2012 is nearly over. If you were playing WoW
on this date in 2011, you were playing a significantly different game, raiding the ultimate raid of Cataclysm
with the Dragon Soul, or... probably not doing much else. One of the biggest changes between then and now is one that's often commented on, namely that there's a much wider variety of content in Mists of Pandaria
at the endgame level. Level 90 players can choose to run scenarios, heroic dungeons, use the Looking for Raid tool, engage in pet battles, pursue one of a wide variety of daily quests which allow for the gaining of reputation with various factions, run challenge mode dungeons, or get involved in 10/25 man raiding. One can even step into older raid content with or without a group for the purposes of collecting gear for transmogrification or simply for fun.
I've said before and will say again that quests like Welcome to the Machine
demonstrated real mastery on the part of the development team behind Cataclysm
. To my mind, the real lesson of the Cataclysm
transition is threefold. Cataclysm
was extremely well designed, but the majority of its best content is in those revamped 1 to 60 jones, or to coin a term, is in vertical content, a pillar of content that players ascend. Mists
content is horizontal -- while there are several zones to level from 85 to 90 in, the true flowering of the vast majority of Mists
content is a plateau, an expanse that blossoms outward. Once you ascend those five levels, you get more
to do, not less
. However, it must be said that this isn't a trend that Mists
invented. Pretty much every innovation in Mists of Pandaria
's content delivery is built on the edifice of Cataclysm
, which itself built on previous expansions.