World of Warcraft: Dragonflight developers share how they made fan-favorite quest Stay Awhile
A sneak peak into an emotional tale.
The Warcraft franchise owes its success to its interesting and well-loved characters as much as it does to its fun gameplay. Over the course of World of Warcraft’s existence, many characters have entered and exited the stage, not all of which have been as well-received as icons like Arthas and Jaina in recent expansions. Blizzard’s latest expansion, World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, pleasantly surprised fans by giving them an intimate conversation with a new dragon character named Veritistrasz.
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This quest, called “Stay Awhile,” has become a fan-favorite for its great writing, and they managed to achieve this while having the player basically do nothing but listen to a story. The quest has now become so regarded that the developers have sat down to discuss the process of getting it right.
Veritistrasz is a red dragon with a dwarf visage that confides in the player not only the immense emotions he is feeling from returning to his ancient homeland, but also the fact that he can’t share it with a black dragon friend he was forced to kill when she became corrupted many years ago.
Initially, the idea for this quest was to introduce the player to the Ruby Life Pools where Veritistrasz resides, but they quickly realized it became redundant because of other quests having you walk around this dragon nesting space. Exploring the clutches with Veritistrasz would have ended with him having a breakdown when bringing the player to the empty black dragon nest and remembering his friend.
The team iterated on the quest several times, deciding eventually to split the tour and the character and allowing the player to just sit with Veritistrasz to hear his emotional tale. After realizing the player just sat and listened for quite awhile, the team added breaks in the dialogue for the player to respond in order to make the quest feel more like a conversation.
Originally, the dialogue was sarcastic and bitter, but over time the team decided to make the tone more reflective and sad. It was also important that the player listen to this dragon’s feelings instead of trying to fix things, as mood disorders are usually not fixed by actions, but by the person letting their emotions out and using it as a catalyst for recovery.
Blizzard hinted that Veritistrasz might have more tales to tell, and players will likely love to spend more time with this deeply compelling dragon. Sometimes, the most impactful gameplay can be just giving a reason for the player to care, and not just an excuse to go from place to place.