The Theramore Mop

I’m not going to call it the Fall of Theramore, because in all honesty it wasn’t.  Not by a longshot.  For all the hype and possibility, it was barely even a “quick cleanup of Theramore.”  Also, I refuse to refer to it as a pre-Mists event either.  That’s not what it was and Blizzard has made it clear it was never meant to be.  But having now done the scenario, there’s a clear reason it was never on the PTR.

Had Blizzard put this out to the players to test under the label “Fall of Theramore,” there would have been the exact outcry we’re already seeing.  This way, they could throw it out there a week before Mists of Pandaria hits and hope to Illidan that people forget about it when all the new shiny comes.

I wasn’t there for Ahn’Qiraj.  I wasn’t even there for the Dark Portal.  But I was in Stormwind when the Lich King’s forces invaded, when the plague swept over the city, and then when the Twilight Cultists caused a whole mess of grief leading into the Cataclysm.  The point to be made here, is that Blizzard has knocked it out of the park with the epic feel of each pre-expansion event.  Not only are we not getting one, what we got in its place is a piece of lore farce.

Alliance side, you just go and show up.  You know nothing about what has happened, save for a single cut scene.  Even that would suggest it was the Goblins who are responsible for the attack.  Yeah, Jaina’s mad at the end and you can tell that anger is directed at Garrosh -but unless you read the book you have no clue as to why.

And there lies a big problem.  Blizzard has let the book set up Mists of Pandaria instead of doing it themselves.  Unlike previous expansions, where players learn in-game just what many of the major issues and stories are, we really don’t have the foggiest unless we go buy the book.  You need to spend more money on the side if you really care about the story at all.

I don’t think I would be nearly as frustrated with that if not for the fact we have had zero new content in ten months.  That’s a year Blizzard had to work on Mists of Pandaria and its subsequent buildup.  Except there is no buildup.  We got a great cinematic (even if not for me), but the more I pause and look…the more it feels like in the steps towards Pandaria we players are watching from some far off land, instead of being the driving force -the Heroes that we are.

Yes, I’m honestly beyond disappointed in Blizzard’s lack of effort in even bothering with a buildup to the expansion.  We got a trailer and they hope you read the book.  That’s it.  Who knows?  Perhaps those of us passionate about such things are in the minority and the developers feel it’s a waste of time.

On to the scenario itself.  I’ve made my content thought clear, but let’s look at the mechanic and execution.  Everything is pretty straight forward.  It’s clear what you have to do, where to do it, and if necessary how to do it.  My first group had an Arcane Mage, a Frost Mage, and my Holy Priest.  The one Mage died during Phase 3, because he wasn’t paying attention to the Horde’s targeting machine.  Otherwise, it was challenging but we could do it.  I imagine that had to be one of the worst build variables possible and we did it.  That makes me think that the level of failure will be very far and few between.  As an introduction to how the system works, it clearly succeeds.  It will be interesting to see how the scenario mode is implemented throughout the game post-Mists launch.  The idea is interesting, if not long overdue in my mind.

Do I think the player base needed this scenario introduction right before the expansion’s launch?  Not at all.  If that was truly the purpose, then why was there an ilevel entry?  That one really baffles me.  Fine and dandy you had to be 85 to take part in the first place, but then you’re going to cull the participants even further?  *head shake*

Any of the issues people have with the so called “Fall of Theramore” would be somewhat acceptable as an individual issue.  But there’s just too many things here that combine to disappoint people in a big way.  Nowhere have I seen anyone stand up and applaud the developers for delivering on this one.

When you combine this end result with the fact it was never even on the PTR, you have to wonder if Blizzard knew what the response would be, and pushed it through anyway.  The idea being that players would have a week, tops, to experience it before all the new and exciting features came into play.  The hope that most would even forget about their frustration over what was presented to them by Winter Veil.  They’re probably right.

For me, the scenario play is easy to understand and it executes as it’s supposed to.  As the prelude to Mists (not event, just essentially the stepping stone storywise), though, the Fall of Theramore feels like someone took a dump on my front porch.

18 thoughts on “The Theramore Mop

  1. khizzara September 19, 2012 / 12:04 am

    I’ve already written a lot on this topic, so let me just say, YES. This was so disappointing on so many levels.

    • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 7:20 am

      Many people have shared their thoughts, but like a number of others I wanted to get mine out before I read them.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one…but at the same time would’ve almost rather have had it that way as it would have been encouraging for Blizzard.

  2. Navimie September 19, 2012 / 3:36 am

    I haven’t done it yet…. /covers eyes La la la la

    • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 7:21 am

      😉

  3. Ishtla September 19, 2012 / 4:27 am

    This was a disappointing end to a very lackluster expansion. I thought Blizz learned with Cata that the lore needs to be present in game and not just the books. Most groups I’ve gone in with have no clue what is happening or why we are doing what we do in the scenarios and it would have been better if they had just added a quest chain as a buildup.

    • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 7:20 am

      Exactly. Something as simple as a quest chain to unlock the scenario would have been good enough.

  4. MissusAmateur September 19, 2012 / 6:09 am

    “…the Fall of Theramore feels like someone took a dump on my front porch.”

    Which is rather impressive since it’s an enclosed porch and they’d have to go through the house to do it. But I digress…

    Again I say, I helped Jaina defend Theramore and all I got was a lousy pack of fireworks. And a t-shirt.

    • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 7:24 am

      Also well put. The thing is, we shouldn’t have to write our own stories in lore moments such as this. I can relate, having my own creative juices…but I shouldn’t have had to go out on my own and find out what’s what.

      • mataokashaman September 21, 2012 / 7:35 am

        I completely agree – felt like I had to do too much of the heavy lifting here.

  5. tomeoftheancient September 19, 2012 / 6:38 am

    I’ve been on a search to find a post where the blogger WASN’T underwhelmed by Theramore and so far no luck. So much for fond memories of zombies and elementals.

      • tomeoftheancient September 19, 2012 / 7:08 am

        Just got to that one, wandering in Tyria has me way behind. There’s one!

        • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 7:29 am

          As I expected, though, the positive dealt directly with the mechanic and not the lore and pre-expansion event (which, again, is nonexistant).

          A valid point can be made that there is far less disappointment if you haven’t read the book. Actually there’s far less reason to be disappointed if you could give a rat’s ass about lore.

          Not saying that’s the case with Bear at ll, but just an observation that came to mind.

  6. Freyana September 19, 2012 / 8:52 am

    Mechanically, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Somewhat mindless group activity without loot drama? I’m all for it. We’ll have to see if it’s any more difficult now that they doubled the health of the mobs, but I’m hoping it makes things a little more interesting. I’m also now looking forward to the level 90 scenarios.

    But I’m with you 100% on the lack of build-up/lore. If I hadn’t gone and looked up a plot summary for ‘Tides of War’, I would have no idea what was going on and why it was happening. Even just one measly lead-in quest in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, just something like “Hey, this is happening and we need YOU, brave hero, to help!” would have been sufficient to lead into the events of the scenario.

    I’m ultimately torn on whether I’m disappointed or not. I certainly enjoyed the scenario, but it wasn’t even close to the epic feel of the elemental invasion (I sadly missed the zombies of the WotLK launch). I miss having a story to tell later on, a “Yeah, I was there!” moment to share with friends and guildies. I love having the items from Operation: Gnomeregan. As someone said in the comments of a WoW Insider post, an event you can repeat later on is not an event.

    • JD Kenada September 19, 2012 / 8:59 am

      As I said, as the scenario mechanic goes, I think this is quite sound.

      And sadly, you mentioned mindless grouping without loot drama (or really, any kind of drama) and my mind immediately wandered to Guild Wars 2. lol.

      I have no problem with Blizzard basically saying “we never said it was an event.” I have a problem with the lack of an actual event when they had almost a year to put one together as part of the expansion.

      • Freyana September 19, 2012 / 9:06 am

        100% agreed. We didn’t even get an explanation of why the pandas suddenly appeared in cities. All of that is in the pandaren starting zone, which we can’t access yet. I still think Chen Stormstout visiting the capital cities would have been cool. He could have even had a quest series where you go talk to some of the new pandaren standing around the starting zones to find out about them (if only because everyone should go see Ting, Strong of Stomach in the undead starting area, heh).

  7. Thelandira/Sheeturself September 19, 2012 / 11:40 am

    Bear did initially write a positive post on it, but his post (http://thebigbearbutt.com/2012/09/18/snarky-thoughts-while-reading-tides-of-war/) yesterday/last night shows that even reading the book doesn’t help. He states that Cassie read the book and was disappointed in the scenario as well as the rest of us who haven’t read the book.

    I agree with your post though. The scenario left me feeling much the same way…as I describe in my post from yesterday (shameless plug – http://jstmel.com/momar/index.php/the-fall-of-theramore)

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