Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cataclysm Impressions

So how was your first week of Cataclysm? I've hit 85 on Coriel, and have done Hyjal, Vashj'ir, Deepholm, and Uldum. I'm currently working on Twilight Highlands. I've done several of the normal dungeons, but haven't yet tried heroics.

For zones, Hyjal was pretty decent. There was one major story element I disliked, but other than that the zone was well done. I'll talk about that element in a future post. I did like that the "torture" quest in Hyjal introduced options, including the choice to kill or let the target go.

I didn't really like Vashj'ir. I'm not really sure why. Perhaps it was the pervasive "blueness". The Battlemaiden quests were very nice. Upcoming raid boss, hopefully. :)

Deepholm was okay, but rather middle-of-the-road. I do find it interesting how Blizzard is moving to differentiate shaman from druids, lore-wise. Especially with the introduction of goblin shamans, shamanism appears to be moving in a more "muscular" direction. More about controlling the elements, rather than working with them.

Uldum was ... almost amazing. That's probably an odd reaction to have. The thing is that there is this trend I've noticed with Cataclysm quests (will talk about it in another post), but that trend is making quests less enjoyable for me, and it was quite pronounced in this zone.

The dungeons are interesting. The bosses are well done, and becoming more and more like mini-raid bosses than ever before. I rather like the new emphasis on healer mana. It's not a big issue early on, but becomes much more obvious in the 85 dungeons. It's also amazing what a big difference "aware" DPS makes to healing now. It's like night and day.

Also, ranged dps, please stop moving behind the paladin healer. Try and stand in between the healer and the tank.

However, I'm not sure I like getting mana back on Judgement. I know I've argued for it in the past, but after seeing it in play, I think I was wrong. It creates this feeling that I *have* to judge on cooldown, when I'd rather focus on keeping my group up. Especially with the Judgement cooldown being 8s. I don't mind Judging once every 20 to 30 seconds or once a minute like in previous expansions. It didn't seem to play such a large role in the healing rotation. But at 8 seconds, it quite spoils the rhythm of healing.

Finally, what do you think of spoilers? I know I've been intentionally vague in some of the descriptions above to avoid spoiling things. Personally, I hate spoilers with a vengeance. But at the same time, it's really hard to discuss stories without discussing the ending.


  1. in Uldum, was it he cut scenes avery single quest or the fact thet you're playing bodyguard for the entire zone while harrison jones does everything instead of doing the stuff yourself and reporting back?

    For myself, I just finished the zone so I would never have to go back again. I hated it. 10 hours of bad indiana jones jokes gets real old, real fast. Then they keep throwing them at you. It was funny as a single quest in grizzly hills, but a whole zone? Too much blizzard, too much.

    Otherwise I agree with you on the zones, but would add that Twilight highlands is AMAZING, finish it soon as you can, it's REALLY good. I hit 85 with still 2/3 of the quests left and I stayed to finish them just for gold and story, glad I did

  2. My main issue with Uldum is that it felt as though it was made to be explored from the ground. I thought it was beautiful but you needed to be down there.

    I think they were trying to be more experimental with some of those quests as well. The ones where you're controlling armies were quite interesting (albeit buggy, and also very easy) and rolling around killing gnomes in a giant flaming ball of destruction was pretty awesome. I enjoyed the variety.

    And yeah, I liked the Schottz quests too. They were amusing. But it was a bizarre mixture of themes in that zone.

  3. I've actually been avoiding the new Cataclysm zones while I level a couple of alts up through Outland and Northrend. By the time they get through to the Cataclysm zones, the big crowds ought to have thinned out. Or at least, that's what I'm hoping for.

    My great concern is that the big wave rushes through, gets to L85 and completes the zones, then they sit around moping for several months. I don't think I'm ready to hear that exactly yet.

  4. I think Blizz did something really wrong with the xp needed per level. It's to small effort to reach 85. I've done BRC once, all of Vash'jir and only a couple of quests in Deepholm and I'm already 83! That's like 76-77 with only Howling Fjord plus the majority of Borean Tundra in Wrath. It's boring to reach the max level that easy and makes the expansion feel much smaller even if there's s lot of 80+ content to experience.

  5. @ Jarviz

    It's about 5.2 Million XP to get from level 83 to 84, and 9.2 Million XP to get from level 84 to level 85. As such, I'm not so sure it's a problem with the XP requirements for leveling.
    What I think makes it relatively quick is that they've gotten a lot more efficient with questing. Instead of giving you two quests on opposite ends of the map, they end up being very close by. And now that you only have to kill six rats instead of ten, it makes leveling a LOT more efficient.
    It may make leveling a little fast, but it's also made it more enjoyable (for me, at least).


    Uldum was a lot of fun for me. I don't know if you were referring to the cut scenes or not, but I liked them. It seems to put a bit more focus on the story than the grind. But they're skippable if you've already seen them or don't like them. If it's the Harrison Jones story line... I'll admit that it was a little weak, but I still had fun, especially when I kept the Indiana Jones theme going on in my head.
    Vashj'ir, also loved it. Felt a bit on the long side, but the finish was AWESOME and made it all worth it. :)

  6. I've had hardly any time to play but the increase in levelling speed is quite refreshing. The reason people spend all their time on their mains is because levelling is such a tedious chore, and i think this time round blizzard have struck the right balance with enough interesting content that gets you to max level without making it a grind.

  7. I was not aware that Holy paladin's get mana back from judging. I am pretty sure that is only for Protection and Retribution.

  8. I've been playing WOW since launch. I've always read up on expansions and patches and I've always min/maxed everything the best I could. For Cata I tried the opposite. I had no fore-knowledge of the zones, quests, spells, talents, anything. I logged onto my DK in Stormwind and immediately obtained a quest from thin air. This was neat. The quest sent me to Vash'jir.

    Upon arriving at the first quest hub I was pretty ticked off to see I had to do some underwater quests before I got to dry land. I hate underwater quests. Two quests down and I've earned 'sea legs'. WTF? Is this going to be something I need? Am I really going to have to quest underwater for the entire first quest hub? Nope....underwater the whole zone. I grinded as hard and as fast as I could to get out of Vash'jir. Hours, and days later I finally finished it. While parts of Vash'jir were beautiful, I didn't appreciaite them because I was forced to play underwater and go through multiple vertical levels and was never sure where my quest target was.

    I made the mistake of venturing into Deepholm next which is similar to Vash'jir as the quests are spread far apart amond multiple verticle levels. It's not easy to determain where my quest is so I waste a lot of time going to the wrong place.

    So far I've only complete Vash'jir and maybe completed half of Deepholm and I'm two bubbles away from 84. Cataclysm is leveling much to fast for me. I didn't even get to play a lot the first week.

    One thing I am very happy with in the dungeons. I've used the random dungeon tool three times and only completed two dungeons. They aren't super hard, but they are waffle-stomp easy.

    I understand Cata made the game better from 1-80, but I'm just a tad bit disappointed that 1-85 goes by so quick. I also don't like the feel of most of the quests. They all feel very rushed. Not rushed in making them, but I feel rushed trying to complete them. I go from one hub to the next hub. There isn't much time for exploring. There are no towns, everything is just a small spot on the ground where a couple of people are plotting a war.

    That's it Blizz, I quit.

  9. Hi guys

    I reached 85 cap on sunday, damn work eat my entire week, anyhows, the expansion so far is great, the concept that you have to drop your WoTLK gear almost inmediatly to pick up new stuff and compare it stats driving u to the brink of madness its EXCELENT, it takes you back to the old days where stats DID matter and u dont have to just read a guide and pick up stuff from x boss.

    Speaking of wich, i think the "heart" of this expansion is exactly that, that every player needs to find its own play style by customizing stuff with reforging or gems and such.

    Aside that, the new zones look grate, the concept of Harrison Jones is brilliant and the dungons are DAMN TOUGH, im eating an entire mana bar in a normal instance, and wiping multiple times getting massively gang-banged in heroic dungons so a gear checklist and a slow progression like in the good old days is a must.

    In my experience, i started in Vasj'ir but its probably the ONLY zone that kinda sucks, becouse questing its kind of tiresome and there were many many bugs, at least in the first days, then Deepholme, awsome place with magnificent quest, and lastly Uldum with the raides of the lost ark setup, wich is also awsome.

    I think this is actually the first expansion set that makes you want to keep questing after hitting 85 cap rather than just beeing a annoiance that needs to be removed.

    Keep up this great blog, i'll keep lurking around


  10. Deepholm seemed very empty to me...I mean, I started to do the ship quests, but got bored so I hearthed out. Now when I go back, I can't find the ship, and other than that there seemed to be very little in the way of quest hubs. The whole zone seemed one giant field of mobs with no friendly bases/towns. I like the setup in hellfire basin much better with one center town for each faction, and outposts for each from there.

  11. My pally seems to be heading back toward mainly healing after spending most of Wrath as dps. I'm doing only guild groups. I put a mark on the tank and a mark on me and tell the dps to stand between the marks if they want to live through AoE damage.

    I'm absolutely loving the new healing mechanics. It's more fun than dps. In the lower level dungeons, if the dps is halfway situationally aware, I finsh most fights near full mana.

    I started healing again in part because our druids are complaining about going OOM constantly. I keep telling them to figure out what they're doing wrong and point out that what I'm doing now is nothing like Wrath healing. I'm glad their mana problems pushed me back into healing, though.

  12. @Stuke00 Judging with Seal of Insight on will return 4% of your base mana. Base mana at 80 was 4394, not exactly sure what it is now.

  13. Oh I see it now on the tooltip of Seal of Insight. It says 15% of base mana on judgement! That will help me out a lot haha. Thanks!

  14. I did like that the "torture" quest in Hyjal introduced options, including the choice to kill or let the target go.

    It's interesting that you mention that, since there's a future one in the zone that had a... more tasteful ending in beta that was removed for some reason.

    I do find it interesting how Blizzard is moving to differentiate shaman from druids, lore-wise. Especially with the introduction of goblin shamans, shamanism appears to be moving in a more "muscular" direction. More about controlling the elements, rather than working with them.

    Well, Druids don't work with the elments, they work with nature. Shamans control Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water, while Druids work with plants and animals. I guess Blizz never really made that really obvious before, but it was something I had noticed in the past.

    And there was a really good comment in... I think Vashj'ir on the subject, too. You don't "work with" or negotiate with the elements. They are beings of pure chaos, and so have to be controlled.

    That said, I'm about halfway through Uldum and completed everything prior, and I love it all. And one of my favourite things that Blizz has dome so far in Cataclysm is made the baseline reputation with factions much higher. After completing a zone, I've been finding myself at usually 6000/12000 or higher Honoured with that zone's faction, meaning that there isn't a gigantic slog through all the rep levels in order to get items. It especially makes it feasable to be able to use that faction's items as part of your leveling, instead of them being relegated effectively to max level only. And it's easier to jump into dungeons, since once you finish all the zones, you have a bunch of iLevel 333 items available to bump you past the minimums without needing to do any grinding at all.

  15. I had another thought on what problem you may be referring to, Rohan, and that is how incredibly linear the zones have become.

    Used to be you went to a quest hub, did some quests till you finished that hub, usually got a bread crumb quest to the new hub. If there were some quests you didn't like, you could usually skip them unless they were part of a chain, and even then you could just choose to not do the chain. Even without the bread crumb, you could skip a hub and go on to the next one.

    All the revamped zones are very specifically laid out, you do the quests, in order, and that leads to the next "hub" where you do those quests, in order, and so on. You can't skip a hub now, or a quest chain you don't care for becuase the game won't let you get he rest of the quests in a zone if you don't

    It lets the game tell a more cohesive story, I'll admit, but it really leaves you feeling like you're on rails seeing the sights instead of deciding your batttles. Really feals like your story is dictated to you now instead of choosing your own path.

  16. RE: Getting mana back on judgements.

    A player cried for a feature and then when said feature is implemented cries that they don't like it! THAT ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS!

    This proves two things I have always said:
    1) Typical users, Rohan included, put little to no thought in their ideas and base them purely off reactionary feelings.
    2) The WoW devs are smarter than ALL of you and actually consider the BIG picture when discussing ANY changes no matter how small you think they are.

  17. @Elladrion RE: Linearity

    I was thinking the same thing. The quests are extremely linear. The new Cataclysm zones feel more like a single player game than an MMORPG now. The stories are wonderful, but the zones lack the same sense of freedom and choice that the original game had.

    Another thing that emphasizes the single-player nature of the new zones is that I've been through the major part of four zones now and I have yet to see a single Group Quest. Did Blizzard remove those from the game entirely?

  18. @Anonymous 9:26AM Dec 14th 2010
    Thanks for trolling, now bugger on along there your fellow trolls are meeting.

    I am nearly certain that with the exception of the new "Circle" q'line and instance q's there are no group q's below max level. There is at least one group q that I have seen as a lvl 85 daily. Though I could have missed some along the way.

    Gnome Bowling.... priceless!

    @e1 else
    My biggest disappointments thus far have been mostly in relationship to my druid. I hate the new ToL form even more than I hate looking at my big tauren behind and have to spend a glyph to see my Dancing Tree! The cost of changing a glyph post 80 is a bit silly imo. And drood flight form not benefiting from the guild mount increase is a bit frustrating.

    As for the content I hate underwater questing always have, however I loved Vash'. Go figure