Described by Tom Chilton as "PVE Battlegrounds", Scenarios are a brand-new type of content coming to WoW in the Mists of Pandaria expansion designed for super-short instanced group content. Challenge dungeons are new, top-tier challenging group content designed to test group coordination and speed. Find out all the details after the jump.
These are short instances made for a few players, designed to replace open-world group quests. These will be more epic events, held within tiny instances, that players can participate in while leveling in open world areas.
They will scale with player level, so that high level players can go back and complete any PVE scenarios that might've missed. Because they're designed to be casual, there will be no role requirements in the tool that you queue up with, and the devs said that it's designed to be short enough that you can complete one while waiting for your dugneon/battleground queue to pop.
As a part of their plan to let players progress through whatever content they want to play, these will reward Valor Points (the currency used to purchase high-level gear).
The first example the devs gave for a hypothetical Scenario was a Goldshire scenario for low level human players to kill the notorious Hogger elite NPC. This would be a staged event that tasked you with killing 35 gnolls in the area. Once you do that you get a task to escort a human guard. He leads you to Hogger, who is the final boss you must kill. You take him down and you're done--nice and easy.
The second example was designed to feel more like a PvP experience, without actually pitting you against real players. The first task would be to kill 50 horde soldiers, then you assault their base to destroy 5 catapults and a few towers. After that, the Horde leader, General Drake emerges from the keep and you have to take him down.
The two examples feel a bit grindy, but these were just hypothetical examples, so hopefully the real ones will have more creative tasks for you to do.
Dan, our office's current Orcs Must Die leaderboard master, is going to love this one. Challenge Dungeons are essentially time trials that have you race through dungeons as fast as you can for bragging rights and some sweet-looking loot.
Each challenge dungeon will have a leaderboard that lets you compare your best scores against your friends, guildmates, or your entire server. All of your gear will be scaled down to a standardized level during these challenge runs, so you won't have the time-old "well, your gear was just better than mine" excuse when your buddy bests your score and bumps you off the top of the leaderboard.
But not all rewards are social (although the best ones are), so there are also rewards for people that achieve the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal times. Those will reward Valor Points to buy new gear, as well as unlock a unique set of gear, exclusive to Challenge Dungeons, that has no stats on it but looks awesome. The purpose is to let you use the new Transmogrify system to show off your awesomeness with the gear's appearance.
I can't wait to compare challenge run times with my guildmates. Bring it, Dan!