(Please see below for part 1 of this article.)
As referenced previously, this ultra-casual player is back in the Game now to experience all that is new and fresh in the post-cataclysmic world of Azeroth. As with anything else, I see some good, some bad, and much that is tepid in Cataclysm.
Being a pessimist, it is easier to pick out the ‘bad’. And for me, the worst element is the proliferation of ‘mini-games’ within World of Warcraft. These things just keep popping up in greater and greater number, and I don’t like them at all.
The first mini-game that I noticed was in The Burning Crusade, when my Alliance toon needed to take gryphon rides to drop bombs on things. It was not bad, but since I don’t play with a mouse (due to repetitive stress injuries in my wrists) my targeting is very imprecise. It took several runs for me to accomplish what someone else could probably do in a single run.
Then it all turned sour in Zul’Drak in Wrath of the Lich King. The quest The Storm King’s Vengeance had me frothing at the mouth for hours and reading all the comments that users have put on Wowhead in search of successful strategies. It had a heavy investment of time, and I suffered at least eight unsuccessful attempts. I wasn’t raised on a Nintendo (was just a little too old when the original came out), so I don’t have the ridiculous hand-eye coordination of everyone younger than me. These mini-games are too tough.
What’s worse is that each of them is also a jarring break from the normal flow of the Game. I cut my teeth on some of the original, great computer role-playing games. Finishing “Ultima VI” was like an epiphany for me. I would have gotten further through “Morrowind” if I could figure out how to make the game understand my WACOM tablet’s input. And, playing WoW for me is just participating in a big, colorful, but not terribly deep RPG.
These mini-games have no place in a role-playing world.
So, what is the source of my current frustration, you ask? First Be Raptor followed almost immediately with Swabbing Duty. Judging by comments on Wowhead, it looks like I am not the only one who is spitting nails about the unwelcomed inclusion of these mini-games. Be Raptor would have been forgivable if we had ended up keeping Ohgan’aka as a pet. At least Blizzard added a work-around for Swabbing Duty that costs only 1 gold. Well worth it, I say, to avoid the irrational click-fest required to complete this mini-game. Very much well worth it.