Prelude to the Shattering is well underway

Interested in Cataclysm at all?  The events leading up to The Shattering are starting to ramp up.  Over the past couple of weeks it started with a few words being spread by cultists and now it’s full blown elemental invasions into Orgrimmar and Thunderbluff.  Every couple of hours rifts will open and the cities will turn into events where the various districts are invaded and you have to destroy elementals.

After the elementals are slain, the rifts remain open and you’re able to queue with a party to fight a few familiar faces: Princess of Maraudon, Gahz’rilla of Zul’Farrak, Prince Sarsarun of Ahn’Qiraj, and Ambassador Flamelash of Blackrock Depths.  They’re a bit tougher though, weighing in at level 80 with a lot of HP.  They drop decent ilvl 251 loot and are quite fun.  They’re only available for a short time after their respective city invasion ends, so hop on and do them while lots of people are participating.  There is an achievement available for you if you close a rift of each type.

These invasions aren’t all.  If you haven’t been playing the past two weeks you’ve probably missed out on some interesting (not fun, but interesting) quests where you go to Nagrand to speak with Thrall.  He’s gone to commune with the elementals to find out what is going on.  Garrosh is already well situated in Orgrimmar too.   There’s also some background on Cho’gall in the twenty or so quests that you can find outside of Org bank.

The rumor right now is that the Shattering will come next Tuesday.  That’s exactly two weeks until Cataclysm, but they might delay it until the 30th.   I’m just anxious for something to do in the game again.  Right now I’ve run out of reasons to log in — well, I did until now that the invasions are happening.  Even so, I’ve done it all in one day and now I’m waiting seven days for the Shattering (hopefully not 14 days…) and just counting the hours until I can begin playing a goblin.

  • I’m in the same boat as you Keen. I logged in to my horde and alliance toons and banged out all the content in a few ours. I must admit that the events are cool though.

    If you are looking for something else to occupy your time, I recently jumped back into the fray of Warhammer Online with a few friends (wouldn’t have done it alone). They’ve made some improvements (stability being the main, but that could be due to less people as well), but there are still some issues lingering from when I played near release as well. They are still running the 10 (14?) day re-enlistment offer so you can check out the 1.4 patch with the revamped ORvR which hits on the 18th. FYI, it’s a 9 gig download.

  • I’d forgotten just how crappy that game looks. Is there any graphioal update in the new expansion, as its looking extremely dated now?

  • @Humakt: Yes, there are many graphical improvements. Which games are you comparing to WoW? WoW has aged far better than WAR, LotRO, EQ2, Vanguard, etc., and has recieved several graphical updates from its expansions.

  • Those screenies look pretty much the same as when I stopped playing WOW 3 years ago so I will have to take your word for it.

    I always did hate WOW’s art direction though. I could never get used to it after the more realistic DAOC. I far prefer WAR to that and in any case WAR is a far better looking game then what I see there when run on the higher settings which most new computers run pretty easily these days.

  • I can run both games at their “ultra” settings and have done so within the last month. WoW is the superior looking game in terms of graphical capabilities (lighting, effects, textures, etc). They are different art styles though.

  • @ Humakt Yeah, the Graphics have really improved, The new water and light effects are really really good, and i believe they are making them a bit better in cataclysm. I’m not saying that you are but for everyone, Dont compare Graphics of Games like Wow to games like Aion… its just totally different and if one thing ive learned from games (Majorly age of conan) Graphics dont make a game.

    @keen Yeah im really enjoying the new Elemental battles and pre cata quests. Yesterday was the most Alliance ive seen together in a long time on my Server (Which is overpopulated by horde)… which Blizz need to fix -_-

  • “I always did hate WOW’s art direction though.”

    It’s been the series’ art direction since Warcraft 2 (though Warcraft 1 had some minor elements of it). I wouldn’t have it any other way personally.

  • @Keen – i disagree with you on the graphics, taking Humakt´s example, WAR has the all in one better graphic engine. It has however some bad textures. Still, LotrO is way better. There are not many graphical improvements. I have been in the beta for months. The world looks better, but not that much better, DX10 updates don´t add much and i´m also not pleased with the water effects. Though it does look better than before.

    I also never had a problem with their art direction, i prefer a less cartoonish art style, however it works perfectly fine with Warcraft in my opinion.

    Personaly, i´m very dissapointed with the whole Cataclysm prelude. They said it would be so great and blow our mind away..yeah it really “blows”, just not in the good way.

    I knew what to expect lore wise, i have read the book, probably because of this i´m even more dissapointed. The quests were outright boring, not enough, and with the instanced bosses after the (completley not dangerous) city “attack” the whole world event lacks the “world” in it.

    I´m not on the ptr, so i´m looking forward to the shattering…if there is no ingame event, and/or cinematic (and i don´t mean the trailer…), just patch and login and everything is changed it will annoy me even more, that would be reason enough for me to cancel my preorder. I´m already very sceptical if i will buy it anyway, it´s well..more of the same as usual.

  • @cirdanx: I’m sure they meant the shattering itself would be the part that blows us away. The shattering is the real beginning of Cataclysm — what we have now is just the intro to the intro.

    As for graphics/engine, WoW has better animations than both WAR and LotRO. WAR looked terrible when I played it last month — it just looked aged and messy to me, even on their new ultra settings. LotRO has pretty scenery … until anything moves.

  • Yeah I think WoW is one of the BEST (yeah, that’s right, BEST) MMOs when it comes to animation blending. Most other MMOs (and even FPS) suffer in various degrees from jittery, or frankly shitty, looking animations due to network latency.

    It was always WoW’s goal to be on the lower-end of graphics “flair” to allow a broader spectrum of client hardware to play the game.

    And if you as an opinion believe that the WoW art design isn’t appealing, then that’s your prerogative.

  • @Keen, then i hope they have some nice ingame event for the shattering. Otherwise it will be rather boring. Of course it will still be interesting for those who are not in the beta and i think they have done a good job with the remake of the old world.

    I agree with you, the animations are really not good in both games, especialy in LotrO. But i guess it´s also more easy to animate the low polygon models in WoW than others. The rest however is still not as good as in LotrO as an example. From the sky, over ground textures to the whole world, be it water, trees, buildings, whatever.

    But i really wish they would overwork the whole animations 😉

    Anyway i have canceled my preorder and account already, i don´t really see a reason to pay for more of the same.

  • @Keen

    WoW has improved a lot more than Everquest 2 since release, but EQ2 is still a drop-dead gorgeous game at most settings. Desert of Flames, EQ2’s first expansion, still looks better than anything in WoW. I don’t see how any comparison would favor WoW, except perhaps in the realm of character animation.

    I think a more apt comparison would be between the progress in graphics engines and character models exhibited by WoW and EVE Online, which came out more than a year beforehand. Now THERE is a game that keeps its visuals up to date, despite limited resources. If it were more popular, I think its competition would be shamed into updating their games’ graphics.

  • Hey keen, i know you and your drones all hate social games. But i just found one that is really fun. It’s called Die2Nite ( lame i know, but the game is far from.

    In effect it is somewhat similar to mafia wars, in that you have action points to spend each day (a day is 24 real hours), when they are up, you cannot perform actions that require AP or move.

    The game is set in some sort of post-apo world full of zombies, think Fallout here. When you start the game you are automatically assigned to a town. The objective of the game is to survive the zombie onslaught as long as possible.

    During the day, it is relatively safe to wander the desert square-based map grid around the town, searching for materials and items. These items can be brought back to town and used to build improvements to buildings or new buildings.

    At night, midnight GMT (i think), 3PM Pacific, zombies will kill anyone in the desert. So you have to make sure you have enough AP to make it back to town! to boost your AP you can take drugs (can make you addicted) drink alcohol (will give you a hangover the next day) drink water if you have it, or eat food if you have it.

    The zombies will then proceed to attack the town, attempting to breach the defenses and kill the humans. To survive, your town must cooperate to build defenses in forms of fences, walls, watch towers, etc. The game goes on until your city is destroyed by zombies and the last human is killed.

    upon death, you respawn in another town, to relive this mortal coil once again. Your previous accomplishments are tracked with your profile.

    email the developers for beta keys [email protected]

  • Other MMOs may look better then WoW but I’ve yet to be able to play any other MMO that had 40v40 PVP battles without a hiccup of lag. People put down WoW’s graphics but I’ve never, EVER, had to tone down WoW’s graphics settings. WAR was/is a mess, RvR castle siege were lag slideshows, so much for “great” graphics. EQ2 was unplayable for a long time for me too. WoW is total butter smooth for me, sure it looks old and dated.

  • Ferdinand, nah, spaceships against a static background isn’t exactly CPU/GPU-crushing. I can play EVE on my iPhone. Pew pew in space isn’t exactly what I would call sophisticated graphics. What they do they (CCP) do well.

  • It really depends on how quickly you want to hit heroics once you hit 85. If you don’t have 4k Justice Points saved up to buy gear with at 85 then that should give you a reason to log in to get a few hundred JP a day before release.

  • @Trimethicon – oh well, i had bigger battles in warhammer, aion, and other games without a lag. mabye it´s your computer? 😉 also you have do make a difference between world pvp and instanced pvp. WoW´s PvP (god i hate to call it pvp…) is instanced.

    I remeber very well the older days with tarrens mill fights where the server would go down, or city raids where again..the server would go down or you would have a real slideshow.

    Their engine is horrible when it comes to mass battles. (i´m not saying other games do it a lot better though) There is a reason they made the changes to wintergrasp.

  • 3000 players fighting in one spot isn’t remarkable because someone’s computer can handle it, it’s remarkable because the SERVER can. 150 Horde once raided Ironforge on my server — next thing you know, everyone in Eastern Kingdoms is at the login screen with “World Server Down.” There weren’t more than 30-40 Alliance online in IF at that time. WoW’s servers crash when 200 people fight in one place, yet EVE continues to push the envelope in both graphics and performance.

    If you were just making the point that “crappy graphics make games more accessible to people with 10 year old computers,” then… fine. No argument here. I was only responding to:

    I’ve yet to be able to play any other MMO that had 40v40 PVP battles without a hiccup of lag.