Preparing for the Cataclysm

Like many people, I am desperately hoping to get in on Cataclysm testing at some point during the beta. But I realized this morning that just wandering around gawking will not be a good use of my time — I need to be prepared!

(For the record, I plan to do lots of wandering around and gawking anyway. Shoot, my middle name might as well be ‘gawking’. Mania ‘Gawking’ … er … Does Mania even have a last name?)

Anyway, this wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t keep creating new web sites. But nooooo — someone just has to go launching more and more of the damned things. And that means I need to keep them at least nominally up to date.

So. Gathering data for the Warcraft Mounts and WoW Tabards isn’t too bad. I have a basic idea of where to start: presumably each new race will get mounts and a tabard; I can check out the honor vendors and Mei Francis in Dalaran; there might be new stuff at the Argent Tournament. I also expect that any major new factions may sell mounts and/or tabards as well.¬†And while I will certainly miss a lot of new bits — like raid-dropped loot mounts — I have an amazing community of players who help keep me informed.

So that’s more or less under control. Petopia, though …

There will be new hunter mechanics, which means new guides and FAQs and whatnot. No problem. There will be new zones with new hunter pets. Sounds good. And oh, Blizzard is touching almost every zone in the game, changing the landscape and the levels and the quests and probably, therefore, the beasts in the area.

… Which means that I probably need to go through all 1152 creatures in my database (not including the ones I keep forgetting to add), check whether or not they still exist, whether or not they can/can’t still be tamed, whether their level has changed, and whether their location has changed. And then I get to start over with the new beasts Blizzard may have added.

As a rough comparison, there are about 200 beasts in my database from The Burning Crusade and about 300 from Wrath of the Lich King (including exotics and new families). Let’s assume that the new zones in Cataclysm contribute about 150 new beasts — fewer than the last two expansion, since there aren’t quite as many new zones. And let’s assume that I don’t need to check any beasts in Outland or Northrend. That still leaves me more than 700 old Azeroth beasts to check (including the exotics in old Azeroth), plus the 150 new zone beasts, plus any new beasts in old zones …

Oh boy.

(And I don’t even want to talk about how I’m going to present all these changes to users.)

Don’t get me wrong! I’m really looking forward to charting the hunter pet changes of ¬†Cataclysm. And I know I will have plenty of help — I won’t be out there chasing down 700+ beasts all by myself. But it’s still a staggering amount to think about, isn’t it?

And I haven’t even gotten to the good bit yet. Because Blizzard certainly isn’t going to have everything pinned down as soon as beta starts. Even relatively near the end of beta they may still be making tweaks to quests and zones. So every time there’s a new build pushed to the beta servers I’m going to have to spot-check as much as I can to see if anything has changed.

Of course, that’s assuming I get into the beta. If I don’t, I’ll be doing all of this at midnight on launch night. *grin*

So yeah, I can’t wait to get started! I’m going to need every second I can lay my hands on …

17 thoughts on “Preparing for the Cataclysm

  1. Mania Post author

    Well, the initial run-through I figured I’d take it by (existing) zone. First go through looking for new beasts, then grab all the old beasts in a zone from the database and go back through looking for them. So if you wanted to help, you could take on a zone. I will also need a lot of help with the beasts in the new zones and in dungeons.

    As we get closer to beta starting — and assuming enough people want to help! — I’ll try to get us at least a bit organized. Ooh, maybe I can put my big spreadsheet up on Google docs!

  2. Tsani

    So if I understand it right you need someone crazy enough to print out a list of existing beasts from a zone and then go running like a mad hare through that zone ticking off the boxes and writing new beasts and their tameable status at the bottom of the list. OK, add one more beta-hopeful to your list of minions. ;)

  3. Sasrei

    haha for sure! I think with a couple of people helping out, we can get this done in no time :) While of course still telling blizzard about bugs, but you know the important things in life is what you can tame :)

  4. Mr. Perfect

    Is manual in-game verification the only way to check this stuff out? Can the data be found in the game’s files somewhere? What about the mob-tracking MODs like NPCscan, can they be configured to log what they see in the game? That way you’d just zip around the zone, and then read the log.

    Oh, and I always thought Mania’s last name was Lackadaisical. :D

  5. Nimizar

    Lackadaisical when it comes to traditional game elements like raiding and PvP. Never so when it comes to data collection :)

    Before pet normalisation, Mania’s quest to tame one of every pet in the game was the source of most of the public pet stats.

    As far as the other part of the question goes, I believe a number of the links in the pet chain are server side, so data mining the client won’t tell you which model goes with which pet record, or whether or not the pets are tamable. The client generally only includes the details it needs to do its job (models, textures, animations, tooltips, etc) with a lot of the actual number crunching left to the server to handle.

  6. Xephira-Garrosh

    Humm….

    Honestly, since they’re doing as much…. chaos… as they are to the world, this might even be a case where you take what you’ve already got and set it aside for the most part. Some zones might be the same, but it wouldn’t surprise me if everything had at least a bit of fresh air fanned on to it… Even if it just means that the same models are running around with a new name… remember, they’re changing mob levels and… god, I don’t envy you this task..

    If I get in to beta, I’ll do what I can to help out :)

    Also… I always thought Mania’s last name was Arcadia. XD

  7. Sasrei

    @Tsani: So true! I wanna tame her :( Hopefully come Cata they will have new skins, and as well new colors for old favourite skins. There idea of “fixing” the bug by getting rid of the taming is not nice.

  8. Illia

    I’m in the alpha, and while obviously I can’t disclose anything going on at the moment due to the pesky NDA, I’ve started a spreadsheet of mobs I come across which are new/different to the old world stuff (doing the goblin zone now). So when the NDA is lifted I’ll mail you over a copy for you to use as you like. Most of the models in the new zones are borrowed from other mobs but I’ve come across a couple of awesome new things so far – I’m just hoping they’re tameable!

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