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 …
(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 …