MMO-Champion - Cataclysm Preview: Darkshore, Blue Posts, Wallpaper
Cataclysm Preview: Darkshore
Originally Posted by Wryxian (Blue Tracker)
Game designers Luis Barriga and Craig Amai sat down with us to discuss upcoming changes to Darkshore's landscape, the fate of Auberdine, and the challenges of redesigning an old-world zone from the ground up in this World of Warcraft: Cataclysm content preview.

Q. What was the original concept for the zone?

A. Darkshore was one of the areas hit hardest by the Cataclysm, so the main idea was to present a zone that had literally been shattered by those events. That was the approach we took for the revamp in terms of lore and aesthetics.

In terms of gameplay, our goal was to take advantage of the changes to the environment and use them to help address previous issues with quest flow. It was an opportunity to streamline progression within Darkshore so that the overall experience for players would be much smoother and require less running back and forth.

Q. Who will be using this zone (what levels/factions)?

A. Darkshore is designed for Alliance players, primarily night elves and worgen, from level 11 through 20.

Q. What is changing about the zone?

A. Auberdine has been destroyed; entire species of creatures have been wiped out, and the land has been torn wide open in multiple places.

The Cataclysm has also given the upper hand to a number of nearby foes, including coastal naga, Twilight's Hammer cultists, and opportunistic trolls of the Shatterspear tribe who seek to exploit weakened night elven settlements.

Q. What's happened to Auberdine?

A. Auberdine has been nearly razed to the ground, and what wasn't destroyed by the Cataclysm is now under assault by air elementals led by Twilight's Hammer cultists. The city is pretty much in ruins, but some survivors did make it out alive.

Q. With Auberdine in ruins, where do night elves go now?

A. Lor'danel. It's a small night elven town just to the north of the ruins of Auberdine.

Q. Without giving up any spoilers, what's the general storyline for this zone?

A. Darkshore has suffered immensely from the massive seismic ripples of the Cataclysm. The night elves are in survival mode, helping refugees and, wherever they can, fending off the advances of the Twilight's Hammer cult, the naga, and the Shatterspear trolls. Meanwhile, Malfurion Stormrage, recently returned from the Emerald Dream, has traveled to the epicenter of the destruction and called upon the ancient powers of Cenarius to contain it.

Q. What do you think is the most exciting new addition to the zone?

A. Without a doubt, the most exciting addition to Darkshore is the gigantic vortex in the center of the zone, where the devastating forces of the Cataclysm are being pit against the primal power of Malfurion Stormrage. Our amazing artists and level designers made us an epic energy vortex to serve as a visual centerpiece for the destruction, and it looks phenomenal.

Q. What goes into redesigning a zone like this?

A. Redesigning Darkshore required much more work than we originally anticipated. This was one of the first zones we tackled that centered on the effects of the Cataclysm, so we started out with the modest goal of adding a few themed quests and improving the general flow of the zone. As we piled on the visual changes, though, we soon discovered that a lot more manpower was needed to generate content that correctly reflected Darkshore's new landscape and lore.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect about implementing these changes?

A. At first we thought that we would be able to work with the majority of the original quests in Darkshore, but most of them just didn't make sense when viewed in the context of the zone's new storyline and direction. For example, chasing after corrupted wildlife and investigating washed-up threshers would seem out of place when everything around you is being ravaged by natural disasters, elementals, naga... and worse. Reaching the realization that we would basically have to scrap all of the old content and start from scratch -- and then actually bringing that plan to fruition -- was probably the hardest part of the process.

Q. What should players do or go see first?

A. Players should start in the town of Lor'danel and then play through the quest series naturally, slowly heading south. Higher-level players (levels 15 and up) may want to skip ahead and meet up with Malfurion Stormrage at the center of the zone, but Darkshore feels best if you experience the entire storyline from the beginning, as intended.

Q. What's happening at the Master's Glaive? The last time we saw it, it was mostly buried underground.

A. Twilight's Hammer cultists have recently begun to unearth the remains of Soggoth, one of the more powerful servants of the Old Gods, from beneath the Master's Glaive with the intent of bringing him back to life. Players will have to foil the cultists' plans before the new incarnation of Soggoth reaches full strength.

Q. Is there anything new at the Grove of the Ancients?

A. The Grove of the Ancients was shielded from most of the devastation caused by the Cataclysm, due in large part to the power of the ancient guardians residing therein. Protecting the grove required an enormous amount of energy, though, and as a result, most of the guardians have gone into a sort of slumber. Players will have to figure out a way to wake them and bring them into the fight to ensure the survival of Darkshore.

Thank you, Luis and Craig, for taking the time to talk about your involvement in reshaping Darkshore for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!
I went back to the zone on beta servers and did a couple of screenshots, there are a couple of spoilers but it should be enough to get you excited about that zone.



Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
HoT and DoT refresh
Dots and hots adjust on the fly now when they're refreshed. There is less reason to try and get everything lined up perfectly for big numbers before you cast the spell. You'll be able to game it a little bit for the initial spell duration, but it won't refresh infinitely with the big numbers.

We have to rebalance the entire game anyway given the magnitude of the Cataclysm changes, so don't worry about being penalized for any old mechanics that may no longer be relevant. (Source)

Healer mana balance
Healer mana is completely balanced around encounter length. If we had 30 minute long encounters, this would be a problem, but we don't. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Pet Scaling
I verified that they do in fact scale. However, as I said the first time, you are unlikely to even be able to notice one way or the other so this seemed like an odd thing to be concerned about.

Likewise, the amount of dps loss due to pet scaling from a Destro warlock who stacked mastery and a Demo warlock who stacked mastery would probably be on the order of less than 1%.

Scaling is very important, but keep it in perspective. Forum posters have a tendency to over worry about the problem. If you were going to get gear that gave you 10,000 mastery, then the numbers would get out of whack, but that's not going to happen, at least before we rebalance everything again. The scaling only has to last for 3-4 raid tiers. Warlocks not scaling with crit or haste were very real problems. Situational pets not scaling with gear or pets in general not scaling from one secondary stat are going to have pretty small impacts on the numbers. (Source)

Demon Soul
We understand the concern about Demon Soul. We added that based on early feedback that the Soul Shards were too utility focused and might be ignored on the typical boss fights. The design we have at the moment isn't final. (Source)

New Wallpaper: Marines vs Zerg!
A new wallpaper has been added to the official site.

This article was originally published in forum thread: Cataclysm Preview: Darkshore, Blue Posts, Wallpaper started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 65 Comments
  1. Zookz25's Avatar
    Those zerglings look more like baby fel puppies to me. :P Is a cool wallpaper.

    Darkshore actually sounds cool, though it is sad that the worgen have barely any presence in there. You'd think there would be more helping the night elves out there considering they've both basically teamed up and are /brofist'ing.

    Soggoth.. I liked when the Cthulhu references were a little less blatant.
    I think "C'thun" was the most obvious lovecraft reference, considering the most famous monster of his is "Cthulhu".
  1. Evilbob51's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zookz25 View Post
    Those zerglings look more like baby fel puppies to me. :P Is a cool wallpaper.
    See, I always thought that Felhounds were actually SUPPOSED to be zerglings, as a way to link Warcraft to Starcraft. Maybe I'm just weird.
  1. meringue's Avatar
    Wasn't that flight master dead a few screenshots before? It's so nice that theyr'e giving that dead girl another chance! Also, if that stupid kerlonian evershade falls asleep in the new quests...
  1. tgrhwke's Avatar
    Q. Who will be using this zone (what levels/factions)?

    A. Darkshore is designed for Alliance players, primarily night elves and worgen, from level 11 through 20.


    This doesn't make sense for the Worgen. How will they safely get from their starting zone in the Eastern Kingdoms all the way to the western side of Kalimdor at level eleven?
  1. miloso's Avatar
    No paladin news? I'm disappointed! :-P
  1. aastarius's Avatar
    Probably the same way Dwarves/Humans get to the Draenei area to level
  1. Jerakin's Avatar
    Why does a Wallpaper about SCII (Zerg and Marines) have the WoW; WotLk Logo?
  1. engrey's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tgrhwke View Post
    Q. Who will be using this zone (what levels/factions)?

    A. Darkshore is designed for Alliance players, primarily night elves and worgen, from level 11 through 20.


    This doesn't make sense for the Worgen. How will they safely get from their starting zone in the Eastern Kingdoms all the way to the western side of Kalimdor at level eleven?
    -Spoiler Altert-

    At the end of the Worgen starting zone the nightelves come to save who is left, so you get on a boat which takes you to Darnassus/Darkshore.
  1. DrgnDancer's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DaDimi View Post
    That Shatterspear-stuff seems weird... I mean... we already know that the dancing troll village will get destroyed and all trolls killed.
    This just doesn't fit with "fending off the advances of the Twilight's Hammer cult, the naga, and the Shatterspear trolls.", because, as we all have already seen, the trolls get pretty much wiped out. And "destroying their entire village" doesn't really sound like "fending off".

    Well, that's just what disturbed me when reading the Q&A. >_>
    When someone attacks you, you "fend them off", i.e. you fight them to defend yourself and hopefully stop the attacks. When they continue to attack you, you go "limit their resources", i.e. cut off their ability to attack you by destroying their base of operations. This is basic RTS stuff, nearly every RTS has at least a couple of missions where you're defending a base area and then once you build sufficient resources you counter attack.
  1. quras's Avatar
    Darkshore - The way I see it, it's yet another zone I'll pass through to get the newer explorer title.

    I know I have no plans to level yet another toon and any race. If any of the new races seems interesting enough to use then I would just pay a few dollars when the race change becomes available.

    I know there are quite a few players that have no plans to level there 5th toon. There are many that have every toon already maxed. Why would you level the same toon a second time. I just can't find the interest in the zones that are below 80-85. Granted, if your a new WOW gamer or one of those people that would level a toon twice then maybe this is for you. I just can't see it.
  1. Nathiest's Avatar
    ugh enough with all the q&a bullsh*t! Just release the game already!
  1. Bliq's Avatar
    Well, now we know that Soggoth the Slitherer aint an old god. Kinda fun thinking of all those who blatantly claimed that the masters glaive was an old god etc...
  1. monkeyDtroll's Avatar
    i guess im just one of the few ppl that enjoy this QA stuff. Its kind of cool hearing what they actually plan to do in the game, another thing is that even tho MMO champion is wildly popular, blizzard doesnt release info based on what has been found here. If it wasnt for mmo champion all this that they are sayin would be new to us. its good to remember that impatience doesnt do anything but make u angry, it never makes anything happen any faster, so save urself the frustration.
  1. Jaqen Hghar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Selxxa View Post
    Soggoth.. I liked when the Cthulhu references were a little less blatant.

    They were never that subtle to begin with.

    On a lesser note: Lovely. The old god's have their pet shoggoth's now. We're screwed.
  1. ElAmigo's Avatar
    so do the horde really get a fp in an alliance zone???
  1. willjones410's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ElAmigo View Post
    so do the horde really get a fp in an alliance zone???
    I'm also curious on what Horde players will have to do here. I saw at least one video where a belf player witnesses the exchange of words between Malfurion (who had a red name to the belf just to make all you Alliance heads a little happier ^_^ ) and Azshara. At the end he talks to the player and basically says "meet you in Hyjal, we have work to do." So if this is an all Alliance zone, where does Horde involvement come into play to get to that point? :-/
  1. deplorable's Avatar
    http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/...e_12694_54.jpg

    is it wrong, that i laughed at the rug on the left, which appears to be a skinned druid...

    just awesome. Liking the new look of darkshore, wasn't that keen on questing there except for night elf faction (their mounts look better than those elephants or horses, lets face it)

    ---------- Post added 2010-08-11 at 04:42 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by deplorable View Post
    http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/...e_12694_54.jpg

    is it wrong, that i laughed at the rug on the left, which appears to be a skinned druid...

    just awesome. Liking the new look of darkshore, wasn't that keen on questing there except for night elf faction (their mounts look better than those elephants or horses, lets face it)
    they always had an FP at the strand at the furthest west of auberdine and with ashenvale under siege; that FP point is now a fully fledged fortress, the horde could have easily pushed forward into darkshore
  1. corebit's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ElAmigo View Post
    so do the horde really get a fp in an alliance zone???
    This. I mean WTF? It's an 11-20 zone. That means off-limits to the opposing faction.

    ---------- Post added 2010-08-11 at 11:52 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by deplorable View Post
    is it wrong, that i laughed at the rug on the left, which appears to be a skinned druid...
    That's a skinned centaur rug. There are lots of those in tauren camps in live.
  1. giowatcher's Avatar
    Damn they finally made this game an rpg version of warcraft itself... Seriously look at the place the only thing missing are the gold mine clumps, NE chimeras, mountain giants, and random lvl 4 heros killing furblogs for gear being followed by a small army...
  1. pbean's Avatar
    If you were going to get gear that gave you 10,000 mastery, then the numbers would get out of whack, but that's not going to happen, at least before we rebalance everything again. The scaling only has to last for 3-4 raid tiers.
    Yes just like dodge in TBC. Luckily they planned that better in Wotlk.

    Oh wait.......

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