The title of this post is a bit glib, I’ll admit, but there’s been quite a bit of bad voodoo in the WoW community lately about Cataclysm and it kind of baffles me. I mean, I’m no arbiter of universal taste so if someone isn’t enjoying the expansion that’s their prerogative, but some people are angry about Cataclysm. They feel sad and betrayed, and I find it kind of mystifying personally because I’ve been just pluggin’ along having a fine time of things.
I’m hardly a Blizzard fan girl (many of the negative feelings some folks have now are very similar to how I felt during the last six months of Wrath of the Lich King), but I’ve given a great deal of thought to why at this particular moment I’m pretty happy with WoW. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I think I can break it down into three main things:
1) I am no longer as emotionally invested in WoW’s gameplay
This could sound like a bad thing at first, but I actually consider it a positive aspect of playing a game for this long. There were times, mostly 5+ years ago, when I had a bit of an unhealthy relationship with WoW. I played too much, spent far too much effort on the game and my characters, and just sort of poured my dissatisfaction with other areas of my life into making my time in WoW as perfectly efficient as possible. Now years later (and certainly some modicum of personal growth later as well), WoW is no longer the shiny unknown siren that it once was. That perpetual reset of gear and goals that drives some people crazy in fact soothes me.
Priests get nerfed? Eh, we’ll get buffed again. Lost all my groovy epics to leveling greens? I’ll see more of those over time. Spirit important again? Frost mages overpowered in PvP? Have to retire my legendary? Heroics 5s are difficult again? Que sera sera!
2) La la la, patience is a virtue
This is not to say that I have completely avoided the sense of panic that comes with “keeping up with the Joneses” in the guild, but it’s definitely less this time around. I think those last six months of WotLK taught me to chew my content 100 times before I swallow it.
There is no need to rush. I haven’t finished two of the new heroics, I’ve barely touched Archaeology. When I log on I am just as likely to spend a couple of hours crafting and posting auctions or leveling my 30-ish tank as I am anxiously pounding out improvements to Liore. This is not to say that I’ve abandoned my main, and I certainly maintain a baseline of character progression so I can contribute fully to my raid group, but I know for me personally controlling my content consumption means I enjoy myself more.
3) I love my guild
This is probably the most controversial of my points. I know that some people don’t like having a guild and I am certainly not saying that solo play should be ignored in WoW, but my enjoyment of the game is hugely a result of having a wonderful group of folks to play it with. Actually, I think it’s a plain fact: WoW is better when enjoyed with friends. Heck, everything is better when enjoyed with friends. You (yes you) will enjoy the game more if you have a friendly group of people to play it with.
Guilds of all kinds provide a variety of benefits. You have a pool of people to do activities with, from lowbie leveling to raids. Even if you can’t get a group going, you’ll have friends to chat with while you do whatever it is on your own or with LFD. A guild can provide group goals, such the guild achievements now, that help give direction some days and make you feel collectively good when you accomplish them.
And of course with the return of content that isn’t a pushover in heroics and entry-level raids, an experienced guild group is going to have a huge advantage over a group of strangers who have been thrown together by the LFD system or trade chat.
Cataclysm has absolutely changed to put more emphasis on groups and guilds, and I will not lie that those of us who were fortunate to be in strong guilds before it even hit are in a great place right now. We have content to sharpen our teeth on, institutionalized guild goals, and perks for being an active group of friends.
All this is not to say that people don’t have valid reasons for disliking Cataclysm. Heck, it’s been six years — some folks want to move on, and I can’t blame them. One day it’ll be my turn. But as it turns out, unlike what I was kind of anticipating Cataclysm does not seem to be that time for me. Thanks to a few attitude adjustments and honestly the very hard work (shared by many) to keep the guild thriving during the horrible lull of latter LK, I’ve been having a great time and I’m glad some of y’all reading this have been as well.