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wow paladin icon BlizzCon 2009, World of Warcraft!

Posted by Khor | 8/21/2009

*Day 2 starts at the bottom of the post!

BlizzCon 2009 is here! I am going to focus on reporting World of Warcraft news and upcoming content and the new expansion, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, as the next couple of days progress. I will be updating this post continuously as information is released, so check back often!

Let's see what they have upcoming for our Retribution Paladins in addition to everything else!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Confirmed so far at BlizzCon:

  • New Alliance Race: Worgen
    Playable Classes: Death Knight, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior.
  • New Horde Race: Goblins
    Playable Classes: Death Knight, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior.
  • Much of Azeroth and Kalimdor is devastated by the cataclysm. Wetlands, Ashenvale, Barrens among those lands forever changed.
  • Flying Mounts now allowed in Azeroth.
  • New classes added to old races including Gnome Priest.
  • Old world dungeons getting revamped for heroic versions (Deadmines & Shadowfang Keep).
  • Guild Leveling System.
  • Level Cap: 85
  • Path of the Titans character progression.
Opening Ceremony finished. More information later on with the upcoming panels!

Website up: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm/

New Race/Class List

Cataclysm Panel

Here we go with the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Panel...
  • Deathwing is the main villain of Cataclysm.
  • Deathwing has awoken and re-entered Azeroth, thus causing the Cataclysm. Every bit of Azeroth is seemingly affected.
  • Zones affected by the Cataclysm will be a 'forever' change, even for those that don't purchase the Cataclysm expansion.
  • 7 NEW ZONES: Twilight Highlands, Mt. Hyjal, Deepholm, Uldum, Sunken City of Vashj'ir, The Lost Isles, Gilneas.
  • Guild Leveling:
    • 20 guild levels. Can level by doing what you normally do: raids, dailies, battlegrounds.
    Levels unlock perks via guild talent tree.
    • Cheaper repairs, less durability loss on wipes used as examples.
    • Mass resurrection (Guild-wide)
  • Talent Trees NOT being extended: Will receive 5 talent points, however.
  • Path of the Titans basically a new talent system. Talents being redone to make them more 'fun'.
  • New cataclysm zones
    • 5 level 78-85 zones
    • 2 level 1-15 starting zones (Goblin & Worgne)
    • Fly anywhere in Azeroth
  • Leveling experience being redone. New zone and experience flow. Alliance has lost Southshore.
  • Azshara lvl 10-20 Goblin zone.
  • Deephome new Alliance & Horde hub. Subterranean and home of Deathwing.
  • New underwater mounts.
  • Ragnaros and Malfurion return to Hyjal.
  • Uldum a leveling dungeon.
  • Two new port towns added, on each for Alliance and Horde.
  • New Raid & Dungeons:
    • The Firelands
    • Uldum - Halls of Origination
    • Uldum - Lost City of Tol'vir
    • Blackrock Caverns - new leveling dungeon in Blackrock Spire
    • Grim Batol - Leveling dungeon and raid instance
    • Skywall - Leveling and raid
    • Heroic: Deadmines
    • Heroic: Shadowfang Keep
  • Tol Barad is the new PvP zone, it will also be the daily quest hub. Controlling it opens a raid "Tol Barad Prison" and unlocks dailies for your faction.
  • 3 new battlegrounds
  • Rated battleground system being implemented.

Hands-On info from World of Raids [Source]

Northern Eastern Kingdoms - Zone Level Range Changes

  • Tirisfal Glades: 1-10
  • Gilneas: 1-10
  • Silverpine Forest: 10-20
  • Alterac Mountains: 20-25 (25-30)
  • Hillsbrad Foothills: 20-25
  • Arathi Highlands: 25-30
  • The Hinterlands: 30-35
  • Western Plaguelands: 35-40
  • Eastern Plaguelands: 40-45 & 45-50

Goblin Details

  • Racials
    • Best Deals Anywhere
      • Always receive the best possible gold discount, regardless of faction.
    • Pack Hobgoblin
      • Calls your personal servant allowing you bank access for 1 min. 30 minute cooldown.
    • Better Living Through Chemistry
      • Increases Alchemy skill by 15
    • Rocket Barrage - shares cooldown with Rocket Jump
      • Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing scaling fire damage. 2 minute cooldown.
    • Rocket Jump - shares cooldow with Rocket Barrage
      • Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 minute cooldown.
    • Time is Money
      • Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.

Worgen Details

  • Racials aren't currently implemented, but-
    • Viciousness
      • +1% damage
    • Dark Flight
      • +70% run speed for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown
    • Abberation
      • Length of Curses and Diseases reduced by 15%.
    • Flayer
      • Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster
    • Two Forms
      • Switch to your currently inactive form. 1.5 sec cooldown. (seems purely cosmetic but has an absolutely awesome transformation from human to worgen)
  • In the starting area your goal is to find a cure for the worgen effect
  • As you progress through the quests, phasing takes place; you're fighting off a forsaken assault on Gilneas
  • The land is sundered as you quest through it and battle the forsaken. The starting area becomes more and more flooded due to the destruction. Some quests require you to swim into the water and bring drowning watchmen back to shore.

Class, Items and Professions Panel

  • New soul shard system.
  • Shards no longer take up bag space.
  • Shards used in combat only.
  • 3 shards used max per fight, regenerate quickly out of combat.
  • No longer use mana, use Focus (capped at 100)
  • Focus regenerates like energy
  • Fewer cooldowns on abilities
  • Ammo is now an item, not a consumable
  • Mana per 5 is GONE, Spirit is now the only mana regeneration.
  • Spell Power is GONE
  • Attack Power is GONE, agility now provides 2 attack power for rogues, hunters, shaman and druids
  • Defense is GONE, tanks will receive anti-crit from talents.
  • Armor Penetration is GONE, replaced with Mastery
  • Block value is GONE, blocks mitigate percentage of incoming damage
  • These stats are gone meaning they won't be seen on plate, mail, leather, and cloth gear anymore. They may still appear on items like rings and necklaces.
  • No current plans to get rid of spell power plate until they can come up with a solution that makes sense for holy paladins wearing strength plate.
  • Secondary Profession, similar to cooking.
  • Will have to collect artifacts from around the world.
  • Unlocks paths and unique rewards.
  • Everything you collect will be kept in a Journal
  • Is a gathering skill, works like all the other gathering skills. Find an artifact on the ground and pick it up.
  • New to Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers, Tailors, JCers and Engineers.
  • Allows you to reduce a stat on gear made to increase another.
  • Cannot put stat points into a stat already on the item.
  • Skill-ups can be multi-gains.
  • Green item you can make 5 of might give 1 skill-up, blue item might give 5
  • Big changes for fishing to come, not saying what yet though.
  • Engineering is going to get more convenience stuff like jeeves, more gadgets with "catastrophic" failures and more "toys"
  • Gathering is to be made more fun and interesting, not saying how yet.
  • Two gathering professions can now be tracked at the same time.
  • Ranks from abilities are GONE. They will automatically scale with your level now.
  • Legendary Caster weapon in first Cataclysm raid.
  • Old race racials will be re-vamped.
  • They would like to remove +hit from talents, as they do not view it as a fun option. Trying to make talents more enjoyable.
  • All healers potentially could get a dispel magic.
  • A new treasure chest system is being implemented that can grant experience.
  • New spells likely to be obtained at 81, 83, and 85.
  • Ammo is now an item, and not a consumable. (About time)
  • Potential changes to default to UI to make them more friendly to classes so as not to need additional ad-ons.
  • Talents that improve auras and buffs are being removed.
  • Paladins' Blessing of Wisdom fate up in the air.

World of Warcraft - Cataclysm FAQ
Quote from Blizzard staff
Info from: mmo-champion.com [Source]

Q: What is the story of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?
A: While the attention of the Horde and Alliance remained fixed upon Northrend, an ancient evil has been lying dormant within Deephome, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth, nursing his hatred for the inferior creatures that infest the surface realm...and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire.

Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deephome will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

The face of Azeroth is altered forever as the destruction left in Deathwing's wake reshapes the land and reveals secrets long sealed away. Players will be able to re-experience familiar zones across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, rewrought by the cataclysm and filled with new opportunities for adventure.

Q: What are the features of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?
A: Some of the new features of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm include:

  • Two New Playable Races: Adventure as one of two new races--the cursed worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful goblins with the Horde.
  • Level Cap Increased to 85: Earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to improve characters.
  • Classic Zones Remade: Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been altered forever and updated with new content, from the devastated Badlands to the broken Barrens, which has been sundered in two.
  • New High-Level Zones: Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great Sunken City of Vashj'ir beneath the sea.
  • More Raid Content than Ever Before: Enjoy more high-level raid content than previous expansions, with optional more challenging versions of all encounters.
  • New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.
  • Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.
  • New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.
  • Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.
  • Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms like never before.

Q: Why are you revisiting the continents of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor?
A: As we developed new content and expansions, we learned a lot of techniques to provide players with a better game experience--but the majority of the new content we were creating was for high-level characters only. We felt we could apply the lessons of Outland and Northrend to improve the gameplay experience while leveling in the original two continents. Imagine revisiting a familiar zone like Darkshore only to find Auberdine destroyed by the cataclysm--and then discovering entirely new towns and quests in other parts of the zone.

Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms are central to World of Warcraft lore, and we want those areas to remain an important part of the game, not just a place to train or auction. Our goal is to make questing, leveling, and the overall story more fun for new, returning, and existing players. By redesigning areas of the original continents and introducing new content that matches or exceeds the quality of Wrath of the Lich King, we can revitalize the nostalgia and coolness of Azeroth.

Q: How did you decide upon the two new playable races, worgen and goblin?
A: The community has been requesting to play as the goblins for quite some time now, and we wanted to stick with at least one race that players were very familiar with. This expansion was the perfect time to bring the goblins to the forefront and offer more insight into their past, since the catastrophic events of the expansion really hit close to home.

As for the worgen, players have been hoping to be able to learn more about them since Silverpine Forest. This is a great opportunity to explore their lore and the mysteries of the Greymane Wall. The worgen are an aggressive and beastly race, which is something you see often among the Horde races, but is unique among the Alliance races.

Q: Will the two new races have all-new starting experiences?
A: Yes, we are creating all-new level 1 to 15 starting zones for both races. Players will start their adventures with the worgen in Gilneas, which was sealed off behind the Greymane Wall. Goblin players will start on the Isle of Kezan and then head to the Lost Isles in the South Seas before joining the mainland. Each starting experience will be presented in a fashion similar to the death knight starting area in Wrath of the Lich King, and these starting zones will make extensive use of our new phased-terrain technology.

Q: Which classic zones have been overhauled? What are some examples of changes?
A: Nearly all of the game’s original zones are being altered to some degree, but the extent of the changes varies by zone. For example, Darkshore is flooded and has been completely redesigned with all new quest hubs. The Barrens have been split in two; one half is for low-level players and the other is for higher-level players. Azshara is now a low-level zone for Horde players and connects directly to Orgrimmar.

Q: Is another Hero class being added to the game?
A: We are not planning to add a new Hero class in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. For this expansion, it was more appropriate to focus on the two new races, the goblins and worgen. We never intended to include a Hero class in every expansion. As you saw with death knights, adding a new class changes the dynamics of the game dramatically, which is not something we want to do in every expansion. We still have plans to introduce new Hero classes in the future.

Q: Will I will be able to use my flying mount in the redesigned Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor?
A: Yes. While the original Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor weren’t designed for flying mounts, we’re redesigning the continents with flying mounts in mind. However, we’re still determining whether there will be any restrictions on where you will be able to fly, at what level flying will become available, or whether you’ll need to do anything to unlock it. We’ll share more details about this in the future.

Q: Will I need the expansion to be able to experience the Cataclysm changes?
A: When the Cataclysm occurs, it will occur for all players, whether they have purchased the expansion or not--you will no longer be to play in the original version of Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms. However, certain features such as the new zones, new races, and new level cap will only be accessible to players who purchase the expansion.

Q: Will “phasing” be used more extensively in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?
A: Yes. We’ve come up with a number of new, cool ways to using phasing since we introduced it in Wrath of the Lich King, and plan to use it more extensively to change the world as players progress. We are also now able to phase terrain, which players will see in the starting areas for the goblins and worgen. We’re also adding some UI improvements to help determine when another player is in a different “phase” from you.

Q: Will there be any updates to the graphics and changes to the minimum system requirements?
A: Yes, there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we’ve made improvements to the way that water is rendered. We’ll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion’s release.

BlizzCon 2009 Day 2

Q&A Panel
  • Northrend affected by Cataclysm, though not nearly as much as Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms
  • Spirit a healer stat only. Other casters won't be using it at all.
  • Frostmourne NOT to be a legendary weapon, as it claims the soul of the character.
  • Race changes: Next big implementation after Faction changes.
  • Trying to get Rogues to use daggers more. May add more talents to the Assassination Tree.
  • Herbs and Ore nodes to be revamped. Hopefully we'll see a more plentiful supply and shorter respawns.
  • Guild Leveling System:
    • Will be able to create guild heirlooms
    • Will be able to learn plans/patterns for gear that anyone can wear, and will scale with leveling.
  • Armor Penetration removed from gear, but may be available through talents.
  • Onyxia at 60 being completely removed. Bye bye free gold.
  • Potentially more than 10 character slots per server, but not implemented in Cataclysm.
  • Many passive talents in the beginning of the subtlety tree being removed and implemented as passive talents. Want to fill in with more 'cool' abilities.
  • Letting other players assist in your phased events is on the list for Cataclysm.

Game Systems Panel
Information originally reported by World of Raids LiveBlog [Source]

  • With rated battled grounds, honor titles will be returning.
  • Tol Borad, the new Wintergrasp, will be south of present Southshore.
  • Guild Advancement:
    • Everything you do attributes to your guild's level of advancement, from doing daily quests to gaining levels and reputation ranks, as well as boss kills, amounts of grand masters of any profession, overall BG rating and Arena ratings.
    • You can earn guild experience from pick up groups if at least 75% of your group is from the same guild.
    • Guilds will have a 20 point talent tree, and the talents affect the entire guild. For example, a guild talent that is specable is "Cash Flow" which increases the gold drop rate from all boss monsters slain, and "Everybody's Friend" which makes it so nobody has to use Reagents to buff. Other examples are "Mass Ressurection" and "Mass Summon"
    • Guilds earn guild currency and can spend it on different items. It works similarly to the badge system that is currently in place, except the items you can buy are tabards, banners, guild heirloom items (which are bound to the guild bank), and Guild Heirloom profession recipes.
    • Any character that is possessing a guild recipe or guild item that leaves a guild will have the item transfered to the guild bank as soon as they /gquit.
    • A guild vendor will be available in every major city that members can purchase items from.
    • New types of reagents can be bought from the guild vendors, the example that was used is that guilds can buy frost lotus type items that replace the herbable lotus when making flasks.
  • New Guild News Feed UI, which was compared to an RSS feed, which reports 3 days worth of news. Examples of news feeds given is who is given what loot, who gets certain types of achievements, and first time boss kills, etc.
  • New guild member profession UI which allows you see every guild member's list's of recipes.
  • Guilds can now invite other guilds to events using the calendar UI.
  • Characters at max level will now progress down the Path of the Titans using the secondary profession Archaelogy.
  • The rewards from archaeology is a new type of glyph, called "Ancient Glyphs." Currently examples of Ancient Glyphs are "15% less stun duration." These glyphs aren't associated with inscription at all. Once you reach max level and start progressing down the path fo the titans, you are awarded points and can spend them to buy the glyphs. The glyphs themselves are tied to your current spec and can be respeced.
  • NPCs associated with paths of the titans are members of the "Titan Cults" which have sprung up all over azeroth. When cataclysm is shipped, there will only be 4 or 5 ancient glyph slots available, and more will be unlocked in content patches.
  • Path of the Titans designed to gate content.
  • Path of the Titans progress limited on a week-to-week basis.

Dungeon and Raids Panel

  • Icecrown Citadel to have 4 floors
  • 12 Epic Bosses to fight.
  • Will use waypoints, similar to Ulduar
  • Sindragosa will be one of the bosses.
  • The spire with the Frozen Throne on top runs through the whole instance.
  • New 5-man Dungeon with Icrecrown release.
  • 3 wings, 2nd and 3rd must be unlocked. 8 bosses total.
  • Cataclysm Raids: Grim Batol, Skywall, Firelands and Blackwing Descent.
  • Icecrown coming in 3.3 patch.
  • Cross Server LFG to let PUGs search for groups across their battlegroups. Will be released with patch 3.3.
  • The LFG system is being revamped along with the Cross-server LFG. Could work like a BG queue. Summons everyone to the instance.