Friday, September 21, 2012

Theramore and the World Event that wasn't

There have been so many posts on this matter already I doubt any of you can be spoiled about what the new Theramore event is about, but in case of you have been hiding in a closet the last week - spoiler alert.

Let me start off first however with telling you what this post is not. This is not a post complaining about the new scenario (maybe just a little), this is not a post about how I think this game is going downhill and so much about MoP could've been done better. Although I can see where people are coming from with those complaints, I do not agree. I still enjoy Wow a shitload, I'm really looking forward to MoP and I thought the scenario was fun - yes fun. What this post will be about is how bummed I am about the fact that MoP did not receive a proper world event, so there you have it. But let's take a look at the Theramore Scenario;

First we did a little of this, if you were horde.

And then a little of this, if you were alliance.

Like I mentioned, a lot has been said about the new Scenario all over the interblogs. Here are some posts I've read about it and that is probably still just a drop in the ocean;

Tree Heals Go Woosh - The Theramore Distaster
Forever a Noob - Theramore Scenario and Lack of Pre-launch Event
The Light's Wrath - Scenario Impressions
Variant Avatar - Theramores Fall as a Scenario Expansion Tie In
Blog of the Treant - Theramore No More
Drunkard's Regalia - Theramores Balls
Azerothian Life - Scenarios and Awesome Things
Scribblings on the Asylum Wall - Expectations
Typhoon Andrew - Theramore Down

So if that doesn't please your Scenario-reading appetite I don't know what will. Although not all of those posts are negative about the Scenario, the vast majority are. It ranges from issues with the whole concept to lore, and I can agree with a lot of things but overall I think the Scenario isn't that bad. Yeah, we don't know why the heck horde suddenly decides to bomb Theramore, but I must admit I haven't had complete track on why any of the bad guys did the evil things they did - and if you never played any of the Warcraft games or had friends explain it for you, you might wonder why Arthas wants to kill everyone or who the heck Sargeras is. Now, I love the lore in this game but I will not go out of my way (read: out of the game) to find out more about it. What I understand from quests and short cut scenes is all there is to it and in a lot of cases that isn't very much. This has never bothered me, I realize that in games with fantasy concepts people will have fantasy motivations. So Garrosh has suddenly decided that Alliance need to get a kick in the nuts - my first impression was that this was what WoW started out with, the fight between the factions. Isn't his actions just a roll back to whatever we were fighting over back then? I could be completely wrong, but for the moment it is what I am going with and it works for me. We undid the evil guys, Garrosh is bored and needs some action. Why not?

It's working ok, but it could've been so much more.

I enjoy the idea of a non-trinity area, and I think it is working ok. Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of things about the Scenario I think could be even better. I agree that it is just basically a short questing area as it is now and the bosses are push-overs with totally uninteresting fight mechanics. I think the Scenario overall is a little too stumped, I don't really get involved in what is happening - I don't end up caring. I was kind of hoping of something along the lines of the Darrowshire questline, if anyone still remembers that from back in Classic. For those of you who don't, it was a sort of re-enactment of the Battle of Darrowshire (which the final quest is also called) where you help the now ghosted inhabitants of the once Darrowshire to defend themselves against the ghoul/plague invasion. It was a questline that ended in an epic battle that had a lot of feeling to it, but mostly because of the build up until then. This is exactly how I would have wanted Scenarios to be. I am hoping the Theramore Scenario is but a wiff of what the other scenarios will be like, because it has a lot of potential.

But let's get to the point of this post
- whatever I think of the Theramore Scenario; if I don't get a world event before MoP I will be very disappointed. Incredibly even. The past World Events have been some of the most fun I've had in WoW and I still remember each and every one of them clearly.

The Opening of Ahn'Qiraj WE

Back in Classic, even the launch of a new raid instance warranted a World Event. The launch of Ahn'Qiraj was preceded by a world event so epic, they should write books about it. Called the "War Effort", it required every player on the entire server, regardless of level and faction, to chip in to be able to open the gates of AQ. Thousands of cloth, metal bars, ore, leather, bandages and basically anything you could craft had to be turn in. How about 800.000 Linen Bandages and 96.000 Peacebloom? That's just a fraction of what was needed. The factions had different goals which meant they had to work together to get there. A lot of the hand ins only required a low level character to gather, meaning anyone could help out. The guilds that were hoping to be first into the new raid obviously stood for the major contribution, having players who farmed for days to get the effort done, but the thing was that anyone could do it. Back then I was still a newb, running around on a level 40 something druid, and barely had a clue what was going on. I loved the idea of everyone having to work together to a common goal, and the final part where the actual gates opened had so many people gathered in the same place that the servers crashed continously - good fun and a mega-party. All the following quotes are taken from Wowpedia.

"The event evolved through different phases and included gathering of war supplies by both Alliance and Horde players, epic and hardcore quest chains for the elite guilds, and ultimately a ten hour long war at the Scarab Wall in southern Silithus."

I would kill a gnome for an event like this in any kind of MMO, what better way than to really feel like you're part of something bigger with other, real, live people in it? Have I ever done anything this cool outside of the gaming world? Nope (which might be sad). The only bad thing I can say about the AQ event was that anyone who wasn't in a high-end raiding guild didn't get to reap the fruits of the labor, but it was a small price to pay to be able to part of something so big.

Scourge Invasion
Another raid that got a WE was Naxxramas, in the Scourge Invasion. If you want a thorough explanation of what this event was all about, read here.

"During the Scourge Invasion, numerous high-level zones are under attack by one or two flying necropoli each"

"The necropoli are accompanied by Necrotic Shards, which are visible on the ground near each of the flying citadels. These shards are always surrounded by a large number of undead"

"Aside from the necropolis events outdoors, Scourge mobs will occasionally appear in Stormwind and Undercity. They spawn seemingly at random, causing city NPCs to yell for help"

"On November 10, 2008 the forces of the scourge attacked Stormwind Harbor and Orgrimmar's Valley of Honor every thirty minutes with actively hostile 72 elite Frost Wyrm Raptors and 71 elite Towering Horror abominations. "

This just goes on and on! See back in the day Blizzard actually took a lot of time and effort to make Azeroth seem like a place that was alive with change and things going on whether you were online or not. I'm not saying they're not trying to do that now, I'm saying they were better at it back then, and I am not normally a very nostalgic person.

Opening of the Dark Portal
In this event, preceding the release of the BC and as such the first proper expansion-release-world-event, Kruul was wandering around with a pack of demons wrecking havoc around Azeroth. It all culminated with a massive invasion force coming through the Dark Portal. Imagine another massive slaughterfest where people fought eachother as much as the enemies and you will have a pretty good picture of what was going on. It was hilarious, it was epic, I loved every second and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Scourge Invasion 2
Preceding the release of Wotlk, Azeroth was yet again attacked by the scourge in yet another epic World Event. Eventhough I am a massive fan of the AQ one, this is probably my favorite one yet. I like this one so much because it forced itself upon you. If you really wanted to you could pretty much ignore the previous world events and go about your playing like nothing was going on. This event however snuck into your gaming and made your part of it whether you wanted to or not, and in all honesty that is what I want a game like this to do to me. It started out simple with "suspicious crates" lying around. Many of you will remember this event by now. Soon people were starting to get sick, and eventually - BAM! - turn into zombies.

"Conspicuous Crates appear in the port city of Booty Bay, infecting players who touch them. "

"Plagued Roaches start to appear in capital cities (include Shattrath) and Booty Bay, spreading the Infection to any players who kill them"

"Groups of Plagued Residents begin to wander the lower level zones, attacking other mobs and players at random. "

"Low level quests Investigate the Scourge of Thunder Bluff and etc. added."

And so on, check here to see the full story

Now even if you had no clue about anything and never read any news about what was going on in WoW, you could not help but noticing that something was happening around you and to the game you were playing. Something big was on the move, and you and everyone else were going to be a part of it. This wasn't just a really fun WE that perfectly set up the coming expansion, it was also a really interesting psychological experiment. Some players went full heartedly into trying to infest as many of their fellow players as possible, while others tried to help instead. Blizzard made this into something you couldn't ignore which made it feel like something important, something that you had to care about, and I did.

Oh and this;

"Player avatars in the Forums become zombies. "

They even took it into the forums!

There have been many more WE events besides these three examples - we've got the fight for Sun's Reach in BC and a couple of smaller ones like Operation: Gnomeregan and Zalazanes Fall. Even our latest expansion Cata got a WE similar to the one before BC. So why can't this one get it? The World Events are normally server wide parties, the only time where everyone regardless of level and faction gathers to fight and play towards something bigger, the only time where we get to do something that is even more epic than fighting the bad guys in raid instances.

The only time when the game ever truly feels like it makes justice to the word Massive in MMO.

Not having one for MoP only gives me the impression that Blizzard don't even want to put in the time and effort into their own game anymore. I don't doubt they've outdone themselves in terms of awesome content - like I said I am really looking forward to MoP and think I will have loads of fun. But the WE is a very special part of a new expansion and quite simply, I think MoP deserved one.


  1. I've never done any of those except for the Gnomeragan one.
    1) I would LOVE to play a World Event
    2) If it's only something that's gonna last for a WE, it's probably an insane amount of development work for Blizzard which just lasts for so short, in the end, it's better if they use that dev time to develop more "long term" content.

  2. I agree that it's mostly a money decision. Blizzard did not want to spend anything on code that will never be reused, and that's what an event is if you look at it hard enough.

    You also have to ask what they would do. Focusing only on the per-expansion events:

    - The Dark Portal presaged the move into Outlands.
    - The Undead Plague presaged the move into Northrend.
    - The Twilight Cultists presaged the move against Deathwing.

    In each case the expansion even was focused on the target enemy. How could you do that for MoP? There is no conflict or issue in Pandaland until the Horde and Alliance arrive - Blizzard has made it fairly clear that wee are the corruption this go around.

    1. You're both using the same arguments so I will adress you both here - the fact that the WE is only for a short time and as such something of a "waste" time and money wise.

      Had WoW been any other game, I would've totally agreed. Using GW2 as an example, a game where you only pay once (or for extra features) I would never expect them to put money on something like this. WoW on the other hand has the subscription system exactly for this kind of things, if you ask me. That they put my monthly money and their time on things like these, that make the game feel more alive, is why I am ready to pay to play this every month.

      I highly doubt that a game like WoW that has so massive funding has trouble financing or finding the time/people to do both, I don't think that a WE would in any way affect the effort they can put into more lasting things. The awesome WE before Wrath (according to me the best) did in no way make Wrath a bad expansion or limit the amount of content, in fact had shitloads of content.

      And the WE might feel like they only last for a short time, but the experience is epic enough to stay with me at least forever.

      TLDR: The subscription model should enable exactly these kind of features in the game. I pay them continously so that they can put in continous and short lasting events like this.

      I can agree with you that finding something to do a WE about regarding MoP can be tricky however, but I am sure Blizzard could do something if they set their mind to it.