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Legion Zone Overview: Suramar

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You may remember that Blizzard did a preview series for all Legion leveling zones. Now that Legion has been released and some of you may be level 110, it is time to take a look at the max-level zone, Suramar.

Even though you are free to roam around the Broken Isles due to World Quests, Suramar is definitely the zone that will keep you busy. It has a very big amount of quests awarding a lucrative amount of Artifact Power, which you can do at your own pace. The zone is also bigger than it seems, since it has a vast underwater network; exploring every nook and cranny will take time.

Suramar is home to the Nightfallen, a faction of Nightborne Elves that rebelled against their own kind when their queen sided with Gul'dan. Cast away from their own city and from the power of the Nightwell, the Nightfallen are fighting against time before they become mindless withered. It is your task to find Ancient Mana throughout the zone and feed them, so they can continue their effort of retaking their city.

Here is what you can learn about the history of this zone and how to get started there:

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

In this zone overview, we sat down with Senior Game Designer Steve Burke to talk about Suramar, the new maximum-level zone in Legion, to learn more about what you’ll experience there.
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Suramar by Russell Brower

All roads lead to Suramar, an ancient elven metropolis at the heart of the Broken Isles. The corrupted Nightwell fuels the nightborne elves and provides them the sustenance they need to survive. Those who are cut off from it live as nightfallen, their bodies wasting away as they search desperately for the magical energy they need to sustain them. Atop the palace of Suramar, deep within the walls of the massive city, the warlock Gul’dan plots the next step of the Legion’s grand scheme. . . .

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Q. How would you describe the zone's ambience?

Steve:Suramar is steeped in history. This is the elven capital. Here we have the Nightborne, which is a new group of characters, but really it’s an ancient group. These are the old night elves, and they were the rulers of the world at one point in time.

One of the things that’s cool about this zone is the Nightborne have retreated within a bubble for the last 10,000 years, so the land around them has become ruined and overgrown. There’s a collapsed location that players will see that I just love—it really helps show and tell that story.

In the northeast, we have the Moonguard, the remnants of an ancient order of super-powerful mages. They have this deep history, and Illidan had even been one of them—a commander of the Moonguard. At this time, everyone who was born with yellow eyes was taken to join them. It was a great honor to be trained to become one of them—they were a really powerful force.

This being a level-110 zone, you can’t start questing until you’ve gotten to maximum level. This makes Suramar a unique zone in Legion, and creates a special vibe for the zone—you can really sit back and enjoy the story at your own pace. And because you aren’t leveling, we wanted to build this zone a little bit differently. For one, we wanted a lot of discoverable things, so that if you’re out exploring you have lots to happen upon along the way. You’re not going to be lead to them, though. You’re meant to gradually explore the zone and all of its nooks and crannies, and take it all in a bit at a time.

When creating the various locations around Suramar, we wanted to remind players of the different experiences they had as they leveled up, and remind them of all of the crises that have happened. So we have a little follow-up for Val’sharah, with some druids who have come in as refugees from the Nightmare. We have some vrykul. We even have some underwater experiences that might remind players of Vashj’ir. And of course, we also have the Burning Legion—we wanted a wide variety to make sure that Suramar hit more than one note.

We also really wanted to have an “exclamation point” in this zone. We did that with Suramar City. We’ve done big cities before like Silvermoon, but this one is a really special place. It’s urban, but it’s an adventure zone—a hostile city, which makes it special all on its own. And the artists just knocked it out of the park.

We wanted to show players a different perspective here, too, and make sure people really understood the Nightborne and everything that’s really going on here. We wanted to give you a look from the inside, and decided to use a disguise mechanic so you could infiltrate their society and really get a sense of what it’s like to be one of the Nightborne. You can get quests from Nightborne characters you otherwise would have been fighting. It was a little bit risky to do, but I think it’s played out really well.

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Q. How are players introduced to this zone? And since it’s max-level, how does the story progress here?

Steve: When you reach max level, you get a quest in Dalaran. Khadgar has intercepted a signal and wants you to investigate. There’s this call for help from one of the exiled Nightborne that you might have read about in the comic “Twilight of Suramar,” which shows the events that lead right up to the quest. You are thrown right in with Thalyssra, who is the wounded Nightborne there, and you get to see firsthand the effects of the Nightwell on them for this past 10,000 years. They’ve come to rely on it so heavily, and being exiled from the city is a fate worse than death. As soon as they’re exiled, they begin deteriorating fast—until they become a mindless husk forever. We really wanted to make sure you feel that tension.

While their situation is hopeless, there is something that the player can do to help—even if it’s just trying to stave off this terrible thing for the last of these very noble people and this great elven culture. They’re descending into corruption and clinging to life, but the player can keep them from slipping into that. We wanted to make the gameplay around this experience something that wasn’t too onerous, but also something that you didn’t just dismiss. We wanted to give context to the moment-to-moment gameplay so that people care about what they are doing. There’s a lot of tragedy here, but there’s hope too.

You’ll also get to visit with people you know here—your old friends, if you will. There’s some lighthearted moments here too, but we hope we evoke a lot of goosebumps. There’s an emotional story to experience here, and we hope we’ve succeeded in delivering that to players.

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Q. Which locations would you say are some of your favorites, and why?

Steve: Aside from the city—which the artists really outdid themselves on—there are several stories and locations that stand out, like Moonguard. The tale of the mages there is great, and the mountain retreat where they train is awesome. Tel’anor is also really awesome—at first we didn’t know quite what we were building, but after playing with ideas back and forth with the level designers, it eventually became clear: this is a graveyard. This is where their old heroes go to rest. I think they executed on that really well. It’s a beautiful location.

But Falanaar is my favorite. It’s big. It’s actually bigger than a dungeon. The story is that there’s an underground network in the zone with these ancient, elven-build halls—it really gives another dimension to the zone, and the location and the amazing visuals really show the age of it. Like I said, we’re talking about an area that’s 10,000 years old—it’s actually collapsed in parts, and there’s nothing quite like this in World of Warcraft. You get to go down and explore the depths. In places you can see the water from the surface above, breaking through and coming down into it.

Once we got the rough pieces in place, we realized this was really going to be a special place. We also knew that with the way World Quests work, we’d be bringing players back here, so we wanted an area that was worthy of that. It’s a place you can take the time to explore and take in all of the details at your own pace. There’s a world boss here. There are a few different entrances to it as well, which should make it fun for explorers. Both this location and Suramar city are really fantastic locations for people to visit, explore, and experience.

There are also suburbs up at the top, which we wanted to keep separate and distinctive. We wanted to show what the Nightborne are like without the demons—the juxtaposition between this noble and ancient race and this corrupt demonic force. We wanted to make you wonder, “How did they get to the state they’re in now?” We really wanted to have a location that allowed you see them in their own setting—clear of demons and pristine. It’s all just Nightborne in their natural habitat, though there’s still that vibe that the place is still unfriendly to people who aren’t one of them. You’ll get to see them in that environment first, and then a little later you get sent further into the depths of the city where you get to see the involvement of the Burning Legion.

With the Nightborne, there are no slums—there are just grades of “How elite are you?” They’ve all been in this bubble for 10,000 years, and they’re trained in hand-to-hand combat and spellcasting. They’re these consummate warriors, but they train as sort of a sport. Because for most of that time, there was no threat. They were closed off from the world. They worked on becoming as elegant as they could, and now you’ve got this arrogant, super-refined culture colliding with the forces of Gul’dan. You’re seeing Felguard marching around these pristine neighborhoods. It’s jarring.

It resonates, though, and you get a feel of most of the society wondering, “What have we done here?” And at the same time, they’re paralyzed with fear because they don’t want to be exiled. They don’t have any choice but to stay so they can partake of the Nightwell—but now they’re rationing out the mana wine. Now there’s scarcity and hunger in the streets. You’ve got this real contrast between those who are all in and marching to the drum of Elisande and her advisors, and the people who aren’t and the scarcity they deal with. There’s a sense of oppression. The place seems ripe for the people to rise up against the leadership, but they are paralyzed with fear that they could be cut off from the Nightwell.

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Q. How often should players expect to return to this zone and the city of Suramar?

Steve: This is an easy one. This is a max-level zone, so we wanted to make sure we really built it with the end-game in mind. We wanted to make sure players had plenty to do. I think that the World Quests are rewarding and going to pull you all across the expansion, and then when you’ve knocked those out for the day, this is the place you’re going to come back to so that you can absorb the story. It plays out over time and will lead up to the raid that will be available here later. I hope people live here when they aren’t in their Order Hall or out doing World Quests.

(source)

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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Havoc Item - Demon Hunter T21 Havoc 2P Bonus Eye Beam damage increased by 30%. Item - Demon Hunter T21 Havoc 4P Bonus When Eye Beam finishes fully channeling, your Haste is increased by 15% for 8 sec. Vengeance Item - Demon Hunter T21 Vengeance 2P Bonus While Demon Spikes is active, your parry chance is increased by an additional 5%. Item - Demon Hunter T21 Vengeance 4P Bonus When you parry an attack, the cooldown of Metamorphosis is reduced by 5.0 sec. This can only occur once every 1.0 sec. Druid
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Balance Item - Druid T21 Balance 2P Bonus Increase the damage of Starfall by 10% and Starsurge by 10%. Item - Druid T21 Balance 4P Bonus When you cast Starsurge or Starfall , the damage of your Moonfire and Sunfire spells is increased by 10% for 6 sec. Feral Item - Druid T21 Feral 2P Bonus When Rip deals damage, there is a 10% chance for it to deal damage again. Item - Druid T21 Feral 4P Bonus When Rip deals damage, you have a 4% chance to cause your next Ferocious Bite to consume no Combo Points and count as if you spent the maximum amount of Energy. Guardian Item - Druid T21 Guardian 2P Bonus When Gore is consumed, the cooldown of Barkskin is reduced by 1.0 sec. Item - Druid T21 Guardian 4P Bonus When Barkskin fades, all healing done to you is increased by 10% for 20 sec. Restoration Item - Druid T21 Restoration 2P Bonus Ysera's Gift now applies Dreamer to the target, healing them for [ 100% of Spell Power ] over 8 sec. Item - Druid T21 Restoration 4P Bonus When you cast Wild Growth, you have a 100% chance to cause Ysera's Gift to heal a target 400% more frequently for 5 sec. Hunter
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Discipline Item - Priest T21 Discipline 2P Bonus Reduces the recharge time of Power Word: Radiance by 3.0 sec. Item - Priest T21 Discipline 4P Bonus When you cast Power Word: Radiance, the damage of your next Penance is increased by 30%. Holy Item - Priest T21 Holy 2P Bonus Prayer of Healing increases the healing done by your next Flash Heal or Heal by 60%. Item - Priest T21 Holy 4P Bonus Your Flash Heal or Heal spells increase the healing amount of your next Prayer of Healing spell by 30%. Shadow Item - Priest T21 Shadow 2P Bonus Mind Flay and Mind Blast critical strike bonus damage increased by 50%. Item - Priest T21 Shadow 4P Bonus Each stack of Void Form increases the critical strike chance of Mind Flay, Void Bolt, and Mind Blast by 1%. Rogue
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Assassination Item - Rogue T21 Assassination 2P Bonus When you use Envenom, your Deadly and Wound poisons have 15% increased chance to critically strike for 6 sec. Item - Rogue T21 Assassination 4P Bonus When your Deadly and Wound poisons critically strike the target, you have a 100% chance to gain 4 Energy. Outlaw Item - Rogue T21 Outlaw 2P Bonus Extra attacks from Saber Slash increase the damage of your next Run Through by 5%, stacking up to 4 times. Item - Rogue T21 Outlaw 4P Bonus Run Through has a 10% chance to grant you a Roll the Bones combat enhancement buff you do not already have for 10 sec. Subtlety Item - Rogue T21 Subtlety 2P Bonus Each Combo Point spent reduces the cooldown of Symbols of Death by 0.2 sec. Item - Rogue T21 Subtlety 4P Bonus Backstab and Shadowstrike have a 5% chance to grant you Shadow Gestures, causing your next finishing move to refund 100% of Combo Points spent when used. Shaman
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Elemental Item - Shaman T21 Elemental 2P Bonus Lava Burst increases the damage of your next Earth Shock or Earthquake by 20%. Item - Shaman T21 Elemental 4P Bonus Earth Shock and Frost Shock have a 15% chance to cause an Elemental Overload. Enhancement Item - Shaman T21 Enhancement 2P Bonus Casting Stormstrike has a 15% chance to increase the damage of your next Rockbiter by 100%. Item - Shaman T21 Enhancement 4P Bonus Rockbiter causes the target to take 10% increased Fire, Frost, and Nature damage from your attacks for 4.5 sec. Restoration Item - Shaman T21 Restoration 2P Bonus When you cast Healing Rain, up to 6 allies within its area are immediately healed for [ 225% of Spell Power ]. Item - Shaman T21 Restoration 4P Bonus Healing Wave and Healing Surge casts have a 100% chance to heal a player standing in your Healing Rain for 40% of the amount. Warlock
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Affliction Item - Warlock T21 Affliction 2P Bonus When Agony deals damage, there is a 8% chance to increase the duration of Unstable Affliction on the target by 2.0 sec. Item - Warlock T21 Affliction 4P Bonus When you cast Unstable Affliction or Seed of Corruption, all targets within 60 yards suffering from your Agony take 10% increased damage from your Corruptionand Agony for 6 sec. Demonology Item - Warlock T21 Demonology 2P Bonus Each Soul Shard spent on Hand of Gul'dan increases the damage dealt by your next Call Dreadstalkers by 4%. Item - Warlock T21 Demonology 4P Bonus When you cast Demonic Empowerment, your Dreadstalkers will immediately use Dreadbite again at 50% increased damage.
      This can only occur once per cast of Call Dreadstalkers. Destruction Item - Warlock T21 Destruction 2P Bonus Chaos Bolt increases the critical strike chance of Incinerateon the target by 20% for 8 sec. Item - Warlock T21 Destruction 4P Bonus Chaos Bolt will deal an additional 12% of its direct damage caused to the target over 4 sec. Warrior
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      Specialization 2P Bonus Effect 4P Bonus Effect Arms Item - Warrior T21 Arms 2P Bonus When you use Colossus Smash, your critical damage is increased by 15% for 8 sec. Item - Warrior T21 Arms 4P Bonus Mortal Strike increases the damage and critical strike chance of your next Whirlwind or Slam by 15%, stacking up to 3 times. Fury Item - Warrior T21 Fury 2P Bonus Rampage causes the target to bleed for an additional 30% of the direct damage dealt to the target over 4 sec Item - Warrior T21 Fury 4P Bonus When you activate Battle Cry, the damage of Rampage is increased by 75% for 8 sec. Protection Item - Warrior T21 Protection 2P Bonus While Battle Cry is active, the cooldown of Shield Slam is reduced by 100%. Item - Warrior T21 Protection 4P Bonus Blocking an attack increases the value of an existing Ignore Pain effect by [ 400% of Attack Power ].
      This can only occur once every 1 sec. (Source)