Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 5 Bad Things About Cataclysm

Although I am really enjoying most things Cataclysm has brought us so far, especially the new way of healing, there are always a couple of things to complain about. Or as we say in sweden; "even the sun has spots". Here is my top 5 list of things that have annoyed me so far in Cataclysm.

5. Pop-up quest - Where did it go?
Blizzard implemented alot of things that made questing alot easier. The "pop-up" quests were one of those things. Whenever entering a zone that had a quest, or kill a certain mob, you could get a little pop up that asked you to accept that quest, rather than have you run all the way to the other end of the zone to pick it up. Or even worse, realize after the fact that there was a quest to be done in that area. But eventhough the pop-up quests are great, they're far from perfect. If you for some reason miss to take the quest, it's horror trying to get it again. It has now happened to me twice that I accidentally didn't click the "accept" or "complete" button fast enough and missed the quest.

Once I got a pop-up just when I dinged, and I automatically pressed N to get my talent tree up so I could place the new point I had gotten. Not thinking about that Blizzards ui unfortunately doesn't allow the stacking of frames. Quest gone. Another time I entered a lfg-queue and after having waited ~30 min I finally got a group. I accepted and was just waiting for the last person to accept when suddenly I got a pop-up quest due to flying into some zone. Unfortunately that last guy decided to accept in that exact moment and I was teleported before I could accept the quest. Quest gone. These might be extreme situations, but still not that uncommon. There should be an easy way to solve this, but I still haven't found it. Depending on the quest there are various ways to solve it. You can try re-entering the zone, or re-kill the mob or in any way re-do the action that first triggered the pop-up quest to appear. This doesn't always work however. If you have any good tips on how to find a quest you've lost this way, please tell me!

4. Elaborate death emotes - Just die already
Blizzard really did an amazing job with designs in Cataclysm. Overall I don't have much to complain about, except one thing. Some mobs have so elaborate death emotes that you actually have to stand and wait for them to be done with their squiggling and writhing before you can loot them. This was a little cool the first kill and started to annoy me with the second kill. Considering the amount of mobs you have to kill in some areas, not because of quests but because of spawn rates (more about that below), there is actually alot of wasted time just having to look at mobs die before you can move on to the next. A little less elaborate and a little more time saving would be great.

3. LFG - Nothing random about it
Let me just say that I like that the new instances are difficult and that you need to have some brains to complete them. This still comes with a darker side however. It is clearly scaring the casual player away. You know them people who haven't played this for years or who don't know their class like the back of the hand? They exist, and they deserve to enjoy this game as much as the other guy. How many pure random pugs have I done from 80-85 and all the time I've been 85? I probably wouldn't be lying if I said that it had to be fewer than 5. Admittedly I don't do many instances at all, but I still avoid doing randoms. It's both because I dread being stuck with people who know nothing about what's going on, making the heroic take hours and because in most cases the wait time is just too damn long. I can't just log on, join the queue and maybe do a daily or two while waiting. I'd probably be done with all my dailies (if I did them) before I got a group. On my healer I have 10-15 minutes wait time, on my dpsers it's at least 25 minutes. People have always wanted simple and easy, and so they prefer running with friends and guildies as much as possible. All the tanks out there probably don't want to be stuck with dpsers who can't cc and healers who can't heal so they stay away from the lfg tool, creating insanely long queues. I'm not sure how this could be solved, because I don't want the "just brute force it"-heroics of wrath back either. But maybe the normal instances could be a little more forgiving?

2. Linearity - But I want to go over there
I really want to take my hat off to Blizzard for trying to create quests and events that will involve us in the story and lore of the expansion. I actually thought they did a great job already in Wrath, but now they have taken phasing and cinematics to a whole new level. Some bloggers I've read think they've taken the whole "Oh the savior of the world" thing a little too far, but I don't think that's the problem at all. I don't mind having all my characters called "the savior of the world", all you need is a little imagination to believe it, and that's how a game like this works. I do think they've taken the whole phasing and immersion part a little too far though. If I miss one, -one-, quest somewhere, it is probably very likely that I can't continue anywhere in the zone. This has happened to me several times. I quest in Hyjal, suddenly I notice that I'm out of quests although I am far from done in the zone and I just can't find where to move on. In some cases the next step is some item in your bags, that's a good solution. But sometimes it's just some dude you have forgotten to talk to somewhere. Just "don't forget to talk to all npcs" feels a little too much like RPG anno 1990 to me. "You can't leave this town till you have talked to the kitchen maid and bought 3 stouts of lager and fed them to the dog behind the church so that he digs up a key for you so that..." and so on. The linearity would be ok if there was some easy way to find a lost trail, but there isn't. If the npc I encounter that refuse to give me any quests could say something along the lines of "oh, I think you should go see X over at Y", or something, that would be great! Now I have to search the entire zone for that one npc I have missed, or move on to the next zone where I can start from the beginning.

The phasing has also brought other issues, as I am sure all of you have noticed at least once. When questing in Uldum I got a quest from Harrison Jones. I completed another quest first, phasing me away from him, making it impossible to complete his quest once I was done with that. I could see his question mark on the map, I new exactly where he would stand, but I couldn't target him since we were in different phases. I read a blue post about this basically saying "well this is the price you have to pay for phasing, tough luck", but I feel like quests that will phase us could come with a warning. Or would that destroy the immersion? Invisible quest givers are pretty destructive for my immersion too though.

1. Respawns - They just keep coming!
As I mentioned above, respawn rates are insane in some areas. I have seriously been stuck on the same spot for minutes just killing the same spawn point over and over because it spawns the second I kill the first. There are some ways to solve this, but none are perfect. Firstly you could just slowly move away from the spawn point, so that when the mob dies you'll be too far away to aggro the new spawn. This is how I usually deal with this issue, but it doesn't work on ranged mobs unless you have a good interrupt. Also another problem arises - when moving around you will aggro more mobs. Constant respawns will assure that there always will be plenty of mobs around you, so if you try the second tactic, running, you can be sure you'll have a trail of mobs after you in no time. Considering the density of mobs and how hard they can hit, this is a sure recipe for death.
Having really high spawn rates was a good idea the first week, seeing as there were loads of players killing them off all the time. But now when I level my alts I have two competitors at most. Mostly none. I have to deal with all those spawns by myself and it can be more than overwhelming at times. Not to mention annoying. I want to go on with my questing, not be stuck killing this Twilight Cultist 25 times. I find myself relieved when encountering other players because they can ease the burden of all the spawning somewhat. If Blizzard decided to have really high spawn rates in the beginning of Cata, which was a good idea, I really hope they now decide to tune that down a bit. A big bit actually.


  1. I can agree with you on the quests and phasing. I lost track too several times because of it and got a hard time to find the trail back with the help of the net and guildies. I'm very cautious now when stopping questing or taking sidesteps, just to avoid this.
    I disagree with you that norms should be more forgiving. Norms ain't that hard when you use your brains and know your class a bit. It's an amasing difference between doing it the Wrath way or the Cata way, the difference between a mess, OOM healers, wipes or a relax rewarding run. Last month I learn more about abilities and non-abilities of other classes than during the whole 2 years before (I'm not an altoholic :).
    Making it easier will lead to more Wrath fight and less Cata ones just because it can do that way too.
    I'm probably also one of the tank to "blame" for the long LFG queues. I stopped tanking full PuGs in Wrath already. Only tank groups with at least 1 guild healer and 1 guild dps. Also I rather wait a while when there's a change I can join a full guild run iso queuing up and have a group in seconds.

  2. Nice post I agree that the death animations are annoying, so yeah Blizz please fix it and the quests linearity is a bit too linear.

    I must say that the pop-up quest issue you explain sounds annoying and tbh I haven't seen it myself

    Regarding the respawn rate I believe that this is semi-intelligent and that the game learns how often a mob is killed and will recalculate its respawn timer based on the frequency of kills, so by repeatedly killing it you actually help the situation become worse until teh next server restart.

    Regarding LFG, I was disappointed because I expected a post on how unrandom it is. However, your point regarding queue lengths is also valid. However, it is a player's preroagtive to choose to use the LFG tool or not, personally I am hoping that the delays in getting groups will help persuade some DPS hybrids including shadow priests and DPS warriors to reconsider their choice and at least give tanking or healing a try rather than just take the lazy "easy" option of DPS.

  3. @Asverze & Evlyxx

    I like that it seems like most people enjoy the new instances. Like I said so do I. I think what I might have a problem with is the steep inclination. There are rare moments in Vanilla, BC and Northrend where you have to use cc or care much about how you pull. And suddenly BAM, people die of the first pack. I'm worried this will scare anyone who's not ready for this (aka raided) away completely. A friend of mine did BRC yesterday with a tank who just couldn't move from Ground Slam on Ozruk. Finally people asked him to go do something else. But where should he have learned to do that, unless he had raided? Which other instance before Cata requires him to practice this behavior? They did make Vanilla instances a little more difficult, and I wouldn't mind if they either made BC and the Northrend ones a little trickier as well (BC instances are really roflcopter) or as I suggested in the post, give a little more leeway to learn the new ways of things in normals.

  4. I like cataclysm, with all these new features, but looks like blizz make wow more and more childish just to i don't know to involve more casual players may be. I miss the hard times somehow. :) I still enjoy my rogue and my fav alt frost mage, but thinking of moving to some private vanilla serv. This incoming pandarian/kung fu stuff is not what i expected. Excellent writing skills, btw!