Community Review: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

I have a confession to make. It hangs heavy on my heart. I have never played World of Warcraft. When I kick off Community Reviews every Monday, I try to make it about a game I've at least spent a small amount of time with, but I wanted to make an exception. Partly because I know that Cataclysm has been the largest scale release over the last couple of weeks, but also because I'm interested in what you guys have to say about Blizzard's latest expansion.

Cataclysm has made news for the right reason (insanely overwhelming sales) and for the wrong reasons (players waiting up to 45 minutes just get online) but what about the game itself? We figure that most fans have spent a fair amount of time with Cataclysm now, so let us know how you've found it so far in the comments below.


Comments

    I haven't spent a huge amount of time with it, but it's a huge improvement over vanilla WoW (about the only WoW I played). There are lots of more interesting quests, fun things to do, the dungeons have been made more interesting and lots of other improvements.

    But, it sticks with the bottom line.

    If you don't like WoW, and have no reason to play, odds are you won't play this, and if you did, you might not enjoy it. But for me, I go online, spend some time with friends, and it's all good.

    In my group of friends (we normally party together, dota together, go out together, etc etc) i'm the only one that doesn't play WOW.

    Needless to say, the last 2 weeks of the holidays i've only seen them once; which was last friday night in which to their credit, we got shitfaced piss drunk.

    But now they're back on wow, and from what i've heard, the new stuff is pretty amazing.

    Although i might suspect its just a matter of time before they get to 80 and collect all the new gear and come back to my loving arms of dota. Until then, i stand alone!

      Dude. HoN is INFINITELY better than DoTA.

      I'm just (Super) Saiyan.

        Tried getting into it once; the character models were too small, kept getting mixed up with the creep models, and the bounty hunter mod had assassinate from sniper. imba much? LOL I suppose it would have worked out all the kinks and be pretty epic atm, but i'll just wait for dota2. :D

      Hello, it's 85 not 80. 80 is the next expansion. And I'm sorry to say that, but some things you can only do when you are at 85 and they probably will not come back until they have gotten all the shiny loot. Why don't you give it a try?:D

        A little correction. Not next expansion for 80. It was the last one. The next will probably allow leveling to 90 or 95...

    Like you, Mark, I too have not played World of Warcraft.

    So I'll base my judgement of this game solely on its cover:
    It is a nicely coloured piece with strong visual flair, however has an annoying amount of bump, which doesn't complement the gloss used. This is ironic, for as far as I know, the actual game does not use bump-mapping to even a basic degree.

    Unfortunately, the reverse side of the cover is ruined with text, and the same can sadly be said of the game. While the game seems to have some level of "AWESOME" on the surface, this is significantly marred by the soon-discovered story, which is so deep and fascinating that it takes away from the appeal.

    Overall, I give it a 2/10. It would get a better rating if it had a larger variety of weapons - such as the m16, m4, Scar and SPAS12 - because we all know that COD is the greatest game ever, right?

    DISCLAIMER: The above was a complete fabrication (except for the cover art stuff, the cover art truly is amazing) and should in no way be used as a real review. The opinions represented are not mine (despite the fact I wrote it) and should not be yours either. If they are, in fact, your opinions, then you should probably contemplate the reasons you haven't spent $15 on another map-pack for COD and why you are reading this instead of playing.

      Bahahahahahahahaha, I loved this.

      I think one of the reasons I like Blizzard games is that they have such good boxes. None of this "have a crappy little dvd box and be glad" stuff. The one disappointment for me was the manual, which was far too short.

      Haha nice work Tad.

    Having played from open beta right through to Cataclysm I can say that Cataclysm really is an improvement over what's come before.

    Visuals are improved, the classes and encounters are more challenging, the questing from 1-60 has been revamped and is alot easier to go through with great storylines in each zone to boot.

    Haven't gotten to end game content yet as I'm working up some new characters but its been alot of fun for me so far.

    As an avid WoW player since vanilla release I was definitely worried about blizzard's plan to 'dumb down' portions of the game which were considered too difficult for the casual players, however I found that once again they made sure they catered for the 'hardcore players'.

    Heroic dungeons, accessible once at the maximum level and reasonable gear, are much more like 'mini raids' than previous expansion. Think back to "The Burning Crusade" when we all walked into heroics, got our asses handed to us and decided to come back in raid gear - this feels much the same way, except its supposed to be done pre-raid as a gateway and using similar mechanics to raiding.

    The net effect of the heroic changes is that any player who has conquered all/most of the heroics should definitely be competent to be put into a raid group as they have learnt the (albeit basic) principals of this game, chief of which is 'do not stand in the fire'.

    As I gear up at 85, and slowly level my first alt from 80 to 85, in preparation for raiding I can't help but hope that the encounters in the raids are as enjoyable as those faced so far in the heroic dungeons.

    For people who are less interested in raiding, and more interested in the questing/storyline content, I will say that I am not normally a person who EVER reads quest text or storyline prompts but Cataclysm has a way of drawing you in - maybe with the new cinematic's which involve your own character with in-game generated scenes involving the quests you are working on - or maybe just the lovable NPCs like Harrison Jones, whatever it is - it's worked on me. I've listened, read and watched most of the story/quest information in the expansion and enjoyed it greatly.

    All in all, including my obvious bias, i'd rate it a 10/10 thus far.

      Agreed.

      Cataclysm is certainly a step in the right direction for Blizzard. To go from the "let's make everything easy and hardly interesting" Wrath of the Lich King to this expansion, which I compare closely to Vanilla and The Burning Crusade Infused.

      Being a WoW Player for a while I can say that questing in Cataclysm is extremely fun and so is running dungeons. The mechanics implemented in these new dungeons vary greatly and I am certainly enjoying the heroic versions (i.e. more mechanics and better itamz), despite being frustrating at times. I prefer a game that may be considered "too hard" by some rather than a game that is too easy for most.

      As the world has changed significantly I am looking forward to starting a level 1 character and seeing what questing is like from start to end. I am also looking forward to encountering the new raid content.

      I fully agree, and if some players are not feeling this game is fun it's probably because they like other kind of games. It's purely a question of taste. Blizzard's games shine when it comes to art (I just love the art, how they think of all the details and make each zone or particular culture so specific, including music).The game was never about realism, it is about fun, and I also like the jokes and puns and endless nods to movies and celebs and other important people and events, apart from the names of characters and guilds which always amuse me (some players are really creative when it comes to that). In addition to all this, there are awesome fighting effects, interesting quest chains with phasing and movies and challenging dungeons to get some incredible loot (now that everything has gazillions of stamina and other stats). Not to mention the PvP that attracts a great part of the players. And I also enjoy making the things we can make with the new recipes!

    I first got involved with WoW during the open beta stress test, joined up for a short time after release, but I have never been able to make the rather significant time commitment it takes to really enjoy the game.

    While I enjoyed my time, I couldn't get enough value for the monthly fees to justify paying them.

    I'd rather jump back and forth between a selection of games, books and movies than simply drop onto Wow whenever I have time.

    Then again, WoW was the first MMORPG I paid money for, so that is a significant acheivement.

    I'm another WoW veteran, though in the time I've posted on Kotaku I've been in retirement. Or is that, semi-retirement, now that I've reactivated my account? I actually started a worgen hunter at level 1 so I've done a lot of the new-old world stuff. I can't comment on Elwynn Forest or Dun Morogh, but the new Gilneas zone and the revamped Darkshore zones are vast improvements over the old early-game stuff. They've concentrated a lot on discreet quest hubs that make the back-and-forth errands a lot less hair-pullingly boring.

    Combined with the quest hubs is the attention paid to the story, more directly and intentionally I think, the quests you do even as levelling seem to have more to do with the larger events happening here and now in Azeroth. The Cataclysm event isn't some far-off thing that only matters to level 80s, but has effects right from the first levels. The disconnect between quests for farmer Joe in Westfall and the threat of Ragnaros/Illidan/Arthas etc was always a major criticism of WoW, and I think Blizz have done a pretty good job in trying to knit the two together. Using the quest hubs moves you through the new territory in a very progressive way, capitalizing on the 'spatial storytelling' that WoW is so good at (giving you lots of 'story fiction' through the look and feel of the environment you are in).

    So far I've only gotten one of my high level characters up to level 82 so I can't really comment on the high-level additions to the game, but there's a whole underwater zone where you ride a sea horse as your normal mount. I don't know that I *like* that area too much but the creativity is duly noted. I also haven't done any of the new high level dungeons so can't comment there.

    To sum up: Blizzard certainly have learned a lot from the last 5 years. Levelling a new character is so much more consistent, no real peaks or valleys of progress, and information on 'how to play' is fed progressively through. This speaks to Blizzard's intentions to get new players hooked on a game that I'm sure most people think has pretty much plateaued in popularity. We'll see I guess.

      Well that's just silly, you should have started your Worgen at level 84. :)

        Tegzilla, you'd have to pay money for character modification, I don't think that is such a great idea... and you would miss on the low level quests which are fun to do.

          Yeah, I was being sarcastic.

    I quit wow during TBC and recently went back for cata, can't stand my old characters (both lvl 70, druid/lock) but leveling a priest and warrier and loving it so much.

    Blizzard has basically taken all the bad bits of WoW and thrown them in the bin, making more awesome. So much fun, and really love the phased zones that evolve as you quest in them.

    I haven't played wow in a year but thought I'd give it a shot with the 10 day free trial. Played some of the redone old zones and they're deffintley better. Feels more like Wrath of the lich king level of interactivity through the barrens and durotar.

    Started up a goblin and was absolutley blown away by the stuff there. There was constantly something happening, I think for the first 12 levels I only did about 4 of the "Kill X of Y quests" and everything else was more like "Pilot this robotic shark to kill that elite shark" or "Drive around in a hotrod to pick up your friends and run over people" or "Fight a giant flaming turtle with this improvised rocket launcher" etc etc. If they can keep up the same level of quests in the new high level zones this is going to be a fucking amazing experience.

    I stopped playing wow over a year ago. I got bored of wotlk. I ordered a cata CE with the intention of selling it for a profit, go on, hate me.

    I've been on holiday since it came out and have 3 weeks left, but I really can't wait to get home and play cata. at the same time I know I shouldn't though. It's so all consuming that when I used to play wow my new ps3 games would pile up and not get played.

    This game truly is a poison! It's so easy to get addicted and spend all your time really accomplishing nothing. Especially sinc achievements came out.

    But i have no doubt that on my arrival home I will once again waste hours upon hours waiting for a plagued proto Drake to spawn...

    I've played on and off through all the expansions and I've got to say that this one really is value for money. I've been levelling from nada and the quality of the changes to Azeroth have been awesome!
    The questing has been fun and the references and sly humour in their quests has scored quite a few chuckles at 2am on a work night.
    The new guild system is brilliant; with reputation to be earned with your guild toward useful and fun bits and pieces. Makes you think very carefully before you bolt with the loot to another raiding guild.
    I loved Burning Crusade for its flavour and charm and Cataclysm is a massive step back into line with it!

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