Friday, September 11, 2009

Tickled Pink: Before the Cataclysm

Now that Cataclysm is official and the full extent of the sweeping changes are clear, many people are thinking about what they want to accomplish in the old world before it is radically changed. For some reason that remains mysterious to us these "to do" lists are known in the Warcraft community as bucket lists. So, what do you plan to before the moment of Cataclysm arrives. Is your bucket empty or full?


Before it's too late has such awful connotations, as if the end of the world is tomorrow. The truth is that if prognostications are correct we have at least six months before the end of Azeroth as we know it. Personally, I feel fine.

There are indeed some activities I would like to get done before now and the next expansion but most of those things were on my to do list anyway. Unless Blizzard were to announce that Cataclysm were to come out at Christmas, I can't imagine there won't be enough time to fit it all in. The one aspect of this I do have mixed feelings about is the Horde.

Unlike Larisa, I do think there is value in seeing the game as story. As I have never played Horde, seeing the story and learning the lore from that aspect of the game does interest me. Yet I find it hard to justify learning all about the Horde and then seeing it wiped away so quickly. Since I know I'm interested in playing a Goblin, I think I'd rather wait until the expansion before going over to the opposition.

In general there are two aspects of the game that I am interested in right now: collecting titles and mounts. One achievement I probably will find time to do is Loremaster. I'm almost done with the quests in old Azeroth and have about 50% of the expansion quests done. Another title I will probably grind to get is Guardian of Cenarius. I've got most of it done and I've always felt a little guilty that as a Druid I don't have it.

The other aspect of the game I want to focus on is mounts. For example, I will probably go back to grinding the Barron Rivendare mount. I've tried about 40 times and never got it. In this regard, it would be nice to know what the exact changes are to the various zones so you would know what you needed to do ahead of time.

So yes, there are somethings I want to do before the next expansion. I just don't feel any pressure about it though. If I miss it I miss it. I've missed a lot of the game already.


I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. All over the Blogosphere I’ve seen people making up all those lists of “things I have to do before Cataclysm”. People who turned their backs to Azeroth long time ago are suddenly returning to the game. I would expect them to do that, but not until the final “bridge” patch, which I suppose we can expect before the launch of Cataclysm at some point 2010. I was completely taken by surprise to see all those bloggers declaring that they would roll brand new alts to see the old content one last time before it’s gone.

What’s up with you guys? There’s a good reason why they’ve decided to remake some of the old vanilla zones. They’re obsolete in every way you can think of. The quest distribution sucks, with quest chains that I thought we agreed long time ago was a pain in the ass because of the heavy travel duty they involved. The environment and artwork is mostly plain and boring, especially the endless plains of Kalimdor makes my skin itch.

And the quests in themselves… Oh, dear. The amount of “collect 10 boar parts” quests is much higher than in the modern WotLK WoW. Do you really have to be reminded of this? I don’t get it. The only reason for rerolling before Cataclysm I can come up with is pure nostalgia. And since I wasn’t around at the original launch, I’m not a part of it. When I started to play, the gravity centre of the game had already moved on to Outlands.

I think the basic problem with the “bucket lists” is that they’re created from the assumption that WoW has an end, that it resembles to a book, with a number of scenes and chapters that you work your way through, until you’ve seen and done all and then put it aside.

If you see the game this way, it’s no wonder you get worried if you get the information that some pages will be ripped out of the book and replaced with others, so if you want to “read the whole thing” you’d better hurry up.

But speaking for myself, WoW isn’t a book and it isn’t a game like any else which you play your way through and then put aside. It’s a huge pile of sand which I make sandcastles of and it hasn’t got any beginning or end. It’s more like an activity, a state of mind, an alternative existence to pull it to the extreme. And from that perspective, levelling a character on the horde side, for taking one example, could as well be done after the Cataclysm launch. The game is too big to see and do everything anyway. I have to accept that I wasn’t around to raid Molten Core “in the old good time”, and frankly it doesn’t bother me the slightest.

Old readers of PPI may have some objections now. After all I’ve been guilty of making lists myself. A few months ago I listed “33 things I want to do before I quit WoW”. Out of curiosity I went back to check if any of those “things” would become impossible to do after the upcoming changes.

“Eat a delicious chocolate cake at a beautiful spot”. No problem with that one!

“Spend a silly night at the IF bridge with our realm clown Cacknoob.” Sure! I haven’t seen anything about changes of IF, but even if they’ll give it a facelift, I’m pretty sure he’ll find himself a spot. The show must go on.

“Play hide and seek in Stormwind”. Why not in Cataclysm? The worgen district they’ll add will only make it more fun.

As far as I know now, I can even tick off the questionable goal number 4 on my list: getting myself a Winterspring Frostsaber mount. There isn’t anything said about remaking Winterspring. (Although I’ll probably be wise to save that one until I’m ready to quit the game, since it will be so sickening boring that I’ll never want to see it again.)

To put it short: the only thing I want to do before Cataclysm hits is to keep enjoying WotLK at its full potential, not worrying too much about what is to come. I’ll throw my heart and soul into whatever challenge that is calling for my attention at the moment. Yes, there will be some content that will be erased from the game that I won’t have seen. So what? New content will arrive in its place, more than I’ll have time to see anyway.

WoW is most of all a state of mind. I refuse to transform it into nothing more than a tick list.


G-Rebel said...

I definately don't have any bucket-lists in my back pocket. Granted, I recently rolled a Horde for the first time recently, but it was more because I enjoy variety and wanted to get to know some Horde zones, quests, people, etc. But to have fun, not to tick items off a list.

I have to admit, I never thought of Hide-and-Seek in SW or anywere. Sounds like it could be fun. Except one time I played it against a rival faction in Grizzly Hills. We took turns camping out, hiding around trees and rocks just to pop out and kill the other. But I guess that was more gorilla warfare, less hide and seek.

Tesh said...

Thing is, WoW *does* play like a book. The only "living" part of the game is the people. It's a virtual Cheers, where a significant number of players keep coming back precisely because it *is* the same each time.

I'm all for more dynamic MMOs with changing worlds, and I think this is a smart move by Blizzard, but it runs contrary to their design to date. As such, it's understandable that the people who have become accustomed to the game as it is would want to have a few more memories before the Big Red Button gets pushed.

Fish said...

I would be kind of like going to taco bell and finding a quiznos in it's place. Not bad, and definately better quality, but not what you went there for. I'm trying to max out my RAF power leveling so I can definitively be done with vanilla. I'm gonna be full of 60's cept for rogues. I don't need a rogue. . .

Twan said...

Winterspring Frostsaber and Loremaster for me.

Kyosei said...

Winterspring is being remade slightly to open up the way for Hyjal. Mostly the it's the southern half and Darkwhisper Gorge. They'll probably add little enhancements to the entire zone along the way.

I am however doing stuff before Cataclysm comes, but it was stuff I was going to do anyways before the expansion was even announced. Right now I'm focused on getting my horde character the old world Loremaster and starting the new raptor mount grind.

Gevlon said...

@Larísa: yes the quests were harder. Some mobs were even elite. There was no triple XP, no mounts at lvl 20 no "recruit an alt" boost, no heirlooms no questhelper no nothing.

Why would anyone miss that?
Because while the world was hard, we were harder. We defeated the elites, walked the miles between upper and lower barrens, found the hiding questmonster, got the XP in 1/3 rate but we made it.

The story of the guys who broke their way to the American West became a legend.

The story of the guys who ride the same way in their air-conditioned cars between two motels will never become a legend.

Anonymous said...

I just have one thing in my list. I think worgen sound cool but I don't really have any alliance characters, so locating a friendly server and levelling a couple of alts alliance-side to get some crafters and some gold saved up for any future alliance ventures.

It got a little more involved than I had planned because friends came to join in and we ended up with a little guild. Which is cool because we can mess around and level it when cataclysm comes out.

Rhii said...

The thing for me is that I like alts. Leveling alts is something I enjoy... a lot. So it's almost as though Cataclysm is an excuse for me to do something I'd have enjoyed doing anyway.

And then there's the "revisiting" factor. The very first toons I ever rolled were Horde, a troll and a blood elf. I can't see the southern part of Durotar without being forcibly reminded of how incredible and beautiful and immersive it was the first time I saw it. Despite the fact that I've played mainly on Alliance toons since then, I've never quite "gotten over" the Hordie starting zones.

For me, rolling a baby troll and looking around Sen'Jin Village is almost like being a new player again. I've done it periodically throughout my whole WoW experience -- about six times total -- when I needed a reminder of what it was like to be awestruck by the game. I'm going to regret not having that when it's gone.

kanye said...

Bucket list...things to do before you kick the bucket, i.e. die. It's a lovely phrase!k

Carra said...

The environment and artwork is mostly plain and boring, especially the endless plains of Kalimdor makes my skin itch.

I disagree. There are plenty of beautiful zones in the old continent. Stranglethorn, un goro, feralas,... But as I've said before: levelling is *fun*. While you seem to think of it as something boring (I quite enjoy the kill 30 ogres quests) you had to do a long time ago.

As for making a list. I'd like to level a goblin so there's not much use to level another horde char before the expansion hits. Maybe level my alts before the expansion hits. I'll see.

Melaisis said...

I tried to do a list before Wrath launched and failed miserably at any of it. My characters aren't in the best conditions as it is, but does that mean they're ready to meet this new content?

Probably. I didn't need full epics and trade skills to go to Outland. I didn't need them for Wrath either. All I needed was the expansion pack and a sense of adventure. While the need to make the most of Northrend is upon us, its not as if it just vanishes when Cataclysm is launched. Certainly a lot of its main elements will become obsolete (Wintergrasp and so on) and some old zones in the main world are changing - but not completely. We should not rush to make the most of Azeroth now, because we ideally should have appreciated it this much before the expansion was even announced.

Larísa said...

@G-Rebel: I've never done it either. I just imagine it would be fun, I think I got the thought from some cool little animated movie I saw perhaps 6 months ago or so. Ofc you can't use aids like cartographer...

@Tesh: But it's the people that makes it, isn't it? If it wasn't for them you could as well have a console game without subscription fees.

@Fish: don't need a rogue??? Now I don't quite follow you. Try a gnomish one. Can't think of anything more charming than a female gnome rogue sneaking up in stealth, ready to stab the evil monster from behind... Fun, fun!

@Twan. well, I want the mount too. But not sure it can't wait until after the expansion.

@Kyosei: the wintersaber mount seller is in the north, so hopefully he'll remain.

@Gevlon: yeah, but those days are lost and gone already. Non existent. Hogger isn't elite. So I can't see the point of rushing back to see it again before Cataclysm. Too late.

@Spinksville: well, you could always make it simple creating a dk to provide for you as your worgen sugar daddy. Like everyone else...

@Rhii: oh yes, the starting zones... I can't help loving going back to the baby-gnome areas when they give me a reason for it, with the holiday achievements. It's very nostalgic indeed, although not enough for me to bother to bring up another alt.

@Carra: well, fair enough. I too appreciate STV, I never understood the hatred for it (especially not with the added flight path). But there ARE areas that are quite poor imo. Especially at Kalimdor. (*hiding from horde players throwing rotten tomatoes at me*)

@Melasis: your remark makes me think of something I've been pondering upon for a while: don't we live way to much in the future when we're playing this game, instead of enjoying what we have right now? (Just think about how people lose interest in raiding and gearing up many months before an expansion will be launched and the game will grow basically dead for a while... That's very odd imo.)

CreepTheProphet said...

Comparison of the changes.

I didn't play Vanilla WoW so I can't say exactly what the game was like back then. Yes it does need updating and that is a VERY exciting prospect.

Going back now post the recent patch, I've noticed that there are changes to the old world. Little things that were not in the game before.

It's exciting to see and it's exciting to share. It is also exciting to sit at Camp Taruajo and think "hey this isn't going to be here, none of this is going to be the same." It's almost like having premonitions.

I'm going to enjoy comparing what the world used to look like with what the world looks like now.