Customer Review

177 of 195 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A streamlined experience and old world...that falls off a cliff towards the end, April 7, 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Set (Video Game)
(+) The old lands of Azeroth were refined to great effect:
* Zone design and lore is more interesting
* Quest hubs are more plentiful and feel more organic, major cities and population centers were redesigned to be more practical and useful
* Phasing, cinematics, real time events, RTS segments, and guided narratives make it feel more like a modern RPG hybrid and less like a MMO
* The new game experience has been streamlined, flowing much more coherently levels 1 through 60

(+) The slight graphic updates and introduction of DirectX 11 effects make the game look far better than you might expect - especially for a clearly aging engine with cartoonish art design and direction

(+) There is an absurd amount of quality solo and small-group content in the new post level 80 zones

(+/-) The class and mechanics changes, overall, were well thought out. They made the game even more accessible, early advancement more fun and rewarding, and the general gameplay more elegant. However, customization is limited and stunted. The last leg of levels, 81-85, leave you feeling like you're putting in time and gaining levels without growing in power or versatility

(-) Too much homogenization between classes, defined by role, has occurred. Class and spec combinations that once felt unique have been altered in a ham fisted way, now functioning in an essentially identical manner to others

(-) Cataclysm is short on raiding content. What's present feels uninspired and rushed - many dungeon and raid bosses are copies from past expansions wrapped in new skins/assets

(-) Changes to healing mechanics have rendered the role formulaic and rote

(-) Despite the smorgasbord of content the "grind" (repetitive activities that must be performed ad naseum for reward or advancement) has been ramped up far beyond anything I ever thought I would see in a WoW expansion. This terrible design approach is pervasive, affecting everything from dungeon progression to tradeskill advancement - particularly the new Archeology skill

(-) There is a gigantic gulf in difficulty between normal and "heroic", or advanced difficulty, dungeons. Many tedious mechanics are introduced, mistakes are far less forgiving, there are too many enemy abilities that kill instantly or nearly instantly, and the time required to complete a single dungeon has been extended from a sensible 20-30 minutes to an hour or longer. It's not uncommon to invest hours in a dungeon only to have the other players give up out of frustration - leading to no one seeing any kind of reward or advancement for their efforts

A symptom of the poor heroic dungeon design is an ugly social atmosphere. Players quickly grow short tempered and irate. The sense of gregariousness and community is abandoned, replaced by single minded greed as players squabble over any perceived reward their hours upon hours of grinding might, on some off chance, grant them. It's a terrible and sudden shift that ruins the game and drives players away from a substantial chunk of content.

Blizzard keeps introducing changes that exacerbate the issue, rather than alleviating it. And they apparently do so to spite their customers, as feedback has been overwhelmingly negative towards all of their recent developments. As a result the heroic and raiding community has sharply declined since the launch of Cataclysm. It has been distilled down to small, unsavory cliques of elitist and socially awkward players - the kind that, prior to WoW, could only have been found in the darkest corners of the grindiest and most unfun MMOs of 2000-2003.

--- Conclusion ---

Cataclysm is a lot of fun for new players and those looking to experience the rebuilt world of Azeroth. Blizzard has shown that modern game design and techniques can work in MMORPGs. It's worth the cover price for the hours of quality gaming it provides to new and old players alike.

However, the wheels come off as you approach "the end game". The game transforms into a soul-sucking trial of banality and tediousness - seemingly designed with cold and uncaring calculation to make players unhappy and question their enjoyment of the genre as a whole.

World of Warcraft came along in 2004 and dragged this genre out of relative obscurity, leading to hundred million dollar MMO budgets and prime time advertising campaigns. So it's ironic that here, in its twilight, Blizzard has abandoned the casual players that made it a success and transformed WoW into a ghoulish doppelganger of the MMOs it conquered long ago. Do they intend on courting the types of players that reigned over those archaic fossils of MMO past....and their insignificant subscription tallies? One can only wonder how Blizzard can do so much right in a game, just to turn around and essentially soil their own hard work.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 20, 2011 10:46:24 PM PDT
SandyK says:
"(-) Changes to healing mechanics have rendered the role formulaic and rote"

Is an understatement. Just copy talents from EJ and take their healing advice to heart. Individuality went out in the door in Cata. We're now so much alike it's what's the point.

Posted on Apr 26, 2011 2:58:18 AM PDT
Tigress says:
Best review ever. Wish I can "favorite" or "rep" this more than once.

Posted on Jun 2, 2011 4:55:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2011 4:56:14 AM PDT
LL Coolbay says:
Agreed.

Blizzard died the moment their B team started working on WoW. I mean, combo points for paladins? Kings and Wild the same thing? (Small talent trees with no choices for the player...) Whoever thought of this stuff was on crack at the time.

And mages. No DR on their 3+ spells that make you lose movement of your character. And giving mages bloodlust while not making shamans more powerful to compensate.

Freaking idiots. Ghostdicker is an asshat and a half.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2011 6:56:15 PM PDT
Did you know they even planned on removing support abilities from Paladins as they felt it was an old design from vanilla? They were hoping to trim down on lay on hands, and more then likely other paladin abilities to make it less support oriented from what I read and yet even Blizz employees gave them some backlash for it...

I would say expect anything, as anything seems to go with whoever is behind the wheel.

Posted on Jun 10, 2011 8:05:48 AM PDT
VA Gamer says:
Yea guys it's depressing in a way to see what is honestly a great developer make such terrible, terrible design decisions and mostly in the later stages of the game (or in regards to talents and homogenization, their problems manifest in intensity as you approach level 85 but seem great early on).

I hated writing this review because WoW is one of my favorite games of all time. They just really did a horrible job with this expansion and are in dire need of new leadership.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2011 2:01:34 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 30, 2011 9:38:22 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 2, 2011 5:58:11 AM PDT
F8taL88 says:
Well said, reminded me of exactly why I stopped playing in the first place. Had considered about possibly getting back into the game when I finished this deployment but thanks to this post some sense was slapped into me. Also agree that Blizzard has sucked the life out of the game community to leave it rotting with the exact opposite of the sort of players that made the game so popular in the first place. Formerly Gahuna Mal'Ganis realm and Hellrayzr Cho'Gall realm

Posted on Oct 2, 2011 6:39:12 AM PDT
C. Maiolo says:
I've never read a review of any form of media that hit so close to home. This review describes-eerily well-how I've felt about WoW since I stopped playing over a year ago after reaching the (then) endgame with my first, and only character. You put so much time into a character, almost to the point of embarrassment (as an adult, anyway), and when you arrive at the supposed end you come to realize the only way to compete and complete is by, literally, becoming the guy characterized/villified in the classic South Park episode "Make Love Not Warcraft." I've grappled with jumping into Cata for a while now but after reading such a concise critique condemning it for the same, and worse, it would seem, at this point, like self deception to invest in such a repetitive exercise in ultimate disappointment. Thanks VA Gamer.

Posted on Dec 9, 2011 10:21:46 AM PST
SandyK says:
Since I probably get banned anyway, going to repost this reply of yet another "change" Ghostcrawler and crew is introducing, that got me banned from posting on the forum...

[Posted by Me to a dev]
"You say you want "constructive feedback", but who's the judge what is "constructive"?

We've been through this before, where folks pointed out issues they disagree with, and they got banned on some crazy whims, even.

These changes come fast, heavy and too disruptive. Then asking folks to swallow it whole. If you don't like it shut up, and stand in a corner.

How is that an environment for "constuctive feedback"?

We play these toons. We invested many days of our lives on them, for one flick of a change, to turn them upside down.

How do you think that would make a player feel?

Do you r-e-a-l-l-y want to know how your players feel? Or do you just want whitewash comments? Because they're not the same."

Reason for the ban? The handy dandy excuse: "spamming/trolling".

Blizzard doesn't want to know how you feel. They're shopping for ideas. Ideas that match and dovetail in their concepts (which you won't get credit for, either. For "legal" reasons). Buried in ideas they don't have to be concerned about 1.7+mil leaving the game...because how they feel of the loss of their time investment. So if you want to try out WoW, consider if WoW is worth your investment of time and money...it can save you a lot of grief.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 12:53:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2012 8:17:40 PM PDT
TheITMan says:
I agree, this game use to be so much fun. Now, after playing WOTLK and Cata, I just want to puke. The mere thought of playing this game again, and the hundreds of hours I've wasted make me sick. Everytime they release an expansion, its the same thing over and over again. Just a grind to end game (which is boring in cata). Once you get there, nothing is left to do. It's just filled with people spamming trade. I can rarely find groups for anything anymore, everyone has gotten so bored and lazy with the game. All they want to do is sit in Stormwind or Org, spam trade and work the AH. I don't think that the next xpack, MOP, is going to change anything. I'm not even planning on buying it. It's time for a new game. I'm hoping Diablo 3 will be better.

I think I'm going to get back into console gaming and see what that has to offer. I haven't played console games since N64.

Edit: Diablo 3 wasn't better. I puked even more. And the launch fail? I just lol'd.
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