A New Challenger Awaits…

Hadouken! Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been forever and a day since I have last blogged.  I’ve been tied up with all the tasks and responsibilities that come with being the guild master of a 600 character guild.  Honestly for me, that has been a major adjustment.  We have always been a small tight knit family of raiders, and with the release of cataclysm some massive changes happened in House Stalwart.

In the past, by choice, we had shunned the concept of guild based raiding.  Throughout our history as a guild we have been the core of several different non-guild raid groups, and at the tail end of Burning Crusade we struck out on our own and build one known as the Duranub Raiding Company.  If you’ve read much of my posts in the past, you’ve followed some of our adventures.

Cataclysm however brought into line several things that rocked the core of this group.  Namely the guild rewards changes, and the guild based achievement system lead us to collapse Duranub and begin to look at raiding as a guild.  As a result, many of the smaller satellite guilds that had raided with us in the past made the choice to go ahead and collapse into House Stalwart.  As a result we have grown leaps and bounds, from having 10-15 players on any given night, to having upwards of 40 players online. 

This could have lead to some major schisms, but for the most part it has been a fairly natural progression.  The majority of the players that now are in the guild were in the greater “guild ecosystem” beforehand.  While we have as a result added in a lot of friends and family in the process of these new members, the result has somehow managed to maintain the same atmosphere we have always had.  Primary difference being, instead of being small and flexible, we are now the 5th largest guild on the server.

The Doldrum Returns

Skull Drudgery Towards the tail end of Wrath, I struggled greatly with trying to find a desire to play the game at all.  With the release of Cataclysm, I had an influx of new things to do that pushed this aside.  However as I sit with 3 85s, all of which are geared I am starting to feel the same familiar tug of not really wanting to play.  In the past, I was fine to dink around on alts but it was the raiding that I really was not enjoying.  This time around, with the switch to 10 man raiding, I am enjoying that aspect immensely.  I just find myself not knowing what to do with the rest of my time.

I’ve been known to wander off and disappear for weeks at a time, exploring various games.  I’ve taken vacations to play all manner of games such as Warhammer, EQ2, LoTRO, and most recently the creation of the House Stalwart minecraft server.  Each time a vacation winds up with me back in WoW, refreshed and ready to level something else.  The problem is, I find myself getting “toasted” a little quicker each time.  The digital blood transfusion, seems to be rejected more quickly.

Where’s the Beef

Where's the Beef! As a whole, I blame this most recent “funk” on Cataclysm itself.  I had been in since the friends and family alpha, and to quote an 80’s commercial, I kept wondering “where’s the beef”.  While the revamp of the oldworld is nice, when you are like me with 3 85s, 4 80s, and 7 characters between 60 and 80…  the prospect of going back and doing the old content seems to lack meaning.  So when you remove all of the oldworld content, that I agree needed to be updated, you are left with 5 outdoor zones, 7 dungeons, and enough raid bosses to make 1 Icecrown sized instance.

Cataclysm just lacks the same epic feeling that the other expansions have had.  In so many ways to me, it feels half done.  As I sat in Alpha, and eventually Beta I kept feeling that surely there was a major update they were holding out until live.  For an expansion that I had been anxiously awaiting for two years, everything just felt incomplete.  As a developer I have been here before, gotten into a project that was too massive to get done by release time.  As a result you start trimming back, cutting everything that isn’t essential, so that you can meet your release schedule.

I feel that Blizzard bit off far more than they were prepared to chew when it came to revamping the classic world.  As a result, you have this banquet of experience for new players, but for us veterans it feels like we are stuck eating budget gourmet.  We as players simply expected more at this point.  Yes we knew going into it that we only had 5 new levels of content, but I had experienced this same drop in leveling in Everquest without getting gimped on the content.

Lets look at the previous expansions, which should underline why I am overall unsatisfied with Cataclysm two months in.  With the release of Burning Crusade it gave us plenty of content to chew on: 8 Outdoor Zones, 16 Dungeons and the introduction of heroic modes, and 15 total Raid Bosses.  With Wrath blizzard kicked it up a notch and delivered even more content:  12 Outdoor Zones, 16 Dungeons, and 18 Raid Bosses.  So to restate, when we look at Cataclysm that as veteran players only gives us 5 outdoor zones, 7 dungeons, and 14 raid bosses it just seems like we got cheated.

Stick a Fork In It

Belghast the Bahmi So at this point, two and a half months into cataclysm, I have leveled through the 1-60 experience twice, leveled through the 80-85 experience three times, and ground enough heroics to gear up those same three characters in 346 or better items.  I am still in the process of raiding through the content, and am enjoying it greatly.  However for the rest of the time spent in game, I am out of things I actually care to do.

This post has developed a life of its own at this point.  Originally I had planned on writing about Rift, as during this doldrum I have managed to get myself hooked on this new MMO.  At this point, that will have to be saved for another blog post.  Apparently I as a player, had more than a few things to say about my disappointment in Cataclysm.  I find myself greatly looking forward to the Rift head start this week on Thursday, and I plan on playing it furiously before and after my schedule raid times. 

One of the cool features of the game is the in-game twitter client.  Towards the end of beta I set up a separate twitter account @BelghastRift, and began tweeting various in game screenshots.  I was initially afraid that the game would end up being pretty spammy, but overall it seems to be manageable, so I might end up switching back to tweeting from @Belghast.  I think part of the problem with my blogging has been, that I’ve barely had the excitement about WoW to keep playing it on a weekly basis, let alone write compelling posts regarding it.  You the readers, if I have any left, should expect to start seeing some rifts content as I explore this new game.

Onwards and Upwards