'Cataclysm: Final Thoughts'

This is a series of articles on the changes coming in WoW: Cataclysm as they relate to guild management and leadership. See the other articles in the series: overview, part 1, part 2, part 3 and reforging links. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

Having now gone through the changes in detail and speculated about the reason for these changes, I wanted to give my overall impressions of everything related to Cataclysm that we learned from Blizzcon.  I’ll take the liberty of talking about a few changes not directly related to guild management.

I am extremely excited about this next expansion.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m currently unguilded, wrapping up leveling my US characters to 80.  Prior to Blizzcon, I was toying with taking a break from WoW until the next expansion came out rather than going back to the EU realms.   Since the news broke, my drive to start and build a solid guild in preparation for patch 3.3 and then Cataclysm has been renewed.

Removing Old Azeroth

I am not at all bothered by the permanent removal of “old Azeroth”.  I took the opportunity shortly after WotLK launched to get the full Loremaster achievement on a Death Knight, so there’s no need for me to go back and level an alt from level 1 before the expansion comes out.

Gear Stat Simplification

Simplification of stat on gear also doesn’t bother me.  I’ve never been hardcore enough to break out a spreadsheet for gear upgrades.  I know the stats that improve the performance of each class and spec, and with an addon like RatingBuster, I’m comfortable giving a quick thumbs up or down on pretty much any item.  I like being able to eyeball and item and have a gut feel if it’s going to be an upgrade, and allowing me to do this while juggling less numbers in my head is a good thing.  It’s not like you don’t have to think about spellpower or attack power, just that you don’t have to balance the gain of a core stat (like STR or AGI) against the loss of a secondary stat like AP.  The spreadsheets will still be there for the hardcore theorycrafters – the formulas will just be a bit simpler.

New Races

I must admit that I’m kind of “meh” on this.  None of the new class combinations particularly appeal to me, probably as an effect of already having so many max-level alts.  If I were re-rolling from scratch I’m sure I’d choose one for the novelty of it, but there’s nothing that makes me say “I must have one of those!”.  When they bring in straight race changes (some time after faction changes as I hear it) I might be convinced to switch my female belfadin to a male tauren paladin just because it fits the tank archetype better, but otherwise I’m happy with what I have.

Lore

This is the part I’m most excited about, both what was announced for patch 3.3 and the Cataclysm itself.   I really hope that the point of the three 5-man dungeon wings in Icecrown Citadel (which must be completed in order and are “steeped in lore”) will expand the story of Saurfang the Younger and Bolvar Fordragon.

As for the Cataclysm and Deathwing himself?  Wow.  I’ve read all the books covering Deathwing, and while Knaack tries to give you an idea of just how massive Neltharion is and how his body is tearing apart, this image just took my breath away.  While those who haven’t read the novels may not realize just how large a part Deathwing played in setting up the events of the original warcraft RTS, he is easily an equal nemesis to Arthas in my mind, far more so than Illidan or Kil’Jaeden ever were.  Kisirani has hinted that there will be lore quests leading up the Cataclysm, and I hope these get people fired up to take on Deathwing the way everyone was ready to kill Arthas after the scourge invasion.

Just don’t give us another scourge invasion, k?  People on my server were jerks.

Professions

I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that we aren’t getting a new primary profession.  I had leveled a Death Knight on the US realms specifically to have a level 80 with a free profession slot in anticipation of this, but now I’m just left with a half-dead mutant space goat.  On the upside, I was planning on leveling a pair of alliance alts on the EU realms for the same purpose – I’ll now skip that step and do it once Cataclysm is out (though which faction I choose I’m not certain of yet).

Overall

Blizzard has described themselves as story tellers first, game designers second, and they show no sign of letting up any time soon.  As a huge PvE lorehound and a guild leader, this expansion just gives me more of what I crave, and I can’t imagine being swayed from my game of choice by any of the other MMOs on the horizon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of articles.  By the time you read this one, I’ll be back from holidays, hopefully with some new ideas and ready to get my EU guild started up.  If you’re on a PvE EU server with an active population on the horde side, please leave me a comment – I was fairly set that I would move off my existing server when I came back, but now I may wait until faction changes are available to see what that does to population and activity levels.  If you like some of my ideas and would like to talk about helping to get Cold Comfort the guild going, feel free to send mail to karatheya@cold-comfort.org.

Until Next Time

This is a series of articles on the changes coming in WoW: Cataclysm as they relate to guild management and leadership. See the other articles in the series: overview, part 1, part 2, part 3 and reforging links. Articles in the series will be published every Mon and Thursday from Aug 27th through September 14th.

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