First impressions, and an open letter to Blizzard


Like everything else that has to do with Cataclysm I am running far behind the pack.

I am late posting my first impressions, mostly because I was late having them. I did not get the expansion the day it came out, in fact had my daughter not gotten it for me it would have been January before I picked it up.

Once I did have it I did not immediately jump on my level 80’s and power level them to 85 to get the gear grind started.

There was no frantic leveling of professions, even my beloved fishing has stayed firmly at level 450. In fact, I don’t think I even trained the next higher level of Skinning or Mining on my Druid, or anything else on anyone else for that matter.

Well then, types the coffee deprived blogger, what did I do?

I made myself a Worgen Warrior and a Goblin Shaman.

I flew my 80’s to an inn near where they would be leveling once I got around to them, parking them there.

Then I proceeded to checking out the two new starting zones.

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First up was the Goblin starting area.

I found the scenery jarring, though interesting. I know the goblins are big into engineering, but damn. The questing seemed very story driven, and the attention to detail was awesome.

There were quite a few “go talk to this guy” quests in a row however. At some times making it seem more like an interactive book than actually playing my character.

I found that a bt irritating, but perhaps it will get better. Though I was having a lot of fun I have yet to actually get a Goblin out of the starting zone.

Perhaps if I tried a Hunter…

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Next up was the Worgen starting area.

The scenery was awesome, I preferred the gloomy city setting over the Goblin one. While both had lots of attention to detail I simply liked Gilneas more than Kazan. Why? not sure, but I do.

Once again the questing was very linear and story driven. You are on a path and come hell or high water you are going to walk that path. I understand the needs of the narrative, but once again it was a bit annoying. On the plus since there was a much greater variety of quests. Everything from gathering boxes, kill ten Worgen, go rescue people, and go talk to this guy. All those are within the first half a dozen quests.

I enjoyed it immensely. 

In fact now that my Warrior has completed the zone and moved on to Darkshore, I have started a Druid and I am having a blast going through it again.

I am actually liking the animations and such so much that I am planning on race changing Giligan the Druid over to Worgen very soon, likely this week Friday. Once that happens I will not be at all surprised if he ends up being my first to 85.

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One of the things I have always liked about WoW was the freedom. Freedom to do a quest or not, quest in a zone or not, freedom to control my characters actions beyond “go do this, and do it now, or the entire rest of the game is locked to you.”

It was something I did not care for in the Death Knight starting zone, even though it was very well done. It is also a weak point in several of the new starting zones. In addition to the DK, Worgen, and Goblin zones, the Troll and Gnome really seem to be more interactive stories than ever before.

I understand that with all the effort being put into the starting experience Blizz is trying to tell a story and they tell it well. They worked very hard to give a beginners an experience that is far more engaging than ‘kill ten rats”.

I also understand that once I am done with the starting zones I have much more freedom of choice in where to go and what to do.

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Now I know I may be coming across as unhappy about the way these played out, but I am not. In fact I loved every minute of it. Blizzard has made us one hell of a game here, one that will still be around in some form a decade or more down the line. I plan to be around to some extent as long as the servers are still up.

As I close for the day I will offer a few suggestions in an open letter to Blizzard.

It has nothing to do with the way the quest lines work, or the way the stories are driven.

It has to do, ever so slightly, with the way they are told.

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Dear Blizzard,

You have gone way above and beyond what I have come to expect in the questing experience. It is fantastic, and virtually everything you have done is an improvement. Thank you.

I do have a few suggestions.

You have put an enormous effort into creating cut-scenes that help carry through the storyline while questing. They are a nice treat when they pop up, and are quite well done.

I would love to have a menu where I could go and re-play any cut-scenes that I have unlocked. Something similar to the menu that lets a player view the various intro movies. That would be awesome.

If that is not practical, I would suggest two features that could be added to the quests themselves.

First would be a replay button at the end of the scene. That way if a player did not have the sound on, or had their toddler knock over a plate of spaghetti, or the pizza guy came right when they turned in the quest, or their significant other needed them for something of dire import right now, they would be able to get everything settled and replay it when the world is not conspiring against them.

Second would be simply flagging the quests that start a cut scene on completion with a little movie reel icon. That way a player could make sure they were ready to watch the coolness that is the video clip without having to tab out and go hit up YouTube.

Either one or both of these ideas would go a long way towards making sure the story actually gets told in the way you wanted it told.

Thanks,

Dechion

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4 Responses

  1. I agree on these suggestions. My kids always choose this time to cause a distraction 🙂 Maybe also a way to adjust NPC voice over volume separately from the sound effects.

    • That would be really nice as well.

      I know I generally have the music and ambiance turned up much higher than the sound effects, mosly to lower the combat noises (especially guns).

  2. I know I missed the narrative on a few cut scenes because I was stubbornly keeping the sound going through my speakers and the kids turned their game/movie/selves up to compensate.

    Great ideas. A little warning would go so far for helping out those of us with distractions 🙂

  3. Both very good suggestions – I was surprised by several of the cut scenes in the Forsaken early levels, so the little ‘movie next’ indicator would have been a great help.

    My partner and I both found that the voice acting for the cut scenes was inconsistent – sometimes present, sometimes not. I’m not certain that all the cuts should have had it, though – does anyone know? It would be awesome to be able to re-watch those with the missing voices added, if that’s actually a bug…

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