But because, according to Day, the budget for Season 5 was relatively equivalent to Season 4, they needed to look to other means to supplement the production — thankfully, though, the conference setting offered a natural opportunity to integrate product placement. “The question was ‘Can this add to our universe?’ instead of it just being ‘Please give us some money,’” Day said.
Mooch: The Druid tilts his head at the target and purrs adorably, causing the target to take temporary leave of their senses and offer the Druid a treat, consisting of buff food, an amusing flavor item or a few coins.
Underfoot Antics: The Druid appears from stealth beneath the target’s feet, disorienting them for five seconds as they try to avoid a barrage of foot-pouncing, ankle-swiping and shin-nuzzling.
Visiting a Transmogrifier will present players with a new interface that will allow them to change the appearance of an item while retaining its original stats. This means that you can raid in your paladin tier 12 Immolation set, but look like you’re wearing Lightbringer, while priests can bring Benediction back – at least in spirit. Hunters can once again roam the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale in their tier 2 Dragonstalker set. You could even slip into the saucy tailored Black Mageweave set for that matter. You know, with the thigh-highs, and the little gloves, and the cute little… ahem.
I really, really wanted to like the Molten Front stuff, I really did.
Parts of it were great. I liked the silly Mylune quests in Hyjal, and the random NPCs in Setheria's Roost. I quite enjojed peak-hopping via spider's webs. But the whole Druids of the Talon area is just damn painful (I've only once got through the intro escort without dying on the way), and the much-vaunted random quest mechanism just didn't have enough variety in it. I made a big mistake by opening that up before the Shadow Wardens stuff, which was much more fun.
In the end, there was far too many "kill x of y" and not enough interested and innovative mechanics. The "rune dash" area and "bird collection" quests were the only ones that struck me as noticably new in feel and tone.
I admired the concept, and struggled through the execution.
Finally, I opened up the last vendors and grabbed the ring I needed to push me to iLevel 359 in my healing kit. The screenshot above seems to have captured the Ancient in mid-Phase…
To my mind, there are only a handful of undisputed successes in Cataclysm. One of them is the new levelling experience. I've always been a quester/leveller by nature, enjoying that more than the endgame. Cataclysm has only exaggerated that. In fact, since Leafy hit 85, I've found it pretty hard to deveote much time to her and the various chores (and I mean chores) of the endgame.
The main beneficiary of this has been Halesworthy, my worgen druid. He's feral-specced, so feels completely different to Leafy to play. I charged through the worgen starting area, which is just wonderful, and found myself sucked ever onwards by the narratives of each zone. The "go to a zone, do stuff, move on" feel of vanilla has been replaced by driving (and often phased) plotlines in each major zone. It's fun, dammit, and adds another element of addiction to an already pretty compelling game.
I've started a little video series capturing some of the fun moments of the levelling experience. This probably covers Halesworthy up to his late 20s:
Halesworthy has mainly been following Leafy's footsteps through Kalimdor, as I wanted to see how much that experience changed. I can't wait to get started on another character and take them through the Eastern Kingdoms.
And as for Ularia, my space goat pally, who was labouring through Ashenvale waaaay back in May 2008, over three years ago?
Well, one ding…
…leads to another…
Yes, I finally have two toons in the same expansion for the first time since… well… um… ever, actually.
So, yes, Cataclysm levelling rocks. Pity not a huge amount else does.