I ran the Theramore scenario last night on two characters. It was a nice little distraction. It was quick, taking only about 20 minutes or so. When I queued alone I had to wait about 8-10 minutes for a group.
When I went in on my rogue, I was in a group with another rogue and a druid. Since all three had stealth we were able to quickly move about and avoid some fights to complete the objectives efficiently. The druid died once, but neither rogue got below 50% health.
The scenario doesn’t require a tank or healer. The enemies don’t hit very hard, so you can take on a small group without concern. If you do happen to pull multiple groups then you could get overwhelmed without a healer, so pull carefully. I made sure to keep Recuperate running since we didn’t have a healer and I was taking some damage on group pulls.
I expect this to get a little harder when it is tuned for level 90. Right now, all three of us in the scenario outgeared it significantly. At level 90 without raid gear we’ll have to be more careful.
When I ran it on my druid it was a little slower but easier. Having a healer made it simple.
When Blizzard first advertised these scenarios, they said that they wanted to be creative with the encounter design and try to avoid simple tank-and-spank fights. However, that’s pretty much what this turned into. One boss did have a ground-target mechanic that had to be avoided, but mostly it was all-out-dps to burn them down. I didn’t see any real innovation.
That said, if this is a substitute for a pre-launch event I’ll be sorely disappointed. I’m not usually one to call out Blizzard on things that I don’t like. I’m aware that each player has their own preferences and you can’t make all the people happy all the time. However, Blizzard has set the precedent themselves.
Before the first expansion (the Burning Crusade), the Dark Portal opened in the Blasted Lands. It was a simple event, where demons would stream out of the portal. There were a couple of quick quests with it. It was not involved, yet it was immersive. Also, it was huge amounts of fun. Having hundreds of players – most who flagged themselves for PvP – in one place was a blast. It set the stage for the upcoming expansion and created some excitement.
Before the second expansion (Wrath of the Lich King) there was a much more involved event – the zombie invasion. This event, where players could be infected and turned into zombies, had a gradual rollout and multiple phases. It also had a lot of detractors who felt that it interfered with regular gameplay. This event must have taken a lot of time and effort on Blizzard’s part, and it had mixed reviews.
Before the third expansion (Cataclysm) there was an elemental invasion choregraphed by the Twilight’s Hammer cult. This was optional (unlike the zombie invasion) and had multiple parts, including elemental boss fights in you elected to do that. It took place in capital cities, but you could avoid the cities if you didn’t want to participate.
What made these events so iconic is that they were (1) related to the upcoming story, (2) in your face, and (3) gave us something to do.
By making them related to the story, they prepped the players for what was coming. They gave them some motivation and buy-in for the lore that is about to be presented. They built anticipation. By pushing it in the face of everyone, it was unavoidable. It wasn’t something that people could simply ignore or, even worse, be unaware of. Giving us something to do was the most important part, as most of us were struggling to find a reason to log on.
The Theramore event fails on these, in my eyes.
It is related to the upcoming story, in a way. However, I think most of us are more interested in the Pandaren right now rather than the horde-vs-alliance conflict. Horde vs-alliance is old news, while the Pandaren is new and interesting. I’d rather see an event that introduces us to the new race.
Even worse is that this is not noticeable in game. You have to queue for it. There isn’t a town crier in Stormwind lamenting the destruction of Theramore. If you don’t actively queue up for it, its like it hasn’t happened. This is a big mistake.
Finally, it doesn’t really give us much to do. 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.
We still have a week until launch. Perhaps Blizzard has something up their sleeves. If not, though, then they have no one to blame but themselves for the discontent.