Scenarios, daily quests, and events in Warlords

It's true that scenarios still exist in Warlords of Draenor, but it's also true that their existence is radically altered - no more the easy three person content you can queue for at max level for easy rewards. Now, you may be trumpeting this as a grand thing, and in some ways you may even be right, but scenarios and heroic scenarios served a purpose in Mists and I'm starting to be concerned about their removal and the change in dungeons. One of the things to keep in mind is, with the removal of valor points and the conversion of many items to costing gold, we're essentially taking out the mechanism that once served as a consolation prize when it was first introduced back in The Burning Crusade. Furthermore, by removing scenarios as content players can essentially run whenever and wherever they wish, we're winnowing down options at endgame. The Timeless Isle model for endgame content has its flaws, and converting all of Warlords to it has some potential pitfalls.

For starters, the heavy de-emphasis on daily quests combined with the lack of scenarios and the placing of heroic dungeons behind the proving ground barrier removes a solid amount of low pressure, easily accessed content. Considered separately these ideas aren't an issue, but when you put them all together you can start to see one problem - they remove choices for players, and in doing so offer no replacement. This may be by design. Some players lament that there's too much to do in Mists of Pandaria's endgame. Starved for choice is a real phenomenon, and it may be a good move to thin out those options. But it may not.

One of the reasons I'm leery of these changes as a whole - the loss of valor points, the loss of scenarios as evergreen content, the loss of daily quests and quest hubs - is that they provided me with choices even if I didn't want to partake in them. I rarely ran more than one or two scenarios in a day, and I'd mostly run one faction's worth of dailies at a time. I just wasn't a big user of these options. But I did use them, and while Mists of Pandaria didn't offer a lot to do with the justice and valor points that was really the fault of there being no compelling vendor items compared to expansions like TBC or Cataclysm rather than the point systems themselves. Yes, the points became less a 'oh, sorry you didn't get that drop' consolation prize and more a reason to do anything, and I always argued that was a bad thing. But the complete removal of the system in favor of a currency that lets you roll again for items may not be much of an improvement.

Trust me, after you've blown six warforged seals in a row and gotten gold every single time, you'll understand why I'm concerned.

So the lack of this backup system that valor provided creates less of a carrot motivating certain content, but combining that with less content for max level - no queued scenarios, far fewer daily quests - and I get to worrying. Yes, there's all sorts of content out there to reward exploration, zone events you can hunt out and experience, and that's a great thing. But I can't help but think a few max level scenarios wouldn't be a bad thing to add to all this. Yes, I'm happy that there's more focus on dungeons - I think Mists went overboard on scenario design and failed to keep the dungeons in focus. But I can't help but feel like we're looking at pendulum design here. We swing too far one way in one expansion, so we overcorrect too far in the other direction for the next one.

Hopefully we'll see enough content as patches for the expansion drop that we'll have a better idea of what we'll be doing at max level. Mists dropped a good chunk of content with its non-raid patches, both with the Operation Shieldwall/Dominance Offensive and Battlefield Barrens patches, so it's worth taking a bit of a wait and see. I just hope we won't find ourselves forced into a feast or famine cycle for solo/small group content outside or dungeons/raids. In some ways, Mists was a renaissance for the player who wanted to play on his or her own terms, and it would be a shame to backslide on that.