The Theramore Disaster
The Fall of Theramore scenario has perfectly demonstrated everything that’s wrong with Blizzard’s storytelling process. I hate writing posts like this. I hate talking about how bad some aspect of WoW is because there truly are a lot of wonderful things about this game. But the Theramore scenario just got so many things wrong that I had to dedicate a few hundred words to it.
Note: This post will contain spoilers both for the scenario itself and the novel Tides of War. I have only Alliance 85s, so I’ll be only speaking from the perspective of the Alliance version of the quest.
Lack of Lore
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.
This scenario drops us into the very last possible moment we could see Theramore from the story told in the book. When I read the novel a few weeks ago, I assumed we would be doing some sort of escort quest helping Jaina get up to the top of the tower so we would see her final conversation with Rhonin, and his sacrifice that saves many of the civilians on the island. I thought we might hear her talk about Pained or Kinndy, or any of the other important figures who are lost on that day.
I thought we would at least see or hear Garrosh giving the order to drop the mana bomb, or leading the Horde troops through the gates of the city before the retreat. Instead, we get a cut-scene that almost seems to implicate the Goblins more than Garrosh himself, and barely any explanation as to how the mana bomb works or why the Horde just happens to have the Focusing Iris.
With the way the story is presented in the scenario, it makes no sense at all.
We are given no context. We get to Theramore by queueing using the new Scenarios interface, so it’s not even as if we are told to go there by our King or some Alliance general. I can see how this system might make sense for some all-inclusive stories that might be presented in Pandaria, but for such a HUGE lore event, this is really a bad call.
The World Event That Wasn’t
I bet you thought that the Theramore story was going to be the world event going into Mists. I know I did. Turns out we were wrong, according to this Blue tweet from last night:
Theramore scenario completely underwhelming compared to other pre expansion events. It’s Meh.
Was never meant to be a world event. It’s the first Scenario of the game. Tons more content coming next week!
If there is one thing Blizzard should understand after this many years in the game, it’s how to manage customer expectations. Every expansion has had a world event. Mists of Pandaria is a new expansion. Therefore, it is reasonable that we assumed Mists would have a world event. And when we heard about a new playable scenario, with a ton of far-reaching implications for lore, which was going to be released a week before the expansion was – what the hell else would we assume it was going to be? It’s like handing a kid a piece of candy and then saying, “Well I didn’t promise you any candy,” when they open up the wrapper and find nothing inside. Of course we thought this was the world event, and so of course we expected it to be something bigger than it was.
So please, Blizzard, don’t play dumb about your subscribers assuming this was a launch event. If you weren’t intending to give us one, well that happens. You’ve specifically told us you didn’t want to release another content patch after Dragon Soul so you could focus your efforts on Mists development, and I guess that a world event fell under that axe, too. In another week, when I have fresh content to dive into, I’ll probably forget that all of this even happened. But right now, on this night when I was expecting to see a powerful piece of lore development explored in-game, along with implications that extended into our home cities (as has always been the case in the past), I’m really just pissed off.