Cataclysm: Ten Days later


I decided that I would do one  last article concerning Cataclysm (ok, maybe I’ll do a second when raiding happens). The reason that I’m doing this is because I have a few friends that are lapsed WoW players, and they asked me if it was worth coming back for this expansion. Right now my answer is no because as I said in “Cataclysm on the Horizon”, I don’t feel that enough about the game has changed significantly where $15.00USD makes it worthwhile if you weren’t having fun in the first place. A lot has changed – improved graphics, linear questing, more interesting quests, and a feeling that you’ve actually helped shape the world to name a few.

Uldum - The Halls of Origination

With that in mind, let’s look at the new zone Uldum – this zone is a good example of the changes mentioned earlier. Uldum is snuggled next to Tanaris and you need to be level 83 to begin questing there. As WoW frequently does, they have borrowed heavily from a real culture. The first instance of this was Taurens = Native Americans. In this case, Uldum = ancient Egypt. I won’t complain about this too much, because the zone is very well done, but original ideas > borrowed ideas. Uldum is similar to Ahn’Qiraj in the borrowed from Egypt aspect, but graphically everything about the zone ranging from buildings to mobs is much more polished than Ahn’Qiraj could have ever dreamed to be.

Uldum - Ramkahen

While in Uldum, there are two big issues that questing revolves around. The first is helping the Ramkahen prepare for war against the Neferset. The Ramkahen and Neferset are cat-like creatures who were originally the guardians of Uldum. They were once made of stone, but were cursed and given flesh bodies.

Ramkahen recruits in the training yard

The second story line revolves around our old friend Harrison Jones. If you’ve been playing this game for years and were around in the Zul Aman days of The Burning Crusade, you’ll remember that he was the NPC that you met at the gates of Zul Aman and who wanted you to bang the gong – we all assumed that he was killed by angry trolls, but it seems that he survived, as you meet him by chance when asked to explore some tombs.

Harrison Jones makes a comeback in Cataclysm

One of the things that I’ve always liked about Blizzard is their sense of humour, and the quests revolving around Harrison Jones are no exception. The quest chain begins with you helping him blow something up, hiding in a trunk, and being blown half way across the tombs ala Kingdom of the Crystal Skull refrigerator style. As the chain progresses, you help him find and assemble the Staff of Kings (I actually had to recall the movie to find things), fight the plane mechanic (and see him killed by the plane propellers) and deal with “Nazis”, etc.

"Siege" vehicles play a big part in questing

Besides making questing easier in general, one of the newer bits is the use of siege vehicles early on – early as in, your first quest using them comes at about level 10. I liked this change a LOT, because it did a very nice job of breaking up the monotony and giving lower level characters a chance to play with a feature that was previously reserved only for the much higher level characters.

Uldum - The Vortex Pinnacle (instance)

Lastly, you now need to discover the entrances to instances. This can be a bit difficult in Uldum, as one of two instances and one raid are floating above the zone so you’ll never accidentally discover them if you stay on the ground. I actually like this discovery feature because it seems to keep the more simple minded folks from finding their way into a random instance group.

Uldum - Throne of the Four Winds (raid)

There you have it. If you’re curious about the way Azeroth looks after The Sundering, want to have a good explore, try some of the new features, experience the change in graphics, or be in a zone where every single player is killed by Deathwing within .5 seconds, by all means come back for a month – just don’t hold your breath over what may happen in the long run.

I DID get killed by Deathwing tonight while in Uldum, by the way. The achievement is called [Stood in the Fire].

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