Thursday, July 26, 2012

So Long Cataclysm, Thanks For All The Fish

The title might just seem like a reference to hitchhikers guide but it is not.  It is actually how I feel about cataclysm.  I might have even come up with that as the title of this post even if hitchhikers guide never existed.

So now that cataclysm is going the way of the dodo I'm going to take a walk down memory lane and remember some of the good stuff from an expansion that was mostly blah.  And blah is an extremely kind way to describe it.

So what about those fish?

Probably the one thing I will remember fondly this expansion more than anything else is the ease of getting my agility fish.  With the expansion funneling us into two main cities, SW and Org, and giving us little or no reason to ever leave them, having the port to TB in those cities to pop out and get as much eel as I could get my hungry little hands on was a nice thing.

Jump thru the port, do a few laps, catch massive amounts of fish for my agility food, get one of the herbs I needed for my agility flasks, and kill a million and one foxes hoping to get a new little fox kit friend and you have now found my favorite place in all of cataclysm.

All that and when I was done I could step right through the port and be back where blizzard wanted me.  Sitting in my home town doing nothing like the good little boy they want me to be.

For as much as they say they want to get us out in the world more and more they continue to design the game to give you less and less reasons to go out.  This is why TB, and my agility fish, were my favorite part of this expansion.

Not only did I spend the entire expansion well fed, even when questing, I made thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, off of those eel.  They were right there, at my feet basically, and people would pay 15g per for them all day long every day.  When you could catch 10 stacks in an hour, people would still pay for them, it boggles the mind.

That is why I have to say it.  So long and thanks for all the fish.

Sand in my shoes and I don't care.

Uldum was my favorite zone without a shadow of a doubt for many reasons.  I hate cluttered areas, it always screws with my camera view and all I see is what is behind me and I can't see what I am fighting.  No problem with that in uldum.  I also like the architecture.  It was a pretty sight to see in my opinion.

Flying around there was just so much to do as well.  Looking for that stupid camel statue I never found, collecting the other of the two herbs I needed for my agility flask, seeing a nice clear area and of course it was one of the two places I needed to go to so I could do some soloing for a mount, that being VP.  This meant I spent more time in uldum than I did any other area outside of TB this expansion and that was fine with me because it was the best zone.

Not only did I end up making a mini fortune selling the agility fish, thanks to this area and TB I made a mini fortune selling the agility flasks as well.  I had more than I could ever use anyway.

I can't see how anyone could say that making money was hard when I was making at least 2K-5K per week all expansion without doing one single thing to try to make money.  Just selling the extra junk I picked up during the course of the daily game play.  On the few occasions I pushed for some cash I could easily do 50K a week doing the exact same thing that made me 2K-5K a week, if only I did it for more than the hour or two a week that I normally did.

Uldum had the best quests too, as I will go into next, which made it a winner of an area all around.  On a scale of 10 I would give it a 9.  The only reason it would not get a 10 in my opinion was because there were way too many cut scenes for my liking.  They all were nice, but not all needed.  A cut scene to walk from one area to another was a little bit of overkill if you ask me.  Outside of that, uldum should never have been in cataclysm.  As a zone, it was too good for it.

Jane, stop this crazy thing.

No matter what they do questing will always remain the same in its concept.  Kill 10 of these, collect 10 of those, go kill that one mob with the long respawn timer that 27 other people are also waiting for.  Cataclysm took it one step further by turning those repetitive tasks into mandatory repetitive tasks.  No more could we do the quests we wanted to do and skip the ones we didn't want to do, we had to do the ones we were told to do to open other ones like it or not.  This on rails linear quest design was one of the worst additions in an expansion full of bad ideas, so that is saying a lot.

But that does not mean that cataclysm did not have a few gems in the rough within that massive pile of crap that linear questing was.

The one where we throw the bears from the tree in hyjal was great and it was made even better once it became a daily for the molten front.  It was fun throwing bears and it was a even more fun when we needed to throw one at a sleeping core hound as part of an achievement.  I could just imagine the core hound just sleeping there having a nice dream about eating questers and them getting hit in the head with a baby bear.  That is just too funny.

When it comes to winners on the questing front the two best quests this expansion hands down came from uldum, the best zone.  The quest you get to whack the pygmies with the hammer was a winner all around.  I do it on all my characters if I am in the area.  Doesn't matter if I need rep or not.  I just like doing it.  Whack, whack, whack, pygmies go flying.  It is a great quest for sure and it is a daily.  It does not get much better than that does it?

The number one quest of the entire expansion without a doubt in my opinion is Gnomebilteration.  If you have not done it, do it, it is fun fun fun.  I swear it is the only time this entire expansion I actually laughed out loud while playing.  Hearing those gnomes scream in pain was just so funny.  It might start with just a giggle but the more you hear it you move from giggle to laugh and before you know it you are cracking up.

I do it on all my characters.  Even more interesting is the fact that I do not just do it and move along like I always do with quests.  I actually take my time and enjoy this baby.  I will kill the 1000 I need to kill and keep going for a few minutes after.  I will abandon it and take it again just to kill more or to have it so I can play with it later.  It is a great way to cheer yourself up because it is fun.  The biggest mistake, quest wise, this expansion besides the on rails linear questing was the fact that they never made this a daily.

That's not a raid... now this is a raid.

This expansion suffered from split personality disorder.  Tier 11 raids where fun, even if I think they were a little to much for the pug society, they sure were fun for guild runs.  The entire one shot mechanic design that most bosses had made it something that many guilds had issues with and made it so pugging them was near impossible.  One missed interrupt and it was a wipe.  That was a tad much for most players.  That is a heroic mechanic, not a normal one.  On normal you miss an interrupt and it hurts, a lot, it does not cause a wipe.  That is the difference between heroic and normal, stuff like that.

Pugs aside, which tier 11 was not nice to, it was an amazing tier.  I loved BWD.  It is the only raid this expansion I can say that about.  Yes, there were little things about it I did not like but over all BWD was the best raid of this entire expansion by leaps and bounds.

Throne had an interesting design for the first boss (three bosses) and the last fight was one of the most stressful random number generator fights I've ever experienced, and this expansion had a few like that, but even at that, it was a nice little raid that had more to it than other mini raids did.

BoT, I can do with or without.  I was not a big fan of it from a casual raid team point of view but it was not bad over all.  I liked the randomness of the first fight but was not a fan of the second or third at all.  Last one was okay but I could live without it as well.  Even if I was not a huge fan of the fights there I think the biggest problem with it was it was too short.  It was not long enough to be a raid and not short enough to be a mini raid like throne.  It just did not feel natural.

The biggest issue with cataclysm was the fact that they mixed up their raids this expansion.  The easiest raid was last when it should have been first and the harder raids were first when they should have been last.  Not to mention the lore behind the starter raids, although still not really fleshed out enough was much more than anything we had for the last one.

The split personality of the raids was the biggest problem with the expansion for the most part when it comes to end game content.  They went from a fun challenge to a repetitive bore.  Even firelands in and of itself showed that split personality can happen in one raid.

I can not speak for others but I know from my experience we wiped more on rag then on the entire raid combined.  They should have scaled the raid to progressively get harder boss to boss but instead did a small climb up and then jumped so high it was culture shock.  This also caused rag to the the first and only boss my guild has ever actually given up on.  We took two weeks off because he stressed us out that much before we went back and kicked his butt.  We needed the break.

So while I did not like raiding this entire expansion I can at least think of the good time in BWD.  The only raid this expansion that felt right.  Interesting mechanics, slow building difficulty, and a nice feel to it.  If only it had been longer and did not have the instant wipe mechanics that destroyed the pug scene in tier 11 it could have very well went down as one of the greatest raids mentioned in the same sentence as ulduar and kara but because of those things, and the expansion it was part of, it will just be another raid everyone forgets about.

Even as is, I liked it but not much else this expansion when it comes to raiding.

I want it NOW!

The best part of the entire cataclysm expansion was the announcement that it is officially over September 25th when Mists comes out.  I guess it says something about an expansion when you are happy to see it end.

I've only ever felt this way once before playing the game and that was when ToC was out.  I was so excited to see it was over when ICC was announced.  It was so good to see that it was over and that is how I feel about this entire expansion.  Just 10 times more.  That was only a patch, this was a whole expansion.

In the end there is not much I can say I liked about cataclysm but there is one thing I can say.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


  1. One of the things I really enjoyed about Tier 11 compared to specifically Ragnaros and Madness of Deathwing, was that in tier 11 you didn't generally end up with the first 75% of a boss "on farm" and then end up wiping to the last 25% over and over again, and then have to do it all over again. I think that was the most frustrating part of Ragnaros - you just did those first two phases SO MANY DAMN TIMES. A really good comparison would be Heroic Zon'ozz or Heroic Yor'sahj, where the first 3/4 of the fight wasn't just "warmup" for the hard part. Like, it sounds silly, but I loved wiping on the first minute or two of learning those fights. Fast progress, not wasting time on parts of the fight you already had down pat, just nice steady difficulty throughout the whole thing.

    1. Absolutely. We wiped on the first part of nef dozens of times. Then on the transition because people got caught under the platforms because they got to close. Then from a missed interrupt here and there. Then to too much fire or adds eating the add tank. Blah, blah blah. You know the story, you probably did the same thing. But it was one fight, one task after another, and you got better each time to push it further each time.

      It felt like a real progression fight and I liked that. Madness was boring as sin until the last platform and when you wiped there you knew you had to do all that boring repetitive crap all over again and it was not really fun.

  2. Totally with you on Rag. He's the only boss in Cat my guild has yet to kill. And don't even get me started on the Sons. Yes, it's really really fun to heal my butt off and HOPE that the people who are supposed to be dealing with them do so properly. I may be slightly bitter about that. Also may be slightly bitter about my Firelands 4 piece, because healing fire on the ground in a raid full of OWIE FIRE is perhaps not the most brilliant idea ever.

    As far as Cat's success (or total lack thereof), I think the fact that I have two leveling toons, one in Cat content and one in Wraith, and I'd rather play the one in Wraith (even though she's a rogue and I am not a melee dps person) says it all. Vash and Deepholm were great the first time, but by the third time the complete linearity meant boredom, leveling while doing other things, and wanting so badly for Storm Peaks and Icecrown to give decent leveling XP.

    1. People love to badmouth wrath but after seeing what we had in cataclysm even those people realize, at least a little, how awesome wrath really was.

      Without a doubt. I would rather have played 2 more years of wrath while waiting for mist than having had to play the cataclysm we got stuck with.

      If is says anything, I spend more time in dalaran than I do stormwind or Org. I spend more time doing argent dailies than I do any others. Spend more time just flying around and farming stuff in northrend than any area in cataclysm.

      Even in cataclysm, wrath is still better.

    2. I have to agree with that, perhaps the most startling thing about Cata is/was that it made Wrath look good in comparison.

      I did not like the setting of TBC, but, a few miffles aside, the challenge of the Questing/world part was about the same as the Vanilla content .

      With Wrath I liked the setting (except some of the art work - the shoulder armor esp. - and of course it was...heavily influenced by Angmar) but not the Quests, on top of my head only the fight with Arugal was hard.

      With Cata they managed to combine a setting I do not care for with gameplay I do not care for.

      Perhaps the most depressing part?

      With all the accountwide stuff, disappearing Gear slots, 'Dynamic Quest rewards', over-emphasis on dailies and (yet again) a new Talent system with (yet again) less choice, they might even make Cata look good in comparison to MoP...

      *eagerly awaiting a PvE sandbox*

    3. @Netherlands

      That might be why I am having a hard time getting hyped up for mists. While on beta it seemed okay I did not continue to end game and did not ever get to the repetitive part of the game and for games like this, that is the make or break point. Is it going to be worth doing over and over. I'll wait for judgement at the moment but I might make some predictions down the line.

      I think the account sharing stuff and even the account sharing dailies (like if I do the pet dailies on one char I can't do them on any other char) will make it worse, not better.

  3. This is a great read about what you did and didn't like about Mists, and I found myself agreeing with you on things, and then thinking back about what else was a little lackluster in this expansion.

    The problem with me is once we've moved onto something else, I seem to have forgotten what has gone before. I can't remember much in Wrath except that druid healing was notoriously easy to play and everyone and their dog was one. I remember new raids coming out and we hadn't finished the older ones. With Cataclysm I remember liking the new raids and this expansion was the first where I had seen heroic anything in a raid. I've forgotten how awesome druids were because shamans are now the great healers and druids are left behind. I am so engrossed in transmog that I forget how hard it is to get a Camel. And I love that now I can play with my realID friends cross server in dungeons and raids, making my world of warcraft a small world after all :)

    1. Err about Cata. Damn Navi, proof read a bit why don't ya... ><

    2. Transmog turned out to be a huge thing for the game even if it is not something I would put on my list. I can take it or leave it really. I only use it for helms normally if anything.

      This expansion seems to have held the game in a holding pattern. Not getting better, but trying to stop it from getting worse. I think in the long run, there will be little if anything that expansion was known for, outside of losing 2 million subscribers.

  4. I'm with you about 50/50. Cata may have been the exp that saw my entire WoW group quit the game (some never to return, others of us poping back in from time to time), but it was also the exp that gave us the great-Hunter-remake, and pushed the specs closer than they ever have been to balanced. We saw our stables explode with slots for as many pets as we could want. It's really too bad that the best expansion for Hunters was the worst expansion for most everything else. I guess I'm in the minority, but I loved the questing in Cata, perhaps more-so than in any other exp. It felt like a single, cohesive story, and I loved that. I didn't level any alts through the content though, so perhaps it would have gotten old the 4th time through, but I really enjoyed seeing the change to Hyjal through the phasing of the content; like we were actually having an impact on the world. There were a lot of issues with Cata, but there were just as many little over-looked benefits that, while not making up for the drawbacks, will in the long run make the game more fun for players and Hunters as a whole.

    1. As a main hunter, with 7 85 hunters, I would say this expansion was horrible for hunters.

      We started off so over powered in PvE content it was a joke. We scaled like crap the entire expansion, as I said, so over powered to begin with we could pull 12K in quest greens while most other classes struggled with 8 but as the expansion went on being we scaled so horrible with gear we kept needing buffs.

      Where you saw balance, I saw none. Perhaps that is because I hate survival and have been forced to be survival all expansion because it was the best raid spec. Only for some fights in firelands did MM take over, otherwise the entire expansion was "be survival or be a fail hunter". So I saw no balance.

      The focus change was awesome and sucked. I love the fact that I can hit my DPS target and keep it steady even if the fight goes on for 2 hours thanks to a never ending resource. I hated it because it forced me to relearn how to PvP from the start and I never really got a hang of it. I went from being the burst class to being the control class and I did not want to be the control class. I liked the good old days of mana for PvP where I could just go hog wild and destroy anyone without ever having to worry about resources.

      The expansion was not bad for hunter per se, but it was in no way good for them as I see it.

      I do like the new direction it put us on, but I do not like how bumpy the ride has been to get there.

      Hunters are still the hardest class in the game to master, even more so in PvP and focus actually just made them harder, not easier.

      Low level PvP and questing with focus... yes, I will give you that, it was amazing and over powered.

      But that is all my opinion of course. I still love being a hunter even with all those changes and being forced into the spec I least enjoy. So I guess it wasn't that bad. It did not scare me away and into picking another main.