Ruby Sanctum goes live today [Edit: not today, but 'soon'], which means we are one step closer to the great upheaval that will change the world of the World of Warcraft once more. In the past, I’ve stated that I’ve had enough of the Cataclysm talk, and it’s mostly true. However, now that my guild can actually, finally see a glimmer of light at the end of the Citadel -- I expect we’ll get Sindragosa down tomorrow and will be able to start working on Arthas himself pronto -- I can actually peek ahead just a little bit. Here are some things that I hope for from Cataclysm:
An enjoyable leveling experience. I’m not looking to race through five levels like ICC-geared groups through Drak’Tharon Keep. What I’m hoping to see is what I found in Wrath: a series of well-designed quests that really told the story. While there were a few side trips and diversions in Wrath (Hemet Nesingwary, anyone?), there were so many, interconnected quests and questlines that created a cohesive experience with a definite story. Hand-in-hand with that…
Keep the bad guy front and center. Remember doing that quest for Thoralius the Wise in Howling Fjord? You smoked some dope – err, inhaled some incense – and went into the spirit world. All of a sudden, standing in front of Utgarde Keep, was – Arthas, the Lich King himself. That was the first of many times that Arthas appeared before the players. Like the connected questlines, the frequent appearances of Arthas helped remind you of the whole point of coming to Northrend. I don’t know if we’ll see the same sort of thing with Deathwing, though I suppose we'll have plenty of reminders like the new port of Gadgetzan, North and South Barrens, and a partly-ruined Stormwind.
A Killer World Event. The Wrath lead-in was unforgettable. It was disruptive. It was in your face. It was brilliant. For me, it gave the game a shot in the arm that it desperately needed at that point in time (NOTE: I’m talking about players getting infected and turning into ghouls; the bit with the ziggurats or necropolis beaming down scourge for us to kill was not nearly as entertaining in my book). Unfortunately, too many players hated it, and I can see where they’re coming from. Still, I believe it was an incredible way to get things rolling. Let’s hope we can have a world event that is entertaining and involving, and doesn’t feel like some random holiday event.
Heroics that are relevant for longer. Back in BC days, we found that, even when we were steaming through Kara, had farmed ZA, Magtheridon’s Lair and Gruul’s Lair; when we had the best gear that Badges of Justice could buy, and were flirting around a bit with Hyjal and Tempest Keep, that places like Heroic Shadow Labryinth, Arcatraz and Shattered Halls were still a challenge, and that even the lower tier heroics required care and attention to detail to execute well. Yes, Lich King heroics were difficult; heroic Loken was deadly, for a time. But the lifespan of these heroics was very, very short. Similarly, when the ToC 5 mans came out, heroic Black Knight was very hard on this Holy Paladin. For maybe two weeks, and then it quickly became trivial. Heroics are largely so dull that I hardly ever do them anymore. If they were more challenging, I’d do them more. And that’s directly related to:
Curb Gear Inflation. This is not about being a gear snob, elitist type. Hey, I’ve benefited as much from emblems and intermediate heroics and gear resets as much as the next man. I also support Blizzard’s efforts to make raiding more accessible. AND I know that a lot of people raid for gear upgrades, and that not getting upgrades for a while can be discouraging (says the guy who lost yet another roll for the Bulwark of Smoldering Steel this weekend), and make you wonder why you’re doing this over and over again. That said, it feels as though gear sometimes just positively rains from the skies (except for shields). This is compounded by Blizzard’s decision to release slightly upgunned instances with some of the new raiding tiers. So Trial of the Crusader was released with its own five mans that had higher level gear than the ‘original’ Wrath 5 mans, as was Icecrown. While it makes it easier for folks to get geared up for the new raid content, it tends to completely eliminate the need or desire to run the immediately preceding content. I’m not sure this is a good thing.
Crowd Control, please. Just about every class has some form of CC. Let’s give them a chance to use it. And it sounds like they are heading in this direction. Good. I find AoE fests to be uninteresting.
Duskwood. The world is going to change, in some places radically. Still, there are some places that I’m quite fond of that I hope won’t change very much, if at all. That will probably be a subject of another post, but Duskwood is one of my favorites. May it always be a dank, dark, spider-infested house of horrors.
That’s it for my list, at least so far. Now I can get back to finishing off Arthas. And maybe helping Alexstraza out of a bit of a bind.