In terms of gameplay, Cataclysm brings about a list of masterful improvements that make World of Warcraft more fun than ever before. But the Warcraft games have always been as much about gameplay as about the story behind the games, and this review focuses mainly on this aspect.
The fact that Blizzard Entertainment has already announced the next expansion (Mists of Panderia) already speaks to the purely functional nature of Cataclysm. By "functional", I mean that its purpose is not to add substance to a rich story, but rather it is a tactic by which to maintain a steady flow of players (both experienced and new).
Everyone who has played the Warcraft line of games knows that, aside from exciting gameplay, one could also find a fantastic storyline. Unlike with other strategy games, where the races and characters really just felt like the necessary excuse to warrant building huge armies in order to bring destruction upon your enemies, in Warcraft I through III you had the feeling that every quest completed had a purpose. Nowhere was this more evident than in the last of the RTS games, Reign of Chaos, and its expansion The Frozen Throne. With a Prolog and an Epilog and movie clips at the beginning and ending of every quest (not to mention the longer movies at the end of each campaign), Blizzard really went to lengths to make the story of Warcraft come to life and make us feel like we were right in the middle of it. Unfortunately, after firing up the player's imagination, the trilogy leaves him with many unanswered questions. This is where World of Warcraft steps in.
It is perhaps of little use here to talk about the storyline of the original World of Warcraft, since it is no longer available (which is a pity, since a portion of the story of Azeroth is no longer directly accessible to new players). It is sufficient though to mention that it showed you firsthand what happened to a few of the characters in Warcraft III, like Jaina Proudmore and Thrall. In the first expansion, The Burning Crucade, the Dark Portal is reopened and we return to the broken world of Outland in order to find out what happened to some of the heroes of Warcraft II and also to see what has become of Ilidan and Kael'thas. With their deaths, the only real question that remained is "Whatever happened to Arthas?" This is of course answered in the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.
Now, every good story should have a proper ending and in my opinion the death of Arthas should have finished this one. The main quest chains of the Northrend continent, coupled with the end-game 5-man dungeons and the 'Icecrown Citadel' raid really brought together everything that had been set in motion by the story since back when Arthas was still a paladin. This is why the cinematic clip at the end of the raid really feels like an epic conclusion, with just a small element left behind (the rise of the new Lich King), which is, however, only meant to let the player go on imagining. By comparison, Deathwing's appearance in Cataclysm feels wholly random and out of place.
Despite his fantastic power, Neltharion can be said to have played a very minor role in the Warcraft story up until this point. He appears in Warcraft II, where he takes sides with the Horde. The conflict between the Horde and the Alliance is, however, the important element of this chapter and at the end of the game players hardly need to remember who this particular dragon was. From guest star here (where he is quickly dealt with and banished) he turns central character in Cataclysm. I'm using terms typically attributed to TV series here because, with this new chapter, the story feels like a show that has already been on the air for far too long. What often happens with successful shows is that the original tension that it was based upon is resolved with a given season, but the ratings remain high up until the end. Because of these ratings, the producers launch an extra season (or two) just to keep things going a bit longer. Cataclysm feels like the first in this line of extra seasons.
The biggest disappointment in the gaming world since Duke Nukem Forever.
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
As a big fan of the previous expansion i'll try and keep this is unbiased as possible, so here goes:
So lets skip the small things and jump straight to the big problems, starting with difficulty. This is a much more difficult expansion than the previous one, mobs hit harder and have a lot more health, the instances all require near perfect co-ordination to complete (until you really outgear the instance) which as anyone that has played wow before will tell you, is near impossible in a pug group. On top of this interrupts are now pretty much mandatory, which to start is a nice change but however very quickly becomes tiresome and often disrupts the flow of the instance as you stop every thirty seconds to mark up another target. Also theres the mana situation, now again once you have lots of really good gear this won't be a problem, but not all people will have super guilds to boost them or lots of money for gear on the auction house and this makes it very difficult for the casual player to progress. It seems to me that Blizzard have listened to the small amount of hardcore players that were crying out for more difficultly and have delivered it to them, but this in turn shuts out the vast amount of casual players who just want a bit of fun and don't want to spend 2hours+ struggling through an instance with a (very probably) arrogant pug tank and an impatient healer that refuses to heal any avoidable damage. And i know anyone that has done a good amount of pugging in wow will know what i mean and will feel the same frustration i do about it. WoW has lost roughly a million subscribers since Cata was released and many point to competition from other mmorpgs out there, but some of it i suspect is down to the new style of gameplay that has been implemented in this expansion. I for one have canceled my subscription along with quite a few other former players i know.
So the new areas, they have been inserted in to the original continents rather than there being a whole new continent to explore, as a result of this a large amount of people have had to be focused in one region (due to portals to the new areas being located there) - for me as an ally player thats Stormwind. While this is a good thing for community and things like that, its not so good for people without super computers or superfast internet that experience a lot of lag and frame rate issues.
There are a few good points to this expansion; you can now fly anywhere rather than just in outland and northrend and the guild leveling is a good addition to encourage people to build a good guild or join an existing guild to receive benefits such as extra experience and extra reputation ect.
On the whole however this expansion is in my opinion a big step back from where the game was during the previous one. Blizzard appear to have ignored the large part of their gamer base to concentrate on the more hardcore side of things and that, is a big mistake and why this is utterly utterly disappointing and with the new Star Wars game coming out soon theres very little to encourage users to return to Wow.
This game is a fun action packed mmorpg, the best mmorpg on the market!
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
This is the 3rd expansion pack for World of Warcraft series. It continues were its left off with the lich king arthas. Deathwing has emerged and the world is being torn apart by the maelstrom. The land is amazing in this game everything looks pretty and makes you want to see every detail of this game, While its still the same old leveling, getting gear, raiding or pvp, If you like leveling then this one has improved that with redoing all the starting zones for each race. Plus with the 2 new races Worgen, and Goblins. The only set back is that It is too easy to get gear in this game, The fact the you worked so hard to go 1-85 just to see that everyone has so much higher gear then you because of how easy it is. Other then that the game is great. PvP Maps are fun and challenging and the new zones for leveling is great quest lines and fun for everyone. I recommend you give this game a try, If you are impatient person when it comes to games then I suggest you do not try this because 1 to 85 is quite long. Cheers!
Look ! I got 6 epics in 1 day !
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
For me, and i feel a lot of people, this expansion will be (and will be remembered as) the beginning of the end.
Blizzard provided some excellent new areas, vanity items, music scores etc as usual, and then massacred the feeling of achievement that has been completely removed from WoW.
Mobs are too easy to kill, gear too easy to get, and gold too easy to make - not that there will be much on your bucket list to buy to begin with.
Gem-cutters and enchanters everywhere must be rejoicing after the release of the deathwing raid, because people barely get time to celebrate their upgrades before they are replaced..and replaced again (le sigh...).
Legendaries also are way too common.
For all the good memories i have of this excellent MMO, it's time (for me at least) to recognize that this is the only reason i have to log in anymore - the fondness of the last few years.
There is no sense of adventure or discovering the unknown.
Now people just sit around in cities and insta-queue everything.
While Catacysm is still "WoW", it is no longer the game we true gamers used to love. The end is near I'm afraid...
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
I rated original WoW "10" because for me it was an awesome game by that time. In that regard you might want to check that review because I rated a "true" game and a piece of awesomeness. I also said that the 10 was to compensate some 0s I saw which came from haters and didn't have any place as true reviews.
Sadly, what I am reviewing now is a very different game. I never thought this would end up like this, but I'm forced to rate this lower than 3 because something is worrying me about what the industry of mmo's is heading to.
First off, forget everything you knew about original WoW and vanilla. Blizzard literally "destroyed" the old mechanics and the old world with the release of this expansion called Cataclysm.
The mechanics were changed in a way that many classes and roles were homogenized so there would be a better balance of pve and pvp. The old talent system once again was simplified in a way that even a retarded person would no longer make bad choices of talents. I will explain later the "retarded" part.
About the old world, it was revamped so questing was made easier for new players and alts to level up as soon as possible. Old elites were removed and it is no longer possible to die while questing because quest rewards now are gear parts that scale with zone level. Now all zones are story driven with quests, which will end with a final outcome that may change the zone with phasing.
Whenever you need to travel to your capital to train skills or whatever you will usually see an advertisment near the entrance that is a quest that send you to apropiate zones to your level to continue questing. And this repeats until you are 85.
Now you don't need to think about anything really, because the game thinks for you, they tell you where to go, what to kill, what to gather and it is easy for everyone to quest without any help.
If you don't feel like questing, you may use the "Looking for group" feature (available at level 15) that puts you in queue for a dungeon and you set your role. These dungeons are really easy and can be rushed by any party. Since the "LFG" feature rewards you with extra XP, gold and nice items (at lower levels), people just queue eternally for levelling up until they get to higher levels.
With the new battlegrounds it is the same. Once upon a time you used to enter battlegrounds to have fun pvping. Now they give XP so instead they are used to level up quickly. A shame.
Once you get to 80-85s zones you start getting gear that makes you more powerfull, your health increases dramatically and makes you even tougher against enemies. Then something is wrong. Wasn't difficulty supposed to scale with content? No, the same difficulty is standard for the whole 1-85 experience. The quests for the 80-85s are nice, but once you have done them with one toon, you will be bored to repeat them again with alts because some of this quests involves reputation with certain factions that you need to be exalted with to be able to purchase certain items.
Finally, when you ding 85 is when you realise something is wrong. Queuing for dungeons and heroic versions rewards you with valor points that let you purchase epic gear. That's all about it... gear. Free epic gear that is handed to everyone who has get to 85, regardless of whether they know how to play the game or not.
So being 85 involves mainly queuing for "LFG" feature just for improving gear and maybe, just maybe, raiding a little bit. This wouldn't be an issue but for a big BIG problem:
The world is dead.
As I said, it is no longer possible to die while questing, queuing for LFG is a great way to earn free epics, gold and XP, so the social aspect of the game doesn't really exist. While questing zones are now just filled with NPCs and monsters roaming and no players adventuring, main cities, like Orgrimmar and Stormwind are where 99% players are (the other 1% maybe mining, gathering herbs of fishing, nothing else). Exodar, Silvermoon, Darnassus, Undercity, Ironforge and Thunder Bluff are now "Dead cities" with no players. It was bad before Cataclysm but rather than fixing this lack of population in other cities, Blizzard decided to do the opposite, to give Orgrimmar and Stormwind a main interest point with everything a player needs and convenient for access to the rest of the world, via portals or whatever.
What happened to that BIG world Blizzard created? What happened to world pvp? What happened to players? Why the hell this had to happen?
I'll explain after I point out one last thing.
After 4.3 came out, a new feature was introduced, called "Looking for raid" which was intended for the last raid tier to be available to complete by all players, and rewarding with really good gear,valor points (for more gear, you got it) and gold. "Looking for raid" works as simple as if you meet the gear level requirements, you may complete the raid. And..... yes, it is true, the raid in that mode is designed so you just "spam" your buttoms until the monsters die. Mechanics are a complete joke and doesn't really involves skill, it is just a gear check.
Alongside the LFR feature, three new dungeons were released which featured the prologue of the final battle against deathwing. These new dungeons are the easiest thing ANY company has ever programmed in videogaming industry. And I'm serious when I say that. And the rewards are (figure it out), epic gear.
So it has come to this:
Blizzard has transformed this once called game in a shadow of its former self. Rewarding everybody with epic gear with no effort at all has been the biggest mistake they have done. No effort in levelling, no effort in questing, no effort in getting gear.
Everybody gets everything with no effort, while the world remains DEAD and cities are filled with level 85 players queuing for the LFG or LFR.
At first I wondered why was this happening, and there is simple answer:
WoW is no longer a game for gamers. It is now a product aimed to appeal to people from 5-80 years old. Yes, this is the sad true. While there are still some hardcore players playing hard mode raids, the truth is that 95% population of wow is the same population that play Angry Birds and stuff like that. I have talked to some people in the game of have never played any videogame... this is just... I don't know what to say. I respect a game being for all audiences but this is definitely the reason that drove me to cancel my subscription once and for all in december.
And with that I don't mean "casual". I say this because I consider myself a 100% casual player but I am still a gamer and I want a game to make me feel I have a challenge in front of my eyes and I want to experience and epic journey that make me enjoy the game every moment I am playing. This happened to me with vanilla and with the first expansion, the burning crusade.
I have to say, Vanilla WoW, I just miss you. You never had to die. Me and a lot of Vanilla players still think of you as one of the greatest games ever made.