Tobold's Blog
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?
I too am starting to wonder what to do.

my problem however isn't so much a lack of replayability, as it's a matter of "haven't i done this already?"

I already completed most of my goals back in Wrath, with hardcore raiding, gold cap and just staying at the front edge, so there isn't really anything new to do anymore.

Truth be said, i'm leaning more and more towards just canceling my account, and perhaps try rift instead...
Unsubbed and playing Rift. In my opinion, Rift is the better game. At least for people who played WoW for the last 5-6 years and don't have a heavy focus on raiding.
I hate the linear progression of the 5 80+ zones. The great thing about WoTLK was that you had a lot of choices as to how to tackle the last 10 levels. This feels 'massively singleplayer'...

I have 5 alts marooned at level 60 and am grinding TBC dungeons with a couple of my healers/tanks. It's painful.

And when I get to 85, there's going to be nothing for me to do after a week of HCs.

Can anyone recommend me some good games?
Levelled my main until the usual raid blocker (I dont raid). Got a new toon to 68 to see the low end content which I really enjoyed.

Have now left for Rift. There isn't a reason for me to play Cata any more.
I think sometimes I'm one of the few over positive people around. It makes me wonder if I'm too naive sometimes, but then I realise I've only been playing the game for half the time a lot of people have (3 years).
I've got 5 level 85s, all of which I quested to the level cap. I followed the same route for all of them and although the quests got repetitive, this also made me complete them faster, as for me it's the level cap that matters.
I have my main, a hunter, and then an 85 of all other healing classes. For me it was about reaching my goal - a max of every healer - because I feel I can only competently discuss healing if I know it from all angles.
I also have a death knight still at 80 - stuck there because I don't really like death knight playstyles, rather than not wanting to play through the 80-85 zones. I also have my next projects - a feral druid (to learn all about the sides of druid-ing I'm not good at, and a second priest - because I want to heal holy, heal disc and play shadow!
For me, it's all about learning. And if to learn I need to quest, then quest I will.
I have three 85s - a druid, hunter and shaman. Of the 80s I had at Cataclysm launch, none but the previously mentioned three are higher than 80. Once questing becomes non-linear in 80+ zones, that number might increase.
As for new alts, I re-rolled a rogue that is now 44. I'll either a) go for loremaster of Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms on that toon before going through Outland (if necessary) and Northrend or b) only do Kalimdor on the rogue and re-roll another character for Eastern Kingdoms.
Since I'm not raiding, I've canceled my accounts until 4.2, or until Firelands launches, then look for some GDKP runs.
In the meantime, I've grabbed a few games off of Steam (Magicka, Bulletstorm and a recent UBIsoft weekend special) along with Starcrack II.
Funny how the guild reputation system isn't good enough incentive to pick a guild and stay with them.
Still raiding in wow, two evenings per week (three this time, because we really wanted a boss down)

Playing Rift the rest of the time, lvl 35 atm.

If i hadn't played wow so much, i'd certainly have a blast with the "new" cata alt content, but it kinda feel pointless to stop at 85 (while i raided with my alt in wotlk, it was because i had nothing better to do, now there's rift ;)

Since i work and i don't play the week ends (family time), it kinda fills my time :-)
I also find that Cataclysm has no replay value for me. I leveled my main to 85 questing in all zones but Vash'jir. I leveled my shaman second, doing Vash'jir on her, but lost steam when I had no energy to gear her up for raiding.

I have leveled two characters from 1-60, one in Kalimdor, one in Eastern Kingdoms.

I am now playing Rift during the week, and raid in WoW on weekends. I have exhausted the content that Cataclysm has to give, completed all rep grinds I needed, and have no intention of doing the daily grind of heroics and Tol Barad. Two new heroics in 4.1 won't really cure the issue that long-term players at 85 have nothing to do outside of raiding.
I've quit WoW and having a go at Rift right now. It doesn't satisfy everything but is a great breath of fresh air for me at the moment, if only for the novelty factor (I also enjoy the more grownup grafx alot, the class diversity and vast maps).
It does a lot more for me than Cata anyway, but then I've simply played wow for long enough, I think.

I'm very interested to see where the genre will be going from here. I've written a rather long post about all this today and would be interested to hear what other 'veterans' have to say about it. drop me a line if you have some time. :)
I'm also struggling with replay value.

I leveled my mage to 85 via Vashj'ir, Deepholm, Uldum and Twilight Highlands. I then went back to do Hyjal, got all of the new factions to Exalted and got the drake from Tol Barad. I've done all of the heroics, got the main questing achievements for the new zones, have mostly 346 gear and all professions at max level. I even dropped LW for enchanting. I've done BH, but haven't had any opportunity or interest to do any real raids. So I'm basically done with the endgame.

After that I tried to resume my hunter. I got it from 70 to 75 via Borean Tundra & Dragonblight questing.. and couldn't play further. The questing is simply too dull to redo.

I then rolled a new tauren paladin and got it to 58 with heirlooms. Half of the zones were completely redone and quite fun. The rest were trimmed, but the content was basically the same as in Vanilla. After that I respecced from retribution to protection and started tanking. That was surprisingly fun, and I barely touched TBC and WotLK zones. At 80 I did try to redo Hyjal, but it had no replay value whatsoever. I had to complete Vashj'ir to unlock the dungeon quests, parts of Uldum to unlock Ramkahen (thankfully not much) & most of Deepholm to unlock Therazane. I just got the paladin's gear past the heroic itemlevel requirement, so it was time to start a new alt.

The new shaman alt had most of the +exp% heirloom items, so Silverpine and Hillsbrad just breezed by. Both were very good zones with interesting stories. That came to an abrupt end at Arathi, which is a huge zone with only 18 quests. Northern STV seems to be practically unchanged as well, so I'm somewhat at a loss what to do next. I could spec resto and start healing in instances, but even that is old content due to the paladin alt. And so far the shaman seems utterly underpowered compared to the paladin, so I can't even have fun by pulling multiple groups at once. Restarting on Alliance is always an option, but I can't see myself leveling that shaman past 58, let alone a completely new alt.

I'll probably go solo ICC 5-mans and complete Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman at least once, but after that it's back to Eve and clearing my single-player backlog.
My sub has been canceled since the 2nd week of Jan. 4 years of Azeroth was enough. I am looking forward to GW2 and SW:TOR but Rift is just to much like WoW for me at the moment. My Druid and My Hunter will have to fend for themselves in the future, the thing I will miss the most will be the people I have met along the way but that is what email and facebook are for :D
Still playing, raiding three nights a week. Outside of the raids I don't play my main very much, but I'm bringing up a healing alt to 85 and hope to at least try a couple of 5-mans with her to see if healing in Cataclysm is as hard as they say.

Not sure where to go from there, I guess it depends on how many of my guildies that still are playing and how many are over at Rift and elsewhere. WoW as a solo game has limited value to me.

Oh, and I haven't rolled any worgen or goblin yet, so actually pretty much content left to do. It's a bit strange to me how quickly players burn through the content, but then I couldn't take weeks off from work at the launch of Cataclysm...
Unsubbed after getting my 3rd char to level 82. PLaying WoW just to raid has never been my thing.

Might get back into it later, but at the moment I'm catching up with all the single player RPG goodness that I didn't have time to play while I was playing WoW. (FA:New Vegas, Mass Effect 1 & 2, Dragon Age 2). Made me realise that MMO's have a long way to go if they want to have stories as immersive as those.
I'm finding little replayability with Cataclysm as well. My main levelled to cap withing 2 weeks of solid playing and then started the gearing process through normals/hcs with my guild. Since I was going for the quest achievements in the zones, I did all of them but when I got to Vashjir it felt like a grind and let it drop. We still had some time before starting to raid so I thought I would take an alt to the cap as well.

Did as few quests possible, and hitting 85 was a relief. Tried to pug some normals (was a healer) since the guild was mostly geared up at that point) and I wanted to /wrist.

Started to level my 80 rogue and just couldn't bear the questing any more at level 82.5 .

The linear progression in the zones and the heavy phasing kills my will to go through them again. In a year perhaps, sure. But now I'd rather gouge my eyes out than level through Deepholm/Uldun again.

What's left for me now is just raiding. Since I hate dailies with a passion, the only thing I do is log on 15 minutes before our scheduled runs, do some raiding with the guild and log off right after. And at times even that starts to feel like a chore. Bastion of Twillight must've been the most bland raid instance I've seen yet (with the sole exception of the Loot Tent TM).

Definitely not good when it's only beed 4 months since the expansion hit.
I quit WoW leaving 2 months on a 3 month sub.
Played the free month of DCUO and loved it. i would still be playing if it were FTP.
i don't have a lot of time for games right now, but i was never hardcore anyway. i've resorted to playing demos and finding deals on steam and living vicariously through totalbiscuit. currently playing warhammer 40k: dow2.
I made 85 fairly quickly on my main, tried an alt got bored and cancelled my sub for the bajillionth time.

However this time it's for good and I would like to thank Blizzard for that yay!!
I have a Demolock main and a healadin alt. I leveled through 85 on the main skipping a few zones, and played through the opposite zones on the alt. Safe to say there is NO replay value in Cataclysm for ME. If it wasn't for the shoulder enchants I would have skipped Deepholm on the main completely.

I don't appreciate Blizzard forcing me to play this linear quest thing just to see some silly content I'm only doing just to get to 85. I couldn't care less about the story. It's not all that great anyways, and smacks of Everquest. Come on, Elemental Planes? Srsly Blizzard?

I do like that the difficulty has jumped up a few notches. It provides me endless joy to hear folks crying about it and their tears fuel me to play more. Serious,goal-oriented individuals stay & play while the rest of yous guys won't be missed.
I have a Demolock main and a healadin alt. I leveled through 85 on the main skipping a few zones, and played through the opposite zones on the alt. Safe to say there is NO replay value in Cataclysm for ME. If it wasn't for the shoulder enchants I would have skipped Deepholm on the main completely.

I don't appreciate Blizzard forcing me to play this linear quest thing just to see some silly content I'm only doing just to get to 85. I couldn't care less about the story. It's not all that great anyways, and smacks of Everquest. Come on, Elemental Planes? Srsly Blizzard?

I do like that the difficulty has jumped up a few notches. It provides me endless joy to hear folks crying about it and their tears fuel me to play more. Serious,goal-oriented individuals stay & play while the rest of yous guys won't be missed.
Re-playability is a big question for me also. I have all classes at 80 or higher I even have 2 priests and am levelling a worgen hunter (73 atm) that I realm transferred my previous hunter so I could try out the Worgen zone on Shadowsong EU, my Alliance server.

The linear questing is the biggest problem as is the need to do Deepholm on all non-Scribes purely for the shoulder enchant (why isn't this BoA like the heads?).

I'm raiding on a social level and our progression is OK but I feel we're about to hit a road block with our group (currently 6/12). Like many other commenters I'm seriously looking at Rift after 6 years in WoW and the Cata experiment seems to have failed Blizz despite all their efforts in making the 0-60 content awesome.

I'm certain I'll be back but I've never unsubbed before even during the Wrath issues.
Cancelled in Dec/Jan after levelling my main to 85. Been playing since beta so I am well and truly over the WoW experience as good as it was.

Now playing LOTRO fulltime and looking forward to trying SWTOR when it arrives.
I noticed the multiple comments above from people currently playing Rift instead of or as well as WoW. Rift has its shortcomings, but one very nice thing about it is that you can level a number of characters without duplicating much content.

My mage dinged 40th yesterday and I estimate that in getting there he's probably done less than half of the quest content on the Guardian side. Although the Guardians and Defiants use the same mid/high level zones, they have completely separate questgivers, who even send them to separate parts of the zone to do their stuff. There is some shared content, but the majority is discrete content.

Since you can level as fast or faster by doing the dynamic rift and zone events than by questing, and since PvP Warfronts, instanced dungeons and even crafting also throw their experience into the same single xp pot, it should be very straightforward to level at least two characters on each faction without much repetition of content.

And since the soul system means that you only need four characters to play every "class", there's an awful lot of built-in replayability even before Trion begin to roll out additional content, as no doubt they will.
I've unsubbed and am playing Rift.

RIFT is the best wow expansion ever!
I've reached a turning point with WoW as well. After four years of regular play I have 2x level 85s, 2x82s and another 6 characters mostly in the 70-80 range. The problem is not only that the 80-85 areas are so strictly linear, but also that to get from 60 to 80 you still have to do Outlands and Northrend which I and my guild mates have already done to death in the gaps between expansions.

I am now playing my box-included 30 days of Rift and will probably sub to that instead, at least until GW2 or SWTOR is released. WoW is an old game and the changes they have made in Cataclysm cannot hide that fact.
Excatly what Shawmo said: "I've unsubbed and am playing Rift. RIFT is the best wow expansion ever!"
I'm doing the Cata raid content and really enjoying it. The fights are challenging but with the right group it is loads of fun.
What may kill replayability even more is that a main will have to do most the zones to unlock vendors and probably will do all of them to get rep between randoms. At least alts used to be able to take different paths. Not so anymore.
I also got tired of WoW shortly after the expansion. I did want to see the new races and got a Worgan to the twenties. The goblins not so much, only got to lvl 6 or 7. I had absolutely no motivation to try out the high level content however so I still have 2 lvl 80s and several others between 60 and 80. I was bouncing around between fallen earth, Aion and Eve trying to find something interesting when I discovered Rift.

As far as the game world goes it looks better but is not really so very different from WoW, or what WoW used to be. The quests are linear but you can skip hubs if you want, and that is nice. But the real draw for me is being able to mix and match soul builds and having so much flexibility in once character. Grab a few random people to take down an elite treant in Gloamwood. Realize that we are two clerics and a rogue so I switched over to a justicar tanking spec and boom, that treant is firewood. I like that a lot.

Also the rift events. It is very nice to be able to jump into a rift or fighting an invasion when you come on it as you are going to do a quest. Helps to keep things from getting stagnant even though This will be my third time though this zone. And the thrill of jumping into a battle with 100+ people fighting off the Werebeast in the middle of the major town in Gloamwood gives me that same feeling I got back in my serious WoW raiding days but without the hours and hours of prep and waiting. Much fun.

I too will also be trying GW2 and TOR but I think they will fill different niches than Rift. GW2 looks like it will be much more action/console/combat oriented. This will be a nice change of pace in MMOs but I don't think it will appeal to everyone or even most MMO players. TOR looks like it will be the SF WoW. But not everyone is into SF games. Hard for old time StarWars fans to immagine but that will actually be TOR's limiting factor. I am also concerned that they heavy use of companions will make the game too single player like. I don't want this to turn into another STO. But overall I expect it to be a raging success. Mostly I expect that many people will have room for two games and for the sake of variety I can see many making one their fantasy game and the other their SF game. TOR will be most peoples SF game if they go that direction. So I don't see TOR stealing players directly away from either WoW or Rift. But more just taking some of the pressure off. We will see.
Quit in early January. Raiding was no draw for me since my guild collapsed, and hence there was no reason to play the game.

Got hyped about Rift. Quit within a week of headstart: it is, quite literally, exactly like WoW (and yeah, I did all the dungeons up to 40, did a fair bit of crafting, a lot of questing and a a lot of Rifting) but without WoW's charm.

Now playing LOTRO. Really enjoying it.
Unsubbed, playing Rift.

WoW is just too much "been there, done that." They didn't add enough for veteran players, and it's all just more of the same.

Rift is a lot of fun, a lot of variety, and at least it's a whole new world to play in and explore. Loving it.
I'm feeling kind of 'meh' about Cataclysm at the moment. I've levelled two toons to 85; one by questing, one by a combination of dungeons and questing.

At present I have no desire to do it again.

I don't login to wow much - partly because I don't have much spare time atm, but partly because of that meh feeling. It's just not grabbing me anymore. The only reason I do login is to do group stuff once a week with my casual raiding guild, or perform suppotr tasks for that character during the week.

I'm worried that WoW is dying on its feet. There seem to be an awful lot of people saying "meh", or quitting outright. I'm not sure any other WoW expansion has had this much outpouring of apathy.
As the others have said, I too had finally had enough of Warcraft and decided to make a dedicated jump to Rift. I've been slow leveling (only up to 25) but I haven't regretted a moment of it since buying the 6 month sub. We'll see how I feel when the times comes to contemplate renewal but, at this point, I'm very happy playing Rift.
Unsubscribed in January, 2011.

-three characters to 85, one in full pvp gear
-seen the raids (didn't clear, no desire)
-the whole pug heroics are too hard episode
-skill trees over simplied (not fun), elitists jerks syndrome, dps meter domination, not interested
-too much class homogenization
-too many bots in battlegrounds, blizzards lack of response
-Rift is fun for a change/diversion
-waiting on SWTOR and Guild Wars 2
Unsubbed and catching up on my single-player RPGs, just beat Mass Effect and working my way through Dragon Age. Like others I hit the raid wall or rather the heroics wall since I only ever managed to complete one and that took 3 hours. Wasn't having fun and saw no reason to continue.
I have a hunter and resto shammy at 85. Guild wanted healers so lvled up the shammy and cleared the heroics. Its not so tough now to do heroics. have a lvl 81 DK which I am having a hard time thinking of leveling due to the linear questing grind.

all chars on alliance.

so, now while passing the time i usually am doing the low lvl quests on alts rolled just to see the new quests - which imho are quite nice. Right now having a blast lvling a low lvl goblin mage.
Cataclysm? Bleh. I've still got 4 months on a 6-month sub and don't plan on signing in again. I have 3 lvl 85's with full heroics gear just sitting there. When it feels like pulling teeth just to get myself to sign on, something's wrong. And it's not me. (I don't give up easily...I raided all through TBC to Illidan with a 25-man guild, etc. I logged countless hours on my way to Illidan.)

Cataclysm is one of the worst mistakes Blizzard has made, at least for veteran players. As for casual players who want to level, there's plenty of content to go around. Many of these players haven't even reached lvl 80, so they're still enjoying the game, I'm sure. Give them one go at Rift, however, and they'll switch in a heartbeat.
Some of the best new content is in the 1-60 areas. the western and Eastern plaguelands and the badlands were highlights. Also, you should definately run through the flooded thousand needles.
Hmm...I took a long break from WoW and rerolled completely from the ground up. I prefer not to race through content as that CAN be very very boring. Been reading the new quest lines for the lowbie zones and they actually piqued my interest. I've never been Raid heavy minded so I don't really care one way or another. I have several pvp alts at the moment that I switch between to see the differences or not.

As to complaints about class homogenization, well that came FROM listening to players desires not lazy developers. I think some people might want to take a look at the forums archives about class OP of almost EVERY class.

Linear questing again came from player response. I'm not really fond of it myself. I only have 2 Worgen, after doing the start linear phase twice, I have no desire to do it again. I'm pretty sure the goblins are the same.

So, the 80-85...hmm if it is as linear as you say, I'll be taking my time getting there enjoying the REST of Azeroth. But there is still alot to do out there, just kinda gotta go look for it. I've never been a race to the top kind. I'll get there when I get there. WoW has some issues still needing to be balanced, but it's still an overall fun game for me since I started from the ground up again.

As for Rift, well those that enjoy it by all means carry on. I stopped playing WoW for a full year when I went on to a Age of Conan kick. It got boring after awhile though, so I came back. I hope Rift does have plenty of content and is polished. I hope it has interesting lore questing and interesting Raids/instances. I hear mixed messages on it, ergo I'm not interested. Well, that's my thoughts. WoW still has a lot to offer for me so I'll be a round for a bit.
"Linear questing again came from player response."

I don't think people were asking for 'linear questing'. I think people enjoyed stronger story lines and some use of phasing to create a sense that the world has changed as a result of their actions. In Northrend, you still had a sense of freedom as to where to go next.

Somehow this has translated to me having to go to Uldum again and having to do the Harrison Jones questlines because there is no other levelling content available for me.
Well, it's not like I can give advice, having stopped playing back in June of last year. I played some ten-day trials, one on either side of the Cataclysm launch, and got a taste of the new content. I might come back this summer when school is out.

The new Troll starting area is very different from the old start with the Orcs. The story line is much more linear, which you complained about, but it is certainly more like a story line than the old start. I'm not sure I like it a lot, but if I were to resume I would probably take all of my 80s up to 85 (five, like you) and then start a bunch of lowbies up to try out the initial content. With Thousand Needles completely reworked and with the Barrens split in two, I think the leveling progressions will be a lot different.

I've always enjoyed the process of leveling up more than *being* at the level cap. I enjoy wandering around and looking at the scenery whilst I quest. I actually find the speedups to be sort of a pain, since they make side content less worth pursuing.
Well, there are the two retooled troll instances set for 4.1. If that's any indication, Blizzard may put in more new heroics more often than previous expansions; I wouldn't blame you if you said that wasn't enough, though.
I'm not done with WoW, but I am also frustrated with the new questing design.

I did Loremaster on three characters pre-Cataclysm; I have a high tolerance for repeating content.

However, it's one thing to say "I choose to repeat these quests" and another thing to say "I HAVE to do these quests, in this order".

Choice is an important part of any entertainment.
I'm really enjoying the low level zones now. The 80+ zones were fun to run through a couple of times, but i've pretty much shelved those characters for a while as I go through and level some alts.

I had initially done some of the new starting zones, but was happily surprised at the amount of work that has gone into the old zones. I went into stonetalon(horde) with a feeling of dread as I hated that zone, but came out of it in awe of how amazing they had made that zone. Now I'm in the southern barrens and just loving what they've done there as well.

I think there's a lot of replayability there for me as you outlevel the content so quickly. At the pace I play (< 15 hrs a week) it will keep me busy for quite some time. At that point I start doing random heroics again.

Yeah, the zones are linear, and phasing can make buddy leveling tough, but I'm reading quest text again and just feel that it's a richer experience.

I played in the Rift beta and it just didn't do it for me. It's WoW flavored, but without the lore I enjoy, the classes and races I enjoy and the cartoony graphics I enjoy. Maybe SW:TOR will be a better diversion, being that it's a unique universe with different classes and overall feel, but with the games with medieval-ish settings I just burn out and go back to WoW.
I unsubscribed in January after just over five years, it's the third time I've cancelled but this time I just feel I've seen the best that WoW has to offer and I can now happily walk away for good without the feeling that I'm going to be missing something.

Currently at a bit of a loose end as no other MMOs are grabbing me and single player games just don't have the same appeal anymore after so much time in the multiplayer universe.
Definite lack of replayability. When it's all the same quests over again, only 5 zones to level's all just 'meh.'

I do like raiding, still. The 5-mans have a bit of a drag to them already, but they're not bad.

Having tried Rift, it's not much better. Really it's the same game with a different class system and shinier graphics.

Just holding out for Diablo 3 at this point.
I have 2 level 85 hunters, a level 84 druid, a lvl 43 mage, a lvl 25 paladin. I got Cataclysm Loremaster with the hunters(did all the quests) and got exalted with Therazane to get the shoulder enchants. Now pushing through with my druid, I want to finish Deepholm with him then do Uldum and Twilight Highlands but honestly it' starting to be like trudging through mud emotionally. The mage I started from scratch about 2 months ago and that has been fun. But honestly after I get my druid 85 and get his tradeskills maxxed, I think I will take a few months off, then probably come back and do the mage, then take a whole bunch of months off since at that point I would consider all 4 characters ready for the expansion. Playing them beyond that, to me, would be a waste of money. Like so many other people, I feel Azeroth has gotten old and boring. Plus I have gotten old and boring too, I guess.
So many people talking about leveling and raiding, does NOBODY do PVP? The possibilities of fun -and endless space for improvement -are massive in PVP. If you're bored, go do some arenas and BG's, always fun :)
Tobold doesn't like PvP. The blog mirrors this. That's why you will hardly find comments here by people who do PvP, Jonathan.

Truth be told, PvP in WoW has seen better times. The non-esistent PvP balance in level 1-84 makes it hard for players who like PvP to join. Consequently, WoW PvP has been bleeding out for quite some time by now.
I'm no expert in PvP balance, but imo, it seems to be in a pretty good place. For example I remember a season where the first page of arenajunkies ranking site was packed with druid/warrior and another season with death knight/paladin. If you check it out today, it has almost all classes present in various combinations.

Anyway good to know he doesn't like PvP :) A shame really! It's an acquired taste, and something you can never get enough of.
Yep, WAY bored w/ Cata questing. Got my DK alt to 82 w/ mining and Hyjal questing. And stopped. Now I just mine to get the gems for daily JC (which I hate). Took my 80priest into Vash'jir and stopped just like you.

I had to do every single Cata quest with my hunter main in order to get all the exalted gear. I'm decked out, but now my guild has just disappeared, and frankly I don't have 2 hours to run heroics. And I get the same 3 dungeons every damn time. The epic leatherworking pieces are useless until they get a gem slot. No fun there.

Did Arch on my main until I got the mount. Stopped. Very dull, and there's no way to combine the traveling with other useful activities.

Took a 3 week break, then leveled a baby Worgen Rogue to 21, was actually disappointed with the Worgen starting area. Did a few quick dungeons. Pretty much an unfun zergfest. Highlight was doing SFK as a Worgen. Pretty cool.

BUT, I have actually managed to get my mojo back a bit. I started a dwarf paladin last weekend with mining/engineering.

I'm going slow, trying to create a backstory in my mind based on reading "The Shattering" (which I surprisingly really liked). The changes to the dwarf zone are simple, and kind of cool. I'm getting into the lore and just the whole Dwarf experience.

Engineering is fun with bombs.

My goal is to NOT level quickly, tank and heal every instance, level engineering and archeology slowly as I go, and spread Paladin Love everywhere.

I think sometimes it's how you approach the game. Starting a brand new game can bring back some of the innocence. But at this point I'm just not willing to invest the time to learn a whole new game.

I'm hoping Blizzard will inject a bit of excitement back into Azeroth.
I unsubbed from WOW when patch 4.0 hit last year. Apart from a week trying out new Azeroth in January I've stayed away. Unless Warcraft goes free-to-play I very much doubt I'll be back.

I've been playing LOTRO and now RIFT*.

From my point of view Cataclysm is pretty much the end of WOW because:

1. As other commenters have pointed out there simply isn't enough content to keep the old timers going. You could argue that is okay because the expansion was not really aimed at them but...

2. Any newcomers are going to have a serious issue when they get to Outland where all the new quest features suddenly stop. Besides, none of the newcomers are buying Cataclysm anyway.

So long Azeroth, it *was* fun.


* I signed up for three months yesterday.
unsubbed some months ago
Unless Warcraft goes free-to-play I very much doubt I'll be back.
I agree that WoW's content for veterans starts to lean towards F2P being a better model; The hit-and-miss nature of the Cataclysm revamps wouldn't bother me so much if I was only paying for the parts that I'm currently interested in. Or that I wouldn't feel like I was wasting my subscription by slogging through subpar content.
I think you bring up a great point Tobold, the leveling in Cata is well done...but so brief. From the linearity, to the lacking of different quests per faction, what is thee is good...there is isn't enough of it.

I also felt the time needed to level from 80 to 85 was way too short as well, and this only exacerbated the problem of the game getting stale at 85.

The game isn't stale for me yet, although we are now 9/12 regular in 10 mans and have almost finished all the content currently available.

Had to add, ugh "jumping ship to rift, TTYL guys!' is so old. hell, i did it for AoC, oh and Warhammer, and dont forget AION.

While Rift might be unique in that it doesnt lose massive numbers of players in 1-3 months time, i cant help but feel the reason people leave wow for rift isnt because wow is a bad game, but because they are simply tired with it.

A game, especially an RPG, is always most fun when you are learning. Rift has those opportunities. Wow unfortunately does not.
I'll tell you what I'm doing for Cataclysm: Rift.
And by the looks of it, a SIGNIFICANT number of Tobold blog readers are doing the same.

@Bernard: +1. Re: choice of questing zones. Story doesn't mean ONE story. WotLK did questing right, as far as I'm concerned. Not as advanced, but the variety was right and their story-telling (if you read quest text) is much the same now as in LK.

@Jonathan: Wow. You got some impressive blinkers on, son! See, you completely missed the point when Nils talked about PVP balance. Did you even see the part where he said level 1-84? As in... not Arena? Next thing we know, you're mentioning Arena-junkies and comps. This is exactly what Nils was talking about. You are so buried in Arena-PVP that you think the PVP must equal Arenas. And sadly, the devs seem to think that way, too.
WoW's kind of like that girlfriend you've had for a couple years in a small town. She was the best thing in town, and you jumped at it - and had some good times. Been in a few fights, she knows the things you like, but she's kinda gained a little weight in the rear, she's getting crotchetier and more difficult as she gets older, and it's starting to seem that you're not as in synch as you thought you were. She's re-evaluated her goals and they don't match yours anymore. So there was a big period of apathy where neither of you were really happy. She made an effort, though. And initially it was amazing. She's dyed her hair for a new look, started taking a little better care of herself, did some research to try some new tricks in bed... But after all the novelty wore off, that disconnect is still there and she's still the same old face underneath. So, you drifted apart again, staying together because it was simply easier than not. There was nothing else to do.

But now there's this hot, ambitious, new young chick at work who has taken an interest. Rift. She gets you. She's fresh and enthusiastic, unknown, but familiar in a way that makes you comfortable. She's exciting to figure out, came in with a lot of tricks that she seemed to have figured out intuitively instead of learning it from how you've reacted in the bedroom. She hasn't locked herself into what she wants to be, yet, so the world is her oyster. And she knows who she is, so she's not ashamed to borrow some styles from role models. You're feeling the thrill of discovery all over again, and there's no way to tell if the giddy feeling is because of a deep compatibility, or simply because everything is just new. But you want to find out.

Like most relationships, it may fizzle in three to six months time, after all, the guys in head office are talking about these new girls who have put in transfers over to your way later this year and next year. GW2 and SWTOR. Looks like it could be some fun bouncing between them if Miss Rift isn't a keeper. but until then... I suspect WoW is going to be eating a lot of Ben & Jerry's and racking up big phone bills to her friends asking what she did wrong and how she can get you back, getting told by her loyalists that she doesn't need you anyway and is better off without you.

(Yes, anyone who does this in RL is a dick, but my dinner last night was a bag of m&ms after gym. I know I make bad decisions in the name of fun.)
I stopped playing last month. Unless they make huge changes (and kick the people who set the design direction for this expansion off the team), I'm not going back.
I've played basically 1 char for the entirety of WoW (vanilla to cata). The highest I've got an alt to is like level 45.

Cata raiding is quite challenging and interesting - which means that cata has been quite replayable for me.
3 85s; 2 82s 4 80s

I agreed with all Dink's WoW comments. Certainly the linear questing was annoying; but not nearly as annoying as the phasing. And *ANYTHING* involving "vehicles" (e.g. naga) is bad.

No real interest in the latest WH/AOC/Aion/Rift WoWKiller. I was thinking about SWTOR but that Tobold fellow has me worried. :-) The GW2 crafting and combat comments convinced me I don't even have to read about it.

I think you are right about the two year schedule. But "nothing to suggest" might be pushing it a little. In the 4.1/4.2 announcements Blizzard was upfront with wanting more frequent (and thus smaller) content. I think Activision shareholders would be better served by a new, smaller, expansion shipping every November but it is unlikely to happen.
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i think the leading quest chain in mount hyjal is very engaging and exciting where you follow the sotry with stormrage and have to turn off the fired in the green woods etc. But on the other hand, i only hnave 1 level 85 char and that's my tauren druid, i've never got an alt higher than 20 :( not even alliance :/. is there anyway to gain motivation while questing cus i would REALLY like to discover all the new zones again like it was when you were a newb at the game <3
I have tried every MMO that has come out and given it a fair shake but I have always come back to WoW because it was (in my opinion) just a better all around game.

I have always known that a game would come along that was better than WoW (again, my opinion) but I honestly didn't expect Rift to be that game, but it is.

Of course when I say Rift is better I am talking about the parts of the game I enjoy; questing, crafting/gathering, and grouping. No idea if raiding or high lvl PvP is better.

Come to Rift Tobold, I think you will like it ;)
I'm playing RIFT, like you should be doing. Play it to level 50 and you will never go back to WOW.
No, I'm not still having fun. I'm not playing so many alts, and I'm tired of the game. Whether it's 4000 hours of burnout or bad design, I'm out.

Like the 2nd post, unsubbed and playing Rift.
Got my main to 85 in the first week of cata, done a couple of heroics, burned out because even heroics were too hard and time-consuming for my tastes. And raids in cata are not for the faint of heart I heard...

Got my "main alt" to 82 (most of it from mining and archeology) but then got bored from EXCRUCIATINGLY BORING LINEAR quest progression.

Bought RIFT a week ago and never logged to WoW since ^^
@ CAM: Well if you think about it PvP from 1-84 isn't supposed to be balanced and people who get worked up about getting one shotted by x9 leveled characters are just weird. From 1-84 just play for fun, and preferably do it in the high levels of the bracket for the laughs. The impression I get from you guys is that you can't take the sensation of failure you get from being pwned by another RL player. Fact is, level your character to max level, get geared up and play PvP because it's fun and it's balanced. If you are feeling it's not, work on your skill, try and understand why, duel friends, dl addons ask experienced pvp'ers, and ultimately play your character to it's full potential, something you can never do by only PVE'ing, and vice-versa.

PvP = BG's at max level and Arenas. The rest is nonsense and not supposed to be taken seriously. It's silly to say dev teams think pvp is arena, do you really expect them to balance leveling pvp?
I stopped playing after only two months. Leveled my char to 85 and did some instancing. Was fun but I don't feel like raiding again.

Plans? Single player games. I'm sure in a few months I'll have the WoW itch again. Then I'll go back and level my warrior to 85, do some more instances. Maybe level a new character through the new zones.
I grew bored with Cataclysm fairly quickly.

I leveled my main to 85, leveled a worgen to 70, and leveled a goblin to the mid-20's. I have been trying to level my paladin, warrior, and warlock past level 80, but honestly... I just did those quests, in the same order.

That being said, I really love the changes to the old world. The quests are interesting, flow nicely, and provide plenty of variety. It is a little sad though, not being able to go "home" to old Orgrimmar or revisit the quests that my first character spent days trying to figure out.

When my GM left the game and someone I disliked took the reins, I decided it wasn't worth playing. I've canceled my account and am playing LOTRO now, though I hope to play a lot of AoE Online when/if I am accepted into the beta.
I started Cataclysm with seven level 80s. In Wrath, I had a lot of options about how I leveled new characters, and since I got Loremaster on my main, I knew what I wanted to do and what to skip on my alts.

First character through, with no rest and no gathering xp, leveling pace questing felt great.

Second character with rest and xp from mining, even doing the other starting zone I was thinking wtf does this end already and closing on 83 before I got to Deepholm. Where I of course had to do every quest in the zone because shoulder enchants weren't account bound.

Third character I was in the same position as the second, but this time I was in a starting zone I'd already done....

Unsubscribed before I did more than think about alts four through seven. And with seven characters, covering all the professions and all the classes I liked playing enough to get past level 20, the revised 1-60 experience just didn't interest me.
I agree about the 80-85 zones; they're terribly linear, and most of my 80+ toons are right before Deepholme which I hate with a passion after running through it 3 times. It sucks because you're pretty much forced to do all of the zones to unlock the reputation vendors for each faction.

That said, I've found a lot of enjoyment in leveling toons 1-60. The revamped zones are a blast to play through, and you can definitely tell where most of the development time went to. Of course all the enjoyment I find gets killed once I hit 60 and I'm forced into Outlands =/

I tried Rift, but after two weeks of playing I found it even more boring than end-game in WoW. I would rather run through Deepholme another 10,000 times than continue drudging through Rift. The only thing I could stand in Rift were the Souls, which I think Blizz could steal and idea or three from.
NOTE: Had to split this into two comments. Probably should have blogged it ;)

After reading all these comments (and grumbling in my nonexistent beard) I think I can filter out a couple of major points made both in the comments and Tobold's entry:

(If you wanna know the point just skip to the last paragraph ;)

* Cataclysm leveling is repetitive since it's streamlined
a) in the starting zones
b) in the level 80-85 zones
c) in the remade zones because they become like a) and b)

* Cataclysm endgame content is
a) to hard in "our raid wipes at the first boss since two months ago"
b) not accessible because many guilds /gquit themselves (see a)
c) not enough if you just look at Heroics

* Cataclysm itself fails because
not enough content has been redone, ie. there are many zones left just like they were as well as the bc and wrath content

All these points are valid respectively but tilting the perspective a weeee bit one could say:

The leveling is repetitive in certain zones, so, yes this has NOT changed. However, the content was repetitive before. As every Loremaster will know, the old content was almost unbearable after you leveled four to five toons through it.
Sure, we could choose our questlines, but did we really in leveling alts? No, we wanted to level as fast as possible, so we did the most important quests giving us the fastest access to better gear and left everything else dead. This being said, of course we would have some variety in leveling different classes but i'd consider it marginal.

Nevertheless, the questlines in the starting zones and the fact that worgen and goblins _have_ to do these zones as well as the grind from 80 to 85 is quite frustrating, I'll give you that.
On a personal note: I myself actually liked the inclusion of vehicles and the stories told, but leveled a couple of levels just through dungeons and battlegrounds.
There is a _huge_ variety of bgs and dungeons which we totally forgot about during wrath.
And at least on the less crowded European realms the number of bots in battleground tends to be quite low. Not taking things to seriously also will help you a lot: battlegrounds can be fun, even when you play with a whole bunch of noobs. It's just a game after all, and I felt well rewarded when pugging myself through a couple of bgs and instances and sometimes ended up with a really good team. (I would love to have the option to keep groups together in random bgs similar to the dungeon finder system)

Concerning the cata endgame content I just find:
a) heroic dungeons at least feel heroic again. Just today I had a ridiculous experience with a completely noob tank who dragged us through sfk hc in pure wrath style. No manapauses, three groups at at time, no marking, no cc. We shattered at the third boss and only made it that far with the help of an imba raid-geared pala-heal and myself filling in in critical moments as shadow-off-heal.
Running like this through dungeons is just not possible anymore and personally I'm fine with it (ploughing through content like a madman was never my style).
I do, however, understand if the time-limit is a serious problem: a heroic dungeon just takes longer, and don't get me started on wip... uhhm, raids ;)
b) the gquit-problem a serious one and guessing from what I read here as well as over at WowInsider, a wide spread one as well.
The one thing I don't understand is: why don't you look for a new guild? People are hiring everywhere if you're dedicated, because that's exactly what's gone amiss in the last couple of months. Find a new guild, get to know the people and I'm sure there will be a guild that doesn't plan to progress through hardcore raiding.

In the end it's just how you look at things, I guess. For be RIFT is simply no option, because what keeps me playing wow (social factor, lore nerd, extremely focused on visuals (not in the realistic way, more in terms of atmosphere)) doesn't necessarily incite you guys.

In the end the point of this rant probably is: WOW isn't as bad as it seems, and a lot of the design decisions aren't that bad, if far from perfect though ;)
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Amen to this post. I posted similar thoughts to this in the Official Forums about a month after Cata, and got all the snide trollers going on about "this expac was for the new toons, you need to play a new toon to get it".

Well, that means WoW's ignoring those of us who already have high level toons. I was through all the zones in less than a month. Spending the rest of my time grinding to get ready for raiding is just not fun.

I'm hoping Rift gets a Mac version soon.
I haven't played in a while, i have no desire to play. Still subbed bc my wife likes to play. I started playing Rift. I completely agree with Tobold. No replay value at all for the high level zones. I have 2 85s and one 84.5. Its enough. There isn't anything I want to do any more. I no longer feel like 'wouldnt it be cool to do this'. Now it's like 'i have to do this'. I have made all the gold I want, raided all i want, i'm done.
I enjoyed the redo of the old world a lot. In fact I'm leveling a character of the other faction to see the story line. I'd be interested in leveling multiple characters to see all the new quests and zones.

I'm enjoying the harder Heroics a lot more.

My biggest issues though are with the massive freaking leveling speed and the incredibly easy game pre-heroic level.

You level so fast that you've barely gotten into the storyline in a zone and the quests are green to you. If you do a few battlegrounds and some crafting you rocket way past your quests. It's fairly pointless crafting gear, keeping up with tradeskills and trying to find good gear because you outlevel everything so fast and the game is so easy it's not like you need any kind of bonus from gear/enchants.

This means most new players get to L85 by spamming 3 buttons and are suddenly surprised and confused when they have to learn about CC, aggro and for some, even the loot system.

I love Cata, but that's what's spoiling it for me and ruining the re playability.
You hit the nail on the head here. Cataclysm has really no replayability. The horrible design of linear questing makes it as boring as boring can be. No way to even switch things up.

Not happy with just making 5 levels of horrible questing Blizzard went back and destroyed 60 more levels with redesigning the quests to be the same horrible type of questing.

I would have rathered they spent all that time and effort designing a better 80-85 experience then redesigning a 1-60 experience that was fine the way it was.

Two weeks into the expansion I was done with it already. All raid geared, all reps exalted, all personal achievements I could get, all skills to max.

All that is left is raiding and I do not push that hard anyway. I go when we can fill a guild group, so 2 nights a week maybe.

I am leveling a few other characters through BC and Wrath content now, where I have the choice of what quests to do. I can't tell you how much more enjoyable those questing areas are, even doing them for the 20th time.

I keep playing for the people I play with. Not for the game. If I played WoW for WoW I would have quit 2 weeks into this expansion when I was done with everything and there was no one else geared to raid with yet.
I feel bored with Cata already even though I still have toons I need to get to 85 and get geared and maxed profession wise. Probably because I have already done it on a couple, but I wish everything wasn't a total grind in this expansion. They need to get away from that and have more options, especially with the differences between geared raiders and new 85s.
I hate nothing more than going into a 5 man dungeon with players who don't match gear wise. The geared people want to hurry and feel like they are carrying the rest. The new 85s feel like they can't work with the other players. It just doesn't work.
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