All right, here's my perspective (and since I didn't play much before the rework, this will not involve before/after comparisons):
- Scenarios get people on home islands more involved in working together toward a single goal.
- Missions are a logical draw to enemy islands.
- The Valrei scenario concept feels more naturally "Epic" than HOTA. HOTA feels contrived to me, Valrei doesn't.
What's not working:
- Scenario wins seem largely determined by the initial RNG drop (and then by RNG spikes thereafter). Missions are often painful, require a great deal of dedication (and thus opportunity cost), and if it doesn't look like a god has a good chance, it's very easy for players to shrug, wait for the next scenario, and do something more important.
- Missions do have good rewards, but they're often not enough to be worth it if you don't think you have a chance to win the scenario. (I wish you could accumulate more than 5 hours of sleep bonus via missions, for instance. If I'm at 5 hours, then I have less reason to work on missions.)
- Mission difficulty ratings seem to have little resemblance to actual mission difficulty. Traitor missions, for instance, tend to be much harder to complete than their difficulty rating would suggest.
- The missions themselves often feel contrived (how exactly does cutting down a tree aid my god?). I wish missions felt more relevant. I'll grant this is nebulous, and I don't really know how "relevant" missions would look. :)
- As described by Alexgopen, the scenarios seem biased.
- Gambling karma to commune is a downer.
- Scenario reward distribution RNG can be a downer.