If you’re stuck wearing the infamous nostalgia goggles then you probably haven’t realized this: World of Warcraft has only gotten better. While the simplicity of vanilla World of Warcraft may be gone, this isn’t a bad thing. The endless grinding that has been linked to MMORPGs still exists to a degree in World of Warcraft, but every expansion and patch that comes it gets chopped down further and further. The game has become more accessible, more creative in questing and it’s never been easier to get into the game and start enjoying current content rather than being stuck in Blackrock Spire or farming those badges of Justice in Karazhan.
The game moves forward later this year with its third expansion: Cataclysm, with a bevy of new features and game play advancements that are already cleaning up the mess of statistics that can make decisions more of a headache than any type of fun.
The big story is obviously the namesake of the expansion: Cataclysm. Azeroth is being torn asunder by the return of Deathwing from Deepholm and the reverberations of his return will filter throughout the entire world. This isn’t your nostalgia fan’s recycled content that we got to see twice over in Wrath of the Lich King, this is all knew foundation shattering changes that are going to be a blast exploring. Even if you’ve only played the game during Wrath of the Lich King, being able to see how all of the leveling zones have been altered is going to reinvigorate the world and players will probably regain the sense of exploration that’s supposed to come from MMORPGs.
Beyond the worldly changes the expansion is introducing two new races, just as the Burning Crusade had done along with the old races having access to new classes. From what’s already been released the unique questing experience that was afforded to Death Knights is going to be given to the Goblins and the Worgen. The questing experience is also going to be changed for the rest of the world, but just how innovative Blizzard has become remains to be seen. In addition other features will include new and rated battlegrounds, an attempt to bring back World PvP and long forgotten zones opened up for leveling and raiding. Oh and you can finally fly in Azeroth.
While those may be the biggest points, the eye-candy for those who haven’t played World of Warcraft yet, there are a bevy of smaller features that veterans should be happy about. Gear has been a constant issue since the game was released: the competition over gear and the knowledge of who should get what is a problem that many casual and those without guilds deal with on a regular basis. Blizzard has revamped all stats and gear including armor penetration, attack power, agility and spirit in order to make it less of an issue as to who should be wearing what.
If you have even the slightest interesting playing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm then prepared to set aside a few days, call in sick for work and make sure you have enough sugar to keep you going because if the past two expansions have taught us anything, Blizzard truly knows how to improve upon their product.