Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cataclysm Changes

Not changes that are coming, but given the reins to Blizzard's MMO juggernaut for a day here is what I would change...

1. Flying
The trek from 80-85 went fast, less than 1 day fast and while that was appreciated from a sleep stand point, it made it feel less epic. Part of that was the ability to fly during these levels. I'm sure Blizzard put a ton of work into the 5 new zones they created, but I barely saw most of it. From 5,000 feet, on the back of a Frostwyrm, it all looked pretty boring. It's why I prefer a good steak to being hooked up to a feeding tube. The outcome is the same, but the experiences are polar opposites.

2. 84 to 85
Those levels certainly zipped by, but not at the same clip. If memory servers it took two hours and one million plus xp to hit 81. Alternatively 84 to 85 took six plus hours and nine million plus xp. Why did we only get five levels in this expansion again? So they could cram three levels worth of play time into one zone? It felt cheap. Twilight Highlands was a great zone, but it dragged after I was half way through it. Add the mobs in the zone requiring me to eat and drink after every two kills and it was near grueling.

3. Tol Barad
Like Wintergrasp before it Tol Barad was supposed to be a world PvP zone. Apparently they were unhappy with tenacity though, so the solution was to only allow equal groups into the zone via que. While that will surely make for a balanced experience, it also defeats the initial purpose. On servers were the faction ratio is completely out of whack (2:1 or more) it means plenty of people don't get in. Currently my server is seeing near battleground numbers of players facing off, think sub 15 v. 15. That is not world PvP it is a server only battleground that only a hand full of people get to play in every two hours.

4. Common Raid Lock Out
I have previously expressed some concerns with the shared raid lock out system. To date I had not experienced any issues with it though. Until last night. Blizzard's reasons for changing the system still don't make sense to me. Outside of that their go to example is the 25 man raid that starts the week with 25 players and has to split the raid into two 10 man groups. What about the 25 man raid that only gets 22 people for the first night? Has to bench two of their players to form two ten mans and then can not expand a raid back to 25 players the following night. Our group is effectively locked out of 25 man raiding for the rest of this week. I'm sure the two players that got benched last night and the three that show up tonight are thrilled to be relegated to PUGs or a "C" team for the rest of this week.

5. Early Healing
The biggest play mechanic to change in Cataclysm was healing by far. Damage dealers still hit things hard. Tanks still stand there and get hit. Both at roughly the same pace and with the same pool of resources. Healers got a rude awakening though. Our heals did not scale with our level, they cost bunches of mana and our main challenge is not running out when the fight is only at 50%. Gear helps a ton, from an average ilvl of 329 to 347 I have seen that challenge become much easier. For healers who might not read EJ all the time or are stuck running heroics with the random dungeon finder, life is going to be hard. What will ultimately end up happening is there will be less healers. We are already a slim bunch, but up the barriers to entry and you will see even less players sticking with it.

6. Archaeology
Want another time sink profession that takes forever to finish, but offers ten times the reward that fishing ever did? No, what do you mean no. I'm never getting Tyrande's Favorite Doll, at least not while it would still be useful to me in this tier. Technically this is a bonus profession. With a few more hours or sacks of gold I will have my two main professions to 525. Eventually relegating them to once a week or month efforts. The return on Archaeology will never be that easy. I thought this expansion was about things you shouldn't feel you have to do (see: Common Raid Locks). Well is it or isn't it?


Mehtul... said...

Have not had the time to get to 85 yet but so far I am a little unimpressed.

Wreck said...

I'm feeling the same way.

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