My Thoughts On World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Posted on Saturday, August 29 2009 @ 12:23:31 Eastern
Don't mind me - I'm just jumping on the bandwagon.
Cataclysm is the newest expansion for World of Warcraft. Its slated for release in 2010 and featured a return to the two main continents of the world. Blizzard have announced their intentions to completely revamp the old zones, alongside including many more much-needed featured. More information is available here.
What do I think of all this? Well its certainly interesting to see the developers have gone back to Azeroth. Instead of thinking up completely new lands, the majority of the expansion is supposedly going to focus on how the cataclysm has reshaped classic areas. There's only 5 planned new zones so the issue here is whether or not its worth the money. This is an especially topical question in these difficult financial times. Blizzard have continually released less and less content with the recent free patches, so it makes sense that they've set their core design team on something big. What are they trying to achieve with such drastic changes and will it be worth buying?
No one can say for sure. Cataclysm appears to be going in all possible directions at once. On one hand there's a lot of recycled material from Wrath of the Lich King. The Dwarven fortress of Tol Barad is the new Wintergrasp, the Goblin and Worgen starting areas are phased like the Death Knight equivalent, et cetera. On the other hand there's far more adventurous things awaiting players. New dungeon content brings new monsters and gear. Long-requested changes like a better guild UI and rated battlegrounds hope to reach out to all those people who thought the 'Suggestions' forum was always ignored. I believe Blizzard are attempting to satisfy two key audiences simulateously here:
- People who quit WoW due to lack of true innovation over time.
- The so-called 'new generation' of players who have been on board since Wrathand now have grown used to a constant stream of updates. They demand more and more, lest they leave for Aion or a similiar hypefest.
As part of the first group, I feel that its my right to express what I think aboutCataclysm. Its difficult not to reminisce about the good old days where a bunch of buddies and I would roam The Barrens and kill anything that looked uglier than Heidi Montag. However, we all have to accept that times change. The days of epic Alliance v. Horde battles around level 20 grinding areas are over. I don't really mind that, especially since Wintergrasp and the battlegrounds serve the same sort of purpose and satisfy my blood-lust. Therefore I'm not devastated about my old haunts being ruined, although the fact that the Alliance are losing Southshore did piss me off a little*. I do like the possibility that the developers are going to throw caution to the wind to advance the story. Its a big risk, but hopefully it'll pay off - literally.
These massive changes provide a unique problem. Its a data overload if you haven't kept up-to-date with the latest additions to WoW. I'd hate to have left shortly after hitting 80 and then have stayed completely in the dark until Cataclysm. I wouldn't have any idea about all this 'Deathwing breaking through an elemental plane' tripe and I can foresee many people stumbling through quest chains with no idea of what's going on. Furthermore, Blizzard are taking the redesign of Azeroth to make the 1-60 levelling experience better, but this could potentially alienate new players. Who wants to start up in a ruined world? Cataclysm, by definition, is supposed to shake our security in Azeroth so we arm ourselves to defend it. Newbies don't have an attachment to the world, so why should they give a crap?
In addition to all this, Blizzard are changing zones like Desolace and Darkshore to make them more colourful and populated. Wonderful news, but I have fond memories of questing through such isolated patches of the world and appreciating the peace. We can conclude that the pacing of WoW is morphing from 'chilling out in cities and getting excited in dungeons' to 'chilling out in cities and getting excitedeverywhere else'. Pushing players through zones they probably didn't even consider visiting previously causes bottlenecking and the potential for tensions between factions to spark once again - just like in vanilla WoW. If they can make questing as exhilarating as raids, then Cataclysm has my attention.
Blizzard seem to have finally got around to giving us what we've asked for. Yep, they're playing the populist card but its hard not to get excited. Even at this early stage Cataclysm is ticking all the right boxes
*What next? Helcular as a Lich King general? YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
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