I liked the question muffinus asked and felt I could offer up what I believe to be a good answer to it so I figured I would make a post about it. I mean, how could I ever reply on twitter. 140 characters my ass. I can't even say hello in 140 character nevertheless answer a question of that depth in 140 characters. Any answer you could squeeze into 140 characters would not serve you or the person asking the question any good.
So what was the question and the answer?
Can I skip the opening hour long intro and hare off into Draenor?The 140 character answer would be this.
Here's a Q for you, what's the right amount of time for an intro experience before you're left to explore on your own (Muffinus)
No amount of time, just let me get into the action at my own pace.
But if you were to ask me that makes my answer sound selfish and in a small way even a little rude. This is why twitter can never work for holding a real conversations or getting real idea. What did muffinus expect from people, for them to give him actual times? Even if they did give actual times it would never delve into why they think those amounts of times are good. So any answer, even honest ones, are completely and totally useless. Unless of course you wanted to waste some time making a blog post, a real venue where you can express your opinion, your reasons for those opinions and have a back and forth that might lead to more than just saying "no amount of time." would because that would never lead to any meaningful conversation other then "suck it up buttercup, it is only an hour".
Now to a full answer.
I like the idea of an introduction area. I do not like the idea of a death knight starting zone sort of introduction area. They have this technology that has been used all throughout mists for solo scenarios and that is exactly what the intro should be. A solo scenario, not some different quest area, not some sent in stone timer that is "and hour long intro". But a play it out all on your own, at your own pace, mini adventure to lead you into the new expansion. You have the technology, it would be criminal not to use it for the betterment of the game.
By betterment I mean that having a solo scenario, one with a nice chuck that needs to be done, each person will progress through it at their own pace. No fighting for mobs or dealing with the frustration of 1000 people trying to do the same thing that apparently was designed so only one person could do it at a time or having to deal with people asking stupid questions in general, which you know will happen. I bet you hear "how come I can't fly" and other stupid questions like that 100 times before you finish your first quest. Be it trolls or ignorant people, it makes no difference, the starting zone of a new expansion is always a nightmare, and will be a bigger nightmare than ever for millions of players thanks to connected realms.
When people complained before and they were all on small and medium realms, what do you think it will be like when they are all on full realms on release day? The expansion is not even in beta yet and its release day is already a complete failure based on that outlook. I would rather quit then play expansion day on a full realm, it is one of the reasons I played on a small realm to begin with, but blizzard already screwed me out of that. They decided for me that I was not smart enough to choose where I want to play so they would tell me where to play and that is on a full realm with wait times to log in sometimes. Gee, thanks blizzard, you are just too good to me giving me things I didn't want and didn't ask for. Release day will be a nightmare with all servers being full servers and everyone funneled into a death knight starting experience. No, just no.
But I do believe that an introduction story is the perfect way to ease the flow. By making it a solo scenario however instead of a starting area you will be leaving it up to the individual to work their way through it. If I can get through it in 15 minutes, I will be out in the world questing in 15 minutes. If it takes Bob an hour, bob will be out playing in an hour. Each person would move through the introduction at their own pace, just like a solo scenario.
Even thinking back to the thunder island ones. I had characters that it took 6 minutes to do on one character, 13 on another, 25 on yet another and 40 on yet another. The reason being is different classes all handle things differently and as such will move through at a different pace and my skill level in those characters also effects how quickly I move through them.
So an introduction with a few cut scenes, as it may be, that is a solo scenario, would allow for everyone to move at their own pace and not be bound by an hour long introduction and/or an over stuffed starting area. They could move fast and skip scenes, move fast but watch scenes, move slow and watch, move slow and skip, move anywhere in between and watch, or skip or watch some and skip some. They would set their own pace.
Basically, if 1000 people go to enter an area you get an area filled with 1000 people and trust me, I know that no one at blizzard actually players these games so you will have to trust me on this, no one at all likes 1000 people all fighting for the same mobs, or in the case of this expansion, bombing the same power keg on a skip so there were a thousands choppers all hung up in the same place moving along nowhere.
Trust me blizzard, there is no one that enjoys that mayhem, except maybe a troll and you really need to stop catering to trolls, you already let them run rampant in LFR with no consequences to their actions while they poison the community with their toxic behavior. No need to give them a trapped audience of 1000 people in the starting area. For once think about what is good for the players and that is a introduction solo scenario.
An introduction solo scenario would allow people to understand what is going on, move at their own pace, not be bogged down by others, and then get out in the world with a few people instead of 1000 all at the same time.
You see, with a solo scenario system and everyone moving at their own pace that means the 1000 people enter the scenario at the same time, not a zone at the same time. Some will finish is fast, some slow, and everyone else in between. So people would then be entering the questing area in little groups, not everyone at once.
The 10 people that blew through it in 5 minutes would come out, then the 15 that it took 6 minutes would come out, then the 8 that it took 7 minutes would come out, then the 3 it took 9 minutes would come out, then the 11 it took 10 minutes would come out, you get the idea. People would enter the area a bit at time, leading to fewer bottle necks for quest mobs, and power kegs. It would make for a much smoother release and much more player friendly one.
All that, and the solo scenario works as the perfect answer to your question and what I said in 140 characters to begin with. "No amount of time, just let me get into the action at my own pace."
A few mobs to kills, a video or two to watch (or skip) and a end scenario boss and then let me get on my way. Don't tell me I have to do an hour long lead in, if I can do it in 5 minutes on my hunter, let me, if it takes me an hour on my mage, so be it. But it would be me moving at my pace and not being told to wait until the next group gets let out after some timed scripted event like in the death knight starting area. Just do a cinematic of that for the solo person in the solo scenario and let them skip that if they so choose to.
So what is the right amount of time, no amount of time is right. Just make the content and let us play it. Stop trying to make things take a certain amount of time. We are all different, we all play different, we all have our own skills, abilities, and attention span. Let us move into the new expansion when we want to, not when you tell us too.
So 5 minutes or 1 hour, any time you tell us, this is how long we need to wait, is too long. Let us play the game, we pay for it. Don't tell us we have to do "a one hour introduction". Give it too us in a solo scenario and let us decide how long it takes to do it.
Now muffinus, your question was answered. So answer his. Can we skip it?
I know it is hard for you, you work for blizzard and they must have something in your contract that says every time you give a direct and honest answer you get docked pay, but try being a decent person for once and answer a simple yes or no question with a simple yes or no instead of being a smart ass and answering a question with a question.
For the person that asked, the answer is, No, you can not skip it.
Blizzard should make it a solo scenario that we play at our own pace. Anything else would show blizzards contempt for its player base and let everyone know how little they care about their enjoyment of the game. The technology is there, use it. It lets us all move at our own pace. That is your answer muffinus. Real answers, ones that need details, can not be answered in 140 characters. So with details, not only did you get your answer but you got my reasoning behind it. Stop taking how long it will take and start talking about how enjoyable it will be to play. Hint, playing at your own pace is more fun.