On the Bittersweet End of Cataclysm


Spoilers here for the DW fight.

Cynwise killed Deathwing tonight. I’d honestly thought it was something I’d either miss this expansion, or that it would be an end-of-xpac kind of kill. I thought it would be something I’d be trumpeting and going AW YEAH and TAKE THAT and PWND and /FLEX.

I’m not feeling any of those things. Oddly, I think it’s a hugely fun fight, epic in the right ways, with enough action cues to make me go AW YEAH while I was doing it. On to the ship! GO GO GO GO grab a parachute GO GO GO GO GO on to the next rock GO GO GO GO GO stop Deathwing before he blows up the world GO GO GO YOU LAGGARDS!

Matthew Rossi covered this feeling of epicosity well in Big Stakes and the End of an Expansion. It’s a good read, about how – story wise – this is a perfect ending to this expansion. I completely agree. I finally feel fulfilled with the story, engaged with it, my own characters place within it has solidified in a way that only happened once Arthas lay dead at my feet in Wrath. Cataclsym didn’t feel real to me until End Time and Dragon Soul.

But there’s a real difference here, too. With DS, my response to Deathwing’s death was, dang, that was cool. It was fun and fulfilling. It also took about 1 hour tonight, and we 1-shot bosses I’d never seen before in LFR.

With ICC, I sobbed when Arthas hit the ground. Months of frustration and learning to raid and trying to get the right group and Jesus why am I dying to Infest and all the rest culiminated into a cathartic outpouring of relief and joy.

These two experiences highlight, for me, the difference in hitting story-based goals versus hitting performance-based goals. Before LFR, they were intertwined. Now, I can experience reaching the story goal without also reaching the performance goal.

This is good, because my interest in actually pursuing normal raiding is pretty low. I’m probably not going to kill Deathwing on Normal, and I’m okay with that.

But it’s bad, because by removing the story-based incentive Blizzard also lessens the impact of (and motivation for) completing the raid on normal difficulty. I’m pretty sure that I’m done with Cataclsym at this point. I might level up a few alts, hang out with folks, but that dragon thing? Stick a fork in it. Done.

Is that really bad, though? I mean, if I was already drifting away (and let’s face it, I have been), is it better to go out with a great story and having fun? Or should the game try to keep me engaged, try to get that sense of real accomplishment out of hitting a raid goal?

I think, all in all, that just letting me go with a fun action-adventure that didn’t take all that long was probably the right thing for my long-term interest, if not my short term.


I’m done with Cataclysm. That’s strange to say, it feels strange to consider it that way, but it’s really true. I’ve won the xpac. I can go do something else now.

I have some minor gripes about some of the motifs and imagerly used in the end of the story arc, mostly with the “Age of Mortals” idea, but I don’t think I want to dwell on them tonight.

It’s a bittersweet thing when a story ends.



Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

17 responses to “On the Bittersweet End of Cataclysm

  1. Poneria

    Awwwww.But we’ll see Cynwise in Mists, right? Right? 😦 *whimper*

  2. Cynwise of Stormwind

    Probably? I haven’t really figured out what my plans are for Mists yet. 🙂

  3. Arazu

    Raiders don’t care about the “story-based incentive”. The Lich King cinematic was dumb and all we did was mock the voice acting, the Deathwing cinematic was more awful Thrall garbage with some dragon stuff mixed in that we didn’t even understand. When it ended my raid was standing around saying “wait, what the hell was that”.You’re not missing much if you don’t want to do it on normal though, the fight’s not very different. LFR Deathwing we killed on the first pull ever, normal Deathwing (which we actually did first) we killed on our third attempt. Heroic’s probably going to murder us for months, but lots of people aren’t interested in that kind of challenge. Heroic Dragon Soul ain’t a pushover.

  4. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Arazu: I was trying to be good and not comment on the cinematic, but I will say that it reminded me entirely too much of the later Dragonlance novels, and I’m not talking about the good ones. 🙂

  5. Druidis4fite

    I’m a fairly lore-involved person, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a raiding related emotional response to lore. I get my lore in questing and novels and babbling about baby panda eating demons on gchat. I’ve cried at quests, but Raiding is [was] business. Even more for the people I’ve raided with than me – “lolrp” is a meme for a reason. I wouldn’t go so far as Arazu and say raiders don’t care about lore full stop, but I will say very few raiders are motivated primarily by lore. Some of my most emotional kills are for bosses I can barely remember what their lore justification is. I can link you the kill vid of my regular arthas guild kill, and those freak outs are not IC. I’ve cried at bosses dying, but not because “Oh, my Tauren has killed this big bad she hates so much.” Even with LFR, my reasons for wanting to do the content are mostly execution based – I miss the mental activity of raiding, rather than lore based, “I want to see wiggly tentacle beast guy die”. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I see Deathwing, I’ve only done the first 4 bosses.

  6. Ralod

    You know cyn, we start normal Dragon Soul tonight:)I think over all, the story of Cata was okay. I think being able to kill Deathwing in LFR is nice, but underwhelming. When we killed Arthas, it was more of an achievement it was for sure a whole lot more work. I hope Mists is good. One of the reasons so many people are playing other games right now is because of cata. I like LFR, don’t get me wrong there. I think it is a great way to see content, and a easy way to gear for new things. But I think maybe the End bosses should not be fought in LFR. Like maybe Deathwing should have watched as we killed a Old God servant in a fight that only happens in LFR.I love the game, but damn if they don;t make it hard sometimes to keep saying that:)

  7. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Druidis4fite:In retrospect, it wasn’t the story-based elements which made me cry. It was finally, FINALLY having beaten that fight. OMG the relief. Story got me interested in the fight. Overcoming the mechanics and making it happen evoked the catharsis.I’m interested to hear what you think once you clear Deathwing. It’s not a hard fight if the switches are called out correctly.

  8. Cynwise of Stormwind

    “I love the game, but damn if they don;t make it hard sometimes to keep saying that:)”Yes, exactly. 🙂 I hope Mists is good, too. I think I’m going to dink around a bit on alts and can help out on normal raids some nights, but I suspect a break will be good for me. I have until February when my sub runs out, then we’ll see what happens next.

  9. Druidis4fite

    I will fill you in 🙂 I Haven’t felt like logging in at all in about 2 weeks, but figure I’ll get back into it eventually. Personally I would have liked to see LFR released after the normal modes- a few weeks after, at least. It’d reduce that “must grind gear” thing that normal raiders are experiencing for the first time. (It’s old hat to heroic raiders.)I don’t think having seen the fight die on 1 mode strongly affects the significance of the harder kill, especially if there is a big gap between the two. But that’s a conversation heroic mode raiders have been having for years, and for the most part, people who are really really bothered by it have stopped raiding in wow. I know that say, Lootship R made Lootship H kind of boring, because they were both easy and there were no meaningful changes. Meanwhile, having killed Sindy R or Mimiron didn’t make killing heroic Siindy or Firefighter any less rewarding. So I guess the take away from me is there needs to be significant mechanical differences between all three modes of the fight in order to maintain that feeling of achievement as you progress. “He hits harder lol” is not very much fun. But finding 3 levels of difficulty that change the nature of the fight dramatically for every fight must be near impossible to come up with.

  10. Redbeard

    Well, there’s always the new shiny. You know, TOR.Not that I’d say I’d miss seeing your posts and stuff, Cyn, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  11. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @redbeard: Seriously, the lack of a Mac client is what’s keeping me from trying it out. I’m ready to roll. I’m not ready to get a Windows 7 license. 🙂

  12. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Netherlands: Posterous is eating your comments, but I am getting them via email. Thanks for the tips – I’ve put them on Green Tinted Goggles, my twink blog. 

  13. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @druidis4fite: That’s a good idea, delaying LFR. It would have solved a lot of problems.Hey, do you want me to wait for you with Ash at 70? It’s no big deal, I have been working on the shammy and the druid’s SSO grind in the meanwhile. Just curious if I should wait to take her to 75 to level profs or not. 🙂

  14. Redbeard

    Aw, come on, Cyn. Just build a LINUX box and have it run via an emulator. You could even name it the Death Star if you wanted to….And you have GOT to be kidding me that the words LINUX and emulator would trigger the spam filter…….

  15. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Redbeard writes: Aw, come on, Cyn. Just build a LINUX box and have it run via an emulator. You could even name it the Death Star if you wanted to….

  16. Cynwise of Stormwind

    And I’ve complained to Posterous about this comment spam filter. This is too much. 

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