The Escapist: Azeroth Is Burning

By Kieron Gillen on August 17th, 2010 at 9:43 pm.

Goblins. In a camp, perhaps.

Cataclysm is a huge event. Will Homeworld ever be the same agai.. what? Oh God. I’m showing my age. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is in its Closed Beta and so the Escapist have done an entire issue about it. Relevantly, Boy Wonder Quinns wrote a piece about his experiences playing the opening of the game again, in all-messed-up-by-cats-o-vision. And since he’s deep in the pit of Gamecom, I’ll post it for him. He starts by saying things like…

Up goes the knife! Down comes the knife. The mottled boar squeals with indignation, its low-polygon face a terrible mask of icy confidence. A worthy opponent indeed. He gores me for 4 damage. I am wounded! Oh, friend, send word to my mother. Tell her I always… tell her…

But gets more sensitive, as is his wont. Read the rest here.

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61 Comments »

  1. Orange Required says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only person who thinks “Homeworld? That was a while ago!” when people mention Cataclysm.

    The moment when the Bentusi are fleeing through the galactic hyperspace gate in panic and lash out at the Hiigaran fleet, and their subsequent contrition, is one of the best dramatic moments the series produced, which is saying something. <3

    • omicron says:

      Will homeworld ever be contemporary again?

      Please, let it be so…

    • Orange Required says:

      Well, THQ bought back the Homeworld rights in 07-ish, so it’s totally a possibility. I think the question genuinely is one of when.

    • Jad says:

      Well, THQ bought back the Homeworld rights in 07-ish, so it’s totally a possibility

      My head just exploded with this news. I had written off the Homeworld IP as one of those “lost in the copyright nether” situations, always separating those who want to work on it from those who own it.

      Homeworld 3 would be the first RTS I bought in years.

    • frymaster says:

      tbh I always thought that scene was too hammy. I liked the delicacy of touch in the first few missions, especially the after-mission cutscene to the very first one, where all the important kiith who helped in the defence are mentioned, and we’re not among them :D

      imo it sets up the motivation for some bad decisions (like investigating the alien artifact with no backup at all) perfectly

  2. Ian says:

    Ooh, I was looking forward to it getting Quinns’d after he’d mentioned it on Twitter. Loves me some WoW and loves me some Quinns.

  3. bleeters says:

    It’s a mixed bag for me, as far as zone changes are concerned. Scrolling through various beta screenshots and looking over, say, Ashenvale was moderately depressing. What with half of it being on fire now, apparently.

  4. Wedge says:

    Huh that’s weird. I don’t know anything about WoW, but aren’t expansions for MMO’s usually optional? Or are they doing all this work on old regions as a free part of the update, and then adding typical new regions with the paid expansion?

    • Ian says:

      As I understand it the old world changes will be available to people who’re only playing vanilla, expansion-less WoW. New 80-85 level zones obviously not and I’d suspect the new instances and raids set in the Old World aren’t either…. not that you’d be at the appropriate level anyway. As for some other stuff that’ll be taking place in old world (archeology profession, etc.) I’m not sure.

    • bleeters says:

      @ Wedge

      I think the old zones are updated for free shortly before the expansion goes live as part of a pre-emptive event.

      ‘Course, there’s plenty of support to argue that Warcraft expansions are only optional if you don’t mind every aspect of content at that level becoming nigh impossible to continue with.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      Right before release there will be a major patch updating the game. If you only own vanilla WoW, you will still see the changes that happen in your part of the world. In order to play any of the new races, visit new areas or level beyond 60 you will have to buy the expansion(s).

    • Adam Bloom says:

      @bleeters nevertheless, there’s a meaningful difference between optional being, “You can’t access content X in the endgame” and “We’ve split you off into a separate shard from all your friends!” Especially since in a lot of cases it’s probably a matter of current financial situation vs. immediate need for new content.

  5. beeg says:

    What a lovely article this is, one of the best I have read on the Escapist.

  6. Freud says:

    I think the main benefit to this expansion is that is will repopulate the areas again. Azeroth have been void of life for a very long time and it does give a very bad impression for new players.

  7. SuperNashwan says:

    I wonder if my nostalgia for Azeroth has anything to do with the skill of Blizzard’s designers or is simply a function of the amount of time I spent there?

    • Ian says:

      A little from column A, a little from column B.

      I find that with the obvious exception of the likes of Desolace most of the zones are still perfectly nice to explore and poke around, it’s just the questing and storytelling mechanics that don’t feel so hot when compared to later content.

  8. Quintin Smith says:

    Homeworld: Cataclysm is still one of my favourite games. Piloting the mothership into a portal to stop the Bentusi fleeing the galaxy! Jettisoning half of the mothership as it gets infected by a space-virus!

    More games need motherships.

  9. airtekh says:

    I’ve never played World of Warcraft, but I fully intend to have a crack at it after the Cataclysm hits. I figure that if I try it before Cataclysm, I’ll just get confused when everything changes.

    MMOs are not really my thing but I’d like to try it, even if it’s just for the experience.

    • Starky says:

      Honestly if you’ve not tried WoW by now, there is really very little point.

      The game is old and showing it – in looks, in game play and in idea’s.

      This whole expansion seems more aimed at old players to tempt them back with “all the stuff you know has changed, come see”… rather than attract new players.

      The only reason to play WoW if you never have, is if you already know a bunch of people who play and you could form a guild with them.
      If you don’t know people, can’t all play on the same server in the same guild, and would just be “pubbing” it, save yourself the money and just skip it.

    • Freud says:

      It’s like heroin, but without all that sweet Hepatitis C-ness.

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      I would actually strongly disagree with Starky on starting up with WoW, I think Cataclysm is intended to bring in new players as much as (if not more than) retain existing players. Right now levels 1-60 are the most disjointed part of the game, and if Cataclysm offers some coherent storylines to the questing and leveling experience it will make starting with WoW a more pleasant experience than it is today.

      Graphically WoW might not be cutting edge, but the art direction is excellent throughout. The controls and combat systems are interesting, and the pacing of rewards looks like it will be refined to further entice new players to stick with the game.

    • airtekh says:

      @Starky

      It may be dated compared to other MMOs, but it won’t feel dated to me, as I haven’t got anything to compare it to. (The only other MMO I have tried is EVE, and that’s not exactly a straight comparison). I couldn’t give a fig for graphics; they’re not the reason I play games.

      Besides, I was under the impression that Cataclysm was a complete re-design of the whole of Azeroth, including the starting areas. People who haven’t paid for the expansion will still feel a knock-on effect of it happening.

      Anyway, like I said, it’s mainly for the experience. MMOs don’t last forever. I’d like to say that I at least tried the damn game before the Old Republic (or some other next-gen MMO) kills it off.

    • Duffin says:

      I doubt anything is going to kill wow off until Blizzard releases it’s new mmo, so many have tried and failed miserably and I can’t see that chaning in the next two years.

    • malkav11 says:

      Cataclysm will also apparently include some substantial class redesign and so forth. And the idea that WoW is particularly dated is stuff and nonsense. The graphics engine is admittedly a bit dated, but not the art design. The 1-60 zones are aging poorly, but oh look, they’re fixing that. It’s true that other MMOs have come along and introduced one or two standout design features, but their overall polish and content tend to suffer dramatically in comparison to WoW, and Blizzard has not been particularly shy about cribbing some of the best ideas from competitors and fan UI mods. I don’t think it’s the only good MMO out there, by any means – I quite enjoy Everquest II, EVE is not even close to my thing but a very competent game, and I’ve good things to say about other titles like LOTRO and City of Heroes. But it’s dominating the market for a reason.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      The reason for the whole Cataclysm idea is indeed that the old world was getting a bit… old. So they’ve rearranged all the levels of the different areas so progress is much smoother and added lots of events and quests that show off everything they’ve learned in the past years. I’m in the beta, and what I’ve seen looks really good. :)

    • bleeters says:

      About the only thing I’d consider especially dated about WoW is the manner in which it handles multiple players within one area. Doing just about anything outside of instanced dungeons and encountering another player is, more often than not, a cause for frustration than anything else. It’s a massively multiplayer game where other players are an annoyance.

      New WoW content fills me with equal parts anticipation and dread, in fact.

    • malkav11 says:

      “It’s a massively multiplayer game where other players are an annoyance.”

      As indeed is true in every other MMO I’ve ever played that didn’t relegate all questing to instanced content, and I’ve played a lot of them. But what -is- true is that where some other MMOs have made concessions for people grouping through regular quests, WoW has done rather less. Have to collect 15 pig stomachs? well, you’ll just have to collect 15 per player and that’s that.

  10. Doug F says:

    “After debilitating stints as a shoe salesman, builder and chef’s assistant, Quintin Smith is now a proud and nervous editor of http://www.rockpapershotgun.com. He lives in mortal fear that one day actual work will find him again.”

    And us without an official announcement, had to hear it from another blog.

    • Garg says:

      I noticed this too, and checked the bottom of the RPS site and saw just the four founding fathers. I imagine they ruthlessly exploit him with the promise that he may eventually have a position at the foot of the site. Either that or they just meant “contributor” rather than “editor”.

    • perilisk says:

      Either way, now we have someone to blame for any typos we find.

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      I know, right?

  11. FunkyBadger says:

    Lovely article.

    (And a hidden promotion at the end of it?)

  12. roBurky says:

    Homeworld? Pff. You kids and your modern 3D games.

    THIS is Catacylsm: http://youtu.be/VMlZ2MwYvuA

  13. dadioflex says:

    How soon before there’s a petition to bring back the original WOW? WOW Classic.

    • bleeters says:

      Hopefully never. WoW class was terrible in comparison, no matter how impenetrably rosey your glasses.

    • Simon says:

      There are pretty regular petitions started by rose-bespectacled players who want pure level 1-60 ‘vanilla-only’ servers with no content beyond classic WoW enabled- ie, no expansion content at all, level capped at 60, talent trees as they were pre-Burning Crusade, etc. Blizzard’s response can usually be summed up as not_this_shit_again.jpg.

      The thing is, comparing the classic 1-60 areas with Wrath of the Lich King’s quest flow and rewards, or even Burning Crusade, original WoW is pretty bad in comparison. Leveling a new character up to Burning Crusade level (ie, 58) is an exercise in frustration because the quest flow is so disjointed and time-consuming, sending you all over the world for not much in the way of xp or good gear. The game itself has been streamlined so much more effectively since it was first released, I honestly don’t understand why people would want to go back to classic-only.

  14. Shagittarius says:

    I don’t know why they wouldn’t hide the old world in an “Alternate reality” somewhere.

  15. Tei says:

    Are people still playing the same game? I trough would be bored by now.

    • Robert says:

      Yep, I still do. I even played Monopoly a while ago.

    • Tei says:

      Board games have evolved as much, if not more, than videogames. Playing monopoly today is like playing Asteroids.

    • Robert says:

      There is no need to be condescending to people who do not play the newest of the newest and burn their bridges behind them.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Arathain says:

    I should like to, on behalf of me, formally welcome Quinns to the Pentumvirate. I’m very glad you’re here, and eagerly await more of your work, especially if it’s as good as this.

    This should get an official posting for sure.

  17. gabanski83 says:

    Homeworld 3 would make this an exceptional year for strategy games.

  18. Alaric says:

    This is an excellent, excellent article!

  19. Theoban says:

    Quintin Smith is now a proud and nervous editor of http://www.rockpapershotgun.com

    He’s now a hiveminder! WARNING! He’s going to start enamouring us with his strangely deep voice, and his love of all things tight!

  20. Harmen says:

    For the curious http://www.cynicalbrit.com/ has many long videos from beta.

  21. The Hammer says:

    Great bunch of articles, and not just because it’s about my favourite game! Yours was the best, Quinns!

    Actually, reading it really brought home the sense that things really are changing in spectacular amounts. The corpses of the thunder lizards in particular evoke the phrase “today’s giants are tomorrow’s ants”. That is quite a concept.

  22. bonjovi says:

    @ starky

    You seem to forget that wow is a single player game first and foremost. The mmo aspect of it is just for additional kicks. You can jump into the game and never spek to anybody in more words than just “inv” and get hours and hours of gameplay.

    You need guilhf only for eend game content. And you can play the game for months never going into any raid.