The WoW: Cataclysm Trailers

By Jim Rossignol on June 14th, 2010 at 12:25 pm.


WoW be changin’! The titular cataclysm is going to shake up Azeroth permanently, and Blizzard have been steadily releasing information about what it all means before the launch, later this year. There are a couple of new races, and their starting areas, a level cap boost (only five this time) and a bunch of low end changes, but there are also some big changes to more familiar areas, especially cities, as you can see below. Also, regions like Desolace were always like spare bedrooms that the game never really used properly – Blizzard probably just left some boxes in there and stuff – but it, along with a few other places, are now being refurbished and requestenated for the benefit of future generations of shiny, happy WoW players. Bless. Watching these trailers there’s a part of my brain that says “ooh, you should go back and have a look at that.” And I’ll probably create a goblin… What’s that noise? The dark, inexorable roar of the timesink? Well, I always had a thing for staring into the abyss.

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76 Comments »

  1. Flaringo says:

    That’s kinda cool. Too bad it’s not the same game I used to like. :(

  2. fnsmatt says:

    I’ve poured more hours of my life into World of Warcraft than any other singular pursuit, and for that I’m kind of sad.

    Boy does the new expansion look shiny though!

  3. afwqad says:

    You know, i was thinking about trying out WoW…
    Then i realized that I’d have to buy the first game and 1rst expo for 40$, the 2nd expo for 40$, and this expo for 40 or 50$, plus monthly. That is waaay too much for my tastes. Maybe if they make a better deal for the price of admission, eh?

    • mrmud says:

      Or you could just buy the original game and see if you still want to keep playing when you hit 60.
      Most of the new low level content in Cataclysm will be avaliable to you as a vanilla owner when you start out.

      But I would definitely wait for Cataclysm before trying as the existing lvl 1-60 content has aged quite a bit.

    • Fatrat says:

      You can get the original for about $10 or less now. Or the ‘battle chest’ which contains (afair) the original + 2 expansions, for about $25. As long as you avoid most retail stores and Blizzards site you won’t find yourself even paying the price of a new game for your copies + first month or two of play.

      I have been WoW free for about 6 months, but i’ve had long breaks before and seem to always head back to try expansions for about 4 months before quitting. It’s all the same in the end, but it’s soooo shiny too. =(

    • Bascule42 says:

      Amazon is your friend there. I got the Battlechest a few months ago for £9. Thats about 13 of those dollar thingies. Next expansion cost £12. Considering the hours you’ll get out of WoW, it really is a bargain in terms of cash spent – game time had.

  4. Lobotomist says:

    Its amazing how much this shows signs of age on WOW. Comparing even to LOTRO zones and geography – this looks simply laughable.

    But its gameplay that counts, right ?

    Question is after all these years, does WOW still has anything new to offer ….

    • Aldehyde says:

      I am of the complete opposite oppinion. WoW’s graphics have ages, for sure, but not in any way near its competitors due to its art style. Comparing it to LOTRO and saying LOTRO looks better is unfair. LOTRO was released 2007 and WoW was released in 2004…

      Before I quit early this year, there were still times when I could just look at the world in awe, thinking it was beautiful. I don’t know, I seem to be pretty alone in my circle of friends that thinks that the cartoony looks of Warcraft is one of its better traits.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Agreed. I think it still looks pretty good, just on the basis that the art-style is consistent and solid.

    • skalpadda says:

      If you compare the old world to what they did in Northrend there’s a pretty huge difference in the art, with the new stuff being much more detailed. The new druid forms show the difference pretty well.

      It looks like they’re reusing a lot of the old assets for the revamping of Azeroth, which is kind of a shame, but understandable considering how much they’d have to remake. Looking at the videos, in the first one Orgrimmar seems to be using newer horde architecture models and textures while Stormwind uses the same old building blocks.

    • DK says:

      “But its gameplay that counts, right ?

      Question is after all these years, does WOW still has anything new to offer ….”

      Which is why they’re completely redoing all the classes. As in, completely new core mechanics. No more mana for hunters for example – no more mana for anyone who doesn’t explicitly use “spells” in fact.

      That’s the much more interesting part of this expansion, imo.

    • Carra says:

      Huh. Ugly? The game still looks great imo.

      And show me a game that looks better than WoW and runs on a six year old PC.

      As for novelties. WoW does keep on innovating. Recently by adding dual specialization and a dungeon finder. Simple ideas which greatly ease the playing.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Please do not misunderstand me. I love WOW art style. And I agree with everything you said.

      However. I can not look at it anymore without comparing it with LOTRO:

      http://www.blogcdn.com/www.massively.com/media/2008/01/os2_lotro_fullsize.jpg

      http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/images/05/83/58313_WorldOfWarcraftCataclysm-BlizzCon09-19_normal.jpg

      As for gameplay. Is it 4 or 5 years now ?

      I am not saying WOW gameplay is bad (or worse than other MMOs) , but I am sure that people playing it from day one are sick and tired and want to move on. No mater how Blizzard tweaks the game classes.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      See, to me LOTRO looks… bland and boring. No personality, unlike WoW.

      Also, people tend to compare screenshots. While one of the things WoW does much, much better than anyone else is animation. Look at the trailers coming out of E3. Even the fully cgi ones look like puppet movement. In 2010.

  5. ikkmnlkkuklu says:

    I personally applaud the cartoony look of WoW. For how few polygons are used, there is a lot of information conveyed. “Realistic” graphics age waay faster. Look at Age of Conan, for example. Aion should look and feel aged in about one or two years. WoW’s graphics keep improving, and the blockyness of the Old world is going away, for the most part.

    Also, your question should be broadened out a bit, i think… It should be:
    After all these years, does the MMO genre still have anything new to offer?…

    Think about it, same grind, different skins

    • Fatrat says:

      I’ve always thought the same. WoW has a lot more character to its graphical style than most games. Even Warhammer, even though similar, looked quite rough and raw compared to the often tongue in cheek over-the-top look of some things in WoW, like armor sets or Goblin inventions.

  6. Alexander Norris says:

    But where is Mankrik’s wife, Jim?

    Your post tells me nothing. :(

  7. cheezey says:

    As someone who’s played since the beginning I’m really rather torn on the whole revamp thing. Sure it needed doing in places, but having levelled so many characters it really is going to feel weird to walk around in the new world. I think the problem with wow now in that sense is your hand-held perhaps overly when it comes to quests/quest-hubs. There were so many quests that you would only find after exploring and investigating things for yourself, I mean hell some quests I didn’t find until about my 5/6th character.

    In recent times though the changes they have made to the game at large have been a huge improvement over its original state. I still look back occasionally with nostalgia at the “good old days” but things sure have changed for the better when it comes to raiding, particularly with the accessibility. I think that’s really why so many of the people I know are still playing these days, if they can still keep that going in Cataclysm then they’ll still be getting my money!

  8. Vadermath says:

    In my opinion, Blizzard is afraid of making any radical changes to WoW (or, God forbid, making a new one) whilst catering to such a ridiculously large fanbase. This results in every expansion bringing new features and content, but all in the limits of a game that was designed half a decade ago. This is why it stopped being interesting for me long ago. But really, from a business point of view, I understand Blizzard. I imagine most of the people playing WoW enjoy their endless and never-changing gameplay, which is why they probably have no reason to make WoW2. This is the reason I’m looking forward to trying out Guild Wars 2 a lot, and I’m not even a big MMO fan. Anything that brings (quality) innovation to any genre is a good thing, and, frankly, WoW just doesn’t fall into that category. I imagine (nay, I hope) that one day, the immense popularity of WoW will decline, allowing new, and younger beasts to take its place on the throne, even if those future powers that be are designed by Blizzard itself.

    Just my 2 cents, anyway.

    • Andrew Farrell says:

      The great thing about this comment is that it is environmentally responsible: as it makes no reference to anything that Blizzard are actually doing, it can be reused every six months.

    • skalpadda says:

      They do have a new MMO, supposedly using a brand new IP, in the works though. And to be fair they don’t seem to be afraid to upset their playerbase with the big sweeping changes to how basic mechanics, raiding, PvP, loot distribution etc works in this expansion.

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s really no reason to radically change a working formula. or even a sort of not working formula. Just look at what happened with Star Wars Galaxies: some people loved it, most people thought it was kind of terrible. Then they did an enormous revamp (NGE) and…most of the people that loved the old version of the game didn’t love the new version and left, and the people who thought it was kind of terrible….well, I know -I’ve- never gone back and tried the new version of the game, so there’s that.

      I expect that the post-cataclysm WoW will be significantly changed from the WoW I first played in ’04, but then that WoW has been fading for a long time with every major patch and expansion making some fairly significant revisions. The result, though, is a game that represents the same basic design principles, re-expressed with additional years of design experience and playtesting to bring it closer to the ideal.

  9. Gwyn says:

    You can always create a Battle.Net account and just download the ten day trial.

    Ten days is usually the amount of time it takes to get to about level 20 on one character, by which time you’ll have a good idea of the shape of things to come. It used to be that everything between level 20 and the ‘endgame’ was awful, but since the Activision buyout the developers have really been working to improve things for casual players.

    The times when you had to power-level by yourself for a solid month are thankfully over, I resubscribed two weeks ago and have found entry-level casual guilds with cool attitudes on all five servers I made characters on. There’s no waiting around early dungeons shouting “LFG! LFG!” anymore. You can get a mount at level 20! The game that pandered to full-time raiding guilds, leaving nothing for casuals, is on its last legs. Cataclysm will supposedly be the killing blow. I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m really looking forward to it.

    • Wulf says:

      World of Warcraft looks like it could be an okay game, it’s so close, yet so, so far away. If only they’d take some incredibly brave steps forward:

      1. Combine all ranks into one skill, then have a charge bar for casting the skill, and depending on how much you charge, that’s the amount of damage/healing done.

      2. Provide faster travel options at level 5! I mean, why not? Then just increase speeds across the board, there’s no reason why those on Dragons couldn’t be travelling at mach speeds.

      3. Combine multiple skills into one skill as upgrades, such as Mark of the Wild/Gift of the Wild.

      4. Redesign the system to fit this, and only allow for one bar, and about 8-14 skills tops. Then balance the game around that system.

      5. Lessen the need for enforced grouping by allowing each class to facilitate every purpose, give DPS heals, and give them roles where they can switch into other jobs, such as from DPS to tank. This would make teaming less painful. Let every class be able to do this, provide the difference in HOW they do it.

      6. Two day cooldowns are completely unnecessary and just an overly cynical way of expanding the play-time of people (time sinks), you could change the cooldown to 30 minutes and it wouldn’t really change much.

      7. Add a system where you can do a quest for a flight route person so that you won’t have to pay them in future, and lower the costs of that across the board.

      8. Allow people to buy maps of flight-routes so they don’t have to run on foot between every town picking them up, which is needlessly and pointlessly tedious, and takes away from the fun of the game.

      9. Increase the ‘fun’ of the game by having characters feel less impotent, change single mobs into roaming packs, where you have an alpha mob and some minions, allow them to do about the same damage/defence, but the player feels more important if they’re taking on a group rather than losing to just one mini-dinosaur. This doesn’t count for bosses, of course.

      10. Do something about crafting, at the moment it’s horrible. Having to make 10,000,000 swords you don’t need, then 15 components from rare items, then 10 crafted items, all to craft one sword you do need is pretty ridiculous. It’s one of the things I hated most about the game, because it all amounts to ridiculous amounts of soul-sucking grind.

      11. Checkpoints in instances, and better balanced instances. An instance shouldn’t require you to spend 12 hours of your life grinding for a barrel of healing juice, so you can spend anohter 12 hours doing three four hour runs of an instance, wiping on the last boss, twice. A difficulty slider for instances would work. Along with the aforementioned checkpoints.

      12. Necessary grind is bad. Lighten the grind load for things in the game, for questing, for levelling up, and the ludicrous prices on things that the player actually needs to be viable in an equipment-centric game. Have optional grindfests for grind-lovers, but have it result in cosmetic boons, a la Guild Wars.

      if they did all that, it could be fun.

      But then… there are all ready recent MMOs which do a lot of these things, and some on the horizon which do all of these things. This is why I have no interest in World of Warcraft. They can offer me all the werewolves they like, but they can’t tempt me because I know what waits for me.

      So I’m still pretty meh about Cataclysm too, I suppose, because it doesn’t happen to change World of Warcraft to fit those 12 points, it’ll be more of the same old.

      It’s a shame, World of Warcraft could be something special, but it’s afraid to break out of its rut.

    • Wulf says:

      1b (addendum). Change some heals to maintains, you hold the key and you start healing, and you continue healing on a tick until you run out of mana or let go of the key.

      Really, Warcraft does need simplified skills. These days raiding guilds won’t let you in unless you’re prepared to have every rank of every healing skill ever as a button on your screen, and that’s a looooot of buttons, all with different cooldowns, which would surely make me blind. x.x

    • bleeters says:

      @ Wulf

      “Checkpoints in instances, and better balanced instances. An instance shouldn’t require you to spend 12 hours of your life grinding for a barrel of healing juice, so you can spend anohter 12 hours doing three four hour runs of an instance, wiping on the last boss, twice. A difficulty slider for instances would work. Along with the aforementioned checkpoints.”

      To be fair, that’s not a vibe I’m getting anymore. Regular dungeons take half an hour at most, and raids these days do essentially have a difficulty slider built in, what with the normal/hard mode with/without Icecrown buff toggable options. Plus, there was never any obligation to do the whole thing in one sitting. Hell, you could maintain the same lockout indefinately if you wanted.

      And honestly, I haven’t had to grind for hours to obtain barrels of healing juice since 2007 or so.

    • Wulf says:

      My info is a bit outdated, then.

      Still, that’s only two out of twelve. Have they fixed the other 10 yet? Especially bajillion button syndrome, which guilds used to require, which, in turn, made the game impossible for me to play.

    • Jake says:

      I recently quit WoW recently after 5 years, basically because they have made all those changes Wulf listed – or at least changes in that direction.

      Having faster or instantaneous travel means the size of the game world is irrelevant, you just teleport from place to place. Skillsets are too easy to master, and interchangeable classes and specs means the game is accessible to people quickly, but reduces your sense of individual worth when everyone can do your role, and your character’s sense of identity when you are a jack of all trades.

      You can level to the cap and have full epic gear in a week or two and there is little to differentiate a new player from a veteran in terms of appearance. Character progression becomes about collecting achievements rather than equipment, at least in the sense that you are not identifiable by your equipment, as you will look identical to so many other people.

      Cosmetic items as a reward for commitment is quite a weak payoff – you play 4 hours a night instead of 30 mins a night and the only difference is you get a new horse? And likely you don’t use this much as you can teleport to instances so easily now. Not to mention the fact that now you can buy cosmetic items with real money further diminishing the value of working for a reward. There is no real grind at all anymore – and with no effort there is no sense of achievement.

      As the game has dated, the business model has notably shifted toward a faster turn around of users – a more casual friendly experience and more content for everyone. There is mention of some harder encounters in Cataclysm, but I would be surprised if WoW is going to remain a long-term game for many people with this new model – I think it is aiming to last months rather than years as it has done previously. Still, I think this is a sensible business model for WoW, burning brightly to attract as many people as possible before it is eventually replaced, and the game still has more complexity and depth than any competitor so far – not to mention superior art style which has kept the game looking quite fresh while others with superior tech have dated.

      Apologies if this sounded like a moan, I like to think me and WoW parted ways amicably and I might pop back and see how it is getting on with Cataclysm.

    • Dean says:

      Hi Wulf,

      You might be interested in these notes to your points:

      1. The first part of this was implemented with the previous expansion. Lower ranked skills are still accessible but cost the same amount of mana, so using them is entirely pointless. They’re being removed entirely with the new expansion. The second part sounds clever but would also ruin some interesting mechanics if everything worked that way. Would love to see a new class that used that mechanic though.

      2. Well, the starting zones are less spaced out so it’s not much of an issue. I mean, why level 5? Why not just make everyone faster to start with. I’d be on board with that, but as long as 1-20 quests are designed so you don’t have to run huge distances it doesn’t really matter.

      3. Happening in the expansion I think. Buffs are getting a major overhaul to be easier to use.

      4. You rarely use more than 8 skills in a given fight. And while it looks overwhelming if you jump in on a level 80 character, the new progression mechanic in the expansion means new abilities will be more spaced out, so there will be more opportunity to learn how to use them situationally.

      5. This was done for hybrid classes, and dual specs allow max level characters to change at will. Issue is that pure DPS classes still get screwed over.

      6. 2 day cooldowns only ever existed for crafting, and were a way of keeping the economy in check, introducing a certain rarity, albeit it artificially, to some items. They never applied to combat skills, where cooldowns have continually dropped down so nothing is more than 10 minutes, as Blizzard were tired of people waiting around for cooldowns to refresh before starting a fight.

      7. It’s a nice idea, though I’ve never heard anyone have trouble paying for flight costs. You earn so much gold doing quests that it’d be hard to end up that bad off, especially as you can’t actually lose money other than by choosing to spend it (no stealing from other players, etc.)

      8. I quite like this, as it forces you to explore on foot at first, but it’s a fair point.

      9. Lots of mobs are like this, especially in the most recent expansion. And some classes can kill groups quicker while other excel at single target damage, it’s a nice balance.

      10. Being fixed in Cataclysm. The 10,000,000 swords you make will all have different, randomized stats, some better than others, so there’s a chance you’ll get something good. Also, instead of making those 10,000,000 swords, you can make 10 really awesome swords, and if they require 10x the items of the rubbish swords, they’ll give you 10x the skill points. It’s no longer max 1 skill-up per item.

      11. No regular instances take more than an hour these days. Often they’re split in to wings if they want a bigger dungeon, each wing accessed from a central hub, independent of each other. Larger raids automatically check-point you after each boss. Every instance from the first expansion onwards has both normal and heroic difficulty modes, and so will all raids in Cataclysm.

      12. There is no grind in leveling up. If you just go through and do the quests as you pick them up, you’ll level up and get enough gold and rewards to afford everything you need. If you stop looking for quests and start killing random mobs for gold and xp, that’s where you hit difficulties. Cataclysm is helping to fix this by making quest and zone progression more straight-forward and obvious, so you should never run out of quests. Obviously there is grind at the top level, but of course there is, it’s an MMO. They can’t release content as quick as people play through it, and so incentivising players for repeating old content is the only option. Yep, annoying. But what else can you do.

      You really should give Cataclysm a go if these are your only problems with WoW as it fixes 80% of them. Half of them have been fixed already.

    • bleeters says:

      “Character progression becomes about collecting achievements rather than equipment”

      This, actually. And it’s one thing that continues to annoy me considerably, though less because achievements replacing progression via equipment upgrades, and more because achievements are an unrelenting chore. A burden. A pain-in-the-rear-end. They’re the new mini-games, and we must purge them in fire.

      Or perhaps that’s just me. Personally I prefered it when my achievements are internal, my accomplishments weighed based on whether I care about downing one boss or another in an abstract fashion, or running around hugging frogs.

    • Andrew Farrell says:

      They’ve addressed the second half of #1 in their forums too (where the lead developer seems to try to cover at least every major decision and why they made it): Basically they like having different types of healing. So the ideal heal would be cheap and fast and big, but they’ll give you one heal that’s very cheap, sort of fast but not very big, and one that’s very fast and quite big but really not cheap, and one that’s enormous and reasonably efficient, but takes forever. And deciding in each situation which one you use, that’s playing the game – doing that well is what makes you a good healer.

    • Wulf says:

      @Jake

      By your reply, you don’t have the same perception of cosmetic rewards that I do, probably because I’ve put a large amount of time into a game that offers very nifty ones as rewards for optional hardcore grind. That game is Guild Wars. Look into it and things like elite armour and the Zhaitan chest. The thing is, it’s more than just a different looking horse. It’s a different appearance overall, party items, and so much more. I think it’s much more fair.

      I mean, “If you don’t let us suck your soul dry by not spending 14 hours a day in our game, we won’t let you have the nifty stuff that the big boys do. The ‘big boys’ being those whose souls we’ve sucked dry, and are now just automated husks, fuelling our wallets. Dig?” is just going to turn off a lot of people. ArenaNet actually understood that, so they made their heavy grind optional, and they gave fun rewards as opposed to necessary rewards.

      I want to be able to play a game without feeling that I need to sink huge amounts of hours into it and thus getting my very soul and sense of being sucked dry by that much exposure to one endlessly grindy game. Champions Online offers the boon of making grind optional and cosmetic, too. You can grind for purely cosmetic costume pieces, you can buy them on the C-Store, or you can ignore them. This is just the way MMO developers are going, because they all ready have recognised the wisdom I speak.

      The days where a viable audience was considered one that you could almost enslave are over. Thank goodness. So yes, cosmetic rewards for optional grind is a truly perfect approach. Those who want to sell their soul can look shinier than me, can do silly little pointless tricks that I can’t, and they can boast about it with titles, and badges, and lots of stuff like that. But if both I and that player step out onto the field, it’s skill and how apt the player is with tactics that matter, not who’s been playing the longest.

      This is a very important point for me. And it all started with ArenaNet, they got the ball rolling on this, they understood, and I could hug them for it. And they’re still the ones to provide the most varied rewards, too.

      @Dean

      Okay! I mean… werewolves, so I am tempted. Let’s give those a look…

      You might be interested in these notes to your points:

      “The first part of this was implemented with the previous expansion. Lower ranked skills are still accessible but cost the same amount of mana, so using them is entirely pointless.”

      Awesome. So guilds aren’t making it necessary to have every bloody button on screen any more. That got on my tit a bit, really. Why yes, I’m a Druid and I can heal. I’m not bad at it, either. Do I have every single rank of every skill on my screen? Er, no. I can’t join in? Right, okay then.

      If that’s gone then that’s a huge step in the right direction right there.

      “Why not just make everyone faster to start with. I’d be on board with that, [...]”

      That’s true. That’s actually one of the things that bugged me. I remember being in Mulgore and seeing a tree a short distance away. My character was running, and it took him ages to get there. Apparently my Tauren was a really unfit old bull in reality, despite what the game was showing me. I could almost imagine him leaning against the tree and wheezing upon reaching it.

      The level 5 thing was related to Champions Online, since level 5 is when you get out of the tutorial, it’s also the level you actually start at if you skip the tutorial. So basically, if you skip the tutorial, Champs Online gives you a fast travel power right out of the door. And the characters even move faster by default.

      I’d love to see World of Warcraft speed up the basic walking speed and offer a free mount which sped it up slightly beyond that from the outset, but I honestly can’t imagine them doing that. I wish they would, because the default speed in World of Warcraft is painfully slow, and level 20 is a long wait to the first mount.

      “Happening in the expansion I think. Buffs are getting a major overhaul to be easier to use.”

      If that’s true, that’s awesome. There’s a lot of redundancy in World of Warcraft, and it wouldn’t hurt doing away with it. Any further info on that?

      “You rarely use more than 8 skills in a given fight. And while it looks overwhelming if you jump in on a level 80 character, the new progression mechanic in the expansion means new abilities will be more spaced out, so there will be more opportunity to learn how to use them situationally.”

      How many skills do you actively use in combat right now with a level 80 character, like, as of this moment, from your own experiences? If you can honestly say just 8, then frankly and just as honestly? Colour me interested. But it depends on that, in a big way.

      I don’t mind there being a lot of choice, but there seemed to be pressure to have a massive amount of skills. I mean, UI screenshots show up to 6 bars with 12 slots and most of them full, that’s a nightmarish image for me, really. What I want is to see true functionality with just 8 skills, even in a raid.

      Can you honestly say that true level 80 viability can be achieved with only 8 skills?

      “This was done for hybrid classes, and dual specs allow max level characters to change at will. Issue is that pure DPS classes still get screwed over.”

      Yep. That’s why I mentioned healing for DPS characters. This is one area that World of Warcraft lags behind Champions Online, Guild Wars, and Guild Wars 2 when it’s released, since all those games give all character classes a heal, and sometimes more than that. I mean, in an ideal situation, a World of Warcraft rogue would be able to have a heal, and the game would be balanced around that.

      “2 day cooldowns only ever existed for crafting, and were a way of keeping the economy in check, introducing a certain rarity, albeit it artificially, to some items. They never applied to combat skills, where cooldowns have continually dropped down so nothing is more than 10 minutes, as Blizzard were tired of people waiting around for cooldowns to refresh before starting a fight.”

      Oh, I know they only applied to crafting, but I still find it ridiculous. I can crank out as many 18 slot bags as my resources allow for in Champions Online, annnd… here’s the kicker: they sell. I’ll put them up on the auction house, and they’ll all sell. They’ll sell quickly, too. That’s why I can’t understand why the game needs 2-day cooldowns, because I just feel it’s a cynical way to keep people playing. “Oh, that’s another two days before I can do that again, I’ll have to wait.”

      Ideally, World of Warcraft shouldn’t have any cooldowns that last for more than a minute, it’s not necessary, for anywhere in the game, and I really hope that at some point in the future they’ll go back and have a look at that, and redesign the game so that those cooldowns aren’t necessary. Because really, comparing it to Champions Online, going back to a game where crafting imposes massive cooldowns is like a kick in the teeth.

      “It’s a nice idea, though I’ve never heard anyone have trouble paying for flight costs.”

      I did, as a low level character, getting locationally confused. I’d buy some new equipment, and then realise that I had three places to go, except I was broke, so I’d have to go walking. I really hated that, and it could be solved by free flying. I mean, it’s an unnecessary money sink, let lowbie characters build up that money to use on the Auction House, it would help out Warcraft’s economy no end.

      “You earn so much gold doing quests that it’d be hard to end up that bad off, [...]”

      I admit that this might have changed since I played last, so perhaps my info was outdated. But I remember being broke a lot. x.x Not fun. Did they adjust quests to give more money? I remember with my first character I was amazed at getting 1g for a quest in my mid twenties, so money was scarce.

      “I quite like [having to go to each flight trainer on foot to learn the flight path point], as it forces you to explore on foot at first, but it’s a fair point.”

      That makes sense for the first character. But what about for the second who’s all ready walked those grounds? The third? Lots of people have alts, and I know I suffer with altitis, I like to try things out, but sometimes I’ll also pick a couple of areas I like to stick with too, and having to go to places on foot (which is painfully slow) to meet a flight trainer, only to have to pay to get back to where I was going… it all seems outmoded, it’s like the game is trying to make itself unfun.

      You’d have happier low-level players with the ability to buy maps and then have free flights.

      But again, I’m basing this off Champions Online, Guild Wars, and what I know of Guild Wars 2, which are some of the most recent MMOs. For all I know, some of the games that I haven’t played, like AoC, might have implemented some of these better choices, too.

      Really, I want a game to be… well, fun. If I’m going to sink a lot of hours into it, I want it to be really fun. The whole flight paths thing for every single alt I make was the antithesis of fun.

      “Lots of mobs are like this, especially in the most recent expansion.”

      Yup, but not in the old world. Will Cataclysm fix this? We’ll have to wait and see.

      “Being fixed in Cataclysm. The 10,000,000 swords you make will all have different, randomized stats, some better than others, so there’s a chance you’ll get something good. Also, instead of making those 10,000,000 swords, you can make 10 really awesome swords, and if they require 10x the items of the rubbish swords, they’ll give you 10x the skill points. It’s no longer max 1 skill-up per item.”

      Now that is awesome. Good job, Blizzard.

      “No regular instances take more than an hour these days. Often they’re split in to wings if they want a bigger dungeon, each wing accessed from a central hub, independent of each other. Larger raids automatically check-point you after each boss. Every instance from the first expansion onwards has both normal and heroic difficulty modes, and so will all raids in Cataclysm.”

      Yep, covered by another poster, too. Hopefully they’ll change the old world raids and Burning Crusade raids to match. But I worry that only newer content will meet this, and the old content will still be a horrible grindfest. Or is the old content no longer relevant?

      “Cataclysm is helping to fix this by making quest and zone progression more straight-forward and obvious, [...]”

      This is a good thing. I remember that I had to use a quest guide to actually make my questing more efficient, because I had to maximise XP over time, which isn’t something that I find all that fun. So this is good news.

      “You really should give Cataclysm a go if these are your only problems with WoW as it fixes 80% of them. Half of them have been fixed already.”

      I wouldn’t say 80% from all this. I’d say it’s more like 50%, but the problem is is that 20-30% of that is hypothetical and made up of maybes, and also it’s contextual, like X only applies to Y content, so it’s not a complete fix. It fixes some of the stuff, but I get the feeling that a lot of the old issues remain.

      I could be convinced, but thus far… given the option of something that actually meets my twelve desires, I’d rather play that.

      I honestly do believe that given another two expansion packs, Blizzard will catch up, then I’ll come back and have a nose around, that’ll be fun. But so far… hm. I don’t know, it sounds like there’s still too much there that would annoy me. I’m a very casual player, after all.

      But yes, potential.

      Blizzard, POTENTIAL, don’t fuck it up.

    • bleeters says:

      @ Wulf

      Regarding: “Did they adjust quests to give more money? I remember with my first character I was amazed at getting 1g for a quest in my mid twenties, so money was scarce.”

      I don’t know how long it’s been since you last played, so I can’t tell what’s new. If you mentioned it, I apologise. I skim read. Don’t hurt me :(

      Two main changes regarding quests and monetary rewards since WoW went live that spring to mind firstly relate to completing quests once level capped. Nowadays (and for a few years now), XP transfers into gold which in Wrath of the Lich King equates to a sizeable chunk of money for completing them, moreso since it’s easily possible to level to the cap of 80 without rigourously completeing every zone. I personally hit 80 with my various characters with two huge questing zones (Icecrown and Storm Peaks) still to go.

      Secondly, daily quests. As the name suggests, they’re quests that reset every day, with a limit of how many per day you can complete.

      Oh, and the new-fangled looking-for-group system they added also awards you some extra money if you complete a dungeon using it.

    • Razz says:

      No offense, Wulf, but if you want to play Guild Wars in terms of how skills are done (8 buttons and that’s it) or travel time and the like, can’t you just.. I don’t know… play Guild Wars? Yes, a lot of your concerns have been addressed in some way, but I don’t WANT to have exactly the same system of THESE are the 8 skills you need to use at all times and that’s it. Or faster travel times. They’re pretty damn fast as they are. With the Dungeon Finder you don’t even have to travel to instances anymore. If I want EVEN MORE fast travel I could play other games. WoW’s world feels huge, and part of the reason for that is its very occasional necessary travel. Yes, Guild Wars has instant travel. That’s great! WoW doesn’t. It’s a different design. A lot of players don’t consider it a worse one. Same for the skills. I don’t really see a reason to enforce one brand of MMO design on all MMO’s.

      Of course, WoW shouldn’t escape criticism, and it doesn’t. But there’s a difference between changing the core design of the game itself (travel is semi-important, you’ve got lots of skills and learning how to manage them correctly is part of the game and its appeal) and making changes in certain mechanics because they don’t work quite as well as they should. There’s nothing inherently broken about how skills or travel work. They could fine-tune it, and they have been. But I’m afraid the game’s not Guild Wars, and it never will be.

    • Gwyn says:

      Jake: “You can level to the cap and have full epic gear in a week or two”

      If you’re unemployed, yes. The whole point of Cataclysm, though, is to reshape the game into something that’s rewarding alongside an adult life. Is it commercial cynicism to target people who earn an income? I don’t believe it is.

    • Dean says:

      @Wulf – yup, multiple skills ranks are gone. Was some talk of having skills basically get a bit more powerful every level, rather than jumping up by rank. I think that’s still happening.

      Walking speed – you get to level 20 a LOT quicker now, and all the race starting areas are being re-designed to provide a streamlined 1-20 experience, so hopefully that won’t matter. Depends on implementation though.

      No new info on buff system yet, but it’s getting a redesign for sure, hopefully they do it right.

      I can honestly say, with my level 80 character, when tanking or healing an instance I only actively use 5-8 skills. But that comes with a huge caveat: I play as a druid, so abilities are stratified by form. If tanking, I only use bear abilities, if healing I only use tree abilities. It cuts things down quite a lot. If I was a mage, with every ability available at any time, it’d be more complicated I imagine. But then, a Fire mage isn’t going to be using frostbolt. Or any frost attacks. It’s just a lot harder to actually learn that. Played well, I don’t think there are any DPS rotations that use more than 8 abilities. But yeah, huge caveat: “played well”. The average player won’t know that half his moves are pointless garbage or hugely situational. Without that knowledge, it’s more complicated.

      The economy varies, but if they have to control it, I’d prefer 2-day cooldowns on the actual crafting, rather than making the materials so rare it takes two days to gather them. They’re a lot rarer now though, but they still exist, and I imagine will continue to.

      You generally have more money now, as for the flight path thing, I do agree. Now, if you have a level 80, you can purchase a book which you can post to another character on your account, which allows them to get flight training at level 60, thus solving that for alts from level 60 upwards. A similar book that had a map of all the flight points, that could be learned by anyone level 10 upwards would be great.

      As I say, honestly, you’re the sort of lasped player I think they’re designing this expansion for – they may not get it entirely right, but they should hit the main points. I’ve recently quit, incidently, but will probably start again with Cata.

  10. Meat Circus says:

    I’m surprised by how creaky and rubbish WoW’s starting to look.

    • Eamo says:

      The great thing about WoW from a looks perspective has always been the fidelity of the world itself rather than the fidelity of the individual graphics. There are no zones that feel copy pasted from other zones, every town is laid out differently, you never see a spot where it is glaringly obvious that they use the same tree model over and over.

      Strangely that glaring symetry of the battle damage on the towers leading into stormwind struck me as jarring. It just seems a bit too copy-pasted.

      What is possible though is that with the destruction of the world in Cataclysm the graphics will lose a lot of their charm. The best looking zones were always the tranquil ones, Mulgore, Dun Morogh etc. The low poly count just works a lot better for rolling hills and soft snow dunes than it does for jagged rocks and gaping chasms

    • Simon says:

      @Eamo, above

      They’re claw marks.

  11. Commander Gun says:

    I came back to playing WoW after a year of playing other games (LotRO, Eve) and i have to say i am very satisfied with the improvements made. Dungeon Finder is perfect and should be made available for lower lvl raids as well. Balance in general is also better (but i guess some hardcore WoW players is going to correct me on this).
    Only problem i have these days is the GS/achievement elitism (if you don’t know what it is, keep it that way!), which at least by my server is especially tough on allies side.

    I’m playing for a month now, and am happy i do so. Sure, i’ll probably quit again, but when Cataclysm comes out, i am sure i get a month of two pure fun out of it. Money well spend :)

    • Carra says:

      I’m also back from a year long WoW break. And I got to say, I love the new dungeon finder. And I wish they introduced a raid finder too. Just automatically lock out people with too low gear like the dungeon finder already does.

    • Gwyn says:

      There is one problem with Dungeon Finder – ninja looting. Because there’s no risk of being put on a banlist by someone on another server, people get away with choosing ‘Need’ on all sorts of things they can’t use or benefit from. I’ve had Shamans roll ‘Need’ on high damage daggers when I’m playing as a Rogue, Mages rolling ‘Need’ on plate armour to give to their other characters, and other things that are plain rude and can make you feel like you’ve somewhat wasted your time.

      One Cataclysm feature is that they’re altering the loot system so that ‘Need’ loot actually looks at who will objectively benefit more from equipping it. If it works, dungeons will be utter perfection.

  12. TotalBiscuit says:

    Cataclysm was billed as the great white hope, the ‘no really guys, we’re still Blizzard, just forget the past 2 years of nonsense with Wrath of the Lich King!”. Then a couple of days ago, Blizzard announced they were cutting 2 major features, both aimed at veteran players, the Path of the Titans alternate progression system and the Guild Talent system, which rewarded guild players instead of random puggers. Their reasons were as paper-thin as those for no LAN, chatrooms, cross-region play etc in Starcraft 2, vague puff-pieces of nonsense designed to placate those who have invested so much money into WoW that they cannot bear to leave and see it all amount to nought (even though it inevitably will at some point). These 2 cuts represent the fact that the fundamentals of Blizzard design philosophy have changed and that they are unwilling to trying anything risky anymore. Complexity is the enemy in a game where getting as many people to pay $25 for a reskinned horse is paramount to the bottom-line. They also announced that 2 of the promised 5-man dungeons will not make it to launch, which in itself represents another critical change in Blizzard design philosophy. The company of ‘when it’s done’ is now the company of ‘meet Activision release deadlines or else’.

    It was fun while it lasted, may I recommend DDO? While Blizzard doesn’t dare put in guild levelling and talents, Turbine has implemented customisable Guild Airships. Nuff said.

    • Wulf says:

      …customisable guild airships?

      Gods damn it, if they ever get in Druids and Wild Shape, then I’ll have another MMO that will be worth me dedicating vast amounts of time to. D:

    • Psychopomp says:

      >Implying Blizzard has never cut stuff from a game before

    • sebmojo says:

      So they’re not putting stuff in (because it’s not done yet)… which means the days of ‘it’ll go in when it’s done’ are over?

      How Zen.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      A clever twist of the words, but fact is if you advertise 2 major features as lynchpins of your expansion content, then not just delay them, but cut them out entirely at the relative last minute, you’re asking for trouble. Personally, it’s enough to stop me buying the expansion.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I’m sorry, what? They almost completely rehaul the game, in addition to adding new content. They cancel something that just meant you would have to grind more, and you call it quits?

    • Dan Milburn says:

      @TotalBiscuit:

      So really, their mistake was announcing features before they were absolutely 100% sure that they would be in the release. Peter Molyneux syndrome, I guess you might call it.

      While it’s certainly disappointing to have announced features which are then pulled, the thing you have to ask yourself is – if these features had never been announced, would I still want it? In my case, the answer is absolutely yes. Actually, I think developers acknowledging that stuff they thought would be cool and have spent a lot of resources on just doesn’t work once they get to playtesting is generally a good thing.

  13. bleeters says:

    LET ME QUIT DAMNIT.

  14. Samfisher says:

    The WoW Battlechest only contains the first expac, THe Burning Crusade. You still gotta get WotLK and Cataclsym individually.

  15. Wulf says:

    Zhaitan > Deathwing

    <..>

    /flees

  16. WiPa says:

    What the deuce have they done to Badlands?!

  17. Tei says:

    WoW is like a massive stelar object, so masive that light can’t escape what I call “the event horizont”. A big group of PC fans are inside the black object. And we don’t know what is affecting that people, what perversions and deformations will affect then. The day WoW die, and it will die,… all these people will run amok all around the PC world. I call that day, The Day Of Awakening, and the ruins of wow “The Eye Of Terror”. Mark my words.

  18. KraK says:

    K that was nice, what’s next ? I need something new :p

  19. MadMatty says:

    i do keep coming back to WoW, playing like 2 months at a time, not to burn out on it completeley.
    its a lovely game despite all the teen hype/bs, and i can only recommend people to try a free trial.

  20. yogSo says:

    Is it me, or does the music at the beginning of the second video sound exactly like the one at the end of the Brood War intro (check the last ten seconds)?

  21. EyeMessiah says:

    I fully intend to buy Cataclysm, but only if Blizzard’s legal action against Glider fails. So not that likely then. I can’t go back to questing, not now.

  22. THEAlmightyRadish, uh , RADOK says:

    I once tried the extremely crippled 10-day-trial-version and left WOW behind me forever on the 4th or 5th day of the trial period.
    I’ve tried a lot of MMOs but never in my life I have experienced such a childish player-base before. The open channels were appalling. And the game itself wasn’t much better. I honestly cannot understand why WOW is such a success.
    I went back to EVE and although EVE is far from being perfect I still haven’t found a MMO catching my interest more. I won’t give up hope though….

    • Tei says:

      I feel the shame thing. I fail to understand what people see on… this.

      I think could be a generation gap. Maybe these people want something different from gaming, and WoW delivers it in a excellent way.
      I suspect games are cultural items, in a way, that you can’t play games from different times or cultures and get the same fun of these people.

    • aoanla says:

      Me three. Despite somehow getting my father addicted (he has something like 4 characters, most at lvl60 and above, and everything), I managed to get bored within the first 5 days of playing.
      A combination of the open channels being full of morons and the game not being particularly inspiring.

      Ah well, it’s not like I don’t appreciate having the extra free time :D

    • Vinraith says:

      Personally I lasted slightly less than two hours on my ten day trial, then went straight back to Guild Wars.

    • malkav11 says:

      So….turn off the open channels?

      It’s the first thing I do when starting a new character, and then I never have to worry about it again. Yes, the average level of intelligence displayed there means running dungeons and such with random people will suck, but it has never been all that fun in any MMO I’ve tried. MMOs are social games, and if you don’t have or manage to find a decent social network in said games, you are likely to be unsatisfied. Find a good group of people to run with, and WoW (or many other MMOs, for that matter) can be magic.

  23. Tei says:

    This two videos showcase the classic style of WoW, one style that has been copied to dead, so it now lacks any “freshness”. I can’t blame WoW to be ….WoW, more like I can blame Star Trek or Tolkien.

    Maybe WoW need a reboot.

  24. Razz says:

    To counter the flood of negativity which oozes from every orifice of this comments thread, I still love WoW after having played it for nearly 5 years now, and Cataclysm looks fantastic. I can echo comments about the community being shit though, that one’s certainly true. My enjoyment has very much been augmented by having found a fantastic guild 4 years ago, which still has a lot of the same people playing and raiding with me as 3 or 4 years ago. I guess I was lucky to find exactly what I was looking for at the time (a hilarious, committed, loyal, intelligent bunch of people) and double lucky to have the core of that bunch persist throughout the years. A lot of players have come on gone in my little micro-community, but I’ve been raiding 10-mans since pretty much the start of WotLK which also means a lot of the fat of earlier 25-mans was trimmed. My guild’s very closed now and doesn’t really recruit, which means I see every one of the people in it as my friends, some of them very good ones.

    Of course, that doesn’t say anything about whether the game is still good or not, and it even encourages arguments of “yeah well what if you DIDN’T find that group of people, would you still be playing?” Obviously the answer ranges from “not sure” to “hell no”, but that’s true for any MMO you play for any length of time. Is the game still good? I say yes, from a design perspective it’s probably more solid than it’s ever been. Classes are extremely well balanced (speaking of PvE here, although Blizzard is very good at evening out over-or-underpowered kinks in the PvP part of the game as well), all specs have their viability in groups and raids (unlike in vanilla or even TBC), raid organisation is less of a headache thanks to the multitude of 10-mans (I’m a leader myself so I know the pains) and buff consolidation, there’s still a stupid amount of content to go through even after all these years, Blizzard continues to amaze me with their raid encounter design, etc.

    Does it feel “old” or even a bit stale after all this time? Well yeah, sometimes. That’s inevitable, isn’t it? I’ve cut my playtime back to pretty much just the occasional questing or PvP spree here and there and regular raids (2 nights a week with breaks whenever I feel like it, which is very manageable and you can still get the majority of the content done with good people – we’re almost at Heroic Lich King right now which is pretty much the final encounter). Still having loads of fun in raids. The challenge is definitely still there (very important to me), and I’d even argue it’s much better tuned than it ever was.

    So yes, bring on Cataclysm, haters gonna hate, etc.

    • sebmojo says:

      To counter the flood of negativity which oozes from every orifice of this comments thread,

      Thank you, yes. ‘Masturbatory Rage-jism’ is my phrase – pretty modest example here, but it turns up on RPS all the bloody time.

  25. rhade2k says:

    Ah damn, that stormwind music fills me with nostalgia like nothing else does… I am definitely looking forward to new content for a game I love, but stopped playing because there was nothing worth doing in anymore.

    That’s definitely wow’s biggest problem right now. Lack of interesting content.

    • walk_star says:

      Re: soundtrack – the city themes are great, if only they’d use real orchestral instruments instead of those cheap-sounding synths! ‘Echoes of War’ is one of my all-time favorite soundtrack albums because of it. I understand it’s far more expensive to hire an orchestra than a sound designer with a fancy program, but it would leave such a greater impression on the player…

  26. Catsevii says:

    I agree with Razz here and I’ve been playing WoW for over 4-5 years.

  27. kromagg says:

    You’ re not supposed to spell Mankrik correctly. Clearly you’ ve never been to Barrens.

  28. Zaleanda says:

    Lenny

  29. Rash says:

    I completely agree with Aldehyde. The visual style of WoW is one of the most charming things about it. Even now, on max graphics with a good high contrast monitor it looks gorgeous.

    I haven’t played WoW seriously in years, but when I occasionally log back in for a few laughs, I find that the world can still immerse and captivate me.

    Other games have art styles that won’t look as good in a few years. Lotro is already starting to look aged to me when I compare it to stuff like Age of Conan. Even Age of Conan looks very bare, barren and colourless in many places, while WAR just looks like cardboard. Don’t even get me started on Guild Wars.

    That’s one of the pitfalls of photorealistic over cell shaded (stylised) graphics. Photorealistic graphics will only look good for an year or two. It ages very quickly when the technology moves forward WoW’s graphics look great after 6 years. Btw, don’t judge based on screenshots and youtube vids. Most of those guys have it on low to medium settings.

    I still find the original Warcraft: Orcs & Humans graphics to be quite charming. As much as I detest their profiteering, freebooting, carpet-trading ways, Blizzard is still the king of visual styles that age well. Everything they touch has one thing that no other company has quite got right: polish.

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