Cataclysm! Did the earth move for you?

So the leaks were all true. How about that then?

New races, massive revamp of most of Azeroth and the levelling game, flying, underwater mounts and city, new raid instances to fill out some of the existing ‘blank spots’ in the lore.  The official Cataclysm site is up and wow.com can fill you in on specifics as announced at Blizzcon.

In addition, the team have plans to streamline existing game mechanics in the new expansion. Some stats will be removed (goodbye armour penetration, you will not be missed because almost no one really understood what you did), others will become secondary stats (eg. no more spellpower, instead it will be based on your int). So the intention is to make the stats simpler and easier to understand. No doubt some people will interpret this as dumbing down – because the alternative is admitting that the current system is obfuscated and unnecessarily complex.

In practice, what we’re practically getting is WoW2. And I know I’m looking forwards to levelling new alts from scratch with my friends with a whole new altered world to explore. I’m also awed by Blizzard’s sheer audacity in being willing to take on those sort of wholesale changes.

I’m an ideas person myself. If I am drawn in by the vision, I’ll stay for the ride. They blew me away with Wrath even though my initial reaction to the announcement was meh. Can they do it again? We’ll have to wait and see. While it’s fun to revamp an old instance to celebrate an anniversary, I’m quite anti-excited about the prospect of Heroic Maraudon.

It’s one thing to get all excited in the middle of Blizzcon but let’s see how people feel about this one in a month or two when they’ve had time to reflect.

How not to be a hater

It’s also inevitable that lots of bloggers will take the opportunity to rag on WoW, if only because it distracts players from other games.

Syncaine gets in first with a sarcastic sideswipe which has some salient comments but shows mostly that he’s missed the point about the revamp of old zones. An old zone can totally be new content if the graphics and quests are redone (what is a new zone after all anyway?) But one note about Barrens Chat; is he so sure that chat in his game of choice is better? Because you can’t entirely blame the zone for that.

Still, at the end of the day, I’d like it for everyone to get this excited about future updates to their favourite games. You need a certain type of miserable temperament to be so keen to jump in and ruin the party now. How about just letting people enjoy the hype and enthusiasm?

He does, however, make an interesting point with the post title. Which is the greatest expansion of all time? (and why?) Is it one that totally mixes up the gameplay? Is it one that offers ‘more of the same’ but in a really high quality way? Does it further the story? Is it one that is loved by the players instantly, or maybe it takes longer to get into but has more longterm appeal?

Or maybe it’s just the one that sells the most boxes. TBC and Wrath both broke sales records when they were released. Would anyone care to bet against Blizzard on this one too?