Expanding Horizons, Cataclysm et al.

Returning to my dedication to blog again happily corresponds with several new virtual world-y things a-happenin’: The WoW expansion, Cataclysm will be soon released (apparently Dec. 7?) and I have just ordered yet another virtual world in which to live in (live and let die…..).

Yes,  I shall be soon frequenting the much-anticipated Final Fantasy XVI online. Shipping estimated for October 10th. More on that when the madness begins.

Meanwhile, back at the boar ranch outside Orgrimmar, our little group of players is talking and thinking Cataclysm. Me, I haven’t done the homework readings. But fortunately one of my guildies is a straight-A student who totally gives me all the notes. He tells me that….

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE!!!

Well, yes, we all know that all the starting areas and original continents are to be shaken up and moved around, erupting volcanoes, chasms splitting the land asunder, new peoples emerging, etc. etc. But also, apparently, my dear ole shaman will have what seems to amount to an entirely different approach to gameplay. New spells, new mechanics (an AOE heal that you put on the ground?!), totally different mana management… I don’t even know what all.

Plus, he tells me, “they’re pushing the guild stuff.” I’m probably misquoting, he probably explained that much more elegantly, but suffice it to say that apparently guild achievements and larger guilds are going to be a focus of this expansion’s new mechanisms.

Anyway, the point is that expansions are interesting. The last one (the only one I experienced myself), Wrath of the Litch King, was fascinating: lots of people leveling together, completely different social dynamics, all kinds of excitement about actual plot and content, everyone slammed back onto a mostly level playing field as our hard-earned purple gear was outflanked by the greens we started to pick up….

For me, thinking about playing Lan in a completely new way is exciting! This is the joy of expansions.  Not only new content, but new challenges in how you play this toon you have gotten so very used to. I like that stuff. Yes, I’ll be terrible again, which is no biggie to me. But figuring out what to do, what I can do, is a huge part of what makes the game fun to me.

It’s almost like a whole new game! Except I get to keep my picnic basket, my goat to ride, and my super-cool pillar of flame.

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