I have done the Tanaan entry experience a few times now and attempted to join in for the stress test on it last night but was unable to log in even after letting it sit and spin for over 15 minutes. I know this is the beta and this is part of what is being tested and was expected that some of us would never even be able to get in to test it and even me sitting and spinning for 15 minutes probably helped them in some way with their test but that is beside the fact.. The Tanaan entry experience should be a solo scenario. I said that before after I first did it and will say that again. It just does not feel right with other people around.
Blizzard has all but abandoned the group scenarios for the coming expansion which is upsetting as they were fun and I liked the idea I could basically do them solo nearly from the get go. It was always a matter of just getting two warm bodies to fill up space. But blizzard decided they wanted to remove content instead of create content and so it is gone. But why not use solo scenarios to their fullest intent in situations where they are most suited, like the Tanaan entry experience.
Scenarios were added to the game not only for their game play component but for their story delivery potential. The three man group scenarios became more like mini dungeons that just did not need a dedicated healer or tank and could be spammed for valor or justice or even lower level gear but the solo scenarios, which we saw put to excellent use on the island of thunder were one time events, that allowed everyone to experience a part of the story, allowed them to do so at their own pace.
They worked well for many reasons one of which was that it allowed people to take as much time as they wanted and actually delve into the story if they wished to do so and not feel rushed because they were competing with other players for kills in the zone and worrying about the respawn timers holding them back from moving forward. This kind of feeling would make many feel like they had to rush through it and as such they would miss the story. It also worked as a challenge for some, even if not a large one. Kind of like a right of passage.
I think the Tanaan experience, being something we will see once and only once per character, would be the perfect opportunity to use the solo scenario system for the reasons mentioned above. It would work well as a story telling vehicle, it would allow people to move at their own pace and not feel rushed by the crowd, and it would be a better way to convey the whole concept of the expansion, that you personally are the hero, the commander, the one in charge of this expedition instead of it being you and thousands of other random no name heroes all doing the exact same thing at the exact same time.
For those that do not know I will give you a little run down of what the Tanaan introduction is all about, without giving away any spoilers that are not included in the whole basic plot of why we are there anyway.
When 6.0 comes out we will be fighting the iron horde at the foot of the dark portal and all throughout the blasted lands trying to push back their aggressive march on azeroth. When warlords is released we will take it a step further. A very, very, few select heroes have been asked to go on a possible suicide mission to close the gate from the other side.
They (you) never know if they are going to be able to make it back, this is why it is called a suicide mission. You, as a hero of azeroth, a slayer of demons, kings, and world breakers, have gained a reputation as someone that the citizens of azeroth can count on in their darkest hour, their hour of need and as such you willingly accept the task of closing the gate from the other side in a possible no win situation. Just like a true hero would.
Now here is where things really start to go out of whack story wise. If there are thousands of people on the other side closing that gate you lose the immersion that blizzard is trying to build. The one that this is a small strike force going in headed by you, the most prominent hero of azeroth. The story does not hold water if there are thousands of people doing the exact same thing with you.
Lets even forget for a moment the nightmare that release days can tend to be with thousands of people in the same area trying to do the same quest. The alliance clusterfuck of bombing the horde ship to start the mists expansion anyone?
There were hundreds of players all flying around the same ship trying to hit it and none could because everyone was trying to enter the zone at the same time. Starting with a solo scenario makes sense for that reason and that reason alone, so it can possibly make a trickle effect of people entering the zone as they each finish the scenario at their own pace instead of everyone at once. But like I said, even if that is a fantastic reason it should be a solo scenario, lets put that aside for now and get back to task, us moving into the dark portal.
Once on the other side of the dark portal we are tasked with closing it from their side. We finish some quests, kill some people, rescue some others, and we close the dark portal. Azeroth is safe from more iron horde invaders. You, the hero of azeroth and your rag tag band of volunteers have done when you set out to do. But your task is really not quite over yet. There are still warlords left to defeat and if you do not kill them they will just attempt again. So you have to stay here on this world until the task is complete.
So you set out to find yourself a place to set up base. Along the way you meet some people, you are introduced to them as a hero of azeroth, the best azeroth has to offer, and that it is you and you only that can stop this iron horde aggression. Everything up until this point, and everything for the entire expansion, is all about you. You are the hero. But with the way it is there is you and thousands of other people, it just does not feel right.
The game will need those other people of course, this is not a solo player game, but there is a perfect point in which they can come later, where you are all integrated, when you can all get together, which is shortly after the Tanaan entry experience is over. When you finish with the whole experience, which should be solo scenario, you will be tasked with setting up your garrison, which will be a base were all of the horde or alliance, depending on what you play of course, will gather to strike out against the iron horde with you as commander of that base.
When you start to build your garrison, before it gets put up, an oddly whiskerless Khadgar opens a portal to call for reinforcements and people start coming through. This is when you set up your garrison.
It is at that point you should start to see other people. It is at that point that you have called in for reinforcements. It is at that part it is no longer you in command of a small rag tag group of people but of an entire base, small as it might be at the start. It is as that point other people now come into play because now it is time to bring the fight to the iron horde. Now is when the solo scenario should end because now it makes sense that there are thousands of people around.
You see, even if we take away the fact that opening day will be a nightmare to begin with having everyone entering the world at the same time it still makes more sense for the lead in to be a solo scenario and not the standard throw everyone together entry into a new expansion.
The story says that it is you, and you alone, with your small group that goes through the dark portal to close it. The story says it is you, and you alone, with your small group that sets up base on Draenor. The story says that it is only after you, and you alone, with your small group, have closed the portal and made a base that the other, lesser if you will, heroes of azeroth come to join you.
The narrative of the expansion leaves absolutely no room for debate. It is like it were a solo player game and you are the hero. You personally. For story telling purposes and to keep that narrative real and powerful like it should be, the entry experience should be a solo scenario. Because, after all, you are supposed to be the hero that closes the portals and sets up a base. Not you and thousands of other heroes all at the same time. It is you, that later, calls those thousands of others to Draenor.
Is there still time for blizzard to fix their error? Please say there is. For purposes of not only great story telling but letting people flow into the world in smaller bunches after finishing the Taraan entrance, could you please change the entire entry experience into a solo scenario. Like it should have been to begin with.
Solo scenarios were created to be interactive story telling vehicles and I have not seen, as of yet, any other point so far in this expansion were it could be used to better tell the story than the Tanaan entry experience. What do you think?