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=DF= February 3rd Design Notes: Dodging Wrenches - Book Two of DragonFable's Story

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2/3/2016 15:59:37   
Wolf Rider


Dodging Wrenches - Book Two of DragonFable's Story
So, I was digging through old DF folders on my desktop and came across our rough outline for the Book Two arc of DragonFable! I also noticed the question of Book Two’s… brevity popped up on the forum again so I wanted to share our original plan with you and talk about how things went so off track.

All the Book Two Spoilers!!!
I have the luck of being able to throw things at Warlic if I need to. Waaaay back during The Storm War, we hinted that Warlic was… more than human. The Blue Mage, his parentage, his mana quirks, and his rivalry with Xan over Jaania, is all stuff that Real Life Warlic had written about years ago when he would RP with his young paladin friend, Artix. His infernal half was something we only hinted, though, so when we started talking about Chapter Two we wondered what would happen if Warlic got so overloaded with mana that he couldn’t suppress that half of his being anymore.

When I started planning for the new arc, I had conversations with Warlic, Ghost, and Tomix over what directions we should go in, what made sense for the characters we wanted to use, and what the DragonFable world would be like after the Orbs were gone. Those convos and the things we established in book 1 all started to mesh into the story we wanted to tell.

In the giant blank purple space below is the initial rough story outline for Book Two. Again, note, this is rough. There’s an overall arc, an overall direction, but there’s still tons of questions interspersed. Those are all potential spots for smaller story arcs, for new towns, revisiting old towns, etc. We had a solid direction, though. From this rough outline, we would make rough outlines for individual/town story arcs, then rough outlines for each of the quests in those arcs, and then polished versions of them all, and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can go awry and, even though we made it a few more steps down the line of the refining process, wrenches started to get thrown our way.

Games, usually, don’t have ten year life cycles. They usually don’t even have five year life cycles, especially now. Sure, there are exceptions to that, but even those tend to have expansion packs or re-imaginings. Book One, the Orb Saga, was told over five years and we were asked to plan Book Two on a much shorter scale. So, our rough outline started to have some cuts.

AdventureQuest Worlds was huge and our first attempts at 3D were underway, so there were talks about shifting staff around to help with balancing the workloads better. So Book Two needed to be finished by the end of the year… then by the end of summer… to help make sure any big transitions went smoothly and the story could have a proper end. So, the rough outline got shorter and shorter.

In the end, to try and fit everything we needed to tell into the much shorter timeline, we ended up cutting a lot of the things that would have filled the story out on a much grander scale… which was unfortunate. The Great Staff Do-Si-Do wasn’t a huge as expected either. Ghost is now Lead Animator for AQW but I was able to stay with DF and Tomix got promoted to DF Lead Animator! We were already at the Wargoth battle at that point in the story, though, and we couldn’t unring that bell….

We had a foundation laid for us, at least! Book Two ended up being a transitional story to carry us into Book Three and what ended up in game left our heroes with a lot of unanswered questions… unanswered but not forgotten! Some of them still might be able to make their way into Book Two eventually, in new towns and places (M4B has suggested Flashback Fridays!). The upcoming arc in Book 3 Swordhaven should provide some answers too. It's past time you had a face-a-face meeting with Jaania….

Highlight below for super spoilers! Please keep in mind this is still the rough outline so plot points and arcs were still being worked out at this stage.


Chapter 2 - The Split - yin/yang… - Shattered - Elemental Disarray -

* Chapter should start in January, with hints to it throughout the Fall (Ateala starting to travel through the rift). November will be used to tell the Warlic/Xan/Jaania backstory with the new NPC slot. Players will play as Xan starting as a normal human mage through to the duel.

Lore is in a fragile position. Darkness is incredibly weak (light elementals wreaking havoc – Doomwood affected? Vampires vs werewolves?). Fire's great dragon, as well as Ice's, are still infants (Wind or water dragons making a play for ice territory? Weakened darkness dragon vs light dragon?). Xan is working actively to take over Lore and has been trying to find Warlic to exact his revenge, but Warlic has disappeared.

Warlic, whose father was an evil infernal elemental fire lord, has been split into two entities as he was pulled through the dimensional rift: Wargoth, his infernal side, and The Professor, his human side. Wargoth is the source of Warlic's magic and has all of it now that they're split. The Professor has no power but is very intelligent and creates scientific/mechanical items incorporating magical objects (Cysero: "This is incredible... how did you make this without using a fish?").

They are linked and if one dies, the other dies but, if Wargoth dies, all his power will be released and that could be devastating to the planet. The Professor knows this and has been trying to build complex magi-mechanical devices to stop Wargoth. (Player doesn't find Professor until latter half of the Chapter as he's hiding from Wargoth. The Professor should have some sort of burn scar. He's a new NPC, old, with shades of the MQ Warlic.)

Through the dimensional rift the Ateala have seen the return of an ancient evil, an incredibly powerful fire demon (i.e. Wargoth). A very long time ago, Warlic fought his father, defeated him and then eschewed his infernal side, became neutral and pursued knowledge. Now that he's been split, his evil side has taken over where his father left off. Wargoth, knowing that The Professor is his Achilles’s heel, tossed him back through the dimensional rift while he destroyed the Ateala's world. The Atelala have fled through the rift to Lore and now Wargoth has followed them.

The Ateala used to be dimension travelers and the extent of their power and knowledge is what drew Warlic's father's attention. His father destroyed their ability to riftwalk and they were stuck on their current world where they lived for thousands of years before Warlic's infernal half came through the opened rift (the Ateala don't know how Wargoth got to their world but they find the rift and try to escape through it). They had no choice be to try and flee through the opened rift as Wargoth destroyed their home.

Ateala are nocturnal. Their settlement will have a darkness shield over it, any Atela NPCs that appear in Falconreach will appear only at night. (Their previous world had no sun.) If exposed to light, they get badly burned, hence being really sensitive to fire and their great enemy being a fire infernal. (Note: with darkness being weak atm – how does it affect them in their new home? What does Sek think? Would Ateala represent a new, more potent “fountain of youth” for him?)

The Professor and Wargoth still have a connection through dreams. (quest zone? all weird and twisty)

Wargoth has the same magical weakness as Warlic. His mana fills up as he casts spells (full mana = BOOM) and that's the only thing that's stopping him from totally consuming Lore with fire, as he did with the Ateala's world, but as the player fights him it cools him off, depleting his mana. The only way to defeat him will be recombining Wargoth and the Professor. In order to do this, you'll need powerful mages, familiar with Warlic, to channel, which means Xan and Jaania. (Nythera?)

Xan, in the meantime, has been taken over by Wargoth, who can easily bend him to his will and basically enslave him. He's playing with Xan, torturing him and Xan loathes him, but doesn't realize that it's technically Warlic that's enslaved him yet. With the Professor's help, you find a way to break Xan's enslavement. The Professor, being Warlic's human side, tells Xan that it was his greatest regret, the accident that set Xan on fire, something that the whole Warlic could never totally admit. Having freed Xan from enslavement, Xan knows that he now owes Warlic a favor before he can get his revenge after Warlic is recombined.

You'll then have to find Jaania and a way to free her from her frozen/crystallized state to get her help, along with Xan's. Hunting down Wargoth with Xan and Jaania – Lore is in chaos and have to help. Super charged fire elementals – Xan constantly tempted. Jaania cold, angry over state of Lore – trying to find cure for Xan - trying to find ways to close portals to elemental planes (visit the Avatars? Talk/fight other great dragons?). Need to make some kind of peace between the planes so Lore isn't ripped apart before Wargoth gets a chance to burn it. (Fiamme and Kyanos)

The combination of Professor, Jaania, and Xan (Ny?) can finally stop Wargoth and combine the two halves of Warlic back into a whole again. Xan and Jaania channeling through some complex device made by the Professor finally ends Wargoth. Warlic is whole again and doesn't remember anything that happened. He "wakes up" and sees Jaania and an expression of joy comes over his face at seeing her free. She slaps hims and takes Xan's side and her and Xan leave (Jaania: "How could you do that to Alexander? He was our friend and you almost destroyed him over a stupid duel!")

* Note: The three were friends. Xan and Warlic were both in love with Jaania who always had her nose in a book and didn't realize their feelings were that deep. Warlic and Xan were always in competition with Xan always feeling as the lesser. During the duel Warlic's infernal nature flared and he set Xan's head on fire and Jaania, trying to stop the fight was trapped. She only knows that Warlic set Xan's head on fire and that the world is now in chaos due to Warlic’s infernal half. Xan, despite being crazy, traveled with group to help. **While traveling, player thinks about bringing up Warlic but doesn’t want to push Xan over the edge - so never gets to talk about the good Warlic did before the split).

Tags: geopetal
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 1
2/3/2016 16:04:30   

Just read all of it on the site. That is really interesting. I do wish Book 2 could have been longer, but what we got was great and I enjoyed it immensely.

As for the rough overview, let's just say that I am a master of rough overviews so it was easy to follow for me. I can see where you filled things in and changed them around. It's always interesting to see how different the final product is from the original pitch.

Flashback Fridays sounds like a great idea, though! And yiss, Swordhaven is coming! I can't wait to get into that; it's gonna be great.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 2
2/3/2016 16:16:52   

Wow... now that i read it, i really wished that id had been realized. But i like the Idea of Flashback Fridays. Maybe with a house item to revisit...it makes me want more. To be honest, i never was really satisfied with the way of book 2. It was great, sure, but something...was missing.

If i had a wish...i wished that this would be realized.(My number one wishes would be some more money and/or superspeed, but i think you get the point). Slowly, maybe sometimes this year...or next...or even the year after...It would be a great gift to the players, and i'm sure a lot of the players would LOVE you for doing that (Just imagine what that means: HHD-Feeling all day long)

< Message edited by docblade -- 2/3/2016 16:17:17 >
DF MQ  Post #: 3
2/3/2016 16:31:05   


Flashback Fridays sounds good, I'm waiting (sounds wrong? nah)
AQW  Post #: 4
2/3/2016 16:43:07   
shadow dragon666

That's a shame this couldn't of been the full book 2. Though with that being said you guys still made an interesting story with what we got, and if by any chance it can be expanded upon that's even better as it's something that seems like it has A LOT of fun left in it.

None the less thank you for posting what you found for us, it means a lot.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 5
2/3/2016 18:56:41   

I do like this idea of Flashback Friday since as I said in the other thread until we get to stuff we have to worry about contradicting with their book 3 versions it wouldn't be that hard to shoehorn in some stuff. Though I still think an Ash chapter 2 could be an interesting way to cover some of the stuff that occurred while we were an iceblock.

Strangely for Jaania I think the end of book 2 actually works better in a rushed manner since it makes it come off in a more sympathetic way that she just snapped from not having time to process some major PTSD and then things got out of hand since she'd stolen and driven off the people Greenguard needed the most in this time.

< Message edited by Anvos -- 2/3/2016 18:59:09 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 6
2/3/2016 19:36:03   
AQW Tester
Lore Adept

How much longer will DF last anyways? Won't it be all hands on deck when AQ3D is officially released and the story gets going?
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 7
2/3/2016 19:41:58   

^ Considering it wasn't all hands on deck abandon the other games any other times a new game was released, why would they abandon DragonFable or any other game for AQ3D?
AQ DF  Post #: 8
2/3/2016 20:10:08   

Flashback Fridays sounds like a good idea, I'd be all for it.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 9
2/3/2016 20:47:48   

Mmmm, definitely liking what Book/Chapter 2 could have been. Sad to hear that it was cut because of inter-game changes and realities. I understand, but it makes me sad all the same. It helps, knowing what could have been. Thanks, geo. Thanks for being clear about what happened.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 10
2/3/2016 20:48:50   


ORIGINAL: Christophisis

How much longer will DF last anyways? Won't it be all hands on deck when AQ3D is officially released and the story gets going?

In 2015, DF was the #3 game for AE.
Post #: 11
2/3/2016 21:18:44   
dark garuda

Wow, great stuff! I didn't expect this, but it sure is a welcome surprise - anyways:

The draft included some very interesting ideas which I'm sad were never realised ingame, but I have to say that a very good job was done overall with what we got. Short, but enjoyable nonetheless - and I have to say, the ending we got is in my opinion far superior to the drafted ending. Even though the player's likely to feel some sympathy for Alexander and his mental state - especially after playing as him, even - I think the draft ending goes a bit too far. It does make sense, that Jaania would be furious with Warlic having seen all of his bad and none of his good, but Alexander's prepared and launched spell was almost as nasty, and he knew completely what he was doing. Of course, Alexander likely could have freed his victim from the ice prison had his cryomancy powers not been tainted by the constant fire, but that was still a risk he took based on a supposition and it didn't pay off.

I mean, Alexander's no saint (both in the past and in the years between, even if the insanity that pushes his evil is Warlic's to answer for). Neither is Warlic, and in Jaania's eyes, nor was the Hero. Her reaching the limit of her control (it's well shown she's getting more and more infuriated in the quests); excercising her powers in a display of indiscriminate justice, vengeance against the three... for me, that was a great moment, and it foreshadowed effectively how the Rose was going to operate. I like Xan as the underdog, but even with all we know of him, I don't think he deserved to be vindicated at the end of Book 2 while Warlic (and presumably the protagonist, too) are frozen or otherwise punished.

Edit: Flashback Fridays sounds like a very fun idea, though, if it ain't going to be trouble! I think we all love a bit of story, a nerdy discussion piece. c:<

< Message edited by dark garuda -- 2/3/2016 21:21:59 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 12
2/3/2016 21:41:59   

One thing I found is I tend to go for to subtle with my clues/foreshadowing and with what I wrote/write for Ghost/Tomix to animate. So, sometimes, it's better to flat out state stuff.

Spoiler example from 3Amityvale:

We made the point visually in Castle In the Woods that Safiria's wounds healed instantly. At the end of Blood and Roses, she has scratches on her face.

As far as I've seen, I'm the first to mention it on the forums. So that clue was too subtle.

One big thing I've learnt in my time writing and creating quests is that when you're so close to the subject material, and know it really well, it can be startling what other people see/interpret from it.

Sometimes it's because you didn't broadcast/state something strongly enough. Sometimes, it's due to the limitations of your platform (seeing/writing/describing something in 3D and Ghost/Tomix having to animate it in 2D). Sometimes it's just due to time.

I, Elryn, Tomix, Verly, Eukara... we can write a huge, long descriptive cutscene... but we release on a week to week basis and, as quick and easy as flash can be to create things in, it's still not easy and can be incredibly time-consuming to animate in (I mean... Ghost and Tomix have done some seriously *insane* things with flash animation - compare the art and animation in DF to other games).

< Message edited by geopetal -- 2/3/2016 21:49:11 >
Post #: 13
2/3/2016 21:43:20   

Not sure why so many people keep hoping to the doom and gloom stuff about the future of the original games. Also isn't one of the future stages of Omni supposed to be figuring out a template to convert the previous games from flash to mobile (nature of AQ/DF/MQ and maybe also ED seem made for such a thing)?

As for the spoilery thing above me


Not sure that is really a matter of subtlety as much as it has a rather logical explanation for such when she just came through a battle that is implied they were rather outnumbered and their foes are using light infused silver armaments. Nothing strange about vampires and weres having limits to how much they can naturally regen heal between feedings.

Also was a bit more distracted be another close but not quite moment of AE finally showing us what a female vampire's lord form is supposed to look like.

Not to mention crystal face seemed more interesting what is going on.

< Message edited by Anvos -- 2/3/2016 22:10:43 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 14
2/3/2016 22:05:22   

@geo: How did I not notice that detail!? I feel kinda unobservant now... orz

But you're right. Y'all have done some incredible things with flash that I know for a fact I am incapable of (but then again, I don't even use flash lol), and it's impressive that you manage weekly releases after so long. It's also impressive that I still love it all after all this time. I'll have been with this game for 9 years in June!

And I totally get the whole different interpretations of source material you know really well. I create a lot of pictures featuring characters that I have created and know inside and out, and even my friends see them a bit differently than I do. Sometimes you just have to clear things up yourself. But it's still fun to see everyone's different opinions and interpretations.

< Message edited by DestinyEvingar -- 2/3/2016 22:28:06 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 15
2/3/2016 22:15:35   




See... the point was she used up so much power destroying the Darkness Tower in her rage that she couldn't even heal minor scratches at that point... when she had healed major wounds caused by silver weapons earlier with no issues.
Post #: 16
2/3/2016 23:02:01   

Wow... Some rough stuff. And I mean the three friends. With Swordhaven coming up, we'll finally be seeing Jaania soon, but what about Xan? I know Warlic is still recovering his magic in his tower. I feel at some point Xan has to join in. What would his take be with Jaania trying to stop magic? How would he feel about all this?

Little note: I find the three friend's story amazing. It makes me want to fix all their problems, even though the scars will never heal.
DF MQ AQW  Post #: 17
2/3/2016 23:12:23   

You know, if this draft got made into reality, a lot of shenanigans on the forum probably won't even be existed in the first place like:
- Jaania's blank villain
- Book 2 so short
- Moar ATEALA!!
- DRAGONFable needs more DRAGON!
- Why was it called elemental dissonance again?

That said, +1 for Flashback Fridays :D
DF AQW Epic  Post #: 18
2/3/2016 23:32:27   

Honestly, what a cool post! This was informative, and upon reading it, made me wonder if it would ever be possible for some of the DF writers, or perhaps even fans, to write short stories that are featured in the DN's semi-regulalry (perhaps weekly?). This was super fun to read, and really helped to give us a deeper insight into the mechanics behind the whole operation. As to book two, I thought it was actually really nice. The length made it seem like a mini chapter, and overall all of the quests, animations, and story lines were all really well thought out and produced. If thats what not finishing looks like, a completed saga by you guys could change a players life! (I mean it already has, but, ya know)
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 19
2/4/2016 0:23:35   

oh dear avatars I want Flashback Fridays to be a thing so badly!! I wouldn't even mind if the Book 3 storyline had to be pushed back a little to get some more filler quests and side arcs into the Book 2 area~
DF AQW  Post #: 20
2/4/2016 1:44:12   
Dark Lord Urmi

please no book 2 is over i hate going two steps forward 3 steps back we waited so long for the book 3 stories to get back on track i dont want to have to go back and wait longer for the things many of us are currently invested in.

< Message edited by Dark Lord Urmi -- 2/4/2016 1:45:12 >
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 21
2/4/2016 2:21:24   

I appreciate the changed ending of Book 2. I think it was much more realistic for Jaania to be angry at Xan and Warlic than just Warlic.

Speaking of Xan... I want Xan in 2016. Last time we saw him was merged timeline Xan so I don't think it really counts. Even if it did, it was Frostval 2014.
DF AQW Epic  Post #: 22
2/4/2016 4:55:09   
dark garuda

@Salene - don't know how tempting such a proposal would be to most, but I think it's a great idea. But then, I'm always all-for anything which gets people reading and/or writing, drawing! It's fun for me to see, even participate in personally, and I've always seen that just a good bit of practice can make such a difference to one's skill at these things.

To be fair, there are already those 'How We Roll' contests (but I haven't seen one in a while, unless I'm missing something), but hey - the more going on, the merrier.

There's been many, many great stories told already in Lore through DF, but it's a wonderfully rich world - there are loads more yet to be told. :3


Oh yeah, I'm with ShinyDiamond on the admiration for how the tale of Warlic, Alexander and Jaania has worked out. It's a weird generator of emotion for me... it's almost comical, how it boils down to teenage rivalries, but it's sad also. Everything about that past, it was unnecessary, regrettable, blown out of proportion. It's too late now though, the suffering has come to its apex and continues still. After all that's happened, how can the problem be solved?

I look forward to seeing if a compromise is found.

...Unless we just 'borrow' Cysero's 'borrowed' time machine to stop the duel from happening in the first place! But I don't fancy fighting Dr. When again. ;-;

< Message edited by dark garuda -- 2/4/2016 4:59:45 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 23
2/4/2016 7:56:31   

I would like a follow up to the disarray between the elements like light elementals raging about and the great dragons taking advantage of the scenario. That could still happen in Book 3, I hope. The draft of Chapter 2 is really great. Wished it would have expanded.

@Geo: Is there a chance to "redo" or "relive" the cut part of Chapter 2? Like a Director's Cut of Chapter 2. Flashback Friday seems to be the answer. Also, a couple of question regarding Warlic's parentage, do infernals look alike? did the Ateleans mistook Warlic for his father? And who and what is the mother of Warlic?
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 24
2/4/2016 8:05:06   

Wow. I wish this had become reality. I don't see why we couldn't have another saga set in book two concerning the dragons and Nythera etc. We haven't really seen her or any other notable dragons/ dragon hunters/ dragon lords in book 3 so if we just had an entirely new quest chain for book two, perhaps set before the ateleanss come just after 'epilogue', I'm sure the DF team could fit in a cool storyline that works with both book two and book 3 as they currently are without standing out.
Post #: 25
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