dkirschner's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)
| [June 27, 2011 08:43:30 PM]
| I just went back and read my few Cataclysm entries. I haven't logged into the game since soon after the last one, about 2.5 months ago. It's a weird feeling when I stop to think about it. P stopped playing about the same time and canceled his account a month ago. I haven't canceled mine because of said weird feeling, some mixture of obligation and desire to eventually log on and talk to a few people. I've talked to P about us quitting, and we've got a lot more talking to do about it. The other day he asked if I miss the game, and I said 'no, just the people.' Obviously the people don't exist for me outside the game, so I miss them in the game itself. Every now and then I think to myself 'I should log on and see what they're all up to, catch up, and chat about why P and I aren't online anymore.' It almost feels like I'm trying to get closure, to back out and wrap up my old relationship with the game. P doesn't feel the same way. He misses PvP and that's all. Raiding? Neither of us miss it. I enjoyed raiding. It was fun and challenging, but it took up a lot of time. I broke up with my long-time girlfriend back in February and have felt this great sense of freedom ever since. Not raiding has given me a similar feeling, a lifting of burdens and responsibilities, and the time and space to do other things. I've never in my life compared a video game to a girlfriend, but in a lot of ways WoW is like one, inasmuch as it's a social thing where people hold expectations of me.
Z, however, has not canceled her account and wants to keep playing. We played last 2+ months ago, leveling our hunters. The possibility of having fun with that and the whole nagging feeling to log on and talk to some people are why I haven't canceled my account. Given that I'm paying $15/mo and not playing, it's getting harder to justify keeping it open, so we either need to start playing some and/or I need to go keep those relationships alive, or else I'm being dumb.
So what's after WoW? What did I think would happen after I stopped being into it? I started playing the game Spring 2006, about 5 years ago. It's interesting to look back and trace my time with it so far. I really integrated it into my life. I mean, I went back to grad school because of it, if that says anything. It's totally accurate to say I wouldn't be where I am today if not for WoW, for a video game. Or more accurately, for the relationships I formed around it. I think that's really cool. Of course that's how things are for most people. X got you here or there, Y drove you to do this or that, but a lot of people look at you funny if X or Y is a game. I remember the above-mentioned ex-girlfriend told me one day, "You know, if we keep dating, you're going to stop playing WoW." I said, "Yeah, okay. You know I'll just play something else right?" P's wife said similar things. He canceled his subscription for a month or two like 7 or 8 months ago, right after Cataclysm, and then started messing with EVE, and his wife was like "What?! So you stop playing WoW and now you're playing something else?!" And he said what I told my ex, "Well yeah, I'm always going to play games."
Will we ever play anything else like we played WoW together for all those years? In my course playing it, I made a handful of friends online, played with P for at least 4 of those 5 years, played with RL friends who got me into it, played with that ex-girlfriend for probably 2 years, played with my brother for a year, have showed it to countless people, and gotten countless people to try it, some of whom liked it and kept playing, and have met countless other people in RL who play or have played. I mean, what other game is going to be like that? I've dabbled in a handful of MMOs in the last couple years, Everquest 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, etc. etc., just playing trials and F2P and reading about them. Nothing has been the same. P has been curious in EVE for at least a year and has jumped ship (ha) over there. We bought each other the game in Steam gift form for $5 a piece, which he wants to activate in the fall. He's also trying to get Z aboard, but like I said, she's not done with WoW yet. I always read on forums WoW and other MMO players asking what's the next big thing, speculating on what will come along and "kill" WoW, discussing what games to try, which MMOs are good and bad. It seems there is a lot about MMOs that people like, obviously, and that people want to hold onto across games.
In the past 6 months, I've predominantly played games other than WoW, which has not been the case for the last 5 years. Actually the last constantly heavy period ended sometime last summer. I took a long break before Cataclysm in November 2010, barely played it until late January 2011, had my last heavy period for a couple months, and haven't touched it since April. It's bizarre that the longest involvement I've had with any game in that time has been like a month for some of the longer games. I mean, just look at all these GameLogs I've made. There's been more since I started doing this than in the previous 4 years combined, of that I am positive. Like I remember, what, my first semester here, I think I played ONE game the whole semester besides WoW. One of the Shadow Hearts games. Then I remember I played Persona 3, which took me like 3 or 4 months, all winter. This month alone I've beaten 3. Last month 5. April 3. Etc. My list of games to play has actually shrunk. Amazing. And a couple weeks ago I even went browsing through the back catalogues of Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 games, and added everything from those systems to play. I even decided to buy one of those, probably an Xbox 360 first, when I move in a month. So, yeah, I in fact mostly replaced WoW time with other games, which is cool. I feel like I'm broadening my gaming horizons.
I didn't expect to sit here so long and reflect on WoW's impact on my life, but there it is. This is the kind of stuff P and I need to talk about. This is also the kind of stuff I want to talk with other people about regarding their interactions with games. I find it utterly fascinating listening to people reflect on games and gaming in their lives. Weeeee.
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| [April 13, 2011 08:05:00 AM]
| Just a bit of fun writing and an update about WoW...
Coming out of my anti-WoW funk of the last couple months, I've picked up raiding again with GW and am trying to get back into simple weekly arena matches for points with P and some other guildies. Our fury/disc combo is proving quite the beast. We stayed up until 3am before reset the other night getting our 5 wins. We went 4-0, then got this shaman/dk team that beat us twice in a row. Then our 5th win took 42 minutes. 42 minutes! It was against either ret/prot pally or warrior/prot pally. I can't remember because I killed the dps half in about 30 seconds. Then this prot paladin ran the two of us around for the other 41.5 minutes of the match until, thank god, we finally killed him. When the score screen came up, he and I had done some ludicrous amount of damage and P had done mega-healing. 42 minutes! I think my previous record was half that. I was going to be so pissed if we lost. I'm glad we stuck it out, and P made the nice call to stay on the bottom of Blade's Edge. Every time we went up onto the bridge, the paladin just beat on P. When we'd get him down below, P had more space to run, I had more space to stun, intercept, intervene, etc. The downside is the paladin had a bunch of pillars to LoS behind. He kept bubbling to bandage for some reason, instead of bubbling to heal. Anyway, it was insane. I'm glad for this 4.1 prot/ret word of glory nerf so that this prot paladin can no longer run around self-healing for 20k all the time.
So, arena is still fun. TB is still old and pretty boring, and I just do it occasionally for the best honor return, and have gotten back into doing BH, in which Fal won PvP gloves last week, my first BH drop in Cata. I haven't touched BGs in a while, and still haven't gotten around to doing a rated BG, although Nacht's resilience is good enough for the minimum requirement of the pugs I sometimes see, about 3k.
I have been intermittently leveling the hunter with Z, and we did some major BGing last time, which was fun! It's crazy leveling up new characters since with heirlooms and guild perks, I go 45% faster than normal. 45%! I do like 1/6 the quests in a zone, a couple BGs, a dungeon, and I'm leveled out into the next zone. I still haven't checked out the goblin or worgen yet, and I still haven't played through the new gnome and troll starting zones. I don't imagine it'll be too crazy new and exciting, but I almost feel obligated to experience it just because...it's an odd feeling. That, and I now have a character of every class over level 30, so I'm not going to seriously level any of the new races. I'd consider race changing if I had multiples at 85, but am not planning on leveling any more to 85 except this current hunter, which is a long-term project, and maybe a druid. Even then, I don't plan on playing the hunter once I hit 85. It's just a fun-to-level-with-a-friend character. Maybe when we hit 80, I'll switch to a druid and go 80-85 with a druid instead. Long-term plans!
Raiding, the good stuff. In my time off, the guild recruited a handful of new people, including several tank/healers and a couple dps, mostly to replace our two (main) tanks that gquit in the last couple months. Today we ran with two new paladin tanks. One of them seems more experienced than the other, but the less experienced one is eager to learn and seems nicer to raid with. Neither of them heal, which is good for me since my spot isn't compromised. We do have a new druid healer, who is pretty good and who I like. When I was just coming back 1-2 weeks ago, we would have 4-5 healers on. I have thus far avoiding having to dps too since I never even had a ret spec and just had unenchanted gear, some of which was pvp (is pvp!). I don't mind dpsing, but I haven't dpsed in cata yet. I've been holy about since the day I hit 85 except for some early PvP, so I'm not real confident about it and would only like to try on early bosses. So one of our two druid healers ends up dpsing since they each have decent dps sets. And it's good too since one is boomkin and the other kitty, so we have ranged and melee on call. I did enchant all my ret stuff today though, as well as create a ret spec, which I promptly changed back to pvp holy (but I know what one looks like now!) so that if I must play ret, I can wing it.
Healing is going phenomenally. I love holy paladins in cata. I am the same holy paladin with a couple extra aoe spells and a new instant spell. No longer am I 'the tank heals' keeping up two tanks with beacon, but I am more versatile. Healing assignments are less important in cata than wrath. Everyone just kind of heals whoever. That, and our three healers have been healing together for over a year, so we've become quite the unit. The raid bosses themselves are a lot of fun, with a lot of hectic moments and last-second kills. There's a lot to coordinate too. We were in a slump for some time, but last week we got two new bosses down. We're now 8/12, and even though we could be doing better, we are proud of ourselves. Last week we downed Chimeron and Conclave of Wind for the first times (1-shot Conclave!). The Chimeron kill was preceded one week earlier by a 1.5-hour-long wipefest wherein us healers were trying to learn the fight. Chimeron is totally a healer fight. You've got to keep everyone above 10k hp at all times because he spits slime on the raid that reduces hp to 1. If you're over 10k, the slime can't bring you below 1 due to this little robot running around the room that gives you a buff. If you get hit with the slime below 10k hp, then you die. Healing anyone after they're already over 10k is a massive waste of mana, except the off-tank, who takes the double attacks. So, it took us all a while to get the hang of how to coordinate our healing for the fight, but once we got it, we got it. When he gets to 20 or 25% hp, he enrages and enters a long survival/kite phase. You can't really kite him because he's fast, but everyone needs to pop survival cds and dps him down before he kills you one by one. In our kill, he was at about 400,000 with our two rogues left. They dpsd him down to about 150k when rogue A got hit twice and killed. We're all yelling in vent, cheering and going 'evasion! pop evasion! rogue tank!' The rogue gets Chimeron down to about 30k and gets hit down to 1hp! We're freaking out in Vent. The rogue's poisons are ticking away and he's still attacking. Rogue B pulled off a photo finish and took Chimeron to 0. It was incredible and I wish the whole thing had been recorded. I might have the Vent, but not the Fraps. We had a similar thing with Conclave, where we beat the encounter with 2 seconds left.
Monday we had an extra optional raid night to learn Nefarian, which started going pretty well after half an hour, at which point my internet failed us and we had to call raid because I couldn't stay online. I felt terrible and was pretty irritated because I wanted us all to learn the fight, and it was wholly my internet's fault that we had to stop. We'll get back in there though. I had the special job in phase one of healing with RF up to aggro the adds. We got the CC down. Priests were fearing them, mages frost novaing them in place. It was pretty nice by the time I started dcing. We had issues with one of those new tanks learning to turn onyxia, but he was getting it by the end. We pulled in the other new tank and he did it better from the start. I think we'll be able to kill him this week. Today we went into BoT and did Halfus (3rd or so attempt), Valiona & Theralion (1-shot, barely), and then did Conclave (45 minutes' worth, the first attempt of which we probably had them but I accidentally jumped off the ledge and caused a wipe). Tomorrow we go clear BWD, hopefully up to and including Nefarian. Friday we learn and kill Ascendant Council and work on Al'Akir. So, best case scenario probably involves a Nefarian and Ascendant Council kill this week. Worst case scenario is endless wiping on early bosses and never even seeing new ones (yuck). Assuming good attendance from good regulars, I'm leaning toward the scenario A. I think our number 1 problem is attendance. We're a casual guild, but we're a bunch of better-than-casual players, i.e., most of us were hardcore raiders at some point. So we all know we can do better, and we all want to, but we all have fun first hanging out, which is what I love about these people. So we don't mandate that people be on all the time, but that is something that definitely affects raid performance and progression. I'm trying to make it a point to be on our 3 days a week from now on whenever I can because I really want to see us succeed. Since I can pretty much work whenever I want, I feel this is a good opportunity to commit to something feasible and beneficial for me personally and for all of us as a group. I am excited for us. Here's to 10/12 this week!
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| [January 26, 2011 07:47:04 AM]
| I have seen level 85 and declare that it is good. I spent almost all weekend running regular dungeons to gear up for heroics, and I finally crossed the 329 ilvl threshold on Sunday. Heroics are supposed to be really hard these days, requiring all kinds of BC-era CC, and so far, some of the bosses are really like mini-raid bosses, quite difficult, requiring good group coordination and everyone knowing what's going on. And if it's any further indication, I've gotten in three so far, all have been stuck on one boss or another! The first one I had queued as ret because I was scared to go healing because of what I'd heard, but my ret set is/was terrible, way under hit cap, have hardly played ret since 80 and am not too familiar with the changes, so all I did was some terrible DPS and left after we wiped. I decided to heal after that because although I heard heroics were hard, that should be fun, right? Plus I'm quite confident in my skill at playing my holy paladin. The first heroic I got in, they were stuck on the last boss of Grim Batol. The tank was a jerk (not too surprising after they said they'd been there 2 hours), but he instantly made fun of my gear because I had on leather and mail. He claimed that 5% intellect was better and I was an idiot noob for not having all plate. Another guy backed me up when I said all the stats on 333 and 346 gear vs 316 and 308 and under gear are infinitely more valuable than 5% intellect. I told him I take what's best, and I'll fill out plate in heroics. He would not be pacificed. He linked my leather/mail, linked my trinkets because I had a mastery one, made fun of that (don't you know mastery sucks for holy paladins?!). I endured the verbal abuse and defended myself, and what do you know, after three tries with me healing, basically after I figured out the fight, we won. I'd never even seen the boss on heroic either. The first wipe, the tank just went down hard and I didn't know why. Sometime through the second attempt, I realized that the boss was using this ability that was smashing the tank for like 30% HP, and so I figured out what and when that was, and solved the problem of the first wipe. We wiped anyway though because the boss got down to like 2% and then healed up to 20% because, they said, we stood in beams. Okay, noted. The third try was perfect. The tank conceded that even though my "gear sucks," I am way better than the other fail healers they had. Thanks. You're still a jerk. I went in at the last 3 bosses of Halls of Origination Monday and made the save in style. I've gotten gear out of both too, so I'm upgrading nicely.
Monday I also saw Tol Barad for the first time. It was just a shaman and I attacking, and we had no chance, but had fun exploring the place and seeing how the battle works. I started doing the TB Peninsula dailies, which are no joke! Besides all the horde lurking, the NPCs are hard! I can't just aggro 5 of them and go to town. I have to do one or two at a time. Any more than that poses a real challenge, and I've died as often from NPCs as from horde. I did a random battleground too for fun and got the Gilneas one, the new capture the flag. It was fun and I did really good even with hardly any PvP gear. I see how resilience changed and I need more of it, and better gear all around, but I wasn't super behind other players, I guess because there are only 2 tiers of PvP gear right now, or 3 if you count not having any as tier 0, where I effectively am. I've been able to take out almost every class so far, even lock down healers, which is surprising. I haven't played enough to fully appreciate all the PvP changes, but I like them so far because I do well! Problem classes so far appear to be hunters and boomkins. Some boomkin critted me for 50k and my jaw dropped. That's WoW for now. I'll be doing a heroic daily and TB dailies until exalted/until I can start raiding. GW is building raid teams, and I plan to get in on the top one or two, whichever one is good and semi-serious, raids only like 2 nights a week for a few hours. Good and casual-serious, not hardcore anymore. I don't feel like devoting the kind of time and energy to this that I was doing in ICC for however many months, but I do still want to raid. A lot of other of my WoW friends from raiding past feel the same way. I think there was a lot of raid burnout in ICC.
Ok so heroics actually are hard. I'm not just awesome at saving groups. I got in one, my first one where we actually started from the beginning and I didn't come in for a boss fight, with 4 players from the same guild. "Great!" I thought. "Guild runs are usually smooth!" Buuut, the tank was horrible and the DPS wasn't that good either. We sloooowly with about 5 wipes made it to the first boss of Stonecore, the worm, and he obliterated us about 5 times before (!) they kicked me from the group. For why, I have no idea. They died from standing in the worm's burrowing every time. Every time. It was painful to watch, because you get one-shot if you stand in it in heroic. I died in it once, but when you do the fight 5 times, and I've never even done it on heroic, 1 out of 5 could be worse. Could be worse about how each of them died 3-4/5, so I was left alone and alive to die when he un-burrowed. I don't know why they kicked me, but I'm glad they did because that group wasn't going anywhere. And they were all on Vent together and still sucked that bad. And they knew what to do, but they just weren't doing it right. So I queued again, came in on the middle of the fire armor smith dragonkin in Blackrock Caverns, but my connection was booting me. We wiped once because the tank wasn't pulling him through the fire very well and there was too much damage going around for me to heal having never done it on heroic. We probably would have worked out the kinks and gotten it, but my connection decided to boot me and not let me back in. So I queued again, got a fresh group in Blackrock Caverns again, this time with 3/5 of a guild, except this time a geared and experienced guild group, a tank with 180k and DPS pulling 12k each. We rolled through and beat the place pretty handily and I learned some of the fights on heroic and won two items. So my thoughts in sum: Heroics are challenging. I can't count on people to know everything. I certainly don't know all the fights yet. If the tank is knowledgeable and the DPS are decent, I can heal them through easily. Especially if the tank isn't the best, it becomes magnitudes harder, and if the DPS take lots of unnecessary damage, it becomes magnitudes harder. I can't just carry less experienced players like I could in WotLK when I could say "OK tank, just pull everything, I've got you." Doesn't work like that. Everyone actually has to know what's going on. I like it.
I love that Blizzard kind of reverted to the old BC heroic style where heroics are actually different than normals. It feels much more challenging, and even when people start gearing up to the content, it will still be more challenging than the WotLK heroics ever were, simply because the bosses do different things and are generally made to be more "raid-like."
I've been trying to do a daily heroic and the cooking/fishing and the TBP dailies every day. The TBP dailies are so much fun because it's a warzone out there. I've gotten a couple PvP pieces and a PvE upgrade or two and am a little more competitive in open fighting. I'm trying to learn ret PvP and doing the dailies is great practice. I've started attacking more horde than before, and am killing some of them, and am trying to kind of learn how to beat some of the other classes. Today's kills were an admittedly cheap one against a mage and a shaman at low HP, then an awesome fight with a warrior who attacked a DK, and I came to help, but the warrior killed us both. Then we saw him a minute later and went in again. The DK died, but I finished off the warrior without much trouble. The same thing happened with a horde druid, except opposite. I killed him when I stumbled upon him killing another ally, and then a few minutes later when I was killing quest mobs, he cat form materialized behind me and tore me up. I guess I didn't have too many straight up 1v1 fights today. I tried to pounce on a shaman who was at about 60%, but man, he took me to school. I'm trying to remember to pop cooldowns and use all my tricks, but it's a lot to juggle!
I'm really looking forward to being able to play with friends and guildies perhaps this weekend since I can go through heroics with them now. I look forward to learning the bosses, maybe even learning a couple raid bosses, or trash at least, teaching some new-to-heroic folks some fights, and generally getting better with some guildies. Also, PvP. Being on an off-time-zone sucks sometimes when I want to play with people on the other side of the world.
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| [December 12, 2010 03:41:10 AM]
| Cataclysm is awesome. I had planned on not buying it until after winter break, but I ended up caught up in the fervor of release, and I was there when the servers all flipped. Patrick and I left work early to see it. One of James' employees took a WEEK of hard-earned vacation time for release. I'm sure there are far crazier stories.
It's hard to describe the mood of a virtual world on the eve of such an important event like an expansion release. Imagine a thousand players in several capital cities, all together, all are as excited as can be, talking, yelling, some just in game chat, some on VoIP with their friends and guilds, many having parties at their houses, riding elephants and dragons and motorcycles and flying carpets through the virtual cities, and all waiting, waiting for the server message that Cataclysm is now live. I was downright giddy. When the 3:00 server time passed without event, some people started calling doomsday. Some got even more excited that something unexpected would happen. Some logged off and went to bed. I couldn't get up from the computer. I had see what an expansion going live was like. The best way I can sum it up is like there was a mania on the servers.
As soon as Cataclysm went live, most people took off with their favorite level 80 character to the new zones, Vashj'ir and Mount Hyjal, to sprint the road to 85. Some people took off to master archaeology. Some took off to simply fly around the newly destroyed and refashioned old world. Some started new Goblin or Worgen characters to experienced the new starting areas and the entire rest of the revamped Azeroth. Some logged off and went to bed.
I went straight out to Hyjal with some guildies and me and every other player were cruelly reminded of life on a PvP server. On Boulderfist, the Horde outnumber the Alliance something stupid like 7:1, but this is the reason I enjoy playing Alliance here. I'm always outnumbered, which makes everything feel like more of an accomplishment. And it really is too, when you can successfully quest in an area with 10 Horde and live, avoiding being attacked, sticking with your friends, playing smart. I'm reminded of what I love about PvP servers. I've listened to a lot of people bitching in chat the last week about how it's so unfair and that Blizzard fails to make good server balance and that Horde are jerks and on and on. Most peoples' response is "you rolled on a PvP server. If you don't like it, transfer to PvE." The time immediately post expansion is the best for PvP servers because you're forced into close proximity with players from the other faction and it is damn exhilarating. I like knowing that I could be attacked any second. I like watching my back and feeling like I'm in a dangerous area. To me, that's the point of a PvP server. You can be attacked anywhere, any time, and you need to be ready. As such, I'm leveling my paladin with Patrick's warlock. Then for solo, I'm leveling my rogue. It would kind of suck to level anything alone and that couldn't go invisible. Suffice it to say, I've been having a blast playing with so many people.
I'm going to be sad once everyone's all 85 again and everyone's back to farming raids and people are more scarce out and about. I expect that will be more the case when I come back from break in a month. The road to 85 is a short one. The world first took 5 hours only, and our server first was within 18. I'm 100% confident I could level 80-85 in one day. For reference, I leveled my priest on a PvE server just to feel the difference from PvP. She was rested and I went from 80-81 in an hour and 15 minutes. So yeah, it's fast. The thing is though, I don't want to burn all my characters through because I don't want to be stuck at 85 farming forever. This is what I've come to realize over years of playing this game, and now after two expansion packs, having done the two end-game activities extensively. I don't want to raid the same instance over and over, and I don't want to run the same battlegrounds over and over. It gets old and it's a lot of time spent. When I think back at how much time I spent raiding this last expansion pack across four different characters, I realize a lot of that I didn't really want to be doing. I ended up doing a lot of raiding just to see things from another class's point of view, which really isn't necessary anymore because I've done it now. The same thing with PvP. I've done it. What am I going to do at 85 this expansion pack? I've no desire to do anything 'hardcore' ever again on more than one character. But this paragraph has taken a turn from its purpose...which is that all the endless raiding and farming makes the world a dead place because everyone is in instances chasing gear, something I'm tired of doing.
So what's left? My natural response is to say, well I'll pick one raiding character and then just play casually with the rest. It'll take some dedication to ONLY playing the one raid character because I tend to like to help my friends out when they need a character for this or that role in this or that dungeon or raid, but I don't want to wind up spending so much time doing the same thing slightly differently as I don't feel that the different experience is worth the time invested. I've got other games to play, work to do, places to go, people to hang out with, etc, etc. Basically, WoW ate a lot of time in the last year and a half especially that I should have reigned in. I recognize this looking back, and want to just streamline my play in the future.
To try to plan it out, I spent some time outlining who to level and what to do with them. Since leveling has turned out to take no time whatsoever (relatively), I'd like to bring up at least 3 characters to play around with at 85. The paladin will definitely be my raider. The rogue I definitely want to get good at PvP with. Then I had a choice between warrior, priest, and druid. The druid is at 70, so would have to go through Northrend again, which I won't do any time soon. I played with the other two some, and the priest is a good choice because she's ranged, and Patrick wants to play with her, but she needs a server and faction change, which costs $$ that I don't have. The warrior is tempting just because dual wielding 2-handed weapons is sick and you can turn yourself into a dragon that another player can mount if you're an alchemist, which she is. I already will have 2 melee classes and 1 of them that dual wields though, so I may pass. The key to reigning in play time is just figuring out what I need to do to play the game I want to play it and do the things I want to do in it, and then not ending up doing a ton extra. I can do it!
It's only been 5 days and I've been having a blast. I'm glad the new zones are so much fun. Vashj'ir in particular is very innovative. The whole zone is under water, which sounds like a bad idea, but they somehow made it awesome. This is immeasurably improved by the ability to ride a seahorse mount. PvPing underwater is a new experience too. They should totally make an underwater battleground. It reminds me of this game I played, Shattered Horizon, where you're in space and players can fly around you 360 degrees. Being under water is like that. If someone attacks you, the first thing you figure out is from where. Hyjal is cool too. Pacing of quests and quests themselves are improved and more fun, and the mini-stories that tie them together are more interesting than ever. The new archaeology skill is boring to do, but it's neat to piece together artifacts, and the curiosity I feel to see what I discover at higher levels will keep my interest for a while. The new dungeons are pretty fun, especially the Vortex one. There are some neat new boss battles, like this dragon who randomly speeds up or slows down the party as the 'winds' shift direction. I've been healing a few on the paladin, and healing is still really fun, made more so by several new paladin heals, which means I'm no longer just pushing 2 buttons all the way through an instance. I have to think a lot more about which spell I'm casting, on whom, and where I'm standing now. I like it a lot. I'm sad that all my ICC epics are getting replaced so quickly. All the time and effort people put into raiding the last content tier was fun in and of itself, but the tangible rewards are going to be almost all gone by 85. I think I've replaced about half my gear by 83. This reinforces for me that people who raid just for loot are somehow misguided. The loot goes away. The guilds and relationships don't (as much).
Guild levels are my favorite new thing. When you do quests and other things, you are rewarded with guild reputation, and this all goes toward a massive guild experience pool. Once the guild collectively gains enough experience, it levels up, and at each level, there are guild-wide perks. Most guilds are level 2 now, which means everyone in that guild gets a +5% bonus to experience for faster leveling. At level 3, it's +10% mount speed. Level 4 I think is +5% reputation gains for factions. And on and on to 25. It's a very cool system, and you get reputation with your guild that goes toward purchasing rewards that the guild as a whole unlocks through obtaining levels and guild achievements, which are like regular achievements, but gotten collectively, such as running dungeons as a guild or winning rated battlegrounds as a guild. It really promotes people working together and forming relationships in-game, but I could see how people who just enjoy playing alone could feel screwed out of rewards just because of play preference. Just join a guild and don't talk to anyone, I say. GW is almost level 3, probably will be by the time I play next. I do hope that it takes a reasonably long time to get to 25 and that guilds aren't 25 in just a few months. I think it should take like a year on average because it should be a really big deal for a guild to get achievements.
So, yes, Cataclysm is awesome. I've had my crazy amounts of play time for the past few days and now it's time to cut it out so I can finish the semester in style and then go hang out in the US for a month. I will see you again, Cataclysm, for another round at the end of January.
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dkirschner's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (PC)
Current Status: Finished playing
GameLog started on: Tuesday 7 December, 2010
GameLog closed on: Sunday 11 November, 2012
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This is the only GameLog for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.