Lots of Cataclysm Info – Lots of Changes

Grim Batol looks like an amazing raid.

There was a ton of Cataclysm information released last night and I want to talk about some of it.  Some of the information is new stuff that we didn’t know about or clarification on how certain things will work.  There’s also a few let downs as well as sighs of relief from decisions not to go forward with certain systems planned but instead to go a different direction.

Path of the Titans Removed (Bummer…)

This was going to be a way for your character to progress in a way I feel is similar to how EQ handled AA abilities.  You could make certain decisions (like choosing a path) and gain abilities or passive benefits from that choice.  However, now it’s being replaced with “fun” Glyphs.  Major bummer here, but I can also sigh with relief that this won’t be based on PvE or PvP progression.  This could have been another min/max mechanic which is the last thing WoW needs, especially with Cataclysm trying to reduce the impact and confusion of min/maxing.  I just hope that these “for fun” glyphs really are something amazing.  To have dropped such a huge system in favor of “medium glyphs” leaves really big shoes to be filled.

Glyph System Change (Not much improvement unless they make the new glyphs revolutionary)

It used to be that you had slots to put glyphs in and you could unlearn them and put new ones in.  For me as a Druid tank, this meant that on certain fights I was unlearning a glyph and putting a new one in just to put that old one back in after the fight.  This cost money and it just wasn’t as polished a system as it could have been.  Now it’s going to be improved with some new UI changes that will hopefully also do away with the expendable glyphs, although we really have no real details.  I still think there are going to be “the best” glyphs for each class and even with the “for fun” glyphs it’s not going to make much difference.

Raid ID Flexibility (Great improvement)

Now players are able to move into other raid ID’s as long as bosses they’ve already killed are not in the same ID.  So if I miss a raid with my guild that kills the first two bosses, I can join someone else’s raid and kill those two bosses then rejoin my guild as they progress further.   Being locked out with ID’s was to prevent being able to farm bosses multiple times a week, but it also created a lot of hassle.  Good fix here.

Rated Battlegrounds (Some confusion here…)

On the various press sites I’m seeing a lot of information that could be taken either way.  Consider the following quote from MMO-Champion:

“Rated battlegrounds will be available for pre-mades of 10, 15 and 25-player sizes.”

Does that mean that rated battlegrounds are ONLY available for pre-mades or that pre-mades could get into rated battlegrounds?  I had originally thought that it would be like StarCraft2’s matching system where you are given a rating and matched with people of similar ratings/skill/gear/etc.  Not the case, or is it just poorly worded?  If anyone could clarify this for me I would appreciate it.  I want to be able to do pre-mades with 2-3 of my friends and not be forced into finding 10 people.

Content: Raids, Quests, oh my! (Raid down-shifting, tons of quests, and it all looks friggin sweet)

Making 10-man’s the same as 25-mans and having it just be a playstyle choice = A+ change.  Another A+ change is raid down-shifting where you can take a 25-man raid and split it into up to three 10-man raids.  Fantastic change given that a lot of guilds like mine aren’t hardcore enough to force people to log in but rely on people to want to play and play on their time.  Sometimes this means that you’re short people.  While it doesn’t help the 10-man’s it does help the bigger 25-mans when people don’t show up.  Now they can split it into 10-man raids and continue where they left off.  Great change.

Here’s another point of confusion:

“Wrath of the Lich King had 1000 Quests, Cataclysm has over 3000.”

Are those 3,000 split from 1-60 and then 80-85?  If so, there’s probably 1000 from 80-85 and 2,000 1-60.  Cataclysm is more than just a vertical expansion like WotLK was since it’s changing much of the rest of the game.  We knew it was going to be much more than WotLK already.

Something I thought was quite interesting while reading all these press changes was how Blizzard wants each of the zones to be visisted while leveling through the new content and not like it was in WotLK where you could skip half the zones.  They want the whole thing to be experienced.  Some will say “Well now I have less replay”, and they would be right, but perhaps Blizzard will focus on making the content that much better.  Optimistic glass half full thinking, but still entirely possible.

Raids in particular….


CHO’GALL!!!!  Entry level raiding for Cataclysm will be fighting one of the infamous characters from Warcraft II that has continued to be apart of the Warcraft lore.  That’s going the be a great fight.  There’s also raids with a djinn, storm dragon, and … Egyptian themed stuff (we’ll see how this plays out).

Guild Leveling (Now almost identical to WAR’s “Living guilds”)

There was going to be a guild currency system for buying upgrades for your guild, but that’s gone.  Now it’s all an achievement system where you spend real money to buy the stuff.  Simplified but perhaps more polished.  The downer here is that this is essentially a farming system much in the same way Warhammer Online’s guild leveling turned into.  In fact, it’s almost identical to WAR’s guild system.  That’s not terrible — it was a good system.

I’m just happy that we have the ability to get really cool things now like Mounts with the Guild Tabard on them and banners, heirloom items, etc.  Hopefully this system meets the high hopes that I have  for it and eventually spawns a much bigger and better guild progression system that will (I wish) one day have guild housing.


A lot of stuff removed.  A lot of stuff changed.  I’m a bit disappointed that the path of the titans is gone and I’m hesitant to believe that the new glyphs and glyph system will be anything new at all.  I’m confused about the rated BG’s and how Guild Leveling with be anything more than farming, but optimistic that both will be well done to Blizzard standards.  The best of the best continues to be the changes to the content and how being able to do content continues to improve exponentially each time they talk about it.

Cataclysm is still going to be a major event and my excitement is not at all diminished, even by some of the let downs.  I’m playing WoW now with my community and friends and we’re eagerly awaiting the launch of Cataclysm so that we’re ready to jump head first into the content.  If you need a home for Cataclysm or even now to raid/pvp/have fun, you’re welcome to check us out.

  • I don’t think their idea for swapping raid IDs is a move towards better. As it is written, it just sounds confusing and will result in another add on of some sort to keep track of it. To me, it would make sense to just get rid of raid IDs and let people farm away. Its a fucking game, not a job.

    I’m glad to see path of of titans removed. WoW does not need and most MMOGs do NOT need another advancement path added with each expansion.

  • It’s really not confusing. It’s basically saying you can join any raid as long as there aren’t bosses you’ve already killed. It will really helps guilds like mine as well as the formation of PUGS and finding a raid that suits you.

    I’m relieved that the Path of the Titans won’t be another thing I have to worry about, but I’m also bummed that we’re stuck with another silly glyph.

  • I didn’t like the whole Path of the Titans thing, I in no way wanted to level multiple alts in the same skills just to make them competitive. I do like the idea of hot swapping glyphs without spending a huge chunk of money on them (but doesn’t this eliminate inscription making money?). I also like the idea of possibly useless but fun glyphs, I’d like to see some cosmetic form changes on ghost wolf or the ability to drop a libram on my paladin to consecrate the ground. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

  • Agree with heartless. it’s a damn game, I dunno when the shift in allowing players to kill one boss per week happened in MMO’s, but it sucks. I remember the days when I could kill bosses every few hours in the particular MMO I played. Just had to spawn them by killing a placeholder.

    They already give out epics left and right, so what is the point of a raid id now other than to keep track of progress. You should be able to reset a raid id whenever you want. That’s a step in the right direction.

  • Honestly, the reason for the raid lockouts is to stop people from playing too much. It’s the same reason for gating.

    They don’t want guilds to go “hey, we can’t beat this boss, let’s go out, reset, kill all the bosses we’ve already beaten for more loot and try again” or “hey, this first boss is fairly easy, let’s just farm him for loot.”

    Now, you’d think players would be able to control themselves and not play too much, but we know that’s not the case, due to ToC, where players burned themselves out doing the same raid four times, even as they hated having to.

  • I’m just amazed at the way they seemed to have so casually thrown out some of the features they were planning for months.

    I liked the idea of the Path of the Titans / Plot / Levelling tie in; I guess they wanted to keep to their more familiar mechanics and not risk alienating the purists, or scaring off the inevitable new influx of players that comes with each expansion.

  • I agree in part with Keen on the Path of the Titans. I was looking forward to a different way to progress your character. But in the end it will be another Mix/Max bag of tricks that would probably be a bad thing and depending (speculating now) on how far it went another way to exclude players.


    As much of a disappointment the overall package will be yes it would be nice to see some “cosmetic” changes in the game. I know Warlocks have been crying for a change to their fire spells being green.. Some going even as far as be willing to pay for it.

  • Hey Keen,

    Nice write up. I’m bummed out by PoT being removed from plans, but the expansion still looks good enough to bring me back.

    I have a question for you though. A while back, yuo were pretty critical of the raiding treadmill. Now that you’re back in, have your feelings on wow’s endgame changed at all? It’s the one thing I’m still leery of.


  • I hope WoW makes some of these new “fun” glyphs more like WARS moral abilities. This game needs more punts, aoe blow backs, and other battleground altering methods.

    I love Shammy’s Thunderstorm and DK’s deathgrip, but I’m starting to get a bit discouraged the longer time goes by and no information on them stealing what I feel was one of the best parts of WARs PvP combat.

    Nice write up, thanks for keeping me informed.

  • What i’m really itching to find out is, is to what Worgen Druids will form into (not that i want ont, i already have druid :P) but i just want to know out of curiosity.

  • Actually they released info in an interview with GC on the weekend that states that the medium glyphs are “fun”. They’ll be glyphs for spells that aren’t amoung your “mandatory” ones.

    “Bloodthirst would be an excellent medium glyph, because it is useful but doesn’t contribute to dps. Medium glyphs are good for situational abilities, cooldowns, defense and utility.”

    Inscription will be changed around as well.. it will focus on non-glyph items such as cards and trickets

  • @Keen

    As well their explanation for the guild leveling changes have been posted as well. In the end they figured that the tree system would cause people to guild hop more to find a guild that suited their play style more due to how guilds would spec. Something they didn’t want.


    Probably some weird cat/canine hybrid. Trolls get Tigers for cat form.. At least that was what the NPC was.

  • @HowdyDoody

    Id love to see that stuff from WAR make it into WoW as well. But I dont think it would work very well without the player collision system WAR has, which Id also love to see added.

  • @Sentry

    Ohhhhhh! I forgot about that. That was a fantastic part of combat. I just enjoy things in PvP that mess up the battlefield. I like it more unpredictable and punts do a great job of that. So many great moments due to the Shammy’s thunderstorm.

    Come to think of it, the punts may be better without player collision. To many times I would punt someone in WAR and a pixel would keep them from really flying.

    Been away all weekend and all this talk is making me want to PvP! ahahah.

  • @Intruder313

    It is precisely because they have been planning it for months. It’s the way things work out. They have all these great ideas but at some point you run into actually having to have them out the door by a certain date. If you reach a checkpoint and the people who are in charge of implementing that idea aren’t up to speed or say “We just can’t complete it” or “It won’t be balanced” then it’s time scrap. Blizzard already has huge issues with not getting things out as fast as they want, they have a billion ideas they just can’t seem to get designed, implemented, and balanced in time.

    I’m pretty sure there is still some crazy document hidden at Blizzard headquarters in psuedo-english scrawl crazily talking about these crazy orcs and princes who battle the demons of hell only to realize the planet they are on is infected with zerg and has to be sterilized by the aliens.

  • I think having to travel to each zone will actually help replay value. Instead of heavily investing into one zone for days, it may feel more like you passing through on your journey. This allows for more interesting quests per area.

    If it means more things like say, climbing the venture co complex above cragpool lake in Stonetalon, or like climbing the mountain to fight your evil self in Howling Fjord and less of ‘spend 2 hours doing 12 quests in this part of the map’ I’m all for it. That said obviously not every quest can be such an epic journey on it’s own.