Monday, December 13, 2010

Initial Cataclysm Feelings

After a week off work and some serious game time in I am back to being grumpy and all.  Being at work can do that you know.  I played a lot.  Not as much as you would think with the time I had off but I wasn't going to spend all that time playing WoW, just most of it.  Now on to my personal impressions on Cataclysm thus far.

Launch Day:
I had heard horror stories about previous launches.  Over all I was very impressed.  Slow to log in after release but once I got in there was no lag.  Just the general annoyance of to many people doing the same thing.  Never once did I get disconnected. Once I logged in I was able to play at the exact same quality as I had always played.  So much for horror stories.  The launch was fantastic as far as I was concerned.

People at Launch Day:
To bad I can not say the same for people.  Why is that every single person has to use the largest mount they own?  Why does everyone need to stand on quest givers?  Why do people go AFK while they are on the quest giver on their largest mount?  The launch was fantastic.  The people were retarded.  Nothing new there.

Questing at Launch: 
Nice and tight to start out with.  Everything was right there.  Everything had quick respawns for the massive amount of people there.  There were a few bugs, like helms not respawning for forever in Vash but outside of that the starting quest areas where good, with the obvious exception of the overcrowding.

Now lets move on from the launch and go to particular things about the expansion and how I see it.  Mind you that these are my opinion and you might not agree.  I will say that no animals where hurt in the formation of these opinions.

Could they have made questing any worse?  Maybe but it would have taken a huge deal of effort to make questing any worse then it is now.  I have no issue with the quests.  They are all easy.  Some or great lore and some are just flat out fun but that is not where my issue with questing comes from.  The new quest system is like this. 

1) Go visit Place 1.
2) Place 1 offers you 3 quests.
3) When you turn them in Place 1 offers you 3 more follow up quests.
4) When you turn them in you get a quest to go to Place 2.
5) Place 2 offers you 3 quests.
6) When you turn them in Place 2 offers you 3 more follow up quests.
7) When you turn them in you get a quest to go to Place 3.
8) Place 3 offers you 3 quests.
9) When you turn them in Place 3 offers you 3 more follow up quests.
10) When you turn them in you get a quest to go to Place 4.
11) Continue with pattern until zone is done.

You see where this is going.  How much worse could the design team have been when making this crap up.  It is not so bad really but the real problem is not the fact that they have these hand holding no one can get lost quest lines.  The real problem is that if I decided I do not like a quest I can not skip it.  If I skip it I will never get the quest to go to the next area.  So basically, I am done.  I can not quest there any more.  I have to follow the quest line.  WTF is this Mystic Quest from the NES?  This is a more advanced game and we should not have quest designs laid out for a 12 year old.

Over All Zone Impression:
Did I just buy BC part 2 and not realize it?  The quests, the creatures, you name it.  Most everything feels BC.  Coilfang Reservoir and Throne of Tides anyone?  Nealy every single creature from BC is in Cata as well and some of them they did not even bother to reskin.  Talk about lazy.  Where is my new content?

If there were ever anything in a game I actively hated then this area is it.  I made the huge mistake of starting here.  The whole underwater thing made me physically ill.  I had such a pounding headache when I finally got out of there I ended up taking 4 aspirin, 1 vicodin and sleeping 12 hours and still having a pounding headache.  Who designed this total piece of shit? 

I've bought 2 more character through there since then and figured out how to compensate for the hell that place is.  Knowing where everything is now helps a lot.  Everything being in caves that it are near impossible to find the entrance for if you do not know where it is to begin with hurt the first time around.  Not going crazy trying to see things in 3-D the second time around and find them made it easier.  Being I knew where they were it did not give me a headache the second time around. 

I also moved my camera in a lot.  I usually keep it out.  In that design keeping it out just makes me sick.  The zone sucks.  The only good thing about it is now that I know where everything is I can zoom through the entire zone in about 3 hours do to the tight questing they have.  So I will give it that one little plus.  The plus being you do not really need to stay there long.

Mount Hyjal:
So much potential and so little done with it.  The quest lines were great.  It was fun the whole way through.  It just had that, squeeze 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5 pound bag feeling to it.  They could have easily made it bigger I am sure.  Not sure why they did not.  Should have tried to limit what was there instead of throwing it all in there like a mishmash of quests. They could have lost 20 quests and freed up some of the clutter and made it feel better.

This is the perfect example of BC recycled.  The land design, BC.  The creatures, BC.  The outer world feeling, BC.  It is a BC area they forgot to put in BC.  Mind you like liked the area.  I liked the circular design and how it worked its way out.  The only part I did not like were those quests on the ship.  They were a bit annoying and after my dizzy feeling left over from the hell known as Vashj'ir it felt like it was another underwater nightmare.  All in all it is a good zone, lots of good dailies, lots of herbs and mines to be had and easy to get around.  I just should have been put in BC where it belonged.

If I had to guess 50% of all work put into zone development went into this zone.  Not cluttered like Hyjal it has ample space to roam around in.  No really weird angles like Vashj'ir helped me like it too.  It did not feel like it was straight out of BC like Deepholm either.  Uldum is full of win all around.  Great quest lines.  Interesting characters. The imagery was beyond amazing.  They put work into making this look good.  Someone on the design team loved this zone and it shows. 

If I had one gripe it would be that there were way to many cut scenes.  Some where awesome, don't get me wrong, but many of them where just you following Jones around.  Were they all needed?  Nice to see for sure.  I hope they take a page out of the book known as Uldum for further zones in expansions to come.  This is how it should be done.

Twilight Highlands:
Another very good zone.  Tight quests and some actual challenges in there for sure.  Good scenery and in most cases not cluttered.  Some places however it seemed to get a case of Hyjal syndrome.  Over all this is a high quality zone.  A few tweaks here and there and it could have been a complete winner like Uldum but it missed the mark a little bit.

Normal Dungeons:
Give it a week and these will be easier.  At the moment however most people I get in a random are acting like these are heroics that they undergear.  Simple mechanics and they just can not do them.  Sure the mobs have higher life totals and some CC is needed but it is not very hard.  You can still brute force your way through many battles.

Skill > Gear still applies here even if it is a normal however.  Last night we were going to do a guild run of Stonecore normal for some 82s-83s to get some gear and experience.  We had no healer so one of the old healers that just got Cataclysm popped on.  We dragged her along.  Mind you that she has not played regularly since ICC first came out.  That means her best gear was maybe 3 bosses into ICC on 10 man and those pieces where few and far between.  It also means she had no clue about the changes to her class or anything. 

She set things up quickly on the fly and we jumped into the Stonecore.  We had 2 wipes on the last boss do to her having squishy gear but that was it.  She healed it like a pro.  A level 80 that has not actively played in almost a year and has no cataclysm gear at all healed Stonecore.  In randoms the healers can't do that.  Skill > Gear.

Heroic Dungeons:
This is a whole different story.  First off I have not had a group able to get past the first boss and that is not from a lack of trying.  Every group just basically has no desire to learn.  They just want to blow through it.

Problem number two with the heroics is the elite attitude that there is already.  I've been doing this since beta, it is not hard, if you can not do it you suck.  That is the average attitude I seem to be getting in heroics.  Not all of us had beta asshole.  If there were ever people I wish I could reach through the screen and slap the shit out of it would be these assholes.  The game has not been out a week and everyone is already in "I do not want to run with people that have not done this before" mode.

Heroics and We All Should Know Them Already:
In Shadowfang keep the tank made the first pull, we downed them all fast.  Made the second pull, we downed them all fast.  The healer then asks, or should I say the healer said, I hope everyone has done this before.  I say, as does everyone else, that it is our first time.  Healer says nothing.  Tank pulls, healer drops group, we all wipe.  Another person that should be slapped in real life.

Heroics and My First Kick Ever:
Last, but not least in the new heroic world is my last attempt at a heroic.  I got into BRC and it looked like a guild run that needed a DPS.  So I knew that my learning curve would be low.  They would kick me in a heartbeat for sure.  We wiped a few times on the first boss but got it down.  Was glad to finally get a heroic boss down.  Second boss they ask if I know what to do.  I say I have never done it on heroic and they tell me take the right beam, do not get to 100.  Okay, fair enough.  I step out at about 94 on the count, being cautious.  I am doing my DPS thing watching the timer tick down.  I go to step back in and it starts hitting me before I am even in front of the person.  I had 1 second left.  Damn.  In turn, they kick me.  First time I ever got kicked.  I was called horrible of course just before the kick.

I have to ask if I am the only person that has ever made a mistake because I know I am not.  I've never done it on heroic.  I did not know the range of the beam.  I was timing it to be in front of the target to take the beam at 0.  How the hell was I supposed to know it would start hitting me as soon as I even got close to the target.  I learned from that.  If we did it again I would have not made the same mistake.  The learning curve is total BS with the new system.  Not because the instances are hard.  They are when you are new to it but that is just mechanics.  The learning curve is BS because you get assholes like that who have done it a dozen times already expecting everyone to know everything as well as they do.  I knew what to do.  I just need to learn how to do it.  Reading it does not cut it.  You need to experience it to learn. 

Assholes like that should be permentaly banned from the game forever.  They are bad for the community.  All games live and die based on their community.  I'll roll with it.  When my guild catches up to me I will run with my guild and learn.  Some other people do not have that option.  People like that in randoms ruin the game for some people.

Maybe I am just being bitter for being called horrible and getting kicked.  I think it was uncalled for. 

BTW, I was #2 on DPS.  I was the only one that switched to chains on the first boss and the only one that did not die from the AoE besides the tank on the first boss.  So much for them knowing what to do and me being horrible right?  Oddly enough, the tank was #1 on DPS.

Overall Perception:
There seem to be two completely different directions the game is going in.  On a scale of 100 it always seemed like the skill balance was somewhere between 30 and 70.  Some stuff really easy but not too easy and some stuff really hard but not too hard.  A balance so that everyone could experience some part of everything.

There would be quests that only good solo players could do and there would be ones everyone could do.  There would be dungeons that everyone could do and some only good players could do. 

Now they leaned too far both ways.  Questing went to a 5-10 on the 100 scale.  Most of them are so stupid a squirrel at the keyboard could do them and dungeons, even normals have moved to the 80-90 on the difficult scale.  You would not believe the number of wipes I have seen on simple stuff.  Raid mechanics should be left in raids.  If you are going to put them in dungeons please leave them to heroics.  Most people that run dungeons can not even do DPS and now they want to them do their sub par DPS and move out of the void zone at the same time.

Let me explain this for the blizzard developers for something to chew on.  Boy I wish they could read this.

You give someone easy quests that a monkey can do.  You hand them all the gear they ever need.  You let them level so fast they can not even keep up with learning new skills even as limited as they are now.  Then they get to the end game and you tell them that everything you just taught them while leveling means nothing.  It is a whole new game.

Way to drop the ball Blizzard.  Keep the raid mechanics for raids.  Make heroics have some raid mechanics and let normals have raid mechanics that won't really kill people but will teach them.  That way it slowly steps up the learning curve.

One good thing I will give Blizzard that I have noticed is that they add a ton of raid like mechanics to the Cataclysm quests.  I loved it.  Killing a boss and a void zone appeared under my feet.  I was like, WTF, this is great.  Sadly, it is way to little for people to actually learn from.  But it was a nice addition.

Guild Leveling:
I like the guild leveling process.  It is slow but it is a steady climb up if you have a good sized team.  I dislike the fact my bank character will never get the 7th and 8th tab however.  I do not give a crap if my guild has a 7th or 8th tab.  It is mostly junk in there anyway.  My banker however needs to tabs.  Why make it impossible for bankers to get them when in reality only bankers really need them.

Guild Reputation:
This is going to take a while.  I should be exalted already.  I am only friendly.  That is a huge bowl of shit if you ask me.  Let me get my reputation while I can.  I'll be done with every quest in the game before I ever even get close to revered.  Personal reputation with the guild needs a bit of a boost if you ask me.  For people like myself it is a penalty for being a regular active player.  I dislike this.

Guild Dungeon Runs:
We are doing the occasional normal.  At the moment I think we have 8 level 85s.  Two Tanks and six DPS.  Two of the DPS have an offspec of Tank.  Do you notice something here?  No healers.  No one wants to heal any more.  What is up with that?  Blame Blizzard.  Tanks now have huge DPS, look at the run I was in where the tank was #1 on DPS.  So there is still something to attract them.  All healers get are people getting hit more and going OOM more.  Woohoo for healers.  They get nothing but stress and will get blamed for everything. 

As if there were not enough healers to begin with we now have none.  Even one of our perennial healers, one that has been healing as long as I have known him is no longer healing.  He is going main spec Shadow and does not want to heal any more.  So my guild went from having one really dependable healer and some occasional healers to having none.  The occasionals all went Tank or DPS and the perennial went DPS.

Recruiting healers will be like pulling teeth now except that pulling teeth will be 100 times easier.  Blizzard better do something about healers fast or this expansion is a complete bust before it even gets rolling.

Took me a while before I figured out the survey thing being color blind but once I did it was fun. I know it might not be needed as it is so simple but I am going to write a quick guide on Archaeology for the color blind people later on.  I like it so far.  Have a couple of rares, one being a cute bone dinosaur pet.  I am just stuck hating leveling it up once you no longer get skill from digs. 

It will take countless hours to level it up even if you know exactly what to do.  Way too long if you ask me.  It is the biggest time waster in a game filled with plenty of time wasters.  If it were not for the insane amount of time it will take to level it then I would consider this a fantastic update.  As is, it is something I will do on my main only.  Alts are alts and I am not going to waste more time leveling Archaeology then it takes to get from 1 to 85 and gearing up.  That is just not reasonable. Or fun.

What is this, everyone gets to feel good getting every achievement?  Are you aware lorematers needed to work to find every quest in a zone.  Now they just hand out zone achievements because they hold your hand from area to area and there is never a chance to miss any quests.  Then there is a "big" achievement for each zone like seeing all 3 vashj'ir scenes.  How the hell can you miss them.  They hand them to you, lead you through them and will not let you go any further unless you do them.  That is not an achievement.  If it is it is covered by the achievement for doing all the quests in the zone.

Another question there.  Hyjal for example.  They hold your hand through all the quests right?  So why does the achievement for doing loremaster for that zone come and you still have about 20-25 more quests after that.  If you have 20-25 quests after it then the zone is not done and you should not be a loremaster for it. 

Most zones should have 2 or 3 floater quests that are item drops or hidden.  Those are the ones that go out of their way to find thing will get them for loremaster and the average joe will not.  The average joe was just following the quests you give him and really has no choice because of your new design he could not deviate from that.  The average joe does not deserve to be a loremaster.

Lets not even talk about broken achievements.  I can't get Bounce because I already did the zone and it is now phased so it won't work.  Sucks to be me for that one.  I think they will fix that one however but there are plenty of broken achievements.

The Good:
Some exciting quests.
Different areas and dailies.

The Bad:
LFD system.
Change from easy to hard with no in between.

Everything else fits neatly in the middle somewhere.  So far over all however I would have to declare Cataclysm unremarkable.  It had a smooth start which deserves some credit but over all it appears to be pretty bad so far. 

1 comment:

  1. WoW sucks ... generally ... why spend so much time ranting about it? Clearly your viewpoint is one of someone who is only interested in end game content so the low end stuff you quickly write off. That said I don't really know what they could do with this tired old beast to make questing dynamic. With an engine that has mobs walking in circular paths still ... meh ... what can be expected. WoW is an ANCIENT game ... ANCIENT ... seriously if it wasn't for the 11 million people using this PoS as a substitute for real life and/or their chat room ... this thing would have died long ago. Blizz knows this. They brought this game to market precisely at the right time and until someone comes along with a truly well executed actual next gen MMO ... they will continue raking in the cash from the poor suckers who have invested too much time and life in this old old ... very very old ... old game.