WoW Blizzcon Recap – Onyxia, Icecrown and Cataclysm
So lets just get it out of the way…Cataclysm (or my favorite term for it Clysm), the next WoW expansion is steam rolling ahead and by steam roll I mean it, its like a wrecking crew to Azeroth, everything we knew is about to change.
So in case you were living under a rock this past weekend, Cataclysm was announced. So I will briefly go over some of the features but for in depth details most of you can look it up at http://mmo-champion.com OR http://wow.com
Some of the major features I want to discuss:
- New Races and their impact
- New Race Class combinations and what that means for everyone
- Why level 85 and not 90
- Changes to Azeroth and the impact of being end level and being in the 1-60 range
- Guild Upgrades and how they are long overdue, but where are guild halls?
- Talent Changes, Stats, Mastery and the new Path of Titans
- Archaeology and how it works with the new systems
- Rated Battlegrounds and the new choices it gives people who don’t like Arenas
- The Return of old bosses in a new way
- Overview of Onyxia revamp and Icecrown
- Other coming soon features
New Races and Their Impact
There will be 2 new races in WoW: Cataclysm. Goblins for the Horde and Worgen for the Alliance. Lets briefly touch on their racials and anything special they can do then go from there.
- Rocket Jump – Activate your rocket belt to jump up to 20 yards, every 2 min
- Rocket Barrage – Fire your belt rockets at an enemy within 30 yards, every 2 min. (Shared cooldown with Rocket Jump)
- Time is money – Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed
- Best Deals Anywhere – Best possible gold discount, regardless of reputation
- Pack Hobgoblin – Calls in your personal servent, allowing you bank access every 30 min
- Better Living Through Chemistry – Alchemy skill +15, Your potions give more health / mana
- Goblins can be all classes except Paladin or Druids
- Darkflight – Activate your true form, increasing movement speed by 70% for 6 sec, every 3 min
- Viciousness – Increase damage by 1%
- Abberation – Reduced duration on Curses and Diseases used against you by 15%
- Flayer – Skinning skill +15, you skin creature fast, and you don’t even need a knife
- Worgens can be all classes except Paladins or Shamans
- Worgen Form
- The Worgen Form is cosmetic only
- Out of combat you can pick between Human or Worgen
- In combat you will be a worgen
So looking this over, one can only say…Goblins are OP (Over-Powered). I am inclined to agree with that, the !% increase to attack and casting speed, cheaper repairs out of the door I can see and are good ones. The +15 to alchemy sure I get that, but the Rocket Jump, Barrage AND instant access to your bank every 30 minutes? The bank one is a big one, for everyone else we need to get the Argent Tournament bridle and even that is on a 4 hour cooldown. Something needs to change here, because that is just insane. Definitely too many racials for Goblins, now they are cool but either Worgen need to get bumped up or Goblins need to get bumped down some. The worgen racials are ok, +damage is great, the speed increase is very limited and similar to a rogues sprint. Curse and Disease has great PVP utility, not much in PVE, but there are some scenarios. Skinning is a nice bonus, but outside of being a druid, hunter or rogue, I don’t see many caring about this. Perhaps a plus to leatherworking might have been more viable, or even inscription.
Also the developers did mention that other races would get a racial overhaul to make them just as cool as these 2, but even so I think the developers heavily favored the goblin racials over the Worgen, and that we will see a change before this all goes live.
But in the end the Alliance now has an “ugly” or beast class in the worgen and the Horde finally have a short annoying class to harrass the alliance in PVP, like the alliance has been able to do for 5 years with the gnomes, I guess paybacks will be a bitch.
New Race Class Combinations and What that Means for Everyone
So as we can see that many races are getting some new classes. The 3 most controversial I overheard at Blizzcon were: Tauren Paladin, Dwarf Shaman, and Nightelf Mage. The developers were able to explain all 3, saying that lore and story are being created with the coming of Cataclysm to allow these change, since the word is changing so much races are embracing new ways of thinking. Tauren are seeing that its not all nature and can learn to follow a more holier path. Dwarves have learned the Shaman skills from the newest members of the alliance the Dranaei, and the Nightelves are embracing the magic which once led to them becoming the Highborne. So they all are being explained, and you have to remember, Warcraft is not a static universe, its going to grow and change and the lore will evolve.
Though many were also upset with Worgen and Goblins being able to be Death Knights, lots of boos were expressed by the crowd, Alliance and Horde alike.
Though I do like Worgen and Trolls being able to be druids, it does give both factions more options, and there wasn’t much pushback on this. There were a lot of cheers for the Gnome priest, which sounds like a good idea I suppose, its not really that game changing though.
Why level 85 and not 90
So this was a shocker for most, why level 85? Many were expecting level 90. Well the developers had a short yet complex answer for this. The thing is with changing the game, Azeroth, redoing talents, path of titans, guild changes, the Looking for Guild system, and much more, they decided to focus on content rather than extra levels. So where we only get 5 levels we will be getting 4 raids at release, several dungeons and 5 new high level zones with phasing capabilities (not including the 2 new starting zones). But most importantly, they are redoing the code for the old world to allow flying, this was a big change and very time consuming they said.
I personally welcome more content and less leveling. I can’t wait to level through the new zones, don’t get me wrong, but the real game doesn’t seem to start until you hit max level, and that is where I prefer to see their time and effort spent. I feel the design and development team made a wise decision with regard to this.
Changes to Azeroth, The new 1-60 and Being End-Game
With Clysm, Deathwing has busted out of the depths and has reshaped Azeroth. Pretty much all zones are going to be forever changed, and with these changes you will see changes in quests, landscape. This gives some incentive to going back through and leveling 1-60 again to see some of these changes as it will be just like a brand new game. But with these changes will also come new quests for the new to be level capped folks. With zones like Hillsbrad Foothills, Azshara, Barrens and many many more zones changing and with flight being available in old Azeroth its a game changer for sure. I am actually holding out on leveling some of my alts, because I am very much looking forward to leveling them in these redone zones, this is of course after I get my main to levle 85.
Some things that they have mentioned is that from stonetalon mountains you will now be able to access the ocean, the alliance has lost the battle to maintain southshore in hillsbrad, the barrens are being divided into a northern and southern areas due to a river of lava now separating them. Also Desolace and Barrens with the changes are getting some foliage…
Guild Upgrades but Where are Guild Halls?
Being in a guild has always meant something, but it was also seen as any job at a company. When its good and you see progression of the company you want to stay, when nothing is going on, you hop to another company. Same thing with guilds, except in WoW the perks never felt tangible except easier to raid. With Clysm, Blizzard is changing all that. They are introducing a Guild Leveling system with tons of rewards to make being in a guild a much deeper personal experience. They will be doing this through the implementation of guild achievements and talent trees. Both of these will yield some nice rewards for guild members.
Here are some of the finer points regarding the upgrades:
- Guild experience is earned through multiple ways, players leveling, killing bosses, leveling professions, PvP victories, reputations
- Each guild level rewards you with one talent point, these talents affect the whole guild. The top 20 earners of the guild will contribute to the guild experience for the day
- Some of the guild talents will allow you to remove reagent costs from spell, get increased gold drops, summon your entire raid, rez your entire raid after a wipe, automatically transfer a % of gold dropped by bosses to the guild bank. Guild talents can be reset
- Once your guild reached level 20, the guild experience becomes a currency and let you buy things like mounts, professions plans, banners, potions, rare reagents and guild talent respecs
- Anyone can learn a guild profession recipe, if you leave the guild after learning it you will lose the recipe and it will be transferred back to the guild bank. Guild heirlooms also work the same way and are bound to the guild
- Guilds will have their own achievements, some of the old achievements might be converted to guild achievements. Some of the achievements are building a legendary item, maxing out every profession, etc …
- A guild news feed will be added, it will shows boss kills, items looted, it will come with different filters to let you find specific information.
- You can now check the professions of every members of your guild and check their recipes list to see if they can create an item.
- You will also be able to invite other guilds to your guild events through the in-game calendar.
These updates to the guild tab mark the first major change for guild management and involvement in well ever. As a guild leader myself, these are pretty much all the features we have been begging for. Looking through guildies’ professions, RSS feeds for news, updates on bosess kills, level ups, people coming, guild achievements. And now even a way to make your guild unique and give your members some benefit by being in your guild by using guild talents. These features are going to change how guilds are managed and how people interact with their guilds. And finally a viable way to do in game recruitment.
But where are guild halls? Well this question was asked of the blizz developers, and their reasoning was that guild halls were purely visual and didn’t provide any direct benefit, and didn’t want to take people out of cities and put them into instances. By not doing it, allowed them to focus on all this new guild functionality to provide direct and transparent benefit to the guild. So while guild halls are a nice to have, these features are much more important and are going to be a huge bonus to guilds everwhere.
This is by far my favorite feature so far of Clysm. GMs across the WoW universe rejoice!
Talent Changes, Stats, Mastery and the new Path of Titans
So one of the big things announced was that changes were forthcoming to the 30 different talent trees. The developers have decided they no longer like the passive bonus talents as they force people to take them like the +5% damage, or the +500 spell power, etc ones. They want them to be more active ones, where they are fun to get. Where instead if you hit someone with say power word shield they now get increased movement speed.
Also by spending enough points in a given tree you will increase passive stats that you would normally get from the old passive talents so like spending enough points in a tree would get you +dmg % or +healing whatever is specific to that given tree. Also there is an idea of a mastery stat which will act like a bonus like it may increase poison damage, or reduce cooldown on abilities. The mastery acts more like a bonus. This isn’t final for every class but you get the idea for mastering a particular talent tree.
Stats are also getting streamlined pretty heavily. Mp5 – Gone and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability. Spell Power – Gone and replaced with Intellect. Attack Power – Gone and replaced with Agility or Strength depending on class. Defense – Gone, no more juggling around the cap, Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents. Armor Penetration is not getting removed but is being replaced by Mastery, which is a stat that makes you perform better at whatever you do. Haste is changing to increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit. Block Value is gone, blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage. Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.
Path of Titans allows another method of progression once you hit max level to further customize your character. This will be using the glyph system and aligning yourself to a particular path which will have 2-3 options each. Also getting your glyphs is supposed to be gated, and not feel like a grind. Glyphs will be gotten through the new second profession archaeology, where you dig up artifacts merge them together and bring them to your particular path of titans cult you align with to get a glyph.
Personally the talent changes are welcomed, because too many times you feel like you are forced to take particular talents but they don’t have that cool factor to them. However you are still rewarded for specializing in a given tree via the passive bonuses, but yet still the developers said they would reward people from spreading points across trees too.
The Path of Titans is awesome, and the fact that its not class specific, allows so much more customization to really make your character your own. Too many times you lose that excitement of upgrading your character during leveling, and then its just about upgrading your gear. But now you finally get a way to continue to “train” your character after hitting max level.
Archaeology and other Professions Updates
Blizz is implementing a new secondary profession where you get to dig up artifacts around the world. They will allow you to put them together to build an artifact to turn in and either get a glyph or quest to get a glyph, the system isn’t fully developed but you get the idea. The glyph dubbed an Ancient Glyph will be used to upgrade your path of the titans.
This is a good idea, but in general not sure we need yet another gathering profession to get these glyphs, I would much rather just have a series of quests to earn the glyphs.
Reforging is being added to the game for allowing you new ways to customize your gear. The only professions currently able to reforge gear will be Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers, Tailors, Jewelcrafters and Engineers. Each gets a different type of item to reforge (i.e. Blacksmiths get plate). Essentially you reduce one stat on the item for another stat, however some restrictions will apply like you cannot reduce a stat and add to one already on the item, has to be a new stat.
This seems cool in theory, but I can’t help but think someone out there will come up with a way to break the system. Too bad we couldn’t have just had reforging recolor items.
With Clysm, we are also getting rated battlegrounds. Just like there is a battleground weekend, there will be an identified battleground for a given week which will be rated. The idea is to allow you to earn arena points to get arena gear without being forced to do arenas. The old WoW classic PVP titles will be added back and presumably will correspond with ranking at the end of a season. Of course the amount of points available a week will be limited to avoid people from grinding. Also if you have no interest in rated BGs, then the non-rated version will still be there. However playing in rated battlegrounds will help “level your guild”, so its in your interest to run the rated battlegrounds. As a note that while you can gain points and rating, you cannot lose rating at the end of a week.
I like this because I for one am not a huge fan of arenas, but on occassion I do enjoy battlegrounds, this gives me a chance to start earning tangible rewards that are worthwhile when I do PVP, it may even give me more incentive to actually PVP.
The Return of Old Bosses and Some New Ones Too
So one of the biggest pieces of news is the return of some old school bosses. Ragnaros (Molten Core) and Nefarian (Blackwing Lair). Ragnaros will return in the Firelands and the
infamous Nefarian will return in Blackwing Descent, both are 2 of the 4 new raids in the next expansion. So Rangaros is pissed off even more since we banished him back to the elemental plane of fire, and well Nefarian is upset because we beat him after he tried to turn us into random animals. Of course though the game’s main boss will be Deathwing who is allegedly living in Grim Batol.
I have read a lot about Deathwing and am looking forward to going after him. Which after him, the only big enemy left that I can really think of is Sargeras, so we shall see. Also the return of 2 of my favorite raid bosses of all time Ragnaros and Nefarian, oh good times indeed!
Overview of Onyxia revamp and Icecrown
OK so 3.2.2 will be Onyxia – 80. Blizzard mentioned that she will be ready in November in time for the 5th anniversary. So first off everyone who logs in during the 5th anniversary will get an Onyxia Whelp pet free. Onyxia will have updated fight mechanics, be ready for deep breaths and whelps once more though. All the classic Tier 2 helms have been redone with level 80 stats, but the orginal art will still be there. Also Onyxia has a chance to drop an extremely rare 310% flying mount, which is essentially one of her brood.
Icecrown Citadel will contain 4 floors and immediately you will see the base of the frozen throne all the way to the 4th floor where you will find the Lich King. There will be 10 and 25 players raid and a total of 12 bosses, which include Sindragosa and the Lich King. Icecrown will reuse the teleporter mechanic that you found in Ulduar. What is probably the coolest fight mechanic mentioned on the 2nd floor you will have to board an airship with your faction leader, then you will race against the other faction to reach the next level, all while fighting the other airship via rocket packs and guns. Icecrown will also come with a 3 wing 5 man dungeon that has 8 bosses. Only one wing will immediately be open, the other two will open via an epic questline. In the 5 player dungeon you will get to fight alongside Alliance and Horde heroes. This is the big momma, and the whole reason I fell in love with the idea that one day I could fight Arthas, and why I rolled a Death Knight. I am quite giddy about patch 3.3. So if 3.2.2 comes out in November, I can only assume that 3.3 will come out early 2010 (like January or February timeframe). Also Blizzard has promised an epic ending once Arthas is defeated. In Icecrown Frostmourne will not drop as a legendary, instead Shadowmourne will (note the caption on the slide).
Other News out of Blizzcon
Other tidbits, cross server Looking for Group. At first it will just be for 5 mans, and designed to help PUGs but may expand to raids as well. This alone is cool that it should help with getting groups faster.
Paid race changes will be available soon after Paid Faction Changes. So hate being a dwarf priest, now that it isn’t special like it was in WoW Classic, well switch them on over to human or night elf.
Hunters will no longer use mana, they will get focus, more details later
Warlocks will now get a cool new interface for playing with their shards, and it will have a new mechanic. By using a shard it will affect your next casted spell.