August 15, 2009 at 8:42 am (WoW General)

Well, this is….different. (warning:  MASSIVE spoilers, if true, for the next expansion).

For the benefit of those who wish to be surprised, I’ll put my thoughts after the jump.

So, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  A large part of me simply doesn’t believe this.  It feels….off.  Like a piece of gaming fanfiction, if you will.  Taking the points in order:

(a) Level cap 85.  Okay, if they’re hung up on 100 being the absolute level cap, then making more room for expansions makes sense.  Still, the game’s already something of a rush to level cap – this isn’t going to help, unless it takes a whole lot longer to go a level from 80-85 than it does to go from level 70-80.

(b) New race/class combinations.  Holy cow (sorry, sorry, that was bad, and not even mine, but I couldn’t help it).  Let’s assume it’s true (see above re: not entirely believing this “leak”).  Some of these are reasonable corrections – they reflect what should have been the case to begin with (blood elf warriors, human hunters) or reasonable expansions on the lore (troll druids, orc mages, undead hunters – do you really think a faction led by Sylvanas Windrunner wouldn’t have a corps of archers?)  Some are intriguing expansions – dwarven shamans and mages, troll druids, tauren paladins (!!!) and priests.  Though I will point out that any class capable of producing mages should also be capable of producing warlocks – same skill set – and apparently nobody new gets to be a warlock (why not trolls?).  And then there are Night Elf Mages.  Which would be a complete you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me, but based on the prior leak re: the new Night Elf quest featuring the Highborne, it seems to reflect them going somewhere very interesting in regard to the lore of the Well of Forever, the Highborne, etc.

(c) New races have been talked about ad nauseum.  If goblins as a whole (as opposed to one tribe, which was where I thought they were going) are giving up their neutrality, one wonders that that will do to Booty Bay, Ratchet, Gadgetzan, etc.  The worgen coming into play via Gilneas surprises no one.  No word on what classes they’ll be able to play.

(d) A large-scale revamp of old-world Azeroth (instead of a new continent).  Wow.  From the point of view of life-cycle management of a product, this is Blizzard placing a bid for keeping WoW around for a good long time.  Easier, I guess, than releasing “World of Warcraft II” – old-timers get to keep their characters in the new world.  To revamp, on this level, all this old content is certainly ambitious (though I can already hear the screams at the fact that this will replace, say, exploring a new continent).  There’s going to be quite a lot of exploring of Azeroth as it is – they’re flooding several zones?  As somebody who absolutely loved the zombie plague, I can’t wait for the patch 4.0 world event.  Plus, eliminating the “legacy level caps” will be a good thing – anything that reduces the feeling that one must rush to Outland, and then rush to Northrend, will be good.  But yeah, other than the name, to a greater degree than any other expansion, this really does make World of Warcraft effectively a different game.  Hope my incredibly creaky computer still runs it.

(e) on a related note, flying in Azeroth.  Well, they’ve said it would require expansion-level commitment of resources.  Guess they aren’t kidding.  Though if they make it another damned  gold sink, I’m going to scream.   “Now for sale: Temperate Flying!”  I’m with Tamarind – Cold Weather Flying was a goblin scam.  I like the opportunity to fill in gaps – Uldum, Grim Batol, etc.

(f) At least, with Thrall handing off leadership of the Horde to Garrosh, the Horde gets a leader who’s as big an asshat as Varian Wrynn.  Not one of Thrall’s brighter moves, though, and representative of a fundamental flaw of the Horde’s governance.  Varian at least has a legal, legitimate claim to rule the humans.  The Orcs (and by extension the Horde) apparently gets ruled by whoever Thrall picks?  Really?  No council of Hordish Elders to rise up and say “Oh hell no”?  And Thrall picks Garrosh?  Really?

(g) Deathwing.  Very cool.  More Old Gods – also cool.  I like the idea of the mortal races taking out these gods who essentially dominate Azeroth, in a way the Titans couldn’t do.  Very Babylon 5.

Anyway, summing up – if this is true, then this expansion is really going to be WoW II.  It comes off a bit like something six drunk WoW players sitting around a table would come up with as their absolute dream expansion, though, which is why I don’t entirely believe it.  I actually do like the direction they’re going here (what can I say, I’d be one of the people sitting around a table), so I do hope it’s true, but I have to tip my hat to Blizzard’s audacity.  You think people are bitching now about the elimination of old content?

Though if they flood Stratholme before I get my Baron mount on my death knight, someone’s going to be hurt.



  1. Temitope said,

    Just looked at this. Wow.

    I’m kinda sad that the new race-class combos don’t include Forsaken Paladins – they can already be Priests after all. Troll Druids make sense. Dwarf Shaman sounds *weird* (aye laddie ah serve thah elahments, och).

    I’m actually very much in favour of the five-level cap increase. I don’t think it will increase the pressure to get to endgame (I don’t think *anything* could increase the pressure to get to endgame) and at least it will put the start of the storylines and the end of the storylines comfortably close together. Plus it will hopefully meant that Level 80 doesn’t become meaningless as quickly as levels 60 and 70 did.

    I’m broadly in favour of “destroying” the old content – better to make it relevant than to let it stay obsolete. Much as I love me some low-level WoW it’s pretty much impossible to find groups for most of the old content anyway, and I’d rather it became current content than remained the province of boosts and nostalgia runs.

    Also, I *totally* want a Worgen. Rawr.

    • Kahleena said,

      I don’t hate the five-level cap increase – more time at endgame on my main toon is fine with me. We’ll see how it plays.

      One great opportunity with the destruction of the old content (and I’m broadly in favor as well) is to smooth out the curve of the game. What I mean is this – at present, the old “end-games” tend to have a disproportionate amount of content (in amounts you will never actually end up doing while leveling past them), and professions at level cap tend to be miserable to get through (though the TBC-Wrath changeover was handled better than vanilla-TBC was – I still can’t stand getting professions to 300). You also have leveling stretches (40-45 come to mind) that underrepresented in terms of leveling zones.

      I really hope, while they’re doing all this, they raise the 10-characters-per-server limit, though. I don’t want to have to start my worgen on another server.

      • Temitope said,

        I’ve been hoping for a rise in the 10-per-server limit myself. I don’t want to have to delete somebody to make my Worgen, my Cowadin or whatever.

        I’m glad that somebody else hated 40-45 as much as I did.

        I really hope they flood Tanaris.

  2. Sven said,

    This is all assuming that the leak is correct. Whilst Boubouille has had a good track record in the past, I can’t escape the feeling that his sources are playing him this time around. Some of the info makes sense (e.g. the identity of the new races), but some of it (e.g. all goblins joining the horde, rather than a faction, Thrall handing over to Garrosh) seems to be highly implausible.

    I fear he’s being fed false information to ensure even more publicity when the real stuff comes out.

    • Kahleena said,

      Yeah, as I said, there’s a whiff of fanfic about this. I’m not one of those who tends to distrust every leak short of an official press release, or disregards any story based on anonymous sources. And many of these changes, surprising as they are, make sense as part of a long-term strategy for World of Warcraft – for example, Thrall passing leadership to Garrosh, and Cairne dying, are almost necessary because Blizzard wants open war between the Alliance and the Horde. So you need the two factions to have equally violent leaders, so there’s no clear white-hat/black-hat (because if Thrall still runs the Horde, the only path to full-blown war is to have Varian do something so horrendous that, immediately, the Horde are the clear “good guys” and the Alliance the clear villains (which is no better than the Alliance-good-Horde-bad trap Blizzard wisely avoided).

      At this point, if this whole thing turns out to be entirely true, I will be pleased, and a touch surprised, but not shocked. But if it turns out to be largely false, I won’t be especially surprised.

    • Chastity said,

      (switching identities between posts, which I should have done earlier)

      Even the implausible stuff has a ring of truth to it. Sure, handing over leadership of the Horde to Garrosh Hellscream would be massively, massively stupid, but suppose you’d read on a pre-wrath spoiler site “as the battle against the Lich King reaches its height, Tirion Fordring will build an enormous music venue in Icecrown and make the leaders of the Horde and Alliance kill each other for kicks” you’d have laughed it off the internet.

      Okay, it was a cheap shot, but I couldn’t resist.

      • Kahleena said,

        “Tirion Fordring will build an enormous music venue in Icecrown.”

        I really really wish I did machinima. Because Tirion, Paletress, etc. need to get in full Spinal Tap regalia and sing “Stonehenge.” I almost feel this is a moral imperative.

      • Chastity said,

        Where the druids dwell!
        Where the dryads live, and they do live well.
        Where a cow is a cow!
        And the Night Elves dance, on Teldrassil’s bough…

        Or not.

      • Kahleena said,


  3. Shards Announcement Incoming « Fel Deeds Awake! said,

    […] a few other announcements too, of […]

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