PVS WoW: Cataclysm Expansion Post-Mortem

With Blizzard having completed their World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion pack, and well on the way to releasing their next expansion Mists of Pandaria; It’s a good time to review the completed expansion’s good points and points that could use improvement. Let’s get started.

1) Looking for Raid: This was a really good idea. With Blizzard’s market the way it is and their lack of attraction for new hardcore gamers, they really need to reach out to those casual gamers. I think the Looking for Raid (LFR) feature was a good idea. Most casual players that I know personally have never been into a raid prior to Cataclysm. Those who had been, usually sucked and didn’t get far. This was a great way for those newer players to get some experience in a raid environment without all the stress that comes with hardcore raiding. To be frank, the difficulty of LFR was ridiculously easy and most mechanics could simply be ignored. I think the idea of LFR was simply to get people in, then once the foot is in the door hope they want to go on to normal/heroic raiding after. My only beef is with the gear: It shouldn’t have been as good as it was. For what little work people did for it, it should have been on par (or lower) than 5 man heroics.

2) New & Revamped Areas: What Blizzard did well this expansion was revamping the old areas for lower levels. The level 1-60 zones in Azeroth we completely redone and the quests fit a lot better together than they did before. When combined with the Hero’s Boards located in main cities, these changes helped guide players and made the game more fluid. The new areas for 80-85 weren’t so great, but still worth mentioning. The phasing they did in Mount Hyjal and the Molten Front was pretty well done. Unfortunately, they really didn’t have much replayability. Once they were done, you never wanted to go back.

3) Transmogification: You mean I can make the ugly new stuff look like the cool stuff from TBC?! About freaking time.

4) Raiding: The first tier (Tier 11) of the expansion was…less than stellar. It was all right and it was nice to fight somebody we hadn’t killed before. But the fights themselves were kind of boring. Firelands (Tier 12) was just frustrating. They did an interesting thing with the flying on Beth’tilac and the feet on Lord Rhyolith. Facing Ragnaros again though was just torture. Dragon Soul (Tier 13) was boring. It might just be because I was able to run through it on LFR, then again on normal. But I found that I got bored of it really quick.

5) They made the game too easy: Skills were squished and removed, stats were simplified, and mechanics were taken out. Where is the challenge there? I understand they need to get more casual players in, but I feel they took it a little too far and made the ‘hardcore’ players who actually want to learn and master their classes go looking for another game. They do need to make the game playable by casual players, but they can’t take away the joys of theorycrafting either. Blizzard failed to find the balance in this expansion, hopefully pandas can bring back some of those more dedicated players.

And on that comedic note, I leave you. This will (likely) be my last World of Warcraft related post until more news about Mists of Pandaria comes out, as I’ve suspended my account in search of greener pastures. If something major happens I may talk on it, but until they let’s see what other games I can find.

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