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The holiday I’m on is a cruise (my favourite kind), I’m always happy to be on a boat at sea or visiting new port destinations. Recent news from Blizzcon mentioned in future content that we’ll be heading to Nazjatar, the sunken city of the Naga. Who knows how much of that will be on the water’s surface, underwater and swimming or something more normal at least from a movement perspective.
The hints of concept artwork shown and the discussions on various WoW video bloggers featured comments on Vashj’ir, WoW Cataclysm’s large and somewhat unpopular underwater zone. I’ve ok memories of playing it, but then I probably only played through it twice or three times – I wasn’t playing that many alts at the time and subsequent content and changes to the levelling curve have made it eminently skippable.
I immediately thought of the Nightmare Tide expansion in Rift, however, an entire expansion that dealt with content above, among and underneath the waves. Regardless of what one might think of the gameplay of the expansion (and the difficulty of playing it years after the bulk of the playerbase had moved on), I was regularly wowed by the design of these zones.
The expansion starts in normal underwater style with some questing underwater, at times you do come back to content in water as well, but despite the Elemental Water theme of the whole expansion you do not have to spend all your time swimming. The transition between underwater areas and newly dried out areas comes quickly enough and is very impressive.
The dry areas are standard enough to play in albeit with an alien coral and denizens of the deep-theme to them.
Later in the expansion as you move between zones you get another layer of underwater content that has you travelling vertically downwards to another dry layer – so the sky is actually the bottom of this water layer complete with giant sea monsters swimming above you.
My point here is that underwater zones or even an entire expansion do not have to solely focus on 3D combat and movement problems. Indeed in Battle for Azeroth there is some questing underwater in a few areas and that seems well done enough. I’m rather looking forward to seeing what Blizzard do with Nazjatar!
IntPiPoMo total 14/50