Like everyone else, I was excited to try out the new Theramore’s Fall scenario yesterday and rushed to queue up for it. I got in instantly by forming up a group with a couple of guildies and we proceeded to stomp all over the scenario. I went in with an open mind and came out disappointed. I am the target demographic for scenarios — I play casually for short amounts of time, love questing and lore, don’t always have time to wait for a dungeon queue, and enjoy doing small group activities. But this fell completely short for me.
Doesn’t matter that it isn’t a world event
People in trade chat, Twitter, and in comments on WoW Insider keep saying that this isn’t supposed to be a world event so we shouldn’t be expecting it to be something grand and epic. That’s not a valid argument for me, because I never expected it to be a world event. I’m judging it completely on its own, as an experience to spend 15 minutes doing, not as a huge pre-expansion celebration. Even as a 15 minute 3-person experience I don’t believe this was successful because of everything else I’m about to say.
Like others are mentioning, if you don’t know the lore behind this (meaning, you didn’t read the book) then you have no idea WTF is going on. That’s not good design in my opinion. I completely understand that not all players are interested in story, but when you’re doing something as major as, well I dunno, DESTROYING A CITY, then you should probably explain why everything is happening. I’m not even talking about doing something high fidelity here, just some more text and dialogue giving more color to the event would be great. I honestly don’t know what happened or why, and that’s a problem when you’re doing something major like taking out Theramore.
I understand these are tuned for 3 people. I understand their goal was to make sure that you don’t need the holy trinity (tank, healer, dps) to do it. However, because it was made so flexible and easy, I wasn’t required to even heal at all. From the explanations of what a scenario would entail based on Blizzard’s official posts about it, I thought it would be a highly interactive experience that uses brains and skill to find alternate ways to defeat the scenarios without the use of required class mechanics. More dodging, maybe some puzzles, maybe secret passageways, maybe interesting choices you have to make (choose your own adventure style) or something like that. This felt like something a level 70 player could solo.
Blizzard are the master of creating visuals such as cutscenes and CGI trailers. But this one felt cheap and done half-ass to me. Even the explosion was just a big screen of light and didn’t actually show us anything. I was not impressed.
Low chance for loot
So, taking all the previous points, I have no desire to run this thing over and over to try to get the few pieces of loot. (though the staff is a fabulous transmog piece, don’t get me wrong).
I’m just not sure what purpose this scenario serves. It doesn’t take very long, so it’s not meant to be a timesink. The gear dropped isn’t great and isn’t often, so it’s not meant to be another way to grind. The story was almost non-existent, so it’s not supposed to be giving more in-depth lore elements to the game. I don’t know if the XP is good from it, because they released it while we’re all at cap.
If you’re going to release the very first scenario after a long dry spell of no content and the week before an expansion and make it loosely contain lore that directly affects the timeline and story in said expansion, you have got to expect that people will anticipate it as a pre-expansion event. As a result, if you gloss over the story, provide very little by way of rewards, and cheapen the experience with a short ‘movie’ that was less impressive than Transformers 2, players will complain and feel disappointed. I certainly hope you have more up your sleeve before Mists of Pandaria launches, because this isn’t a good way to head into a new expansion while other shinies are glittering (Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2, Torchlight II, etc.).
P.S. People smarter than me are agreeing.
I agree with all your points except the difficulty – I ended up in there with 2 DPS and a Tank, and another time with 3 DPS, and it was surprisingly difficult. Not the fights themselves, but just because the Elite Captains simply whittled you down. We ran most of the place at half or lower health, and had 1-2 deaths. It might have been overconfidence (probably at least part of it), but having no healer – or at least someone who could toss a few heals – was a huge disadvantage.
HUGE agreement about the lore aspect, too, at least from Horde perspective. It seriously makes no sense. I understand Alliance players get the slight backstory of what happened, so maybe it’s a little better for them? Horde though, ugh.
Also where the hell was Garrosh?? If this was supposed to echo the novel and set up his eventual downfall…shouldn’t he have been there or mentioned? Instead, I just feel like the bomb was that goblin captain and the elf spy’s fault.
Bonus points for a Transformers drop in your closing statement! 😉
Yeah, I contemplated not mentioning the difficulty level because I only ran it once and our group was pretty well-geared. I was a healer, but only healed once. We also had a tank and a dps, so we actually did have the holy trinity. Although, I was nuking the whole time. 🙂
Only backstory the Alliance got was that a bomb was dropped. The rest was Jaina waxing psychotic at a general about the giant stick she was going to shove up Garrosh’s hindparts.
I have to agree – the scenario itself was wanting, and a little bit worse for those of us who have read the novel.
I won’t include any spoilers here, save (a very minor) one. This scenario goes so far outside the lore (at least for the Alliance) that it’s overwhelming. In the novel, Jaina returns to Theramore’s ruin ALONE, and requires no help whatsoever in obliterating the Horde soldiers entrenched there. I would have been more impressed with a scenario that had us working as part of the counterattack group (in the novel), and then out on a scouting mission putting us well outside the blast radius when the mana-nuke goes off.
I give the scenario itself a C+, as it was at least fun enough to rush around setting fire to ships and fighting off a demolisher, but the rest of it just falls flat.
I think there was going to be a large amount of hype surrounding the Scenario, regardless of it being seen as a pre-release event or anything, simply because so many of us have gone without anything new to do for almost a year now. It doesn’t matter how Blizzard tried to sell it to us, people wanted this and they wanted it now. Part of me thinks it was almost doomed to disappoint right out of the gate.
When I first heard that Blizzard was going to add Scenarios to WoW, they reminded me of Chronicles that were included in Rift. However, the Chronicles in Rift were sold to players as being a middle ground or a stepping stone to the normal 5m or to raid content that people short on time could still enjoy. They made great “training grounds,” if you will for fresh max level characters to learn basic mechanics or things like that and they proved to be a big hit.
All told, I think how the Scenario was sold to us was a huge flaw in the plan and what Blizzard put out the Scenario to accomplish also didn’t go as planned. It just didn’t work. They could have done better.
Thanks for the post!
Totally agree with you. The timing made the hype, excitement, and therefore disappointment inevitable.
Part of the problem is that while Blizzard told us that scenarios where just instanced group quests to give us something different at max level, they really played up Theramore as the big turning point in game. I think they should have gone with something more like the Troll and Gnome questlines they had before Cata to tell the story.
I think the level 90 scenarios are going to be a lot better, to be honest. They won’t have all the hype that ultimately doomed this one and, at least at first, we won’t all be completely over-geared for them.