At the moment there’s this imaginary calendar inside my head. It’s telling me that sometime before the end of the year, Cataclysm will be released. It’s the kind of thought that brings a smile to my face, like remembering that I’m going to have steak for dinner tonight. It’s not quite up there with the feeling I’d get if I had… say two tickets to see Ramnstein, but it’s in that rough ball park.
I have this kind of ritual that I go through when preparing for an expansion and Cataclysm is no exception. It’s also something that came up with Blog Azeroth’s shared topic this week. Going through three phases of preparation for a computer game expansion is probably a bit extreme, bud didn’t you hear that Warcraft is Serious Business?
The first one always starts with me trawling round the computer game stores twice a week, asking if they’re taking preorders. This goes on until they’re either sick of the sight of me or they’re finally taking them. And not just any order – I want to lay my hands on the Collector’s Edition. I’m not happy until I have the piece of paper in my hand telling me that it’s preordered. I also make sure I have preorders with about three or four different stores, just so that I can improve my chances of getting a copy.
As soon as a release date is announced, I book time off from work. The expansion is serious business, and I want to make sure I can enjoy it without interruptions! It also means that I can be one of the first to have the expansion installed, patched and running. At least that’s the theory.
The second phase starts around six months before the expansion when I realise that my bank is full to the seams with crafting materials that I’m never going to need or use. I’ll make some kind of noise about having a bank clearout, but it never happens until everyone else has done it and the prices have fallen through the floor. Anyone for a Frozen Orb, stack of twenty for five gold? How about frostweave, fifty silver a stack? Maybe a few eternals?
I’ll also start looking at my characters, thinking about which one I want to get to level cap first (my mage) and get all the new recipes (also my mage). I’ll be taking a look at which characters would give me a good range of abilities on each server that I play (or which ones will help my mage the most) and make sure they’re prepped and ready. If there’s any gear that I can pick up for the alts, I’ll have a look at creating it. This’ll usually happen just after I’ve had my bank clearout, so I’ll end up buying it back and making a huge loss.
I’ll also make plans to clear out my PC and make sure it’s running smoothly as my third phase. I’ll promise to uninstall some games, delete some crap and maybe do a system reinstall in order to make sure everything’s sweet. I’m even thinking about picking up a copy of Windows 7 this time just to get off the concrete boot that is Vista. Of course none of this happens until the day of release when I’m holding the shiny disc in my hand and it’s telling me I don’t have enough space. Cue swearing, shuffling things around, more swearing and finally getting the thing installed. It’s then that I find out that it runs like a slug because of all the new effects and I end up playing it in 16-bit Sega Mega Drive mode until I fork out for a computer upgrade.
The upgrades also sting me. They’re never on sale, even though I’ve been browsing and passed up on a ton of special offers. I also have to choose the “ship it to me by rocket car or faster” delivery option. It usually costs me almost as much as the upgrade, but I tick it because I’m an impatient sod who has to see these crazy new effects immediately. This is also accompanied by comments from the Significant Other who’s still making do with the same machine she had five years ago and is wondering when it’s going to be her turn to upgrade.
So yes, I *am* getting ready for Cataclysm, just like I was getting ready for the previous expansions. But I’m also realistic – I’m lazy and easily distracted and will probably be cursing again sometime near the end of the year.
(Photograph of Palermo Airport’s luggage carousel by Bjs)