Monday, March 14, 2011

Cataclysm replayability

Blizzard releases expansions for World of Warcraft every two years, and there is nothing to suggest that Cataclysm will be an exception. Thus the question is: What are we going to do in the remaining 20 months? Of course there is not one answer for everybody, as different people play the game in different ways. But I'd like to tell you a bit about my characters, and what I'm doing.

At the end of Wrath of the Lich King, I had 5 level 80 characters, a priest, a warrior, a mage, a druid, and a paladin. I leveled up the priest to 85 doing Vashj'ir, Uldum, and dungeons. I got the warrior to 85 mostly by doing archeology and gathering herbs. The mage got to the level cap by doing Mount Hyjal, Deepholme, and Twilight Highlands. And currently the druid and paladin are level 82.

Now questing in Cataclysm level 80 to 85 zones feels different from previous expansions. The zones are rather linear, with one major quest chain leading through it. You cannot pick, lets say to just do the Therazane quests in Deepholme, you need to do nearly all the quests in the zone to get there. You can't even skip quests you don't like all that much. And this structure really kills replayability for me. I tried doing Vashj'ir again, with my druid and his aquatic form, but doing exactly the same quests in exactly the same order thoroughly depressed me. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to skip the naga quests, which I hated because I had to play a completely different character through them, I abandoned the idea. And I didn't have much more fun with the paladin in Mount Hyjal, so instead I started to tanks dungeons and gather ore with him. As my paladin is Alliance, and the other 4 characters are Horde, I also discovered that in the new Cataclysm zones there are basically only neutral quest givers, and there is practically no difference between Horde and Alliance quests in this expansion.

So right now I'm struggling with my motivation. There are only 5 zones, one doesn't get much choice which quests to do or not do, and even switching from Horde to Alliance doesn't give access to more variety. It isn't as if there was no content in Cataclysm, but most of that content is in the level 1 to 60 range, and I'm not sure I want to level up another bunch of characters to 60, and even less beyond. I did the goblin and worgen starter zones, and then stopped. But I don't really have a good plan about what to do with my high-level characters either. I made 100k gold with gathering and tradeskills for fun, but even that is getting old. 5-man dungeons are still the most fun to me, but there aren't a huge number of those at level 85 either, and running them repeatedly for the next 20 months doesn't really excite me.

So I was wondering how Cataclysm is treating you. Are you still having fun? What are you doing? Do you play alts, and if yes, how did you experience replayability in Cataclysm?

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