WoW Wednesday- Missing Magic in Pandaria’s Pre-Launch
By Meredith Watson, OnRPG WoW Reporter
Monday afternoon US time saw the implementation of the Theramore scenario on all realms. For whatever reason, Blizzard decided we would get the event a day early. The Theramore scenario is available for the week of the 17th to 25th for level 85s with a gear score of 385. Once MoP is released the Theramore scenario will be level 90 and require a gear score of 425. The players have all been under the assumption that this Theramore event was the world event leading up to Mists of Pandaria given its timing. The reception of the Theramore scenario has been less than stellar however. In fact, some are downright upset by it. “It is by far the single worst launch event ever. This is just stupid beyond words. Very, very disappointed.”, says Mahlik, a forum poster. Most of the feedback concerning the Theramore Scenario has all been in this vein with the Blizzard response being “It was never meant to be a world event”. So, there isn’t a world event for Mists of Pandaria? Could it be next week we will see some sort of event in the run up to MoP though there has been zero mention or hype? Or maybe Blizzard just can’t be bothered this time around.
Blizzard has done some great events in the past leading up to an expansion. Patch 2.0.1 also known as Before the Storm saw the opening of the dark portal which up until then had lain dormant in Blasted Lands. Now the Dark Portal would taunt us with delights yet to come and an enemy greater than we had previously known. During the world event felguards and voidwalkers poured through the portal invading Azeroth. In front of the Dark Portal the Argent Dawn took up post offering quests with rewards such as a one off tabard (which is now a feat of strength). It was all very urgent. We had to stop the onslaught. Outside of the game, on the WoW site, there was a little mini game with the map of Outlands. The “prize” was when you connected the stars in the correct order a dancing male blood elf appeared. The excitement at the time from the community was almost palpable. This was our first expansion and Blizzard was pulling out all the stops.
While The Burning Crusade world event was great and really set the tone for the expansion the Wrath of the Lich King world event is still considered a favourite. 3.0.2, titled Echoes of Doom, gave us a zombie invasion with six phases lasting three weeks. It started innocuously enough with some suspicious crates and Argent healers appearing warning of the Lich King’s approach. Soon plagued rodents and then residents would appear leading eventually to a full on invasion of capital cities. Players were able to become and fight as zombies. The player’s portraits on the official forums reflected this and were replaced with zombie avatars instead. Like the lead up to TBC, the community was once again enthralled with every bit of information about the upcoming expansion.
The Cataclysm pre-launch world events were rich with lore and were spread over a two month period starting with patch 3.3.5 which introduced the Liberation of Gnomergen and Zalazane’s Fall. Both were a series of quests that helped gnomes and trolls re-take their homelands. Azeroth would then be threatened by two different enemies with patch 4.0.1. The elemental invasion and the twilight cult would be another four phase event featuring yet more lore. As was becoming the norm the phases would start out innocently by prophets crying doom in Old Town or The Drag and ending with full on invasions of capital cities. Though the events, in retrospect, were formulaic they were never dull and added a real sense of excitement and set the tone for the expansion.
World events don’t just happen for pre-launches. Blizzard used to give us events for the opening of dungeons as well. There was the first scourge invasion for the opening of Naxxramas in 2006 with the Shadows of the Necropolis patch. The Gates of Ahn’Qiraj was a world event requiring the participation of the entire server to open the new raid instances as they were opened per server once the requirements were met. It lasted weeks to months depending on the server. Again, with the Capture of Sun Reach, objectives were met server wide to open new phases which ultimately would lead to a daily quest hub.
It is clear Blizzard knows how to execute well thought out and immersive world events and pre-launches. So where is our Mists of Pandaria event? There is minimal hype which in turn means minimal excitement from the community which is reflected in the attitude about the Theramore scenario. As it stands now all we have is television spot and one underwhelming scenario. The focus seems to not be on the existing players but on getting new ones or reminding old players that pandas are coming hence the television spot.
I, like a lot of the community, feel a bit let down by the lack of a true WoW level event. While I am sure scenarios are going to be a most welcome addition to the game, introducing one pre-launch of Mists of Pandaria was a very cheap world event whether Blizzard intended it or not.