Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Shattering, and the Eve of Cataclysm

Well, it's here.  The moment everyone has been waiting for since Cataclysm was first announced over a year ago.  Besides the actual release of the expansion, this is by far the most exciting cataclysm-related change we've seen to date.  Elementals?  Cool.  Doomsday cult?  Also cool.  Blizzard has done a great job, though, of leading up to what is beyond a doubt the most exciting, world-breaking, jaw-dropping event predating the launch of Cataclysm.
Org got quite a facelift.

The Shattering.

Unless you've been living under a rock... actually wait.  If you've been living under a rock you're probably dead because said rock is now a few hundred feet underwater, or it melted, or it's now underneath a volcano... etc., etc.  Let's just say I'm assuming you know what the Shattering is.

And it's pretty freakin' amazing.

I have a couple regrets, sure.  I'm a little sad I never saw Azshara before the Shattering.  It was on my list to-explore before my computer died, and now I'm back online, it seems that I missed out.  But those regrets are minor.  The coolest thing is that the world as we knew it will never be the same.  And if that means the Plaguelands from which my blog got their header get a little greener... I'm okay with that.

Due to a combination of lag and installing WoW troubles, I haven't seen much of the new content.  Just Orgrimmar, Durotar, and the Northern Barrens (yes, if you didn't know the barrens is now TWO zones, not one).  But I intend to begin exploring the new world as soon as time permits.  It's an extremely exciting prospect.
I guess Thrall finally got tired of talking.

What now?

With the biggest pre-cata experience now behind us, the question is now- what do we do with ourselves?  We've got two weeks to kill before we can really jump into content and start leveling to the new endgame, but the endgame as we know it now is basically at a standstill.  Sure, I'll run around and do my Pilgrim's Bounty meta (because I'm cheap and don't want to pay for 310% flying), and yeah, I'll probably run some dailies and a few random BGs... but that's about it.

So, what can a player do?  The answer is, really, not much.  You can raid, of course.  Instances are still open.  But most titles and achievements worth chasing have been removed.  You're probably not too concerned with gear now, either.  After all, it won't matter in 13 very short days.  And unless you really like that content, I don't see raiding, or much PvP, on the horizon right now.

But if the endgame is stale, there's something calling to you that isn't.  The world.  Of Warcraft.  Remember it?

My recommendation?  Explore.  Take some time and smell the roses.  Roll a new alt, experience some of the early content.  Or, if you're like me and HATE leveling with a passion (I'll check out the new quests... just very slowly, and in my own time)- just run around.  Your level 80 might not be able to fly in the Old World for a fortnight, but you've still got that land mount.  Take a look around.

When I first logged in after 4.0.3 dropped, I saw someone ask something in trade chat which was oddly insightful.  "Does anyone else feel like a noob again?"  And I realized that was exactly what I felt like.  And you know what?  I liked it.

The Magic is Back.

The fact is, people have been saying for a long time that Cataclysm is make or break time for Blizzard.  They have an MMO that has outlived all life-expectancies normally tied into such a game.  WoW was slowly fading.  The only way to stop this trend was to create something so amazing, it made players at home again.

And by making me feel like a noob again, that's exactly what they did. 

Don't misunderstand me here.  That's not a bad thing, in my opinion.  In fact, it's a very, very good thing.  Sure, what got me 'hooked' on WoW was the people.  What kept me coming back was the incredible end-game Blizzard has to offer.  But what was the coolest thing about the game?  That magical feeling where you discover something for the first time.

Nuking the world has brought that back for me.  I can go somewhere, and have absolutely no idea what to expect.  In a way, I feel kinda sorry for people in the beat.  Because they've already seen all this, and some of that magic won't be there for them.

There's a whole world waiting out there, guys.  Go grab it.
Water in Durotar.  Yeah.  Didn't see that one coming.


Well, what was meant to be a quick little update regarding my thoughts on the Shattering has turned into something pretty huge.  I guess in retrospect, it is a pretty huge topic.  But let me wrap this one up for you guys.

We're in a weird period of transition.  People have been blogging about it really for several months now, often saying things like "This is the twilight of Wrath" (no reference to vampires intended.  I'm actually talking about time of day).  But if we've been in the twilight of the current expansion for months, I think it's safe to say we've left twilight behind and we're into the dawn of a new day.  It's still dark out, but you can just barely see the sun starting to poke its head over the horizon.  And somehow you just know.

It's going to be a good day.

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