I am one of those people who reads quest text from beginning to end before I hit the Accept button. I don’t know when I became one of those people. I know I didn’t start out like that.
I’ve also noticed a disturbing new habit that I’ve developed since the release of Cataclysm: I talk back to NPCs. (The quest givers seem so surprised when you are able to complete a quest it’s insulting!)
I wanted to savor the new parts to the story as I leveled from 80 to 85. And I also really like to run dungeons – almost as a mental brake from reading questing – which probably explains how I can be level 83 and only now just completing the first questing zone: Mount Hyjal.
My gear hasn’t changed. The mobs haven’t gained more health or learned how to hit back harder. The only thing that has changed as been that number: my “level”.
With each level up I drop about 1500 dps. Instead of picking up a couple of mobs and using Psychic Scream to hold them for a few seconds until death (don’t worry, it’s glyphed) I now need to throw out a steady stream of Mind Flays to finish off an enemy.
Vampiric Embrace isn’t enough to keep me healthy. I need to use Power Word: Shield, or ditch Shadowform momentarily to heal myself before I can go on. Even at level 82, before I was popping extra heals, I was starting to run short on mana: cycling Dispersion and Shadowfiend as soon as they came off cooldown.
At level 83 I picked up my wings. I always thought Archangel was designed to give us a much needed, on demand, burst ability. But right now I’m popping my wings as soon as they’re available – even if I’ve just left combat and my party is running to the next group of enemies – just to recoup some mana.
I have to eat and drink whenever I can find a safe spot to stop. I have to drink before a boss pull in a dungeon. I’ve been shying away from Mind Sear and Mind Spike simply because they cost so damn much to cast.
I ran out of mana killing the final boss in Stonecore the other day: barely scraping together 7000dps and unable to AoE the last packs of Devout Followers while I waited for Shadowfiend, Dispersion or Archangel to come off cooldown.
I know this is the game readjusting me to what I’ll be able to do at level 85: with each level you need a ton more stats to get the same output. But it’s certainly no fun becoming weaker with each level “up”. And it’s particularly biting that the new UI tells you “You have become more powerful” when, in fact, the opposite is true. And it’s only going to get worse.
There’s something absolutely un-fun about it.
But it’s not all bad news. Around the time that most of my guildmates (and perhaps the battlegroup?) were reaching level 85 I was still queuing for Blackrock Chasm. I healed a few runs early on. The queues for DPS were 40-50 minutes long. And there were quite a few occasions when I would get through that 40 minute queue only to be dropped into a near complete dungeon: when other DPS had dropped out post-wipe. I’ve come into Vortex Pinnacle to wipes right before the final triangular-lightning-grounding-totem mobs and wipes in Stonecore before the last boss.
5 minutes of XP gains for a 50 minute queue? No thank you.
In an act of desperation I logged onto my Mage to see what the Random Wrath Dungeon queues were like for Damage Dealers. I thought they’d be horrible. Surely everyone would be too busy leveling their mains in the new Cataclysm zones and dungeons to muck around with alts and Wrath of the Lich King content?
Well, I’m happy to say that I was wrong! Hello 10 minute queues. I ran dungeons back to back and went from 78 to 80 in record breaking speed (well for me anyway).
The funny thing is, at level 79, I went to the Auction House and bought up a set of uncommon Cataclysm cloth armor. For a couple hundred gold I think I tripled my stats and damage output.
Now that was a level up that didn’t lie: You have become more powerful. Yes, indeed.
For all this complaining, I am liking the quests in Cataclysm. But I don’t like how linear the quest progression path is becoming: it seems very anti-MMO to me.
When I started playing World of Warcraft just finding the good quests was part of the fun/difficulty/intrigue. I liked that you could run into the backwoods of Eastern Plaguelands and find some farmer standing there with a pitchfork and a shiny exclamation mark above his head.
Perhaps it’s because they’ve used more phasing, I don’t know, but there seems to be a set order in which you can complete quests in Mount Hyjal. And it seems the most glaring when you make a mistake and – god forbid – don’t realise that you’re carrying around a core pup that you need to “activate” (I mean, really, how is it possible to carry a giant dog in your bag and not know about it) it and feed it the meat also in your backpack – and suddenly your Twilight Hammer Trainer won’t talk to you anymore. I was left foundering for several seconds trying to work out why, after handing in a quest, my Trainer didn’t want to give me a new chore and, in fact, none of the NPCs in the area had anything to give me.
Of course by then I was jolted out of the story long enough to discover that I had done the hard part of a silly, mostly unrelated quest, but not technically satisfied the criteria and hadnt actually handed it in at all. Apparently not feeding meat to a corehound is enough to halt the recapture of Mount Hyjal.
When I first read Save the Wee Animals I immediately turned to my roommate, lover of Hello Kitty and all things cute, and said “you have to do this quest in Mount Hyjal”. She was part way through her first quest zone, Vashj’ir, and asked me:
Can I just come and do that one quest? Or do I have to do other stuff first?
Honestly, I didn’t have an answer. Even though this quest has so little relevance to the overall story of reclaiming Mount Hyjal from Twilight’s Hammer and Ragnaros and Deathwing something tells me you can’t just fly in and pick up where to start.
Most Memorable Quests
The entry into Mount Hyjal is breathtaking: you start with a quest that flies you over the entire zone to survey the damage. I snapped up a beautiful screenshot of Ragnaros and Deathwing chasing after me as we flew away from Sulfuron Spire.
I felt like I had been dropped straight into the cinematic!
There are so many run of the mill quests in Mount Hyjal that I just loved for the tiniest little reason. Sometimes it was just a quest name that made me smile (Fighting Fire with… Anything, In the Rear With the Gear) or when the quest givers disagreed with each other (Ysera’s response once you’ve spent a fair bit of time hiding a Night Elf gone bad by taking him into The Emerald Dream “Alysra’s decision might not have been the wisest, Cassandri“).
I also loved Salome’s greeting when you first meet her to hand in Fact-Finding Mission:
What, Omnuron calls this a ‘fact-finding mission?’ Bah! Facts are best found on corpses. Let’s do some damage.
Salome understands us gamers, that’s for sure! Unfortunately I found the Sethria’s Roost quests near impossible to complete. There were about 10 Horde and I squished into a little 30×30 yard area waiting for mobs and armor scraps to spawn.
As usual, I love any quest in which I get to go out into the field and save fallen heroes (or Trapped Mammoth Calf as the case was in Borean Tundra). And, as usual, it was a little bit painful to then head right back out to pick up arrows and simply step over any near-death Wardens that happened to get in your way (nobody is that heartless!).
Absolutely the worst quests by far were the ridiculous flying+jousting quests in the second Flamegate. I suck at anything that requires that much three dimensional coordination. Spamming a button to simulate beating your wings might be an accurate interpretation of what it’s like to fly as a bird but it really just felt like I was trying to space jump with too much gravity pulling me down.
Seriously, whoever came up with that quest chain sucks. Might have sounded good in theory but it’s really not fun at all. No wonder they give you a pet and an achievement to compensate you for your troubles at the end.
I was quite surprised when you were asked to make a moral choice in A Bird in Hand: to kill the misguided leader of the harpies or let her go free. The cynical part of me was convinced that, whatever I chose to do, the game response to either choice would be identical. I still dithered over my choice for a good few seconds anyway. I’ll let you guess what my decision was
I thought A Prayer and a Wing was one of the most ridiculous quests I’ve ever been asked to complete: let’s try and bring our All Things Flying Goddess back to life and then get her to fight for our cause. And the best way to do that is to summon and kill the guy she’s been with for the last 10 000 years! (Of course it’s all okay because he’s gone “mad”).
A few quests tripped me up.
The most embarrassing one was failing – and dying in the middle of a no danger zone – the Twilight Hammer IQ test. I never noticed that my action keys had been replaced so I could use 1 for a “yes” response and 2 for a “no” response. Instead I fumbled around for a bit and typed out “/say yes?”. I died pretty quickly. The punishment for not hitting the right 1 or 2 key is pretty severe.
When I came back for a repeat I was really getting into the swing of it. My question set went something like this:
- Is fire hot?
- Do rocks float in water?
- Is fire hot?
- Do dogs bark?
- Is fire hot?
- Do liars speak the truth?
- Is fire hot?
- Is fire hot?
… and by this point I was seriously hoping that they were trying to recondition my brain to think that fire was, in fact, not hot and give me a follow up quest to /hug the fire elemental that I had run away from in my earlier training sessions.
Alas the correct answer to the question “Is fire hot?” remained “yes”.
I also fumbled my way through my Graduation Speech and to this day I have no idea how you’re meant to know what to say. I think I leaned heavily on “Incite”. I did love how Cassandri(damus) was able to spout absolute nonsense for a good 5 minutes and nobody seemed to notice. I also really loved the tooltip on “Pander”:
These people are insane. You need to play along with it.
I failed spectacularly in the epic fight (Cassandri, Cenarius, Malfurion the Good Brother and that Shaman guy) against Ragnaros. You see, I stood side by side with Cenarius as Ragnaros started mouthing off and Cenarius never told me he was tanking. Yep, a second later and Ragnoros becomes attackable and I’ve proximity pulled him.
Ragnaros lifts his mace thingy. Cassandri has died.
I never even saw it coming.
Since it looked like the quest was going to fail only after a good long while I abandoned it, recovered my body, flew back to pick it up again, and then reentered the gate into the Sulfuron Spire. Except when I re-entered Cenarius and Rag were going at it and Cenarius was already on half health. I stepped up, hoping that I could get the quest completed anyway.
I dodged the lava waves, I killed the adds attacking my teammates when the UI warnings came up and told me to do so. I hesitantly dropped Shadowform and threw some Greater Heals on Cenarius when the warning came up to heal Cenarius (what, they’re customising quests so hybrids have to heal now?). Anyway, between the DPSing and healing and form switching and lava dodging it wasn’t long before I was out of mana and out of options. I was a bit peeved, a bit confused and very surprised when I successfully completed the quest anyway.
I’m still not sure if I was meant to heal Cenarius or not. Can’t the game detect that I’m a Shadow Priest?
ps. Perhaps juggling your mana is fun for healers. But it really isn’t fun as a Damage Dealer. It really isn’t. Using spells as though they are Shadow Priest mana pots instead of potential damage boosts sucks. That is also not fun.