The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide.

Podcast evidence to the contrary, it didn’t actually take too much deliberation for me to subscribe to World of Warcraft again. I came to the opinion that if one has ever been invested in WoW at any point in time it would be a shame to miss out on the forthcoming cataclysm. The release of patch 4.0.1 was the catalyst for my return, and I was resolved to revisit my account and use my credit card to awaken it from its catatonic state. The next great WoW expansion is not due for another couple of months, but the forthcoming catastrophic world events are already being felt across the lands of Azeroth: the world trembling at its very foundation from time to time.

Two months may seem like a long time to have to wait before the actual release of the expansion, but when you consider that I need to apply numerous AddOn cataplasms to my UI before I am able to play happily, it seems like no time at all. I am a fool for UI twiddling, and with the expansiveness of WoW’s aftermarket AddOns being legendary, it is ripe for abuse by someone such as myself, a feedback catabolic: one who breaks down complex UI elements into simpler systems, and thus releases the energy otherwise used in fixed concentration to be diverted to more important areas, such as hat selection and the timing of fart emotes during boss fights. A catalogue of my AddOns would rival the indexes of the Ancient Library of Alexandria in scope, and as such I won’t bore you with them here.

In fact, that’s pretty much the extent of my return thus far, a small part of the inevitable migration of catadromous players who, having been living a quiet life in the fresh waters of other MMOs, now return to WoW’s oceanic population for a fresh orgy of spawning, with new life being breathed once more into Azeroth as players are catapulted into a world which is both familiar and unfamiliar. Thus far the changes have been pleasing in the main, with numerous systems in place to hold the hand of those who merely want to dabble in the game: the talent interface requires you to press a button to learn the talents you have selected, and gently reminds you that you have untrained talents if you close the window without doing so; the level-up experience is streamlined, with a message across the display telling you your new level and then announcing any new abilities or talent points you have earned, although a trip to the trainer is still required to gain them, something that Everquest II still does better, in my opinion.

That really was the extent of my experience so far. Having spent several days downloading patches overnight, then the odd hour here and there over another couple of days devoted to downloading AddOns and configuring them to my liking, and then further time setting up keyboard and gameboard key-binds, I’ve done little other than wander around on a couple of low level characters, trying to get a feel for what class I’d like to play when I roll my Worgen. I’m thinking of taking a step outside of my comfort zone, thanks in part to great experiences with my Warden in Lord of the Rings Online, and picking up a class that I don’t usually consider playing. In the meantime it’s a matter of picking an existing level eighty character and familiarising myself with the class so that I can enjoy the events leading up to the impending cataclysm.

There’s not that long to prepare; the earthquakes have already begun.

If the Prophets of Rem are to be believed, next it will be birds and snakes.

Followed by an aeroplane.

Then it’s the end of the world as we know it.

6 thoughts on “The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide.

  1. xbevisx

    Don’t you start talking about WOW again, young man. I have very well so far to not be tempted back yet. But it niggles at me like a ravenous earwig.

  2. darkeye

    My resolve is holding strong, despite all the new shinies. I’m holding tight to my biggest gripe with the revamp, the new talent trees, so I’m not lured back in. The biggest problem is that they are more restrictive than before, only giving the appearance of choice. I want to be able to do stupid things like pick a specialisation then spend more points in another tree, but no that’s breaking things. It’s that kind of design that I’m holding up as evidence that the game will not be fun, that I’ll be bored within a short while of resubbing. Hope that’s a strong enough reason to get me through the next few months anyway.

  3. Derrick

    Seriously? My ‘security word’ is clinchpooper??

    Anyways… I’ve been clean for about two years now, following a relapse after getting clean during TBC, and a similar clean patch before TBC’s release.

    I’ll renew my sub come cataclysm, though I don’t think I should. But the whole “world discovery/levelling game” is my favourite part. The first time through at least. I resubbed for each expansion just to see The New Stuff, which for tbc and wotlk didn’t take too long – I only lasted about 3 months each.

    Cataclysm, though, offers me a whole world of New Stuff. Exploration! New secrets! Familiar places, changed. I’m disgustingly excited about it – but I’ll deny that if ever asked in person.

    I hear ya, though, in regards to the UI thing. I’ve always spent more time customizing my ui to be *perfect* than actually playing. I do it in moddable single player games too (My old Oblivion install had 2x more HD space allocated to my mods than the ge itself!) but with the vast WoW userbase and ease of lua scripting, there’s such a selection you can spend months just tinkering!

    I’m almost as excited to see how my favourite UIods have grown over the years as I am about Cataclysm =)

  4. Melmoth Post author

    @darkeye: In many specs there’s still some debate out there as to which talents are good and which are bad, so for the moment you do have a modicum of choice, but I imagine after a month or so the definitive raid templates will be decided upon and that will be that. Glyphs are interesting now however, what with them being permanently learned and with the ability to swap them out on the fly with vanishing powder (which is currently inexpensive and purchased from vendors). Glyphs do allow some tweaking of your character in the way the old talents did; at least, for many classes they do, some classes are stuck with pretty boring and standard options at the moment, but the way glyphs are now set up it would be easy for Blizzard to add more into the game and give players further options for customisation.

    @Derrick: It’ll be interesting to see how much the new levelling experience holds the players’ interest; I certainly enjoyed going back through the old content one last time as a nostalgia trip, so I too am looking forward to seeing how it has all changed. The revamp to the dungeons also sounds good, with a greater emphasis on strategy, crowd control and the like again, which is much more to my taste than the current AoE zerg-fest.

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