Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cataclysm Impressions

The cat is out of the bag now and everyone must have heard about World of Warcraft's next expansion: Cataclysm. Just as I had predicted a week earlier, it came true. Uh wait... it was actually MMO Champion who spilled the beans. I just commented on their news. So MMO Champion were correct after all, in spite of all the naysayers. I was close to 100% sure that they would be right. And why is that? Because Blizzard likes to do the unexpected.

Had Blizzard released another WotLK-type expansion, we would have seen the same old stuff: another continent, more character and profession levels to grind, more of the same type of dungeons and raids, more of the same type of gear only with bigger numbers and so forth. Same ol', same ol'. Instead, they totally changed it this time. In fact I would go so far as to say that this is the closest thing to WoW 2.0 we're gonna see in a while. Think about it: this is a whole new game. Everything is going to change.

There will always be discontented people. There's already a few of them complaining that Blizzard is making them pay $50 for what basically is the same old Azeroth. Well buddies, you're wrong. For one thing, no one is forcing you to do anything. You don't like it? No problem, there are other games out there. You won't be missed. For another, the "same old Azeroth" will be a whole new experience. From what I've seen so far, almost nothing will look the same. The whole of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms will change irrevocably and irreversibly. As in forever. Terrain will change completely, old zones will be barely recognizable, new zones will appear, new quests, new starting areas, new leveling areas.

I haven't even touched on the new talent and skill system. These will be completely revamped in ways which we can only guess at this point. The extra secondary profession also sounds very intriguing to say the least. To be honest I wasn't expecting it to be secondary but here's another masterful stroke by Blizzard: it's another change of direction. While most people were expecting perhaps a new primary profession, Blizzard has once again managed to surprise with this new twist. Not only does the new profession open up new ways to customize your character via Path of the Titans but as a secondary profession it will be available to everyone and no one will be forced to drop another profession in order to get it.

I'm smitten by the great changes to talent trees, skills and many classes. Especially amazing are the changes to Hunters and Warlocks. Hunters will finally ditch Mana in favor of Focus as a resource system. This is something that I was hoping for since, well, I started my first hunter. Warlocks' shard system will also be completely revamped, perhaps transforming them into a cross between a Mage and a Death Knight.

The new Azeroth looks incredible from the screenshots that I've seen so far. Finally we'll be able to fly in Azeroth! In fact I think that the new Azeroth will make this the biggest expansion ever. Arguably it's gonna be bigger than the original game. That will truly be a time to start a new character and level them through all those new zones.

Now all this also scares me a bit. It seems like all of us will need to re-learn how to WoW. Will I have the energy to explore everything all over again? Level new characters? I just don't know. It's overwhelming. On the other hand it's a good time for starting a brand new character if you need to do that. For example I still need to sample a warrior, mage, druid and priest. Perfect time to do that with a Worgen.

Speaking of Worgen, Gilneas looks incredible. That architecture is fantastic and I can't wait to explore it. As for Goblins, I don't really like the ugly little buggers. On the other hand their starting location is another piece of excellence so I'll be hard pressed not to start a goblin just for the purpose of getting through the starting areas.

These are just a few of my thoughts regarding Cataclysm because there are thousands of other thoughts, ideas and questions chasing each other through my head right now. One thing that bothers me is what happens to some of the stuff in the "old" Azeroth? Will it disappear never to return? One of the things that I'm worried about is that certain vanity pets that can be obtained now in Azeroth will vanish forever. It is certainly plausible, so just to be on the safe side I've already started to slowly buy the ones that I'm missing from the Auction House. I won't necessarily advise anyone to do the same but it's something worth considering.


Joe said...

I finally have internet back, hows it going fella?

Anyway, back to this new expansion, i'll bottom line my feelings on this one.

Guild Wars, pure and simple, they are taking everything Guild Wars had, and making it theirs. Obviously with that lovely blizzard lore attached. The more i compare teh two the more they are similar. I'm a little upset about this change, mainly because i've not sampled all the "old" content yet, admitedly however this will probably be the least of my worries as the lore of wow (the whole reason i play the game) is actually coming to fruition and scaring the world....real time almost.

It saddens me the old stuff wont be available, but heck, ive wanted to fly around for ages, be a race i havn't and kick death in the face. This expansion will make or break wow.

WoW 2 is where it will be at.

Wait i meant Guild Wars 2.

Meh i've got the internet, ima play wow until my girlfriend pysically removes me from my couch....chair.

good times.

Celebrandil said...

I love the changes, and I can't wait. New Azeroth looks stunning, and finally we'll be able to use our flying mounts there.

There'll be plenty of time to experience the old content as Cataclysm won't be around for another year at least.

I seriously doubt that GW had any influence on the design of Cataclysm.

Mr. Menagerie said...

I'm excited!!!

I could regurgitate all that's been reported on and commented on here...but it would all boil down to the same thing,

I'm excited!!!


Regards & Good Hunting All

Darth Solo said...

@Joe nowadays it's hard to come up with truly original features. Most new things are rehashes of stuff found in other games. Which doesn't mean it's a bad thing. I'm even excited about the guild leveling because I have my own 1-man guild and I'm really curious how that will work for me.

Like Celebrandil said, there's plenty of time to explore old Azeroth. Personally I'm a bit sick of it so I won't be leveling any new characters until the next expansion.

Joe said...

Agreed, I hit 80 the other night on my rogue, my first 80, and now i'm not sure what to do, my guild have said gear up, but thats kinda labourious.
I prefer pet collecting, fingers crossed having been inacive that mysterious egg will drop me something kind!

Dalt said...

I am all for making a Worgen Druid when the expansion goes live. I know we have about a year or more but that will give me plenty of time to decide on professions and save up the mats I will need to level them up.

I am really curious to see how the guild experience will work. I am in a super small guild (my brother and myself) and I am hoping that some of the perks from guild leveling will be attainable by people with solo guilds or very small ones.

Oh, and all the new class combos have me really excited about trying out a Dwarf Shaman or Human Hunter. It really will be like a new game.

Darth Solo said...

I'm really hoping that small guilds of 1-2 people will be able to gain XP from clearing older dungeons and reaching other objectives such as purchasing bank tabs and such.

I'm almost starting to regret having a lone Orc Shaman on another server instead of a Dwarf Shaman or a Draenei Shaman. On the other hand, I love the lore behind playing an Orc Shaman (hint: Thrall) so it's all good.