Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cataclysm Thoughts-Part 1: Zone Changes

This was originally supposed to be a post on the stat changes in Cataclysm, but I went on such a tangent in the introduction that I felt it deserved its own post.

By now, everyone and their mother has read about Cataclysm, and opinions are divided, to say the least. From what I've seen and heard from everyone I know, and all the blogs that I read, reactions have either been either complete and utter love for Blizzard, or bursting at the seams, seething with pure, unbridled rage for any number of things.

Personally, I think these reactions are a few things. First, they are premature. Despite the playable builds at Blizzcon, the air of "We're discussing it" and "We might think about it sometime in the future, maybe" at the panels made it seem that the designers are still at a very early stage in terms of game design. Plus, the expansion is still about a year away, anything can change, no need to get so worked up over something that may not even get in the game.

Second, I think it's a bit overhyped, and what people think what the Cataclysm entails may not actually be what they think. For example, blues have posted many, many times that some zones will get a lot of changes, and some zones won't. Throughout their posts and panels, Blizzard has tried over and over again to downplay the changes in zones, and I quote from the FAQ on their official cataclysm page.
"Q: Which classic zones have been overhauled? What are some examples of changes?
A: Nearly all of the game’s original zones are being altered to some degree, but the extent of the changes varies by zone."

And in other blue posts which I am too lazy to look up, they've said that the changes will entail the flow of quests, and quest design in general, rather than a complete overhaul. Also, they've said that they've wanted Old World leveling to be more like Wrath leveling, and that seems more in line with what they've been saying for Cataclysm. Other than a few zones, and I'm certainly not discounting them, what Cataclysm has in store for the 1-58 game really seems more to be quest redesign, rather than touching the basic, core design, or doing anything overly cataclysmic (This is the part where you laugh at the obvious pun).

This is also the part where I realize that my second point completely disregarded my own advice contained in the first.

Now, don't get me wrong, a quest system overhaul is much, much needed. And combined with flying mounts in Azeroth, as well as the new, and those zones that are completely overhauled, will still change the game as we know it. With that said, to expect Barrens level change for the entire world seems unfounded, at best.

Again, going back to my first point, anything can change, nothing is even remotely close to being set in stone. I wouldn't be surprised if I came back here 10 months later, reading this post, and then promptly putting my face into my palm.

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