I'm not entirely sure I follow the logic of the question. It seems to me that scenarios increases the possibility of having more of them. Scenarios allow them to create situations such as the one in Wrath Gate/Battle for Undercity, keep the contained, and make them repeatable. The developers have said scenarios can be designed to accomodate anywhere from 1 to 40 players. They could give you an epic quest line, and once you reach the climax event, send you into a scenario that accomodates X number of players where the magic happens. No phasing mess, just send you where you need to go.
Have you always needed to be level 58+ to go through the Dark Portal? I know you've needed to be 58 to take the portals to the Blasted Lands in the capital cities, but the Dark Portal? I was just trying to take a shortcut back to Orgrimmar on my level 57 rogue, and I couldn't go through to Outland.
No, it hasn't always been that way. I would guess that the reason for that is, every expansion, alts try to venture into Outland earlier and earlier. The content was designed for 58+ but since expansions always bring power creep in, players tried to start there at 56ish in Wrath, 52-55 in Cataclysm, and so on. They don't want you to just grind XP on mobs you can kill, but weren't intended to kill when the content was made.
Alternatively, it's to prevent new players who don't yet know much about the game from venturing into Outland accidentally when they see the cool as heck dark portal while questing in the Blasted Lands. Remember, Burning Crusade comes with the base game now, so there's nothing stopping a brand new player who hasn't puchased any expansions from wandering out there.
Looking to see if I should renew my subscription, but I don't want to pay up and log in and find out that no one is left playing this game. So my question is, is WoW still alive and well?
Do you think that scenarios will replace the 5-man in the future? If so, I think I'm a little ok with that, but I know that puts me in the minority.
I think it's a possibility. The only issues is that scenarios so far have been easy enough that they teach you very little about how to play, whereas dungeons historically eased you into raiding much better by teaching you your role. Harder scenarios can be made, though.
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