Blizzard has always valued choice as a key component of their massive title World Of Warcraft. With the announcement of its new expansion, Mists Of Pandaria, players are being given more and more choices in the way that they experience the game, particularly in the way they level up their character. In a new twist on some old concepts, Blizzard will be introducing a new type of quests called scenarios.
Described as PvE battlegrounds, scenarios are instanced quests which will force players to band together in order to do battle against scores of mobs in more complex, multi-tiered quests. While instanced dungeons require a larger time commitment and more players, scenarios will focus on smaller groups, taking on a feeling more akin to questing as filling class roles becomes less important.
This decision may turn off gamers who view this as a transition to a more casual group experience, but scenarios are best examined as an evolution of the existing group quests. Rather than provide players with a forum through which to create the most effective team possible in order to properly sync as a core group, these scenarios will instead act in a way to progress the game's story and allow players to experience some larger, more interesting skirmishes and encounters while in the leveling process of the game.
Another feature of note which will allow players to easily get into a group for a given scenario is the new queue which will act similarly to the existing Dungeon Finder. With no solid role requirements for these scenarios, the queues will be even shorter, making it all the more easy to jump into an event should the mood ever arise.
For gamers interested about the proposed format of the scenarios, Blizzard went on to explain what they may encompass. An example of a possible one could have players joining together in a landscape similar to the battleground Alterac Valley. In the scenario however, the group of players would not be fighting against other humans, but rather droves of enemy mobs. In the first phase, the players would find themselves defeating 50 enemies, capturing towers and bunkers in the next, and finally hunting down and defeating the enemy's general.
Despite the fact that the aforementioned example scenario is just that, an example, the concept in itself is an interesting one. For many gamers, the time commitment required to take on one of the game's dungeons can be a rather high bar to entry. By introducing these more story-driven, action-packed group quests, gamers with less available time will still be able to experience a similar feeling to that of tackling a dungeon while also progressing the game's narrative.
While they may not be quite as exciting as the new class and race coming in the Mists Of Pandaria expansion, scenarios hold the possibility of changing the way people approach group quests. In their current state, they've become stale. As such, this new mode of play could be the shot that group quests need to revitalize them and get players interested and excited about participating in them.
Alongside the introduction of the intriguing pet battle system and the World Of Warcraft Annual Pass which aims to bring players back to the venerable MMO, it's no surprise that Blizzard has been hard at work preparing a ton of new content for their hit title, regardless of its age or the rumors of its dwindling subscriber-base. As the coming year plays out, only time will tell how gamers receive this new content.
Are you tired of group quests in their current form? Do you think scenarios will have what it takes to revitalize the existing form of group quests?