Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deathwing knows how to dance – my first impressions of Cataclysm

I haven’t been fortunate enough to be fried by Deathwing as he’s been roaming about in the neighbourhood the last couple of weeks. I figure a pink pigtailed gnome is just a too frightening sight even for a big bad dragon. He’s a coward, I tell you.

However I got a very close look at him last night as hundreds of thousands EU players tried to log into the game at the same time.

Dancing with Deathwing
Deathwing and I spent almost an hour inspecting each other, and after a while his appearance switched. He started to look somewhat friendly. Dragon staring has that effect on you.

By the way, in case you’re wondering what kept us hanging for so long, I can reveal the truth.

It had nothing to do with the assumed lack of login capacity. Corporate lies! Excuses! This was a cunning arrangement to make the players listen through the entire login screen music, all the 12 minutes it lasts, rather than the 30 seconds it takes to log in. At least once we should hear it. Russell Brower must be happy now.

After enjoying the piece a couple of times it started to grow a bit old. It was time to switch to something different to make sure that I kept up my happy, festive, time-for-Cataclysm mood. The good old Sweet hit Poppa Joe turned out to be exactly what I needed: a little silly, upbeat and unquestionable optimistic. It worked as intended! Both of us lit up and I could swear that I saw Deathwing dancing. He does those little motions every now and then, perfectly in sync with the music.

Then, all of a sudden, Deathwing decided that he’d had enough of this gnome and the screen switched. For a fragment of a second I hesitated. Anyone with the slightest sense and a regular working schedule the next day shouldn’t be up playing World of Warcraft at this hour. At all. But on the other hand – one night of bad sleep wouldn’t kill me. And I wanted to enjoy a bit of the launch night geeky craziness. It only happens once.

And so I entered Cataclysm, blind as mouse since I never looked closely at the beta information, and enthusiastic as a child on Christmas Day, eager to try out all the new toys at once.

It took me a while to realize that you can fly in Stormwind these days. High, high, up in the air I went, staring in fascination at all sorts of dragons, carpets and other vehicles cruising above the city like a flock if seagulls. It was as if this was the first time I really saw Stormwind, realizing what a stunning beauty it is.

I could easily have remained there, hovering over Stormwind and the surrounding areas for the rest of the night, but eventually the sirens called for me to go to Hyjal to get a taste sample of the cataclysmic questing.

Questgiver camping
My impressions so far? Well, it's too early to say anything definitive about the questing, apart from that it seems promising from what I've seen so far. I expect a pleasant and interesting ride to 85.

The starting area was pretty cramped, for obvious reasons. Since the spawn rate of mobs seemed to be connected to the player density, it was still playable, even though it no doubt would have been more enjoyable with slightly fewer players around. If there ever was a potential for immersion in WoW, it goes down in the drain as the masses enter.

What quickly turned into a bit of an annoyance was the access to the questgivers. Whenever you wanted to pick up or deliver a quest, you’d better prepare for some patient waiting.

What is it with people that they think that they have to literally stand on the quest giver to be able to talk to him? And if they want to have this close-up, how about dismounting? Grr.

Word of advice to anyone planning to go questing in the new areas: bring some stacks of baby spice, even if you’re travelling light. You’ll need it.

As I logged out I was almost halfway to 81, which felt like a decent rate. And our guild had advanced to level 2, giving us an experience boost. Sweet! Next up will be the speed travelling boost and after that the quicker reputation gain. The guild perks are way more than just cosmetic nice-to-have features. I wonder how many solo minded players that will remain guildless as they realize what they’ll miss out.

TLDR version: Cataclysm launch night. I had a close look at Deathwing. Poppa Joe saved us from dispair. Stormwind from the air is beyond anything I had imagined. Bring baby spice in your bags. It rocks to be guilded.


Wolflore said...

Same impressions here, being able to fly in Azeroth is great. The guild perks are awesome for leveling. And I hate the people standing on questgivers. I went Vashj'ir and although I don't regret it, it does take some time to get used to the 3D element. There is a quest that is particularly annoying there as it has horde and Alliance competing for the same low spawn rate mobs. With many horde running around PVP flagged you better watch out what you shoot at if you want some smooth leveling. On one quest I was close to dying because I pulled too many mobs that spawned all around me in a sphere. Shadowmeld saved my ass but I won't have that anymore as I just changed to Worgen.

Celendus said...

Go to your keybinds and keybind "Interact with target" to something.

Then, walk up to the mass of players and push the assist button until you get the quest giver, and press interact. Voila, Tauren-on-a-mammoth foiled.

Kaitsja said...

I guess the people stacking up on quest givers and other ncp's are the same people that park themselves two inches from the luggage belt on an airport waiting for their bag, effectively stopping anybody else to see if their bag is traveling around the belt..

Bronte said...


Oh hey! A TLDR section! Excellent!

Glad to see you're having fun. I was sort of planning not to go over anyone's blog for the next week or so, in case I got too nostalgic and decided to come back. But that plan fell flat on its face when the nostalgia came rushing back via one comment left on my post. An old friend, fellow paladin, and one of the best guys I have ever met in the game decided to pick up cataclysm and return to the game, and although I still won't play it, I have come to realize that there is no avoiding cataclysm news.

Tesh said...

"I wonder how many solo minded players that will remain guildless as they realize what they’ll miss out."

This solo player doesn't care much for guild boosts that are just ways to speed up the game and make raiding easier. I'm in no rush to get to the endgame and play with other players in the first place.

Make a guild perk that makes flying training account-wide rather than by character, and give me a very cheap flying mount at level 1, and we'll talk. ;)

Redbeard said...

My first impression of Cataclysm? That it's going to take forever to level a toon through BC and Northrend for the next few weeks.

The queue times for BC instances jumped about threefold once Cataclysm dropped, and rather than get an instance in this morning, I just simply abandoned that and got reacquainted with Shadowmoon instead.

Once people get their low level Goblin/Worgen alts through the Old World and out to BC things will improve, but those already working on that Tauren Sunwalker or NE Mage might find the going slow for a while.

Shintar said...

You already got to guild level two? Funny, my guild hit the daily experience cap before it could level up. :/

Magma said...

Speaking of guild achievements Larisa~ http://wow.joystiq.com/2010/12/07/guild-experience-no-longer-earned-via-guild-achievements/

Larísa said...

: Oh yeah, the PvP thing. I got in the first night, but managed to avoid it the second. Or maybe the PvPers just were fewer.

: tried this last night and it helped! Thanks for the idea!

@Kaitsja: yep. That's mindblogging too.

@Bronte: Reading your post on it I think you're so done with WoW that you can read enthusiastic Cataclysm posts. And last night I heard the first complaints: "too easy, too quickl levelling..." Won't take long before things are back to what they used to be.

@Tesh: You ARE a unique snowflake.

: Oh. :( It's easy to forget that other players level in other zones and that things can get a bit unbalanced there. I hope it will get better.

@Shintar & Magma: I think we were if I wasn't hallucinating. But when I looked we where back to 1 and as the link shows: apparently they nerfed the xp gain and that affected us. It's still not too far away though. :)

Lytstep said...

One of the major topics on general and trade chat was when there would be the crash. It never came on the two servers that I was on. I guess third times the charm Blizzard seems to have gotten it right. I haven't found any trainers yet in the new areas so I have left my hearthstone at Stormwind. I think after about 13 hours I saw the Realm first 85 (Darkar Shammy). Made a Worgen. Larisa they do the Night Elf Flip. Thinking of changing my Human warlock 80 to Wargon. Hopefull I can do that soon.

Kotakh said...

The "interact with target" trick is a must on a PvP server