This is going to be a rant, but I want to state beforehand that this gives me no pleasure. I am not railing against something that I detest and want to see destroyed. I am railing against something which I have loved for a long time and want to see saved. But I doubt that it will be. It seems to be going down the toilet.
If Cataclysm is going to be anything like the pre-expansion event that we are seeing now, then this expansion might just be a total suck. I have spent the last few days playing through the quests in this event and they are abominable. They are truly majestic in their awfulness. Lets just talk about one of these quests, the one where you have to infiltrate the elemental cult or whatever the hell they’re called. I did this in Stormwind. To infiltrate a sinister and mysterious cult which is causing all sorts of trouble at the present time, this is what I had to do:
Leave Stormwind Palace and walk about 20 meters down the road.
Turn left into Old Town.
Walk another 20 meters until I find a dude standing on a barrel.
Click on him and ask, “Can I join your cult?”
Failing that, just put on a dress.
Now I am a member of this fully secretive cult.
So what genius thought this “story line” up? Do you remember some of the amazing quest lines that have been in WoW? What about the one that starts off in Darkshire where you have to investigate the private tutor that murdered his employers? You follow that one all over Elwynn Forest, you have evil spirits jump you in broad daylight in Stormwind, it’s a brilliant story line that fully involves you in the game. I could list dozens of epic quest lines here, and the sad thing is just how epic they could have made this quest. You could have been sent all over Azeroth trying to discover what is behind these recent events. I mean, it’s not as if we’re busy doing other shit right now.
Instead we get this almighty cop-out. This is just very lazy game design on Blizzards part. They seem more concerned with throwing around needless achievements, feats of strength, and fat loots than actually telling a story or giving us a game to play. Or they have simply discovered that it is far easier to give out these things than actually design rewarding content. Perhaps their player base has morphed to the point where the vast majority of players just want these things. Maybe I am truly the odd one out here. I have reached the point where not only I am not enjoying the game at all, I am beginning to feel like a fool for paying money for it every month.
The pre-expansion zombie event before wrath of the lich king was superior to the current elemental event in a number of ways. For a start it was a surprise; nobody had any idea what was going on. Contrast that with the separate and documented phases in the current event. Find out about them on MMO Champion or a similar site, log in, and go and get your “achievements”. I would go so far to say that without doing some research beforehand you may have difficulty knowing exactly what you have to do.
In the zombie invasion nobody knew what to do. So you banded together, attempting to stem the tide against the hordes of undead. Priests and paladins were in great demand as they could cure the affliction or hold back the tide. The upshot was that we were forced to make do with what we had, to come up with inventive ways to first survive and then stem the attack. Or you could revel in the idea of being a zombie, and undertake to infect as many other players as possible. It was engaging and enthralling, frustrating and dangerous. You were not after shiny rewards to do it. The reward was in the doing.
Contrast that with what we have now. It is press the button and get a stimulus reward. Trade chat is full of people asking what time the next invasion is going to happen. As far as world cataclysmic events go, this is about as routine as it gets. There isn’t anything mysterious here, there is no involvement, there is no story, there is no decent game play, there is nothing.
Blizzard is giving out a “feat of strength” for logging into the game at the moment. This is what we have come to. But in a way this feat of strength is strangely apt, because with the current dire state of the game, logging in is truly a feat of strength.