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Player Choice So Far in Battle for Azeroth 8.1.5 and What the Ultimate Rewards Could Be
12/1/2019 em 04:03
Player choice options, first seen in Patch 8.1, continue in a major way on the Patch 8.1.5 PTR. In this article, we'll highlight the 8.1.5 choices present in the broadcast text and speculate on the payoffs and rewards for player choice in a few patches.
Spoiler warning for 8.1.5 discussion.
Datamined Player Choice in Patch 8.1.5
So far in the Patch 8.1.5 PTR data, there are three notable examples of player choice.
The first option is whether or not to report Baine to Nathanos. Baine needs your help to
rescue Derek Proudmoore
and reunite him with Jaina before Sylvanas mind controls Derek.
Do you have something to report, $n?
Option 1: Baine Bloodhoof has requested that I help him with a secret task.
"So Bloodhoof wishes to act in shadow? We must know what he is planning.
Go along with his little task, $n. You are under my protection, so do not worry if you need to get your hands dirty to keep up the ruse.
Just do whatever he asks of you and return to me with your findings."
Option 2: Hiding this information will surely draw Sylvanas' ire. Are you sure you want to keep this from Nathanos?
Nevermind. <Don't report Baine's request.>
The second option occurs later on in the
. In Patch 8.1.5, we empower Xala'tath, unwittingly helping her free the dagger as part of a deal with N'Zoth. Players are then given a "Gift of N'Zoth" buff, which places eyeballs on nearby players.
Based on the broadcast text, you will have an option to be cleansed by Brother Pike...or keep the gift.
Option 1: The darkness within you swells. I warn you, this will be very painful.
Now, stand very still. That's it. Let me pull N'zoth's defilement from you.
Option 2: Are you sure you wish to cleanse the Gift of N'zoth? You will not be able to undo this decision.
The final option involves the Blacksmithing Tools of the Trade questline. It appears we've trespassed, earning the ire of Therazane.
Therazane, please. I didn't think it'd be tha big of a problem.
Correct. You didn't think. And now you shall answer for your crimes.
And you, $r. The audacity of you surface dwellers! Thinking you can just come here and take our secrets?!
I'd like to offer you a choice, fleshing.
You may either choose to free your ally, the one who betrayed his people by sharing our coveted knowledge with you and faces a punishment of death...
So, which will it be, fleshling? Make your choice.
Typical surface dweller. Only thinking of yourself and how to further your own power.
Very well, the anvil is yours. And Ormhun shall face his punishment elsewhere.
I had a feeling their may be a shred of virtue in you, surface dweller.
You're free to go, Ormhun. But do not think you will go unpunished. We shall discuss the details of that later.
As for you, $r. You have proven to value life over possessions, and I shall reward that honor. You may take the anvil as well.
The Patch 8.1.5 PTR is
and this is all subject to change. It's also worth noting that there are three Horde-themed choices so far between 8.1 and 8.1.5, while the Alliance have no meaningful equivalent.
Player Choice in Battle for Azeroth
These choices follow the much-heralded introduction of player choice in Patch 8.1. Much has been made of the choice present in the Saurfang quest, but Horde players also experienced player choice through the Darkshore introductory quests.
, players have a choice of killing Sira Moonwarden, a character we previously collaborated with in Legion as the Wardens quartermaster, or hesitating which forces Nathanos do the dirty deed.
, players choose between siding with Saurfang or Sylvanas, when urged by Zekhan to abandon Sylvanas' mission and instead defend Saurfang.
During the Lore Livestream, Terran Gregory and Steve Danuser also discussed the recent Night Elf and Blood Elf character customization options as a form of player choice. The "Night Warrior" appearance shows your solidarity with Tyrande and time spent fighting at Darkshore. The Golden Eyes option for Blood Elves reflects your character's purification after the Sunwell.
Blizzard on Player Choice
Player choice in 8.1 was heralded as it came at a time of deep divisiveness and controversial story choices. For example, many Horde players would have preferred a choice when given the quest to assist with the Burning of Teldrassil.
Alex Afrasiabi had this to say about player choice in a
"We have quest lines going in for Tides of Vengeance which we're really excited about, and those will actually afford players a choice whether to betray Sylvanas or not.
"Beyond that," he added, "once you play a choice like that, you have to follow it through, so in subsequent quests that come out, you're going to be on the side you pick, and we'll see what comes of that, if you're right or wrong."
earlier this week, player choice was also discussed as an effective tool to use at impactful moments. We shouldn't expect to see a full-blown choose-your-own-adventure style quest system in WoW, but we'll likely see player choice continue at key moments.
Here are some quotes from the lore livestream on player choice:
If we had infinite time to show this world and how people react to it, you would see a lot of different perspectives--like someone on the street about Sylvanas. The average person who is hanging out in Orgrimmar or Thunder Bluff hears news second-hand. They might have a completely different perspective on stuff, as with today's news.
It's easy to fall into the perspective that everyone has seen everything. Dark God Titans, battles fought between Dark Elemental Lords...huge things. The average person who lives has only heard tales of that, maybe they're almost mythical.
There are different perspectives on the Horde that we knew that players felt as well. This wasn't a matter of us saying "we're going to fundamentally change the way of how questing in WoW works with different paths"...we decided that in this specific case we thought it was a good way to enrich the story by letting players pick who they side with (Sylvanas or Saurfang).
We can give a crystallized moment (in the quest) for that choice to happen. So once that choice happens, how do we pay off those paths moving forward? They must be meaningful. The last thing we want is a choice that doesn't actually have any ramifications down the line. While you get that initial reaction based on your choice, we have thought about where those paths go, and we have some stuff in store, that will make it feel like "I saw this through, and that choice mattered to me, and gave me a little something for my character."
Like cinematics, the core importance is to use it when it's most effective and appropriate. It's a tool in our toolkit. Choice is a toolkit. When it absolutely demands it, we'd like to be able to use it, if it facilitates a richer story.
Watch Story and Lore Developer Live Stream from Warcraft on www.twitch.tv
Where Could Player Choice Go? (Opinion)
So what could the payoff be for player choice in the future? We think it would be exciting if player choice eventually led to a full-fledged questline, culminating in unlocking different allegiances. Now while Blizzard stated that they weren't going to go full choose-your-own-adventure,
questline that reflects decisions made throughout an entire expansion seems plausible.
Back in Legion, players experienced parallel-yet-different questlines through the Class Hall Campaigns, encouraging replayability on alts to acquire new artifacts and experience a new angle to the story. For example,
learned more about the C'Thraxxi and Tomb of Tyr in Tirisfal Glades for artifact acquisition quests.
In Battle for Azeroth, we now focus on the factions instead of classes, with two stories different presented to the Alliance and Horde. The intricacies and resources that went into the twelve class campaign narratives could instead be redirected towards crafting different questlines for character alignments. This would encourage players to level alts with different personalities to experience stories not only from both faction perspectives, but from different loyalties. After making choices here-and-there over a few patches, this could culminate in epic questlines towards the end of the expansion.
The concept of the faction divide has also been called into question in Battle for Azeroth, with players feeling fatigued by the constant artificial need for strife. Cracks are showing within both monolithic factions, with Tyrande splitting from Anduin's Dazar'alor effort to take back Darkshore, and the Horde in serious turmoil with a split between the honor of the Old Horde and Sylvanas' plans for conquest. We also have a wealth of Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth, all with their own suite of racial leaders and advisors. It's also hard to imagine how both factions can continue to coexist in their current state as BFA continues to proceed at a fever pitch with conflict, especially with the foreshadowing at BlizzCon that
Sylvanas would consider Garrosh an amateur
Should Blizzard go the route of introducing or shaking up factions in the expansion after BFA, the player choices made throughout BFA could influence what factions players naturally align with--for example, a neutral faction for those who supported Anduin and Saurfang working together, or an Undead faction supporting Sylvanas.
from our friend N'Zoth also remind us that there are more types of character alignment besides the factions--cosmic forces:
The Light has struck a bargain with the enemy of all.
Six seats at the high table. Six mouths that hunger. One will consume all others.
Patch 7.3 emphasized the dangerous nature of both the Light and the Void, through the story of
Turalyon and Alleria
X'era trying to purify Illidan
and the Lightbound in the
Mag'har Orc Recruitment scenario
shows that the Light can be tyrannical. And through Alleria's story in 7.3, alarming visions in the story "A Thousands Years of War," and terrifying whispers in "
," we're fully cognizant of the dangers of the Void.
Going back to N'Zoth's whispers, he seems irked that the Light has struck a bargain with Undeath, the enemy of all, which could symbolize Calia Menethil. The six seats at the high table could refer to the Titans or opposing cosmic forces (Light / Shadow, Order / Disorder, Life / Death). Perhaps in a world where a freed N'Zoth poses a large threat to Azeroth, and Sylvanas pushes to control all and eradicate Life, the Alliance vs Horde conflict is less meaningful than choosing what type of dangerous cosmic force you align with to prevent the end of the world.
Through Patch 8.1.5 datamining, we're seeing the concept of player choice extended beyond the faction conflict to the acceptance of N'Zoth's gift. Choices like this could influence what cosmic force we naturally gravitate to, should Blizzard introduce more alignments in the future. Perhaps choices made in Battle for Azeroth would make certain alignments easier to unlock.
Should WoW post-Battle for Azeroth introduce updated faction divides or new ways for character alignment, building up a bevy of player choices and meaningful consequences can serve as a valuable tool to deepen these groundbreaking moments.
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