I’d like to officially welcome Rabid Ferret to Top Tier Tactics as our third writer. Rabid Ferret brings a diverse gaming background to T3, including WoW, LoL, and several other titles represented by abbreviated palindromes. If you’ve applied to write at T3 and are still waiting to hear back, consider RF your first potential colleague; I am still looking for a few good men women suckers people. Anyway, won’t you welcome RF to the site by ripping his article to shreds in the comments? ~WiNG
So first, introductions. I’m Rabid Ferret, and I have dozens of hats, mostly fedoras, and that makes me vastly superior to you in every way imaginable. But worry not, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? So that I may deliver unto you my vast knowledge (or, you know, because you like WiNG’s spy videos…)*
For the record, Thanksgiving was also my birthday… So if you feel like buying me a beer, or maybe some hats in TF2, click that pretty little Contact T3 button at the top of your screen.
I was originally planning to write a series of articles on strategies for some of the various champions in League of Legends, but then Blizzard had to go and drop World of Warcraft patch 4.0.3a a.k.a. The Shattering a.k.a. allyourzonesarebelongtoLAVA, and it has absorbed the remainder of my time. So for those of you who have yet to check out the redone world (what is wrong with you?), here’s my thoughts on what I’ve seen thus far, and what you should expect to see for Cataclysm.
*This post will contain spoilers for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, mostly involving the storyline of the low level human zones. If you have spent the past several months under a rock and haven’t yet heard everything that’s happening, and you wish to keep it that way, proceed with caution.*
For those of you who don’t know, here is a list of what is in the latest patch, and what you’re going to have to wait until Cataclysm drops to see. (You should ignore this post and immediately go spam trade chat asking where all of these things are.)
In this patch
- World went boom (redone 1-60 experience)
- New race/class combinations (ex. Dwarf Shaman)
- Portals removed from Dalaran and Shattrah (if you’re wondering how to get out of Dalaran, gravity will aid you/your corpse in getting to Crystalsong Forest.)
Not in this patch
- Increased level cap
- 80-85 zones
- Worgen and Goblins
- Guild achievements/levels
- Increased tradeskill level cap
- Old weather flying (You can, however, use most non-dragon flying mounts as ground mounts.)
Surgeon General’s Warning – World of Warcraft may impair your ability to maintain a life. You should not attempt to maintain any jobs or relationships until you are familiar with WoW’s effect’s. Should you choose to answer the siren call of Cataclysm, it is advised that you break up with your significant other, quit your job, drop any and all classes you may have, and inform your family that you are not dead (or, alternatively, fake your death so they quit bugging you while you’re trying to play WoW.)
For the record, the last time I played WoW was during patch 3.3.2. So the first thing I did was log onto my main to see how my gear had changed, and cry at my loss of progress on my Loremaster achievements. Upon logging in, however, I was greeted by literally hundreds of LUA errors from broken addons, and those that weren’t broken decided to randomly scatter themselves along my screen. I didn’t feel like reorganizing my UI, so I said “fuck this”, disabled all my addons, and rolled a human hunter.
I think you’ll all agree with me when I say that WoW used to be better. No, I’m not talking about objectively. I mean whenever it was that you first started playing, before you could see through all the smoke and mirrors. Back when Azeroth had legitimate mystery, when you could imagine that there really was this massive endless world here with tons of things to explore and discover… Back before there were hordes of those god damn Blood Elves! Yeah… I miss those days, too. Well you can cry me a river, because that feeling’s never coming back. I’m pleased to announce, though, that playing through the redone zones came pretty damn close.
In retrospect, it’s amazing to me how much the presentation of a quest can change your perspective of it. The first quests that you do are more or less exactly the same as they were before. It’s all still just variations on “Kill x dudes (and steal their hats)”, “Collect x items (such as hats)”, and “Go to x and talk to a dude (he’s got some neat hats for you)”. But unlike before, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing pointless errands for some asshole whose hat is vastly inferior to yours. As soon as you enter the world, you’re making a difference. From your very first quest, you’re saving Northshire from Blackrock Orcs that are coming in through a path that Deathwing made to Burning Steppes (a path that apparently is invisible to you… Go figure.) Regardless, it feels pretty damn epic from the get go, and that makes a big difference. But things really pick up once you get to Westfall.
Westfall was one of the last zones I played where WoW still retained its mystery for me, and I used to have fond memories of it. Then I made the mistake of running another character through it years later and realized it was complete shit. Today, however, it’s one of the best zones I’ve played through. The story begins with your character getting involved in a murder investigation, leading you through the various abandoned farm houses littering the area. Here you see first hand the poverty and homelessness that struck anyone not employed by the military during the war. What you end up uncovering is a massive conspiracy, the revival of one of the greatest threats against Stormwind, and an epic (albeit fairly obvious) twist that leads to what’s left of the area being burnt to the ground.
Most of the zones that I played after that were pretty close in quality. Things get a little less refined once you reach the late 30s and early 40s, but there’s a common improvement across the entire world. Each zone has a specific story, with personal implications for your character, usually ending in an exciting climax. Even if you are doing essentially the same errands as you were before, the fact that it feels like you’re doing more than that makes all the difference for the leveling experience. Clearly someone at Blizzard discovered the power of wearing a fedora.
I have never been more excited for Cataclysm as I am now. The new world was just a sampling of what’s to come. If the new zones that are coming in December are even half as good as what they did with the 1-60 experience, we are in for an amazing treat. If you’ve taken a break from the game, I’d suggest creating a new alt, see what’s happened to the world first hand. If you’ve never played WoW, there’s never been a better time to try it. (The game also happens to be on sale at the time of writing this.)