Post by Malgayne
Ladies and Gentlemen! This past week I was afforded the opportunity to attend a Press Event
at the Blizzard offices in Irvine. At that event we got access to a lot
of new information about Cataclysm...information which we are now delighted to share with you!
Hang on to your hats, because there are some big
changes waiting after the break—including a new raid "downshifting system
, changes to the Guild Advancement
system, and (bombshell) the complete removal of the Path of the Titans
All the info is after the break!
Path of the Titans and the Glyph System
Path of the Titans: Removed!
Blizzard has scrapped the entire Path of the Titans progression system. As it is, it may
be coming back—but not likely.
Tom Chilton explained that Blizzard had spent a long time working on the Path of the Titans system, trying to balance making it complicated enough to be interesting, but simple enough to be understandable. At the end of the day, they realized that they had ripped it all down until it resembled an upgrade to the glyph system. Simultaneously, they felt that the Glyph system wasn't as much of a game-changer in WotLK as they had originally wanted it to be, so they've decided instead to scrap the Path of the Titans concept, and instead focus on making the glyph system into the feature they had originally wanted.
Glyph System Changes
To accomplish this, they've added a new tier of glyphs: Medium Glyphs
. Tom explained that in Wrath, people were really powergaming their glyph choices—that glyphs, like talents, had gotten to a point where everyone agreed on what the "best" glyphs were for each class and spec, and anyone who chose otherwise was dumb. With medium glyphs, they're trying to break that system up a bit—major glyphs are still critical, but minor and medium glyphs have more flexibility.
On the UI side, there have also been a few changes—I was asked not to take photos, but the glyph UI now lists all the possible
glyphs for your class. Tom Chilton pointed out that up until now there had been no way to get a complete list of all your possible glyphs in-game—the only option was to go to the Auction House and look through what was available (or to patronize our own fine establishment
There was also talk about making glyphs permanent rather than consumable—so that as soon as you used a glyph for the first time, it was added to your "list", and thereafter you could rearrange your glyphs later on as you chose.
Firstly, the whole guild currency idea has been scrapped.
The rewards that they had originally had in mind for that system, like special guild tabards and mounts (with your guild insignia on them and everything!) are now unlocked by guild achievements. Rather than buying them with guild currency, you buy them with simple gold—but which
rewards you can buy is restricted by your guild reputation
You farm guild rep by doing four things:
- Completing quests
- Doing rated Battlegrounds
- Killing raid bosses (to get credit, the raid that downs the boss must be mostly comprised of guild members—7/10 for 10-mans, and 20/25 for 25-mans)
- Earning guild achievements
Basically, you'll be farming rep with your guild in exactly the same way you would farm any endgame rep—and the rewards will (presumably) be similar. A final decision hasn't been made yet about how guild reputation will transfer (if at all) between alts, but they did say that leaving a guild won't immediately wipe your guild reputation—though joining a new guild probably will.
Some examples of possible guild achievements were offered:
- 10,000 total quests completed
- Having a max-rank of every profession
- Having an 85 of every class
In addition, some of the existing achievements (like the classic raiding meta) are being converted into guild achievements, to give players a reason to go back and do them. This allows players to farm achievements to help their guild's rank and their guild reputation, even if they already have them all.
As it stands now, guild achievements will be retained by the guild, even if all the members of the guild who were present when the achievement was earned have left the guild. The guild achievement pane actually lists the guild members who were present at the time the achievement was originally earned.
The whole guild talents idea has been scrapped
as well. Tom Chilton talked for a while about the issues they faced—Can only the guild leader pick the talents? Do you have respecs? Who pays for them? How do you make all the players feel involved? Do you min-max builds, so that all guilds feel the same? Instead, they've altered it to a simpler system: each guild progresses normally from level 1 to level 25, and gains a new perk at each level—just like a character learning new spells. The guild menu will now show you what your existing perks are, and what the perks will be come the next guild level. No information was given about how exactly guilds would progress, but it's easy to guess at possible methods—raiding, group pvp, guild achievements, etc.
New Guild Interface
Another thing I was frustrated not to be able to photograph, guilds now have a fully revamped interface with a lot of long-awaited features.
First of all, there's a new guild landing page, with a news feed—something broadly similar to the character feed
for individual characters on the Armory, but for the entire guild—listing recent successes in raiding, new characters hitting max level, etc. You can also flag items as "sticky", in case you want to make sure the Message of the Day stays up there, or you're exceptionally proud of a recent kill.
In addition, the guild roster is now filterable
. You can now see the professions of your guild members from the guild menu—and sort players by profession. This enables you to do things like searching for a crafter in your guild who can make the item you need, so you can easily contact them—a HUGE time-saver.
10-Mans and 25-Mans
You guys already know that Blizzard is planning to consolidate 10-man and 25-man raiding into less of a difficulty setting and more of a playstyle choice. This means that 10-man and 25-man encounters will be designed to have roughly the same difficulty level, and will drop items from the same loot table. To compensate for the additional logistical hassle of getting 25 players online rather than 10, Blizzard will be giving out more loot per player
in 25-mans—specifically, about 50% more. It was strongly hinted that this extra loot would come in the form of Emblems.
What they hadn't announced previously is the ability to "downshift" your raid.
Imagine if you do a 25-man run of a new instance, get about halfway through, and call it a night. The next day you get back together to do another run, but—big surprise—only 20 people show up. Well, now you can "downshift" your raid into two separate 10-man groups
, and just keep right on going. The maximum number of 10-mans you can make out of one 25-man is three—meaning, if the remaining five guys show up the next day, they can swap down to a 10-man as well and keep right on going.
Blizzard is not allowing players to "upshift". They explained that they felt this would cause a lot of pressure on guild to pull some really unpleasant maneuvers—for instance, stripping out the bottom 15 players to do some particularly difficult encounter, and then inviting them all back in for trash. They figured the legitimate
use-cases for upshifting a raid were much more rare.
Here's another big change—they've added a great deal of flexibility to raid lockouts. Rather than being locked into a particular raid ID, you can now join any raid
, as long as it doesn't have any bosses up that you have already killed. Basically, as long as you're not killing the same boss twice in one lockout period—you have total freedom.
- Has been completely redesigned to accomodate fly-overs. A lot of attention specifically has been paid to Stormwind Keep.
- A second trade district—mailbox, auction house, bank, etc.—has been added to the Dwarven District.
- On the way out of Blackrock mountain, Deathwing has destroyed the Park completely. Have no fear—the druid trainers have relocated.
- They've added some new areas in the back—some lake area, as well as a city cemetery. Some quests have been added here to help flesh them out.
- Garrosh is hanging out in the center of Orgimmar, not the Valley of Wisdom. A metaphor?
- The goblins have their own area, the Goblin Slums, in the west end of the Valley of Spirits. Garrosh doesn't think much of them.
- There is a second trade district in Orgrimmar too—in the Valley of Honor. They're also adding more forges.
- The Valley of Wisdom is now a Tauren district.
- There's now a back gate, leading into Azshara—providing a convenient entrance for goblins leveling through that zone.
- The Drag is the only throwback to old Orgrimmar.
The Bastion of Twilight
- This will be a raid offshoot of Grim Batol, run by the Twilight's Hammer.
- This is the "Naxxramas" of Cataclysm—entry level raiding.
- 5 boss fights, plus a sixth Algalon-style optional, ultra-hard boss.
- Will include a "council" fight of Twilight Ascendants, cultist ascended into elementals
- Final (non-optional) boss: Cho'gall!
- The elemental plane of air, home to both a dungeon and a raid
- Vortex Pinnacle: 5-man, will battle against the minions of Al'Akir the Windlord. Bosses include a djinn, a storm dragon, and a lesser elemental lord
- You will be able to use your flying mount to fly from platform to platform (real mount, unlike The Oculus)
- Raid is similar to this, but larger in scope—you WILL fight Al'Akir himself
- Holy cow I wish I could take pictures, this place looks gorgeous. It's like a cross between Ulduar, Dalaran, and clouds.
- The Orgrim's Hammer has crash-landed in this zone! The Skybreaker is still in the air, and you will be tasked with finding out what happened!
- Deepholm USED to be settled, but when Deathwing broke out of the Earth temple, the whole zone became disrupted.
- Therazane the Stonemother will be hanging out here. She'll run a quest hub with dailies and a rep similar to the Sons of Hodir, but, you know, better.
- This is like WoW does Egypt. Like titan architecture, but with squares and pyramids instead of circles and globes.
- Denizens of Uldum are called the "Tol'Vir", and are connected somehow with Al'Akir's wind elementals.
Other Juicy Tidbits
- The Shimmering Flats is mostly submerged, but the majority of the gameplay still takes place above water.
- You will be hearing brand new music in familiar zones.
- The Forsaken are coming into their own—you'll be seeing their own unique architecture as they spread across Silverpine Forest and other zones.
- When you gain a level, an announcement appears in the center of the screen letting you know what new abilities you have access to, and advising you to see your trainer. Skills you're leveled for but haven't trained yet will be marked as such in your spellbook.
- Archaeology will let you find two types of items—Common Artifacts, which are kind of a collection game where you're trying to find all of the artifacts for a particular race, and Rare Items which will produce actual usable items. Most Rare Items will be cosmetic only, but a few will have actual effects.
- Cross-server raiding still hasn't been solved. They're working on it, but it's not there yet.
- There will be more Algalon-style encounters—ultra-hard optional bosses for hardcore players only.
- The current heirlooms will stop growing after level 80. There will be a whole new crop of heirlooms for Cataclysm. Goblins and Worgen will be able to start using heirlooms immediately at launch.
- Wrath of the Lich King had about 1000 new quests. Cataclysm has over 3000.
So that's the rundown, ladies and gentlemen! What do you think?
Are you confused, disappointed, or excited? What are you looking forward to the most?