I Like the End of the World Just Fine

BY Heather Richtmyre  //  November 30, 2010

The patch before Cataclysm changes just about everything.


elcome to the Shattering, also known as World of Warcraft's Patch 4.03a. While technically this isn't the actual expansion Cataclysm, the world has been remade overnight with many new features introduced, including some further semblance of logic to quests and other game mechanics.

In particular, some quests that result in killing a member of a friendly organization for being some form of traitor resulted in my character either being asked to turn herself in for the action, or in a later quest being interrupted by an character who then realized that the large demon was actually their so-called leader and thus excusing the action on those grounds. A reference at one point to consistent target of quest-oriented killing referred to him as "narrowly escaping death previously," and there are new quests that touch somewhat on the existence of spirit healers and other methods of resurrection.

The many new flight paths are also quite convenient, especially for characters with low-level mounts or those lacking them entirely. My favorite new features are the dungeon maps and how quest givers have been moved to inside the dungeon entrance. Some of the quests provide a very effective path through the dungeon as well, which is of particular use for such complex areas as Blackrock Depths.

But, the dungeons have their share of new issues as well. Mainly, changes to tanking characters and some other classes have moved dungeons further from the strategy of pulling large groups of enemies and then simply utilizing area of effect spells to slay them all. While the main use of this strategy occurred with highly overgeared groups in Wrath of the Lich King heroics, many of whom used item-level 251 or 264 gear for instances designed for item-level 200 gear, I've seen some groups expecting it in leveling dungeons as well. Pointing out that indiscriminate area-of-effect is not as useful of a tactic seems to invite hostility and accusations of incompetence from some players. Given that Cataclysm is supposed to expect a greater level of crowd control, which is easily destroyed by AoE, I hope that these players will adapt.

Currently, my favorite areas include the new Plaguelands, the still demon-infested Felwood, and Hillsbrad, though I have not managed to make it through all the new zones. I wish to do so before the actual Cataclysm release date, and hope that such will relieve me of the perennial rogue complaint, "Fix vanish."

© 2010 Game and Player. All rights reserved.