Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heroic Scenario Thinking

The recent addition of heroic scenarios has me thinking about them a little bit.  I've got a lot to say about them but I've also go a lot of questions about them and scenarios in general I would like to see answered.  Perhaps one of these days I need to get off my ass and post some questions to ghostcrawler on twitter.

Here are some questions that come to mind regarding scenarios.

Q - Will there ever be a way to just walk into a scenario so you can do them solo for fun or achievement purposes?

Q - Why no loot drops in the new scenarios, not even the normal versions?

Q - Will we ever see something like battle for the undercity come back as a scenario?

Q - How about things like the Onyxia quest line, simplified of course, in scenario version?

Q - Could we expect more attunements to be group or solo scenario based, as in the island (solo) needed you to do some to open it and the barrens (group) needed you to do some to open it?

Q - Will the loot that drops from the heroic bags go up as patches come out?  Seems as that would be a great way to keep them relevant.

Q - No Harrison Jones this expansion, perhaps a scenario where we help him?

Now to some of the things I was thinking about.


The attunement idea has been bounced around, argued about, and debated on for a long time.  Some loved them, some hated them, some loved them but hated doing them for alts.  There were people in all camps.  Scenario's offer a unique ability to give both parties a small bit of what they want, be it solo or group wise.

In a way you can say reputation was attunement of sorts to be allowed to buy valor gear for those said factions.  It failed.  Reputation in general as a gate has been, what seems, universally disliked.  So we can not have something like that again but thus far there have been three gates that are in the way of scenarios that seem to be doing very well.  So why not more?

The warlock green fire quest line is an attunement of sorts.  Without it you do not get green fire.  Simple enough right?  Many warlocks are walking around with green fire because based on skill and dedication they managed to beat the solo scenario that was required of them and they earned their fire.  And then there are the people like myself who can't do it on their warlock because of a skill, and possibly a bit of a gear, issue.

That attunement works like a charm.  The reward is for bragging honors, cosmetic only, and the skilled people can do it, and the not so skilled people, can wait until they over gear it and go back and do it.  Proof #1 that attunements via scenarios can work.

Our second new attunement gate is the island of thunder.  Those solo scenarios can be a task for some unskilled players.  I've even read some people rage that they were impossible for some classes.  I can surely see if someone is of lesser skill in lesser gear how they can be quite the task.  A fresh 90 that is not a great player will hit a wall, but with a little thinking, and some practice, it can be done.  If I can do it on my warlock, the one that I still can not do the green fire quest on which shows I am not good at it, then anyone can do them.  It will just take time and practice.

The reason the island attunement quests work so well in my opinion is that you only really NEED to do one, to get to the island.  Once there you will not be able to do the dailies unless you do all the others, but you will be on the island at least.  It is layered.  You get a little something just for completing the first part.  Then you can keep attempting the others.

That is a much better gate then a valor gate or a reputation gate in my opinion.  You can either do the quest line or you can't.  If you can't, get better, or get gear and over power it.  Your choice.

The third time scenarios were used for attunement this expansion thus far was for the barrens quest line.  You needed to do two scenarios before you could get the barrens quests.  Once you finish those two, on either normal or heroic, you get your quest line for 502 boots and the fast track to one 489 piece of gear per week, to help speed up the gearing process for some.

The boots and the 489 gimme gear was not gated by valor, by reputation, but doing a few quests and more importantly, 2 scenarios.  Two scenarios that could be done at any skill level too.  Easy for normal, skilled for heroic.  Or, solo player with no one they can group with, normal, and guilds, hand pugging and friends that can make groups, heroic.  It took care of everyone.  It let everyone play.  It is one of the very few things that was done perfect in my opinion.  Blizzard gave options this time, real options.  You can make a group and go in for the harder ones with better rewards, or you could random and take the easy route.

Please, no crying about you want to be able to queue for the heroic version.  The first time you queue into a heroic scenario with one person doing 12K DPS and other AFKing or pulling everything all the time you will realize why you can not queue for them.  They are not meant for random people.  They are only meant for people that can do them and not just for whoever has an item level high enough to get in.

Using scenarios as methods of attunement to open up things could very well be the future, and one I like.  I would have liked to do a solo scenario to open up the august celestials so my tailor could get the bag pattern instead of getting them to exalted.  I would have rather have done a series of three scenarios to open the shado-pan vendors.  I would have, and I am sure others would have, liked those options, even more so when we got there later on with alts.

Scenarios can be the attunement tool of the future, and I support it 100%.  As long as things that might be considered required, like the barrens quest line, can be done on normal or heroic, so everyone can do it.  And as long as things that are cosmetic only, like the warlock one, stay harder so the people will skill finish it soon, and the people without it like me, can learn to get better, or wait to over gear it.

I like scenarios for the attunement tool of the future, more than reputation any day.

Valor Capping:

So far one of my biggest complaints this expansion was valor capping.  The valor of the ancients made it feel like we were forced to cap on one character before doing the others to get the most out of it.  That was, and still, is problem number one.  Problem number two was capping seemed to take forever compared to what we have become used to over the past years.

The new heroic scenarios are quick and offer a fair amount of valor for the effort involved even if you need nothing from them.  120 valor, more of you meet the bonus, is a hell of a lot better for something that takes at most 30 minutes even with a lesser group and has zero queue time.  Compare that to normal scenarios at half that, dungeons which are quicker than scenarios if you can assemble your own group at least, but are not if you can't most times, at less, and the hell of all valor gainers, LFR.  The long long long as in I am growing a beard while waiting long wait time for them, the hell they can be when you get bad players and the dismal 90 valor you get for them makes them the most horrible part of the game when it comes to valor capping.

The new heroic scenarios should teach blizzard something.  People can valor cap faster which then allows them to do things they want to do.  Holy cow, I am shocked, people might actually have a choice now.  Do things they want to do.  I ran the LFR on my monk and rogue when they were capped, because I wanted gear drops.  Not because I felt I had to do it.  Now that is choice blizzard, please oh please someone read this from blizzard, that is choice.

Maybe they will learn from this that letting people cap faster is a good thing.  It makes them feel as if they can do what they want to do.  Doing all the LFRs because I need valor is no longer something that feels forced.  They can do what they want to do and move along.  Have to love that one.

I say lose the valor of the ancients and let all forms of valor generation be increased so we do not feel as if we are locked on one character until we cap, and then we might have a winning formula for the valor situation all thanks to what the heroic scenarios showed us can be done.


The heroic scenarios are, at least at the current gear level my guild and myself are at, the perfect difficulty.  They nailed it.  When going on mains we can beat nearly every bonus objective.  On a few we needed to learn some tricks like line of sight pulls, and CCing, but those became doable as well.  For better geared players it was a cake walk and for lesser geared ones it was not undoable.  Like I said, a good difficulty level.

Case and point was when I did some this weekend on my lesser down the line alts and had people doing the same.  Three people on alts they are not great on, that had to sneak in with the 480 item level meant we did not meet the timers, but almost made two of them missing one by only 30 seconds and the other by a little over a minute.

None of us was even doing 40K.  But we all knew how to play the game, so to speak.  We CCed the right mob, pulled to do controlled fighting.  We set the pace of the battle and decided on who we battled, when we battled and where we battled and we managed them all no problem what so ever.  Even in lesser gear, even with lesser skill, even on alts.

Perfect difficultly can not be said any better.  It can be done by everyone that can get into it.

Group Makeup:

Not sure if anyone has done them on as many different characters as I have.  I have done them on tanks, damage dealers, healers.  Characters I am good at, characters I am not so good at.  Classes I used an offspec I never play in that offpsec because it fit the fight better.  I even tanked for the first time ever on my monk and I must say I love monk tank AoE DPS.  It is fun and over powered.

No matter what group make up I was in there with we were capable of doing it.  We had to handle mobs different ways depending on the group make up too which I found to be very interesting.  I am not sure if things are designed to react differently depending on what the make up that is there is, but it sure as hell seemed that way.

One rule of thumb no matter what the group make up was is to interrupt everything you can.  If you can do that, nearly everything you run turns into is trivial.  One pack in the snow one we ran into the first time we saw it.  We died a miserable death, it was funny.  Died a second time too.   Third time we did it.  When I was on a lesser character in a lesser group I came up with the control idea.  Pulled in a controlled way that allowed us to turn one huge group into three separate fights which, not to over use the word, trivialized the entire fight.

That was fun.  Changing things up.  Having a rogue pull and speed boost the hell out of there, having a priest MC, having a mage kite, all types of things that people are not used to doing but actually everyone that plays those classes should know how to do.

This is the sort of content that can teach.  They are also forgiving enough that two decent players can carry one sub par one and use it to teach them how to play better.  And allowing a group make up like that is good for the game.  Train new players in a way that teaches them to do the right thing instead of just playing round up and AoE in random content.  That is fine for random content.  Not for learning.

Premade Groups:

Community is coming back for a moment and I really hope it can last and continues to get support from blizzard by releasing new scenario content.  All weekend long trade was filled with people looking for someone for heroic scenarios.  Do you know the last time I ever saw anything in trade being pugged that was not just the super rare old raid running?  Neither do I.  It has been that long.

On my small server trade was packed with people looking to do these.  Having people need to make groups for this content, making this content the best source to get valor, and fun, and a bit of a learning experience, means you have started to try and fix the biggest broken part of the game.  The community.  Well played blizzard, well played.

As I said, not so fond of it on my alt servers where I am in alt type guilds that do not do much of this stuff.  But that is what pugs are for.  I can join a pug, meet new people, and perhaps find a new guild that I could run things with more often because I was out and about meeting new people on my own server and talking with them instead of just gearing up through the random system and not really caring what guild I am in.

The reason premades work for scenarios are because of the nature of them.  The three bodies, instead of the holy trinity.  That is why it works.  We can never go back to the days of finding a group for dungeons, it took hours and most days I never ran them.  These scenarios are different, they are better for the game and better for the community.  Yes, I know 5 mans are loved by a great deal of people, but you will never be able to get this type of turn out for a 5 man that you do for scenarios.  On my server I am still looking for a challenge mode group and have still not found one.  5 man content + hard = no thank you, from the majority of the player base.  Yet 3 man content + mild challenge depending on group = lets get to know our community.

We might not see a lot of other premades going, but it was nice seeing trade filled almost 24/7 with people looking for heroic scenario groups.  I really like that.  And I am about as anti-social as you can get.  So that says a lot.

Progressive Gearing:

Okay, this is just me thinking out loud here but scenarios and heroic scenarios can work wonders as a gearing up catch up for players.  As each patch comes up, have the items that drop in the baggies go up.  No need to even change the baggies, just what it on the loot table of the bags. 

There would be normal bags, with minimal level gear to help people get into the LFRs and heroic level baggies that give people gear just above the current LFR level.  Each time new gear comes out, just change what the bags drop.  Simple enough, and it will make scenarios content that lasts for the entire expansion as they will always be something worth doing.  That is something blizzard needs to work on, making content that lasts and this would as long as the gear it drops keeps moving up.

That is enough thinking for now.  What do you think about making attunements all scenario based from now on, like the island ones or barrens ones instead of needing reputation.  You need to finish the new scenarios to open the new valor vendors.  Most definitely seems more player friendly.

Either way, at the moment I am liking the heroic scenarios.  So much so I did the LFR a lot less this last week because I did not feel I had to and heroic scenarios are much less stressful than waiting in queue for 2 hours.   I am sure everyone can agree with me on that one.


  1. Those questions you just asked. A lot of them already have been asked and answered on twitter and in blue posts I've read.

    "Q - Will there ever be a way to just walk into a scenario so you can do them solo for fun or achievement purposes?"

    They said no because they don't have locations in the world necessarily (though many do) and they want to not be constrained by that. Plus I think they said something about instance servers and not being intended to be soloed. Though I wish I could solo them certainly.

    "Q - Will we ever see something like battle for the undercity come back as a scenario?"
    "Q - How about things like the Onyxia quest line, simplified of course, in scenario version?"

    Those two go together as they are both grouped under old content. I've seen this answered a few times and the devs have always said they want to look forward and not back. So even though some players never got to see these events, and they are fond memories of others, they don't want to bring them back. Forward not back is where they want to go.

    I personally think that's a mistake and don't see why you can't do both. Yeah by all means keep moving forward in the story but don't do it at the expense of what has come before. There are so many dangling plot lines it's ridiculous. I almost wish there was no new expansion, no new continent, and they just phased higher level versions (a bit like what they've done with the barrens) and tied up some of these stories. Going back can be a good thing.

    I would certainly prefer scenarios as the attunement medium of choice. I think whoever dreamed them up deserves a raise, they can be used in so many ways, they are very versatile and good for the game. I'm a fan of them too.

    In fact I was heard to remark the other day that it was a shame that they were so good at capping. I wouldn't mind running one but it seemed like a waste of time when I was valor capped. If there had been a spot in a group and they couldn't go if someone didn't step up, then I would have been there. However, I'm nice enough not to put myself forward and take a spot that someone else can use more usefully, if that makes sense. My guild doesn't run that many so there's always someone who needs to go more than me.

    Everytime I run one and open the bag I'm crossing my fingers for loot "of the feverflare" haste and mastery. I have 496 shoulders, 502 gloves and 504 legs so would be a nice upgrade in many slots. Though random loot is random so I doubt I'll ever get my wish.

    1. I read most of those, none of them actually answered the questions.

      As for the walking in scenarios one. So we either get the achievements now or never get them because we will not be able to queue for older scenarios? Not acceptable. We need a way to walk in, we need to be able to go solo.

      As always, they give half answers and do not understand the question.

      As for older stuff, again, it shows they are blind to what the game means to people. Older players like that flash back. Newer players, it would be new content for, thus looking forward. Again, it was a non answer type of answer. Why don't they just say, we don't want to. That would be an honest answer and not talking out their ass. Doing the older stuff is looking forward to everyone that has never done it.

      Sorry if that sounds nasty but it kind of is meant to me. Toward them, not you.

      I am really sick and tired of their demeaning talk and brush off attitude they give every question.

      I swear if I hear ghostcrawler say, "we know 10 mans are a little to hard" one more time I am going to fly to california and bitch slap him. Seriously. Stop talking and do something about it. He has been saying it is too hard and it was not intended to be that had for months and has done nothing about it. We need more action and less talk. If you know it is hard, fix it. Seriously.

      It is like the hunter button bloat problem. He has recognized it. He has admitted it was a mistake. He has said they will fix it. He said, maybe next expansion.

      Again, not acceptable. You know there is a problem, fix it. Just saying you know there is a problem means nothing when you have no intentions of doing anything about it until "maybe" next expansion.

      For once I would like to see them DO as much as they TALK. And the game would be so much better.


      Two hunters in my guild have gotten the weapon. I am so jealous. One healer has gotten 4 pieces already and get this, all 4 they needed. I got nothing except that first bag and it was a piece I had a 522 already. Either way, I am still liking them, even if not for loot reasons. But that is always a nice little bonus.

      I hope they can expand on these, they really seem to be the way of the future for this game. Just keep them the normal (random)/ heroic (pug) design and it will be great for the game.

    2. Actually, about Battle of Undercity, Kosak said they could probably redo it as a heroic in Caverns of Time or scenario, but resource-wise he'd rather spend the time doing new modern day scenario explaining what happened to Sylvanas and things like that. IIRC, said they have to be picky and choosy of what they do, since they want patches out faster.
      It's not that they don't want to look back, it's just that between redoing something old, they'd rather offer something new for everyone that develops the story further.

    3. That is a much better explanation then the one posted above. The "we don't want to go back" is a horrible answer.

      As I mentioned in my reply in the other post, there is a way to say things. This is a good way to say things. It is a good idea and something we might consider but based on what we can do I don't see it happening and would rather release new content for all. That is an acceptable answer.

      I think what it comes down to is that ghostcrawler knows about as much about customer service as I do about brain surgery. He really need to let someone else do the talking for him when answering the small questions. He is not quick on his feet.

  2. It's not them not understanding the questions the half answers come from the having to pars what they say (dance studio's anyone?) they can't promise something they aren't sure is going to happen with out backlash from players file that under #thisiswhywecanthavenicethings

    Button bloat is another good example of the above they know its a problem but people whine when they take things away.

    On the note going back and redoing old things. We did that it was called cata people hated it. File that under #burnmeonceshameonyouburnmetwiceshameonme

    1. So it is better for them to say, it is not something we want to do, than for them to make some lame excuse why they are not going to do it.

      It is called customer service. People are going to be upset either way not getting what they want but it is easier to smooth out if you just say no flat out than if you make up an excuse. Once you make excuses, you ruin any chance you ever have of winning a conversation. At least in customer service.

      Cata was an entire expansion. One scenario (or even a few) of the battle for undercity (and others), that only takes 30 minutes max, and people do it and forget it, are two completely different things.

      They are not even in the same ballpark. They are not even the same sport. Please do not compare them. I get where you are going with the train of thought but you can not compare them.

      And do you think when we go back to BC style for the next expansion people will hate it?

      People did not hate cata because there was so much rehash, they hated cata because cata sucked. It just so happened that the rehash got a lot of backlash because, lets face it, there wasn't much to cata to begin with.

    2. Never say no to the client. This is consultant-level, where you try to take the best decision considering all the factors. Sometimes, best solution seems to be implementing the change, other times, best solution is considered offering alternatives. Never flat out say no.

    3. I've worked with people my entire life. In practice, not in a book. And it is absolutely better to say no then to give false hope.

      It is fine to lie and is actually something that is suggested to handle customers. But you have to keep the focus on the answer is no.

      As in...

      "Sounds like an interesting idea we might have to think about some day but it is not something we are going to do now."

      There is a nice no. That is how it is done. Instead, they do it...

      "We know there is a problem, we know how to fix it, but we just don't want to right now because we are busy scratching out balls, get back to us later"

      Wording in important. Keep no as the final answer and give them a few lines to appease them. Don't tell people yes they are right and yes we are going to do something about it and then never do anything. Always, absolutely always, it is better to say no then to not deliver.

  3. Yes and here’s why. In game development things rapidly change tech power increases maybe something they can't do now becomes something they can do later and they do it and OHMYGODWTFBBQ now people are up in arms about that (read paid character name changes or transmog) That’s why you get a lot of wishy washy answers. “It’s not something we are working on but maybe in the future.” Cata sucked because they spent so much time on old content instead of new. You just proved my point in your reply. As far as scenario's that revisit old cool things I don't think they've ruled it out but I've seen a bunch of wishy washy well we aren't working on that right now but who knows in the future sort of things.

    1. They said they would never add flying in the old world and did. Easily justifiable, the tech and time changed and they were now able and willing to. The point is, saying no is better then giving wishy washy answers.

      Perhaps it is opinion based for many but I've worked in business all my life and there is a correct way to handle people. Giving answers that run around the question and don't answer it or answers that give false hope are wrong.

      How they handled flying was the correct way. The said no. They never said they were thinking about it. They never said maybe some day. They never said if we have the time. They never said, it is something we would consider. They said no.

      The appropriate way to answer the hunter question would have been "we believe it is fine the way it is." People would rage saying they do not know what they are talking about but we would have to accept the fact there will be no change. Saying they know something is wrong, saying they know something needs to be done, and doing nothing, is worse for customer relations.

      Just my opinion of course, but if they said it was fine and they had no intention of changing it I would call them clueless, complain they don't know what they were talking about, and accept it like it or not. But being they say they know something is wrong and they want to change it and they still do nothing about it, makes it worse. Much much worse. That is my point.

    2. so why cant one fly in the goat peoples area or the skinny blood elf area? Doesn't make sense we can't in this day and age.

  4. @Roo

    That is because that is BC content and they did not remake that when they remade all the vanilla content for cataclysm.