WoW: Cataclysm – What Is Coming And Always Should Have Been

picture-11What follows is a very long narrative of my history with WoW and an admittedly romanticized look at the new expansion. I am not discussing hardcore game mechanics. I’m not theorycrafting. I’m writing about the scope/themes of the game and what those things mean in a social/cultural context. If you make it to the end, I applaud your effort. If you put in that much work, I also hope you’ll leave a comment.

When I first caught the rumor that Blizzard would be announcing another World of Warcraft expansion at this year’s Blizzcon, I was completely apathetic. I haven’t played the game in nearly 6 months, and only then after some friends and I rallied from a similar hiatus for WotLK. The game had long since lost its former charm, which surprised even me. I was fairly hardcore for a while there. I wasn’t bleeding-edge by any means, but I led raids in a T6 guild before calling it quits on The Burning Crusade.

To understand why I quit I should probably begin with the reason I started. I joined WoW late in the game, late fall of 2006 in fact, because I was living in a small town with little to do. I had just graduated college, I was working my first serious job, and I wanted an enjoyable way to spend my wee hours. I also only had a Mac at the time, so WoW was one of few options for an MMO.

rogueI got hooked fast; I almost made my way to 60 before TBC dropped, but not quite. From what I can only think to call “an academic perspective (meaning thinking about gaming/culture in a social context),” that was actually a good thing. I got to witness the first flight from Azeroth, and it was massive. I played on a med-high population server and I immediately noticed the lack of players in town. Trying to find groups for Sunken Temple could be a nightmare, where before the expansion there were plenty of people around. Now granted, this would have happened to a degree, even if the expansion wasn’t a new continent. A lot of the people I was playing with were playing alts, and they would have returned to their mains for new content either way. The problem, though, was that I was no longer a part of the same game.

People always say that the real game is the end game, so when the expansion dropped, everyone was rushing to 70. And then they were rushing to get geared for raids. And then they realized they didn’t need the gear and they would just raid for gear. But all of that was taking place on a different continent. It was a whole different game. Where I would once see 60s roaming the same zones I was leveling through, there was now nothing but people rushing to grind through the Dark Portal. That kind of excitement was great for the first couple weeks, but after that, Azeroth was a ghost town. There was the occasional blood elf and then people like me, desperately trying to be a part of something out of our reach.

I wondered then why Blizzard hadn’t just changed the original world they created. Part of what kept me interested in the game was that things felt dynamic. The first time I walked my toon into Orgrimmar and saw Onyxia’s head on a pike it was exhilarating. Sure I was a few years late to the party, but there were still people around, having fun with what was there. That’s the kind of stuff that made me want to be level 60. It wasn’t just gear, it was the parts of the game I wanted to see.

I got over that pretty fast. I made it to Outland without any Azerothian raids (barring Kara, of course, though much later), hit 70, and started raiding (alright, not that much later). I leveled another toon to 70 and raided with him. I made that second toon my main and kept on raiding, picking up all the flashy gear I had seen around town. And then my guild hit T5 and we had to make some changes. We had primarily been casual raiders but the regulars wanted to progress and we couldn’t do it with our casual members. Several horribly terribly awful guild mergers later we were moving into T6 and my interest just died. Read the rest of this entry »


Blizzard Announces WoW: Cataclysm

Deathwing is back, baby.Following the leaks about the rumored WoW expansion, Blizzard has officially confirmed the release, titled World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Events of Cataclysm take place in good ol’ Azeroth instead of that played-out, new continent horse excrement. Personally, I’ll say this is the most intriguing expansion I’ve seen, even if it does mess with the lore of the world in a pretty huge way. Tauren Paladins…come on.

The new expansion has almost all of the leaked features, for which I’ll defer to the official Blizzard FAQ page. I have to say, I’d be glad to get back to Azeroth if I was still playing. In fact, I just might resub when the xpac comes out, you know, just to kick the tires a bit.

Here’s the relevant info from the FAQ page:

    * Two New Playable Races: Adventure as one of two new races–the cursed worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful goblins with the Horde.

    * Level Cap Increased to 85: Earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to improve characters.

    * Classic Zones Remade: Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been altered forever and updated with new content, from the devastated Badlands to the broken Barrens, which has been sundered in two.

    * New High-Level Zones: Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great Sunken City of Vashj’ir beneath the sea.

    * More Raid Content than Ever Before: Enjoy more high-level raid content than previous expansions, with optional more challenging versions of all encounters.

    * New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.

    * Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.

    * New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.

    * Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.

    * Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms like never before.

As you might imagine, no word on a release date other than 2010.


Related Posts