Though I see topics about ideas for Outlands, I have personally zero interest in the place, as I find it ugly and unappealing since WC2. There is another place that triggers far more my imagination, and was done more dirty by Blizzard in retail than Outlands : Mount Hyjal.
Here are some constructive suggestions to do something with it, based on what we have in the vanilla files, and what we know of the place.
1. What we have :
Here is Hyjal in its vanilla glory : https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/wowwi ... 0727214242
The zone's topography is complete, but empty. It needs to be populated with characters, villages, quests, storylines, etc. A good zone should have consistent gameplay and storyline themes ; not just a juxtaposition of random quests. So what could be those themes ?
2. Gameplay general pitch :
- I suggest making Hyjal a strict 60 zone. The first true end game zone. The idea comes from FF XI : zones dedicated to push max level players above the edge not with more levels, but with gear, reputation, tokens and other grinds/rewards. In FF XI, these zones only have elite mobs. But here, we can have a mixture of solo progression and sub-zones with elites. Like the open-door dungeon of Arathi Highlands. It follows the layout of Hyjal, as there are demon-wasted parts and more welcomy parts.
- This 60 zone should be difficult to access. I suggest 2 doors. The first one is from Winterspring and is already in place. It lies among 60 elite demons. It would be the only open door accessible to a new player. The second one is the locked door in the Timbermaw Tunnels, as depicted in this research post : www.reddit.com/r/classicwowplus/comment ... d_tunnels/ The player could unlock a key during his adventures in Hyjal to authorize him to return from a safer passage (Timbermaw).
- The aftermath of the third war let Hyjal in a dire situation. Nordrassil has been deeply wounded. The water from the Well of Eternity is corrupted by fel magic and its consumption made most wildlife and furbolg denizens go mad. The remnants of the Legion are still walking around the place, digging tunnels (wow rpg book), and infiltrating Winterspring from Hyjal (Darkwhisper Gorge).
- With the help of his allied npc and players, the Player must investigate the demonic activities, find their causes, and try to heal the mountain and its world tree.
- Our point of attack is this existing quest : https://classicdb.ch/?quest=4842 it is an elite quest asking you to investigate demon activity in the south of Winterspring. These demons come from the corruption of the Hyjal Well of Eternity, which water is making wildlife and furbolgs go mad and reinforces the remnants of the Legion's army. This quest should be expanded into an introductory quest chain that leads you into Hyjal.
- Timbermaw Furbolgs are strongly linked to Hyjal. These furry dudes are the last non-corrupted furbolgs. During WC3, the furbolgs inhabited the tunnels under Hyjal (the Barrow Deeps). They also guard a door to Hyjal. The clan has also a direct interest in purifying Hyjal : the place is ridden with their corrupted kind, and is to this day slowly corrupting them through bad water. Timbermaw could serve as an allied faction, and quest givers, for the Hyjal adventures
- Allied to the Timbermaw and players are, ofc, the Cenarion Circle. Nelf druids have also a direct interest in purifying Hyjal and should be quest givers. But I thought, as they already have the Silithus Hub, it would be less interesting to give them this entire Hub. Half/Half Nelf and Furbolg would be more thematic.
- The vanilla map contains a nelf den. Players have made the theory it could be Illidan's Prison, but it's not instanced.
- I suggest making it the end of the storyline told during quests. After your long investigations about demonic activities, all clues point to this place as one of the points of origin. You discover a giant demon has slained all the nelf who occupied the den and made it into his lair. This is a 5men dungeon, or open-door dungeon, with a demon boss at the end, a step more difficult than Scholo/Strat in tuning (MC tuning ?).
- Timbermaw Reputation : the easiest way to make Hyjal relevant is to give it a reputation grind with rewards. We can invent one (like : "Cenarion Expedition Extraordinaire Band of Cool Chads Dudes" or whatever). Or we can flesh out an existing, relegated and sad reputation grind : our friends the Timbermaw (yes I am a bit furbolg obsessed, but it is consistant with Hyjal). If Hyjal quests give reputation for this faction, and the vendor recieved more interesting rewards, you have a solution.
- Second solution : grind hyjal tokens to obtain offspec T1-like sets. I call them : T1B set. I love the idea of horizontal gear progression, by giving the player new gear sets aimed at non-meta specs. My reward system idea is to leverage elite outdoor demon mobs : the players receives a signet (like argent dawn one). If equipped, elite hyjal mobs loot tokens. Then, the players can give a NPC T1 pieces and X tokens. He receives in exchange the corresponding T1B piece, which is a recolor of the T1.
- Example : the druid T1 set is only for healers. You give it to the hyjal npc, and then receive a version... for Moonkin! (with +spell instead of +heal). Or for cat! Same for war tank->war dps ; or for arcane mage, etc
- The ability to obtain the T1B set could be hidden behind the Timbermaw reputation grind (some pieces at friendly, others at honored, etc... need exalted to have the 8/8).
A lore-rich zone made into a strict-60 endgame zone. It emphacizes outdoor elite grinds, quest chains and rewards as powerful as MC (Raid 1 tier), but different in flavour. It encourages team up for grinding, like Silithus or FF XI. It makes relevant a niche reputation, and has perhaps 1 or 2 dungeons, or raids (but that's not the focus).
Enemies could be : demons, crazed furbolgs, fel wildlife, nelf ghosts, (fel red orcs remnants ?). A fel orc camp could be really cool init.
What I like about outdoor elite grind is : it is easier than a dungeon to make for the turtle team. Copy-paste elite mobs, put the adequate vendors, and done. And it is a gameplay loop very oldschool (everquest, FF XI, etc), but not really usual in wow vanilla (designers didn't like grinding). So it would feel different in this particular game.