30 May 2010

Getting Ready for Cataclysm

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)

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6 Responses to Getting Ready for Cataclysm

  1. Tarinae says:

    The upgrade battle sounds like my boyfriend and I. I got one a little over a year ago and have managed to keep A LOT of free space. But I keep having issues, I even had to downgrade a video card when the fan on my OOAHHH one died. I would like to get a new computer that doesn’t die like this one, maybe Windows 7 because I don’t want to revert to XP but it really is my boyfriend’s turn. He has had this one for a few years…but he is just going to bog his new one down with the 8g of music of w/e insane amount it is that he has. I wonder sometimes if clearing all that out wouldn’t make his work better anyways.

    But now that I have…poured out my life’s story lol 😀
    .-= Tarinae´s last blog ..Preparing for Cataclysm =-.

  2. LINDA PELFREY says:

    1) Amazon has had a part number for a couple of months. Nor is it completely clear that an old-fashioned physical copy will be required. Download may be available.

    2) While I understand the wait until the prices have plummeted, you forgot the part about later watching the prices skyrocket as people level professions, even having to pay inflated prices for your alt. One primal water sells for about what one *stack* of eternal water sells for.

    3) The which to level first decision may have to wait until you see what the LFD situation is versus questing. My current guess is that first week the fastest but least enjoyable way to level will be running endless pugs with arrogant, judgmental strangers who are under time pressure. Previously hunters and locks were fast levelers due to the pet, it will probably be dual spec pally or druid this time with pure DPS classes being the slowest.

    4) You also left out the guild decision. Unfortunately, there is more forced grouping in Cataclysm. There are new metrics and benefits to being in a more active guild. But if you level your mage up and get recipes, then some of them (probably the good ones) may be lost if they kick you from the guild or you move on. So you need to not only pick your toon, but pick the guild. Which you have to wait till the patch 3.last timeframe to see if/how the guild and the alternatives survive the pre-expansion lull.

    • Gazimoff says:

      You’re completely correct about the Amazon thing. I use retail stores because I’ve had bad experiences in the past where I ordered something and it turned up several days after release. By being there in the store, I’m removing that risk. Plus I’d never trust a Collector’s Edition order to the interwebs – I’ve heard too many horror stories.

      On the mats thing, you’re right about prices going up afterwards when people are skilling up new alts, like Nina mentions as well. I guess it depends on having the space to hold things back – my main account is jammed full of characters on all the main servers I play on, but my RaF account could handle a few mules to store mats until the market swings back.

      I’m interested to see how the LFD tool affects levelling speed – I’m not a big instance leveller usually, but I did level my priest by camping him out in LDF for almost all of Northrend. I’d much prefer to quest, to experience the stories and explore the new zones. I think that I’ll probably quest to get my mage to 85, with my priest and tank taking the dungeon-only route through most of the expansion.

      I’m not too worried about the guild thing. I tend to pick my guilds for the people in them, not for what raid progression they offer me. By the same token, I don’t live in a huge amount of fear about losing access to guild recipies etc – the bunch of people I’m with tend to be fairly respectful to their members. I totally get your point though, and it will be something that a lot of players will have to watch out for.

  3. Nina says:

    Clearing out the crafting materials in your bank before Cat may not be the best idea. There are 2 new races coming online, and new race/class combinations. All of these will be played by folks wanting to level professions.

    I started stocking up my bank alt with midlevel profession supplies a few weeks back. She filled up, so now my name reserver/placeholder character is also a bank alt. My plan is to sell off her inventory as I level my main to 85, then when she’s empty it’s a sign that it’s time to investigate the new starting zones with my new character, and I’ll miss the mad initial crush.

  4. Kaboomski says:

    Nice post!

    Just one thing.. it’s Rammstein (replace the n with an m), and I had two tickets to a concert last year. It was awesome.
    .-= Kaboomski´s last blog ..Thoughts on Paladin changes =-.

  5. Pingback: Shared Topics: Getting Ready for Cataclysm… or Are You? AND Tell Us Your Favorites « Twisted Nether Blogcast