What really makes CATA so very bad, was the story was absolute shite. There was so much room to build deathwing as a real character (for starters not having the stupid name deathwing) and using his human name, count something or other. little interaction with the character throughout the whole thing.
The problem was, Cata was around the time the dark knight came out. I think. And that movie really sparked a "The villain makes the story" thing, Villains in movies and TV started to actually gain depth and reason, people wanted to understand the villain. Arthas, was a deep character.
Then we were given a Grrr, im a mad dragon who wants to destroy the world because reasons.
Hell, Garrosh still wasn't as good as he could have been, but at least it was better that Grr I'm a dragon with a name a 12 year old names his deathknight
It was never Hardcore Vs Casual. It was Socialites Vs. Solo players
The only part of Cata that didn't make sense to me was that the main villain of the xpac, Deathwing, was far easier to kill than a resurrected firelord from Vanilla, Ragnaros.
Firelands was a good raid until Rag, who was too hard. Dragonsoul started out decent and went downhill with every boss encounter. The final Deathwing fight was disappointing, not to mention downright weird.
For me it goes like this:
BC started out great with Karazhan, which was the perfect difficulty and a lot of fun but gradually degraded into the huge mistake known as the Sunwell. Even Kael was too hard for too many people. It became far too exclusive towards the end.
2 things that made cataclysm suck in my eyes:
1. Deathwings potential somewhat wasted. I never got the feeling he is strong.
2. New talent trees. I am too much of a conservatist to accept the removal of old talent trees
These didn't affect my gameplay thru expansion much, so I didn't feel that bad about cataclysm. I absolutely loved the questing (although I hated vashj'ir because of, come on: underwater in wow is shit.
I actually enjoy on Dragon soul only bad thing there was that the insance was too short
In the other side was first tier with all these adds everywhere (same is now in SoO)
the new system was introduced with cata that's why everyone found it bad
cata was worse, lets never really raider in cata till lfr first came due guild falling part in middle of it.. most derps back want insane itemlvls and the still do to make so don't have work..
My issues with it: Dungeons where hard as nails in beta and launch, they made you WORK for your gear, then they got nerfed back to faceroll level, making you feel stupidly powerful even with bad gear, instead of you feeling like you where protecting the innocent from actual mighty, mighty foes that would crush THEM in a hearthbeat. Second issue: so many plotlines that where never finished, and fart of an ending to Deathwings storyline instead of a 25k voice "Two Steps from Hell"-choir of an ending. Third issue: How the new guild system, while a great innovation, pretty much killed the activity in world/zone/tradechat on medium/small servers, and made getting gear EVEN MORE tedious, as all guilds on my server who had the patience to learn raids never bothered reqruiting until they where at the point of "You need to have cleared this raid in its entirety once to be able to join us and get the gear from it that is required to clear it!". Fourth issue: how it felt fresh with the new talent systems, no more issue with conserving ammo and so on early in the xpac, then sudden realization mid-way through that this pretty much killed one of the more realistic and immersive systems of keeping a good supply of ammo with you at all times, and that the new talent system completely removed the chance from creating dumb, gimmicky, annoying but otherwise completely terrible character builds, or even Death Knight Dual-Wield Frost DPS in WotLK (when Frost was meant to be used for tanking, but had some fun stuff to make you deal ice-cold shatter-clattering DPS numbers, which felt REALLY good to do I might add) or a InstaPet Huntard. Was fun as hell to use a beast that had some CC, have it die, spawn another from the same category, and repeat. XD Not really possible anymore, sadly. :-/
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Nelfarion gained the nickname Deathwing back in the Warcraft series of RTS's, and he found the name appropriate and to his liking (after the Old Gods made him insane) so he adopted it. Makes full sense. However, they had him so littely during the actual events of the expansion it was PAINFUL to try and accept it. Like, the Lich King atleast sat inside ICC for a reason waiting for us, Deathwing broke out and flew around the world for a year or more, but was barely ever seen, which is strange as his original size in the beta and RTS's was a big as about half of Stormwind (no, I am not joking!) and in anything, there should have been random thumps in the air from his giant wings just to show that he was flying around doing SOMETHING. Instead, he was not there for about 11 months, then suddenly, BOOM! DURGUN! KEEL YYT!
Cataclysm was leaps and bounds better than MoP, I agree with OP.
Wrath > Cata > TBC > MoP > Vanilla
The issue with DS was that it was basically ToC, but in 5 different "arena's."
- zone in, fight a boss
- take drake, fight a boss
- take another drake, fight a boss
- take final drake, fight a boss
- you get the idea by now...
It got off to a bad start before it was even released. Remember the pre launch events? Yeah... How they sucked absolute balls compared to the wrath zombie event, and were a toned down affair because blizzard, by their own words, wanted to make it less disruptive (and thus completely lame and able to be ignored). However before they started, the blues hyped it up like it was the second coming, and Bashiok even said "it will blow your minds".
It was so pathetic I knew Cata was going to be lame from that point on.
Zones being all over the freaking place. Who the hell had that brilliant idea? The opening of Cata felt more like a giant content patch than an actual expansion.
Removal of separate raid lockouts killed pugging on most servers, and thus further destroyed server communities.
Introduction of yet more crap to the store. It was clear what road the devs were putting us on with the release of the sparkle pony in wrath. Cata finalized it.
LFR = final nail in the coffin for what was left of pugs and yet more server deterioration
Dragon Soul not only being a bad raid, but being the last raid of the expansion and also a bad raid was unforgivable. ESPECIALLY since it was only 9 bosses long and we still waited about a year for MoP (at least ICC was 12 bosses and was LOADS better in every way). DS was so pathetic an effort on the part of the devs and the writers it still hurts to think about. Maybe they would have at least had more original looking bosses if they hadn't had the art team working on the stores banana dragon and all those pets...
sorry to say Cata was really that bad, and MOP was much better imho.
I never felt Cata was horrible, but the story in particular (especially Deathwing himself) wasn't that great when compared to WotLK. The best thing about Cata I feel was the old world revamp.
For the record I loved T11,T12, and cata 5 mans. DS was kinda meh, and LFR should die a horrible death.
They just fucked the whole design from ground up
Modern gaming apologist: I once tasted diarrhea so shit is fine.
"People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an excercise of power, are barbarians" - George Lucas 1988
Personally I enjoyed the first few weeks of Cata, then they dumbed everything down. Beyond that there was no real stand out moments for me especially when compared to the heights of prior expansions BC - killing Illidan and oh yea the first time you scraped up enough cash to get a flying mount, WotLK - the lore, Ulduar, Lick King, Ulduar, invading undercity, Ulduar and of course Ulduar. Cata never really raised the bar for anything, at least for me anyway.