26 February 2012

Dollhouse: Sweeping Spires, Hidden Horrors

Silvermoon City is one of those devastatingly beautiful locations that always begs me to screenshot it. It's probably becase it reminds me of the peculiar light quality I like so much in autumn. I took a very long photowalk around a few weekends ago to explore.





Approaching from the road, you'll first see the westernmost wall of the city created by the gray expanse of the Dead Scar. The flight master is located outside the city walls, along with the leatherworking and skinning trainers. (I've always wondered if this is a comment on what blood elves think of those messy professions.) The city's gleaming towers peek through the surrounding trees, with The Shepherd's Gate waiting to greet you.


You enter the Walk of Elders at a curve in its course, giving a very open, expansive impression of a city riddled with tiny alleys. Close by, weary travelers will find the first of the two inns, The Wayfarer's Rest. Across from that is a curious array of benches - the rest area allows a view of both sides of the Walk of Elders. There are pipes in easy reach of the plush benches, and filmy curtains obscure those relaxing from prying eyes. Looking up from the entrance to the city, you'll see multiple stories giving the illusion of a greater population, although they are inaccessible to the public.




Entering the Inn, players will find a room upstairs that would be suitable for rent, assuming you don't mind the lack of doors. The Inn offers a second entrance to the Bazaar, which holds an auction house, bank, armorers, and a tailor's. There are no extraneous rooms, no empty workshops or houses to explore. Behind the crowd of rabblerousers is a deliciously enticing door, but it isn't labeled and does not open.



There is one hidden thing that always creeps me out; below the tailor's, in a lavish basement room, you'll find a squad of captive leper gnomes laboring over mana looms. They are kept on track by a succubus, and you can see the fruits of their labor in the gold and jewels piled on the central desk.


Returning to the Walk of Elders, the eastern portion is much wider and open, although the many profession carts give the impression of clutter. The guild registrar is here, along with the Level 85 Elite Tauren Chieftains in permanent concert-mode. A perpetually under construction...platform is taking up a random alcove that gives access to the Hall of Respite in the Royal Exchange.



You can also follow the Walk of Elders around and pass through a more impressive gate to reach the Royal Exchange. This courtyard houses the city's second Inn, bank, and auction house, and not much else. The Inn does allow passage to Murder Row, which has the potential to be heart-stoppingly awesome but falls short. Although it is home to the rogue/warlock headquarters, the windows visible above street level are shuttered and inaccessible.




I was saving the Court of the Sun for last, but there's basically nothing there. The inscription and jewelcrafting trainers are there, likely stuffed in the last two free alcoves in the city. The court itself has extra rooms, but all have a purpose and occupants.



Last is Farstrider's Square, which houses the mining and smelting crew, target dummies, and the hunter and paladin trainers. There's not one room to spare! Under the pally chamber you'll find the creepy prison of the entity formerly known as M'uru.




In terms of atmosphere, Silvermoon City blows it out of the park. This ostensibly serene, peaceful city is full of cramped, dark alleyways and dangerous hidden dungeons. Even the perfectly normal locations are obscured behind gauzy, deceptively decorative curtains. This city knows how to handle "subtly sinister." It fails in the dollhouse department, though. Players can visit and interact with the NPCs, but there's no space in the city for them. The last empty house was filled by the archaeology trainers, and the remaining inn rooms are no place for privacy! It's a pipe dream, but I'd love (well, after flying in the city), for a few of the second story windows to actually open into rooms. A workshop here, a bedroom there. Let players insinuate themselves into the city, too!

A Study in Silvermoon picture series:
Wayfarer's Rest
The Bazaar
Walk of Elders, The Royal Exchange
Murder Row, Farstrider's Square
Court of the Sun

4 comments:

  1. Wow I never realised there were some creepy things in Silvermoon! Makes me wonder about the other cities now! Great post Aka :)

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    1. I've never really taken the time to look at the details in the cities, but now I'm curious about the rest of them!

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