Why I almost skipped Cataclysm and the reasons I changed my mind

WoW: Cataclysm.

As of this past weekend, my mind was made up. I was going to skip Cataclysm altogether. I wasn’t going to try it, play it, think about it, nothing. I hadn’t seen anything wild or crazy that would make me want to come back and I was perfectly content with the other games that could fill my free time. I was so convinced.

But lo and behold, I ran some errands today and came home with a copy of the game. It wasn’t really an impulsive decision – I had done a decent bit of research about the expansion so I knew what to expect. I really went for it because, well, why not? I hadn’t been a part of an expansion launch yet. I missed Burning Crusade because I had started playing shortly before it came out. I missed Wrath because I had taken a break and didn’t feel compelled to come back at the time. As someone who writes about games for a living, it seems appropriate that I should see at least one launch.

So far, things have been pretty good. I’m playing a Balance Druid, something I’ve never really messed with before. The new zones are certainly bright and colorful and there is plenty of new content to see. I am pretty disappointed, though, by the lack of time spent in the old world. The whole point of this patch was a shattered Azeroth, a world we used to know being torn apart by this big, evil dragon. So why am I swimming around underwater? Why not send me back to the barrens to do some leveling. The old world place I’ve spent most of time is Orgrimmar, but that’s not really different from previous expansions. I’ve always had to go to Orgrimmar for various things, mostly the Auction House. It’s really cool that it’s been redone, but I want to see more of that in other parts of the world.

For now, that’s my one big criticism. I’ll be playing over the next several days if anyone feels compelled to join in. I play on Archimonde under the name “Milkstout.”

You want WoW news, you got it

WoW Cataclysm wallpaper.It figures just one day after I write a post wondering what happened to everyone’s favorite MMO, Blizzard decides to unveil some of the major changes coming to each of the game’s ten classes. Oh, except Paladins, but really, who likes Paladins anyway?

Technically, we don’t have the changes just yet. There was a post on the official forums, though, that said we’d get a preview of the new spells, skill changes, talent trees, and other class modifications to be found in Cataclysm within 24 hours. As to the Paladin thing, here’s what Blizzard had to say:

The paladin is still deep in development. Instead of giving a preview that would be potentially less comprehensive than the other classes we made the decision to post it when it’s ready, in order to properly honor the paladin class and those that play them. The wait isn’t too long however as we’re expecting to be able to post it on April 16.

I would never have guessed that “deep in development” meant one week from public consumption, but I’m not a developer now, am I.

This is a big day for the crackheads. It’s the first real news about specific changes in Cataclysm since the expansion was announced.

Source: WoW Forums

Blizzard bends you over the customization fence…again

WoW race change.Blizzard’s unveiled its latest scheme to boost profits from World of Warcraft in the face of declining subscriptions: race change. You no longer have to traipse about Azeroth wishing you had made your warrior a Tauren. You can finally pay to get the best arena racials without buying yet another account.

The service costs $25, and only works for a change within your current faction. A faction change runs $30, though you obviously get a race change for free. Personally, this isn’t something I’d be spending money on, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in that unique state of WoW-drunk where almost anything seems reasonable.

Though I wish for the people still playing that Blizzard would lump some of these customization fees together, I also realize people are paying for this crap, so it’s hard to blame Blizzard. At least let me say, I feel for you, crackheads. It’s tough to pay for stuff like this when you’re calling off work to grind out those last few levels.

September was a great month for MMOs

Aion angel flying.The NPD numbers are in for September showing strong sales among MMOs in the PC market. NCSoft’s Aion topped the list, bumping last month’s Sims 3 down a slot. Third and fourth went to Champions Online and Wrath of the Lich King respectively, and the Collector’s Edition of Aion. took fifth.

Aside from the MMO scene, the list was dominated by older titles and smaller games. September wasn’t set to be a huge month for blockbuster titles, regardless of the fact that most of the major Q4 releases have been pushed to 2010. Any time Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships is in the top 20, you know it’s been a slow month. Here’s the full list:

    1. Aion
    2. The Sims 3
    3. Champions Online
    4. World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack
    5. Aion Collector’s Ed
    6. Mumbo Jumbo Assortment
    7. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
    8. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest
    9. Reel Deal Slots Treasures Of The Far East
    10. World Of Warcraft
    11. Spore
    12. Grand Theft Auto IV
    13. Starcraft: Battle Chest
    14. Zuma’s Revenge
    15. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack
    16. Batman: Arkham Asylum
    17. Reel Deal Slots Adventure
    18. Nancy Drew: Ransom Of The Seven Ships
    19. Civilization IV: Complete Ed
    20. The Sims 2 University Life Collection

Blizzard COO Buys A Chunk Of The Steelers

Blizzard COO Paul Sams.Blizzard COO Paul Sams has reportedly gotten into the football business, and I’m not talking about a Madden competitor. No, Sams and his family are listed as one among ten of the new joint owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. The news came courtesy of the Steelers’ official website, which gives a quick bio for both Sams and his wife.

I guess when you’re at the top of a company whose biggest title has 11 million subscribers and sits on the verge of another expansion, whose critically acclaimed RTS has an upcoming sequel, and whose dungeon masher is about to become a trilogy you simply have more money than god and can buy just about whatever you want. That includes Super Bowl champions.

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