Modding, Warcraft III

Blog 542: Announcing freeDom

There is a lot wrong with When the Freedom Slips Away and This Wreckage, so I’ve decided that I need to scrap it all and start again. Today, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you the franchise reboot you have all been secretly yearning for: the new beginning I call simply freeDom.

An empire, tormented by famine and poverty
A hero, haunted by his past
The promise of a bounteous land, far beyond the wastes
… They’ve just got to get there

Announcing: freeDom

How does one begin to redesign their lovechild? WtFSA was one of the first big projects I ever embarked upon, and, well, I guess it shows. It has an immature attitude that just doesn’t fit in the world of today; the dialogue is whimsical and the world is full of childish bold colours. It’s time to clean the slate and bring out something much more mature.

The Empire has filled its borders. Bloated, overcrowded cities offer no respite from famine, disease or crime. On all sides, it strains against the bounds of the Great Waste, vast swathes of desolate dust and sand that seem to go on forever. Nobody has ever crossed the Great Waste and returned to tell the tale…

With the Empire’s cities almost at breaking point, the Emperor commands that this last frontier must finally be conquered. He pours the wealth of the nation into a mighty Expedition, a self-sustaining invasion force that will cross the desert and find the promised frontiers beyond the blasted landscape; fresh, clean, new frontiers that the beleaguered population can colonise. They don’t believe it can be done. They call it a death sentence. A suicide mission.

Given the dubious honour of joining this Expedition is Death Knight Henrik. A master of Blood Magic, an ancient and dark power forgotten by most that makes him an object of fear to the people of the Empire, the Emperor feels it would be better to get this unpleasant character out of the way… But he’s got his own reasons for joining the Expedition anyway, and he has as little desire to stay in the Empire as rest of the people have for him to stay. For his command of Blood Magic exacts an unholy toll on his body… and his soul.

Striking out into the Great Waste, the Expedition travels for interminable weeks until they come upon a tainted oasis…

(All screenshots are early concept boards: the final project will be built using Born²Modificate’s HD pack as its basis.)

freeDomThe big setting shift is that the Expedition is no longer crossing an ocean — rather, they will be crossing a terrible, blasted wasteland of a desert. The mix of greys and browns should give the game a much more subdued look than the bright greens and browns and blues of the original tropical island, reflective of the troubled world we live in rather than some unattainable fantasy-land utopia.

The architecture of the Ancients will also be overhauled. The Mayan/Incan stone blocks of the Sunken Ruins tileset don’t lend themselves to having a lot of fine detail as is required for projects to compete in today’s market, so the ruins around the island will instead be more gothic in style — decayed flying buttresses, broken gargoyles and other grotesque statuary should convey just how evil the Ancients were/are, and go well with the dreary wasteland surrounding the area.

freeDom5The modern inhabitants of the island will also be a bit different. They’re malnourished, living in rude shacks, clinging to existence in this tainted oasis at the heart of a hostile desert — the clean spring in Errsbruck is instead a fouled watering hole, both the only source of hydration and the font of all the ill health among the populace.

The gnolls that lived in peace with the residents of Thirlmir are subjugated slaves rather than willing partners, lending even more layers of tension to the fragile world the Expedition finds itself approaching. Should Henrik free the gnolls, and so alienate Thirlmir, or leave them alone and risk having to deal with an armed uprising?

freeDomHenrik was a significantly flawed character too, being rather too goody-goody and knight-in-shining-armour to be convincing, and borrowing a little too much from light-hearted 80s action movies with his quips and jibes.

The Henrik of freeDom will not be a Guard Captain. Rather, he is a Death Knight who has joined the Expedition not for adventure, but to run from his dark past in the Empire. His magical traits are naturally going to be a lot more powerful, but each will come with a cost to his health, or the health of those around him — he taps into the dark and seductive power of Blood Magic.

Henrik will not only have to struggle with the demons of the Beyond, but also against the inner demons that plague his thoughts.

freeDomOverall, it’s about staying true to the core, the essence of WtFSA while transforming it into something much more meaningful to, and resonant with, the audience of today. The same mix of gameplays will be present, but amped up, and cinematics will contain quick-time events to keep you immersed in the game.

Naturally, once this is done I’ll move on to wreKage and eventually shatTer.


27 thoughts on “Blog 542: Announcing freeDom”

  1. I’m so glad I caught on early, otherwise I’d have been horrified instead of in hysterics. Good show. I figured it out when I thought to myself “But I like childish bold colours”.
    I completely burst out laughing at ‘quick time events’.


  2. I have no idea what is going on here but if this means a new project of your’s is in the works I am all for it.May I ask what is with all the Black and Gray’s I am not a big fan of only two colours in a map , it starts to hurt you eyes after some time especially if you play the game for eight or more hours .

    😕 very confused


    1. Don’t worry, it’s an April Fool’s joke about gritty franchise reboots. Didn’t Emo Henrik’s horrendous dialogue give it away? Lord Kirby in the last screenie?


    1. In response to Henrik’s “I can crush you in an instant”, the guard was going to respond with “If you even try, our Lord will consume you.”


      1. Thank god. Im sorry, it’s just that I noticed where you are its still April first.


      2. Really, how didn’t I notice that? Well, no. My internet sucks and wouldn’t load YouTube by now. Damnit dude, you had me going there.


      3. A co-op option would be awesome actually, like a set of bonus missions.


      4. I take too many shortcuts to integrate multiplayer and singleplayer in the one place, you’ll have to make do with the odd Arena spin-off!


  3. What a day…
    A lot of work went into this, I see 🙂
    “Overall, it’s about staying true to the core, the essence of WtFSA while transforming it into something much more meaningful to, and resonant with, the audience of today.”
    This one is strong.


    1. I think it’ll really click with people in a way that the original never did. Nobody wants heroes anymore, they want horror and pain and shades of grey.


      1. You’re right, I do believe that this new world you’ve set up will do much better relaying the true essence of WtFSA to it’s fans than WtFSA itself could ever hope to do. I do have to ask, do you believe the HD package is sufficiently gritty? It would be a shame if players miss the subtle gritty undertone, considering they’re starting to get used to it. Also, your last screenshot is worryingly brightly coloured, I might expect rainbows next 😦


      2. Well, I’ll definitely be going over a lot of the HD pack textures to tone them down. And yeah, that bright Sunken Ruins sand is just a placeholder, and I haven’t found a decent new Villager model/texture to start from yet.


And you tell me...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.