Friday, August 15, 2014

[WoW] Scenarios Are Dead, Long Live Scenarios!

While everyone else is either oohing or poo-pooing the new WoW cinematic--which is quite excellent as a story and as an animation, regardless of my feelings about orcs, orcs, orcs--I noticed a curious little statement the MMO-Champion took from a Gamescon interview with Blizzard staff (warning: spoilers behind that link).
There aren't any scenarios for you to queue for at Level 100 in Warlords right now, but some could be added in future patches. Right now they are mostly used as a storytelling tool while leveling.
For those not in the know, scenarios in WoW are 3-player content with no Holy Trinity requirement. Basically three DPS wander in and follow the story, kill the baddies, and fulfill objectives. Heroic scenarios, the more difficult version of scenarios, could be made much easier with the addition of a tank and/or healer, but you could still do just fine with three DPS (and I often did).

Fights in scenarios would often be made up of a lot of avoidable mechanics. Get away from the boss before he explodes, stay out of the bad, interrupt this ability, don't step on the trap, and so on. Basically, anything that would punish you severely for goofing up, but otherwise incidental damage was easily handled by off-healing by DPS classes (or crowd control to reduce it in the first place). Since you weren't guaranteed a healer or a tank, the designers couldn't rely on those roles being there.

You still had to deal with target prioritization, interrupts, crowd control, not standing in things, plus whatever unique mechanics each scenario had in place, so especially for heroic scenarios if you were at the intended gear level they were decently difficult. But I admit they played a fair bit like Guild Wars 2, and required little group coordination, which I personally do not really enjoy as a play style.

And I guess not many other people did either? I can only assume that Blizzard not making scenarios for queuing means that the feature didn't take off as they had hoped with respect to other people. I mean, you never sit long in a scenario queue given any three players will do (though you can't queue for heroic scenarios; pre-made groups only there), so it's not like nobody is doing them.

If it means we need to make a choice between 5-man content and 3-man content, though, I'd pick 5-man. Something about that Holy Trinity that makes actually dealing with encounter logistics that much more fun. Perhaps the heightened group coordination requirement? Or maybe scenarios were just too bite-sized?

Blizzard really started using scenarios as a storytelling tool to great effect in the Throne of Thunder patch, and I agree that it really made an excellent storytelling tool (I'd bet it was easier for the developers to make elaborate stories in an instanced scenario rather than a phased part of the world, too).

But the one thing I really want them to take from scenarios and bring elsewhere were the bonus objectives. It was like the Amani War Bear run in Zul'aman, but you could see the timer on the screen and got a neat toast when you succeeded (and extra VP, woo!). It was really gratifying to get that bonus objective, and I'd like to see more bonus objectives in dungeons and the like--perhaps not just timed objectives, but throw in a really difficult optional boss that dropped a neat pet or slightly better loot or something.

All in all, I won't miss scenarios as a dungeon replacement. They can go. But with the tech I'm hoping to see more really cool story moments in the world. As Blizzard gets better at that, perhaps we'll see more in the game and have to rely less on outside sources to get the story of the World of Warcraft.

#WoW, #HolyTrinity, #WarlordsOfDraenor

1 comment:

  1. I only did scenarios at the start of the expansion, and sometimes to get an item so I could enter lfr. I enjoy 5mans more, and think scenarios are cheap way of giving us content. I hate them. Bring back proper 5 mans, not those nonsense scenarios.