Cataclysm: The “Failure” thus far
So it’s now known that 4.3 will be the last major content patch of Cataclysm, with the 4.4 that follows to be a bridge patch for the next expansion, be it Mists of Pandaria or whatever.
Perhaps it’s just me, but the most interesting addition coming in 4.3 isn’t the final raid, nor any of the new 5 mans, but rather transmogrification and void storage. Finally, I can free up my bank of the crazy amounts of sets I’ve held onto all these years! I’ve a full set of T1 and T2, the AQ 2.5 set, bits of T5 and T6, full T10 (some ilvl 264, some 277) and my current T11 (well, it’s in my bags rather than my bank but you get the point). On top of that, I’m looking forward to utilizing the graphics of the items I’ve collected over the years.
But many people are wondering…what went wrong? Why have there been so many people leaving WoW? From my own experience, the last guild I raided with consistently pretty much fell apart starting early this year, nearing the end of normal mode T11 progression. The tier itself felt very uninspired; BWD, 2 halls, connected to a circular “room” with 3 offshoot rooms. Bastion was basically a giant purple Shattered Halls. Throne of the Four Winds was all of 5 platforms. Yee haw….zzzz….oh, and once you finished normal modes, have fun coming back for heroic modes in the same instances!
I tend to think that with already having done the normal to heroic progression in similar manners with both T9 and T10 in WoTLK, people have simply tired of that mechanic. “Hey guys, come back to the instance so you can do the same bosses again, only with an additional twist or two…oh and they hit harder and have more health, of course”. I say to hell with the whole normal/heroic split and have it be all or nothing, but that would lead to endless amounts of tears from both ends of the spectrum: The hardcore PVE guilds, who would claim the game’s too easy and is catering to scrubs/bads/casuals/insertrandomderogatoryphrasehere, while at the other end, you’d have complaints of it being too hard. I suppose the normal/heroic deal is the best way to please both crowds.
Another issue with Cata: What to do when you’re not raiding? Well, you can work on…archaeology…hah! I can safely say that once I got all the achievements in the Archaeology tab, I have never touched a single dig since. Whoever designed arch in WoW had the biggest hard on for RNG on top of RNG that can possibly be imagined, and should be slapped in the face (preferrably with a tire iron). Ok, so scratch that…but you can turn to daily quests, a tried and true way of keeping people coming back. Well, ok…Tol Barad isn’t too bad as an daily hub; you can get some vanity items and/or gear from there using the tokens. On top of that, you’re making some extra cash, plus working through yet another rep (more on that later). The Molten Front? As I have told my friends, had they not tied a good dozen or so achievements to it, I wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole. Gating for daily quests…really? There’s zero epic feel to doing the same exact quests for a good month and change, so I don’t see any purpose in gating them the way they did…oh, I know, it’s to keep people playing, the old “carrot on a stick”, with the stick in this case being a flaming hippogryph, aka a recolored model of a mount I’ve had for, oh, 4 years now. I’m roughly a week and a half away from Flamebreaker, and once I ding that achievement, you won’t ever see me out there doing those dailies again. Here I thought they couldn’t make a daily hub worse for us OCD folks than the Argent Tournament (which I never got the Sunreaver flying mount and tabard…and I can’t be asked to bother).
Soooo….what else is there to do, if you don’t want to dabble in dailies or Archaeology? Well…not much. Most of us are sitting in queues, be they for random dungeons/heroics, or battlegrounds. One GOOD thing that has been accomplished in Cata was the merging of the pvp battlegroups into regionwide pools (US, EU, etc.) which took the average wait time from 15-20 minutes for us Horde players down to 2-5 minutes. I also tend to believe that a lot of people took up faction transfer and went to the blue team due to how awful the queues were throughout Wrath and into early Cata.
As I noted in my previous post, I’m only back for pvp, which isn’t exactly the most balanced thing ever. Affliction warlocks and our own resto shaman completely dominate in the arena ladders, and I’ve had first hand experience as to why. Of course, when people complain about shamans being overpowered, what happens? All 3 specs end up getting nerfed. That’s the most infuriating part about shaman nerfs, at least in recent memory. The current target Ghostcrawler has his eyes on is our beloved Wind Shear. WS is a microcosm of the problem we now have in this game: There are WAY TOO MANY INTERRUPTS. Playing a caster now is borderline a nightmare, unless you’re a frost mage or affliction warlock. When we’re pitted against melee cleave teams, I pretty much never even try to get a spell off that requires a cast bar, because there’s about a 95% chance it will get interrupted. The interrupt issue is much more noticable now since casters do not have the ungodly amounts of haste they had from mid-late Wrath.
Complaints aside, pvp has been more fun to me in Cata than the raiding by a long shot. It’s quite nice having the honor/conquest point system to worry with in terms of getting gear vs. hoping the RNG gods shine upon you after downing X boss for the umpteenth time so that you can roll on/opt in on that piece of gear you and possible a few others want.
Many people are foo-fooing Cata for it’s “focus” on the leveling content. The only reason I would pick at it is because it didn’t go from 1-80, but from 1-60. The stuff they did revamp is quite refreshing; easier, perhaps, but it’s something different. Those quest zones had been unchanged for over 5 years…for altaholics out there, the questing was as boring as sin. Which brings me to my complaint; it was disheartening for me to go from the “new” quests in Azeroth while leveling a mage alt to walk through the Dark Portal once again and find myself in Thrallmar for the…oh geez, I’ve lost count at this point. Poor Outland…such a cool place yet all but neglected for the past 3-4 years now.
I’m a bit scatterbrained at the moment, hence how ranty this post is, and I’ll probably be continuing it in the near future. But now, as it’s said, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.