Sunday, November 7, 2010

Interesting game-play changes in Cataclysm

Although I have been keeping track of different class changes in Cataclysm, especially priest changes of course, I have avoided any information about gameplay changes in Cataclysm. I've tried to avoid any lore regarding Cataclysm even more. It's difficult, but most people on the internets tell you if there is a spoiler incoming. Friends talking about their experiences on the beta-servers rarely think about this however. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who's only playing on the Beta-servers at the moment. And he told me about some of the gameplay changes he liked. Fortunately nothing that will ruin the gaming experience for me once I get there myself or I would've had to throw old eggs at him ;) And there were some really interesting things that I am looking forward to! If you're trying to avoid any information about Cataclysm, this is a spoiler of course, so read no further! And if you're already playing the Betas, this will come as nothing new to you.
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Less running
You know when you're a lowbie and you don't have a mount or anything and some npc tells you "run to the other end of this zone and talk to X" and you know it'll mean 10 minutes of just running? Well apparently Blizzard finally realized that running around finding fps wasn't the most enjoyable thing you could do in this game and they have tried to fix it somewhat in the betas. Now whenever you get a quest to travel somewhere you will be offered transportation. That means you won't have to look for the place and you won't have to run there manually. This comes as a natural change seeing as Blizzard have already taken steps in this direction in Wrath. For the Echo Isles quest you got a bat taking you to Razor Hill when you needed to go there to rally trolls. In Northrend there are many quests that will take you to the end designation, like the plane in Storm Peaks and the croc in Scholazar. I am really happy about this, since travelling around and fetching fps was one of the most boring things you had to do as a lowbie.

Retro-active quest turn-ins.
A couple of months ago I wrote a wish list on things I wished Blizzard would implement into the game. One thing on that list was retro-active quest turn-ins. Back then I wrote;

"You just killed 50 quilboars just for fun and the moment after some orc comes up to you and asks you to do the very same thing again? You point at the heap of dead bodies but he just shakes his head. Not so fun anymore. Being able to turn in quests retroactively is true in some mmorpgs, if I'm not completely mistaken (I think Guild Wars for example). That means the game keeps track of what you do and let's you turn in most of the quests after you've done them, even if you didn't have it. You don't have to get "permission" from some npc first. That means that if there is a quest to say, kill some dude, and you don't have it, the quest item (if there is one) will still drop. And in any case, if you kill him and ever find the dude who wanted you to kill him and talk to him and he says "hey I want you to kill that guy" and you say "hey I did that yesterday" he says "wow, that's great, have some of my old stuff I don't want anylonger". Considering Blizzard is already keeping track of everything we do through the achievements log book, this doesn't feel like such a difficult thing to implement. Other games have done it, which is yet another example of that it's quite possible. My guess is that it would mean quite the overhaul of the games item drop system though, and Blizzard just can't be arsed."

In fact games like Warhammer Online have had a system of retro-active quest turn-ins since forever, so it's hardly impossible to design. In Warhammer whenever you get a quest to do something you've already done, you get the option to tell the quest giver so. "Yeah, but I already killed 50 gnolls". "Oh ok, well here's your reward then". This is not how it will work in Cataclysm apparently. Instead, whenever you're killing something that is part of a quest you're not currently on, the quest will pop up for you to take. So say you're mashing a raptor, you might suddenly get the question if you'd like to accept a quest that requires you to kill 10 such raptors. I'm not sure if it will work with -all- the quests in the game, in a way it feels like there would be no need to locate npcs to collect quests anymore then. Which on the other hand might be a good thing.

This doesn't feel like an odd step for Blizzard to take either. When playing zones like the Draenei start-zone or Northrend there are already at lot of npcs that can be killed without any quest, because they instead drop a quest. This is a sort of iffy retro-active quest turn-in system though since if you implemented that to work with every mob that was part of a quest it would end up to be a whole lot of quest items. So Blizzard limited it to special, often named, mobs. This new system will probably work better.

Orgrimmar is getting troublesome
This is one of those things I didn't really want to know about, but hey, now I do and maybe you want to know it as well.

I don't think anyone is suprised anymore by the fact that the old world is going to change. This means the old cities too of course. Orgrimmar is apparently getting its fair share of destruction and is therefore completely changed. According to my friend, those changes are to the worse. Orgrimmar isn't awesome today, seen from a pure practical stand point. Before they placed a forge somewhat close to the auction house for example, skilling Blacksmithing was extremely tedious in Orgrimmar. The forge and trainer were miles from the Auction House, and before they had placed additional mail boxes around all cities, it was miles from the closest mail box as well. But it has a certain charm to it. Orgrimmar war the first really big city I encountered, and it seriously took my breath away. It was -huge-. And there were so many people running around, and so many things to do.

Although I'm not afraid that the changes made to Orgrimmar in Cataclysm will destroy the feeling of the town, apparently it has become an even more unpractical city. Parts of it has been turned into a gulch, which means we have to travel around using different lifts. Lifts aren't a common usage among alliance cities, so if you've only played alliance you might not now how annoying using a lift can be. Fortunately there are currently very few places where we have to use lifts often. The only place I can think of is the horde camp in Thousand Needles. The lifts are slow. Standing around waiting for them isn't fun at all. They're like boats or zeppelins lights, and nothing that should be used as a means to travel around a city where you might run back and forth between places several times.

I don't know anything about how well/bad this works, and it might also be that we'll be able to use flying mounts in cities anyway (I can't see why not really), in which case these kind of issues will be a problem for lowbies only. I'll hope for that.

Lowbie Target Dummies
Now if I got to add something that I wish they'd implement to Cataclysm (and maybe they have already), it'd be lowbie target dummies. Since I level alot of alts it often happens that I want to try some rotation out and just can't since the lowest level target dummy is level 60. So people below this level don't want to try to optimize their rotation? No, that probably doesn't happen very often, but couldn't Blizzard just implement a dummy that was the same level as the attacker? Or would that be too tricky to program in case different leveled players attacked it...? It would be awesome if they did though.


  1. This is the only Cataclysm gameplay post I have read, because I don't want to spoil the experience for myself. But these sound awesome. I am excite!!

  2. @Tam
    I'm glad you dared read this post then, since you never know what people will write and once read it can't be unread :S But I thought these were modest enough changes to share even with people who usually want to avoid this kind of information, like me. The only bad thing about them is that it will probably worsen my already bad case of altitis ^^