Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Tanaan Entry Experience Should Be a Solo Scenario.

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?


  1. All I can say is I agree, I'm a little bewildered why they aren't doing it that way honestly

    1. It seems like it would be the ideal way to do it for story purposes. Not to mention the fact it will really make the flow of everyone in the same place a little staggered at least. I wish there were time to convinced blizzard to change it.

    2. It occurred to me that it might be a server issue thinking about it there's going to be million's of people all hitting this at the same time maybe that's why a scenario wouldn't work. I know they built the instant servers up but I doubt they could all handle that many requests at once. Of course after the initial rush that wouldn't be a problem.

    3. That is quite possible. None of us really know what is involved on their end with making a solo instance. However, the garrison is its own instance. If that is capable of having millions of people in it at the same time why couldn't a lead in experience?

      Lets just say, for arguments sake, people all rush the starting zone and all get out within 5 minutes of each other. They will all be in the garrison at the exact same time and that too is basically a solo instance. So if it can handle that it should be able to handle the same amount of lead in instances.

      Now, to take it further, as time goes on and more people are out and most people will be spending a fair deal of time in their garrison that means it is entirely possible to have more people in their garrisons at the same time than there would be at midnight on release night. If it can handle that... well, you get the idea.

      So while I agree that is a possible reason they might not do it using linear logic as in one thing should directly compare to another of the same type, I am not sure that is the actual reason.

      I'd be more likely to believe that blizzard just honestly did not think about making it a solo experience or they wanted everyone to be in one place to make it "seem" epic in their opinion. Remember, this is the company that think "a lot of people in one place" is epic.

  2. Wait, its not a solo scenario? Im not in the beta, but I thought it was called the Tannan starting scenario or something? If it really is gonna be a clusterfuck of my entire server all charging through the dark portal at once, then that is gonna suck. It worked thematically with other xpacs, but I assumed it was just you and the team of heroes doing the opening stuff in WoD.

    I will be unhappy if there are other chuckleheads interupting my immersion as the commander. Especially because all the spoilers Ive been dutifully avoiding will be shouted out in /1 as soon as I zone in.

    "Grom is actually alternate Deathwing in disguise"
    "Thrall kills his own father, and dissolves into ectoplasm"
    "Bill Murray voices Ner-zul"
    "Aggra is actually male"
    "Garrosh retires from war after winning MTV's cutest smile of 2014"

    1. Nope, you are there with others. Now I have only done it on beta and was not there for the stress test, so I can not say there will be "thousands", so to speak, but most definitely there were people with me each time I did it. I was not alone, I was not the hero, I was one of a bunch of people doing the same thing as I was doing. It is not a solo scenario.

      It should be just you and your team doing it, for story purposes, as I mentioned. I have no clue why it is not a solo scenario.

      How did you know that grom is really deathwing if you were avoiding spoilers? Well, guess you did not avoid that one. ;)

  3. Having a huge group of people int he same place made sense in Wrath, and MoP, I thought. It fit with the story. Here it definitely doesn't.

    And you know, I don't really like being the commander. That's the real problem here. There should only be one commander. He or she needs to be in a solo scenario until your garrison is set up. That's the only way it makes sense. Even when setting up the garrison, I was thinking: why did that person just take that lumber tag from me? now I can't use it, and I'm the damn commander here. They obviously aren't there building their own garrison, because I'm the only commander in these parts.

    I think they created the commander aspect because during MoP, people complained about feeling like a soldier instead of a hero. But to me, being a commander is just a different type of soldier. So add to that that they didn't even succeed in making it fit with the world (thousands of commanders who all magically dissappear when you go to the garrison you're a commander of).

    I don't know if I'm the only one, but I liked the idea of a greek mythology type hero, who just wanders from town to town, saving people, performing amazing tasks. Even if that sometimes just means helping someone gather x venom sacs, or whatever.

    There was a quest chain, in early levels, for alliance players, where they saved a town from some Gronn (i think it was gronn, can't remember). And then you controlled a gronn and saved some people stuck under a boulder. i think that was the perfect kind of hero quest. It was a good mix of silliness, doing unimportant menial tasks, and doing important, saving people type tasks.

    Anyhow, yes, i agree. If they want to make us feel like commanders, they at least need to make that intro up through establishing our garrison a solo scenario. And they need to do solo scenarios when establishing outposts, too. I wonder if maybe the outposts should be phased as well, like the garrisons.

    I've never been in a war irl, how many commanders are there in one place, generally?

    1. IRL? There will be many commanding officers but not all assigned to the same exact job.

      However, this would fit better as a special ops mission which would be a small elite force going in to do one specific task and that would have only 1 commander. That is basically what we are doing. Going in, neutralizing a threat, and then we call in other troops after we have secured the area.

      That is why I say, from the moment we step into the dark portal until we break land on our garrison, we should be in a solo scenario.

      Sounds like you want to be the incredible hulk from the old TV show. I will call you mr banner from now on. ;) But I agree. It is more fitting for an MMO to just play the role of a wanderer. The quest you mention is in redridge. That is new since cataclysm.

      I do not mind the outposts being open zoned. You will only see yours but other see their own. It makes it look like lots of heroes are visiting your outpost. Like they are coming there for their orders because after all, even if they are players too, you are their commander as well. The outposts seem fitting to be open air. In my opinion at least.

    2. I haven't levelled enough on the beta to notice, are the outposts phased depending on which option you choose at the beginning? I mean, like whether you go north or south in nagrand?

    3. North or south? It is which ever of the two options you choose. Yes, it is phased. You will see yours and the other person, if it is different will see theirs. Nothing in them is really telling that it is yours. There are just two different options that can be there and you will see the one you have.

      If you wish to change which one you picked you can. It costs 10,000 gold to do so however. I really do hope they change that on live. Sure I might have the gold to do something like that but the vast majority of wow players never even see 10K gold at one time in their entire gaming life.

  4. I'm a hero, you're a hero, all of God's chill'uns are heroes.

    Fuer alle Zeiten
    Dann sind wir Helden
    Nur diesen Tag

    Es macht nichts.

    -roo "ja, das ist einen helden"

    1. I have no clue what you said, but I do suddenly have a desire to have a Dr. Pepper.

    2. wha'chu mean Willis?

      here ya go -

      For all times
      Then we are heroes
      Just this day

      It does not matter.

      -roo "yes, that's a hero"

    3. I'm a pepper, hes a pepper, shes a pepper wouldn't you like to be a pepper too.

      Don't you remember those commercials? That is what the beginning of the post reminded me of with starting as I'm a hero, you're a hero.



      PS - I didn't plan it that way, but yes, I see what you mean :)

  5. What you say makes good sense -- and it makes me a tad bit suspicious of their reasoning when they apparently are OK with this part being non-immersive, yet they will not permit flying because it destroys the immersion experience.

    1. I sometimes wonder about them and their decisions. But like I mentioned in my second reply to the first post here, I think they are doing it because they believe that seeing a full world is "epic". So they do not want us flying so we see more people in the ground making it "epic". They want us all in the same area doing something we are supposed to be doing solo based on the story to feel "epic". They merged servers to make it feel "epic". They added cross realm zones to make it feel "epic". Basically, they are all caught up on trying to make things seem "epic" through artificially over crowding when it isn't needed that they have completely abandoned immersion, they have completely abandoned game play, they have completely abandoned what the players want, all so they could crowd everyone into one place so it feels "epic".

      Just an idea on why they are doing it of course. Doesn't not mean I am right. But the tin foil hat does seem to fit here in my opinion and it does sound like a solid reason why they might be saying "damn the story line" and throwing us all together.

    2. and merging Alliance and Horde AH's to make the AH feel "EPIC", oh boy, Auntie Tilda feels the surge tonight!

      -roo "really epic"

    3. So very true. That is epic too. And I guess because I ramble on with my posts sometimes, way to long, that makes me epic in blizzards eyes. Woohoo.

    4. Just like me! Epic is as Epic does....

  6. I was totally surprised by their 180 on scenarios. In addition, I sort of miss the Harrison Jones, every quest has a cut-scene for somethings. This introduction to the zone sounds like a good use for both mechanisms.

    1. Harrison jones could have been added in scenarios. It actually would be a nice way of telling his story and giving us a little history of the game. Putting the two together would actually have been a great idea.

  7. I swear I wrote a long comment when I first the Tanaan entrance two days ago. Maybe I missed the captcha.

    Anyway, I do agree that the crowd is going to be a mess, story-wise. Apart from anything else, three other people were waiting with me for one of the named quest mobs to respawn, and those were three of the maybe fifteen people who were there with me. I know what that's going to be like when all the eager beavers of the server zerg through.

    That, however was as nothing to the twenty or thirty people I caught up with when starting the garrison, all gathered round the architect as if in prayer around a travelling preacher. Most of them weren't reacting or moving. I'm not sure whether they were all AFK or were astrally projecting into their garrison's phase.

    However, the First Wave people won't mind. The First Wave people are there to be in the First Wave. It's the same reason I didn't mind staring at static rotor blades filling my screen for a full hour at the launch of Mists. I was there for the excitement, not the story. I can get the story on my next alt.

    Anyway, I think they would have a real problem with that First Wave if they scenario-ed or phased their opening. Giving each player a scenario to himself, with a cast of thousands of mobs in the initial battle by the portal, all occupying memory, all burning CPU cycles, would probably need a lot more hardware than they have available.

    1. You make a very good point but I will counter that with the garrisons. Each garrison is basically its own solo instance. All with its own building, different ones, own characters with their pathing, own herb and ore gardens, own timers, quests, scenarios (invasions) and the fact they are designed so we will stay in them.

      So if they can not handle, lets say, 1,000,000 people on launch day in tanaan in a solo scenario for a few minutes each, how the hell are they going to handle possibly millions of garrisons running at any given time over the course of an entire expansion?

      We are, of course, just stating our opinions because we do not know how they are handling it on the back end, but I still stay of the opinion that if they can handle millions of garrisons in their own instances at once, they can handle the tanaan entrance as its own instance. Hence the reason I think they can do solo scenarios.