Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Things Are Moving Too Fast

Maybe it's just me but recently I've noticed that Blizzard has accelerated the release of new stuff. It seems that patch 3.2 was released barely yesterday, followed in quick succession by 3.2.1 and now 3.2.2.

To my utter horror, patch 3.3 has already hit the PTR for a week now. I don't mean to upset players who are eagerly anticipating 3.3 but I feel that everything in WoW is moving too fast these days. If we consider patch 3.3 as being the final major patch of the current expansion, we can deduct that from here to Cataclysm there's only a small step.

Now Blizzard may decide to surprise us yet and release a 3.4. After all, the did have a big patch 2.4 back in Burning Crusade. If Arthas is actually defeated in 3.3, then a major follow-up patch might not make that much sense, it could be anticlimactic in fact. In contrast, patch 2.4 did bring a lot of new stuff to WoW, such as the Sunwell raid instance and Sunwell Isle.

The fact that patch 3.3 has hit the PTR doesn't mean that much though. I doubt they'll release it to live sooner than 2 months from now. That, however, will most likely put Wrath of the Lich King on its last leg before Cataclysm will steal the spotlight. I would estimate the next expansion will be released late spring to early summer.

So why am I feeling so anxious about new patches and the next expansion? It's weird because in this expansion I've accomplished more things than in Classic and Burning Crusade combined.

Back in Classic WoW I barely managed to raise a Paladin and Hunter to 60 and buy my Hunter an epic mount before I got tired of the game.

Then, I waited a long time after Burning Crusade came out before I bought it and started playing again. Most people were already tired of the game by this point so I had a lot of catching up to do. Between then and Wrath of the Lich King I managed to level my Hunter and Paladin to 70 as well as a brand new Rogue and Warlock to 70. I also geared my Hunter as much as I could and even engaged in PvP for gear. I also became exalted with the Sunwell Isle faction and engaged in a variety of other minor activities.

In Wrath of the Lich King I was on board from the beginning. Of course, the first thing I tried was a Death Knight which I really loved but I set him aside for a while so I could level my Hunter who's my main. After that I swiftly brought my DK to 80 and then my Paladin. In the meantime I also leveled a brand new Shaman to 65 and I played with my Rogue and Warlock to 72 and 74 respectively. Beside that, I leveled Tailoring, Leatherworking, Enchanting, Inscription and Engineering, finished a whole bunch of achievements on my Hunter and also completed a lot of old dungeons on my own. Not to mention that I made tons of gold in various new ways that I discovered.

I really think that I am getting better at WoW as time goes by. Well, as far as playing alone is concerned. By "better" I mean more efficient. There are more ways than ever to efficiently level a new character, gear your characters up and make gold. It's also easier than ever to level a profession from scratch. Not only does my personal experience help me but the interwebz contain a wealth of information.

Still, I need to accomplish a bit more before Cataclysm. Perhaps that's also due to the fact that the whole WoW universe will be changed irrevocably. We are all being reborn in the next expansion and I guess there's a small sense of loss in regard to the "old Azeroth" and the "old ways". Old ways indeed, since our talent, skill system and stats will also change significantly. I just hope I can cram as many things as I can during the short time that I have. Heh, if I think about it, the same thing plagues me in WoW as in real life: the scarcity of time. Ain't that ironic?


Gyldenfeax said...

I feel the same way. I'm not concentrating so much on leveling alts as I am on getting as many achievements done on my Pally main. What with all the new pets and mounts from the argent crusade etc, dino hatchlings, Brewfest stuff (Halloween soon to follow) BC rep, vanilla dungeon and profession achievements to get, while still making gold and Pvping (not so much now as nothing left to buy) it does feel like there's too few hours in the day. At least there are alot of BC dungeons still left to solo (especially on heroic) so hopefully they remain untouched in Cataclysm

Dalaila ShadowsongEU said...

I feel a little annoyed if I think gear will soon be replaced by shint new iLevel 250+ stuff. It's like spending badges for stuff that it's already old.

Icecrown citadel and the new 5man instances will make actual gear look like crap. In my opinion "epic" items are going too far. Blizz should introduce a new level (say "super epci" with a new color, say red).

I see no much sense in having iLevel 270 epics with iLevel 200 epics... and call them "epic" too.

Paul said...

My main is just lvl 53 (I'm a true casual "smell the roses" player). Could the updates be a response to competition from Aion? I tried Aion for two weeks and came back to WOW. I have noticed that the server isn't as crowded lately. Only saw around 20 players outside the AH in Ironforge last night...

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that they are pushing to get as many players geared for Arthas. MMORPGs are on the same page as Facebook now... I still love playing, but i feel less interested in working hard for gear that some dude beebops up to me and says "look what I got in HTOC last night!"

Dalaila ShadowsongEU said...

Imho no other MMO will be able to steal the crown to WoW. Fact is, Blizzard perfectly knows how to make us drool and love the game. And let's be honest: for a decent monthly fee we get a LOT of updates, patches, fixes, etc.

Other MMOs came too late on the scene. Yes, they can be graphically gorgeous and "innovative" in some aspcts... but at the end of the day would you leave Wow for Aion (or any other MMO)?

Aion (and others) could be AMAZING competitors for Wow some years ago. With 5 years of experience and millions of players... it's quite hard to compete with Blizzard.

Not to mention the fact that a new MMO is just boiling in the backstage. If any MMO will ever kill WoW, that will be a Blizzar's game.

Yet again.

Darth Solo said...

@Gyldenfeax Blizzard has found the recipe for keeping people hooked. Beside all the "crap" that one can do in the game, they have these holidays that occur almost monthly if I'm not mistaken, thus forcing many people who are interested in completing the achievement and perhaps obtaining the 310% mount to keep renewing their subscriptions monthly. Crafty bastards!

@Dalaila they already have uber-epic items: legendaries. Item levels are both a blessing and a curse. They are good because it's easy to create a hierarchy and figure out which is better but on the other hand it allows Blizzard to prolong the item acquisition obsession endlessly. On and on and on and on... This is just another ingredient in Blizzard's recipe for addiction. I don't blame them. We are the fools who keep falling for this. And most of us damn well like it!

@Paul somehow I doubt it. From what I read about Aion there's nothing great about it. Of course, some are just disenchanted with WoW but many will eventually return.

@Anonymous I would love to have a shot at Arthas but it ain't gonna happen. As a solo player I found it hard to get even into regular ToC so I'm just gonna pass on this whole dungeon/raid thing. Hey maybe they should make a 1-man version of Icecrown Citadel! How's that for catering to casuals?

@Dalaila exactly. Blizzard will be the only one who will trump Blizzard. There have been countless other MMOs that were supposed to be WoW-killers, such as LotR, AoC, Warhammer, etc. And now Aion. Yeah, they may have great graphics but in the end it's the gameplay and replayability that matter the most. I'm curious how the new SW Kotor MMO will be like but I'm sure it won't even touch WoW. I am in dire need of an awesome SF MMO though...

Celebrandil said...

I'm a big fan of the classic content and territories of old Azeroth, and I'm a bit afraid that much of it will be lost once Cataclysm hits. So I decided to level two alts (also the only two classes that I never really leveled before) to level 60 and stop there. One of them will be leveled entirely in the Eastern Kingdoms, and the other one only in Kalimdor, to experience as much of the old quests and lore as possible. It's a lot of fun so far (going very fast due to two heirloom items and +20% XP bonus) and brings back a lot of memories because I'm actually reading all quest texts and not skipping all texts like I did with the other alts.

However I found that on Horde side it is quite difficult to level entirely in the Eastern Kingdoms because you will experience quite a gap once you arrive in the Hillsbrad Foothills at around level 20. By the time you finished the low level quests there, you will be ca. level 23 which is not high enough for Arathi or Alterac Mountains and also too low for the higher Hillsbrad quests. I was forced to do some levelling in Ashenvale. But once I hit 28 it was OK to go back to the Eastern Kingdoms.

Anonymous said...

And here it comes Tier10. New gear, new emblems, new grinding.

Darth Solo said...

@Celebrandil I know that old Azeroth will be gone forever but personally I'm sick and tired of leveling characters through the same old areas. I've still got 2-3 new classes that I want to level and I'm glad that Cataclysm changes things around. What bugs me most is the stupid way in which quests were designed, that send you across continents and offer very poor item rewards. I'm glad Blizzard evolved their quest design in BC and WotLK.

@Anonymous I wonder where this tier system will end. Tier 20?? 50??

Paul said...

Will WOW ever improve flight times? A 10 minute fight gets a bit old after flying the same route 50 times... Granted the "world" is huge compared to other games. I would gladly pay a little extra for a faster flight to Stormwind...

Darth Solo said...

If you're talking about the taxi, I can tell you now that things will definitely improve with Cataclysm. For one thing, there will be new flight routes. For another, Blizzard will streamline quests so that you don't have to cross entire zones in order to turn in a lousy quest. Besides, if they open the entire Azeroth to flying mounts, our mobility will be greater than ever.