Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 28, 2011
Nearly right

In January I wrote a prediction: "The next World of Warcraft expansion will come out in the second half of 2012, and include some sort "public quest" system, that is multi-player quests you participate in by just walking into the area where they are happening, without having to click on a quest giver." I didn't get it completely right. But I'd still call it close enough. If I read the description of how PvE scenarios are going to work, I'd say that these PvE scenarios bear a lot of resemblance to WAR public quests.

What I got wrong was that the PvE scenarios aren't "walk in". What I got right was that they aren't started by a quest NPC. Instead you queue up for them with the dungeon finder, apparently. And just like the WAR public quests, the PvE scenarios will have multiple stages, with a boss at the end. I'd call that close enough to my prediction.

What I didn't foresee was that these public quests announcement would be completely overshadowed by people discussing pandas, up to the point of bloggers rage-quitting publicly on YouTube. I am indifferent to pandas, my only argument about them is that if you don't like them, then maybe they weren't meant for you. Whether the new race in WoW is pandaren, murloc, or lizardmen has very little effect on my enjoyment of the game. The introduction of public quests do, and might make me resubscribe. One day. Because I'm still sticking to the part of my prediction saying "second half of 2012".

I must say I've found Nils reaction to be a little melodramatic but if he dislikes pandas that much it's good that he is at least voting with his wallet :)
Guessing some kind of PQ thing might be in the next expansion? Was that really a tough one?

Ok, so you guessed the obvious. I'll say that I think Blizzard is making a good choice using the dungeon finder tool to manage these PvE scenarios. After all, what's the biggest complaint about PQs in War and Rift? That there aren't enough players to do them.

So instead of needing a concentration of players in one area Blizzard is using the Dungeon Finder tool to let players queue from a pool of servers. Smart.
Interesting, those Scenarios. :)
Sounds a bit GW2 inspired, no?
(more akin to Dungeons than actual open world Events though)
Does the difficulty scale according to the players in the group?

If so, this is a substantial enhancement and could pave the way for all sorts of randomised challenges. If not, this content will be trivialised by bringing more players and the rewards will have to be nerfed.

I wasn't hugely impressed by their example (Kill kobolds, save children, kill Hogger) as it sounded exactly the same as a dungeon.
If Scenarios require you to walk up to a NPC and not just queue from anywhere, that would certainly be a step in the right direction.

@Clockw0rk. I agree that it is a bit melodramatic. But I didn't have much choice. Just making a post about how I plan to rage-quit next year would have been silly. Nobody would have believed me. I feel very strong about this and I wanted to send the strongest message I could. I needed proof.

With Skyrim and SW:TOR, let alone all those 2012 MMOs, I doubt I'll have any reason to return.
I hope you are never interested in WoW again, Nils. Only because that's going to be pretty frustrating to go back to - but from the sounds of things, you seem pretty set on quitting.
I've always read PvE scenarios as a direct copy of the LotRO skirmish system. I.e. instanced content, reached by group finder/instance launcher, but where the gameplay is not a linear (or non-linear) dungeon, but participation in an event (attack/defense/survival).
The examples they mention also resemble the LotRO skirmishes, and the scalability to group size matches as well.

The only thing missing (which is a problem) is the scalability on level.

In a way, it's a shame. There will be a lot of debate regarding Raid Finder and MoP when they go live and you will be forced to either stay out of the discussion or caveat opinions with the fact that you stopped playing the game because you don't like pandas.
So let's see: you queue up for a Scenario using the dungeon finder, you get plugged into a PUG, you go through multiple stages before killing a final boss ... in all seriousness, I don't actually see how this is any different from, well, a dungeon?
It was a reasonable prediction. You basically predicted that WoW would adopt a popular casual group mechanic stolen from other games. Given the similarities to LOTRO Skirmishes and recently Rift's Chronicles, you got it partially right.
Assuming the scenarios are instanced. Based on the literal definition of the terms, what is the difference between "PvE scenarios" and Raiding?
Raiding = Trash mobs->boss?
Scenario = Trash waves->boss?
To me it seems like they are trying to Rebrand raiding.
e.g. "Raiding" is for more serious players, and scenarios for more casual. Instead of having a focus on normal mode and hardmode raiding, or how many bosses you can down in a raid, PvE scenarios will be expected to be completed and more of just a time investment than skill/practice investment. And serious raiders won't have any reason to complain about "raiding being nerfed to suit the casuals, because it isn't referred to as raiding.
The question is how would gear progression work? If scenarios are the same loot as dungeons or raids there is an issue of make dungeons pointless, if the loot is weaker well than people are still "forced" to raid. If the loot just fills certain slots, than they are forcing new content.
I think it would be interesting if the scenario loot was only geared to be very good for scenario play. For example of in the scenarios you can fight against a certain new mob type. Ancient spirits for example, that do all damage as ethereal. Gear could be built so that it gives extra damage /defenses to just those mob types. So a full set of Scenario gear would make you very strong while in scenarios, but outside of them it would be only as good as current dungeon drops.
In this manner progression would be hit cap level:
To start both PvP or dungeons it requires a player to play different than they did leveling/solo. However, players can probably play scenarios the same way they solo. I pretty much just expect scenarios to be waves of daily quests. e.g. join a scenarios and your first team quest is to return 500 wolf pelts to some NPC. Which really means it is a copy paste of the normal kill 10 xxx daily quest that have existed since BC. The benefit is the team shares, so no more fighting for mobs, etc. Pretty much just TB, but once enough people “complete” their daily quests the boss comes out instead of having to win a PvP battle, and then from a PvE raid. So, Just old things made more automatic.
I think it is smart. It is a way to rebrand the game as even more casual without having to really do anything. And since it is “new,” no one can say existing content is being nerfed.
I think just because scenarios have trash mobs and bosses, that doesn't make them equal to dungeons or raids. Blizzard specifically said that scenarios won't have class requirements, and I assume they also won't have the "one guy forgets to step out of the fire and we all wipe" mechanic of raids. Rewards will be valor points, as far as I know, not loot.
I think the intention for PVE scenarios is to be essentially a battleground without the pvp. A group of 10-15 players signs up randomly to achieve PVE objectives. I too am interested in this new feature and it is the only thing in the new expansion that might lure me back, at least for a month or so to try it out -- especially if it is not constrained by tank-heals-dps roles.

It's not as interesting as say GW2's dynamic world events, but it is a step in the right direction.
Outside of WoW the phrase "PvE scenario", would be an acurate description for current WoW dungeons, Raids, and even some quests (like hairiston jones).

The title "PvE Scenario" is just blizzard trying to start another brand.

In any case
Think about the dailies from sunwell island from BC. Do dailies get badges and progress your server.

In TB kill the giant. As long as you hit the mob before it dies you get quest credit, even if your solo. How is that not already a “public quest?”

So PvE scenarios for me are pretty much the same as Coke releasing a new type of bottle that has a more comfortable grip. Yay, but it doesn't change that Coke is Coke. If I have a quest in my log to kill 1 giant, or a zone goal in a PvE scenarios kill 10 giants, it doesn’t matter. If my little gang runs to kill 1 giant while 9 other gangs run off to do the same thing the end result is the same. 10 Groups killed 10 giants. In TB right now it would just require multiple respawns. In a PvE scenarios 10 giants could all spawn at once. This is because 1 giant in TB doesn’t affect people trying to do other quests, but 10 giants could. In a PvE scenario it can be phased.

So all players are working on only one goal at a time. And any individual player failing doesn’t matter. Because effectively everyone can play “solo.” That was a main annoyance in TB, people not wanting to group up and having to wait for mobs to respawn. Someone else soling near me made my gameplay less enjoyable. I remember letting people die if they pulled too many mobs, just so I could kill them after they reset. I remember people training in a ton of mobs to a "boss" just so they could run up an hit the boss before it was killed, thus killing some random mage that was AEing. That is poor design. Public quests get rid of that - If someone runs past me after I cleared all the mobs to grab a basket of fish, good. We are winning faster.
The Kung Fu Pandas are so horrible b/c they demonstrate how incredibly out of touch the wow dev's have become. They have no clue what MMO players actually want.

Tobold, you stated that "maybe the pandas weren't meant for you." Okay, well then who are they meant for? Don't you dare say casuals, b/c casual is not synonymous with child. In fact, the majority of casuals are probably in a similar demographic as the hardcore players. Why would they be attracted to pandas?

Kung Fu Pandas are straight out of frickin DISNEY! Nobody over the age of 11 is going to choose an MMO because they want to play a kung fu panda. Wow's devs obviously lost all touch with MMO gamers a long time ago.
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