Monday, December 27, 2010

Thoughts on Cataclysm


So, I'm sure by now pretty much anyone reading this played the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm and drawn your own conclusions about it. Or if you haven't played it then you may have no interest in my opinions of the game.

But regardless whichever category you fall under- read this post anyway, I have a family to feed!

First Impressions-

When I first booted up the game, it was after a long (re:16 hour) workday, and I knew I had maybe an hour tops to play before bed. I threw in the installation disc, grabbed some chow, and sat down expecting to watch a loading bar. Thankfully however the game was ready to play
quickly and I was off to the races.

Prior to the expansion I had done zero research regarding leveling, or strategies for traversing the new content, so I was a little overwhelmed at first. I headed to Mount Hyjal and started questing through the typical "kill 10 boars" or "loot 5 orbs of evil" quests. I was disheartened to see a realm first level 85 achievement pop up on the first night, and was annoyed that people were hitting level cap in less than one day, a drastic change compared to WOTLK.

Overall however, I found myself sucked into the questing, the new zone, and the new achievements and ended the night craving much more.


I played through Hyjal, Deepholm, Vash'ir, and Uldum over the next few days and got a good idea of the game-play of the expansion. While there were some really awesome quest lines, I think the majority were far too familiar, predictable, and underwhelming. For example, the end of the Hyjal quests involved defeated Ragnaros with some legends from WoW lore, (amazing concept right?) but it ended up being a drawn out fight involving too much repetition (heal the guy, dodge the fire, kill the adds, repeat) to be fun.

In addition, it seems like the developers heard all the positive reaction to their cut sequences (Wrathgate) from the fans and decided that they needed to strike the iron while it was hot. So expect A LOT more cut scenes in Cata. And this is by no means a good thing. The Wrathgate sequence was a triumph of visual and emotional imagery which provided not only entertainment, but emotional appeal. When Bolvar calls out to Arthas, you hear the passion in his tone, and to see him fall to apparent betrayal by the Forsaken really sparks a variety of emotions in the player.

The Cata cut sequences by comparison are boring, unnecessary, and extremely random. It seems kind of like the development team ended up with some extra budget while designing Uldum and decided every other zone needed a cut-scene.

There is one cut scene where you literally ride about 50 yards on a caravan while some guy in a funny hat talks about something irrelevant to anything that matters in the game.

I found myself literally annoyed by these cut scenes at several times, because they took me out of the game, which was Blizzard's argument originally as to why there weren't more cut scenes to begin with!

Closing Thoughts-

Aside from the frustrating an pointless cut scenes, if I had to give my overall opinion of Cata, I would say everything seems too formulaic. Don't mistake me for an elitist when I say that, I realize that they have something that works, so obviously there will be redundancies. But it just seems like everything is just a re-skinned regurgitation from the past. New, expensive crafting pets and mounts to create- check; new, rare drop mounts and pets to farm- check; new factions to farm rep for, check. This may just be me being cynical as a completionist, but it feels too much like I've already beaten this game before...

Anyway, overall I know I'm going to be wasting more time than I should playing the expansion, so i can't hate on it too much. It looks better than ever, some of the quests are downright epic and/or hilarious, they added a ton of new places to explore, they added new things to farm, and the guild achievements and perks are amazing and really add extra unity to guilds. Overall Cataclysm has some brown spots, but this is one piece of fruit still worth eating.

Extra Special Graphically-Challenged

Merry Christmas and happy holidays blogosphere! Hopefully everyone had a great holiday!

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I have been considerably overwhelmed by work.

However, as a mea culpa (and as a belated Xmas gift) I cooked up this extra special Graphically-Challenged for everyone, on the side of my work mug (the blurred area was formerly the company logo)!

Monday, December 6, 2010


I will never figure out this blogger image upload stuff. It loads a different size every time. :(