Friday, September 17, 2010

The Cataclysm Blues

Cataclysm will be my first expansion playing this game.  I joined only a bit over a year ago so all I know is WotLK.  I've heard stories of the past and I look to the future only with the limited knowledge from my time playing but I can't help to be one of those people you would classify as having the Cataclysm Blues.

There are various versions of the Cataclysm Blues and all of us have seen them or have experienced them recently.  One of the versions is the one where someone no longer wants to raid any more because they are tired of working to get gear that will be replaced within the first 3 or 4 hours of playing the new expansion.  I can relate, but I still like raiding.  Another is the version where people are just taking some time off because they know they will be in obsessive overload mode when Cataclysm comes out so they are taking a break now.  We all know someone like that.  The third is the one I think I fit.  Excitement that reaches the point where you are bound to have a let down.

Have you ever seen a movie that had such fantastic hype that you went into it thinking that you would love it and after seeing it you where so disappointed?  It has happened to me more times then I can recall.  It works both ways as well.  When the movie Hudson Hawk came out every review I read panned it as a horrible movie and one even said that if there were capable of giving it less than 0 stars they would.  One day I happened to end up watching it for some reason and I loved it.  I loved it so much I would actually consider it one of my favorite films now.

Both cases I think are because I went into something having expectations.  I expected one movie to be great and it never lived up to what I consider to be great while I expected another movie to be horrible but it was not really as bad as I would have expected thus making it appear better in my mind.

I am sort of in between with Cataclysm so I do not know what they will bring me.  When I first heard the announcement for it I was filled with interest and excitement for the chance that something new was coming.  While I was leveling I came across many areas like Grim Batol, Udlum and Hyjal and I could never get into them.  I was always wondering that they must have had ideas for these places and just never got around to adding them.  So hearing they were adding them reminded me of the mystery of when I first started playing and I first found these hidden areas and I liked it.  Now I feel a bit indifferent.  Those places should have been there to begin with or they should have been added as some content patch in any of the previous expansions.  They are also in lower level areas so they will disrupt leveling flow.  I know, all petty complains but because of that I just really do not care any more.

I was excited that there would be flying in the old world now.  Now that I really have no characters that need to go through the old world any more it is not as exciting as it could have been.  Then add to the fact that by the time you can fly in the old world you will not be in the old world again for 20+ levels.  Way to add something after the time it would have really been useful.  While leveling my characters I would have loved to have that.  How many damn quests did I have to waste 25-30 minutes to go back to a place I just came from the quest before that one just to pick up one thing.  It is a waste of time. Being able to fly there and back in 3 minutes would have been nice.  Now, even with a mount or an epic mount you still have to fight you way there and back.

Sure, I am the type of person that has 3 hours to play but what if you are someone that plays a little here and a little there.  Quests like that eat up your entire play time for what?  Nothing.  I always say that faster and easier travel does not make the game easier for new players it makes it more enjoyable for them.  I am not arguing that fact for me.  I have passed that stage on all but two of my characters.  I will argue it because traveling is the biggest waste of time in the game when you could have been doing something that might have actually been fun.  But they decided to make flying in the old world after the point where you needed it most.  After 60 it is a convenience before 60 it would have been a godsend.  In truth, if they are not going to make it so you can use it before 60 they should have saved it for 80 or at the least 78.  Before that point you will be in BC and WotLK content and you really do not need old world flying.  Making it 60 is a slap in the face.  It is like the designers said "lets give them something they wanted so bad for 60 levels after they won't be needing it again for 20 more. hahahaha Now what else can we screw with them about?"

I am not a huge fan of changing everything I know about hunters but I can live with that.  I am however quite a bit displeased by the fact that when I heard of the expansion I figured I would get 5 more skill points and a few new skills.  Instead I am ending up with less skill points then I had before to spend on fewer skills and I am getting no new skills to replace all the ones they took out. 

Camo?  Get real, that is nothing special. 
Rocket Launcher?  We already had a freezing arrow, now we have it for every arrow.  Wow, that is so freaking exciting. 
Cobra Shot?  I bet that making a "magic"(nature damage) version of steady shot took hours and hours of the developers game time to think up.  But wait, you took away our mana and our volley because they felt too much like magic but you gave up a steady shot that does "magic"(nature) damage as a new skill?  Who runs the developers team?

Developer #1: I want to take mana and volley away from hunters because magic just does not fit the hunter model well.
Developer #2: I agree, magic for hunters never felt right.
Developer #3: I agree too.  Check out this new skill I added into the game.  It is a steady shot that does nature damage.
Developer #1: Awesome idea.

Did anyone even question the logic of removing magic from hunters when one of their new skills is a magic based skill?

Do you want to know what would have been fantastic level 85 abilities for the Hunters in my opinion?  Sure you do. 

Level 85 Survival Skill - Close Combat   You can now use ranged weapons in melee range.  Whenever you hit a melee range target with your ranged weapon there is a 5% chance to snare them for 3 seconds.
(Making the survival hunter as master of melee as well as range)

Level 85 Marksman Skill - Sniper Combat.  Increases maximum range by 10 years.  For every 10 yards you are away from the target all damage by the Hunter on that target is increased by 10%.
(Making the marksman hunter a true marksmen)

Level 85 Beastmaster Skill - Master Trainer - Whenever you are struck in combat by a melee attack you have a 5% chance to instantly call a random animal to your aid for 1 minute.  This effect can not happen more then once every 2 minutes.
(Making the beastmaster a true master of beasts and the animals would be random ones that you can not tame normally)

Now there you have some kick ass ideas on how they could have actually made the specs different and make the level 85 skills pack some bite to them.  I am sure that many hunter would be glad to sacrifice their level 81, 83 and 85 (cobra, camo, launcher) crap talents they were given to have these at level 85 for their spec.

Okay, sorry for turning this into a mini hunter rant.  Just using that design as an example as it is the one I know best and explains the Cataclysm Blues at work.  I could have easily bitched about swipe having a cooldown now.  Wow did they fuck bear tanking in the ass on that one.

We were promised something new and ended up using old unused areas as "new" content.  They should have been added content for patches of an expansion and not the expansion itself.

We where promised new skills and ended up with less skills.  We were going to get more points to spend on skills and ended up with fewer points to use on those fewer skills and the new skills they do give is are really just recycled skills that really bring nothing new to the game or how we experience it.

While I do still love the idea of everything being redesigned because I am one of those weird people that actually do go sight seeing in the game and I love the art work I do not really see that as being something huge for an expansion.  Same for flying, I look forward to it but it is not something huge to be a major part of a new expansion.  In my mind adding flight in the old world is akin to adding cooking going from 450-500.  It is nothing major but is needed as it is an expansion and you need to update old professions.  It is NOT an added feature.  If you want to call old world flying an added feature then why do you not call cooking from 450-500 a new added feature.  It is an upgrade to a skill.  Nothing more.

I hope they have some surprises for us in store because so far what seemed like something I would really enjoy is already becoming a let down and it is not even out yet.  Maybe it is suffering from the movie syndrome I mentioned before.  Maybe I expected so much from it when I heard the announcement that no matter what I am going to be let down.  Or maybe I am on phase two now where I am so underwhelmed by what I have seen that I am going to think I hate it and end up loving it.

I am officially sitting in the Cataclysm Blues mode.  I went through the excitement phase.  I went through the disappointment phase.  Now I am sitting the the phase where I have no desire to ever see the expansion come out.  I would be more then happy to just continue playing the game I currently enjoy and not have to worry about any changes.  Maybe Blizzard announced it way to soon but I am burnt out from thinking about it.  Loved it.  Hated it.  Now I just don't even want it.  If it comes, it comes.  When it comes, it comes.  Either way, I just do not care any more.  If it turns out great, fine and if it sucks, fine.  I no longer hold any expectations. That is the Cataclysm Blues for me.

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