Friday, February 10, 2012

Cataclysm Miscues: V: Flow

This is the fifth in a series of posts about the little things that cataclysm messed up on this expansion.  These little things are things that mostly go unnoticed or are easily overlooked because they are usually not game breaking but they do leave you having that feeling of something being off.

Past posts:
Cataclysm Miscues: I: Healing & Mana Potions
Cataclysm Miscues: II: Hemet Nesingwary
Cataclysm Miscues: III: Targeting
Cataclysm Miscues: IV: Professions

Game Flow:

For an expansion that felt more like a patch (more on that in a later post) designed to tighten up the flow of the game to be easier to find things when leveling by connecting the zones from one to the next they seemed to have lost their focus when it got to the actual current level of the game and the actual new content.

Gone where the days of looking all over the place for where you need to go to quest next, the flow of the game was tightened up so well that you could pick a direction and move in it as a new player and never once run out of quests or get lost on where to go next.

Each area was kind enough to give you lead in quests to the next area which was so generously connected to the current area you where in.  That was all the redesign of the old world, something take took a page out of BC and wrath design when recreating it.  They noticed people liked connected areas.  Cataclysm was five new zones.  Cataclysm zones were not connected.

That is also where cataclysm lost the flow of the game and the new connected design it seemed to want to push.  1-60 was nicely connected now.  60-70 and 70-80 had always been nicely connected as they where self contained for the most part.  What cataclysm bought us was a mishmash of zones added to the game and presented as the new areas.

One area was out in the ocean, one had been on our map seemingly forever, as was another but we just could not see it by name, another was in the center of the ocean but underground and last but not least we had a zone that no one had a clue was an entire zone, it was just a giant door to grim batol as far as we knew.

Not exactly the flow that this entire redesign had in mind for us.  For all the effort put into the old world redesign to make sure that everything was connected they let the new areas ruin that new found feeling of an actual designed world.

We all just played along with it.  Making SW or Org our home and hearthing back there to port wherever we needed to go to but it just never felt right.  It never felt like it was a new area we where exploring.  It had the feeling of us visiting new found area's, sure, but not exactly connected areas in terms of expansion.

The new zones don't feel like a collective group of zones that represent an expansion in a flow we are comfortable with.  I've mentioned our comfort zones before and that is one of them. 

There were two continents we used to bounce between while questing.  Now that is no longer needed.  Once you start quests on one continent you can continue until 60 on that continent if you wanted to.  In fact, with the new design it is entirely possible to never even realize another continent is even there.

So with the old world being one questing flow, the outlands being one questing flow, and northrend being one questing flow we enter cataclysm and just feel as if we are all over the place.  We know these areas are connected by events.  We know these areas are connected by expansion.  We just never get the feeling we had with old world leveling, outland leveling and northrend leveling.  The feeling that these things actually belong together.

Each of these zones in and of themselves could have been added at any time in the game one at a time as new daily quest hub sort of places.  On their own, they are all fine.  It is calling them connected that just feels a bit off.  It is making them leveling areas after making all other leveling areas connected that feels a bit off.

I don't mind the bouncing around.  I don't mind that I finally got to see hyjal.  I don't mind that I finally got to see uldum.  I don't mind that I finally got to see what was behind the grim batol door in the wetlands.  I am sure most people are happy with all of that.  But it does feel kind of odd, as if something is off with it, that all of these long lost places are connected when they really aren't.

The next expansion will be on a new continent which will make sure we do not have that detached world feeling again but for cataclysm the world is all over the place.

So if you are playing cataclysm, like it or not is irrelevant, and you ever felt like some things just did not seem right then perhaps this is one of those things you subconsciously noticed.  While not game breaking the lack of a constant or connected flow of the new areas is one of the miscues of cataclysm.


  1. Your posts are really helping me identify what seemed off in Cataclysm! Thoroughly enjoying this series, thank you.

    And it wasn't just the questing flow that was disrupted, it was the STORY flow as well. Despite questing through the new areas, I never really felt like I understood the story of the Cataclysm very well. It turns out it wasn't enough to play the game, there were defining arcs that disappeared into the novels, then back into the game and gone again. It was all very confusing and fragmented.
    Why was Nozdormu suddenly back? Who
    decided the dragon soul was the way forward? Where did Aggra comefrom?

  2. There are a lot of open ends, like what happened to neptulon after throne. The abyssal maw was supposed to be the next part of his story, but they just abandoned it.

    I was actually looking forward to more about the waterlords. Would have been interesting to see what they would do with the vanilla rep from them if they did add it.

    So many things where left unsaid.