I've read many reviews of the first scenario to be released, Theramore's Fall. Most of the reviews are bad and a few here and there are good. I did it on alliance side the second it was released but wanted to wait until I did it horde side as well before I made my decisions on how I felt about it. There are a few different aspects of the new scenario I have opinions on and I will touch on them all. I will also keep this as spoiler free as possible for those that have not done it yet but wish to do so.
Even if I did the horde one second that will be the one I address first because for anyone that has done both of them will know the horde one comes first anyway.
Scenario's, for anyone that does not know, are like group quests. They are not meant to be challenging but just a little adventure that is better handled with a few adventures than on your own.
Horde Side: The horde version seemed rather short and did not really feel as if you were living out some part of a story as I believe it should have. Simple stuff like do this a few times, kill a few of those, and rescue someone that leaves you wondering how they got caught to begin with as the people guarding them could not even fight their way out of a paper bag.
It did not seem overly difficult at all even with me on my horde hunter that I had not updated my bars yet and twice got caught wondering where the hell my spells where. I was left looking around and clicking when I did find things because for some reason my keybinds were wiped out. I moved a few abilities to the number binds and went with it that way sort of on the fly.
With my amazing ineptitude in being ready for it I did not do very well but was still way ahead of a blood elf paladin that was more interested in how good their armor looked on them than they were in killing the theramore guards. Even with my ineptitude for the first third of it and the paladin doing less DPS than you would see in a wrath dungeon we finished it with very few issues.
I had to bandage a few times here and there as those guys still hit hard enough to let you know they are there but not so hard that you can not take a few shots here and there. It was made better when I realized that my aspect was not on and put it on, the ironhawk's reduction of 15% damage did help. Like I said, I had not been on this character since the changes. So over all, even with bad damage dealers there, me only doing 15K, the paladin only doing 6K and a death knight that was doing 20K, we had few issues.
The horde side, as I said, seemed rather short and it ended with the horde rescuing their people and taking control of theramore and dropping the bomb.
Alliance Side: The alliance side starts exactly were the horde side left off, as the bomb drops. Its your job to retake Theramore and chase out the horde left behind to destroy what the bomb did not and pillage whatever they could. Simple enough and at least the first time I did this one it was with a guild group as opposed to with randoms.
After the first full pulls I noticed that this really is like a group quest. As a hunter, with everything set up correctly on this one, I could have easily soloed this without even coming close to worrying about anything. The elites could take a short time to down solo but they did not seem to really give me any issue. Even more so when you consider that it was me with my main guild tank and the top DPS in the guild.
We blew through is as if we were killing mobs in northrend and not level 85s mixed with elites. As well we should, being we are all over geared for the content. The one main difference was, even if we were speed running it, the alliance side still took considerably longer than the horde side version. So much so that I did not like it, I will explain more on that later.
We went around killing the horde left behind and finally chase them out and that is that. Our little group quest known as a scenario is over. I was left thinking, well, what now?
So now that I give my review of the two versions, hopefully without spoiling anything for anyone I will give my opinions.
Horde Side: Seemed shorter in comparison, even with randoms. Actually seemed closer to what I would expect of a group quest even if there was a lot of running around doing nothing involved and still too long.
Alliance Side: Even speeding through it with over geared people it seemed to drag on way to long for what it was designed to be, a group quest.
Horde Side: Why are we attacking? Not really clear. At least we figure out we are here to rescue people, but why were they there? Not really clear.
Alliance Side: At least alliance have a clear reason to be there, to force the enemy out. Still did not know why they did what they did.
Overall: Without actual quests, just objectives, it did not tell much of a story from either side and is just another step in the nameless faceless grind fest for valor that it will be.
They are supposed to be quick, easy and accessible, let examine that.
As for accessible: Part of the reason for scenarios is to ease the wait time for DPS by offering something that three damage dealers could do on their own. With 35 minute wait times (personally waited so I know it is actually 35 minutes) and others reporting over 1 hour in waiting time, accessible is not really a word I would use for them. I've heard rumors that there is an error with the finder and I have to believe that is true, there is no way it takes that long to find three of anything and if for some reason it does than this is the biggest failure on the part of blizzard ever. An hour to find three of anything = failure. Heck, more than 3 minutes to find 3 of anything = failure.
As for easy: Lets forget for the moment that I said I could easily solo this as a hunter. I am raid geared and the type of player that was soloing cataclysm heroics, or at least attempting to, from the moment I hit 85. So what I say doesn't really mean anything when I say I could solo it.
Look at it from the standpoint of three random players, or better yet, three bad random players. This is still way too hard for them. I did one on my lock, which is by far the class I am worst on, with two others that were of the same ability, meaning bad, and we took forever to get it done and had to watch each and every pull. I even died once.
While they are without a doubt easy in concept they are not as easy as they should be. Kill 6 of these and one of those. Destroy three of these and kill 20 of those. They are still a handful for a lesser skilled group and they still need a tank.
Sorry, don't care what anyone says, they still need a tank. In ran it, on both sides, in groups and in randoms, and the hardest time I ever had with it was in a group that I went into with three ranged classes. We got it done, but it was not easy without a melee, preferably a tank, to keep them all in one nice little bundle to AoE them down. So are they easy? Nope, they will not be easy for the average player. Not even in the slightest.
As for quick: I guess it all depends on your definition of quick. Compared to a dungeon it is quick. But when I think of quick this is not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking 5 minutes when I was thinking quick. You will spend more than 5 minutes running around to cover all the ground you have to cover. If you get a group that is lower in the DPS department it could actually start to take as long as a dungeon would. These are anything but quick. Using the word quick and scenario in the same sentence should not be allowed and should be a banable offense if you ever say them on the forums. Again, your definition of quick might be different from mine but by my definition, quick is 5 minutes, and these are not quick at all.
This is not a prelaunch event. Many of the complaints I see about the scenario is that it is the worst prelaunch event ever. There is a reason for that and that is because it is not a prelaunch event. It is a preview of what the scenarios will be like.
With that said, I think blizzard did a horrible disservice to the game by not having a prelaunch event. They could have given us this preview and added a quest line leading up to this preview that told more of the story, the stuff that is in the book, and made a prelaunch event out of that which would lead up to this preview of scenarios.
If anything I think that a perfect prelaunch event would be that the newly phased destroyed Theramore would be an open world battleground that both horde and alliance could fight it out in. All honor gained within the boundaries of the ruins of Theramore would also award a second type of credit that could then be used to buy memorabilia suitable for both sides.
That would have been a great way to introduce the concept that mists is all about war and it would tie into the preview of scenarios. To keep it from being for max level only and people that want to PvP, as the open world battle ground would be, there would be war effort quests for lower levels and non PvPers that would earn those players the tokens that could be used to buy things as well. Now that would have been a prelaunch even. As it is, we had no prelaunch event and that feels kind of lacking in my opinion, from what we have come to expect.
Alliance Side: You get a tabard and are told to remember Theramore, it is a touching moment and a fitting tribute to remembrance even if the tabard itself is not the greatest idea.
Since the introduction of transmog people wear tabards that fit their clothing or don't wear one at all. So having to wear a tabard to use the special ability and not having a way to hide the tabard like we do with helm and back is a bad decision, at least in my opinion. They would have been much better served if the on use could be used without equiping the tabard. But at least you can put it on, use it and take it off, so it is not all that bad, but could have been better.
Horde Side: You get a mini mana bomb and a note that says the guy laughs every time he thinks about it. Now we are really touching a point here were I can see people having problems with this whole thing and blizzard in general.
If the note said something along the lines of the mini mana bomb was in remembrance of their swift and sure victory over the military forces of threamore it would have been fine. Saying you laugh each time thinking about the wholesale slaughter of thousands of innocent people is another thing all together.
As someone that lives and works in new york and was at work watching the towers get hit and come down from outside of my job, just a little bit away, close enough that I could taste the dust, thinking that someone would say they should laugh at remembering the slaughter of thousands of innocents just hits me as completely wrong.
Even if these are pixels in a game, NPCs as it would be, and the thousands were never seen, just known to live there in lore, it is still wrong on every single level of wrong to laugh at that and I think blizzard was wrong for including that line there. Should have said it like I suggested and left out the laughing over the slaughter of thousands of innocents. Whoever wrote that flavor text for the mail should be fired and whoever approved it for release should be fired.
Mind you, I am an insensitive jerk for the most part. I don't care about anything, and it even bugged me. Not much, but enough to think that the people who wrote that are dicks, but I can surely see how this can really be a huge turn off to many people that play the game and if they ever wanted to make a stink over it and demand those people get fired, I would gladly sign on the dotted line and support them in getting those people removed from the writing staff and fired.
Both Sides: You get fireworks. Okay for the horde but what the hell were they thinking about giving fireworks to the alliance. What are they celebrating, the death and destruction of their own people, many of them innocent? Woohoo, all our friends and family just died, let us celebrate with fireworks. Blizzard needs to get a clue sometimes. That was a stupid thing to give the losing team.
If this is what scenarios are really like color me unimpressed. To long, to boring, and still to hard for the masses.
Tips and Tricks:
If you are like me and can solo these and also have two extra accounts laying around have I got a trick for you on earning valor a little faster.
Have yourself group with your two other accounts and queue up for one and solo it. Earn three times the valor at one time. Unlike dungeons, which need 5 and are harder to solo, you can easily solo cap your valor on these for three characters at once.