View from the Road: The Big Goodbye

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I remember when Ragnarok nuked Morroc, one of the first cities they ever added to the game. My favourite town was reduced to a smoking crater. Plus, they made the desert an extremely stressful place to navigate filled with contorted zombie ladies who are having a particularly bad period, mud golems, angels with hammer arms... no more honking peco pecos, no more farming eggs for cards, just... a dimensional hole to a brand new world. WoW probably won't make whole lowbie-friendly areas turn into zones of death, but I hope they at least remodel all the early armor. It looked like a pile of turds.

I just quit WoW (again), and I don't intend to come back even for Cata until most of my RL has changed and become more profitable. On the other hand, I've been watching the developments constantly and what Blizz is doing is just flat-out awesome. i've always been of the opinion that WoW's problem is that it didn't expand "sideways" often enough (ie unbuilt zones, poor pre-endgame replayability, etc), and I am impressed at both their effort and the product thus far.

To answer the title question - a Cataclysm'd City 17 would just feel redundant.

So it's kinda like the Spellplauge in Forgotten Realms?

John Funk:
Snip

You do know that most gamers will be happy that they will never have to take your cousin bowling if he is dead and the bowling alley is now a zombie party room?

It's amusing that such an in-game cataclysm is seen as an original idea.

There are MMOs that have used this concept before. At least, Guild Wars did. The whole "Presearing" section of Prophecies gives everyone the time to become comfortable with their surroundings. Then you finally say you're "ready" to enter the Academy, and all Hell breaks loose. Your character cannot then return to Presearing. The whole nation of Ascalon, which made up the borders of where you could go at first, is now a torn husk, with every patch of ground burned. Even if you know how to navigate Presearing brilliantly, the landscape and locations have shifted just enough to set you off course if you're not careful.

Of course, the difference between how GW achieved this, and how WoW will, is that you could go back to the old world as a new character, and experience Presearing again. This reduces the impact, so frankly, as design and efficiency goes, I find GW's approach to be a better idea.

Getting rid of all of those finely-balanced, over-tested areas and changing it all radically is a great waste of all that these areas were. Yes, you're right that on an impact level, making a cataclysm universal is going to really hit the user base as it stands. But there is an impermanence in this impact.

The obvious thing about this is: if you're new to WoW and start after all of this happens, the contrast will mean nothing to you (though, of course, the fundamental qualities of the game will be different, this difference would not exist subjectively speaking). If WoW's user base doubled, many of them wouldn't know or care about the differences. And that's to say nothing of whether the new design is actually better or not. I think it would be a little to early to tell either way.

I think that this is a really great experiment for Blizzard to engage in, and it'll be fascinating to see what future MMO designers can take from the experience. But with every strength, a weakness reveals itself. I suppose you could say that of all decisions of such a large scale. I look forward to the next risk Blizzard takes.

My initial reaction for Cataclysm was utter excitement. We're finally back to playing in Azeroth (beyond Caverns of Time), with new zones t'boot! Hyjal! Gilneas! And holy crap, Deathwing's still kicking! Look at all the destruction he's caused! This is going to be awesome!

Then it hit me... look at all the destruction he's caused! My NE hunter and druid's old haunts -- Auberdine... Astranaar... Feathermoon... gone! All gone! While I don't consider myself a role-player in the least bit, I found I actually cared about these places that don't exist. My memories of WoW don't come close to comparing to my non-gaming memories, but they're still apparently significant. I think I am going to miss the way things were, even if only in a nostalgic sense.

It's definitely a different expansion [more like a face-lift], and I look forward to all the good times ahead. I've always wanted to be able to play WoW with fresh eyes again... I wonder how close this will come.

The TF2 wasn't a really great example, as I'm sure many have pointed out, if only because that sounds more like bad level-design rather then a change to the world itself.

But I like this article and it's overall message. The idea that major changes would do more harm then good to the player is one that seems to be true, especially with games that have worlds with long histories and back-stories that make it a more believable place. If Rapture's structure suddenly changed dramatically in places like Sandar Cohan's realm, the fans would be up in arms.

The biggest example of this happening that isn't in an MMO that I can think of is Mass Effect 2 and the Citadel. I loved how connected, yet large the place felt in the first game, but the second one seemed like a basic three-layered shop area with a very few number of places added on. I understand wanting to change it, but it seemed more dumbed-down than almost any other part of the game to me.

I think this sounds completely and unabashedly awesome, but sometimes I wonder if that sort of taste is why I don't like MMORPGs in the first place. I am not a creature of habit as you put it. I despise it when things in my life become repetitive and I love it when my world is turned on its head. It's really the only time I ever feel alive, and I'm not just talking about video games here. If they did something like Cataclysm every few months I might actually play the game.

Not G. Ivingname:

John Funk:
Snip

You do know that most gamers will be happy that they will never have to take your cousin bowling if he is dead and the bowling alley is now a zombie party room?

Gameplay is mostly the same, so you'd take him Zombie bowling.

StriderShinryu:
As a dedicated LOTRO player.. and one who isn't as tied to the word of Lore as many are, I would love to play that changed LOTRO game. :)

But even players like you and like myself, who love the lore, can look forward to a cataclysm in LoTRO: The Scouring of the Shire. One day the entire Shire is going to be wrecked, and I can't wait. :D

It's called Synthetic Happiness when we grow accustomed to the new and begin to prefer it to the old.
It's called Nostalgic Bitterness when we resent change.

lol. If one of my friends complained that a restaurant they liked was gone i would make fun of them and expect the same thing back lol. As it stands i don't WoW as an amazing game that holds me attention. If it were free i'd play it but it isn't so i won't Maybe my buddy will describe it better when i next talk to him.

John Funk:
Anyone can *add* to a game. This is changing what already exists, permanently.

If you can look at what every single expansion since "Exodus" has done to the dynamics of nearly every aspect of EVE and come to the conclusion that the only notable changes are "graphics" and "engine" updates then there's nothing more to talk about here.

Look, I get it. This actually is something to be excited about if you're a Warcraft player. I'm not saying no one should be not do I want to get bogged down defending EVE Online. What I am trying to say is this: The blog posts that describe any major addition that a major expansion is making will cause days-long discussions on how to prepare for, adapt to, and train for them. If that doesn't fit your definition of change, you're using a different dictionary than me.

The lack of players' agency to effect permanent external changes is exactly why I don't play MMOGs. In a good game, like Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, when I kill someone or loot a chest the fellow stays dead and the chest stays looted; in a bad game like Monster Hunter Tri the fellow will respawn as soon as you're out of eyesight and kindly will refill the chest with valuable tidbits.

Cataclysm being expressive of designers' agency and not players', I don't think it worth playing.

John Funk:
View from the Road: The Big Goodbye

What if the Cataclysm came to your favorite game?

Read Full Article

I have a completely different outlook at this.

Sure stuff will be gone, and I will never see them again. But I don't care.

Although I am a creature of habit on a lot of planes, when it comes to my entertainment I love change.

Christopher Eccleston was a great Doctor, but then came David Tennant and he was even greater, And guess what I like Matt Smith better than both of the others.

For me Cataclysm s sort of the same, we get something new and exciting, because the old world sort of sucked. And it really does suck to level there...

PS: I can understand how a lot of people dislike not being able to go back to the old world once cata hits, I just dont share the sentiment.

Well, to add my (mostly) worthless opinion...

I never really noticed much of the landscape as I was leveling to Outland. Infact, I have very few outstanding memories of levels 1 to 59. Then Outland, and then Northrend came, and I took notice and enjoyed questing, the different landscapes, ect. But I sometimes looked back wistfully and wondered what I had done in those first 59 levels.

Now that Cata is fully redoing the lands, and making Azeroth more forgiving, I find that I actually look forward to leveling there again. The old world was neglected for far too long, and seeing this continent-wide change is what-I think- will revive interest in the game, as WotLK- whilst a fairly good expansion- always felt strangely flat and mechanical.

Just don't change the gameplay and I say let em do whatever they please.

If they hooked me in with the original game, then chances are any cataclysm style revamp will be just as good, right?

I didn't think i'd regret seeing anything changed in cataclysm... until I saw what happened to Southshore.

John Funk:
It's like if Star Trek Online players all logged in to find themselves in the Mirror Universe.

To me STO already feels like it's in the Mirror Universe. Waaaaaaaay to much shooting and looting for it to feel like it's in the world of the TV shows.

Regarding Cataclysm, my guild is planing a "Farewell to the Old World" safari, going out and riding one last time through Old Azeroth to take group screenshots. We will miss it, but all of us are excited to see the world change and especially getting to play in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms again. It just feels more Warcrafty there, with or without lava pits :)

On some level I want to resubscribe just to say goodbye to Azeroth, but realistically I never left Northrend anyway. This Cataclysm is happening to a long dead part of the world and there's not a huge difference between overwriting something so I can't access the original, and rewriting it so I don't want to.

kibayasu:

John Funk:
Anyone can *add* to a game. This is changing what already exists, permanently.

If you can look at what every single expansion since "Exodus" has done to the dynamics of nearly every aspect of EVE and come to the conclusion that the only notable changes are "graphics" and "engine" updates then there's nothing more to talk about here.

Look, I get it. This actually is something to be excited about if you're a Warcraft player. I'm not saying no one should be not do I want to get bogged down defending EVE Online. What I am trying to say is this: The blog posts that describe any major addition that a major expansion is making will cause days-long discussions on how to prepare for, adapt to, and train for them. If that doesn't fit your definition of change, you're using a different dictionary than me.

Sigh. You're getting bogged down in the terminology. Every expansion to a MMOG does (or should) change mechanics, change how things work, change things that are broken, etc. That's how the games themselves evolve. I'm talking purely about locations - if you went back to a station that's been around since the beginning, it'd still be there, it'd just look prettier (and probably have changed hands a few times, but that's just how EVE works). With Cata, not only are they doing the standard "stats, items, the way we play the game is changing," but they're destroying all of the world.

It'd be like if CCP decided to just nuke 0.0 or some other important gathering area.

Don't misunderstand me, I have tremendous respect for CCP and EVE is a wholly unique beast.

John Funk:
View from the Road: The Big Goodbye

What if the Cataclysm came to your favorite game?

Read Full Article

We're definitely on the same page here. Nostalgia hangs heavily in the air, and even so it's not *just* the ingame worlds, but also the memories of the times during which we were there. I began playing wow at release and raided MC during the carefree days of junior high school. It's a piece of my childhood!

Mortagog will definitely reroll, as his old account is lost to him.

Change is one of the more interesting aspects of MMOs. I'm looking forward to a fresh look at content I've seen so many times in the past that I'm sick of it.

Anyone knows if we'll need to buy the other expansions to enjoy Cataclysm? I have a vanilla WoW account, I bought it a couple of months before The Burning Crusade, after that, I didn't had any money to keep playing and I was seduced by private servers. It was buggy as hell, but I had my WoW fix. Wrath of The Lich King and a few lawsuits from Blizzard to "my server" later and I haven't played WoW in a long time. With this new expansion, I'm considering myself to return to see how things have changed. But what is bugging me right now is if we need to buy the "old world of Azeroth" expansions to play Cataclysm.

Speaking of wich... Is really Blizz changing everything? What about the people who doesn't want to leave the old Azeroth? Are they going to be forced to buy the new expansion? Is Blizz going to keep the old Azeroth in it's servers for the people who still don't buy the expansion?

It would be a great incentive to make people who already have both expansions buy the Cataclysm. They should simply stop updating the "old Azeroth" and make people get bored of it and get the new expansion to play an almost entirely new game.

But what about the many new people (thousands) they're expecting to get along with the Cataclysm? Will they need to buy some content wich is already too old or they can buy the game along with this expansion only?

And IF they make people buy the old content, it would be wise for them to justify their buy to add some kind of time warp gate to go back in time and enjoy the old world... I'm not speaking of the Caverns of Time, I mean something permanent, not just some 3 hour Raid, something you can go back and forth whenever you want...

I think some folks might miss the comparison here.

In any other expansion, plot change, sequel, or patch, you still have an option to play the original content. Expansions add new maps, not destroy old ones. If they do, it is generally not entire maps, and never all maps. They might adjust, tweak, and update a few things here and there, but otherwise do a complete bulldoze and rebuild. Changes based on plot are per character. You can still experience that content on a new character, such as with guild wars, and that zone is "starter" anyway, yes? Also same with Wrathgate/Argents in Wrath. With a sequel, you can go back and play the first game. In a patch, bugs are fixed, interfaces and game-play change.

With Cataclysm, you can never ever ever go back to "old Azeroth". Unless you roll with private servers.

OT:

Having finished explorer and been working on Loremaster; I see your point; there are many cool quests and locales that probably aren't going to survive the Cataclysm. I get the feeling that many of the quests will remain in some form or another, but they won't be the same.

At the same time, I look forward to seeing some of the stub quests get follow-ups, or seeing how some of these characters change/react.

As for endgame vs re-roll; I'm taking my main up through the new levels and zones first. Then I'll re-roll a fresh character for all of the new "old-world" content. Then, because I am OCD, I will run my main through all the new "old" stuff.

SupahGamuh:
[Do I, or anyone, have to buy the expansion?]

Short answer: No.

Less short answer:

Everyone will get the Cataclysm patch to the old world. If you have only vanilla WoW, you will still have changed zones and quests in Azeroth.

What you pay for in the expansion are access to the two new races. I don't know about the new class options on existing races though. You will also get a level cap of 85, and access to the all-new zones for 80+ in Azeroth. New endgame raids/instances.

That's the general gist of it.

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm/faq/

There's a lot of explanation in there. If you can find it...

One thing i like of WoW is that when i go to the big cities (Iron Forge, Stormwind, Dalaran,etc). i can see lot of pc running around. People forming groups, trading, chatting. I'm usually more a solo player than a team player and if i have to choose i prefer to quest, farm, grind alone than do it with others but i also like to see people running around in some situations. Since Burning Crusades came many places of the old content became desolated. For example while Stormwind is allways full of people Darnassus is usuallly empty. There many people at all time playing around Goldshire but Desolace is desolated almost all the time.
I think Blizzard kept the auction houses and most of the class trainers at old major cities so player would have to go back there again.And that make sence for me, quite depresing to start playing a new mmo and have the feeling that you are the only one playing it.
Blizzard could add a new continet or dimesion (i'm still waiting for the emerald dream... lol) but that probably would have made the old zonesmore the desolated, specially the areas in eastern kindom and kalimdor, since now with the group finder is much faster to level in instances than to quest in those areas. And at the other most of the people tend to rush to end content game and also tend to skip dificult or boring quest. And to make it worse if the area is already empty is almost imposible to find other players to run those quests.
I like the idea behind the new expansion cause i think it will bring back players to those areas even if they dont look and feel like they used to.

I'm so jealous.

Oh well, guess I'll just have to keep eyeing my g-mail every couple of hours and hope that I get in. I've been in the last two betas for the expansion so odds are on my side... right ...right?!

I'm excited about cataclysm. I left after sunwell and it will make me come back, at least for a month to see the new stuff.

Hopefully after 6 years they finally did away with everquest-style masochism gameplay. Anyone ever make the corpse hop run from Teldrassil to Ironforge? You were level 10 getting eaten by level 20 spiders and crocodiles.

Or how about the Shaman water totem quest "Run from one end of the barrens to another over and over again!" That is crap that games don't need anymore. Time sinks for the sake of sinking time that don't advance the story or improve your character.

Count me amongst those who does not quite get why this is so huge. I mean understand mourning change, but..we often mod our games anyway. Is it because you have so little choice about what the Mods will be?

Good burn all of azeroth to the ground that place sucks(now) and the only thing making me want kittenclysm is that they are destroying the place. Then I remember what most of the wow community is like these days and I refuse to buy it.

But just think of how different things would be if you logged into age of conan and it ran well, and people were actually playing it.

Don't reroll wait for The old republic funk we can crush those rebel scum together hell I'll even wear my rebel scum shirt my cousin gave me.

I am now imagining a cataclysm that comes to some games I played.

..

Sounds fun, actually.

But now, I am imagining a cataclysm that comes to The Windwaker, and it's ocean that I love.

..

Horror. Nothing but pure horror.

The cataclysm came to my favorite game, Chromehounds.

R.I.P. Sal Kar. You defended yourself valiantly until the day they shut down the servers.

John Funk:
View from the Road: The Big Goodbye

What if the Cataclysm came to your favorite game?

Read Full Article

I think why WOW: Cataclysm strikes such a chord among WOW players is that it demonstrates the ultimate irrelevancy of your character's deeds. You are NOT changing the world. You are NOT an epic hero. Your deeds are meaningless, and the real events of the world are caused by the unseen hands of people far more powerful than yourselves.

It's one thing if the world gets blown up and it's your fault. Another entirely if you're a self-styled defender of the world and it gets blown up and it turns out you were irrelevant before, during, and after it's blow-up.

My $0.02.

GTAIV in a destroyed Liberty City? I'm conjuring images of I Am Legend and what little we've seen of I Am Alive.

Neither of those are bad things. In fact, I dare-say it'd be one of the better games I've played in a long time.

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