Monday, March 21, 2011

So long and thanks for all the fish

Traditional goodbye post.  This is likely the last time I will update this blog.  I had fun while it lasted, amassed tons of gold, downed every raid/dungeon boss in the game, was in server first guilds, was in casual guilds, raid leader to casual nobody.  Now what little time I play in the game I play with my best  friend and wife.    This game is utterly boring for me now, and honestly I don't see it getting better.  I'm just done with it.  What is amazing that it took 5 years of pretty insane amounts of time.  I think i have 300 days played amassed or something like that.  That is a scary amount of time to devote to, well just about anything.

I am playing a bit of Rift and am doing other PC/console games, and working like crazy.  So, little time for wow.

Cataclysm impressions

Decided to do one last post before shutting the blog down.   I wrote up my Wrath impressions here.  While wrath was very good for advancing the story, after reading part way through the Catalcysm novel and playing to 85 on a toon and doing some end-game content, as well as leveling a few toons through the new zones, I think I am finally qualified to have some weight behind my words.

Cataclcysm is Blizzard's jump the shark moment.  The moment where everything went downhill, where people bled off, never to return.  Why?

Well lets think about what Cataclysm offered and how it compared to what we had in Wrath.

New zones!    Yes, there were 5 new zones.  The water zone of Vasjir was very interesting to play through once.  The phasing technology allowed the story to drive through, and the fact that the zones were just one big quest line allowed Blizzard to really deliver on telling a very comprehensive story about the zone and your role in the story.  So, that's great.  Once.

However, the real problem, as everyone knows by now, is that blizzard also simultaneously killed off any interest in leveling again.  Its like reading a book or watching a movie.  You know exactly what quests you are going to do, exactly what zones, etc.  No jumping around like with other expansions or other games.   You were on rails, and woe to you if you dropped quests/couldn't find quests.    Further, it completely killed group play.  My wife and I tried to level in sync, but one twist of fate had us locked on different sides of a phasing system, she could not complete the quest while I could, and we were stuck, and that is that.

Professions.  Absolutely uninspiring.  Sorry, blizzard failed with this.  The only highlight is the daily fishing/cooking quest, which conceivably would allow you to level your fishing without completely going crazy.    Otherwise, professions remain unchanged since Wraith.  Sure, the 510+ recipes have to be obtained by unlocking twilight highlands at 84, and are obtained through getting various reagents.  But otherwise it's the same thing.  There are only 2-3 BOE epics, no BOP epics that I am aware of.   Engineering got some love by creating special engineering 'gems' and having stackable engineering enchants.   This profession still remains quite fun.   Also, Alchemy is really powerful now due to the huge demand of truegold (BOE epics are very sought after), and of course the legendary 2 person dragon mount vial of the sands.  However this requires a huge archiology grind.   (oh, the new secondary profession.  I never touched it).

End game.  More heroics!  This time there are 7 new dungeons, and 2 'retuned' heroics, dreadmines and SFK., down from 12ish in wraith/BC.    Heroics are hard like hell in Cata, and the community has essentially destroyed any love casual gamers may have for end-game dungeons.  I know i won't touch them with a 10' pole, and many feel the same.  It's a shame.

Raids.  I would not know, i never got into one.  I assume they are equally as difficult as heroics.  At least people are not burning through content, it is supposedly quite tough.  I do know i could never get a guild team off the ground, partly due to me not caring enough, partly due to the fact that our guild is really not meant to do raids in this expansion.  We are far to casual.  Whereas in Wraith we could actually do quite a bit of the raids without working too terribly hard.

PVP.  Don't know. From what I heard the new battle grounds are the same.  I tried to get into the new wintergrasp, and was locked out because of the imbalance.  Which sucks for the high-pop side of the server. It was fun to utterly demolish alliance in WG day after day, we would field 50-60 to their 10.

Old zones:  This is the best part of the expac.  The new quests are fantastic.  The goblin zones are superb.  I am serious about this, the 1-60 content is really outstanding now.  You can do dungeons when you want, you can do these great quest lines.  If anything it goes too quickly, i average an hour a level until level 60.

TL;DR.  I think Blizz missed the boat here.  The huge audience of casual players have found little to occupy their time, given the extereme competition from other games, it's no wonder that blizz is bleeding subs.  The main reason is probably boredom, like me.