Monday, September 24, 2012

Cataclysm in Review

With the launch of the new expansion tomorrow, it seems like a good time to look back on what I have been doing in this expansion. My usual posts are written up during my lunch break, but I haven't been able to get to them over the last month or so due to work.

I completed my 10x85 project, with all but one character getting through at least part of the LFR Dragon Soul raid. I managed to do some "real" raiding on my Hunter main, and even got the legendary first stage daggers on my rogue. The only character I haven't gotten up to raiding level is my Paladin. If I have a chance tonight, I will attempt to get hm geared up enough to at least give it a try.

I haven't logged onto my Warlock since the pre-expansion patch, and that is the only character that hasn't been through the Theramore scenario. I will do that first tonight, as that will be easiest to complete. The new scenario concept is interesting, with some pros and cons. On the plus side, they are fairly short and easy. When the queue is not horrible, it is a nice way to run group content. At the beginning of the week, the queue could be an hour or more. It was around five minutes later in the week. The objectives are spelled out for you with the rolling quest objective system introduced with Cataclysm. There are some "shortcuts" that can be taken by experienced players, but even going through all the trash only adds a few minutes to the run. As long as you don't over-pull, it can be completed without crowd control by three DPS without any healers. That would be the slowest, least efficient method so far although I haven't seen a group with three healers.

On the negative side, the biggest problem is what happens when someone drops out. As far as I can tell, there is no way to get another player like you would in a LFG/LFR run. You can either two-man it, or drop group and requeue. I was able to two-man the last two fights with another caster on my mage, but it was slow going. The demolisher was easy, but the final fight was a lot longer than usual. The other negative was not something specific to the scenario system, but rather the false expectation that this was somehow a pre-expansion event, or designed to take its place. There is no bread trail quest, nor anything in-game other than the queue interface. No lore, no backstory, no follow-up. It just feels like they dropped the ball on this one. I wasn't around for the Burning Crusade event, but I was there for the Wrath and Cataclysm events. It is disappointing that this is all there is.

For most of the last 30 days, I've been working on leveling my personal guild. With level appropriate quests giving 60K guild XP, I took advantage of the $5 sale and started multi-boxing again. I found the most efficient way to level my guild was to run through the human starting area; the quests are all close together and there is only one gathering quest. By the time the characters are headed to Goldshire, I had half a bar of guild XP. In the limited time I had available, I was able to gain several levels by three-boxing. Once I start running my regular alts through the new expansion, I should have no problem maxing out my personal guild.

I also changed up my computer layout a bit, and finally upgraded to a decent graphics card. I still have some rearranging to do, but everything is set for the new expansion. Well, almost everything. My work schedule isn't going to allow me to spend the first few days in Pandaria as I had hoped. In fact, the soonest I will be able to start will most likely be Thursday, if not later. The silver lining is that hopefully most of the people will be out of the starting zones. I didn't take part in the beta, nor have I read very much about the new zones. This is the part of the game I enjoy the most, exploring and taking in the new content. I won't be rushing things just to level, at least on the first few characters. By then I should be well on the way for my 11x90 project!