Video Game reviews and articles for console, PC games, and MMO's

Return to World of Warcraft Cataclysm: A short review

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Review


  I have been playing videogames since the introduction of the Atari 2600 and have been playing MMO's for a number of years now. My first experience with World of Warcraft was back during the days of "Vanilla WoW" on through The Burning Crusade. As times changed so did my tastes and I moved on to other games.


  With the release of Cataclysm it was time to take a look back at the game once more with fresh eyes. I decided to leave my poor level 70 mage who had been my main character in WoW (World of Warcraft) to gather even more dust and decided to roll a new toon on the Icecrown server so that I could get the new player experience in full.


  With the release of the Cataclysm expansion two new races were made available to players, the lycanthropic Worgen and the green skinned Goblins. Along with the new races some of the old races gained in their flexibility to choose amongst different classes.


Team Horde or Team Alliance


  World of Warcraft was released by Blizzard in November of 2004 and has achieved the greatest success of any MMO ever launched. That being said 2004 was a long time ago and the game was beginning to show its age. The Cataclysm expansion is Blizzard's attempt to shakeup the game and revamp the old world.


  The storyline of the game has been advanced, the Alliance have defeated the Lich King in Northrend (An area introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion in November of 2008) only to return home to a world now devastated The old world has been reshaped by the Cataclysm following in the wake of Deathwings return from Deepholm, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes have changed the world of Azeroth forever.


  These changes have allowed players the ability to bring their flying mounts (with the proper training) to Azeroth. The new landscape gives the world a new feel for both veterans and new players alike.


  The talent trees and class skills have been greatly rebalanced and changed, with character's now having to choose at 10th level what talent tree that they want to specialize in. You cannot spend talent points in another talent tree until you spend thirty-one points in the tree that you first specialized in. You also only receive talent points at every other level after tenth now. The level cap was also raised to 85. It's a whole new ball game folks.


  To a new player coming from another game the user interface will seem familiar and yet ugly and stubborn. Thankfully this problem can be alleviated by the use of player created add-ons.


New MMO math

We will add the previous distinctive successes of your MMO to our own MMO, as you did to the MMO's before you. Your player's will adapt to play our game. Resistance is futile.


  Here are two examples of how the user interface looks, one with add-ons and one without.


Wow unmodified user interface

Unmodified standard World of Warcraft user interface.


WoW modified user interface with add ons

Modified World of Warcraft user interface with several add-ons.


  I really think Blizzard dropped the ball on their end, although the modding community for WoW is simply amazing, not everyone is comfortable downloading and using add-ons from 3rd parties. The other problem with using add ons is that with every update and patch that Blizzard creates you may find that your favorite add-on no longer works.


  I think Blizzard would have been better off buying out some of these inventive people behind these mods and adding some of these add-ons to the base game directly. Being able to do simple things like moving elements around on the screen should not require me to find an outside source, this is just opening up my system and account for potential hacking.


  The expansion greatly updated the look of the environmental graphics of the game, they still have a slightly cartoony feel and the scale of things still seems quite a bit off but it is a great improvement from the days when I first played WoW.


World of Warcraft DX11

Is this really the Azeroth I spent hours and hours exploring before? Because it looks so much better now!


  The character models are another story and they are still quite limited and as ugly as they ever were. Without a costume option available, toons in WoW still suffer from the "clown effect" when gearing up.


WoW Character Creation

Ugh yeah were still in WoW. Wait what the heck is wrong with his hands!?


  The restructuring of the old quest zones has been greatly improved and I never seemed to hit any gaps when leveling. Those players returning to WoW will find that some old quests are gone but you get the feeling that your old toons accomplished something, because those old quests have had an impact on the world.


  Blizzard loves to add pop cultural references into their games, and in the case of WoW a little too much. This can become distracting and break your immersion in the game world. If I want to watch Rambo or CSI, I have a television for that, keep them out of my quests please.


  The in game economy is completely out of whack with the auction house prices being very unfriendly and absolutely absurd to new players. You're better off crafting your own gear or making friends who can craft gear for you.


  One of the biggest negative reputations that WoW has had for years is that it has a very poor player community full of trolls. In fact at one time WoW became infamous for its Barrens Chat. I found that at least on the Icecrown server that the players in general were very helpful and nice. It seems that the chat trolls have unfortunately relocated to the major cities such as Stormwind, the general conversation going on in the cities is far from family friendly.


  The other problem is that at higher levels the community has become very elitist, this is a problem that exist in all MMO end game areas. The problem with WoW is that this elitism is exacerbated by an add on called "Gear Score" that allows other players to judge you and your character. You begin to fall into the old problem of, how do you find a group without experience? How do you gain experience without a group?


  So what are my final thoughts on Cataclysm? It's a great expansion to a massive game, but there is still room for improvement in World of Warcraft. Some of the add-ons almost seem needed to enjoy the game, and I spent several wasted hours researching what was safe to use. The community at large has matured somewhat but WoW still has a fairly large population of chat trolls in the major player hubs. The Cataclysm expansion was a nice step in the right direction overall for the game.


Final Verdict for World of Warcraft Cataclysm 7.5/10



  For those interested in trying wow I have included some links for new players in the article links section at the top of the page. Special thanks to WoW players Freyja and Unkle for creating these FAQ's on the World of Warcraft Forums.


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