Last week Blizzard hosted a press event in Irvine, CA to share new information on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. There were some very exciting things discussed, as well as a few big surprises. Since I know you're interested primarily in the details, I'll keep this to a summary of everything rather than an editorial article. I do have a few of those coming based on some hands-on time with the expansion, though.
There are also quite a few new screenshots and a brand new tour video of some of the zone changes coming with Cataclysm. You'll find them at the end of the article!
Cataclysm Press Event Details
Path of the Titans & Glyphs
- Path of the Titans has been scrapped and will not be implemented.
- Instead Blizzard will focus on improving the glyph system, as they feel it didn't quite hit the intended goals in Wrath.
- Glyphs will now be available in 3 categories: Major, "Medium" (PH name) and Minor.
- Major glyphs are core to each class and will be expected to be used to perform at maximum level.
- Medium glyphs will be to provide "fun" alterations to abilities.
- Minor glyphs will largely function as they do today.
- There are 25 levels in total.
- Guild talents are not going to be implemented.
- Instead, guilds will be automatically rewarded with perks.
- Each time a guild levels up they will receive a perk.
- Guilds gain experience through a member participating in dungeon or raid boss kills, winning rated battlegrounds, completing quests or unlocking guild achievements.
- Guild currency has been scrapped.
- Guild rewards will be unlocked by completing guild achievements.
- Rewards will be purchased with gold, and anyone in the guild can purchase the reward once it's unlocked.
- Examples: mounts, tabards, heirlooms.
- Guild mounts will have a flag attached to them that displays the guild's emblem.
- This is a newly announced feature; players will gain reputation with their guild similar to how other reputations work in the game.
- As you contribute to the guild by completing quests, killing bosses, winning rated BGs or completing guild achievements, you will gain reputation.
- The best guild rewards will require having exalted reputation with your guild.
- Guild reputation is on a per-character basis, so you'll have to gain rep for each character you have in the guild before you can buy rewards with it.
- Reputation is not wiped immediately upon leaving or being removed from the guild; this is to prevent losing all your progress in the guild due to someone jokingly kicking you.
- These will be integral to the reward and level systems. Completing one can unlock rewards as well as give the guild experience.
- Guild achievements are earned and owned by the guild, so once it has it, it never goes away -- even if all members who participated leave the guild.
- Even classic raids will help level your guild. A new version of the classic raid meta will become available that guilds can complete.
- When viewing a guild achievement it will display the members who participated in earning that achievement.
- To earn a guild achievement you must have 7 of 10 or 20 of 25 players in the raid be members of your guild.
- There will be realm first achievements for guilds, as well as individual players.
- Current raid achievements will NOT be retroactive. New guild versions of the achievements will be introduced. This is to start Cataclysm with a "clean slate," according to Cory Stockton.
- The guild UI has received an overhaul and contains:
- The guild xp bar and its current level.
- An RSS-like feed of the latest news for the guild; boss kills, level milestones, etc.
- Some news like major raid boss kills or level 85 will be "sticky" (this is determined by Blizzard) and will persist at the top of the feed for a while.
- An upcoming events section that is a snapshot of your guild's calendar.
- The most recent perk the guild has earned, and the one for reaching the next level.
- The guild reputation bar (this is specific to your character).
Raids & Dungeons
Raiding - General
- Players will be able to "downshift" their 25-player raid, splitting it up into 10-player versions.
- Raids will be able to split into up to 3 10-player raids.
- These raids will start at the same progress point the 25-player was at for the lockout.
- There are no plans to allow 10-player raids to combine into a 25-player raid.
Grim Batol - Bastion of Twilight (Raid)
- Described as the "Naxxramas" of Cataclysm; it will be an entry-level raid for the expansion.
- 5 bosses in total.
- Cho'gall is the end-boss of the dungeon.
- One encounter will require "dual-strafing" -- whatever that means.
- Another encounter will be a "council" fight called the Twilight Ascendants; Twilight's Hammer members who have ascended and become elementals.
- Upon defeating Cho'gall on heroic mode, the floor beneath you will collapse and you'll fall into a cavern of flowing lava that hides a "horrifying secret," according to Alex Afrasiabi. Speculation time!
Skywall - Vortex Pinnacle (Dungeon)
- A dungeon where flying mounts work, but no flying combat (yay, not Oculus 2.0)
- The dungeon sports new cloud tech, and the visuals shown during the presentation were stunning. It's a palace area floating in the sky; it's the Elemental Plane of Air.
- Players will encounter djinn, or at least Warcraft's take on the mythical creature.
- One of the bosses is said to be a "storm dragon"
- Another is an elemental lord
- It's keeping with the Egyptian theme; "WoW does Egypt," according to Alex Afrasiabi.
- The tour was impressive; the zone looks great. Incredibly detailed textures on the terrain and buildings. Lots of pyramids and other Egyptian-themed sculptures.
- Uldum was locked away, protected by a Titan machine which created a projection of a large, impassible mountain, but the Cataclysm destroyed that machine -- opening up access to Uldum.
- The Tol'Vir are still planned to be a new race introduced here. Not ready to be shown though.
- The Elemental Plane of Earth, where Deathwing was nursed back to health and "rebuilt".
- It's essentially the "core" of a sphere (though not Azeroth; it exists on its own plane).
- Deathwing ruptured out through a tower in the middle of Deepholm and entered Azeroth through the Maelstrom, according to Alex Afrasiabi. It looks like Blizzard changed their mind since BlizzCon.
- Therazane will be present here and is involved in a reputation similar to Sons of Hodir, "with the lessons learned from that," says Alex Afrasiabi.
- Orgrim's Hammer and The Skybreaker are both here. Orgrim's Hammer has been shot down by The Skybreaker.
- You will encounter many stone and crystal creatures here.
Player versus Player
Battlegrounds - General
- Launching with two battlegrounds: Twin Peaks and the Battle for Gilneas. More to come post-release.
- Twin Peaks will be a capture-the-flag map similar to Warsong Gulch (see the preview) with a few small differences.
- Two graveyards for each faction, with one of them being in the middle of the map. Dying out in the field will cause you to spawn here rather than at your base.
- It's relatively similar in size to WSG, but the field itself is larger, with the bases taking up less space.
- Twin Peaks will NOT be replacing Warsong Gulch like some players were expecting it to.
- Players will participate in rated battlegrounds by forming their raid group prior to joining the queue.
- You will only face off against other rated groups.
- Each week the format for rated battlegrounds will be different. It will rotate between 10, 15 and 25-player battlegrounds.
- Rating loss will not exist until after a certain threshold.
- Conquest points will be rewarded for winning rated battlegrounds.
- There will be a limitation on the number of Conquest points you can earn each week to prevent feeling like you must participate in both arenas and rated battlegrounds.
- There will be end-of-season rewards for rated BG teams similar to arenas:
- The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season.
- The "Gladiator" equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off.
- No longer involved in Path of the Titans, since it was removed.
- Will now help to "dig into the lore of the game" -- essentially being used as a vehicle for storytelling.
- There are two types of "artifacts" players will be able to uncover through Archaeology.
- The first will be more of a lore or story artifact.
- The second can reward items; cosmetic or fun in most cases, with the rare usable weapon.
- It will not provide any must-have items.
- There are, as of the event, 3000 new quests planned for Cataclysm. That's nearly 3 times as many quests added with Wrath of the Lich King.
- Darn you Zarhym for posting this before I could!
- Leveling up will display a "toast" similar to earning an achievement. It will show:
- The level you reached
- If a new talent point is available
- Any new abilities for that level
- Feature unlocks: battlegrounds, dungeon finder, riding, glyphs, etc.
Cataclysm Zone Change Video
This is a new video showing off the changes to classic zones with Cataclysm, including two of the major cities. You can find the previous zone change tour video by heading here.
Some of these screenshots have been seen already. Especially the Blasted Lands tree, which makes another appearance. On the bright side, they're ridiculously large files with high resolutions this time around!