Editor's Note: Cataclysm

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Cataclysm

John Funk reflects on the scope of Azeroth and how it is all being scraped away.

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I left your youtube link open as I was reading...and I nostalgia'd pretty damn hard.

Durotar, the Barrens, Ashenvale, Redridge. They were all the places that I remember when I was first leveling my shaman to 60 when I was still in utter awe of the game. 'Tis bitter sweet...

Actually, it's interesting that you bring the Barrens song up because to me, that music will stick with me forever... the Barrens' sparse, lyrical tune, the thumping drums of Orgrimmar, the spacey, tingly sounds of Silvermoon... and that insane discordant madness that is the tune of Everlook and, I later discovered, the dismembered city of Gnomeregan... I can't help but wonder if they will be changing much of the music. It scares me a little... when I find myself flying (!) through the Barrens in the not-so-distant future, will I ever be able to hum along to that french horn again?

It is funny how the expansion makes me nostalgic for a game that I had left behind years ago. I haven't been to my equivalent of your "small hill" for four years, and had never intended to return. In fact, I had never felt nostalgic until I discovered that that world would forever be changed. Funny how Blizzard can instill nostalgia like that.

I've still got all the screenshots I've taken since I started at the Launch of the Burning Crusade, and after looking through them there is one photo which is the equivalent to your hill; the first time I entered the gates of Stormwind on my level 7 Paladin. Good times, but long ago.

I recently created a new character (Night Elf Druid) for the specific purpose of seeing Azeroth for one last time[1]. I didn't focus on the fastest levelling route, instead opting to explore everywhere and subsequently getting the Explorer achievement. At times it was lonely, since the first time I traversed Azeroth it was always with friends, whom have all since left, but it was still good to see it as I remembered for that last time.

:'(

[1] I even created a youtube video using screenshots of when I levelled as a memento

So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

3nimac:
So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

I believe they have done this before. So why are you sighing about it now? Also, it is not just a game. It is a world in which millions of people have grown accustomed to. It is a universe where hundreds of millions around the world know. It is this world, Azeroth, which will be torn asunder by the coming of the cataclysm. All of our old hunting grounds will be destroyed and forever changed. Our favorite memories will be just that, memories.

While you think of it as just a "game". Millions of people like me believe it to be much, much more.

I'ma miss the somewhat more pristine Ashenvale since the Horde are cutting it down and what not... (Horde here)

I'm gonna be bitter about Southshore for a long time. It's not even an entire level of quests for the Alliance, but it's one of my favourite areas in the game; one of the nicest and most peaceful towns (battle for hillsbrad aside) and now it's going to be reduced to a poisonous chemical lake.

I started playing wow around the start of Burning Crusade too.
And aswell i have that little hill where i felt so small in that big world.
But now here comes Cataclysm and takes all that away from me.
I always feel nostalgic when a new low level player asks me where is this and that, because I know I searched for those things high and low for myself.

I honestly feel just like in the article.
:(

Captain Placeholder:

3nimac:
So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

I believe they have done this before. So why are you sighing about it now? Also, it is not just a game. It is a world in which millions of people have grown accustomed to. It is a universe where hundreds of millions around the world know. It is this world, Azeroth, which will be torn asunder by the coming of the cataclysm. All of our old hunting grounds will be destroyed and forever changed. Our favorite memories will be just that, memories.

While you think of it as just a "game". Millions of people like me believe it to be much, much more.

I too love WoW, but simply saying that it's "much much more" isn't something anyone but people like us WoWers will understand at all. WoW is unbelievably diverse. Even if you've played other MMO games there's really nothing else like it.

While I'm here... Where are all my Forsaken brothers and sisters? It seems like anyone I talk to about WoW is all about the Kalimdore action. My first character was undead and even when I make other characters, I usually run straight to Death Knell and play straight through into Tarren Mill. Not sure if it's true, but, I've heard that we're being split into two, different factions when the expansion comes out. Those still loyal to the Horde and those leaving it with our Dark Lady Sylvanas. Whichever side you choose just remember: patience, discipline.

Oh God, you made me so sad.
I remember when I first arrived in Brill on my Undead Mage. The place was awesome, so atmospheric, and the background music was amazing. You could see the ruined spires of Lordaeron in the distance and the whole place was in a constant state of twilight.
I'm gonna miss the original WoW so much :(

So basica, this issue is just one large commercial for Cataclysm? bah

Psychosocial:
So basica, this issue is just one large commercial for Cataclysm? bah

Er, if you consider every time we write about a given game to be advertising a game, I think you're really reading too much into things. We find Cataclysm a fascinating event given its magnitude (and the popularity of WoW), and the very real connection players have to this fictional world.

That was exactly how I felt, even down to the orc warlock. I'm gonna miss that old world

My own 'small hill' was also in Durotar; during an early shaman quest you follow a hidden path - part of which overlooks eastern barrens - and I was absolutely astounded when I saw Ratchet and its bustling port from the Valley of Trials. Shortly after, the mountain atop which lay the Fire Totem questgiver, overlooking both Durotar and the Barrens, gave a similar sense of awe.

Absolutely epic, and profoundly nostalgia-inducing.

Captain Placeholder:

3nimac:
So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

I believe they have done this before. So why are you sighing about it now? Also, it is not just a game. It is a world in which millions of people have grown accustomed to. It is a universe where hundreds of millions around the world know. It is this world, Azeroth, which will be torn asunder by the coming of the cataclysm. All of our old hunting grounds will be destroyed and forever changed. Our favorite memories will be just that, memories.

While you think of it as just a "game". Millions of people like me believe it to be much, much more.

Im sighing because this particular game just happens to have came from John Funks favorite studio, one massive studio that just happens to be releasing the expansion soon, oh look at the coincidence. Im sighing because this particular game already has a feature on this site called Chronicles of Cataclysm, where they write about, oh, the same thing. Im sighing because no matter how popular a game is, its not okay for a website like this that tries its best to rise above the conventions of major gaming sites with more in depth views to give one game (one studio) such special treatment. Im sighing because millions of people believe it to be more than a game.

For the record, i played it for 2 years.

3nimac:

Captain Placeholder:

3nimac:
So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

I believe they have done this before. So why are you sighing about it now? Also, it is not just a game. It is a world in which millions of people have grown accustomed to. It is a universe where hundreds of millions around the world know. It is this world, Azeroth, which will be torn asunder by the coming of the cataclysm. All of our old hunting grounds will be destroyed and forever changed. Our favorite memories will be just that, memories.

While you think of it as just a "game". Millions of people like me believe it to be much, much more.

Im sighing because this particular game just happens to have came from John Funks favorite studio, one massive studio that just happens to be releasing the expansion soon, oh look at the coincidence. Im sighing because this particular game already has a feature on this site called Chronicles of Cataclysm, where they write about, oh, the same thing. Im sighing because no matter how popular a game is, its not okay for a website like this that tries its best to rise above the conventions of major gaming sites with more in depth views to give one game (one studio) such special treatment. Im sighing because millions of people believe it to be more than a game.

For the record, i played it for 2 years.

It's still a massive event in gaming that we haven't really seen the likes of before, not in a persistent virtual space - and as you can see here, it's something that has an effect on millions of gamers. We're not saying whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, we're covering it because it's very interesting and worth examining.

And for the record, this issue was not even my idea ;)

Tarrker:

Captain Placeholder:

3nimac:
So, an entire issue devoted to, more or less, one game? sigh

I believe they have done this before. So why are you sighing about it now? Also, it is not just a game. It is a world in which millions of people have grown accustomed to. It is a universe where hundreds of millions around the world know. It is this world, Azeroth, which will be torn asunder by the coming of the cataclysm. All of our old hunting grounds will be destroyed and forever changed. Our favorite memories will be just that, memories.

While you think of it as just a "game". Millions of people like me believe it to be much, much more.

I too love WoW, but simply saying that it's "much much more" isn't something anyone but people like us WoWers will understand at all. WoW is unbelievably diverse. Even if you've played other MMO games there's really nothing else like it.

While I'm here... Where are all my Forsaken brothers and sisters? It seems like anyone I talk to about WoW is all about the Kalimdore action. My first character was undead and even when I make other characters, I usually run straight to Death Knell and play straight through into Tarren Mill. Not sure if it's true, but, I've heard that we're being split into two, different factions when the expansion comes out. Those still loyal to the Horde and those leaving it with our Dark Lady Sylvanas. Whichever side you choose just remember: patience, discipline.

Hear hear! As much as I love the troll design and story, my first real character (I made a tauren hunter very early that I quickly dumped) was an undead warlock, and I knew immediately that the quest lines and areas were much more what I was looking for. I was also quite disappointed lately when

I spent almost all my time in Undercity... my hill was actually the other way around - the first time I arrived at the entrance hall to Undercity and the ruins of this old city with it's slimy river running through, the great throne and the broken statue (which I still climb on top of these days). It was just like - my emergence from the grave to this world.

It is quite silly, I haven't been in Durotar and the Barrens for so long (quit official WoW a year ago) and yet I felt a distinct tug at my heartstrings when I heard that music.
You have written true words, Mr. Funk.

Tarrker:
Where are all my Forsaken brothers and sisters?

*high five*

coldfrog:

Hear hear! As much as I love the troll design and story, my first real character (I made a tauren hunter very early that I quickly dumped) was an undead warlock, and I knew immediately that the quest lines and areas were much more what I was looking for. I was also quite disappointed lately when

I spent almost all my time in Undercity... my hill was actually the other way around - the first time I arrived at the entrance hall to Undercity and the ruins of this old city with it's slimy river running through, the great throne and the broken statue (which I still climb on top of these days). It was just like - my emergence from the grave to this world.

Yay! A fellow undead! I played all the Warcraft games straight back to the very first which is proudly installed on my hard drive even now. All 8 megs of it :)

I must say, though, my favorite unit was always the Dreadlords from Warcraft 3 so I feel your pain a little on the loss of Varimathras.

Personally, my hill, was just when I first stepped out into Tirisfal glades with my squishy, little, holy priest. It was a terrible and arduous trudge to the level cap with no friends to back me up and no mount until level 40 x_x

Jiraiya72:

Tarrker:
Where are all my Forsaken brothers and sisters?

*high five*

At the risk of incurring admin wrath...

*Naked Boney-Handed High Five!*

Ok, the biggest event in the biggest game in the history of gaming is coming soon...

Can we get over the fact that the Escapist may wish to cover it? I'd say any site devoted to covering gaming culture and gaming in general, that doesn't cover WOW is failing its readership. I've been playing four years, and I have a friend who's just starting, which is nice as he should see a fair bit of Azeroth before it's forever changed by the Cataclysm.

He says he's seeing the difference in coming from Guild Wars in the sheer scale and depth involved, and he's not even level 20 yet.

It's an entirely legitimate subject to make a big feature of, and of course, I understand there's a fairly large proportion of Escapists who'll have no interest at all in this week's newsletter, just I have had no interest about features on JRPGs or RTS games.

Yet just as not playing a RTS, you may find in depth analysis of what makes a RTS gamer tick, and why they're drawn to such a game style, interesting, maybe there'll be something in this week for non WOWers too. Maybe some understanding of why so many people are drawn in and fall in love with the characters, the stories, the environments and the game.

It's also been interesting seeing it from a newbie's perspective again, especially one moving from another MMO.

He never understood why WOW didn't offer the instant travel of Guild Wars, which, like Oblivion and Fallout 3, had the 'fast travel' option, where you just click the map and appear at a new location. Now he's seeing that it's in place to give you a feeling of the sheer scale of the world.

It really is amazing to be new to WOW, and in a way it's a shame I can't experience that feeling again, my first few levels in the valley of trials, then clicking the map to see I'm in some tiny area of Durotar, still hugely unexplored, then clicking again to find out Durotar is maybe 5% of the continent, of which there's now two, three or four(depending on expansions).

Why? Why?! I was always leery of WoW and when I finally tried a couple characters I didn't really get into and solidified my vow to never be a citizen of Kalimdor. Now you pull out the nostalgia card for a game I've never really played, that won't get an opportunity now to play, no, experience properly? You dare plat upon my empathy, even sympathy? You evil, evil man! *begins sobbing*

This really is an interesting look at the human experience. It's a fictional world, but one that millions have come to love. Again, even though it's a fictional, man-made world, those that enjoy it have no power over it and can't stop the world they love from being torn asunder and (from what I can see) becoming a charred, corrupted, sickly husk of what it once was. I grieve for those for whom this hits home.

It has been two years since I last touched WoW, but if I read or watch anything related to that game I still get all nostalgic about it. I had good reasons to quit WoW, and I never doubted my decision but..damn. No way that I'm ever going to forget WoW.

Great primer to the issue John! As a guy who's only casually played on friends accounts, or watched them play, I thought I might not find this issue all that interesting. Your editors note makes me think the exact opposite.

I re-read "the world is huge" several times, and I *still* can't read it without laughing uncontrollably.

Daggerfall was released in 1996, by the way, and Arena is 20 years old.

Yeah I'll miss those memories from my newbie days, running around as a night elf, jumping off of teldrassil and one memory in particular that I will never, ever forget...

For the alliance!

I have a noobish, innocent question.
Lets say I want to start playing WoW soon. What am I going to see?
I mean, will I be able to see all of the stuff you guys saw when your level was low, or everything changes for everybody?

WoW really isn't that good, I dont get it.

Ok it's big and accessible, the worlds are well crafted and imaginative yes I admit but the system is dated, the graphics are dated, the ideas are dated.

I've played WoW clones more interesting than WoW. I even enjoyed WAR more despite the few warts it has it was far more interesting with all the pvp madness and cool classes. SWG and Planetside were more creative than WoW, Auto Assault and Hellgate:London, far more interesting premises poorly implemented sure but you know.

and the lore? spaceships and demon things and random glaring story convieniences?.

Warcraft 3>WoW in so many ways seriously.

I've tried all the classes(both factions too), main was hunter (i like guns) played for a few month and was totally bored and unrewarded

I'll probs play it again because of friends I do like it I'm just saying its not amazing enough to have an entire issue about, an article definately. a lengthy one. I'm an avid MMO player I've played alot of mmos and WoW isn't as good as people make it out to be. It's hellagrindy for a start.

despite how many people love and play the game its the principle that counts. objectiveness and journalism go hand in hand. Especially with all the anti fanboy sentiment on the Escapist I'm suprised they went with this idea.

PipBoy2000:
I have a noobish, innocent question.
Lets say I want to start playing WoW soon. What am I going to see?
I mean, will I be able to see all of the stuff you guys saw when your level was low, or everything changes for everybody?

If by soon you mean now you'll suffer the same pain we endured to level, if you start after Cataclysm you'll end up feeling a different kind of pain, the world will change for everybody playing, it won't matter if you have the expansion or not.

Also on topic, I can relate to mr.Funk pov, I still remember the 3 hours I spent running around in Ashenvale with my trusty pet, all the wonder brought to life. Cataclysm will sunder my former home, even though I can't wait for it enough. Change is good as long one's willing to adapt.

Kiithid:
If by soon you mean now you'll suffer the same pain we endured to level, if you start after Cataclysm you'll end up feeling a different kind of pain, the world will change for everybody playing, it won't matter if you have the expansion or not.

So the old world is actually 'lost' and inaccessible to all the players forever? :P
This is a very strong argument against starting WoW now, since it probably means I lost a lot of content.

PipBoy2000:

Kiithid:
If by soon you mean now you'll suffer the same pain we endured to level, if you start after Cataclysm you'll end up feeling a different kind of pain, the world will change for everybody playing, it won't matter if you have the expansion or not.

So the old world is actually 'lost' and inaccessible to all the players forever? :P
This is a very strong argument against starting WoW now, since it probably means I lost a lot of content.

no, if you start now, you'll see the world as it is, and have at least a couple of months to explore and see a fair amount of it.

Then Cataclysm will hit, and you'll appreciate all the differences.

I'd suggest if you're tempted to try it, get in there now, not after Cata.

(and if you're in Europe, PM me, I'll welcome you to my guild for newbie friendly help and advice!)

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