Thursday, July 8, 2010

Now That's a Cataclysm!

Yeah, I've been heavily consumed by the Real ID crap this week. I had to put up a second post today to get back into the mood of my anticipation of Cataclysm. As I've stated, I'm not quitting this game because of the Real ID plans for the forums, I'm continuing to play the game because for sanity-sake I need to and want to.

I was afraid of the initial Cataclysm talent trees that were made available to the public becuase frankly they were pretty much...EXACTLY THE SAME, with only a few small changes. Seriously, they were just about the same as what we have now, and that was a disappointment since I thought we were going to witness a Cataclysm.

Now we have, and it's rocking our world. Talent trees are gettin-a-blowed-up! Leveling, as a result, will change dramatically as well. Examples:

*Mage (Frost) Summon Water Elemental
*Paladin (Retribution) Divine Storm
*Priest (Discipline) Penance
*Priest (Shadow) Mind Flay
*Rogue (Assassination) Mutilate
*Rogue (Subtlety) Shadowstep
*Shaman (Elemental) Thunderstorm
*Shaman (Enhancement) Dual Wield, Lava Lash
*Shaman (Restoration) Earth Shield
*Warrior (Arms) Anger Management, Mortal Strike
*Warrior (Fury) Bloodthirst
*Warrior (Protection) Shield Slam, Vitality

This, my friends, is a real Cataclysm. Frankly I'm not one to care right now if it's a good or a bad thing, I'm just glad that it's a massive change. Why? Because they promised us big changes to the talent trees. And what happened when they "officially" released a sneak peak into a few of the trees?

"Oooooooooooh, Aaaaaaaaaah! I see one, no two, no make that three small changes to the talent tree...amazing!"

Hyperbole, maybe, but not that far from the truth. The first draft of Cataclysm talent trees had a lot to be desired in my oh so humble opinion. The Shadow Priest, for one, had virtually no other viable options in the other trees, making it necessary to take just about every, single shadow talent in that tree.

On one hand I dispair, I had fun trying to create a Priest build that gave me Chakra, Circle of Healing, Improved Shields, Power Word: Barrier, Divine Aegis and Power Infusion. Oh well, I guess true hybrid builds are a thing of the past.

Specialization is the new word in town. And as a perk to choosing a specialization you will be given an iconic, unique talent starting at level 10. For someone like those poor Ret Pali's this is a good thing. I've got my poor Pali to level 20 and there is still only 1 offensive spell (a Judgement), aside from Auto Attack, that I press.

But will specializations take away the ability for someone to be "special"? Don't really know, haven't seen the new trees yet. To speculate would be ignorant of me since I don't have the information in front of me. Right now all I see as a positive is that they actually DID produce the massive overhaul of talent trees promised. Maybe this was Blizzard's way of saying, "See everyone, we do keep promises."

(One note on specialization and diversification: How many of you really played with talent builds that were 28/24/19? Nobody, unless you REALLY didn't care about your talents. Most played with optimal builds that meant 58/13/0. The new talent distribution won't be that much different, but I don't think anyone was going to go the 28/24/19 route anyway. We wouldn't receive any significant Mastery Bonuses. You know it and I know it, so let's just roll with the new talents until we can prove they suck).

Anyway, as far as the feeling of leveling and the playstyle I think it can only be good. I never did feel like a Shadow Priest until I got to level 40. That's half the game of no particular feeling of specialness. Making the class and spec feel special and unique from very early on isn't diminishing the "specialness" of those super cool, iconic abilities, it's giving us a chance to immerse ourselves in a role. Until, for example, an Enhancement Shaman get's Windfury AND dual wielding, the play style is 80%+ Elemental mechanics (Lightening Bolt, Lightening Bolt, Shock, Melee, Shock, Dead). At least now I'll be able to smash things with my thunder fists from an early age and gain the experience of thunderfisting bad guys the way an Enhancement Shaman should.

I'm not disenchanted with the game, but with capitalism at it's worst. That's why I can still see some exciting things about Cataclysm. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe these changes will totally suck, but speculating about it can be fun and unproductive...a perfect combination. I just wanted a real Cataclysm to the talents, and until now that didn't happen.

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