Hello! In today's developer diary, we will break down the Scourge: the Lich King's features, Plague, and Scourge men-at-arms.
The history of the Scourge begins after the Beyond the Dark Portal story we covered in This Developer Diary. Upon escaping Draenor via a portal, Ner'zhul gets caught by Kil'jaeden who torments Ner'zhul and destroys his body, imprisoning his soul in a suit of armor. The armor has been locked in a diamond-hard block of ice called the Frozen Throne. In this state, Ner'zhul appears in Azeroth.
Ner'zhul starts in one county of Icecrown, having the Necro Government we explained in This Developer Diary.
However, Ner'zhul has an ultimate goal forced on him by the Legion: summon the demons within 15 years. Upon its appearance, the Scourge is considered the Legion's Puppet.
To ensure Ner'zhul obeys the demons, Kil'jaeden sends the dreadlords to be his Jailors. The Jailor is a special type of relationship similar to Rivals so you can always find the dreadlords on Ner'zhul's character screen.
Ner'zhul gets punished if he harms the Jailors publicly but avoids punishment if his plots stay secret.
While the Legion's Puppet status is active, the Lich King's and Legion's faiths consider each other Astray instead of Evil.
If Ner'zhul goes against the Jailors or fails to summon the Legion, he's executed and the Scourge falls apart.
There are 2 ways to remove the Legion's Puppet status: kill all the Jailors or summon the Legion.
Lich King Features
Ner'zhul starts with the Inside Ice Prison trait making him incapable. Thus he can't lead armies.
The Lich King trait gives Ner'zhul the most bonuses. Scheme Resistance saves Ner'zhul from plots. Skirmisher and Giant Siege Progress should help the Lich King to siege provinces fast.
There are 3 unique features. The Plague Scheme one we will explain below. The other 2 represent the Mind Control the Lich King has over his undead vassals. These features are tied to the Dark Frenzy introduced in This Developer Diary.
The Lich King's undead vassals are less likely to refuse Ner'zhul's interactions like Revoke Title or Imprison if the Lich King has a high Dark Frenzy.
Also, the Lich King vassals are less likely to revolt if the Dark Frenzy is high and more likely if it's low.
Thus we plan to represent Ner'zhul losing control over subjects, which happened after Illidan used the Eye of Sargeras, by lowering his realm’s Dark Frenzy.
Another feature is the ability to vassalize rulers by turning them undead. It's available when you click the Offer Vassalage interaction. As an addition, vrykul rulers believe the Lich King is the Death God. Therefore they're more eager to join the Scourge.
Like the Horde, the Lich King has access to the Great Invasion CB that targets the entire kingdom, but the Scourge vassalizes rulers turning them undead instead of just taking their lands.
Using these features, the Scourge is able to expand rapidly. Within 3 years, the Scourge should be able to dominate the frozen wastes of Northrend.
The final feature available to the Scourge is the Plague Scheme. It may target any ruler within Lordaeron, Quel'thalas, or the diplomatic range of the Scourge who has a county with Human culture. We may allow the scheme on more cultures later, but so far we decided to focus on humans.
The Plague Scheme requires to have 95 Dark Frenzy and costs 75 Dark Frenzy. We balance it to be very expensive because the Plague is absolutely devastating.
Once Ner'zhul decides to fire the scheme, he may select a place where the Plague begins out of 3 counties with the most development within the target realm.
After selecting the center of the outbreak, the Lich King should find agents. In addition to the usual reasons like a good opinion of you, there are special reasons. Characters may help Ner'zhul if they approve of his virtues. Thus Deceitful, Sadistic, Ambitious, Callous characters tend to join the Lich King's scheme. Upon finishing the scheme, agents turn to Ner'zhul's faith and culture. If you win a war, they become Scourge vassals.
If the Plague Scheme is successful, the Plague begins. Plagued counties convert to the Lich King's culture and faith. For every plagued county, Ner'zhul gets troops based on the county's development.
The Plague spreads to neighboring counties from any county it's taken root in. However, there's a limit so the Plague can't cover the whole human world.
Characters located in plagued counties have a monthly chance of getting the Plague and thus turning into undead subjects of the Lich King. They're considered dead by their family. They become landless and their titles are inherited.
When a county becomes infected, Ner'zhul starts a war with the Plaguing CB. Like the Great Invasion CB, it doesn't allow a white peace. If the Scourge wins, it takes all the plagued counties. Agents that helped the Lich King in the Plague Scheme become Scourge's vassals. Upon losing, the Scourge falls apart.
Historically, the Scourge is planned to start 2 plagues: the Plague of Northrend, targeting native humans of Northrend, and the Plague of Lordaeron, leading to the dramatic events of the Third War we will show in the future developer diaries.
The Scourge culture has a vast set of men-at-arms. The Ghouls are cannon fodder. They're weaker than the Light Infantry, but their MaA size is 200 instead of 100. The Abominations are Giants, land elites of the Scourge army. The Destroyers are the main aerial units used to counter enemy Casters. Finally, the Frost Wyrms are the most expensive MaAs. They counter Heavy Infantry and Skirmishers and have the largest damage in the Scourge army. All the Scourge MaAs have bonuses in the cold regions of the taiga.
That's all for today! We welcome any kind of feedback. If you have unique ideas, feel free to share them! If you like what we're doing, consider supporting us on Patreon. If you have free time and wish to bring the release closer, we would like to Recruit you. Thanks for reading, and thank you for your continued support! Until next time!