Confessions of an MMO Tourist: Cataclysm Edition

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A few months back, I had heard that there had been a cataclysm in Azeroth. All of the lands and continents of the game had been changed. Realizing that this might be a great time to visit at a discounted rate, I made sure to keep my eyes open for travel deals. No sooner had I started my search, when an e-mail arrived in my inbox with this subject line: “Bryan – Try World of Warcraft: Cataclysm FREE for 10 Days.” 10 whole days of vacationing in a new land, for free? How could I not pounce on this offer? A game client download and a few patches later, I found myself venturing once more in the lands of Azeroth.

A giant lurks in the mist.

Blizzard wasn’t joking when they said that things had changed. Right away I noticed the two new races featured in the game, the Worgen and the Goblins. So I decided to choose a new race. The thought of being a werewolf was too amazing to pass up, so I quickly created a Worgen mage by the name of Ruford. Ruford and I rode around the Worgen starting area, slowly learning about the Worgen infestation and how the great cataclysm occurred.

Ah Gilneas, World of Warcraft at its most refined.

My adventures with Ruford lasted until level 9. It was then that I decided that enough was enough. Though Cataclysm represents a fantastic upgrade to the World of Warcraft experience, the game is still the same. Frustrated, I quit playing. 10 days later I find myself wanting to play again…but alas, it is not to be. Farewell new content!

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Launch Parties Are Go!

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A friend of mine was telling me, over lunch, that Blizzard is hosting Cataclysm launch parties. Apparently the party/event closest to him will have developers on hand to sign retail copies. Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Check out this link for a list of stores and events surrounding the December 7th Cataclysm launch.

Impending Doom

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Nearly 7 years after the launch of World of Warcraft, Blizzard is still reporting player growth like McDonald’s used to report how many customers had been served.

World of Warcraft(R) Subscriber Base Reaches 12 Million Worldwide

IRVINE, Calif., Oct 07, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft(R), its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), now exceeds 12 million players worldwide. This milestone was reached in the wake of the mainland Chinese launch of World of Warcraft’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King(R), and also as global anticipation continues to mount for the December 7 release of the game’s third expansion, Cataclysm(TM).

“The support and enthusiasm that gamers across the world continue to show for World of Warcraft reaffirms our belief that it offers one of the best entertainment values available today,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We are as committed as ever to taking the game to new heights, and we look forward to demonstrating that with Cataclysm in December.”

Since debuting in North America, Australia, and New Zealand on November 23, 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular subscription-based MMORPG around the world. It was the bestselling PC game of 2005 and 2006 worldwide, and finished behind only World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade(R), the first expansion pack for the game, in 2007. For 2008, the World of Warcraft series represented three of the top five bestselling PC games, with Wrath of the Lich King finishing the year at #1, and in 2009, World of Warcraft titles claimed three of the top six spots.*

At this point in the games life, I am not surprised that the gaming community is still talking about the WoW monster. World of Warcraft is a power house in that it takes systems found in other games and refines them to something close to perfection. The amount of times I have resubscribed to WoW, after swearing it off, is also a testament to how great this game is (or maybe that is an admission as to how addictive it is).

Up until the announcement of Cataclysm’s release (12/7/10), I really didn’t think that I would ever venture into the lands of Azeroth again. However, the release announcement suddenly had me interested. Here is the thing, all my friends will end up diving back into the game. Especially those of mine who are going to BlizzCon. So do I enter back into a game that is almost seven years old? Like the infamous Death Eaters in Harry Potter, I can feel my soul being sucked back into the void. See ya there!

Cold Nostalgia

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Bouncing off a topic Syp @ Bio Break wrote on today, I want to take a moment and dive into what I believe is one of the reasons people still play World of Warcraft, nostalgia.

Personally, I have played WoW off and on since its inception in 2004. Sometime after graduating college and getting married, I put down the game for what I thought was the last time. My friends and I went on to play other MMO’s (Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer, etc.) and always talked about the glory days in Azeroth. Our nostalgia was not just rooted in WoW but in the Warcraft RTS series as well. Hours upon hours spent playing online in high school only helped cement memories in time.

Last year I did the unthinkable though when my friends and I dove back into the lands of Azeroth. What had started out as a series of conversations about the good old days, soon manifested itself into us playing again. The past, the memories of days gone by, had pulled us back into the behemoths claws. This all didn’t last long though, as I soon grew bored in zones I had slogged through before.

Going back to Syp’s post, what will pull gamers back to World of Warcraft for the great Cataclysm? Will it be new specs? New character classes? Hardly. I believe cold hard nostalgia will be the drawing factor. Here is the thing though, nostalgia only lasts for so long. Soon reality sets in and people see things for what they are now, and not what they used to be.

The great cataclysm awaits…yawn.