You see, a couple of weeks ago, Blizzard released the first pre-hand information about Vashj'ir, the new underwater zone that will come in Cataclysm, and I don't think it's been given the proper attention in the community. I don't think it's because we're not interested, it was just insanely bad timing from Blizzard, since the announcement was squeezed in between the mega-huge news about the class changes and the changes to raiding. There was more information going on at the same time than we could deal with.
But now that we've agreed on moving on after this week of intense debating about 10vs25, time has come to think about the idea about an entire zone situated under the sea level. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Are we looking forward to it?
Bear this in mind. I am basically very positive about it and I'm looking forward to see what they've come up with. But now I'm nevertheless going to talk a little bit about the possible downsides. My doubts are entirely based on the experiences we have from under-water-playing up until now. They might have learned something from it and improved on it.
So let's dive into my first concern: The Nagas.
To be honest I never was a huge fan of naga fighting. They all look and behave pretty much the same, either they're camping a beach in Zangarmarsh or Ferelas. I have too many memories of annoying silences from spellcasters, and they all look about the same, either they're camping a beach in Ferelas or Zangarmarsh, and they drop annoying loot such as shiny fish scales and fish oil.
I can't really be bothered to see more of them and I sincerely hope that this zone will come up with many entirely new creature models as well, to mix up with the fish people.
My second concern is Swimming.
I would expect that there will be quite a bit of it and every since I did my first diving exercises in that little lake in Redridge, I've just hated any quest involving diving. It was slow, it was annoyingly hard to orient yourself in the water, your character didn't move as you're used to and before they increased the underwater breathing from 1 minute to 3, you had this horrible counter to pay attention to, getting up to the surface for air every now and then.
I have especially bad memories from that pipe in Zangarmarsh that you had to swim through to get to the Coilfang instances. I never knew what was up or down in it, so if I even managed to reach the end of it, it happened just as often that I accidently had turned back to the surface as I actually reached the instance. It was a nightmare when you had a group waiting for you to arrive.
For a long while I relied on my stack of Nagrand Cherries, a reward from a poo quest. At that point they gave you 30 minutes of underwater breathing and that was enough even for me to get through the tunnel. When I ran out of them I started to mass produce underwater breathing elixirs, which I always carried around. The humiliation to drown in the pipe running out of air after 1 minute was just too big to endure (not to talk about the running back after a whipe - when everything turned white there was absolutely no way I could tell where to go. I always put myself at follow.)
Towards the end of TBC they extended the breathing to three minutes, and that has helped a lot. Nowadays even I manage to get most underwater quests down without an elixir.
However, an entire zone under water.... I wonder what that will be like? I suppose I'll spend most of my time in the pocketed undersea caves they're talking about in the preview, where you're free from the water's grip.
And then there are of course also the promised vehicles that are supposed to help you. But this is also my third concern: the vehicles.
Without any doubt we can prepare ourself for vehicle fights in Vashj'ir. And we all know how much we like that, don't we? I sincerely hope that they'll find some way to make submarines easier to manage and more intuitive than the infamous dragons at Eye of Eternity and Occulus.
And now over to my last concern about this zone. The very name of it.
Are they making up those tongue-wrenching names on purpose just to laugh at us? How are you supposed to get that "j" into the picture? I suppose we'll do what we always do in those cases - finding up a nickname that we can pronounce. "The Naga place". "The underwater zone". Or - most likely - just "Vash".
Oh well. I may lack swimming skills and I may not fall into trance at the thought of fighting nagas. But I suppose they'll have sorted this out the day I'm standing there at the shore, ready to take the plunge into the sea. And if not - well then I'll just start mass producing breathing elixirs again.
Now have another drink in your glass at the expense of the house - water, ale or rum, whatever you prefer. May your weekend be joyful.