Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

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Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Sat May 19, 2012 10:50 pm

Bolvaoir is a constantly changing realm. Shifting tides regularly engulf its lower lands, the beasts don’t stay in one place and the unpredictable weather can render rivers swollen and roads impassable.

But there’s more; something altogether more sinister. The lands seem to twist themselves, beyond what can be explained by natural forces: towns appear and disappear suddenly, caves and dungeons seem to rearrange themselves upon every visit, bridges seem to build and unbuild themselves and the trees don’t seem content with staying in one place.

The vast lands are littered with the ruins of an ancient race. Noone knows how or why they disappeared, but it seems something wiped them out extremely quickly and precisely. The few inhabitants of Bolvaoir refuse to speak of them, and no outsider knows why.


So, this is Bolvaoir, a land designed to inject some mystery, adventure and wanderlust back into Runescape. It does this in several ways:
It’s constantly changing: no two visits will ever be the same, so you don’t know what to expect when you visit
It’s vast: It’s really big and settlements (when they choose to appear) are scarce
You’re meant to get lost: the minimap fails you in Bolvaoir, and it’s marked as uncharted on the world map. Furthermore, it has features that’ll put you in unknown places – occasionally a fog bank will roll in and your lost character will emerge elsewhere, and entrances and exits to dungeons rarely seem to add up
Hard to reach areas. It’s important to have areas that can only occasionally be accessed, so that dedicated players retain wanderlust for longer
Atmosphere. One way or another, it'll have a really mysterious atmosphere

Location:
Spoiler:
Currently, Bolvaoir is here:


Characters:
Spoiler:
Vau.
Vau was a Guthixian warrior in the late 3rd age. Legend has it he established the Slayers as an organisation which specialised in destroying the strange monsters of the other armies. He ventured into Bolvaoir searching for a legendary artifact known simply as The End. Writings from the ancient ruins in Bolvaoir suggested it had the power to end the God Wars. However, despite his various adventures through Bolvaoir, he never found it, and simply disappeared one day. Rumors suggest he wasn't human.

Galveron.
Galveron is a sort of guide figure in Bolvaoir. He'll appear randomly and give you trivia and advice about Bolvaoir, as a means of expanding on Bolvaoir's backstory. Being a non-native, he won't refuse to talk about the ancient race of Bolvaoir.


Weather:
Spoiler:
Different whether will make different things happen in Bolvaoir, for example whispids won't appear on sunny days, but the question is, do I want a lot of different weather types that have overlapping features, or just a few which are totally unique from one another?

Anyway, here's a list of weathers so far
-Sunny
-Blizzard
-Gale
-Foggy
-Thunderstorm

Also, I want night and day in Bolvaoir.

Creatures:
Spoiler:
-Dragonflies. I saw one while out jogging the other day and it occurred to be just how cool they are. I want some to be in Bolvaoir
-Ents. A fantasy creature that for some reason Runescape doesn't seem to have expanded upon much, I'm toying with the idea of putting ents into Bolvaoir
-Rogue Elves. Considering Bolvaoir's proximity to the Elven Lands, this is a possibility
-Whispids. Trying to create mystery and wanderlust, it's vital that I introduce some never-before-seen monsters. Whispids are evil manifestations of fog and mist that only appear in certain weathers and feast upon souls
-Nequam. Nocturnal creatures from my scrapped Agility Caves idea find a new home in the caves of Bolvaoir

Locations:
Spoiler:

In the Deeplands:
-The Temple of Thunder
-Soulchiller Cave
-Inferno Crater

Elsewhere:
The Dead Saltmarshes
Aegis Tree Groves
Guardian Ruins

Technical:
Spoiler:
Areas of Bolvaoir fall into one of 5 categories:
Static: Static areas never change and can always be accessed. Any large enough static area could serve as a safe area, eg Guardian Ruins
Unmoving but Changable (unbchas): These areas never move but are subject to change, eg The Dead Saltmarshes
Randomly Accessible (raccessibles): These areas never change in appearance or move, but at times they may be unreachable, eg Soulchiller Cave
Randomly Appearing (rappearings): These are features that randomly appear and disappear. They constantly move around the map and aren't guaranteed to exist at any given time, eg Aegis Tree Groves
Random Appearing Zones (razones): These are areas where a rappearing appears. They are designed to graphically integrate with them (ie, the shape of a razone is the same as that of a rappearing)

Some static areas are safety zones. Because the landscape is likely to have changed if you log out for any period of time, unchanging points where the player avatar can be placed are needed.

Rewards:
Spoiler:
-Better XP yield than the rest of Gielinor. This can be justified because it’s impossible to grind a particular skill. What you’re training on could disappear in an instant and so other more reliable methods of training will retain their niche – this sort of XP gain is more opportunistic.

-Hmm... How should I kill this

Picture the situation. You're casually strolling through the salt marshes of Tideswallow in Bolvaoir when you're confronted with a giant dragonfly. It's big, it's hungry and it wants to kill you. You ready your sword, prepared to battle it to the death - but wait! Is this the best way to kill your foe? You see a nearby tree which you could use to set up a trap. You've heard rumors that a dragonfly's exoskeleton is valuable, but if you kill it using a sword, you may damage it...

So this introduces another feature I want in Bolvaoir - choice when killing your monsters. As demonstrated in the example above, you could use either combat or hunter to kill a dragonfly. The two techniques, however, yield different results. Hunting a dragonfly will reward you with its exoskeleton, whereas battling it will allow you to access a drop table of herbs and other items.

The idea is to promote thinking on your feet, experimentation and variety. Not only may you be unsure about which method is more rewarding to you, you might not have the levels for one method, or your personal situation might make one choice better than the other (example - if you're low on health, it might be better to hunt the dragonfly than take more damage in battle).


-One entrance, and better rewards deeper into Bolvaoir. Exploring all the way to the far side of Bolvaoir will be tough and should be rewarded

Miscellaneous:
Spoiler:
-Teleports and transport. You can teleport out – this is important to avoid becoming trapped or spending hours trying to find your way out. I also want a system where you can teleport to people on your friends list, because otherwise it’ll be difficult to find buddies and do any sort of group activity (which would be a shame). To avoid abuse, the friend tele only works if both players are in Bolvaoir and has a cooldown of two hours. However, I feel teleports to fixed locations would detract from the explorative feel, so I don’t want any other teleports into Bolvaoir

-No quests set in Bolvaoir. Due to the shifting nature of the land, trying to complete a linear storyline would end up being either highly frustrating for the player, or technically difficult for the developer. If you go into Bolvaoir with one specific goal in mind, you’re likely to emerge disappointed, and this needs to be considered when making content for it

-Bolvaoir is not dungeoneering

Additional Design Notes:
Spoiler:
-Moans that appear in the air, scream made in a forgotten language, walls with texts that you can read, or ancient books or diaries you can read, you can sometimes fall inside a ruin.
-We could see a ghost from time to time, or a group of them
-May also have some war in Bolvaoir. The native races could be fighting for territory or artifacts. They may employ you as a mercenary and give you spoils of war, or you might unwittingly get caught in the middle of one of their battles. Just some additional variation/backstory.
-The ancient civilisation on Bolvaoir was not wiped out by Dragonkin, nor the God Wars and had nothing to do with Zaros.


Last edited by Slayer Noir on Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:51 am; edited 10 times in total
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Handeath on Sat May 19, 2012 11:11 pm

By mystery, do you mean omnious feelings of doom and plot? Or adventure and wanderlust?

I feel like RS needs more of the latter, which could easily be solved by increasing the space between towns. In my Last Words (leaving suggestion), I mention being able to make more powerful items using miscellaneous items that you can stumble upon just by wander the lands, and possibly new dungeons.

Other than that, I think you're onto something...
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by 3mptylord on Sun May 20, 2012 12:31 am

To capture the feeling of mystery the map would have to be much larger, and the transport systems would have to be changed.

As part of my Make RuneScape Massive/Scape project, this is something I've put a lot of thought into. At the same time though, there comes a point when veterans will always feel they've completed the mystery.

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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun May 20, 2012 12:45 am

"By mystery, do you mean omnious feelings of doom and plot? Or adventure and wanderlust?"

I mean adventure and wanderlust, mostly. Some ominous feelings of doom could be thrown in for good measure, though.

3mpty, I see your points. I feel I have ways of addressing them, at least in one area. I don't know whether I should give away the concept yet, or keep you guys wondering for a little longer (it's in keeping with the theme, after all Tongue)
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sun May 20, 2012 2:19 am

I remember when I first logged into RuneScape, all those years ago. The world was full of whimsy and wonder, never knowing what's around the corner; I'd do anything to have those days again.

A trip into the unknown was a day trip, there was no looking back until you'd found something exciting. I'd travelled into the abyss once, to visit Karamja. I started and finished a few quests while I was there. Stepping into the ferocity of the wilderness, I'd watch and wait, to see who was an enemy and who was an ally. I don't get experiences like that anymore, I've seen the world twice over.

Cities feel too small, places to civil and even what used to be exciting now has become errandly. I miss those days.

But also, I would appreciate some kind of plotline that did also indulge on mystery, like an old Poirot case.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun May 20, 2012 2:30 am

I agree with most of what you say, Morb. Something that bugs me though:

"But also, I would appreciate some kind of plotline that did also indulge on mystery, like an old Poirot case."

Have you done One Piercing Note? That might sate your desire for Poirot-like cases. Problem with quests is once a quest guide goes onto the internet, you loose mystery very quickly. It's hard to dodge spoilers.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Dragon78114 on Sun May 20, 2012 3:29 am

MorbiusMonster wrote:I remember when I first logged into RuneScape, all those years ago. The world was full of whimsy and wonder, never knowing what's around the corner; I'd do anything to have those days again.

A trip into the unknown was a day trip, there was no looking back until you'd found something exciting. I'd travelled into the abyss once, to visit Karamja. I started and finished a few quests while I was there. Stepping into the ferocity of the wilderness, I'd watch and wait, to see who was an enemy and who was an ally. I don't get experiences like that anymore, I've seen the world twice over.

Cities feel too small, places to civil and even what used to be exciting now has become errandly. I miss those days.

But also, I would appreciate some kind of plotline that did also indulge on mystery, like an old Poirot case.

Amen; that is nostalgia that will never return. Runescape is too damn cramped. After the combat update, they need to focus their efforts on this. I know! Let's get Jagex weary of this!
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Duskcurse on Sun May 20, 2012 11:06 am

Miniquest, that is the solution, for example, you are quietly walking, then you heard some Zamorakian/Saradominist/Guthixian priests talking, this would lead you to incover an underground cult, wich you'll root out. Like that?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Amascut on Sun May 20, 2012 3:42 pm

I do agree. I feel like you only really get that feeling of mystery and exploration when you start playing and exploring the member's world. At this point, I know every location like the back of my hand.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by MorbiusMonster on Sun May 20, 2012 4:23 pm

It'd be interesting, but taxing on the system, to create a city that changes its arrangement every week or so.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Dragon78114 on Sun May 20, 2012 4:37 pm

MorbiusMonster wrote:It'd be interesting, but taxing on the system, to create a city that changes its arrangement every week or so.

that is a little strange. How might that work? and wouldn't that get obnoxious?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by 3mptylord on Sun May 20, 2012 6:20 pm

Hidden quests are good.

Are we trying to recapture the mystery for ourselves or make it more mysterious for new players?

We could always change the quest list to something more journal/log-y. You can't see all the quests, you have to find them. Perhaps have the guilds recommend quests, or have the journal automatically update when you enter an area (so if you walk near the quest icon, that quest is added to your list). ...but at the same time, all this does is require exploration rather than reward it.

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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Sun May 20, 2012 7:43 pm

This is good. Your discussions are being very useful.

"that is a little strange. How might that work? and wouldn't that get obnoxious?"

What makes you think a shifting city would be obnoxious?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Dragon78114 on Mon May 21, 2012 7:12 am

People use them to train and bank etc. Things like anvils and furnaces have been placed strategically away from banks and certain resources have been placed in certain areas. It would seem to requite a lot of work on a plane similar to daemonheim.

I for one would get very angry having to find my way around a city every day day that I know and love to be around.

And 3mpty, you could get awarded for exploration for the quests that unlock new areas and towns. Maybe new quests could be like automatic tasks made from Skyrim or something of the sort.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Mon May 21, 2012 7:13 am

I thought Runescape wouldn't be capable of automatic tasks like Skyrim...
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by 3mptylord on Mon May 21, 2012 9:58 pm

I didn't play Skyrim, so I don't know.

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If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Mon May 21, 2012 11:40 pm

I don't either, actually, but I believe there's some system in place that randomly generates a near infinite number of quests for the player to go on

Could a skyrim player expand upon that for us?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by MorbiusMonster on Mon May 21, 2012 11:55 pm

I cannot expand on Skyrim, not even taken the disc out of its box. But the strategy guide is over an inch thick.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Mon May 21, 2012 11:55 pm

Do you own this strategy guide? Might there be anything in it that could give us an idea?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by MorbiusMonster on Tue May 22, 2012 2:40 am

Yes, bought it with a Skylander. It's probably in the introduction.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Tue May 22, 2012 3:16 am

And can we have this information then?
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by MorbiusMonster on Tue May 22, 2012 7:36 am

It doesn't look into game mechanics, only into what items and sidequests can be found. You'll fine better answers on Wikipedia, rather than from a book.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Tue May 22, 2012 7:53 am

Mark the date in your calendars. Tomorrow, I tell you my plans.

Muhahahahahahaha.

Seriously though. I do hope you'll like them.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by 3mptylord on Tue May 22, 2012 7:37 pm

inb4 I am disappoint.

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If all good things come to an end then we're living in a world where evil wins. 

If there once was love then maybe something survived. If we find a single diamond in the rough then it's worth it. Through a thousand tears if there's one drop of love then it's worth it. 
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

Post by Slayer Noir on Tue May 22, 2012 7:38 pm

Oi. Less of that.
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Re: Bolvaoir – The Twisted Lands

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