World of Warcraft: Cataclysm – The single greatest expansion of all time?

Readers might have picked up on the fact that I’m at times a bit tough on Blizzard and how they have been updating WoW. Sure I’m not the biggest fan of easymode everything, cookies for everyone, and the glacial pace of any real content being added or even recycled, but now that’s all changed. Blizzard has announced their newest expansion, and man, is it feature-packed with awesome. Lets take a look shall we?

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

Sure new races might mean a new 1-20 game and then back into the same grind as everyone else, and while originally back in 2004 races had a few distinguishing features that have since been removed and they are now all just different graphics models, but think of how great the lore will be around the goblins setting aside their neutral ways and finally picking a side! Plus the good, noble alliance gets the perfect allies with Worgen, who are kind and friendly… well no they are monsters, but still, Worgen! Maybe these Worgen crash landed in THEIR spaceship next to the space goats… right?

* 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.

5 MORE LEVELS! Awesome. Sure this means another gear and progress reset, while giving you 5 levels less to quest and actually gain XP than usual, but come on, 5 MORE LEVELS! Plus just think of how awesome firebolt XIII is going to be. I mean sure firebolt XII in WotLK was nice, but can you image how awesome the XIII version is going to be? In your imagination of course, because firebolt will still have the same graphic effect it had in 2004, but come on, it’s level XIII now!

* 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.

This is the big one. Remember how awesome Barrens chat was back in 2004? All those awesome Chuck jokes and deep debates about abortion? Blizzard just doubled the awesome by giving everyone TWO versions of Barrens chat! Can we pre-order yet? Plus who the hell wants NEW content when you can revisit those sure-to-be TOTALLY redone old zones? All new textures, all new layout, all new everything, just like the total remake of Nax for WotLK! This is Blizzard, and if they have taught us anything, it’s that old content is new if they say it is, and man, they are saying it here!

* 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.

Another true fans dream. Remember back in 2004, when you went out to explore and found the Grim Batol ruins, but they were all empty and unfinished? Well it seems Blizzard was listening back then, because just a short 5 years later and $120 worth of expansions, here comes Grim Batol! I can’t wait for the new factions to grind out and the deep, rewarding daily quests to complete each and every day. Can we pre-order yet? Plus remember these are all new really high ( 5 levels high!) zones, so they won’t play ANYTHING like you have ever seen before!

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

I don’t know, Blizzard set a pretty high standard with WotLK and it’s zero new raids. How the hell are they going to top that this time, especially since this expansion is hot on the heels of the last? My guess is when they say ‘more raid content’, they mean that MC, BWL, and AQ will still be around, but in their awesome new TOTALLY redone forms. Just think, all new bosses in MC, all new textures in BWL, and a total revamp of AQ! Plus why bother with real challenge when you can fight Rag without fire resist gear, Nef without your Ony cloak, and C’thun after you run directly into his beam? Everyone knows the TRUE hardcore do things ass backwards for those ultra elite pets and titles! I can only hope Blizzard shatters our definition of epic once more.

* 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.

Um… gnome priests might be cool? I mean sure it’s not a hero class, or a new class, or a race system that matters beyond how your ‘epic’ dress glows, but um… a blood elf warrior is totally worth paying $40 for!

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

Once again Blizzard goes out and pushes the MMO genre forward by leaps and bounds. This is sure to be much-copied feature in all MMOs going forward. I wonder how soon EQ2 and WAR can adapt and introduce guild levels? It would be so cool to run around with your guild’s banner in WAR, claiming keeps and opening up new buffs. Oh wait… Well at least you can earn AWESOME achievement points for your guild, which can then be turned in for… stuff? Hopefully they allow you to chat-link your guild level, so if nothing else your entire guilds e-peen can be displayed proudly across TWO versions of Barrens chat. Take that Chuck jokes!

* 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.

With out a doubt, the single biggest success from WotLK was Wintergrasp. Not only did it have a server-wide impact (in lag and crashing), but it allowed literally HUNDREDS of players (up to 100 anyway) to battle it out in truly epic battle of ‘surround the flag with tanks’. Plus it was just another layer in the already perfect and awesome PvP system that is WoW. What other MMO lets you stun-lock and chain-fear your way to victory, displaying your amazing tactical skills the entire time?

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

Another serious addition to the already deep and interesting crafting system. One can only wonder what the 1-2 usable items Archaeology will bring once you grind it out to max, grind a faction to max, and get/buy a rare drop. Hopefully they announce what mats you will need to complete the grind, so forward-thinking master of the uber-complex WoW economy can start collecting now.

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

It was always a major downer to have to travel and run/ride across Azeroth. Most of my time in-game I always wondered “how much better would this be if I could just fly over everything, grab my quest item, and fly back”. Wonder no more WoW fans! Not only does flying impact the deep and tactical questing game, but it also adds… well the ability to fly places. Which is awesome, because aside from already seeing most of Azeroth from a flight path, I’m sure there are just TONS of places that are both unique and fun to explore, as anyone who has ever been on a private server can attest to. Trust me, you TOTALLY won’t believe what you will find over those previously impassible mounts (hint: nothing).

Plus, the super secretive “and much, much more”, which I’ll be honest, after that amazing sounding lineup, I don’t know if I can take ‘much more’, or even just plain old ‘more’. What could they possibly be hiding? A true hero system that expands your character rather than allow you to reroll, actual world PvP, a revamp to the graphics engine that was average-at-best in 2004, or an end-game not completely focused around epic (welfare) gear and rep grinds?

I know where my $40 is going, and that’s for the amazing chance to FINALLY play an undead paladin, with all the true Warcraft lore to back him up! What a truly great day not only for WoW fans, but for the entire MMO genre!

60 Responses to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm – The single greatest expansion of all time?

  1. Anne says:

    Sarcasm alarm has it an all time high!

    Anyway, I personally think it is epic that Blizzard is able to kill their lore, all the great old areas, and any interaction that was in WoW in the open world (a.k.a. flying mounts) all in one expansion.

    And how dare they kill barrens chat.

    BTW, notice that all the parts ‘destroyed’ or w/e on the maps were all the areas that players couldn’t get to or see due to no flying?

  2. sid67 says:

    * Classic Zones Remade:

    Your sarcasm is a bit unwarranted on this one. My biggest gripe about the Warcraft expansions is that they haven’t revisited the old world in which 90% of the lore is associated. It’s all largely been irrelevant for 3+ years.

    Quite frankly, I don’t want a new zone, class, continent or even race — what I want is to see the story of the content that I already know evolve!

    I know you haven’t played Wrath, so you probably haven’t seen the “phasing” that Blizzard has been doing in some of the newer zones. It’s a pretty cool way of making players feel like “their story” has progressed while leaving stuff for the next guy.

    Basically, with certain quest lines, instead of “doing some stuff” and then seeing nothing change as a result, the quest actually DOES change something from your perspective. In Icecrown, for example, you take over the Shadowvault which goes from being an mob invested area to a quest hub/town.

    And from what I have read so far, they are going to do a lot of this type of phasing (including modifications to terrain) alongside the major zone updates.

    Anyways… my point here is that I don’t really care about the brand new creative. I certainly don’t give a shit about Worgens or their new starting area. BUT– after 5 years slogging around that game, you can damn well bet that I’m interested in what happened to the Barrens and other areas.

    Does that mean that I start drinking the Blizzard Kool-Aid again? Not really. But it likely WILL be worth 3-4 months of my time to skulk around the updated zones.

    • Anne says:

      Firstly, phasing I’m sure wasn’t easy to do in a MMORPG. So gratz Blizzard for pulling it off.

      But ‘what IS phasing doing in a MMORPG?’ is the better question! The example you gave is… well a nice example! It has many different phasing events which lead the player through the storyline. But… If I wanted to play a game that evolves the story around me I’d play a normal RPG. Isn’t the whole point of MMORPGs about the community? A.K.A. doing things together? That example you gave, I did it completely alone myself, why? Because there were far to many people on different points on the quest and phasing that it cut me off to 98% of the other people that WOULD be in the area (everyone else in the game was in Dalaran being afk).

      This is the same for the DK area. I was there when the game was released and lots of people were rolling DK, but again I was cut off. None of the quests required others to begin with and even at the end cinematic I think I was one of the only ones there.

      So yes, gratz, Blizz can do phasing, how about they actually make it work next time with the actual genre in which their game is meant to be based within?

      Either way, phasing isn’t being used to update the zones. Since phasing such a large area would be an amazing task within itself.

      To add, I always loved Barren’s chat. Immaturity is hard to define, I’d rather be in an active chat with ‘lolkids’ (or what people call kids) then be in a chat where no one talks. More chat the better even if it is chuck norris jokes, this is why I play this genre.

      • sid67 says:

        Phasing is important because it lends permanency to MY actions while still allowing the next guy to experience it.

        I think it was Rob Pardo who commented that it was hard to have world events where you “burn down a village” because the next guy who comes along is like, “what happened to the village?” To which the rest of us say, “oh it was cool, we burned it down yesterday. You should have been here.”

        Phasing helps to eliminate that problem. It doesn’t mean the content needs to be solo. It just means that what I do has permanence without it being at ruining someone else’s experience.

      • syncaine says:

        “It just means that what I do has permanence without it being at ruining someone else’s experience.”

        You just described a single player RPG. The problem is viewing it as ‘ruining’ someones experience, rather than altering it and progressing the story/world. That Blizzard can’t do it with WoW does not mean it’s not been done (AC, EVE), or that all games going forward need to mimic the solo-hero experience of WoW.

  3. ScytheNoire says:

    I thought the Worgen starting area looked pretty cool, but other than that, it’s too little, too late. I’ve moved on, I want something new, not that same old “more raids” crap. Give us a new game.

  4. Kyir says:

    I’m actually quitting over this.

    Or not dropping the 40$

    You know, whichever.

  5. [...] Syncaine gets in first with a sarcastic sideswipe which has some salient comments but shows mostly that he’s missed the point about the revamp of old zones. An old zone can totally be new content if the graphics and quests are redone (what is a new zone after all anyway?) But one note about Barrens Chat; is he so sure that chat in his game of choice is better? Because you can’t entirely blame the zone for that. [...]

  6. Bonedead says:

    Sign me up, I aint never scared.

  7. Fortuente says:

    I approve of this post.

  8. Noizy says:

    I shouldn’t have read this first thing in the morning. I haven’t read a fisking this good since I moved to the MMO blogosphere. My day can only go downhill from here.

  9. smakendahed says:

    I think there is a funny here but I can’t find it. Oh well. I bet Eurogamer rates it higher than Darkfall. Any takers?

    (Anyone care? :D)

  10. Sean says:

    I guess the factual inaccuracies are also intentionally ironic? I hope that this doesn’t have too high a google page rank so that anyone who is actually interested in the new expansion can make fair judgments about its promised features. Those – the jaded observers and burned out veterans – that occupy the echo chamber that this blog preaches to will love the snark. In like measure I’m sure a large audience took delight in the schadenfreude of EG’s first Darkfall review. At least you’re not getting paid to fan the flames.

    • syncaine says:

      What ‘facts’ would that be?

      • Sean says:

        I thought a few of these were cute:

        “Plus just think of how awesome firebolt XIII is going to be. I mean sure firebolt XII in WotLK was nice, but can you image how awesome the XIII version is going to be? In your imagination of course, because firebolt will still have the same graphic effect it had in 2004, but come on, it’s level XIII now!”

        They directly addressed this during their class panel. Spell ranks are gone in the expansion. Spells/abilities will increase in power in direct proportion to your level.

        “Sure new races might mean a new 1-20 game and then back into the same grind as everyone else, and while originally back in 2004 races had a few distinguishing features that have since been removed and they are now all just different graphics models, but think of how great the lore will be around the goblins setting aside their neutral ways and finally picking a side!”

        Eh it is a new 1-15 level experience, the “same grind” will be a different grind for everyone, and every race will be getting new racials to bring back the sort of uniqueness that only (or at least partially) lives in the nostalgic memories of fans like you.

        “I don’t know, Blizzard set a pretty high standard with WotLK and it’s zero new raids.”

        Three to start but who is counting?

        “they mean that MC, BWL, and AQ will still be around, but in their awesome new TOTALLY redone forms. Just think, all new bosses in MC, all new textures in BWL, and a total revamp of AQ!”

        They said what they mean, and what they mean is that they recognize the paucity of the starting raid content for Wrath and how much players enjoy a variety to choose from. So to remedy that they talked about several, new raids to be released with the expansion. So far as they’ve announced, the closest they’re coming to “recycling” old raids is “Blackrock Caverns” an instance that will be accessible from within an existing old world instance, complete with new art, monsters, locale, etc.

        I could go on but statements like “Well at least you can earn AWESOME achievement points for your guild, which can then be turned in for… stuff?” are as much criticism as they are admission that you read a bullet point list of new feature without investigating any further. I don’t blame you for that; if you don’t care about the game then taking only the limited amount of time to read up on the news synopsis to successfully shit on it is expected. I also get the spirit of your comments and agree with some of the sentiment (ooh five more levels for stronger pew pew).

        Still, this is blogging! The new front for journalism! Ought to keep the standards above EG levels eh? /sarcasm off

      • syncaine says:

        What 3 new raids shipped with WotLK? And how is spells getting stronger per level any different than ‘buying a spell to make it stronger per level’? Don’t they mention SFK being in there as well, without a new layout just ‘different’ encounters?

        Obviously SOME of the content is going to be redone (although still using the same 2004 graphics engine), but again, this is not the WoW 2.0 that some are claiming it’s going to be, which is more or less the spirit of the post.

      • Sean says:

        The three new raids were: Eye of Eternity, Sartherion, and Vault of Archavon.

        “and how is spells getting stronger per level any different than ‘buying a spell to make it stronger per level’?”

        Well for one it is more transparent to the casual player. They’ve been moving away from spell ranks anyway as people would either use lower ranked spells for mana efficiency or mistakenly use them (via macros or since they didn’t train them).

        “Don’t they mention SFK being in there as well, without a new layout just ‘different’ encounters?”

        “Heroic” SFK and Deadmines. They promise new bosses, new trash mobs, and new mechanics for these instances appropriate for level 85 players.

        They just announced in their Instance panel that there will be four full raids at the launch of the expansion and repeated their promise that this represents the most raid content they’ve ever released with.

        “Obviously SOME of the content is going to be redone (although still using the same 2004 graphics engine), but again, this is not the WoW 2.0 that some are claiming it’s going to be, which is more or less the spirit of the post.”

        First of all they’ve iterated on the graphics engine continually; to claim that it is the same engine would be comparable to saying that Source circa 2004 is the same as Source powering Left 4 Dead 2. Moreover they’ve even explitictly discussed new improvements to the graphics engine, particularly new water rendering (which is all the more important given that an entire zone of the new expansion will be underwater).

        This isn’t WoW 2.0 but actually look at the screenshots, videos, and presentations. Not only are they making large aesthetic changes to the existing zones but they’re also making substantive changes to questing (flow and additional content), NPCs, existing professions, PvP, etc.

      • Anne says:

        3 new raids = 3 bosses with with recycled models/mechanics and which most guilds could down on the first night.

        And yes, it is the same engine, hence it will always be limited. Left 4 Dead was able to do what it does because of the original engine, but at the same time that engine will go out of date… The WoW engine is at that out-of-date point now.

        And yes, I am a huge Half-Life fan, the source engine was a huge set up and Left4Dead is based on what the engine can do. Saying that the WoW engine is still fine is like saying that the original quake engine used in half-life could have been used in Half-Life 2. Blizzard has the resources and the money to create a new engine for such a popular game, yet they choose not to?

        Either way, comparing engines like you did is comparing apples and oranges, considering the completely differing designs of MMORPGs to other online games. Left 4 Dead as a game within itself will NEVER be upgraded in graphics just like CS 1.6 was never, because with such games you buy the game once and cease having to pay for it, while MMORPGs are a continuing-type genre where things get changed and should get changed but Blizzard purposely decides not to.

      • Sean says:

        Valve built an engine that was to serve as a platform for their games going forward. They made it so as to iterate on it, not only to save themselves time but also so they wouldn’t marginalize those with older systems. You can play WoW on a netbook and, while they have upgraded the engine over time (compare vanilla to BC to Wrath), Blizzard has kept the minimum specs largely the same so that as many people as possible can play. The only example of an engine revamp working in an MMO is EVE and the sort of upgrades that CCP does to their engine are what Blizzard has done to theirs. Otherwise, MMOs like EQ2 or AoC at launch are examples of what happens when you build an engine that the majority of PC owners can’t even run, let alone play well.

      • Anne says:

        So you are pretty much admitting that the Source engine example was bad since it is differing context and Valve purposely made it a certain way so it could last for year long but don’t say the same about WoW?

        Gratz someone can play WoW on a Netbook, have you? Because I have, with a generic graphics card in early WOTLK, it played awfully. And WoW plays awfully on my mostly high-end PC too, it gets low FPS in most areas and there are certain graphics that completely bug it out (I’ve had this same experience both and after upgrades including a new HDD, so it isn’t just me).

        Engine revamp in a game like WoW, you do know they want to complete the whole story with Warcraft through WoW don’t you? When a game last for 10+ years, you get millions, billions and still want it to continue being popular? Meh, maybe after the next few Blizzard wants WoW to become a niche game like current day EQ/UO.

        The minor upgrades they have done with the engine only worsen it, every over the years WoW’s performance on my PCs has only gone down and working on an already old engine and trying to upgrade on it most likely strains it.

        The whole ‘WoW works well on all platforms’ is BS, and the professions who know how engines work aren’t the ones saying it. So yes, WoW can barely work on a generic notebook, just like it barely works on my high-end PC.

        Either way, the little I have tried of something like Aion and I am a convert on the engine. It is amazing compared with WoWs, works more smoothly and looks amazing. Newer games whether source or stuff like fallout 3 also work flawlessly while WoW still staggers miles behind.

  11. Xyloxan says:

    No matter what Syncaine is saying and how bitter he is over his countless “wasted” hours of playing WoW in a raiding guild. I am betting that there will be more old WoW accounts reactivated after the Cataclysm is released than the total number of DF accounts ever created. There is no doubt that Blizzard wants to make as much $$$ as possible and they are pretty successful in doing so. Are they capable od creating a PvP MMO game better than DF? I’m pretty sure they are. Do they want to? Apparently not. And this is all good because it allows other smaller game shops create they niche products, make some money, and contribute to the genre development.

    • Loire says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but what you’re saying is that the fact that Blizzard has strangled the PVEMMO genre and left unreasonable expectations for every MMO developer since 2004 is a good thing?

      The only reason Blizzard doesn’t put out a PVP MMO is because it lacks the profit potential of a PVE MMO. The only reason they developed Wintergrasp is because they perceived a threat with WAR.

      Thanks to WoW we have “One million subs or bust” mentality, easy-mode mentality, “I should be able to solo anything in the game” mentality as well as the wowtourist phenomena.

      Yea Blizzard has done loads of good for the genre. Loads.

      And since when has Blizzards profit making ability been a good thing? How is that even an argument?

      • sid67 says:

        Wait. How does Blizzard create unreasonable expectations for every other MMO developer?

        Are you trying to say that because Blizzard did such a fantastic job on WoW that they have effectively “spoiled” the market for everyone else?

        I’m sorry but being critical of Blizzard for raising the bar is simply asinine.

        Warhammer didn’t fail because of Blizzard. Warhammer failed because the end-game sucked and it lacked the staying power to keep players interested for more than a couple of months.

        As for the reactivation of accounts, that’s relevant because it’s a quantifiable way of measuring the success of the expansion. The number of people interested in resubbing (myself included since my account is cancelled) is a pretty good indicator that Blizzard is onto something that people want.

  12. coppertopper says:

    You forgot to point out the “..and 100’s of new Quests!” line that was featured in the video. Surely worth another million copies sold.

  13. heartless_ says:

    So, Blizzard has a winning formula for an aging game. No, its not “innovative” for the MMO market, but what is? Dust 514 maybe?

    The truth for any product is that it is easier to maintain customers than to attempt and attract new customers. This nails it for the WoW crowd by doing what WoW has ALWAYS done well.

    WoW is still the best game I’ve ever played and I probably will be starting a new toon come the Cataclysm.

  14. Wilhelm2451 says:

    *yawn*

    Syncaine still hates WoW, film at 11.

    • syncaine says:

      You have Pokemon, I have WoW.

      Plus look how entertaining it is to watch people react to the whole zone revamp thing. They honestly think Bliz is going to remake 100% of Azeroth, and not do what they did with Duskwallow.

      • sid67 says:

        Barrens Chat x2 and a comparison to Dustwallow are the best cracks you can take at the zone revamp?

        TAGN has you pegged, you still hate WoW and will continue hating it no matter what they did.

        Which isn’t much of a shocker, but I will say that a lot of this post just comes across as you being a critical because of your bias rather than any kind of objectivity.

        I still love the blog but at least *try* to be objective about the expansion even if it doesn’t entice you into playing it again.

        All you have to do is watch the video to see that the zone update isn’t some lame Dustwallow remake.

      • syncaine says:

        Of course in a promo video they are going to show the BEST example of a zone remake. The part that I find funny is those who believe ALL the zones will be like that. Everyone expecting WoW 2.0 is going to be disappointed.

        And considering Duskwallow IS one of the only examples we have of Blizzard changing an old zone in 5 years, I think it’s at least a valid example.

      • heartless_ says:

        Syncaine you are the only one expecting WoW 2.0 and you seem to be the only one that’s out there reading “all of Azeroth”.

  15. Bhagpuss says:

    It’s more stuff. What else do we ever want? If it hadn’t been this stuff it would have been other stuff. Whatever stuff it was, it would have been good.

    More seriously, if you think this expansion looks uninspired, you should really take a look at the next EQ2 expansion. It was the news of what that was going to be that finally made me and Mrs Bhagpuss download the WoW free trial after holding out for five years. And as a result cancel our two SoE accounts that had been held continuously for almost a decade, even through periods when neither of us was actively playing any SoE games. By comparison, “Cataclysm” looks like a work of genius.

    • Gareth says:

      Not heard any bad news on the new expansion there myself, the graphics engine is getting a total revamp (although independent of the expansion) and there still is hard mode content.

      I think EQ2 will have ruined the chance for you to enjoy WoW though, if you can get around the cartoon graphics and some lumpy animations (human mages move like action men!) then the gameplay will get you.

      A group of 3+ year WoW players tried to re-roll on the other faction side and play the game together. It just didn’t work, we were grabbing multiple groups and AoEing them down 7+ levels higher then us.

      Basically the game was broken, only a complete keyboard drooler now could find a challenge before you hit the original end game, and now they are even “revamping” the 1-60, if its along the lines of the WotLK content where I could solo 5 man quests at my level then things can only get easier.

      Personally I enjoy Everquest 2 rough edges aside, as its a role playing fantasy world I want to play in, I’m playing WAR too for my PVP fix, but under no illusions that the PVP is a grind.

      But making it sudden death where 20 players target the ship you’ve grinded for 6 months to buy and destroy it in 0.3s EVE style wouldn’t make PVP more exciting either. PVP “enjoyment” like that is akin to making a sporting event more “exciting” just because you’ve wagered 4 hours of your pay on it, sad.

      What I want from the next game is one where pvp and pve is mixed in, WoW once more or less had this with AV but then turned it into a 15 minute grind, plus their PVP consists of tedious stun locking. Failing is a big enough penalty for pvp to me, time is the most valuable commodity in life. A corpse run for open world PVP is about just right then on the penalty, since it reconnects you back to the action, for BGs just respawn somewhere does fine.

      Anyway, I’ve wandered off topic enough, but my advice is, if you want to enjoy WoW now you’ll need a lobotomy, or two.

  16. Dracon says:

    @Syncaine: The sarcasm of your post is obvious and not warranted. Cataclysm will give many players an opportunity to start new characters, develop old ones to the new level cap, try out new class-race combinations (Tauren Paladins for the win!) and generally enjoy the game and have fun doing it.

  17. rulez says:

    So you’re giving the expansion a 2/10?
    Well I give the article a 9/10, although in the beginning I nearly thought you were serious :P.

  18. Frank says:

    I’m more excited for Cataclysm than either of the current WoW expansions. To me, it seems like WoW will finally be the game I always wanted it to be. Of course, I’m the casual MMO player whom Blizzard knows how to deliver to.

  19. tariqone says:

    Right on. They should just release patches and call them “expansions.” Why bother adding any substantial new stuff? There are loads of sheeple out there who will happily settle for much, much, much less.

  20. evizaer says:

    Another insightful post full of unique analysis and realistic expectations from a popular blogger who is great at expressing his opinions in a way that fosters discussion and the advancement of the genre while sloughing aside the burdensome sarcasm-wrought chidings of ne’er-do-well pundits.

    You make plenty of good points, supported by facts. It’s every reasonable MMO fan’s duty to read and agree with this perfect article.

  21. Solidstate says:

    I don’t know what people want from Syncaine, he’s one of the greatest comedian-bloggers that I’ve ever read :)

  22. [...] Casual has a hilarious assessment of the coming [...]

  23. pitrelli says:

    I did have a chuckle at the article.

    The expansion however has he interested, as a fan of vanilla WoW its going to be interesting to see portions of it changed.

    Oh yeah and Worgen rogue sounds pretty sweet

    Damn you Blizzard!

  24. Lolz says:

    Blizz make money money with more stuff. Blizz spend money to make more stuff. Blizz expending some profit to improve product and keep / add subscriber.

    Blogger mad about stuff. Blogger not realize playing game wasted time either way. Blogger pretend improved or new stuff waste more time than old stuff. Blogger pretend making customer wasting time happy is bad time. Blogger not realize his blog is same waste of time only not in MMO land.

    Game still a game. Blogger still lose.

  25. Cataclysm – Not for me…

    An analysis of WoW’s new Cataclysm expansion through the eyes of an ex-player….

  26. Cinako says:

    So recently released updates on World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion “Cataclysm?” I find it a bit odd that they have coined the term for their expansion and trademarked it and the things they are doing in expansion is sort of what happened in AION from the get go. The Cataclysm tore Atreia into 2 halves and left the world changed. Odd, wow is using the term and then re-skinning both sides of their world to resemble the change from the Cataclysm. Anyone else find this funny, or think WoW stole Aion’s Lore slightly?

    • Revengencer says:

      You can only do something so many times Cinako, when really, it would be AION who stole from WoW lore, seeing as, well…The SUNDERING tore Azeroth in two, which was in the lore books ages ago and AION might as well of stole it from them, but does it really matter?

      WoW Will continue to be what it always has been, an enjoyable experiance for alot of people, and to a few a hell that which cannot be explained.

      But I digress…AION is WoW in chump change form, you go and subscribe to AION, let me know in four months if you are still having fun there.

  27. An observation and question. And my apologies if said observation/question has been posed here before, I don’t read this site all too often, generally finding the embittered attitude to be slightly depressive. Although given the fact that I’m not one of the ones who hates Blizzard/WoW collectively as if they snuck into my house in the middle of the night, broke all my toys, slept with my partner and then posted pics of it on Facebook (or the alternative, the people who wish to defend WoW to the death at all costs without remembering that it is, in fact, a game) I recognize that I’m probably not your target demographic.

    As I said I don’t read here much, but when I do I kinda find myself rolling my eyes at a lot of the stuff you have to say about games you gleefully remind us you no longer play. You seem to have this need to not simply leave a game, but make sure that you trash it on the way out and stereotype all those who don’t feel the same way you do about said mindless entertainment. It’s not enough for you to decide to not play anymore, if you don’t find it entertaining, the feeling I get from you is that no one else should find it entertaining. This mentality was apparent when you left WoW for WAR, and when you left WAR for Darkfall, and I’m sure it will be evidenced when you leave Darkfall for Jesus’ Game #3 All Hail the Glory of the MMOG Sent from on High or whatever it is you go play next when Darkfall betrays you.

    Now going back to the entertainment thing, these are games. I play what I play because it entertains me, leaving it when it does not, but I don’t feel the same need you seem to radiate in making sure the world knows you feel said game(s) screwed you over. I might be off, but that’s the perspective I get when I read your site and the sweeping generalizations you make when you criticize these games and the people who still continue to play them. If WoW isn’t your cup of tea for whatever reason, by all means, tastes vary. I play WoW, I enjoy it, I recognize its faults, but I also play other games as well and enjoy those too. They’re games, not political factions, so I don’t understand the loyalty-and-we-shall-crush-those-who-oppose us. Arguably it is WoW’s success that has enabled games like WAR and Darkfall to get released to the numbers they have access to and the attention they have; how many sites existed about MMOGs before WoW came around? How many people looked at it as a respectable hobby instead of a lame thing fat basement dwellers do when they’re not sleeping or borrowing money from their parents? What would you be writing about if not snarky comments about a game you don’t play anymore? I don’t like the Beatles but damn if I don’t recognize the contribution they made to music all the same.

    I personally don’t understand the vitriol, but maybe something’s wrong with me.

    So the question; why?

    • syncaine says:

      To your observation, it’s a bit off (but since you only read ‘sometimes’, that’s understandable). Not only have I not quit WAR, but I’m also one of the few bloggers who continues to state it’s a far better game than it’s given credit for, and that it’s one major overhaul (T4 RvR) away from being great. I’ve talked about the issues with both DF and WAR, but continue to state they are quality games (especially DF considering it’s budget and dev size, and that it’s a game style (sandbox PvP) that is far more difficult to get right then stringing together quest hubs in a theme park)

      The reason I’m harder on Blizzard and WoW is because when you have 5m subs, and sell millions of copies of x-pacs for $40 a pop, I’m going to hold you to a higher standard than say, DDO updates. Combine that with the fact that games like WAR are influenced by WoW in a negative way (Only reason WAR has as much useless PvE as it does is because of WoW and trying to attract the non-MMO gamers that play it), it creates an issue in the genre that I enjoy. Top it off with the fact that MMO sub numbers remain unchanged since WoW got it’s 5m players, and the only thing WoW brought to the genre (high sub numbers) doesn’t actually have any effect aside from tourists, which is again negative. Plus your attitude that the MMO genre was so different before WoW came along is horribly off. If anything, the genre pre-WoW was at least more diverse, without WoW-clone after WoW-clone being released. You might not be here without WoW, but MMO gamers would be.

      As for the whole ‘why’ aspect, why read and comment on a blog about silly games when you could have spent that time/effort debating politics or something else more ‘real’? Blogging, like gaming, is a hobby, one that I choose to spend X amount of time on because I enjoy it.

      • Commenting on a video game blog and commenting on political issues aren’t mutually exclusive, that’s a bit silly.

      • syncaine says:

        I’m fairly sure if I’m reading/writing a gaming blog, I’m not reading/writing a political blog at the same time. As time is limited, I’d rather spend it here than on a Fox News blog or CNN tracker.

      • Having time to reply to this now (sadly was too busy yesterday), okay, my opinion of your snark might be incorrect. Sure.

        “You might not be here without WoW, but MMO gamers would be.”

        Well not that you’d know or anything, but my MMOGaming began an incredibly long time ago with MUDs and MUSHes before graphical interfaces existed; I was heavily into Legends of Kesmai, my first “job” as a teenager was power leveling characters in Ultima Online to then turn around and resell to others for cash; dunno what gave you the impression that my first game was WoW, but that’s immensely incorrect.

        The frequency of WoW-clone upon WoW-clone (something I’ve complained about myself) is not really Blizzard’s fault. Why should they be blamed for copycats? Similarly, if WAR implements something WoW has which you find negative, that’s still WAR’s fault, not WoW’s. Nobody’s walking over to Mythic to force them to add something to the game, they’re doing it on their own, on their own volition. I disagree that the pre-WoW MMOG market was any more diverse though, it was a different set of clones, most of which centered around the kill-millions-of-this-to-level mechanic that I’m thankful to see the death of, personally. I never said it was different, however, I said it was smaller. And it was, there were not eleven million people in the US/Europe markets playing MMOGs before WoW, there was not a viable job industry around MMOGs before WoW, there were not nearly as many MMOGs before WoW, much less companies churning them out (even if they are all sadly usually clones of each other), and gaming itself was seen as that weird dork thing strange people who live at home do, nothing to be taken seriously. Love the game or hate it, fine, diminishing its relevance because you have an axe to grind is pretty shallow.

        I guess the difference is you feel you need to be “harder” on anything. They’re entertainment, they’re not banners to rally under. That’s the part I don’t understand, or why every post you write about Blizzard/WoW comes off as the pissed ex who won’t get over his girlfriend. It’s apparent in your every comment, complaining about the seriousness of other gamers, “tourists” being negative, etc. I read it as pretty condescending, really, but whatever, it’s your site either way. /shrug

  28. Wolfshead says:

    Delicious satire! All very valid points too. :)

  29. nik666 says:

    Point taken. And ignored.

  30. Casey says:

    Having only just got my two toons to 80 (I know I’m slow), I’m really not looking forward to this. The old parts of the game are dead now and it just doesn’t seem to be the same. Time for a change?

  31. Zee says:

    In level 23 now. 7 more to beat a whole lot of friends… :)

  32. Manbearcow says:

    All the elite Blizzard programmers are working on Next Gen MMO, no?

  33. Anonymous says:

    i find it funny that you have the audacity to post when you clearly have no idea what is going on. 3/4 of the things you have said aren’t true and just show how much of an idiot you are

  34. Anonymous says:

    If you quit the game, you lost the game.
    If you haven’t quit yet, you’ve lost the game.
    If you’re planning to quit, just as soon as ____, you’ve *really* lost the game.

    In other words, everybody loses the game. It’s those times that you somehow manage to NOT lose, despite having a group steeped in failsauce, or going up against a faceroller in pvp, that make it enjoyable, and therefore a worthwhile experience. That, because the point is to have fun. If you can pull off that epic and rare achievement, then and only then do you win.

    Oh, and if you’re reading this – you just lost the game.

    Cheers!

  35. MrMe says:

    Mark my words and remember what I say. This expansion will be the biggest stinking pile of Donkey shit you ever purchased. I suggest only buying this piece of crap as a Drink Coaster.

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