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. Zaerix's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Wryxian (Blue Tracker)
    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.
    Wait a minute... I thought they said Soggoth WAS an Old God... I'm confused now.
  1. Jinna's Avatar
    New batch of (EU) BETA test invites were sent today.
  1. Gaelic_Kyla's Avatar
    LoL so *note to self (and others LoL)* ... never jump into that swirling whirlpool of doom there for the lawls.. I fell to my death in a veeeery deep pointed pit (but didn't fall to the end of it).. and then... my ghost fell all the way to the tip of that point.. and I ended up getting stuck.. too far away from my body to res! LoL *unstuck feature ftw* xD
  1. Waterisbest's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaerix View Post
    Originally Posted by Wryxian (Blue Tracker)
    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.
    Wait a minute... I thought they said Soggoth WAS an Old God... I'm confused now.
    Why are you confused? It is clear that Soggoth is a very powerful servant of the Old Gods, maybe second in command and have a lot of properties like the Old Gods. He can resurrect himself, have his own army, etc.

    He was suppose to be an Old God, but it was just speculation. Nothing was finale. Old God, after Old God would have become boring very quickly. This gives the Old Gods story more flavor. They just didn't have their personal powerful servants, like generals. But have second in command servants. Someone who takes care of things when Old Gods can't do it (like how they are dead and need someone very loyal to run their business).
  1. Gaelic_Kyla's Avatar
    Also.. I am so absolutely thrilled that the Tower of Althalaxx.. which I used to endearingly call the Tower of ANTHRAX.. has been distroyed.. LoL as an altoholic, I absolutely hated going in there and fighting those pooheads and getting killed a lot (course I was probably goin there a bit too early.. but STILL) good riddance! xD
  1. laserfloyd's Avatar
    OH GOD the dancing trolls are moving in? Man... I loved getting to them in vanilla and /dancing with them.
  1. Thessalor's Avatar
    Just downloaded the new wallpaper. Awesome.
  1. Zaerix's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Waterisbest View Post
    Why are you confused? It is clear that Soggoth is a very powerful servant of the Old Gods, maybe second in command and have a lot of properties like the Old Gods. He can resurrect himself, have his own army, etc.

    He was suppose to be an Old God, but it was just speculation. Nothing was finale. Old God, after Old God would have become boring very quickly. This gives the Old Gods story more flavor. They just didn't have their personal powerful servants, like generals. But have second in command servants. Someone who takes care of things when Old Gods can't do it (like how they are dead and need someone very loyal to run their business).
    Ah, see I was just wondering why they said servant when I thought they had previously said he was an Old God.

    This probably means that Isorath is also a servant of the Old Gods. (Those tentacles around the giant Sarlacc-looking thing in the Weeping Wound in the Twilight Highlands are called
    Tentacles of Isorath.) I'm not saying that tentacles = old god but that thing does look curiously Old God-like.
  1. cerbdog's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by quras View Post
    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.
    Maybe it's made for new players AND people like me who only have 6 80's on one server and still have 4 they would like to make.

    Personally, I enjoy making characters and experiencing the quests far more than I enjoy the end-game crap. When I'm done making these 10 level 80 horde toons, I will go make 10 level 80 alliance toons. Heck, maybe I'll even do it on a pvp server instead of a pve server this time, just to say I did it. It'll be fun!
  1. Daumier's Avatar
    I have to run through Darkshore on an 80 sometime before they trash it. I haven't leveled there in ages. The second I realized that there were other leveling options than running up and down that zone, I never took a toon there ever again. Darkshore was a pain in the ass.
  1. AlarStormbringer's Avatar
    Interesting. It looks like Soggoth is actually just a... giant, super powerful Faceless One. With the information about him being a servant and seeing more of his body unearthed (or maybe I just didn't notice before) it looks like he's roughly humanoid shaped (as roughly as Faceless Ones are).

    I'm definitely looking forward to running my Worgen through Darkshore once he finishes up in Gilneas and possibly Silverpine.
  1. TheWaffler's Avatar
    They thought they were going to get away with just a few new quests and reusing most of the old ones. Very funny, blizzard.
  1. Hyrfjord's Avatar
    First: Thank god, no Paladin bullcrap today(Nothign against apaladins, was just tired of seeing it every day), and looks like the Shatterspear Trible wasn't innocent at all =/ Depending in how they act, my opnions about the mass slaugher might change...

    Also, to those confused, it's purely storilyne progression, first the Shaterpear are trying to exploit the Night Elves in a time of weekness, but in the end the Night Elves resist and counter attack (Resiting Ngas, Twilight Cultist, Shatterspear, while your main city on the area is gone, and you still can wipe out one of them from existance? Night Elves are gaining my respect)
  1. Feydakin's Avatar
    Hunters Note: It is quite likely that after the zone changes from Cataclysm begin, perhaps even before launch, the Ghost Saber cat may become unobtainable. It might be in your best interest, considering the much expanded stable, to tame this while you still can if you care at all about collecting pets. Looking to confirm or deny the rumor still though...
  1. Alayea's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Feydakin View Post
    Hunters Note: It is quite likely that after the zone changes from Cataclysm begin, perhaps even before launch, the Ghost Saber cat may become unobtainable. It might be in your best interest, considering the much expanded stable, to tame this while you still can if you care at all about collecting pets. Looking to confirm or deny the rumor still though...
    I didn't know about that mob's existence until now... I gotta get me one!

    Edit: No idea either way about that rumor. In any case, I'm not going to take a chance on it.
  1. Mortur's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Feydakin View Post
    Hunters Note: It is quite likely that after the zone changes from Cataclysm begin, perhaps even before launch, the Ghost Saber cat may become unobtainable. It might be in your best interest, considering the much expanded stable, to tame this while you still can if you care at all about collecting pets. Looking to confirm or deny the rumor still though...
    I actually went through and checked that. While i did not uncover enough of them to actually spawn the cat, the statuettes were still there and acted as they do on live.

    I imagine that there will be no issue getting the ghost saber.
  1. Gaiwyn's Avatar
    Wow, can't wait to level my Worgen in Darkshore. It looks way cooler, and it sounds like there will be enough content to really get a toon from 11 to 20. I want a Lor'danel Hippogryph.
  1. Jackalrat's Avatar
    Thanks, Blizzard, for finally talking about warlocks <3

    Also, glad to hear that Demon Soul's current model isn't final. That spell was described as needing work, and being 100% useless for destro. XD
  1. Civfanata's Avatar
    ./sarcasm-on Oh geez whats with all the warlock this warlock that. Lock spam every day is Blizzard working on other classes at all? /sarcasm off

    tehe...
  1. Zaerix's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaiwyn View Post
    Wow, can't wait to level my Worgen in Darkshore. It looks way cooler, and it sounds like there will be enough content to really get a toon from 11 to 20. I want a Lor'danel Hippogryph.
    Totalbiscuit is currently making a video series focusing on his Worgen leveling in Darkshore, so you could go watch that (Here's the first part: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFTopf7rb4g). Also, unless they do some rebalancing, it will probably be more like 13/14 to 20. Worgen starting zone puts you a little high for the beginning quests of Darkshore but some of them are well worth the storytelling anyway.

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