|Release: December 7, 2010|
|Players: 1 (MMO)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence|
by Robert VerBruggen
I have a confession to make. I'm a total "n00b," as it were, when it comes to World of Warcraft. I just never got around to playing the MMO that's had everyone talking for half a decade.
The Cataclysm expansion is going to change all that. I'm going to offer a preliminary review here based on my first several hours with the game, and I'll file weekly reports for a while afterward so you can keep tabs on my progress and Cataclysm's unfolding content. You can catch my columns each Monday on CCC.
My hope is that these reports will prove useful to WoW diehards and a worthwhile introduction for those considering diving in for the first time. If you have questions, comments, or WoW news you'd like me to address -- or would just like to give me a digital wedgie and tell me what a hack I am (I gather there's some sort of hazing ritual between MMO fans and the journalists who cover their games) -- feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, watch out for me in the game; my name is Yozz, and I'm a male goblin in the new Borean Tundra realm.
Without further ado: How much fun is World of Warcraft: Cataclysm to a total outsider? The bottom line is that the first two hours or so are a disorienting slog, but after that, the story picks up and addiction starts to set in.
It's simply the nature of MMO expansions that downloading them takes forever, but fortunately, Blizzard allows you to play Cataclysm before everything is completely downloaded. Once you've managed to fire up the game, the first thing you do is set up your character and realm. For the benefit of diehard fans who know the old races, I picked one of the two new character types, a goblin. Goblins have been hanging around the game world for a long time, but in Cataclysm, they're playable for the first time. You also get to pick a class; I made my little dude a warlock, meaning he can use a wand to attack enemies.
Further, newcomers should know to choose their realm -- that is, the copy of the game world they play in (there are too many players for all of us to run around in the same space) -- carefully. You can't play with your friends if they're in a different realm, and Blizzard charges $25 to switch realms (with exceptions for people who want to switch from overcrowded to sparsely populated realms). Also, make sure you choose a "normal" realm if you're starting out. This means the game is strictly players versus the environment (PvE), and you can't be killed by other humans.