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.).