Fall Of Theramore: Was It REALLY A Disaster?

The Fall of Theramore scenario introduced to WoW on Monday has succeeded in one thing – sparking fascinating, passionate debate.

So was it a disaster, or were our expectations simply too high?

Critical of the Fall

  • Typhoon Andrew covers the scenario from all angles, from story to scenario mechanics, in bullet point form“Was this really the job for the heroes of the Alliance? A set of Stormwind’s finest guards might have achieved the same. There was no special mission feel, or battle against a clock.”
  • The Grumpy Elf was dissatisfied, but more than that, left feeling somewhat queasy“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.”
  • Green Armadillo isn’t raging, but feels that the storytelling could have been done substantially better“Reading the synopsis of the novel, there are numerous places that could have been opportunities for players to participate in a major lore event that does not seem to have needed to happen prior to the expansion launch. “
  • Saxsy writes two posts on the Fall – first contrasting it with the epic Wrathgate questline and secondly addressing the cinematic she initially missed“It got reduced to rubble and every single inhabitant died. Unescorted? Really? Unopposed? Really? No recognition that people were actually in Theramore when the bomb hit? Really?”
  • Khizzara looks at the plot of the Fall, and finds that it seems to have some major holes“We get the sense that Garrosh woke up one morning and thought to himself, “Oh yeah, Theramore. Let’s obliterate that. Should be fun. LOL””
  • And Cuppy addresses each of the major points of debate – world event, lore, and so on – in a serious of short pieces” 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.”

Neutral about the Fall

  • Alas recounts her personal experience with the Fall, finding herself nothing more than ambivalent about it“I was neither thrilled nor disappointed with the scenario, overall. I feel neither grief nor outrage that Theramore is gone, which I suppose could say something about how well that story wasn’t told.”
  • Spinks discusses both her personal experience and the storytelling questions without coming down hard on either side“I am however, intrigued to see the other scenarios. I think we’ll really enjoy them at that sweet spot between reaching the level cap and zooming into heroics”

Defense of the Fall

  • Ben at Scribblings On The Asylum Wall argues that the Fall has been the victim of excessively high expectations“Expectations are killer. Especially when you have trouble meeting them.”
  • Dragonray writes a short post saying she loved the scenario – not as detailed as other posts here, but interesting to note that some people really are enjoying the scenario“I liked that I could blow stuff away and not worry about aggro or threat or healing etc.”
  • Big Bear Butt argues that Fall is basically fun, but a victim of really horrible timing“I picture the scenario almost like a comedian being tossed out on stage to do a quick bit of standup to chill out a crowd that has been waiting five hours for Axl Rose to appear for a GNR concert. Poor scenario. Poor, poor scenario. Nobody deserves that fate.”
  • Ceraphus argues that the scenario has succeeded both as an introduction to scenarios and as a way to fuel the fire between Horde and Alliance“All over social media, especially Twitter, I have seen some heated discussions between Horde and Alliance players over the outcome of Theramore. So in that regard, Blizzard succeeded in bringing some of the war back to World of Warcraft, stirring up the natives if you will. “
  • And Jaedia argues that as a preview of scenarios, Fall is a success“At the end of the day, this is not a pre-expansion event, it is a brief look at what scenarios will be like and at that it is successful.”

Tried Fall of Theramore yet? What did you think?

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(Almost) Everyone Hates Fall Of Theramore

Getting the impression that everyone hates the new WoW scenario Fall Of Theramore? Well, you’re not right.

Almost everyone hates it – or at least, is disappointed or underwhelmed.

Sometimes, Blizzard produces content that is just dazzlingly good. The Rogue legendary questline (IMO). The Wrathgate. Ulduar.

It would appear that the Fall Of Theramore, the only in-game event documenting the Horde’s destruction of the Alliance’s city of Theramore in World of Warcraft, is not one of those times.

From bugs to lack of explanation or storytelling, very few people are impressed:

  • Tzufit is extremely unimpressed with the fact that the scenario seems to assume all WoW players are also reading the tie-in novels“Pure and simple, the story of this scenario makes absolutely no sense without having read Tides of War. Blizzard is no stranger to forcing us to go outside of the game for the full story about most major lore developments, but we usually have enough pieces of the puzzle given to us in-game that we can get a decent clue as to what’s going on.”
  • The Godmother looks at the lack of testing of Fall on the beta servers, and concludes this event’s the equivalent of the movie industry’s “dumper” movies” Really, this is an act of Genocide on a massive scale, it will signal all out war between the Horde and the Alliance, and you deal with it in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered…?”
  • Saxsy not only dislikes the lack of in-game storytelling (and gives a great plot summary for the confused), but feels that the story itself all but breaks the gameworld” If everyone did what was natural and logical and perfectly reasonable, it would suck to be a Horde player. There would be no real home city in Northrend. Or, as might be very likely, Outland as well.”
  • Dinaer was seriously underwhelmed, and disappointed comparing the Fall to past launch events, although he did find it a briefly amusing distraction” Its a 20 minute distraction with no replayability. It wasn’t even that immersive. I couldn’t name one of the bosses I killed. They were generic.”
  • Even Adam Holisky, editor-in-chief of WoW Insider, calls the event “underwhelming” as he kicks off a discussion of the event’s success or failure
  • Arioch is a big fan of the idea of scenarios, but found this first one extremely disappointing“I think scenarios will be an awesome addition to break the monotony of grinding more intense dungeons, but I feel this was a poor place to begin them. “
  • Likewise, Zellviren is looking forward to scenarios, but finds the way that Fall avoids telling its own story in order to make room for the books borderline unethical of Blizzard“Asking me to spend MORE money on a novel, just so that I can experience that story in its entirety, is bang out of order and, frankly, Blizzard should be ashamed of themselves for taking this route two expansions in a row.”
  • Lyrestra writes a short piece from the perspective of someone with no knowledge of the lore behind Fall“Who was that prisoner? Why was he captured? Who started the hostilities? Why are we attacking Theramore? I don’t know. There were no indication of what was going on, or if there was, I missed it.”
  • Rohan argues that the novelisations have been one of the worst things that happened to World of Warcraft“Stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. More and more, it seems that Blizzard is putting the beginning and end in a book, and featuring a small part of the middle in-game. “
  • Matty only managed to enjoy the Fall scenario by reading up independently and writing her own story“I just know there was something I was really looking forward to, allowed myself to get swept up in the moment, and then, like seeing Cinderella smoking behind the castle’s bleachers or Mickey yelling at Minnie, I feel there is a bit of a let-down here.”
  • And Eva Marie writes a very short piece on why she liked the event – the only mostly positive response to Fall I’ve read in over 700 blogs the Pot follows“Yes, it was short. I would have loved to fight with Kinndy and Jaina, too. But it was fun. I got to blow up a boat.”

Ouch. I must admit I’ve not played the Fall yet, and I was hoping it’d reverse the “story’s in the books” tendancies WoW has displayed on and off.

What did you think of the Fall of Theramore?

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It Came From The Weekend

And finally – as always, the weekend saw some really interesting blogging of all kinds, so here’s our summary of Other Cool Stuff…

  • The Mighty Viking Hamster made a really interesting point – wouldn’t it be great if non-active subscribers could still communicate with Battle.net and other MMOs through an IM interface?“First and foremost players will benefit. It would allow them to keep in touch with the community even though they are not subscribed to the game. This would foster a stronger sense of community since buying a particular MMO would not only mean getting involved in the game, but also having easy and unlimited access to a social network of like minded people.”
  • Fannon at Dwarven Battle Medic writes a lament for the soon-to-be-fallen Theramore“What will become of the small stories? Who’s going to take the time to cleanse Jarl of his demonic possession in the middle of a battlefield? Is someone going to walk “Stinky” Ignatz home with Horde siege engines laying waste to the landscape? “
  • Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered is a one-man Modest Proposal factory of late – today he’s proposing making WoW gold completely non-tradeable. Including on the Auction House“As for the auction house, allow players to create trade offers. Initially this would be chaotic, with a billion linen being asked for a truegold bar. But eventually, players would settle on some new medium to use.”
  • And Ironyca has a new project – cataloguing WoW’s myths and urban legends“This inspired me to go look for more myths and urban legends in WoW, and there are many of varying themes from how to acquire certain items, to misunderstandings on how fx resting and healing works.”

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Three Fascinating, Unexpected Opinions On What Mists Will Bring

Will Garrosh invade Theramore? Maybe not! Will Resto Druids love permanent Tree Form? Perhaps not! Will this iteration of the LFR loot rules work? Maybe it actually will!

It’s a bit quiet on the MMOsphere today, but there are some really interesting posts out there. Strangely, three of them centered around one topic – specific features coming up in Mists of Pandaria, and how what actually happens might be nowhere near what you expected to happen.

First up, Rades of Orcish Army Knife is back with another of his brilliant prognostication posts. This time, he’s looking into his crystal ball at a strange new Feat Of Strength that has made its way into the Mists beta

(Warning: this blockquote and the linked article contains story spoilers)

“So wait. Jaina has to recover the Focusing Iris from the ruins of Theramore? Would that be the same Focusing Iris that Malygos was using to control the surge needles, distorting and manipulating Azeroth’s ley lines so that all magic began to flow into the Nexus? And the same Focusing Iris that the Dragon Aspects used to channel their magical power into the Demon Soul, to empower it so that it could defeat Deathwing?

Why is it in Theramore??

We never really do find out what happened to it after the Aspects used it to charge up the Demon Soul. And you know, this probably isn’t something that should just be left lying around. We’re talking about an extremely powerful artifact created by Malygos, the Aspect of Magic, at the height of his power, using his own blood. We’ve seen in the past that someone can use the Iris to divert and mess around with all magic on Azeroth through tapping into the ley lines, which is rather significant. And the Aspects – essentially Warcraft’s demigods – needed it to charge up the Demon Soul, perhaps because it let them focus their power into an single concentrated point, or perhaps because it could absorb/contain such raw, unbridled power in a controlled manner. ”

Spoilers end

As always, Rades has a tremendously readable writing style, and his conclusions are fascinating. I think they might well be right on the money, too – the suggestions he’s making fit well with the way Blizzard have been writing so far, and would be a really interesting twist. We shall see…

Meanwhile, on a rules note, Zellviren of Unwavering Sentinel has been looking at the latest LFR loot rules. They’ll be rubbish, right? Well… apparently not so much

“Every time a boss dies, the game will roll against each player to decide if they won something. 25 separate rolls, 25 separate chances for everyone to get a shiny upgrade. To paint an example, say there are four plate melee classes in against the Madness encounter and all want Gurthalak. Each one has a separate chance of winning it and all four of them might do so. They play no part in each other’s rolls, just as they keep the heck out of everyone else’s.

I’ve no idea how that can be considered a bad change unless your desire is to troll or steal.

Now, point three on Ghostcrawler’s list is the one causing the arguments. It’s hard to say exactly what “appropriate” means at this stage, and I suppose we’ll need to wait for more commentary before finding that out. But even if that’s simply a case of picking something your class can use, ignoring spec and what you already have, it’s STILL preferable to seeing some Unholy death knight with a heroic Slicer take a Souldrinker “because he might play Frost”.”

My only remaining concern with the LFR loot rules – which feel very Diablo 3 inspired – is that they feel a bit impersonal, and further devolve much of WoW into a single-player game with NPCs that just happen to be controlled by other players. But that’s just a feeling thing, and overall, Zellviren’s got me convinced.

Finally, on a lighter note, one ex-Tree druid is finding herself unexpectedly conflicted by the new choices in Mists.

Yes, Tzufit of Tree Heals Go Whoosh was amongst the baying hordes clamoring for a return to full-time tree form, for a long while. And now, it’s finally here – but she isn’t convinced that she will actually use it

“It’s a good thing! A great thing! So, why do I find myself with no idea what my druid is going to look like when Mists launches?

I never used to identify with my night elf’s caster form during Wrath. I liked the way she looked, but I hated the night elf idle animation with its annoying bounce-bounce-bouncing, and I had trouble identifying with a character who was taller than most of the others in a raid group (I’m 5’2″ – gnomes are more my speed). I was in tree form from the moment I logged on until the moment I logged off, save the few seconds it took me to switch back after a wipe. The Pink Kitty and I used to have a good-natured snicker at druids who spent all their time in caster form and who flew around on actual mounts. “What, your forms aren’t good enough for you? You don’t love turning into a giant purple bird? Sure, have fun on that Frostbrood Vanquisher while I insta-cast flight form. Oh, and did I mention I can farm nodes and tap quest items without ever dismounting? And that if a Hordie jumps me in Wintergrasp I can just Shadowmeld and fly away? Chump.“

And then came transmogrification.”

This is a really interesting post that I think speaks to far more players than just tree druids. We keep track of the things in the game we dislike or we’re worried about, but often the things that we like or that suit us – or simply that we get used to – pass us by.

What unexpected consequences do you see from Mists of Pandaria?

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