What exactly do I mean by “casual World of Warcraft player”? Well, I have played the game quite a bit, but I’ve never done any of the real high-end stuff, like raiding. I’ve never really joined a serious guild. I usually just play through the more accessible content.
For instance, my two highest level characters are a level 55 Dwarf Hunter, which then allowed me to make a Dranei Death Knight, who is currently level 75. So I’ve seen the Outlands and Northrend, but I’ve never fought Illidan or anything like that. If I get bored, instead of joining a guild and running through some huge dungeon, I’m likely to just make a new character with a new class to mess around with.
All that said, it seems like Cataclysm more so than the other expansions is being made for a WoW player like me. Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich-King both had a structure where most of the new content was in new areas, giant land masses, that could only be accessible by high-level characters. Cataclysm seems to focus instead on revamping the games original world, to essentially make what was old new again, and to help update some of the now dated and tired MMO mechanics found in those low-level areas.
I really hope that they are sincere with their desire to make more areas like the Death Knight starting area, and other areas from Northrend. Those were really exciting and unique quests for an MMO, but there were many who were just too low a level to ever play them. Now, hopefully newer players will get similar experiences.
It should also be fun to discover how the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor have changed. In the teaser trailer for the expansion, it looks like most places just had fiery chasms thrown in the middle of their landscapes, but I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting new locales.
I’m glad that they’re introducing new races to the game. It’s always fun to at least play through the first ten levels or so for every race, just to see their beautifully crafted starting areas. As for the races themselves, I don’t really find the Goblins or Worgen to be as interesting additions to the game as the Dranei or Blood Elves, at least in terms of aesthetic and lore. Still, the Goblins will make a good counterpart to the Alliance’s Gnomes, and the Worgen will finally give the Alliance a truly bestial class for, you know, people who are into that sort of thing.
It’s also good to know that I can now use my flying mount on my higher level character in the original continents. The new class/race combination are a nice touch, as well. Once again, they’re giving old players incentive to play through the new early game content.
If I had one complaint, it would be the lack of a new hero class. It seems a bit bizarre to me that they have such a complicated system in place for creating a hero class character, only to limit the player to one choice. I understand the challenge that comes with balancing a new class, but it would have been nice to see them at least add one more with this expansion. Like Demon Hunter. They’re so cool. Well, I guess there’s only one, but he’s cool.
So, all in all I feel like Cataclysm is looking like a pretty solid expansion, and I like the overall direction Blizzard seems to be taking the project. I’ll likely be picking up my oversized Collector’s Edition pretty quickly upon release.
- Mike Minotti (still jobless, Illidan thinks I am not prepared)
See this post and more on my site: Give Mike Minotti A Gaming Journalism Job.