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WoW: Anatomy Of A City

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 08:16 AM

Blizzard Entertainment's latest World of Warcraft Insider offers a glimpse of the design process involved in crafting a new city for the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion pack. The article examines the creation of Silvermoon, the capital city of the Blood Elves.

The dev team closely examined the original cities from World of Warcraft when designing Silvermoon, and the lessons they've learned since the launch of the original game informed its creation at every level. One key lesson learned from the current cities is that many players tend to gather around a few points of interest: mailboxes, auction houses, banks, flight paths, and inns. This can result in a noticeable slowdown for those entering one of these hotspots; and falling into the infamous trench in Ironforge has been the unfortunate fate of many a hero. The way the dev team approached this challenge while designing Silvermoon was to spread out the traditional crowd magnets. Silvermoon City features two auction houses, two banks, two inns, and eleven mailboxes. Also, the flight master resides outside the city, so new arrivals won't be dropped into a huge crowd of players upon their arrival.

Another approach to crowd control involved taking a closer look at how the general "flow" of a virtual city could be improved. Take the Undercity, for example. This city was designed around a circular layout, and for the most part this works well. However, there more obvious visual clues would be helpful to let players know immediately what part of the city they are in. So for Silvermoon, the dev team worked extra hard to make sure that players would always know where they were and where to go. The warlock district ,for example, has a very distinct, dark color scheme, while the hunter trainers are marked with an impressive gold statue of an elven huntress outside their building. Also, the Sunfury Spire is a prominent landmark in Silvermoon that should help players find their way around the city. No matter where a player is, the silhouette of this impressive structure will always be visible in the distance.
You can check out the full article at the link provided below.
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