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World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

The Gnome Journal: Cataclysm holiday

During the winter holiday, Petter had some extra time to grapple with the dungeons in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm but managed to hit a snag...

I'm not a big fan of MMO reviews. They are tricky to write, since there's generally so much content to get through before you're able to get to the meat of things. Then there's the added factor of other people, which is either a boon or a headache. With World of Warcraft: Cataclysm there was a ton of low-level content added to the game, which made the decision to publish a review easy. New character has a lot of adventures ahead of themselves. But for endgame players, like myself, another picture of the expansion has started to emerge.

Taking a look at my achievement tab, I can easily get a view of how many quests I've left in the former expansions and the revamped Azeroth. There's quite a lot of them in fact, despite all the time I spent with The Burning Crusade. In Cataclysm, in the post-level 80 zones, I have 25 left in Vashj'ir - and the only reason I haven't done them is because I don't really fancy the zone itself. When I finally decide to bite that bullet and finish them off, which shouldn't take very long, I'll be done. No more quests, no more world-content except for daily quests. And considering that I'm already exalted with Therazane and about to finish up with Wildhammer Clan, there's no real reason for me to even look at those (and that's not even counting the horror of daily quests).

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Someone didn't step out of the beams in time... I blame the healer or the tank.

That's not to say that Cataclysm lacks content - the issue for me is that it's for lower levels. And since I'm not very fond of leveling, and have no real interest in rolling alts except for my level 72 shaman that I recently took out of cold storage, that content is mostly pointless to me (and other dedicated endgame players). As it stands right now, level 85 is all about running dungeons - especially the heroic versions. In between runs, there's just not very much know, do.

Luckily though, the heroics in Cataclysm are really good - and, most importantly, challenging. Do you remember what your first time in heroic Shadow Labs was like back in TBC? It probably hurt. A lot. In Wrath, heroics were a breeze - even before I left the game after having finished Naxx, me and my guildies were rushing through them without a care in the world. These days, Blizzard have ramped up the difficulty again, making the AoE-fests of Wrath a memory of the past. It also means that they are fun, and I tend to join in on as many as I can. I also tend to stay away from the Dungeon Finder, since picking up some random person easily ends in disaster - especially if that person is a tank or healer. Druid tank that can't tank more than one mob at a time? Check. Healer that can't take the stress of more than two people being damaged at the same time? Oh, check, check.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Jazzgirl saved the day by invoking the power of jazz.

Of course it brings us back to the matter of lack of content... I hate to say it, but the amount of heroics available to the endgame players is quite small. Of course there are raids to be done as well, but unless you want to roll alts and level up through the new content, the risk of burnout is a constant. If you played World of Warcraft all through Wrath of the Lich King, up until the very end, then I guess you're immune. If you did not, then it's a factor to consider. Personally, no matter how much fun I'm currently having, it's hard to shake the feeling that I just might hit the wall at any point - even before setting my foot in any raid outside the one below Tol Barad.

Did I rush it? Am I being a bad hardcore player that got no one except myself to blame for the lack of content? In some ways, perhaps. Perhaps it's my bad that I'm staying away from all the new content in the old zones and really should just man up and roll an alt or two. Perhaps I should have stopped myself from hitting level 85, despite the fact that it hardly took any time at all. I don't know. But the fact the remains that capped players have a very finite amount of content right now. Of course there will be more patched in later, and it's hardly the first time this has happened in a MMO. But looking back at the two previous expansions for World of Warcraft, this is the first time that content dried up this fast.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
I felt the urge to include this screenshot just because I'm so satisfied with myself.

In a GRTV interview that we did on the eve of Cataclysm's launch I asked senior producer Rob Foote if the expansion was aimed at new or old players. Rob answered "both", but at this point I'm not sure that's true - unless you see leveling another alt as endgame. Considering it's one of the activities that Bioware described for the endgame in Star Wars: The Old Republic as well, perhaps it's just me that is being old and cranky.