Six years of hard work. Hundreds of thousands of man hours. Twelve million subscribers who have spent billions of hours hacking, slashing, grinding, looting, and every other vaguely dirty term you can think of. So, how do you follow that? “Blow it all up,” says Blizzard. “And use a dragon.” The end result? A total reinvention of World of Warcraft that’ll have you hooked from the first second and keep you there for—oh—a couple hundred more hours. At least.
Don’t get us wrong; at the end of the day, Cataclysm still follows the basic MMO formula of killing and collecting. However, the extent to which Blizzard has rebuilt the process is nearly mind-blowing. In Cataclysm, quests are focused and generally tied into an overarching narrative.
Unless you’re piloting a bomber plane, you won’t see any more “kill 60 of x monster” quests. Instead, you might be tasked with killing 10 of something, looting them, and interacting with the environment nearby—all at once. Presto: That’s three quests finished in roughly 10 minutes. No muss, no fuss, and, unlike the majority of MMOs, it actually makes sense. Also, it’s completely epic.
If you include the vast changes to the core game, Cataclysm is far and away the most impressive expansion to an MMO ever made, but if you just isolate what Cataclysm itself gets you, it’s ultimately less content than Wrath of the Lich King.
It’s also better content than Wrath, with engaging storylines, inventive quests, and some very striking visuals. Even without the core Azeroth changes, Cataclysm is an excellent expansion in its own right, and worthy of your attention whether you’re a veteran of Northrend or a grunt just getting your toes wet for the first time.
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