Average User Score: 5.9Feb 14, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This game is, by far, one of the best experiences I have had with gaming in general. NOTICE I DID NOT SAY MMORPG GAMING. I said GAMING. This game is a WONDERFUL game, and the MMO part of it is a lot of fun, adding to a great balance of solo gameplay, crafting, and the occasional Starfox-esque space mission. I have seen many reviews on here that are slanted one way, and slanted another, so I will basically state what this game IS and what it IS NOT.
What this game IS: First and foremost, this game IS A BIOWARE RPG with a MMO setting, so if you are familiar with and love Bioware's RPGs, you "should" love this game. This game is a great MMO that puts the RP back into MMORPG (when it comes to gameplay, I will address player with player RP later). It has a great depth of story, many customization options, and the typical "choice wheel" that Bioware introduced into its games. This allows you to play your character and make choices based off of what your desire is for the character. Want to be a bloodthirsty, murdering...Jedi? You can! Want to be a Bounty Hunter with a heart of gold? You can! The stories themselves can have far reaching repercussions. There was at least one circumstance where I killed a story NPC on one character, but left him alive with another, and to my joy, the character came back into my story and I was able to interact with them. Not so on the other one. This game IS also a great balance between game time, combat time, and crafting time...mostly because farming is pretty much OFF the table, unless you so choose to do it. The crafting system for missions is great, and lets you send off your companions whilst you continue with your stories. This game IS a great single and multiplayer experience, so long as you don't mind a multiplayer experience that is primarily "Heroic" mission, dungeon, operation (raid), and PvP based. This game IS great at immersion in that the environments not only feel Star Wars, but also feel plausible. From the planetary metropolis of Coruscant, to the frozen wastes of Hoth, you feel like it's a Star Wars environment. The game IS great at scaling zones-instead of a uniform size of planets (a la SWG), your starter planets are more a "portion" of the planet, and as you level and gain access to better transportation methods, the planets become bigger and bigger. (Hoth, for instance, is MASSIVE) This game IS well thought out for balancing zone creation, with a feeling of size, scale, and immersion. This game IS a GREAT first installment to a MMO franchise, almost worthy of saying "WoW Vanilla" level. Myself, I have spent a good two months+ in early access and full game and I have yet to cap level on any character because I have been enjoying SO MUCH. Each story is different for each of the main classes, and while the average side missions are sometimes generic, you do have a fair amount of stories that you can do again and again, take a different option and see what happens. This makes for a high level of re-playability, especially if you are a fan of Bioware stories.
Now for the IS NOT: Most of all, this game IS NOT finished. Meaning, like WoW, it is NOT a completely finished, established, and grown MMORPG. Like WoW, it takes TIME for good, core players on each server to coalesce and create a community. This game IS NOT the best PvP experience in the world...but then neither is WoW, Rift, or any other game.WoW took OVER A YEAR to implement the first battlegrounds in WSG, AB, and AV. This game IS NOT the best for max level content. WoW took a YEAR for there to be appreciable content at level 60, and this game has what could be considered the equivalent of the lower level dungeon raids such as LBRS and UBRS (WoW Vanilla 15 man version, but with 8 people), as well as a couple of upper level operations (A la MC 40, but with 12 people). It took WoW over TWO years, multiple patches, and time for them to develop endgame. This game IS NOT your standard MMORPG with your text quests that you don't have to pay attention to. Spacebar through the dialogue and you risk missing important information, or pissing off your companion. Finally, this game IS NOT uber friendly to player RP, as you can't even sit on a chair.
There is much more I could add, but it would take more time, so I will summarize with this: This game EASILY has over 100 hours of playtime in it and that, in and of itself, justifies the $60 cost imho. It is a MMO game with great RPG value. If you want to get in on the beginning level of a game that will feel somewhat familiar to WoW Vanilla people (i.e. lots of potential, great stuff, and can't wait for the next content patch) then this game IS for you! If you want a completely finished, established game with loads of endgame content, this game IS NOT for you...Period.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3May 6, 2011Well, now that the game is a couple of months into being online, and the whole euphoria of "NEW TOY SYNDROME" has worn off for me, I thinkWell, now that the game is a couple of months into being online, and the whole euphoria of "NEW TOY SYNDROME" has worn off for me, I think it's a good time to sit down and write a review. This review will be organized based off of multiple sections and each will be given their own score, with an average score being the final.
Graphics- 8: Many people immediate jump in and give this game a 10 for one reason...you need a top end graphics card or SLI rig to be able to run it at maximum all. While this does lead to a very VERY pretty game, it still is not nearly as beautiful as some in the genre, most notably Final Fantasy 14.There is no real Anti-Aliasing option between "Edge Smoothing" and "Supersampling" (which can lead to a really big difference in visual quality...at the expense of 2/3 of your FPS) and the graphics don't rate max level in my book. The surrounding areas, while MUCH more pretty and realistic than WoW, still have some flaws that are glaringly obvious, especially in viewing objects at distance, some of the animal animations, and the like. I think the biggest glaring graphic issue for me is a graphics snafu on the wall of the tunnel leading to the CC instance where the lack of coordination in graphics for the wall shows a completely visible LINE in the graphics halfway up the wall.-Tacky...
Gameplay/UI -6: The gameplay and UI for this game is pretty much your cut and dry MMORPG circa...well pretty much anything nowadays. Simple AWSD with numbered boxes, cooldowns, and the like. The gameplay itself can be kinda wonky with areas STILL not loading correctly and random disconnects still plaguing a majority of the population.
Customization of Character/Class-10: The amount of customization of your character on the creation screen is on par with games like AoC and well beyond WoW and some of the other, older MMOs. The customization of your class is where this game is AWESOME in that you have, not only 2 but FOUR different spec sets you can keep at once and interchange as you need to. These specs are chosen among the 8 different souls your class can use, leading to just about any number of possible specs to fit just about any play desires...Sadly there is very limited healing among warriors, which makes soloing a bit of a chore, but otherwise it is worlds apart from pretty much every other MMO as far as customization of your class is concerned.
Immersion-6: Back at launch of the game I would have given this a 10, but that was before I made it through to the end-zones and saw how LIMITED the world is in Rift. Firstly there are only 2 capitol cities. Each of which is about half the size of a Capitol City in WoW. TWO. That's it. Aside from that you have a few mid-range size towns (think slightly smaller Southshore or Tarren Mill) scattered about, lots of little outposts with 4-6 quest NPCs, and LOTS of mobs that want to kill you. You can't take two steps in this game without getting agro from SOMETHING. The Rifts add a sense of urgency and need to the zone, but if you fail Rift invasions there really isn't a huge downside aside from having to kill invasion points and such to get quest givers back. A super boss that will 1-shot anyone would be a good consequence in my book. Sadly, the game lacks in pretty much anything that makes you want to care about your faction or the people of Telara. Once outside of the starter zones you find that all of the citizens of Telara are either giving you quests, are guards, or one of maybe 50 npcs that are meant to add "feel" to the game. Sadly this does NOT provide any immersion value at all unless you find constantly fighting for your life to be an immersive experience.
RP-Friendly- 3: This is where the game really suffers. The lack of areas for players to congregate for RP purposes (There are only 3-4 inn type places for tavern RP), the lack of comprehensive lore (they're still making it up as they go), and the complete lack of immersive areas where people can actually try to base a RP event around leads the RP to mainly be Tavern-based or PvP based. At least on my server. Developers- 6: I give the devs a 6 primarily due to their obvious willingness to be open and willing to admit mistakes. (Check the RoS apology) However, they are also very absorbed in trying to make everyone happy, and thus have made some MASSIVE (no exaggeration) changes to classes/souls all in the name of "Balance" that have effectively either ruined the soul for their role (Riftblade) or made it damn near unkillable (Pyro). This leads me to some sad conclusions for the future.
Sadly, the direction of the game has taken even more of a turn toward being a WoW copy. The implementation of a LFD system, the blatant favoritism of certain souls, and the lack of direction of the game other than creating events based off of the Rifts (More combat, less immersion) has the game leaning away from the slogan "We're not in Azeroth anymore" and more toward "A prettier, smaller Azeroth".… Expand
Average User Score: 5.5Feb 23, 2011Before I begin to say anything about Cataclysm, I will say that Blizzard should be applauded for tackling the semi-herculean coding task ofBefore I begin to say anything about Cataclysm, I will say that Blizzard should be applauded for tackling the semi-herculean coding task of rewriting, revamping, and rebuilding much of the code from Vanilla WoW. What they have been able to pull off successfully, and with relatively few bugs compared to what there COULD have been is nothing short of astonishing.
That having been said, here is my take on Cataclysm summed up in quotes made by myself or various guild members. (I was in beta, so some of the quotes were made based off the beta time.)
"Wow, the worgen starter zone is sweet! Now if only they would fix the bugs..."
"Oh my, the quests in Vash'jir are nuts! The zone is gorgeous and it has so many cool stories!"
"Vash'jir is a pain. I can't handle all the 3D attacks. WoW is a 2D game, they should've kept it that way."
"Some of these new quests for starter zones are awesome! The stories really rock!"
"Hmmm, so there's a few plot holes here that don't mesh with lore...wonder what manufactured or forced lore Blizz will introduce to fix THAT one."
"The water effects rock! Now why did Blizzard not fix how bloody cartoony this game looks...cmon!"
"OMG, the dungeons are HARD! Seriously, all these idiot Wrath babies have NO idea how to CC!"
"Dungeon finder ruined the game..."
"Sweet, the Harrison Jones stuff is a lot of fun! Too bad there's no rep and it's a dead end after Brann."
"Blizzard so screwed up, making it so hard and twitchy to handle some heros and most raids."
And my personal favorite.
"It's while doing Archeology that I began to realize how LITTLE there is to do in WoW once you're max level and don't need to do heroics. If I wanted to level an alt, I wouldn't have a main...And I want to raid, but it's not raid time...so what do I do? Run around watching a blinking light next to a telescope...I'm done."
This sums up very well what Cataclysm is. It's an attempt by Blizzard to suck in more and younger players (and to an extent give old players something new to do) by a more "enjoyable" starting experience from 1-60. After that is the dryness (dungeon grind) of BC, followed by the worn out quests (and dungeon grind) from Wrath until you get to 80 (not 78). After that it's a continuation of the relative breeze it is in WoW to level compared to most (if not all) other MMORPGs. 80-85 should not take more than 3-4 days if played casually for 3-4 hours maximum per day. The quest content is a continuation of the themes that were started in WOTLK, involving vehicles, seemingly random encounters, cut scenes, and other aspects that are somewhat perfected. However it does not make up for the complete lack of depth in content from level 80-85, and the abysmal existence that becomes 85 endgame. What Blizzard did do was make CC required again. They also made boss encounters more intelligent than those in Wrath of the Lich King. However, these boss encounters are nothing compared to some of the Vanilla/BC encounters where you TRULY had to play intelligently due to lack of taunts and agro wipes. Between this and the over-simplification of the talent system, the things about WoW that actually allowed you to feel like you were roleplaying or building your own character have largely been removed.
The over-emphasis on the Dungeon Finder has, as well, weakened many of the more casual guilds, and even some of the stronger ones, at least on my server. Many people have forsaken trying to work together as a guild to reach certain levels and have instead focused on themselves and gearing alts.
Which brings me to my final point. WoW developers know that they have nearly no end-game content worth a pinch of salt. They know it so much that they, during WoTLK created gear that would be able to be sent to an alt and used to level faster, both by having great stats and XP bonuses. What this did is effectively negate the necessities of LEARNING the classes you play before you hit endgame. They also MOVED many key spells or abilities and put them into places at much higher levels. The logic for this escapes me, as some of these skills are literally game-changing if you don't have them to learn with. Imagine being a tanking class and trying to learn how to tank, only to find that a particular skill that is absolutely necessary for holding threat on groups of mobs is not available until you are almost in the 85 range. How are you to learn to utilize said skill without first making it a very unpleasant experience for players you group with? Blizzard seems to have forgotten that the game does not begin at the next expansion's level and they have left many players wanting to actually have the RP in MMORPG experience. In the end, all that WoW:Cataclysm does is the same as Wrath... do all your rep and heroic grinding, then log into an alt and do the same thing...until you can do a raid...and once the raids are done or downed for the week, there's nothing more to do except alts again.… Expand