Monday, 5 July 2010

Changing Seasons

Today is the last day of the Midsummer Fire Festival. I hope you achieved everything you wanted to! Here's a reminder to take all your alts for a spin around the festival pole for great xp justice!

As I was traveling around visiting fires, it occurred to me that it was midsummer in the game while I was sitting in a cold room in the middle of winter. I talked about whether it really could be midsummer all over Azeroth in yesterday's post.

But I also started to think about what a different game it could be if there were changing seasons in the game.

Effects on Characters
If the whole of Azeroth changed with the seasons, how would it affect our gameplay? People in many cold places on Earth get depressed enough during the winter - imagine what it might be like if it was winter all over Azeroth as well.  Disastrous, I should think.

The only game I ever remember playing that had changing seasons was Sims 2 (apart from perhaps the sped-up seasons in Settlers-type games). In Sims 2, your characters react differently to situations depending on the season.  In winter they can get too cold if they stay outside too long, and in summer they can overheat if they do too much physical activity. 

Adding that kind of complexity to an already complex game could just end up being really annoying.  Imagine if our characters got some kind of [Heat Exhaustion] debuff whereby our combat was slowed and defense lowered, until you took a drink. Or a [Chilled] one that reduced health and mana regeneration until you went inside?

I think it's pretty safe to say that most players would oppose seasons that actually affected gameplay in some way.

But having in-game seasons opens up so many amazing possible changes to each zone. 

Climate Change
What would Stormwind be like under a covering of snow? The canals might freeze over, and the ramps down to the harbour could get very slippery.

Do the dry deserts of Desolace or Badlands ever have a wet season? Deserts can be amazing oceans of beautiful flowers and wildlife when the rains come. 

Mulgore, the green grassland that it is, feels to me like a place that might get weeks of rain in the winter. Is that why the city is built on the top of the mesa - to escape the floods?

Does the Swamp of Sorrows or Dustwallow Marsh get a dry season, where the swamps turn to dust and the crocolisks are confined to a puddle near Sunken Temple?

Dun Morogh has been in a five-year long winter. It could look a lot like Loch Modan if the snow melted, and it has many lakes that are currently frozen over. Would the population of Ironforge have an afternoon of messing about in boats on Iceflow Lake?

What about Silvermoon City? It's far to the north of the continent of Lordaeron, why does its climate seem so mild? Mind you, there's nothing to indicate that Eversong Woods is a warm place. There are plenty of places on Earth that get cold but never see snow - they tend to have cold but dry winters and mild summers.

Would the grasslands of the world get a covering of wildflowers in the spring? There are already wildflowers in many zones, but I bet somewhere like Arathi Highlands would be gorgeous in the springtime. Need moar bluebell!

Would every forest that isn't pine look like Azshara in the Autumn? The fallen leaves could cover the ground and leave the forests as bare trunks during the winter. Imagine Elwynn Forest like that - golden leaves in big piles that you could jump in - at least until they were covered by snow.  The jungles of Stranglethorn wouldn't lose their leaves though - rainforests are evergreen.

The possibilites really are endless.

What zone would you like to see in a different season? Describe to me what it might look like :)

blog comments powered by Disqus