Posted in World of Warcraft

WoW: Cataclysm Lite

It’s been a pretty hectic weekend around the Syp household: both our families have descended upon our house for my daughter’s baptism, and I’m scrambling between being a good host (which means cooking a LOT), doing some work, and wondering where my son has hidden my aunt-in-law’s $300 camera lens cap.

So… not a lot of gaming.  A little, not a lot.  Although we certainly had the processing power for it.

My wife’s family comes from a long tradition of gadget geeks, and by the time their shoes were off in the house, they’d plugged in multiple laptops, iPhones, cameras and iPads, hooked into my router, and spent the next couple days conversing with all of us while looking at their screens all of the time.  I’m not used to being “out-geeked” by others, but in this case I felt like a social butterfly in comparison.

The iPad?  This was the first time I got my hands on one, and yeah… it’s pretty much a big iPhone.  Nice-looking, snappy to carry, and pretty much useless for whatever I’d need it for.  My brother in law was crowing about his, swishing this and that around, and I finally had to slap him down by opening up my netbook and logging onto my wife’s WoW account.  “Can yours do this?  Yeah.  Let’s go look at some Flash applications now.”

There was a lot of WoW gaming in the house as well, and we spent some time chatting about the new expansion.  Now, to be honest, there’s just really nothing left in WoW for me, and I tried hard not to let that enter the conversation in the form of bitterness or condescension.  They’re having fun in it, awesome for them, and I even think I’ve got one of my bros-in-law to try out LOTRO after a quick demo.

But I gotta say that there was a lot of disappointment, both from this ex-player and the current ones, when we heard the news that Blizzard’s cutting down some of their much-ballyhooed Cataclysm features.  Seriously, it’s like they took a brave step toward introducing alternative advancement and innovative features, and then freaked the heck out and run away.  As I’m not that interested in promoting the furry cause (cue hate letters), my intellectual interest in Cataclysm swirled mostly around the Path of the Titans feature and the new Archaeology profession.  The former has been axed completely and replaced with more glyphs, the latter dumbed down, and other features — like guild leveling — have taken watered down into a thin, reedy broth that’s tasty for no one.

Really, it’s disappointing.  I say that not from a vantage point of hating Blizzard, but because I want to see the game improve and I know a lot of people were looking forward to those systems, especially Path of the Titans.  Another tier of glyphs?  Whoopty-freaking-do.  I feel sorry for people who swallow their disappointment with this by trying to buy into the delusion that this is a better move.  Of course, it’s not like this is the first time Blizzard promised features or even put them on the back of the box, just to never see get them in the game.  Blizzard claims they couldn’t make it work, which is mind-boggling considering how long they work on these expansions.

Okay, it’s not everything, but man… what does that leave?  More of the same, with parts just reskinned.  I was hoping WoW was moving forward with this, but they’re kind of moving sideways and making a huge deal out of it.

16 thoughts on “WoW: Cataclysm Lite

  1. The guild leveling system changes I’m okay with. It basically turns it into a system similar to LotRO or WAR, guilds still get perks, and it reduces the amount of guild drama that could result from arguing about how to talent the guild.

    Archaeology still sounds awesome to me, as it’ll center around lore and cosmetics… two of my most favorite things about Warcraft.

    But scrapping Path of the Titans? Fail. A new tier of glyphs? Fail. Making glyphs permanent? Fail.

    Ghostcrawler said in a post that it wasn’t that it was too complicated for Blizz to do, but rather that it would have been too complicated for the player to have yet another layer of customization on top of talents/gems/enchants/glyphs/etc.

    Too complicated? Really? REALLY?

  2. Archeology is still there, and hardly “dumbed down”. We had almost zilch information about it before – that it involved finding stuff hidden in the world, ie “haunted gilneas axe” – and now we know slightly more – that it involves finding sets of relics of each race.

    Path of the Titans wasn’t gonna work, because blizzard wants people to not be forced into one spec, and Path would’ve just ended up as “if you’re a tank, you HAVE to take Path of Golganneth” or “if you’re a healer, you have to take Path of Freya”. that’s not really fun Alternate Advancement.

    as for guild talents – think about guilds. who would decide where to put them? how do you do respecs and who pays for them? they’ve moved to a system exactly like WAR’s, and that’s mostly fine…I’m just hoping it doesn’t involve farming “guild experience”

    I’m not “swallowing my disappointment”. I’m a guild leader, and I’m pretty happy about this. I wasn’t looking forward to telling our tanks what Path to take, and I wasn’t looking forward to potential arguments over which talents to choose.

  3. On the minor subject of the iPad:

    I like the iPad just fine and I hope it sells tons because I love the tablet form-factor, but realistically it’s within a market that Microsoft could easily dominate once Steve Ballmer gets a clue. HP will bring in a WebOS tablet and there will be a wide selection of Android tablets, but the lumbering beast of Windows just has too many games and applications that will be all too compelling once a half-decent interface is slapped on top.

    It’s hard to argue with any device that plays WoW.

  4. Gotta agree with Sypster Im a little pissed that they back tracked on what in my opinion was the most exciting thing in the expansion (except for the new races). I mean for once they actually had a little bit of vision to take WoW away from the ‘same old but + of levels’.

    Yup disappointed that they bottled this one but it perhaps shows that it hadnt progressed as they had hoped or wasnt going to be finished in time for it to be implemented *shrug* whatever the reason mark me as disappointed

  5. First up, the iPad. I swing between really wanting one and just wanting a new laptop instead. My biggest problems with an iPad is that it can’t support multi-user login (so my wife can’t have her Japanese language & keyboard if we still want an English setup) and no Flash support. The no Flash thing is just idiotic and I can live with it on the iPhone but for something like the iPad it’s just the kiss of death.

    And WoW. Meh, not that fussed actually. The zone revamps and new races will keep me interested for some time to come.

  6. When Blizzard introduced guild talents at BlizzCon, how many were up in arms over how much drama it would create? No, people were cheering for it. Now suddenly when Blizzard say’s it’s bad for the game you also think it’s bad for the game?

    Hell, when WAR cut out major features people were screaming bloody murder and boycotting. With Blizzard it’s just understanding and patience? They deserver some trust, yes, but not this much.

    Not talking to anyone specifically, just from what I have seen on the interwebs lately.

  7. I mean, the guild talent stuff. Who would decide which talents to pick? Your guild master and the officers. They are your guild’s leadership, PRECISELY to make these kind of decisions. You (hopefully) trust them to make decisions about who to invite to the guild, who to kick, how to manage the raiding, and–for god’s sake–to have access to your entire guild bank. If you don’t trust those individuals to make something trivial like what guild talent points to spend, then why are they your officers?

    Drama? Of course. But that would have been the first thing Blizzard asked themselves when they first drew up the guild talent system. Is the increased drama worth the benefits? Yes, absolutely. Just as with the guild bank. Guild talents would be a THOUSANDFOLD less drama than the guild bank.

    Blizzard just don’t have the time to do it. They have some big red date written on their wall in their office, and they are cutting everything to make it. I can’t understand how people still think Activision are innocent in all this since the $25 horse.

    Starcraft 2 is in 3 parts. Clearly the Blizzard motto “when it’s done” is dead.

  8. Some stuff they where releasing with Cataclysm needed to have cold water thrown on it. But now they’re throwing cold water on stuff that didn’t need it. So I am going into this expansion with as many resorvations, but now half of them are diffferent. So Blizz didn’t really solve anything with this nerf waterbomb they just lobbed. And as Syp confirms, many others other than myself may feel the same way. 😦

  9. Just another reason to not buy it, perfectly fine with me and i´m actualy not suprised. They always announce x and y thing for their expansions and then cut them out.

  10. I am still quite excited and despite some bloggers commenting on how the lack in subscriptions may have led to an accelerated development time-line which may have led to scrapping this idea altogether, I have two points to make:

    1. Even if WoW subscriptions have halved to 6 million subscribers. That is 6,000,000 x $15 = $90 million a year or nearly $1.1 billion a year. This does not account for all the micro-transactions they have such as vanity pets, mounts, faction change, gender change, name change etc. The likely income, despite a reduced player base, is likely approaching $1.5 billion a year, which is still an incredibly impressive number.

    2. When TBC was about to be launched and people were upset with Blizzard’s decision to move away from 40-man raids and introduce 25-man raids, there was a lot of criticism and well-knot guild fraternities were up in arms. The game continued on strong, and 25 is the norm now. Where are all the individuals that complained about it initially.

    The point is that Blizzard always delivers with all of their IPs. So lack of subscriptions and conspiracy theories aside, and despite some of my own reservations about the sudden 180, i trust the developers will do a solid job and give us something worthwhile to swing our rusty iron swords at.

  11. I played EQ from about Kunark through Planes of Power. Path of the Titans sounded like Alternate Advancement, but less useful… and I never liked Alternate Advancement. Path just never seemed like a good idea to me, by way of past experience with something I considered similar.

    After reading through their reasoning about guild levels, it made sense to me. Though I *am* unhappy that it sounds like we can join a guild that’s of high level, rep up with them, buy all the goodies and then ditch the guild without any consequences. Guild crafted stuff stays with you, a fun pet stays with you, a rare mount stays with you – bleh. Perhaps it’s the EQ player in me that wishes there were more negative consequences to player actions. With no harsh consequences, there’s no second thought to misbehaving. WoW could do with some harsh consequences.

  12. At the same time there are many questions about it with the changes. A key one is that whether it is necessary to buy WOW Cataclysm cd key. Now although there is a big discount for the successful publication of Cataclysm, for American and European players, it is certainly a must to buy WOW Cataclysm cd key. Players should activate the game with purchased cd key before entering into the game world. For the possibility of bigger market share, Blizzard ever discussed in public if wow will be free and the conception of cdkey with the promotion of this game.

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