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 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?

12 thoughts on “Cataclysm! Did the earth move for you?

  1. WoW2 was very much my reaction too. I’m sure it will be very well done and highly successful. More so than just a new contintent would have been.

    For me I’m happy now not playing WoW till this comes along, buying this and playing it for about 6 months then disappearing off again for another year.

    I think it’s quite significant that not long after 3.2 launches they’re already hyping Catacylsm. I suspect 3.2 and 3.3 may be somewhat less exciting.

    I think as well WoW is losing a lot of people. Bloggers aren’t typical but a lot of us have stopped. In fact a general theme of many blogs recently (including Syp, you and Tobold) has been “what else is there to play instead?”

    Hence WoW is unloading its hype train a bit early. Hell they were hyping 3.3 the day after 3.2 went Live.

    So just because we see the hype now does not mean that this Expansion is imminent, it may well be 15 months away or more.

  2. There’s more changes here than I possibly imagined. I was expecting the stuff like new and re-made zones and new raids from the MMOC post. But all the changes like Path of the Titans, guild achievements, and the long-overdue revamp of the stat system? That’s very ambitious and really is going to re-make the game from top to bottom, even more than the class changes and new content in TBC and WotLK.

    And you win the Internet for your post title. 🙂

  3. people brought wotlk because they expected it to have endgame content, it didn’t, and as a result this next expansion won’t sell as many boxes

    “shows mostly that he’s missed the point about the revamp of old zones”, and which point is that?

    “An old zone can totally be new content if the graphics”
    They aren’t changing the graphics, sorry to disappoint

    “and quests are redone” recoding isn’t hard.

    for the most part they are just removing all the buggy areas that players cant get to with lava and/or water. most areas will have the same level range, quests, and so on. most mobs will stay where they are, most npcs will have the same quests.

    if you look at the map you can actually see that much of the land that is ‘gone’ was land you couldnt access anyway (seriously, look at it and compare it to ingame or online maps)… any stuff they are completely removing they don’t need anymore anyway because of leveling ‘improvements’ that they have done over the years.

    • You may have seen a different trailer from the one I saw which showed desert zones turning into jungles and huge flaming chasms appearing in the middle of existing zones.

      Plus they’ll need to redo the graphics anyway to allow flying.

      And the point is that it’s going to be a massive reworking of old content which is something that pretty much never happens in MMOs.

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if this expac sold twice as well as the previous two. I foresee a lot of older players who quit prior to TBC or prior to WotLK coming back to play this.

    In fact, I hope all my friends who played early on in the game WILL come back for this, as I, too, want to go through some of those old zones and memories with old friends.

  5. Yeah, the nostalgia factor is pretty strong. To know those zones you explored almost 5 years ago will disappear forever? I think that will draw in a lot of oldtimers to at least check out all the changes.

  6. I guess a scroll of ressurrection mailed by a friend will be enough to take a quick ride on a dragon or my personal favorite, the snowy white griffon, over the new Azeroth.

    I am pretty excited, but I cannot help but remember that I was so much earlier totally done and bored with WOTLK than with TBC.

    Basically, it is still a cool game but I already played it for years. I do not think that levelling from 1 through a “new old world” would bring me back to WoW.

    This is probably THE expansion to START from scratch with WoW, especially for total newcomers. And they will probably get the best WoW experience ever. Maybe they will even make levelling a bit more challenging and make elite mobs less of a pushover. They could tune the XP and make players kill a bit harder and more interesting/challenging mobs instead of tons of lousy mobs.

    I think they did not make it in time to create a new graphics engine/game client for Cataclysm.

    But even with dated graphics, WoW’s area/zone design/graphis are still beautiful.

    I would every newcomer to MMOs recommend WoW – but is it not sad that they would be disappointed by most other MMOs then? And I am sad and bored of this Triple AAA monoculture. So I really hope for Guild Wars 2.

    Aion might be the closest to a competitor right now, but I would not recommend it for starters. This game is a korean (grind)wolf, even if they try to hide its teeth behind western fluff, a wolf stays a wolf.

  7. You made me think when you said WOW 2. Blizzard hinted at a ‘next gen’ MMO but instead they announced this…

    I’m guessing this is their ‘next gen’ MMO, and they decided to play safe by working on bringing in new players as well as trying to keep people who already have a few 80’s happy.

    If you’ve done ‘the Explorer’ (bet you have!!) you’ll already know how big a gap has grown from the 1-60 vs the 68-80 areas so seeing a nice new ‘shiny’ Azeroth ticks my boxes!

    The quality of questing and story telling has grown so I’m guessing that the new levelling experience will blow the Classic away, and make it well worth levelling an alt, or bringing a new person to the game.

    Cataclysm is WOW2. Maybe it is why WotLK has been light on content! You gotta love the very clever way they have used their lore to remove the need for a WOW sequel. Blizzard also seem to have learned how to ‘drip feed’ content to the more casual player. That’s the way ahead for me. I want time for SWTOR as well!!

  8. Pingback: Blizzard Reboots WoW with the Cataclysm Expansion | Wolfshead Online

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