, and that makes it harder to come up with a good narrative for them.

The best thing to do in this case may be to have two concurrent campaigns. For the player, it means that they're getting the two different perspectives on the same series of events, but for both the First and Second Wars, that's pretty important for setting the stage of the greater conflicts in Warcraft. I think if you get to BtDP and start really doing the WC3-style round-robin narratives, that might make more sense.

From a gameplay perspective, it's not hard to come up with ways to turn a losing engagement into a map with win objectives for both factions. For example, the battle at Zul'Dare: the win condition for the Alliance on that map would be to destroy X troop transports before Y transports flee the map. Win condition for the Horde would be to protect X troop transports to the exit point before Y transports are destroyed. X and Y don't have to be the same values for both factions since they're different maps, played at different times.

EDIT: And yeah, this is different from "have both factions do the same things on a map" that we got a lot of in WC2, like the early mission in both campaigns to rescue Alleria/Zul'jin from the opposing faction.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:00 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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That doesn't really give the Alliance an opportunity for a narrative arc.

Broadly speaking, the Horde is really the protagonist in the First and Second Wars. For the most part in both cases, the Alliance is just reacting to what the Horde is doing, and that makes it harder to come up with a good narrative for them.

The best thing to do in this case may be to have two concurrent campaigns. For the player, it means that they're getting the two different perspectives on the same series of events, but for both the First and Second Wars, that's pretty important for setting the stage of the greater conflicts in Warcraft. I think if you get to BtDP and start really doing the WC3-style round-robin narratives, that might make more sense.

From a gameplay perspective, it's not hard to come up with ways to turn a losing engagement into a map with win objectives for both factions. For example, the battle at Zul'Dare: the win condition for the Alliance on that map would be to destroy X troop transports before Y transports flee the map. Win condition for the Horde would be to protect X troop transports to the exit point before Y transports are destroyed. X and Y don't have to be the same values for both factions since they're different maps, played at different times.

EDIT: And yeah, this is different from "have both factions do the same things on a map" that we got a lot of in WC2, like the early mission in both campaigns to rescue Alleria/Zul'jin from the opposing faction.
This is a good strategy.
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Old 03-20-2017, 10:42 AM
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Much to my surprise, it turns out that the Chronicles version of Beyond the Dark Portal splits itself up pretty well into a three-act structure for both factions. There's even a mirror component in the second act for each that depends on the factions splitting their forces for different objectives. It's quite elegant, really.

The trick is figuring out how to make something similar out of the First/Second Wars. Well, then figuring out how to actually turn this whole thing into a game.

Horde Campaign: Riders on the Storm

• Cinematic: Convincing Ner'zhul (183)
• Beating some sense into Grom, Fenris & Kargath (183)
• Recovering the Skull of Gul'dan (183)
• Breaking the siege on the Dark Portal (185)
• Blackrock Diplomacy (186)
• Cinematic: Dealing with Deathwing (186)
• Gorefiend: The Book of Medivh (187)
• Gorefiend: Stealing the Eye of Dalaran (188)
• Fenris: Menethil Harbor Madness (188)
• Fenris: Swiping the Scepter (189)
• "Precious Cargo" (189)
• Cinematic: Deathwing claims the Skull of Gul'dan (190)
• Into Auchindoun (192)
• The Shadowmoon Sally (192)
• Securing the Black Temple (195)
• Siege of Karabor (195)
• Cinematic: Ner'zhul flees Draenor, gives no fucks (195)

Alliance Campaign: Beyond the Dark Portal

• Cinematic: Khadgar discovers the re-opening of the Dark Portal (184)
• Hellscream's Blitzkrieg (185)
• The siege of Nethergarde Keep (187)
• Snaring Gaz Soulripper (189)
• Securing the Dark Portal (190)
• Cinematic: The Sons of Lothar arrive on Draenor (190)
• Assault on Hellfire Citadel (191)
• Danath: In Hot Pursuit (192)
• Danath: Grudge Match vs. Kilrogg (192)
• Khadgar: Gabbing with Gruul (193)
• Khadgar: Making omelettes with the Black Dragonflight (193)
• Cinematic: The Final Countdown (195)
• Passing through the Hand of Gul'dan (195)
• Karabor Catacombs (195)
• Karabor Pinnacle (195)
• And they'd all go down together... (197)
• Cinematic: The Doom of Draenor (197)
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Old 03-21-2017, 10:01 AM
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I would be interested in doing this, my Starcraft 2 mod Chronicles of Azeroth already have Warcraft 1 and Warcraft 2 multiplayer and almost all of the original Warcraft 1 campaign done (all 12 human maps and 8 of the orc ones). This could form the base of the work, but of course it would need more people, especially artists.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:30 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Furthermore, Chronicle mentions that when Gul'dan pulled out of Quel'Thalas, he had to fight some human holdings on his way to Hillsbrad. I think that a hypothetical Caer Darrow mission could fit there, ultimately, the path around Darrowmere is the only he could have taken, to the west was Doomhammer, to the east, in the Hinterlands, was Lothar and a bulk of the Horde.
Interesting. What was the exact wording? I wonder if Burns did have something specific in mind, like Caer Darrow or Blackwood.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:38 PM
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Interesting. What was the exact wording? I wonder if Burns did have something specific in mind, like Caer Darrow or Blackwood.
Ask him! Ask him!
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:15 PM
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Interesting. What was the exact wording? I wonder if Burns did have something specific in mind, like Caer Darrow or Blackwood.
The exact wording is this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronicle Vol 2, pp 168
The Dragonmaw set out west to rejoin the main Horde and warn Orgrim of what had transpired. Meanwhile, Gul'dan and his followers headed south. They met occasional resistance from humans along the way, but nothing that truly gave them pause. In Hillsbrad Foothills, the renegades commandeered a portion of the Horde fleet and sailed west.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:29 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Thanks!

You can interpret that to mean a Caer Darrow or Stratholme, but I don't think it's enough for me to ask him on twitter. I already come off like a retrofan trying to confirm RTS levels.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:35 PM
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Thanks!

You can interpret that to mean a Caer Darrow or Stratholme, but I don't think it's enough for me to ask him on twitter. I already come off like a retrofan trying to confirm RTS levels.
Someone else ask? Maybe I'll do it if I can figure how to fix my Twitter.
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Old 03-21-2017, 06:04 PM
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Thanks!

You can interpret that to mean a Caer Darrow or Stratholme, but I don't think it's enough for me to ask him on twitter. I already come off like a retrofan trying to confirm RTS levels.
To be fair you did argue at one point that Alleria Windrunner was more powerful than an Ogre Juggernaught because she could kill one in WC2.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:55 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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To be fair you did argue at one point that Alleria Windrunner was more powerful than an Ogre Juggernaught because she could kill one in WC2.
You make it sound so unbelievable. You need to watch more action movies.

EDIT: Just shoot a fire arrow into one of the cannon muzzles, hit the gunpowder inside, be lucky enough that they stored a lot of other gunpowder nearby, and BOOM.
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So besides Grackle still being triggered about ships [. . .]

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Old 03-22-2017, 01:11 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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You make it sound so unbelievable. You need to watch more action movies.

EDIT: Just shoot a fire arrow into one of the cannon muzzles, hit the gunpowder inside, be lucky enough that they stored a lot of other gunpowder nearby, and BOOM.
Damn right. A well placed fire arrow and not so well placed gunpowder and you have yourself a nice kaboom.

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Thanks!

You can interpret that to mean a Caer Darrow or Stratholme, but I don't think it's enough for me to ask him on twitter. I already come off like a retrofan trying to confirm RTS levels.
In all honesty, I don't think he minds really, just do not structure your questions in an offensive or obnoxious way.

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Me: Hey. Have a question concerning Vol. 2. Do you think the Horde navy (by itself) couldn't have posed a threat on the sea at all, or was their outmaneuvering (and an injured lamb crossing a wolf phrase) more connected to Proudmoore, his experience, skill?

Burns: I think Proudmoore's skill played a big part in that.


Me: Just asking to create a more definite image of the Horde's navy in my head. I'd like to imagine that the Horde actually was somewhat capable at fighting on the seas, even of getting some victories, they were just not capable of fighting the full might of the Alliance navies led by someone like Daelin Proudmoore, a Lord Admiral.

Burns: I think they were still potentially deadly. Just depends on who they were fighting.
------------------------------------------

Anyway, I still think that given what we know, the Horde must have done a lot of damage in the Eastweald while marching north, from the Hinterlands to Zul'Aman. Especially since there's no way to make the trek than through the region. Gul'dan I think may have contended with Caer Darrow, I just see no other path south he could have taken than around Darrowmere.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:19 AM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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Anyway, I still think that given what we know, the Horde must have done a lot of damage in the Eastweald while marching north, from the Hinterlands to Zul'Aman. Especially since there's no way to make the trek than through the region. Gul'dan I think may have contended with Caer Darrow, I just see no other path south he could have taken than around Darrowmere.
I think the big considerations would be these: 1) does the mission provide an opportunity to move the character narratives of the focal characters along and 2) does the mission introduce new units or map mechanics and/or present a unique challenge for the campaign. Depending on the answers to those, I think there's easily room to put a mission there.

The core thing is that from the perspective of an omniscient, unbiased narrator, Gul'dan and his forces weren't threatened by the human resistance they came across. That doesn't mean there weren't challenges, but instead that they didn't feel like they were in danger.

So if you had a mission where Gul'dan and his forces decide "we need to cross the Darrowmere because it's faster than going around" and get harassed by naval forces from Caer Darrow, then there's an opportunity for a mission. It doesn't have to be a particularly challenging mission, or it could just be a timed challenge of "move X forces before Caer Darrow sends battleships" in order to retain the "didn't feel threatened" mechanism, but the point is that a mission can take place there.

I should point out that it doesn't a) provide a really strong context for the Horde to raid Caer Darrow itself, because Gul'dan is in a rush and the Runestone macguffin was already spent by this point in the narrative and b) provide an opportunity for the Alliance naval battle against Alteraci pirates because nothing about that encounter makes any sense given the present timeline.
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