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Cataclysm Beta - Day 1: The obligatory first 10 levels

Posted by: Tina at 7/9/2010 2:00 PM
Once upon a time ago, World of Warcraft was my poison. Although I’ve since kicked the habit, Blizzard’s latest development - Cataclysm - brought me back to the world of Azeroth to try the new additions on for size. I transferred my level 73 Blood Elf Warlock to the servers dedicated for beta testing, but I knew my first step would have to be leveling one of the new races - worgens or goblins.

My companion (you have to have a friend along when playing an MMO) and I had a dilemma. Although we’re both members of the Horde at heart, the worgen race had a history that sounded too epic to pass up:

“The worgen were first unleashed upon the Eastern Kingdoms by Archmage Arugal during the Third War. Primarily used as a weapon against the Scourge, the beasts soon proved to be a burden greater than the humans of Lordaeron could bear. A mysterious curse began to spread among those who fought alongside the wolf-men, causing them to become worgen themselves. The curse rapidly spread as it reached Gilneas, trapping its inhabitants behind the very walls built to protect them. The survivors of the curse now seek to find a new fate for their people -- their destiny unwritten...”

Meanwhile, the goblins’ history entails having unknowingly picked up some skills working as slaves mining Kaja’mite ore from the Undermine. Not nearly as epic at all. Sure, they’re pretty talented engineers, but I much prefer the twisted fate of the worgen.

Unfortunately, Blizzard has yet to implement female versions of the worgen into the beta, so I had to roll with an ambiguously gendered creature (basically, a male). And so Alfonz (the name by which my companion goes by) and Tesseract (my female/male worgen) began as humans working against the worgen curse. If the set-up wasn’t a foreshadowing of our imminent transition into worgen ourselves (probably from being bitten, I assumed), I’m not sure what would have made it more clear. We were rescuing children, and fending off worgens for various NPCs surrounding Gilenas. Being as these were new characters, however, we pushed on to hit level 10 before calling it a night. Along the way, we were finally turned into the werewolf creatures that was to be our fate.

Turning into a worgen means picking up the Darkflight ability that boosts your speed by 70% for 10 seconds, somewhat similar to a rogue’s ability to use Sprint to boost their speed (the combination of a Worgen Rogue could be deadly, or cowardly perhaps). It’s quite handy in a tight spot, particularly if you’re a caster (Alfonz is a mage, and I went with my trusted warlock) where enemies getting too close usually means death. Damn the cloth armor.

Certain quests were entertaining, like launching ourselves from a catapult to land on an otherwise inaccessible battle ship. Most of them, however, were relatively mundane and tedious. If you’re a WoW player you know the formula of, “Kill x amount of y” for a disclosed amount of experience, gold and perhaps a small gift. After some time, Alfonz and I were glazing over quest directions and rushing over to the indicators on our maps to complete quests (it was 3AM by this time, give us a break).

Blizzard has also yet to develop sound effects for the worgens, which was disappointing because it would have been interesting to see how our creatures laugh out loud or what sort of jokes they might tell. We supplemented the lack of hilarity with Twilight references, instead.

With our final ding hitting level 10, which opens up the talent tree options, we decided to hearthstone to call it a night. Turns out: huge mistake. We had teleported ourselves back to the Greymane Manor (home of the prince who you often fight alongside and for). This area, however, is meant as a quest set-up for a carriage ride - a carriage that can only be accessed when the quest is active. We’d landed ourselves into our first experience with a significant bug of the beta. Try as we might, we could not jump, or kill ourselves to freedom. Unstuck refused to work, and our opened tickets are still waiting to be read by the Game Masters (probably a futile attempt, considering the information from our desperate forum searches thereafter).

Spirits broken, we logged off, inn or no inn. I recalled my very first night with World of Warcraft. I had gotten Burning Crusade as a birthday gift, and spent hours with two friends questing to level 10 on our Blood Elf characters (another all-nighter). The excitement then was certainly about exploring the game’s environment, particularly the forest-like enclaves of the Blood Elf starting area. Additionally, picking up new and unfamiliar spells along the way was a constant inspiration to want to continue to level.

By now, I’ve played almost every single class of character there is to be found on World of Warcraft, and I might be realizing that the experience eventually gets dry. Ultimately, the reason I had for quitting about a year ago was that a never-ending game never gave me any feeling of actual satisfaction. You’d hit level 70, just to wait for the next expansion to realize there are 10 more to go. There will always be more achievements, more levels, more skills to build up stats on. Raiding the same instance over and over to make sure your entire guild got loot became more of a task than a journey. Hopefully this beta experience will prove to add something new, at the very least with these new races.

I haven’t yet decided what Alfonz and my next step in the beta will be. Considering we seem to be indefinitely stuck at the Greymane Manor, we might go to our true roots and try out the goblin race on the side of the Horde. I do miss Undercity. Or, perhaps we’ll take our pre-made level 80 characters for a test run (I transferred a Blood Elf Paladin). Either way, stay tuned for the next adventures in the Cataclysm beta as we explore what the new additions have to offer.