10/04/2014

You Knew This Was Coming...

You could probably already guess from my lack of posting here as of late, but I thought that I should make it official: my current WoW sub ran out at the end of March and it looks like my pre-WoD stint with the game has come to an end. I enjoyed my time in Pandaria and it was nice to see Blizzard go back to a slightly more "worldly" zone and quest design on that continent, with optional mini quest hubs similar to the ones in Northrend, and more "hidden" surprises out in the world that were worth discovering. (That time my pet tank unexpectedly fished up a Lurker-lookalike rare mob out of a giant fishing pool for example was awesome.)

I didn't exactly run out of things to do, as I still had a bunch of goals that I could have worked towards - but I just wasn't drawn in enough to prioritise WoW over other things. By the end I was only logging in to do a certain amount of "chores" every day and eventually I asked myself: why am I doing this when I'd rather be doing something else? To what end? And that was that.

One statement I often see when people go back to WoW after a period of absence is how it feels like going home, or how they think that WoW is still the best MMO out there. For me, this simply wasn't the case. For me, the experience has been more alike to meeting someone who used to be your best friend in childhood, but while you're happy to see them, you've developed into completely different directions in adulthood and it's pretty much impossible to have a non-awkward conversation about anything that isn't "the good old days". Really, that's me and WoW in a nutshell.

For example, WoW just feels too fast for me these days, in pretty much every respect. It's like the player base's unofficial motto is "wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you would rather be somewhere else already". I'm not expecting people to listen to every NPC conversation they've heard ten times before, but there are... gradients. There was this one time I decided on a lark to queue for a random dungeon on my lowbie ret paladin. I got into the last part of Maraudon with a tank/healer duo in full heirlooms that were clearly working together and were absolutely racing to the end, AoEing trash pulls on the go and skipping all the bosses but the last one. It seemed like every time I paused to loot something, they were already a mile ahead again, to the point that I spent most of the dungeon just jogging after the rest of the group and not actually hitting anything. I'm sure many people would have considered that a great run. Lots of XP for little effort! Me? I absolutely hated it. In fact, I was so disgusted that I didn't even want to touch my paladin for a couple of days afterwards, as if she had pug cooties or something. Every game has both its clueless players and its jerks, but if even getting into a pug with competent and not unfriendly people results in something that feels like a horrible experience to me, then I'm clearly playing the wrong game.

I also think that, in general, my standards of what I expect from an MMO have become higher. There have always been things about WoW that annoyed me, but I used to accept them simply because I didn't know anything else. Nowadays I know that WoW is not the gold standard for everything. Depending on what matters to you in an MMO, there absolutely are other games out there that do certain things better. For example I know now that playing a healer doesn't have to mean living on a constant rollercoaster of massive nerfs and buffs and play style revamps. I've also had friendly commenters chime in with genuinely well-intended advice such as "you just need to watch some videos / read this guide" or "you can download this addon" when I expressed annoyance about simple aspects of the game, and all I could think is: why should I have to do that when I can play other games without needing that amount of outside resources to "make" it fun? (For what it's worth, I was happily addon-less during the last four months.)

All these are things that matter to me and that seem to pretty firmly put me outside of WoW's target demographic these days. I still plan on checking out Warlords of Draenor eventually, if nothing else to have a look at this alternate Outland and to check out my old characters' new looks after Blizzard revamps the character models. I'm just not sure if I'll bother right at launch.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment in the last couple of months, both old bloggers who still had this site on their blogroll and new readers that found me by clicking a random link somewhere. It's been nice to chat.

05/04/2014

Account-Wide

(Hm, apparently this has been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month but I never posted it... might as well.)

One of the big changes to the game in Mists of Pandaria is that a lot of things that used to be bound to a specific character are now bound to the account/player instead. Now, as a general rule I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of this. I always feel for Bhagpuss when he's trying to explain to people why it matters that characters are their own - well, characters, and not just different puppets for the player to mess around with, even if you're not a roleplayer. I've always felt the same way really and never thought of that attitude as very peculiar... but apparently there are a lot of MMO players out there to whom these things don't matter. Still, to me it feels kind of wrong that a pet that I buy on one character should suddenly be available to any of my characters - without any kind of explanation anyway. However, I think WoW gave up on in-game explanations for convenience features a long time ago, probably around the time they introduced the dungeon finder. Anyway, with that out of the way...

Achievements

Now this is the one thing I don't mind becoming account-bound, because achievements have always been aimed at the player anyway. They don't really exist from an in-game point of view and are thus irrelevant to individual characters. When The Old Republic added an achievement system last year, they made it account-wide right away, and it's been working very well in my opionion. Once you're on your tenth alt in that game though, you won't see many achievements pop up anymore as you level, simply because you've already done it all - though there are still codex entries to collect on a per character basis (which are similar to achievements, but separate).

From that point of view, I like WoW's current idea of having both account-wide achievements (for the more difficult ones) and character-bound ones (for the easier ones). It combines the benefits of not feeling annoyed when you get a tough achievement while on an alt ("Why couldn't I have got that on my main?!") while maintaining a steady stream of flashy dings throughout the levelling process, even as you explore Mulgore for the fifteenth time.

The only problem I have with it is that the implementation in the achievement panel is wonky. For an example of what I mean, take the World Explorer achievement. That's labelled as account-wide, fair enough. The associated sub-achievements however are not, yet they still light up as already done even on a new character. Only if you dig deeper and check the sub-requirements for those achievements, they will show up as incomplete, and if you complete them, you'll get an achievement pop-up as if you'd never done it before. This is confusing and makes it hard to keep track of character-based achievements that are related to an account-bound meta. I kind of feel that they should have been able to find a better way to do that.

Mounts

Probably my least favourite new account-wide thing. It offers some convenience, sure - when my Worgen druid hit twenty, I could just pull out a random mount and use that instead of going to buy her a new one. (Well, strictly speaking I could have stuck with Running Wild on a Worgen, but I don't like that ability very much.) Not to mention that all my alts capable of riding have access to my Traveler's Tundra Mammoth now, meaning that they can pull out a vendor whenever and wherever they feel like it.

On the flip side though, that special connection between a character and his or her unique mounts is gone. When I looked at my new account-wide mount panel after having logged through a couple of alts for the first time, I was most surprised to find a Headless Horseman's Mount in there. I don't even remember when I got it, I'm guessing that one of my alts must have been lucky when I already didn't care that much anymore... but now I don't even know who it "belonged" to. And sure, I could ride my Amani War Bear on any of my characters now - but it'd feel wrong as they aren't the ones I earned it on. I just don't quite see the point other than bragging rights. Finding and earning the right mount for a new character used to be a rite of passage... but when you already have access to everything you've ever owned in the game, that journey is one that you can't really re-take.

Also, it feels like parts of the game haven't really been streamlined to take this new feature into account. For example if you do the Vashj'ir intro now, you still get a seahorse mount as a quest reward that you can't use and the only thing you can do with it is throw it away. (Delete a mount! The blasphemy!) I would've thought that the game should be able to recognise if you already have a certain mount and shouldn't clutter up your bags with pointless duplicates.

Pets

Like with mounts, I feel that there used to be a connection between characters and their pets, though I personally didn't perceive this as strongly as the link with mounts, as I've never been much of a pet collector. Still, this link is obviously gone now. However, I'm willing to be more forgiving with this one as I can see it being almost a necessity to make the new pet battle feature work - else you'd constantly find yourself running into rare pets on the wrong character. The fact that you can box some pets up and re-sell them also makes it an awesome way of transferring money between servers. Again, the only thing that bugs me is that some details feel unnecessarily clunky - such as that some pets are BoP until you learn them, at which point you can cage them and they become BoE. It's quite annoying when you already have three or more of a particular pet and instead of being able to sell it right away, you have to cage one of your existing pets and then learn the new one. Just seems... unnecessary.

Titles


This one I have slightly mixed feelings about. I can see the point of people enjoying the ability to carry the bragging rights onto all their alts, though personally I (once again) wouldn't much fancy using a title on a character that didn't actually earn it. Sure, I was majorly miffed when I only got "The Undying" on my alt and not my main back in the day, but pretending that it didn't happen and wearing the title on my main doesn't "un-do" what happened. I also noticed that some titles, while account-wide, have retained a level restriction, which just strikes me as really random. If I'm going to run around wearing "Hand of A'dal" on a character that didn't earn it anyway, why does it still matter what level that character is? Either way, I don't feel like there is much of a loss to me from being able to wear a different title - they never felt quite as special to me as mounts for example.

One reason I do like the new account-wide titles is that it takes WoW quite a while to give you any titles as you level up, and this way you can pick something from your existing collection while levelling. I don't mind using something silly like "the Love Fool" or "Jenkins" on a lowbie for example, as I don't have a particular attachment to these titles and it does give my character a little more definition.

13/03/2014

Casual Endgame?

When I first logged back into WoW back in December, I was surprised by how many people on my Battle.net friends list were still playing. I guess that's one of the things that keeps bringing many people back to WoW time after time: always having friends to play with. I actually got several offers to join groups for endgame PvE or PvP, but politely declined as I had no interest in getting back into that aspect of WoW. I just wanted to have some fun exploring the new content on a casual basis with my pet tank. But hey, WoW is supposed to be the perfect game for that kind of thing, isn't it?

While we were levelling, this play style worked very well. We actually played quite a lot then, simply because we were having fun. Ever since we hit max level however, I feel that our engagement has been declining. Right now I basically log on to tend to my crops, serve some noodles, do a bit of archaeology and log off again.

I really loved the Tillers by the way. I loved to see the progression of the story and unlocking more parts of the farm. Once that was done, I worked on becoming best friends with all the individual Tillers. Once that was done, I maxed out all my cooking ways and did the various extra quests that popped up along the way (the whole noodle cart thing, cooking one of each max-level food etc.). But now that that's all said and done I can feel my interest waning. I continue planting crops every day to fulfill work orders, but it doesn't feel nearly as satisfying.

Dailies

I have quite a few factions left that need reputation, but I'm just not really a dailies person. That's not to say that I never do them, but even just a couple of days in a row tend to make me feel burnt out. I just don't do this whole "highly controlled drip-feed of content" thing very well. When I'm new to a faction and my interest is high, I'd happily binge play and do loads of stuff for them, but of course the game won't let me do that.

Timeless Isle

The Timeless Isle is a funny thing. I've noticed that once I'm actually there and doing stuff, I tend to have decent amounts of fun, but for some reason I really struggle to motivate myself into going there in the first place. I blame the stupid flight path that insists on going all over Jade Forest before actually turning towards the Isle...

Pet Battles

I haven't really said anything about pet battles aside from a brief mention when I first discovered the feature and that it looked pretty fun. I actually picked out my favourite pets after that and made an effort to level them, but around pet level twelve or thirteen my interest just fizzled out again as it started to feel pretty dull and grindy to continually swap pets in and out just to fight dozens of parrots. Switching zones for variety in opponents didn't really help either. I don't know... I don't think it's you, pet battles; it's me.

Dungeons

We did each Pandaria dungeon at least once, including the heroics (I think there might be one or two we haven't done on heroic left; not sure right now) but there doesn't seem to be much reason to do them beyond seeing the story once, as the gear drops become useless quickly and valor rains from the sky anyway.

Scenarios

There are actually quite a few scenarios left that we haven't done yet, but I haven't been too impressed by the whole feature anyway. I think my interest in queuing for them took a nosedive after the randomiser gave us one too many that seemed to be part of a bigger story somewhere that we didn't know anything about, leaving me with the feeling that I shouldn't queue up again until I've explored every nook and cranny of Pandaria and can be sure that I know the context. (This is an interesting contrast to the dungeons by the way, where I had no problem "jumping ahead" in the story.)

Gearing Up

Ah, that old staple of MMO entertainment: if you've got nothing else to do, improve your character's gear! I recalled that working reasonably well even on a casual basis in WoW as it was before I left it, as you'd get justice and valor points for running dungeons and could then use those to buy gear that was only slightly worse than current raid drops.

How times have changed!

Bizarrely, valor is pretty much raining from the skies these days, as you get some even just for doing daily quests, but finding things to actually spend it on seems to be the tricky part now. I don't find myself saving up to buy valor gear, I find myself frantically searching for vendors because I'm about to hit the cap again and don't know what to spend my money on! I thought it was highly hilarious when I flew to a place where valor and justice point vendors were highlighted on the in-game map, just to find that the NPC labelled as "Valor Quartermaster" won't accept any currency but justice points. Instead, bits and pieces of valor gear are hidden away on various reputation vendors across Pandaria, if you can find them and if you have the right reputation level, but if you want anything close to a full set of "good" gear, it seems that the only way to get one is to run Looking For Raid.

Now, since the last time my pet tank and I went in there wasn't too bad, we decided to give it another go. And it still wasn't too bad, but frankly, as a "casual" form of endgame I think it kind of sucks. The problem is that if you factor in queue times, time to actually kill all the trash and bosses and the occasional wipe, just clearing one raid still takes several hours... so basically as long as a "proper" raid, only without any of the fun bits like socialising or facing challenging content. After spending a weekend in various LFR runs, we were utterly exhausted and once again feeling burnt out.

I think the end of my nostalgic revisiting of the World of Warcraft may be drawing near...

05/03/2014

Proving Grounds

Apparently there was a bit of a discussion the other week about a blue comment saying that in the next expansion, a Proving Grounds silver medal will be required to do heroic dungeons via the dungeon finder. I don't have much of an opinion on this as I'm only really interested in a "decent human being" filter if anything, and that's something that Blizzard will never provide. As far as random hoops to jump through go, they could have picked something worse to force people to demonstrate their skill.

I do feel that this whole thing has given me an excuse to actually talk about Proving Grounds though, which are once again a feature that's new in Mists of Pandaria. I have to admit that my first impression of them was very positive. I think that it makes sense to give people a challenge against which they can test themselves to practice their skills, and since Blizzard seems to have given up on the idea of levelling being supposed to teach you anything, having a substitute at endgame is better than nothing.

I managed to get the bronze healing medal easily, and only failed once on the silver one as I forgot to heal myself at a crucial moment the first time around. The behaviour of the NPCs I had to heal was both true to real life and amusing. My favourite moment was when two of them got into a discussion about my dispelling, with one of them urging me to dispel faster, while another took my side and stated that I was clearly already doing the best I could.

After that, I thought I'd switch to feral and try the dps challenge next. I managed bronze without too much trouble (though it did take me a couple of attempts), but silver soon had me running up against a wall. The bugs that conjure amber globs just forced me to lose too much dps time dodging their conjurations and I inevitably ran out of time. I got up to the last wave several times, but failed that one every time. Sometimes I also randomly failed on earlier waves again, as I just couldn't get enough clearcasting procs and had to helplessly watch the timer tick down while I was unable to do anything but auto-attack.

I've gone back to re-try the challenge several times now, but having to start on wave one on every attempt gets tedious quite quickly. It's like having to deal with the trash on ye olde Battle for Mount Hyjal, only without the banter and camaraderie. The inconsistency of my own performance is also frustrating, what with the random failures on earlier waves when I have no energy. I can't help but think that the whole challenge would be so much easier as a ranged class, or even just as a melee class that isn't designed around doing a large chunk of its damage via a long-lasting DoT that requires some build-up (and is therefore completely useless in Proving Grounds).

With that in mind, I can't help but think that - while not terrible - this isn't going to be a very fair bar to measure people against in Warlords of Draenor, unless they drastically change the design of some of these challenges in the expansion. Or maybe my continued failure is just another way of WoW telling me that I'm not good enough to play it anymore.

17/02/2014

Monday Random Thoughts

I hope the Grumpy Elf won't mind me stealing one of his frequently reused post titles... but it is Monday, and I have a couple of things to talk about that don't really warrant posts of their own.

First off, I was vastly amused when I saw this in chat on the Silvermoon server (where my little Draenei alt lives):

For all the complaining people do about the evilness of random lockboxes, they are apparently popular enough that people feel the need to make their own if a game doesn't provide them. I wonder if someone at Blizzard is watching and taking note of this demand... No, don't answer that; I'm aware that this type of gambling is more likely to break some kind of in-game rule than be adapted as an example to follow.

Speaking of my Draenei alt, I was questing in the Plaguelands with her and thinking about how despite its age and many issues, WoW is still amazingly beautiful and atmospheric in many places. Of course, then I approached the dead town of Caer Darrow and...

HI LOL LOVE IS IN THE AIR! This is just one reason I hate all those seasonal festivals in WoW. There is room for silliness in the game of course, but the way it has become ubiquitous and unescapable, even in places where it really hurts the setting - that annoys me. It makes the world feel ridiculous when it really doesn't have to be.

Speaking of ridiculous things, the amount of self-healing tanks and dps do in this game nowadays has become a joke. I've been thinking about that for a while, but it really struck me the other day when I managed to get stuck and found myself unable to die.

Continuing my little side project of showing my pet tank all the old raids he never saw, we decided to venture into Ulduar. I was a bit rusty on tactics and didn't explain some things very well, so I ended up trapped by a constrictor tentacle on Yogg-Saron and Pet Tank died. Oh well, we'll just wipe up and try again - or so I thought. Only one problem: I couldn't die. My sanity didn't go down any further, Ysera's Gift kept healing me, and I was stunned and unable to do anything. My pet tank eventually left the group to get his corpse kicked out of the instance and I Alt+F4ed out of the game. When I started it back up a few minutes later, guess what? I was still alive and trapped by that bloody tentacle. There were tentacles everywhere and yet they couldn't kill me.

Once I surpassed about a dozen debuffs, my health finally started to dip... just for Hodir to save my life with his flash freeze, and the moment it wore off I was immediately back in a constrictor. I've never missed SWTOR's /stuck command so badly (which allows you to "commit suicide" while in combat). Eventually I managed to achieve death by immediately clicking the flash freeze away the next time it saved me and instantly jumping towards a crusher tentacle so it could whack me dead. Death never felt like such a relief before.

Finally, on a more positive note, I've had some more fun on the Timeless Isle. I found a treasure-hunting quest in a mound of dirt, and when it became obvious that it was directing me towards the one part of the island I hadn't been to yet (across the broken bridge), I finally got off my butt to find out how to get there.

That bridge is a funny thing to the ignorant new player. You watch others run up to it and just fly across, as if by magic! If you're anything like me, you might think: aha, so it's like an Indiana Jones leap of faith thing; I just have to run straight off and... oh, guess not.

I don't expect to get a legendary cloak any time soon, and while there was an option to get across with a vendor-bought glider, I'm too attached to my timeless coins for other purposes, so I was delighted when I found out that there is actually a way to get up there for free: attack a passing albatross until it grabs you, then just hang in for the ride! It's such a silly thing, but in this case I really enjoyed it. It's nice to have an option to get around for players that aren't as advanced, even if it's slower and more of a hassle.

Another thing I found on the Timeless Isle was a quest for a "secret" noodle recipe. It's really old school, requiring you to run back and forth a lot and to complete two dungeons. It amuses me how Blizzard has repeatedly sworn off that kind of design, yet every now and then they still put stuff like that in. Anyway, it was quite fun, until it cumulated in another solo scenario, which required me to... serve noodle dishes to pandas. It's actually pretty fun as a mini-game; it just seemed kind of bizarre to me since I don't recall ever seeing anything this blatantly "gamey" in WoW before, for all the gamification it has suffered over the years. In fact, it reminded me a lot of an old C64 game I used to play, called Tapper, that required you to rush back and forth behind a bar to serve drinks to impatiently approaching customers. Just... weird. The only thing that drives me crazy about it is that the background music is the same little ditty that plays in all the Pandarian inns... and which is my least favourite bit of Warcraft music ever.

15/02/2014

Braving Looking For Raid

I was feeling very ambivalent about whether I should even bother to give the MoP raid finder a try or not. On the one hand there was a certain appeal to the idea of "seeing the content" in some fashion, plus we had actually acquired a couple of quests that straight-up told us to go and do certain raids (such as the legendary quest line). In terms of gear, LFR also seemed to offer a smoother progression curve than continuing to grind things on the Timeless Isle in hopes of getting a suitable loot drop. On the other hand I remembered that the few times I did the Dragon Soul LFR back in Cata felt very disjointed and unsatisfying, and from everything I'd heard, the types of people you meet in the raid finder could be very unpleasant these days (to put it mildly).

In the end it was probably this post by the Ancient Gaming Noob that tipped the scales in favour in the end, as he describes his experience as going into LFR more or less completely blind and having no problems whatsoever, presumably because by this point in the expansion, a critical mass of players could do the fights in their sleep and a couple of clueless newbies don't really make a difference either way.

So my pet tank and I decided to queue up for Mogu'shan Vaults on Saturday afternoon, the first option on the LFR drop-down list, me as healer and him as dps for a change. (I had urged him to not queue as tank at least during our first time, as I was worried about that role making him a target for abuse if things went wrong, especially since neither of us knew anything about the fights.) We had to wait about twenty minutes, as there seemed to be a dps shortage - of all things! This pattern continued throughout most of the afternoon: always enough tanks and healers, never enough dps. Still, we ended up completing both halves of Mogu'shan Vaults in the end, as well as the entirety of Heart of Fear. It was a very smooth experience with no wipes, but with the queue times for each wing the whole thing still ended up feeling quite long.

When we first zoned into Mogu'shan Vaults, I was surprised to see a lot of people actually bothering to say "hi" in chat. While there wasn't a lot of talk throughout the rest of our runs, the atmosphere felt pretty relaxed and laid back. It was obvious that we weren't the only ones new to LFR, but as anticipated there were also more than enough players who knew what they were doing and they didn't seem to mind carrying a bit of extra weight. In the first half of Mogu'shan Vaults for example we had a shaman who got locked out and died during the second boss, and while he received a res afterwards, he didn't accept it, presumably because he was AFK by that point. Nobody said anything or even bothered to initiate a vote kick though; he just stayed there, dead, until the group had killed the last boss and disbanded.

There wasn't much talk of tactics, but what little there was felt good-natured and us noobs were happy to follow anyone who was willing to lead. The only time I saw people getting cross was during Blade Lord Ta'yak, when the whole group had to run across the room dodging tornadoes, and a hunter insisted on having Aspect of the Pack on, causing everyone to be permanently dazed and making it nearly impossible to move as we were supposed to. Still, I've seen insults a lot worse than "huntard" in my time.

I suppose it was easy to be agreeable since we never wiped. Personally I just died twice, once on the trash to Gara'jal the Spiritbinder, where I got caught by surprise by the first set of bombs, and a second time on the aforementioned Blade Lord, when he cast Unseen Strike on me and I instinctively ran away from the group when I actually should have stacked up to survive.

Running these two raids in LFR also provided both me and Pet Tank with the biggest loot rush since our first day on the Timeless Isle. Based on the many rants I'd seen from people about how they keep getting nothing but bags of gold, I thought that the item drop rate would be atrocious, but in reality we got an item pretty much from every other boss, sometimes two if we used a bonus roll. They weren't always useful (I got three near-identical cloaks for example), but there was enough good stuff in there that it definitely felt worthwhile.

All in all, I was ready for things to go horribly wrong, but not only did that not happen, I actually had fun. No, the healing itself wasn't very engaging (mostly just a lot of spamming AoE heals), but it was interesting to go in blind and to learn new boss mechanics on the fly. Everyone acted civil. And the raids themselves were... okay I guess? Heart of Fear seemed like a bit of an unpleasant place with the impaled yet still squirming bug people at the entrance and all the annoyingly squeaky-voiced bosses, but other than that it was alright.

I remember that one of the things I hated about doing Dragon Soul in LFR was how it kept putting me into runs in progress and due to the nature of the instance the whole thing just felt terrible disjointed, what with going from Wyrmrest through random portals to parachuting from an airship to crashing into the Maelstrom. I suppose we got lucky this time around in that the system put us into fresh runs every time, but I think that even if we had missed a boss or two, it wouldn't have felt as bad as it did back in Dragon Soul because both Mogu'shan Vaults and Heart of Fear are a lot more self-contained.

We'll see whether we'll manage to hang in there for long enough to get geared up for Siege of Orgrimmar.

13/02/2014

Scratching My Head About Scenarios

Scenarios are another one of those features that have been new in Mists of Pandaria and thus new to me. I haven't done all of them yet, but I think I've seen enough of them (plus a couple of heroic ones actually) to be able to form an opinion. Generally speaking, most of them seem to be pretty fun the first time around - for the sheer novelty value if nothing else - and then become dull as dishwater once you start repeating them. I've been trying to put my finger on why that is.

I think one of the major issues I have with them is that they just feel a bit... clunky. In terms of gameplay, scenarios seem to fall halfway between a regular quest and a dungeon, but it seems to me that the aspects they chose to incorporate from both sides don't really go well together. Like many quests, scenarios seem to like telling a story, but unless you just happened to find the intro quest to that specific scenario out in the world, you'll be dumped smack in the middle of things with no explanation of where you are, what's going on, or why you're doing what you're doing. In a dungeon, not knowing the background usually isn't as much of an issue, since they all share the overall "theme" of clearing an area of bad guys and defeating a big bad or two, plus the dungeon quests tend to at least give you a brief summary of the most key points. In a scenario you got that little box to track progress and that's it.

To add to the confusion, many scenarios seem to like to make things "interesting" by requiring lots of special actions from you and your character, such as collecting supplies, planting explosives, firing cannons, swinging from ropes etc. They are always marked quite clearly and big red text in the middle of the screen usually tells you what to do, but still... let's just say that expecting people to figure out new game mechanics while being thrown into a typical "rush rush" style WoW pug was not the smartest idea Blizzard's ever had.

On top of that, scenarios seem to be extremely unrewarding, which makes repeating them feel like a waste of time. If you queue for a random, you do get a small reward for that, but if you do a specific scenario you get absolutely nothing for it, nada (unless you count the satisfaction of actually getting the one you had a quest for). The bosses drop nothing, and you won't even get a couple of silver off the trash. I don't know why that is; it's a small thing but it really leaves me feeling disappointed after every scenario completion.

The sad thing is, for all these flaws I could see scenarios make for an interesting addition to the levelling game, just to do something slightly different from questing or running dungeons all the time. Just getting XP for each one would already make doing them a lot more worthwhile. But no, Blizzard restricted all of them to max level, where players will have a dozen other things to do that are more fun, more rewarding or both at the same time. It just strikes me as a lot of wasted potential.