Theramore: I’m ambivalent

So, Theramore. General consensus is that it’s a horrible scenario and that Blizzard has botched their own storytelling by having it all play out the way it has. Some people are more disappointed that it’s not the pre-expansion world event that we’ve all come to expect.

I admit I’m still somewhat out of the loop, having not bothered to read the big news sites or to find new (to me) bloggers who might have been covering this sort of thing in advance. It was with no particular background knowledge or feelings of anticipation that I stepped into the Theramore scenario for the first time last night.

It went quickly enough, despite my being useless for the first pull or two as I tried to fix some keybindings gone awry. As we progressed through the phases, I found myself reminded rather a great deal of SWTOR. I’m not certain if that was due more to the brief cinematic at the beginning or the way that the objectives kept unfurling without my having to do anything except be there and follow the random warrior who seemed to know his way around the place.

As we hit, oh, stage four or so, the warrior made a comment about “there’s emo Jaina and now we have to help her.”

I thought of making the remark that calling Jaina emo was being redundant, but didn’t bother. Everyone knows Jaina is emo. Everyone knows she’s going to need help. It’s sort of her thing and no surprise there.

A few minutes later, it was all over and done with. We collected our things and ported out of the instance, only to find that the best Jaina can come up with as a thank you is a tabard for a city that doesn’t even exist any more. I guess she had some surplus stock?

I was neither thrilled nor disappointed with the scenario, overall. I feel neither grief nor outrage that Theramore is gone, which I suppose could say something about how well that story wasn’t told. I hesitate slightly to make this observation, but the tragic events of 9/11 are still embedded in my psyche 12 years after the event. And I’m obviously not alone in having those images from the day burned into my memory. There is a lot of latent emotion there that Blizzard could have drawn upon for powerful storytelling, but they didn’t. Perhaps they didn’t want to trade on a real tragedy, which is a move I can understand and accept; but I do wonder if they didn’t water it all down to bland dullness because of the images it might evoke.

On the other hand, getting a sad clown Jaina who can’t do anything without boohooing all over the place wasn’t a surprise. I actually more or less expected it, having no hope at all that Blizzard would let her break into a more powerful role. But I can accept that, too. After all the shit she’s gone through, I think her character isn’t likely to change just because she’s had to deal with one more tragedy. If she’d ever had it in her to be a strong person, she’d have gotten there by now.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty ambivalent about the scenario. But as long as it might be a loot pinata, you can bet I’ll go in there and wallop on it.


Theramore: I’m ambivalent — 2 Comments

  1. I guess the biggest disappoint for me is that we were sold a “badass Jaina” by the kindly clockmakers, and what we got was more of the same. I’m hearing that the book version of her was ready to level Orgrimmar. Too bad *she* didn’t show up for the scenario.

    (and having read the cringe-worthy attempt at romance embedded in the free excerpt they published a few weeks ago, I’m not sure I have the starch to manage a full read on my own. Maybe we can buy an ebook and spit it up among a dozen or so. It’ll be like that deadly joke in the Monty Python skit. Nobody may know the whole, lest they perish.)

    I gotta say it; I’m kinda tired of rescuing this chick. Especially while she’s so … leaky. I wish blizz was capable of writing strong female leaders that weren’t inherently evil by design. (looking at YOU, Moira and Sylvanas.)

  2. I like the feel of scenarios, because they remind me a lot of Chronicles in Rift. (In fact, if they have Scenarios at 90 that have you do say… 3-4 of the bosses from various old raids with scaled down abilities, I will not be surprised or even very disappointed.)

    I did not really care for the (lack of) storytelling. Even if they didn’t want to “spoil” the book the scenario is tied to, they should have done SOMETHING to try and make the character feel invested in what happened in Theramore. A short quest chain, at least an introductory “hey we want you to go to theramore for X” from a guard or the call board. Anything. Give a gold or a few xp and flesh it out just enough to make players feel connected. That didn’t happen though, and I think that’s why it felt like such a big letdown or “fail” for folks. I didn’t love the zombie invasion pre-Wrath, but it made me feel tied to what the hell was going on. Theramore? Nope.