World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Preview (Blizzcon 2009)

By ShihnongShihnong

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Preview (Blizzcon 2009)


As most people already know, the big announcement for Blizzcon 2009 was the unveiling of the next World of Warcraft expansion: Cataclysm.


The Lore:
With the Fall of Arthas at Icecrown Citadel (patch 3.3) and the end of a long campaign against the scourge, the heroes will return to their lands, but they will not find it the way they remembered. The world will be sundered by the reemergence of a dark foe, twisted and tormented by the words of the old Gods. It will be the day of the dragon, Deathwing, and the world will forever be changed.

What does this mean?

With the new expansion, Deathwing has returned to the world of Azeroth to bring all life under his reign. He bursts from the Elemental Plane of Earth: Deepholm with such unimaginable strength that the lands themselves will be shifted.
Everything you remembered about the way the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor looked from Vanilla WoW to what it looks like currently - gone. The world has changed with Deathwing’s reemergence. A prime example is that the Barrens, currently an enormous zone that ranges from level 10-30ish, will be split into two zones: Northern Barrens and Southern Barrens (not sure of the exact title). Southern Barrens will look like a lush oasis. Another example is how Desolace, a dreary land ruled by cruel winds of death, is now a heavily forested land because the ocean waves have now nourished into the lands. The world will be different. There is also a new addition to phasing – terrain phasing. As you progress, the world will change with you.

Seven new zones will also be opened.
• Gilneas – the home of the Worgen (the new Alliance race – more on this below)
• Lost Isles – the starting area of the Goblins (the new Horde race – more on this below)
• Sunken City of Vashj’ir – an underwater zone once the home of Lady Vashj – underwater combat similar to land combat.
• Deepholm - the Plane of Elemental Earth magically linked to Azeroth after Deathwing’s reemergence. The Cataclysm hub much like how Dragonblight is Lich King’s hub.
• Uldum – a hidden desert land (think Egypt) once ruled by the Titans.
• Mt. Hyjal – the reviving world tree is under siege by Ragnaros (yep, he’s not dead –merely a setback) but being defended by Malfurion Stormrage (geek out! He’s back!)
• Twilight Highlands – the final zone where Deathwing has settled.

Within these seven zones, there will be all new dungeons and raids such as the Abyssal Maw (Elemental Plane of Water), Grim Batol, the Halls of Origination, Blackrock Caverns, Fireands, and Skywall.

And for all those out there who’ve wanted this for the longest time (Sarcasmancer…), they’re adding in Heroic Deadmines and Heroic Shadowfang Keep. Celebrate.

They’re adding a new PvP zone called Tol Barad, which will be a combination battle area and daily quest hub. Blizzard called it the Isle of Quel’Danas and Wintergrasp rolled into one. During the battle, all quests stop. When the battle ends, the quest hub reappears for both factions, but the winner gets access to special daily quests and possibly a dungeon (unconfirmed speculation – there’s a prison there both sides want access to, so I’m guessing there’ll be something inside like another Archavon or other).

Three new battlegrounds are being added as well as a rated battleground system. The rated battleground system allows players to gain arena gear without participating in the arena. This works by playing in the weekly rated battleground, and every week, it will be a different battleground for easier control.

Characters and Leveling:
Blizzard is implementing a whole slew of changes in gameplay.
There is now guild leveling. Your guild will gain levels based on the top 20 guild experience earners of the day. Experience is gained from PvP/Raids/Groups (all must be 75% guild members)/boss kills/etc. Experience is changed to currency and allows your guild to purchase guild heirloom recipes and talents. Guild heirlooms remain with the guild, so if you leave your guild with their item, the item is returned. All members of a guild who have a guild heirloom tailoring recipe will be able to learn and make it. If they leave a guild, however, they will be unable to make the heirloom again. Talents for guild leveling include examples:
• Penny Pincher – repairs cost less
• Everybody’s Friend – removed reagent cost for raid buffs
• Cash Flow – earn more money from enemies
• Mass Resurrection – durr.
• Name-Which-I-Don’t-Remember – summon all raid members to you.
Guild talents will affect the entire guild.

Character changes are intense, so scary stuff first. These stats:
• Mp5
• Spell Power
• Attack Power
• Defense
• Armor Penetration
• Block Value
Are all gone. Instead, Spirit is mana regeneration. Intellect also boosts Spell Power. Attack Power only mattered for agility based characters so agility is now 2 attack power. Defense will appear in talent trees to make tanks uncrittable. Armor penetration sucks. Block Value will be a straight % reduction. Stamina, however, is going to everyone in volumes. Plate HP for everyone!
Talents will also be undergoing changes. Many passive abilities are being removed from talents such as Cruelty (5% crit on warriors).

And here comes the good.
Talents will be getting a new ability called Mastery. How this works:
If you put more points into a talent tree Then You gain a passive bonus

Fairly simple. There are 3 tiers of mastery for each talent tree:
1. Increase damage/healing/tanking/etc.
2. Stat-like increases (haste/crit/etc.)
3. Something unique to your spec, which is further modified by mastery bonuses on equipment
Talent trees no longer require scrolling and show all 3 at once.
These changes are implemented to allow a fun choice in talents. It will make the experience unique to each player (Blizzard hopes).
Along with mastery comes the new secondary profession Archaeology, which allows players to find artifacts and relics that give rewards and begin the brand-new, end-game feature known as Path of the Titans.

Path of the Titans is a customization that is not dependent on class. There are so far 6 titans that you can eventually align yourself with. These alignments allow for different skills and bonuses to be attributed when you receive an item known as an “Ancient Glyph.” The Ancient Glyph goes onto your glyph tab as normal, but these are not class specific and will be earned by everyone. They are currently planning to reach 10 ranks for the Paths of the Titans (10 glyph spots), but they will release them slowly over time (money money money!)

And the penultimate gameplay factor – reforging! Reforging allows you to cut a stat on an item in half (Blizzard said in half, I’m wondering if you can eventually choose amounts) and place it into an unused stat on the item. If you have stamina and intellect, you can’t change stamina into intellect. It has to be an unused stat. Plate HP mitigated!

The level cap is raised to 85 and oh, flying mounts usable everywhere! Other interesting tidbits – new race/class combos such as the Tauren Paladin, the Gnome Priest, and the Dwarf Shaman.
Warlock Soulshards aren’t in the bag anymore. They’re under your health and mana UI bars.
Hunters don’t need mana and get Focus energy. Focus regenerates at 6 per second, but different abilities allow the regeneration to increase.
Ranked spells/attacks are now gone. Spells and skills scale according to your level.

The New Races:
Faction: Alliance
Starting Area: Gilneas:
The land near Lordaeron that shut itself away when the scourge arrived. Unfortunately, they summoned the Worg(?) to fight the Scourge, but they became cursed themselves. The Night Elves bring them into the alliance.
Darkflight – faster movement speed for a limited duration
Viciousness – 1% increase in damage
Aberration – reduce curses and diseases’ duration by 15%
Flayer – skinning + 15 and no knife needed

Faction: Horde
Starting Area: Lost Isles:
The Goblins of Khazan were enslaved by the Twilight Cultists (Deathwing’s henchmen) and are shipwrecked. They meet the Orcs and join the Horde.
Alchemy bonus + 15 and greater efficacy of self-made potions
Rocket Belt or Rocket Jump – Choose to leap forward or send a rocket at your enemy (shared cooldown)
Time is money – 1% haste
Best deal possible – always get highest discount


Racial traits for the other races will also improve to mitigate the awesomeness of these two races.
Overall, the expansion sounds to improve upon and streamline WoW’s experience for gamers. I’m excited to see the new content. With only a level cap of 85, Blizzard somehow finds ways to mitigate its own limitations with such awesome developments.

Ridiculous crap I can’t believe:
Ragnaros and Onyxia aren’t dead. Merely setbacks. Welcome to the world of comics and retcons. I will admit I don’t know much Blizzard lore for any of their series of games, but I’m still shaking my head at this.

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