I've always been one to rip apart this current expansion. I can go and list point after point about the mistakes I believe Cataclysm has made and while some might be highly debatable over all it seems the consensus of the player base would agree that there where mistakes made. Even people that say they love the expansion still have many things they complain about with it. But was Cataclysm really that bad?
Some things are not really up for debate. Mistakes where made with professions, questing, and areas that are not connected or fluid. Having a big baddie that was less exciting and motivating than watching paint dry was also a bad call on their part. So yes, Cataclysm sure did have it's issues and if it goes down as the worst expansion ever it will be a well deserved title it should wear in shame but there is another issue that Cataclysm takes the heat for over and over again that really is not the fault of the expansion but a fault of the community.
Back in those first days of people hitting 85 and doing the new heroics in 329, or faked 329, gear the downfall of Cataclysm really began. The bad questing, people could deal with. The areas not being connected, people could deal with. The bad everything else the expansion will go down being known for, people could deal with. The dungeons in the random setting, being they are what people would need to grind over and over on every character they make could not be easily forgiven.
The increased difficulty was probably the number one reason for lost subscriptions early on. However, there is one problem with saying that. The increased difficulty was not really that hard. Take any half way competent guild group or any premade group into one of them and it might take 45 minutes to an hour. It might even result in a few wipes while everyone was still gearing up that first time. But it sure as hell was not difficult, just a small challenge while learning it.
That same deadmines run that lasted 6 hours and went through 14 people in a random took and hour and only the starting five people with a guild group that first trip through while gearing up.
It was not the content that was the problem, it was the player base.
It really is that simple. The number one problem with cataclysm was not a problem with design at all, it was a problem with over estimating the ability of the average player to work in a group setting while partnered with random people.
So yes, it is still blizzards design fault. They should have known their own customer base better but the only reason things where bad was because of that same customer base.
The players could have fixed a huge portion of the problem by just being better at playing the game. The players could have fixed what made sure cataclysm will go down being known as the worst expansion ever by working as a team.
If we take out the fact that it was the players that made dungeons so horrible, and that mistakes of the 2 zuls for such a long time, was cataclysm really all that bad?
There is a lot we can complain about but what it comes down to the most, the hallmark of how horrible cataclysm was, is the dungeon grind.
Even now you can get into a dungeon and it is a wipe fest. I don't do dungeons any more except on the rare occasion and when I do I usually do them until I get one of those groups and I stop doing them again. I have that ability, I am already geared, but new people gearing up that are trying to get geared still have to do the dungeon crawl and still have to deal with all those dreadful dungeons and pitiful players in them.
Those are the people that are just learning now how horrible this game is, how horrible this expansion is. They are noticing it is horrible because of the dungeon grind.
Those people will remember the pitiful players and complain about them but they will remember the dreadful dungeon as being the problem. They will not fault the true reason that the dungeon was dreadful, the players in it.
If the skill of the players had been better, if the community was more helpful, if people took responsibility for knowing what to do on their own instead of expecting to be carried, the dungeons would have been better.
If the players had any self respect as to not go into them without knowing them, withing being ready for them, without being gemmed, enchanted, and informed, the dungeons would have went smoother.
If the dungeons went smoother, went as easy as they really are instead of the hell they became, then people would have been happier doing them. If the community was happier doing the grind, the one true big grind nearly none of us can escape, then we would have been having fun instead of slinging insults back and forth about bad players and worse dungeons.
If they dungeon crawl was fun and we liked it then it would have been a lot easier to over look all the other problems like the linear questing, the disconnected areas, the professions not being aligned, the missing nesingwary quests, and all those other things that we might say where wrong in cataclysm. If we where having fun doing what we ended up doing most of the expansion, dungeons, we could have overlooked the other failings of the expansion.
If we, the players, the community, where better, the expansion would have been better, or at least seemed better. It might have still ended up being known as the worst expansion, but not as much as it will now.
The ones to blame for how bad cataclysm really was are the players.
So was cataclysm really that bad? Maybe.
Could it have been made better? Absolutely, if only the community was a better place with better people in it.
Cataclysm was a horrible expansion, no doubt about that, but it would have been a lot better, a lot more bearable, if not for the horrible player base. The people are what turned cataclysm into a nightmare. Not blizzard.
Just look at the tail end of the expansion. The looking for raid as the perfect example of how the player base took something that could have been good and fun and helpful for many and ruined it just like they have everything else this expansion.
There was nothing wrong with the loot rolling system, but the players abusing said system is what made it a horrible loot system. There was nothing wrong with the content, but the player base dogging it and making others carry them is what makes it horrible. There is nothing wrong with the minimal challenge it offers for random people but the player base that purposely does things wrong to grief others is what makes it horrible.
The looking for raid is a fantastic tool for quick valor and some fun, too bad the community, that horrible player base, turned it into hell. Blizzard did well making it, the players are the ones that made it horrible.
Blame your fellow player for how bad cataclysm is. Sure it might have been bad on its own, but it is not really as bad on its own as any of us will remember. The players made it that bad by being horrible players and horrible people and a horrible community.
So when people say cataclysm was the worst expansion ever they are telling the truth but they should realize that it is also the worst the community has ever been.
We are all looking forward to mists, hoping mists can make things better than cataclysm was. Blizzard is making their efforts on their end. Making dungeons easier and challenge mode have no random finder option. Attempting to fix some of the community created problems that came with the looking for raid. But no matter what blizzard does, no matter how hard they try, even if there is a miracle and it is the best thing since sliced bread you have to remember, the community can destroy it.
The community destroyed cataclysm. Lets hope the players learned something and don't go around destroying another expansion like they did this one.
So was cataclysm really that bad? Yes and no. But the community is absolutely the worst it has ever been in the game, that is for sure.
So it the community the reason for cataclysm being so bad or is it because cataclysm was so bad that made the community worse?
Chicken or egg question there.