(Mizzi is a casual player, she has never raided in Wow and is exactly the sort of person Blizzard are hoping to attract with the new expansion. And she’s kindly agreed to write up some of her experiences with the Cataclysm beta.)
Entering the Beta
I was surprised to get an invite. I’m the opposite of hardcore, spent a good deal of time with a lapsed subscription, and don’t have any level 80 characters – but I am a fan of levelling so was pleasantly surprised to see the email from Blizzard inviting me to the Cataclysm beta.
Thinking twice about clicking on any emailed links, I went to the Battle.net account page and there it was – the beta had been added to my account.
It took about 40 mins to download all in all (morning UK time) – time I spent reading through a few of the forums to think about what I would do.
I decided to start with the goblins. I am fairly sure that when Cataclysm goes live, I’ll be opting for a worgen and don’t want to ‘burn out’ on content. And so it was Mizzi the Goblin Warlock was born.
I hadn’t read through many of the beta spoilers. I was curious but not curious enough to seek out information. I’m not going to go into many of the storyline spoilers or details of individual parts of the story but more give a general impression of a very casual player.
A good atmosphere was built from the start and to be honest, I was confused. I thought I was going to be starting shipwrecked on an island – something like the Draenai – but you actually start pre-ship wreck.
Kezan is a beautifully atmospheric town. It feels goblin. It feels industrial.
At some points though, I felt that parts of the starting area were made for people who had played through Wrath, rather than brand new players to the game and to be honest, that may well be the point. There is a lot of the vehicle control mechanic and I am possibly the only person confused by this still.
The storyline though is easy to follow, even if you aren’t a great ‘reader of quests’. There are a lot of visuals to back things up.
There are some beautiful little details to lots of aspects of the quest-line and they manage to capture that aspect that was present in the death knight starting area that YOUR character is different from the others. You aren’t just another newly created warlock, you are Mizzi, the EXTRA SPECIAL goblin who is better and more heroic than all the rest.
You arrive in Azeroth and the story of how the goblins ally with the Horde is told with you playing a crucial (and in fact the main) role in the story. It is easy to get caught up in the feeling and there is, of course, time for a lot of the more comical quest-lines. There are chicken-related quests!
The difficulty level is pitched fairly well. Some are very straightforward – travel from one place to other types and others are needing some thought (and reading). There was one ‘find x’ quest that had me running around quite a while and actually, as I thought while I was doing the said running around, it’s quite nice not to know exactly where to go for something or have somewhere to look it up!
I hadn’t read about the changes in the talents. I was created with an imp and I think I logged about 4 or 5 bug reports about not being able to put my demon to attack or make it defensive – not realising this wasn’t an ability I gained until level 10. Felt a little bit stupid at that point but I’m sure (I hope!) I’m not the only one!
The way the talents work, as I’m sure most readers here will realise (because they read more than I do!) is that you have to choose your ‘main tree’ and then won’t be able to shift into another one until 31 points have been spent. I ended up with Affliction but as I’m still only level 13, I can’t really give a good assessment of how it is.
When you choose a branch, you get a specific ‘bonus’ and for warlocks going Demonology, they get a Felguard. Sooo.. lots of Felguards running around at level 10 is all I’ll say!
The questline is very linear because it is telling a story. You can’t skip some quests you are having difficulty with if they are a part of the storyline. It reminded me in some ways of the Death knight starting area, unsurprisingly, but the phasing seems a bit slicker.
There is a definite emphasis on the character of the goblins. You are certainly led to believe that explosions are necessary even when they are not necessary!
There are some pleasant little touches, like the mage and warlock trainers squabbling between themselves while the rogue trainer is stealthing around which seem to be funny . The characters that you meet on Kezan turn up again throughout the introduction quests as well and they know and recognise you.
I noticed that with the Blood Elves and Draenai there was a definite and obvious upgrade in quest rewards from the other starting areas. That isn’t the case in the Cataclysm starting areas – not that I’ve found so far anyway.
There is definitely an ‘epic’ type storyline though that we are being driven along and a seeming lack of the basic kill quests.
As for now, Mizzi is exploring Azshara. Azshara.. it isn’t quite like it used to be…