Hrm, Scenarios Eh?

Stage

So with the wee lad off for the night Saturday and the threat of bad weather locking us in for the night (not to mention eventually shutting the power off for all day Sunday), the Mrs. convinced me it was time for some scenarios.  I figured why not, and proceeded to improve Tumunzahar just a wee bit.  His fresh as a daisy 90 ilevel was not sexy in the slightest.  A few tweaks, two or three of which were couresty of Mrs. Amateur’s tailor, and I was all set for something new.

Once we queued and entered, we were all Goblins.  Seemed to be in a refinery, and it looked grim when we realized we were a tank and two healers.  Go group finder.  The Holy Paladin did have a Ret off-spec fortunately, though his gear wasn’t all that great for it.  Still, we rocked and rolled and while Mrs. Tank died a few times (still not sure how), we completed the scenario.  I even got a couple upgrades from the Cache…except they were gone from my inventory when I left group.  I put a ticket in for that one.

The second scenario was in Krasarang Wilds, so I was told much after the fact.  We needed to shore up some defenses and do some Orc fighting.  There was Mrs and I, and a Hunter.  I had nearly no healing to do.  When I’m a healer, I’m not a huge fan of those moments.  What was worse, was that I had no idea where to get the supplies for the second defense post.  The Gnome one was easy, but the other one…not so much.  But, we finished it pretty easily.  I even got to heal during the boss fight.

After that I felt…underwhelmed.  I don’t know if it’s because I had no clue what was going on half the time, or because I felt useless as a healer (again, not the case during the first one), or perhaps a combination of the two.  But I just was not feeling the fun of scenarios.  Now I’ve read before that they seem to be catered more towards dps roles and to me that did seem to be the case, but it could also be a coincidence.

At the end of the day, I still don’t know how I feel about them.  If the Mrs. or a friend ask me to go, I probably will.  I mean, it’s a chance to smite about with friends and I never turn that down.  But when I’m doing my own thing alone, I can’t see me hitting the queue button any time soon.

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.