Thoughts on WoW (Post Cataclysm)

Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -

These days I find myself playing more LOTRO than WoW, and although switching my primary MMO is something that happens to me on an regular basis, this time I feel things will be different.    The reason?  Cataclysm is a huge disappointment. 

For me. 

That qualifier is there for a reason, because I can clearly see the innumerable ways in which Cataclysm is an unmitigated success — financially, design-wise, artistically, story-wise, the list goes on.   But for me, Cataclysm probably represents the decline of my time in Azeroth, as there is nothing left for me to do.   This is incredibly alarming since I’m the epitome of the casual MMO player.   There are weeks that I get an hour or less of playtime, and there are weeks where I can get a 2 hour session in every 2-3 days.   With that in mind, I beat the game a couple months ago, having finished all the new questing areas and run into the new end-game brick wall.

Back in Wrath, there were eight new zones with ten new player levels to advance.   In addition, there was a new class one could play that, if it was your thing, you could use to tackle old content with new game mechanics, making them feel fresh, despite the fact that you’d most likely done them before.  With Cataclysm, the new zone count was cut by one-third and the level count was cut in half.   This meant hitting the end-game happens a lot faster for players like me, who want to savor the long, slow burn to the level cap.  

On the surface though there’s nothing wrong with this, per se.   The problem only rears its head when you look closer at the changes to the end-game in how dungeons operate and the commitment they require.    I mentioned above that my play sessions rarely exceed two hours in length, which was plenty of time to queue for a random in WotLK, run the 5 man, and sign off happy.   Back then I was DPS, and the time from logon to logoff was usually less than 60 minutes, including the queue time.   Nowadays that commitment is stretched to three hours for DPS at a minimum, something I cannot commit to.  

Which is why I switched mains.   Now I’m tanking with a Prot Pally and my queue is non-existent.    Problem is, I still can’t play WoW.    My first Cataclysm 5 man took 2 hours and 45 minutes to PUG.   My second took 3 hours and 15 minutes.   My first three heroics were failures, and each of those took over 3 hours to resolve.   The game has changed in ways that exclude players like me.    I never ran RAIDs because I couldn’t dedicate the time.    Now I can’t run 5 mans either, leaving me with a list of rep-grinds as my only recourse.   Since I’m not an altoholic, I’m not likely get a Worgen or Goblin past level 10, despite my love of old-world Azeroth. 

So now I play LOTRO almost exclusively.  WoW is still a better game, probably the best overall MMO on the market to this day, but it demands dedication I cannot give it anymore, although after the other four players have outgeared the heroics, I might try again.

#1 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -

These days I find myself playing more LOTRO than WoW, and although switching my primary MMO is something that happens to me on an regular basis, this time I feel things will be different.    The reason?  Cataclysm is a huge disappointment. 

For me. 

That qualifier is there for a reason, because I can clearly see the innumerable ways in which Cataclysm is an unmitigated success — financially, design-wise, artistically, story-wise, the list goes on.   But for me, Cataclysm probably represents the decline of my time in Azeroth, as there is nothing left for me to do.   This is incredibly alarming since I’m the epitome of the casual MMO player.   There are weeks that I get an hour or less of playtime, and there are weeks where I can get a 2 hour session in every 2-3 days.   With that in mind, I beat the game a couple months ago, having finished all the new questing areas and run into the new end-game brick wall.

Back in Wrath, there were eight new zones with ten new player levels to advance.   In addition, there was a new class one could play that, if it was your thing, you could use to tackle old content with new game mechanics, making them feel fresh, despite the fact that you’d most likely done them before.  With Cataclysm, the new zone count was cut by one-third and the level count was cut in half.   This meant hitting the end-game happens a lot faster for players like me, who want to savor the long, slow burn to the level cap.  

On the surface though there’s nothing wrong with this, per se.   The problem only rears its head when you look closer at the changes to the end-game in how dungeons operate and the commitment they require.    I mentioned above that my play sessions rarely exceed two hours in length, which was plenty of time to queue for a random in WotLK, run the 5 man, and sign off happy.   Back then I was DPS, and the time from logon to logoff was usually less than 60 minutes, including the queue time.   Nowadays that commitment is stretched to three hours for DPS at a minimum, something I cannot commit to.  

Which is why I switched mains.   Now I’m tanking with a Prot Pally and my queue is non-existent.    Problem is, I still can’t play WoW.    My first Cataclysm 5 man took 2 hours and 45 minutes to PUG.   My second took 3 hours and 15 minutes.   My first three heroics were failures, and each of those took over 3 hours to resolve.   The game has changed in ways that exclude players like me.    I never ran RAIDs because I couldn’t dedicate the time.    Now I can’t run 5 mans either, leaving me with a list of rep-grinds as my only recourse.   Since I’m not an altoholic, I’m not likely get a Worgen or Goblin past level 10, despite my love of old-world Azeroth. 

So now I play LOTRO almost exclusively.  WoW is still a better game, probably the best overall MMO on the market to this day, but it demands dedication I cannot give it anymore, although after the other four players have outgeared the heroics, I might try again.

#2 Posted by Thrawnkkar (303 posts) -

You jut need to get into a friendly guild like the giantbomb community guild. I have not run a heroic that has taken longer than an hour in months and we only raid for 3 hours at a time, which for most raiders is baby stuff.

But ultimately if you don't have the time to commit to raiding or the inclination to pvp there is no such thing as end game content for you.

#3 Posted by michaelfossbakk (232 posts) -

From my brief time in Cataclysm (stopped to play other games and focus on school) I found that the difficulty jump from normal to heroic 5 mans was HUGE. Though, I kept at as a holy paladin and with each upgrade to my gear they got easier and easier. Frankly, I think that when you are either the tank or the healer, you must be the strongest links. You can get away with low dps and not get anyone killed, usually. Just what I've noticed.

#4 Posted by blueduck (964 posts) -

I'm really surprised people are still playing WoW right now. My friends and I started a 10 man when Cata first came out and we cleared the normal raid content about a month in then we stopped playing, we also started  having attendance and recruiting problems. The thing is were weren't a crazy hardcore guild and didn't raid that much at all and we cleared the content in about a month so I sit here wondering what are people still doing playing WoW? I mean they pushed back the next raid content to patch 4.2 and 4.1 isn't even out yet or just came out I'm not sure. The raids were getting old from about a month in and now we sit here 4-5 months in and they haven't even hinted at when the next raid is coming out? At this point it looks like Blizzard is just seeing how long they can go without releasing new stuff while still taking in the money. 

#5 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -
@blueduck:   The strange thing I've noticed is the wide range of progression that smaller guilds.   Sounds like yours ripped through the content, but mine (also a smallish guild) hit a brick wall.    WotLK went fine for us, but recruitment died after Cataclysm and our progression just ended.  
#6 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -

The guilds that flourish in Cata are the guilds with members who raided back in vanilla or even BC.  Wrath raiding was a fucking joke.  People would get pissed if you spend more than a couple hours on a boss, even if it was your first time ever downing that boss.  Whereas people who raided in Vanilla and BC are used to taking weeks or months to get through a dungeon.


The devs specifically said that's what they were going back to with WoW, and it sounds like it's worked out well.

Now granted, I left off with my holy priest and warlock both at 83 and my prot/holy pally at 82, so I wasn't doing heroics.  And yes, there were plenty of idiots.  But runs went quick for the most part.  I think that's actually part of the problem.  People expect those runs to go quick, and are pissed if they don't.  And I'm sure the same goes for heroic.  People get frustrated too easily that they're not fucking plowing through stuff like they did pre-heroic or like they did in Wrath heroics.  As people get frustrated they make more mistakes.  It's a big nasty cycle.

Personally I really liked what Cata did to the game.  But I've been playing the damn game on and off since vanilla beta.  And I got law school coming up.  Unfortunately, I can't really afford the time for MMOs anymore.
#7 Posted by blueduck (964 posts) -
@dvaeg said:
" @blueduck:   The strange thing I've noticed is the wide range of progression that smaller guilds.   Sounds like yours ripped through the content, but mine (also a smallish guild) hit a brick wall.    WotLK went fine for us, but recruitment died after Cataclysm and our progression just ended.   "
When I quit almost every guild was having recruitment problems, people were hitting 85 and there just wans't anything to do. My main problem with the game now is that everything is just too streamlined and it makes the game feel like a series of mini games instead of a big open world. Like everyone just sits in the same hub city and if they want to pvp they enter one of the pvp mini games or if they want to pve they enter one of the pve mini games. There was also raiding but really you could only do that so many hours a week and the 15$ dollars just couldn't be justified anymore because while you were entertained during those few hours of raiding the game was totally boring every other sec.
#8 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -
@melcene said:
" The guilds that flourish in Cata are the guilds with members who raided back in vanilla or even BC.  Wrath raiding was a fucking joke.  People would get pissed if you spend more than a couple hours on a boss, even if it was your first time ever downing that boss.  Whereas people who raided in Vanilla and BC are used to taking weeks or months to get through a dungeon.

The devs specifically said that's what they were going back to with WoW, and it sounds like it's worked out well.

Now granted, I left off with my holy priest and warlock both at 83 and my prot/holy pally at 82, so I wasn't doing heroics.  And yes, there were plenty of idiots.  But runs went quick for the most part.  I think that's actually part of the problem.  People expect those runs to go quick, and are pissed if they don't.  And I'm sure the same goes for heroic.  People get frustrated too easily that they're not fucking plowing through stuff like they did pre-heroic or like they did in Wrath heroics.  As people get frustrated they make more mistakes.  It's a big nasty cycle.

Personally I really liked what Cata did to the game.  But I've been playing the damn game on and off since vanilla beta.  And I got law school coming up.  Unfortunately, I can't really afford the time for MMOs anymore.
"
You're right.    I guess the question is "was it worth it?".    For me, it's not that I mind spending weeks on bosses, it's that I can't.     Since it is not possible for me to spend more than 90 minutes in a single sitting with the game, I am dead in the water at 85.   

What this means is that me, and the group of folks like me,  can't contribute to guild progression anymore,      I want to play, and I like the fact that there are tough, long encounters in the game, but that should be left to raids, not to normal 5mans.
#9 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -
@blueduck said:
" @dvaeg said:
" @blueduck:   The strange thing I've noticed is the wide range of progression that smaller guilds.   Sounds like yours ripped through the content, but mine (also a smallish guild) hit a brick wall.    WotLK went fine for us, but recruitment died after Cataclysm and our progression just ended.   "
When I quit almost every guild was having recruitment problems, people were hitting 85 and there just wans't anything to do. My main problem with the game now is that everything is just too streamlined and it makes the game feel like a series of mini games instead of a big open world. Like everyone just sits in the same hub city and if they want to pvp they enter one of the pvp mini games or if they want to pve they enter one of the pve mini games. There was also raiding but really you could only do that so many hours a week and the 15$ dollars just couldn't be justified anymore because while you were entertained during those few hours of raiding the game was totally boring every other sec. "
Stormwind is alive, and feels like an MMO should.  

The rest of the world might as well be single-player these days.  
#10 Posted by Vexxan (4600 posts) -

I believe I expected too much from Cataclysm; had it all planned out, leveling with friends, LAN and get to the raiding as fast as possible. When we got there it was fun at first but as the weeks flew by people lost their motivation(including me). It just wasn't fun enough.

#11 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@dvaeg said: 
You're right.    I guess the question is "was it worth it?".    For me, it's not that I mind spending weeks on bosses, it's that I can't.     Since it is not possible for me to spend more than 90 minutes in a single sitting with the game, I am dead in the water at 85.    What this means is that me, and the group of folks like me,  can't contribute to guild progression anymore,      I want to play, and I like the fact that there are tough, long encounters in the game, but that should be left to raids, not to normal 5mans. "
I fully understand.  I think that's why, as much as I'd like to continue playing WoW, I've resigned myself to the fact that I just don't have the time.  I've decided that I may mess around with the Guild Wars, and the free version of EQ2, because they're games I think I can hop in and out of, and don't have to feel bad about a subscription.
#12 Posted by Mechabolic (122 posts) -
@melcene: Ugh, don't remind me about EQ2Ex or whatever they call it.  Played EQ for a good 3 years and what do I get for it?  A middle finger and a stagnate server that will not see any new people join due to the EQ2free... :(
#13 Posted by demonbear (1860 posts) -
@Thrawnkkar said:
" You jut need to get into a friendly guild like the giantbomb community guild. "
There's a giantbomb guild? Where?
#14 Edited by Cymatics (90 posts) -

I see some says they went back to vanilla and tbc style of content progression, which is as far from true as it possible can be. This is still wrath of the lich king, just this time around, the ability hurt. Raiding in vanilla was a joke, and you could loose 20 people in a raid and still finish it. Mechanics in TBC was pretty meh as well. just the gear requirement was pretty nasty, For mechanics wrath was the best, the issue was you out geared everything, and nothing really ever hurt. Cataclysm got a more of wrath looking at the fights, then anything, but got more of tbc gear req/how hard mobs hit, fire and so on. But it got VERY little of vanilla, Vanilla has been the easiest part of wow till date, IF you knew how to play an MMO, but... well. most was new to MMO's then. which made the difference. 


And for running 5 mans, you can log on now and basicly faceroll every single heroic, beside Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. They are nerf'ed, and the gear has gotten overall so good, that there is no point in not nerf'ing em. For the past months, most random dungon groups has facerolled most of the 5man heroics. and for normal 5 mans, they was never ever hard :) and if you got an issue with heroics, it's as simple as take the 5 extra min the instance will take for some CC. However, the content is fairly easy right now, with the upped gear everyone got atm, so just try one now, and see how easy it has become. 

To me Cataclysm has been the most fun part of WoW till date. Arena/Pvp in general has never been as balanced(just look at the comps at the charts compeard to any season before, never been as much variation, I play a warrior, in arena, so, even if I feel it sucks from time to time, with the No path, only one gap closer, no removal of slows, snares, freezes, it still feels like it has never been as balanced, and as said, the charts show the same), some challanges in raids, heroics, so it feels like a fine balance between vanilla, tbc, and wrath. 

And another thing, that i forgot to mention, it also feels like they are trying to change wow, for the next expansion pack. By changing the world, how they add stuff, how they try to balance out things, so it from time to time feels like they just want to make everything top notch for the game, so they can be more active with adding actual  content for the next expansion. 
#15 Posted by gakon (1940 posts) -
@demonbear said:
" @Thrawnkkar said:
" You jut need to get into a friendly guild like the giantbomb community guild. "
There's a giantbomb guild? Where? "
<Bomb Squad>, Ysera US, Horde side, catch it! There's even a sticky in the Cataclysm board all about it!
#16 Posted by Thrawnkkar (303 posts) -

^ what this guy said.

#17 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@Mechabolic said:
" @melcene: Ugh, don't remind me about EQ2Ex or whatever they call it.  Played EQ for a good 3 years and what do I get for it?  A middle finger and a stagnate server that will not see any new people join due to the EQ2free... :( "
Understand.  Although playing EQ2Ex did make me want to resub my account.

@Zakihashi said:
" I see some says they went back to vanilla and tbc style of content progression, which is as far from true as it possible can be. This is still wrath of the lich king, just this time around, the ability hurt. Raiding in vanilla was a joke, and you could loose 20 people in a raid and still finish it. Mechanics in TBC was pretty meh as well. just the gear requirement was pretty nasty, For mechanics wrath was the best, the issue was you out geared everything, and nothing really ever hurt. Cataclysm got a more of wrath looking at the fights, then anything, but got more of tbc gear req/how hard mobs hit, fire and so on. But it got VERY little of vanilla, Vanilla has been the easiest part of wow till date, IF you knew how to play an MMO, but... well. most was new to MMO's then. which made the difference. 

And for running 5 mans, you can log on now and basicly faceroll every single heroic, beside Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. They are nerf'ed, and the gear has gotten overall so good, that there is no point in not nerf'ing em. For the past months, most random dungon groups has facerolled most of the 5man heroics. and for normal 5 mans, they was never ever hard :) and if you got an issue with heroics, it's as simple as take the 5 extra min the instance will take for some CC. However, the content is fairly easy right now, with the upped gear everyone got atm, so just try one now, and see how easy it has become. 

To me Cataclysm has been the most fun part of WoW till date. Arena/Pvp in general has never been as balanced(just look at the comps at the charts compeard to any season before, never been as much variation, I play a warrior, in arena, so, even if I feel it sucks from time to time, with the No path, only one gap closer, no removal of slows, snares, freezes, it still feels like it has never been as balanced, and as said, the charts show the same), some challanges in raids, heroics, so it feels like a fine balance between vanilla, tbc, and wrath. 

And another thing, that i forgot to mention, it also feels like they are trying to change wow, for the next expansion pack. By changing the world, how they add stuff, how they try to balance out things, so it from time to time feels like they just want to make everything top notch for the game, so they can be more active with adding actual  content for the next expansion. 
"
This post is a joke.  I had been playing MMOs for 4 or 5 years before WoW came out.  I certainly wasn't new to raiding or MMOs, and neither were many of the people I ran with.

You must not have actually raided Vanilla during vanilla times.  Raiding before we even had AQ and ZG, and when those were new, was NOT a joke.  Lose 20 people and still finish it?  Simply wasn't possible on a lot of those fights.  Garr, for example?  Sure, by the time Wrath rolled around, people were able to steamroll Garr without worrying about any kind of strategy.  That was NOT the case in Vanilla when people were raiding in Tier 0.

And that's the whole point - Wrath made the game one giant steamroll.  Steamroll old raids and heroics.  Steamroll current raids and heroics.  That's what the game had become.  That's simple enough to see in all the complaints after Cata came out.  People complained that heroics no longer took 15 minutes, but an hour or two.  Wrath was the most dumbed down version of the game, and Cata, initially, had come along and tried to change that.  The devs said so, the complaints said so.  Completing a dungeon, a heroic, or a raid actually took thinking and cooperation.  Things people completely forgot about during Wrath.   Unfortunately, sounds like its probably being dumbed down again.
#18 Posted by dvaeg (189 posts) -
@melcene said:

This post is a joke.  I had been playing MMOs for 4 or 5 years before WoW came out.  I certainly wasn't new to raiding or MMOs, and neither were many of the people I ran with.

You must not have actually raided Vanilla during vanilla times.  Raiding before we even had AQ and ZG, and when those were new, was NOT a joke.  Lose 20 people and still finish it?  Simply wasn't possible on a lot of those fights.  Garr, for example?  Sure, by the time Wrath rolled around, people were able to steamroll Garr without worrying about any kind of strategy.  That was NOT the case in Vanilla when people were raiding in Tier 0.

And that's the whole point - Wrath made the game one giant steamroll.  Steamroll old raids and heroics.  Steamroll current raids and heroics.  That's what the game had become.  That's simple enough to see in all the complaints after Cata came out.  People complained that heroics no longer took 15 minutes, but an hour or two.  Wrath was the most dumbed down version of the game, and Cata, initially, had come along and tried to change that.  The devs said so, the complaints said so.  Completing a dungeon, a heroic, or a raid actually took thinking and cooperation.  Things people completely forgot about during Wrath.   Unfortunately, sounds like its probably being dumbed down again.
"
So what's the solution?    If you don't care for PvP, but can't contribute in 5 mans anymore, where do you go at 85?     My options are pretty much: 
  • Work on my Loremaster Achievement.    
  • Rep up with factions.   

That's pretty much it.  Look, I love me some WoW.    Been a subscriber since January of '05.    I've always felt like I had something to do as a casual until now.   Back in Vanilla, BC and LK it took me longer to hit cap for one, and in LK I was able to PUG some 5 mans once a week to break any monotony. 

I'm now more of a LOTRO player, because even at cap I have a ton of stuff of do, and that makes me sad.   WoW should be my primary MMO, not a secondary one.   My concerns/complaints come from love of the game and wanting it to be better, not from hatred.    That's why it makes me incredibly sad to see how empty the world is these days, with people crowded around cities until they want to play the next mini-game.     It's shifting from a world to a 3D interactive lobby.
#19 Posted by melcene (3056 posts) -
@dvaeg: Playing devil's advocate, I would say that if you choose to continue playing, then it's time to roll another toon if you don't see anything else to do at 85.  I do understand though.  I HATE reaching level cap in MMOs, or even close, because the game becomes much less fun.  It ends up being nothing more than a grind.  Whether that's a grind for gear, or faction, or whatever - end game is a grind.  But each person looks at it differently.  While I think the most fun in MMOs is usually the leveling up, many others think that the fun doesn't start until you hit level cap.

A solution I would implement if I were Blizz is to implement "legacy" servers or some such.  You start off with pure vanilla all over again - no heirlooms, no transferring toons ONTO that server, none of that crap.  You have to open up AQ again.  You have to worry about your Zandalar rep again.  Then, after 6 months or something, introduce BC.  Rinse, repeat.  But, people would complain that WoW isn't doing anything new and innovative and they want new content, not old content all over again.

One of the issues here is that WoW is trying really hard not to make the same mistake Everquest did by releasing expansions too often.  But because of that they're also getting a ton of crap from the playerbase who wants MORE NOW.

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