Zoning Out: Underwater or Underground zones

Graphically an entire zone that is underwater or underground could look spectacular and add it’s own sense of immersion to an MMORPG.

Runes of Magic:

Runewaker is adding an entire underwater instance, in their upcoming Chapter 2 expansion.  Sounds very cool to me and could offer some interesting combat.  Swimming around in the water is basically slow flying.  Your untethered from the ground and have up and down added to the directions you can travel.

World of Warcraft:

Definitely some nice underground locations to explore, like in the Burning Steppes, which shows some very creative elements to an underground “world”.

Aion:

Adding the ability to fly is in part due to the world lore and zone construction.  It’s definitely shown some great new elements to zones where you need to fly to reach different areas.

What about an entire zone being underground or underwater?

It would be interesting to have a flooded zone where you either had to constantly look for pockets of air, or you obtain a kind of scuba gear from quests to breathe underwater.

I like the idea of an underwater zone more than an underground zone for the added movement, restrictions, and graphical elements that could be implemented.  No doubt some interesting underground zones could be made.  Whether you had additional damage elements like rock slides, or not, there’s still something to be said for the atmosphere that could be created.

  • Mobs that can walk on walls and ceilings?
  • rare obtainable boots allowing you to walk or climb up certain areas?

There’s still a few subscription based MMORPGs I haven’t had hands on yet, so I don’t know if these two ideas have been done yet.

I know that Vanguard has some nice and large persistent dungeons.  Do they offer hidden underwater civilizations waiting to be discovered?

Upon creating this post, I find myself really wanting to stretch my brain and find creative designs for zones.  An old pet peeve of mine has always been that most zones never have any “up or down” apart from some hills.  Why can’t there be castles that reach into the sky with a vast variety of rooms and levels that connect and interconnect or a cave system that sits next to a sheer cliff, opening up at random location to look down to the vertigo inspiring depths?

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