Cataclysm for World of Warcraft arrived in December 2010, and just like all the previous releases I rushed to the local shop and bought the box so I could play on release day (I’m still a little old fashioned when it comes to software – I like to have a physical disc in my mitts). I played the original game in 2005 as it arrived and I was enthralled. I soloed, I grouped, I crafted, I raided. It was fascinating and I played regularly. This repeated itself as the next two expansion packs were released. Maybe the game was starting to grate a little, but I still soloed, grouped, crafted and raided. In other words, I was still dedicated.
This time around I just haven’t been able to capture that feeling again. I have been playing my Paladin in the high-level zones – Mount Hyjal, Vashj’ir, Deepholm and currently I’m level 84 in Uldum. It’s indeed very pretty and the quests are often hilarious and sometimes ingenious. The blocky low-polygon graphics annoys me, but it also did that in 2005 so that hasn’t changed. It looks like the textures have improved, however, which makes it a little easier to tolerate the lack of polygons. The underwater zone in Vashj’ir felt very different and the atmosphere in Deepholm was really good (it reminded me Mines of Moria in LOTRO, the best interior zones I have ever seen in an MMORPG).
Still, I have been very casual about it. Most sessions barely lasted an hour and I have had breaks of several days even though I had time to log on and play some more. There’s just something about the game that doesn’t grab me anymore. Maybe it’s like having watched the same movie or read your favorite book a dozen times. No matter how good it is, at one point you’re just saturated and can’t take it anymore. New zones, new graphics, new music, new textures – even the spells and abilities have changed a lot – but it only goes so far. You still have the same movements, the same sound effects, basically the same interface (I always use the vanilla interface as I don’t want to fight with addon updates after each patch), the same combat system. Especially the sound effects keep reminding me that this is still the same game I found so fascinating more than five years ago.
I also got tired of new zones in EQ2 and LOTRO lately, so it’s possible that I just need to recharge my batteries. One of my close friends have been playing EverQuest (the first one) for 8-9 years. In 2010 he finally started trying something else (EVE Online) but other than that he’s been very dedicated and even five-boxed the game. I’ve always been a little jealous at his ability to let himself be completely grabbed by something for so long. I’m the type of guy that gets tired of things after a while, and then I just need to see new pastures. Back when I played a lot of single player PC games I usually changed the genre after completing a game. Adventure, then action, then RPG, etc. I played single player games for years and never hit this problem. Expansions for MMORPG can renew my interest in the game, but perhaps there’s a unavoidable limit of how many times that works.
Nevertheless, I still intend to play some more Cataclysm – see all the high-level zones and reach level 85. Maybe I won’t bother too much with crafting and dungeons (not sure yet), and I certainly don’t want to raid again (same reasons that
Muckbeast once wrote about).