To me, cata is bad due to blizzard just making wrong decisions within the first 6 months or so. When the 5 mans first started being played at launch, they were not tuned for LFG difficulty. This forced the casuals to leave. Then they nerfed them in the process to prevent any more from leaving. Well then a wave of players left because then the 5 mans felt too easy.
Then 4.1 hits, which was SUPPOSED to be firelands and the abyssal maw, but they weren't done yet so they gave us revamped troll raids into 5 mans. Then a few months later, 4.2 hits with ONLY firelands, no abyssal maw. Blizzard later on stated that the art and design of the raid (aka all under water) wasn't something that could compare to firelands in epicness and likeability from the playerbase, so they scrapped it (I still don't entirely believe this excuse, and that they're simply just saving the conclusion to that story for the eventual azshara expansion). Firelands ended up being too short of a raid, despite it being good. But that forced blizzards hand faster on the upcoming patches due to ppl burning through most of 4.2 rather quickly.
The next tier was supposed to be war of the ancients in a cot raid. But due to subscribers leaving in droves and the ones still left burning through current content, I believe blizzard at this point just wanted to get out of cata asap and into mop. So they scrapped that as well and used the zone they initially designed for it as the 5man well of eternity in 4.3.
And at last you have DS. It introduced lfr, which had good intentions, but didn't execute on them well. Flex is what lfr originally should have been. The boss fights in DS imo were either unimaginative or annoying. And death wing is easily the biggest letdown of a final boss so far in wow. Blizzard hyped up how he was the biggest dragon they ever put in the game. So of course as the last battle you fight tentacles. Now I know it fits with how we went about killing him with knocking off the plates and releasing the old god corruption inside him and whatnot, but I think blizzard should have gone a different direction with how we finished him off so we could actually fight him like a dragon.
I generally say
WOTLK > TBC > MOP => Cata
I always considered myself a PVE'er but the days of my hardcore PVE raiding fizzled out in Cata, but for a brief time in DS, and again in Mogu'Shan vaults I've been a casual logging in to see the RP shite and beating people up in PVP. So maybe it's not surprising that I look back fondly on the times of epic raiding in TBC and WOTLK though.
But with that said, if you wasn't raiding in Cataclysm there was just nothing to do... In TBC/WOTLK you had stuff to do but Cataclysm had no depth, no variety... MOP on the other hand is throwing shit at you from all angles, a vast improvement outside of raiding. Aside from the introduction of RBG's PVP has never been as good as it was in WOTLK, and LFR is an abombination.
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Also people saying the Pre patch to cata was bad. Remember the pre patch gave us the doomsday cult shit and elemental invasions the 4 elemental bosses to que for AND THE ENTIRE 1-60 REVAMP so if you like the story you had a month to.... see the 1-60 story buildup that lead directly into cata and the aftermath of Lich King.
IMO a fantastic pre expansion patch in every way.
Wrath was okay scourge invasions n zombie stuff that got removed after a week from crybabies
Do you expect to turn into a zombie all the time tho? Lol no it won't happen again.
What you should be upset about is shit like the MoP Pre patch. HURR HURR Theramore
WoD prepatch is supposed to be the invasion through blasted lands / swamp yes?
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
The expansion was extremely damaging to my guild, and the cause of a lot of unnecessary stress, but Blizzard got several successes out of it.
Cataclysm's failures all seem traceable to using select subforums on battle.net as a primary focus group. "Too easy!" "Tanks should fight for aggro!" "Arthas was everywhere!" "10-man groups are treated unfairly!" All heeded, all since reversed.
MoP still saw losses with those so called "fixes". There was many other reasons behind losses and it wasnt just difficulty and even Blizzard has come out to say it. In the end though if someone wants to base the arguments off of net subscription numbers which is really the only data we have then the majority stayed in the game with only a minority leaving, but I guess ignoring player turn over is a popular thing just as believing all the losses came from one factor an individual hated.
I was actually just thinking about this.
Cataclysm had one of the best stories and the most potential to be awesome. It started out pretty sick but as others have said it started to go downhill as soon as DS came out. All in all it was a cool raid, but the way Blizzard went about it ruined everything cool about it for me.
For me.. the story of Cata was a story of Blizzard trying to get maximum effect by spending the least amount. The company really became one of those true corporate demons. They aren't an EA or anything but they did take a few pages from their book. The reduction in staff, scraping of raids, and a whole content patch based on rehashed content were just a fact of that reality. I have no doubts that Blizzard was planning to shift its eggs into the 'Titan' basket and it didn't work out for whatever reason we will likely never know. But that failure more or less took place in Cata, and still haunts WoW to this day sadly. After that failure hit them in the face they knee jerked and released suck of a raid in Dragonsoul.
Was Cata terrible? No. It started off REALLY strong. But cuts and more cuts petered it out into a junk pile. I more then most wish I could delete those if's. But they are here to stay. For that reason Cata will go down as the expansion things started to slide towards the abyss.
Cata was a mixed bag for me. Loved parts, hated others... but that's been every expansion really.
I personally think Cata's problem was that Blizzard split it's development to both revamping old world and creating new content. Not to say that the revamp was bad, in fact, I think it was fantastic and greatly needed. But new content suffered as a result. They really front loaded the expansion, which happens with every expansion honestly, but compared to Wrath and TBC, Cata started to peter out much quicker and in a more pronounced way than previous expansions. I think Blizzard was counting on people leveling new alts and thought that would balance out the lack of endgame content. For some, it worked. For others, namely the most vocal players, it didn't. Dragon Soul being rather disappointing as a raid didn't help either.
Princesses can kill dragons to rescue knights.
Vashj'ir had a totally out of the box storyline with those visions of the past and that you actually are there for a totally different reason, i mean this zone really made you feel like you were on your own except for a few survivors.
Secondly, your ass got saved a few times by npcs, lastly you technically failed your goal in stopping the Naga.
But the other zones? Business as usual, especially Hyjal, the hero arrives takes out an entire army by himself, yeah i get we're the heroes but this is so overused for high level zones.
Uldum was a pathetic Indiana jones ripoff with Nazi and armies of humans with guns and Pickelhaube(n), as a reminder, Al'akir was supposed to be the main threat in Uldum, did it feel like one? Certainly not.
I can only recommend every person who praises a certain addon, may it be BC / Wotlk / Cata to use google and find those massive QQ threads over said expansion when they were current.
Too often, we are mistaken for druidic types. perhaps that's true for some shaman, but do not let yourself be plagued by the ignorant belief that we are always peaceful.
Nothing about what I do is harmonious. I command the elements to my will. There is nothing offered in return. I would have it no other way.
Never assume an ogre's stupid, that's when they'll get you.
I don't think there is a collective "we" in this case.
Lots of people were dissatisfied with Cataclysm on some level, but I don't think it's accurate to assume everyone thinks it was bad.
Personally, Cataclysm was a mixed bag for me.
On the positive side, it brought a lot of great features. Reforging, transmog, robust guild support, old world flying. It revamped the old world which was -- despite wistful nostalgia for the things I things I like that are now gone -- much needed and a huge improvement from a leveling/questing point of view. It gave us two cool new starting zones, two cool races, and it gave us new race/class combos.
On the negative side, the problem was not that the quality was bad, or the content was bad, just that there was not enough to do end-game and I found myself without enough things to do. Occasional boredom isn't the most awful thing objectively, but considering this is a game where people log in to be entertained, it is certainly not a good thing.
I think Cataclysm was the weakest expansion to date for that reason. Was it bad? Nah. In fact, I thought much of the content (save for Dragonsoul, which was disappointing) that did exist was good - just too limited. And did I have fun? Absolutely. But while the features are awesome, but they don't replace content. Even if that is one weak thing against a variety of positive things it is, unfortunately that one thing is the most important component of a game: things to do.
Cata was the reason I did not sub nor buy Mists until SoO.
It was bad for my 25man guilds, so it was bad for me.
I liked the the first 4, liked BC the best. MOP made me cancel.
** When you realize the person you're talking to is so clueless that they think you're the idiot **
While I think that lore-wise, WotLK was the best exp as it pretty much closed the book on the events of W3, I believe Cata was the best expansion in terms of content and developement. From the changing of the world to the epic music and content in the Mount Hyjal questing, there was never a dull moment with that game.