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by Published on 2010-09-01 04:53 AM

Mini blue posts update while we wait for the beta realms to go online.

Level Cap is now 85
Originally Posted by Valnoth (Blue Tracker)
Twilight Highlands and Uldum are now open and ready for testing. You will need to do both zones to reach max level. It should also be noted that neither zone is 100% complete. Please refer to the quest forum for feedback:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...753&sid=2000#0

Zul'gurub gone as a raid in Cataclysm
Originally Posted by Valnoth (Blue Tracker)
Zul'Gurub is gone as a raid instance come Cataclysm.

Streaming Launcher Improvements
Originally Posted by Lylirra (Blue Tracker)
We recently released a new Cataclysm beta launcher that allows you to stream game data while you play. We've received a lot of feedback from you regarding this new feature, and that feedback has allowed us to improve the player experience significantly.

In the next beta patch, you'll receive a new Cataclysm beta launcher that includes several updates to in-game streaming. Here's a quick preview of some of the upcoming changes:


  • Improved three-stage progress bar
  • Download speed improvements
  • Detailed peer-to-peer connection information
  • Bandwidth detection, which will improve the play experience of those with low bandwidth
  • New UI with a Cataclysm-inspired theme
  • Many bug fixes

We encourage you to continue posting your feedback about the streaming launcher, as we're constantly looking for ways to get you into the game faster and more smoothly.

Thank you!


Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Dungeons testing
All dungeons should be available for testing. (Source)

[Feedback] Twilight Highlands
Twilight Highlands is ready for testing. It is not yet fully implemented, so you will run into stopping points. Please keep all feedback in this thread.

• Level 84-85 (though for this push of the beta minimum level for quests has been set to 83. Enjoy getting pounded!)
• Breadcrumbs from Stormwind and Orgrimmar (speak to Varian/Garrosh to begin) (Source)

[Feedback] Uldum
Uldum is ready for testing. It is not yet fully implemented, so you will run into stopping points. Please keep all feedback in this thread.

• Level 83-84
• Breadcrumbs from Deepholm (Reliquary and Explorers' League NPCs in Temple of Earth).
• Quests start in southwestern Tanaris at the caravan. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Attacks Scaling
Most of these attack still scale from weapon damage. We just changed them from say 200% weapon damage to 100% weapon damage with a higher attack power component. We want weapon damage to matter, but not quite as much as it does on live.

As an example, Chimera Shot now says: "An instant shot that causes weapon damage plus N, refreshing your Serpent Sting and triggering an effect depending on the venom on the target...". (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Seal of Insight
Seal of Insight will improve your mana regen and self healing. It will give you a little of each if you only Judge and give you more (but not a broken amount) if you're ever in a position where you can melee the target. There is also a glyph to improve your healing while Insight is active. I'll concede that running a Seal is probably more important for a Ret or perhaps even Prot paladin than a Holy paladin, but there's still no reason not to do so. (Source)

Seal of Justice / Righteousness
Seal of Righteousness and Seal of Justice didn't merge. Seal of Righteousness is unchanged. We just added a little damage to Seal of Justice so that paladins didn't have to give up all Seal damage (and talents etc. that affect them) in order to get the Justice effect. (Source)

Selfless Healer change
We buffed it to 50/100% more healing when used on others (up from 30/60%). These numbers are unlikely to be final. (Source)

Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Thunderstorm removed from Elemental Reach
It buffed Thunderstorm from 10 to 12 yards, which is pretty hard to even notice. (Source)

Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
New Life Tap
Life Tap scaling with spellpower was proving hard to balance. We buffed Drain Life as well, so you should be able to Life Tap once and then Drain Life your way back up. (Source)
by Published on 2010-08-31 08:31 AM

Update
11:00PM CET - Hey look, a new Beta Build is being deployed on beta servers!.


Cataclysm Beta - Build 12857 (Codename Ninja)
A new beta build has been deploye... Actually, no, a new build appeared out of nowhere and was never deployed on beta servers. I have absolutely no idea why, but, hey, it's still a beta build!

Disclaimer - This build is NOT ON BETA SERVERS, I have no way to confirm strange values by checking in-game and a lot of temporary stuff might be there. I strongly suggest that you don't even try to complain about changes in this build on official forums, and if you plan to do it, you'd better do it in a very nice and constructive way if you don't want to get your ass kicked.
Disclaimer #2 - Most of the tooltips don't work for the moment. Working on it.

Player Achievements
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
General

Feats of Strength

Raids & Dungeons

Professions

Guild Achievements
There are so many added in this build that I had to split them in a different category. Enjoy!
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

General

Raids & Dungeons

WoW Classic Raids

The Burning Crusade Raids

Wrath of the Lich King Raids

Cataclysm Raids

WoW Classic Dungeons

The Burning Crusade Dungeons

Wrath of the Lich King Dungeons

Cataclysm Dungeons

Reputation

Player vs. Player
  • Are You Not Entertained?! - Earn a 2200 rating in the arena with a team composed entirely of guild members.
  • Now That's an Achievement - Earn 5000 guild achievement points.
  • Kill Squad - Get 500,000 honorable kills.
  • Guild Gankers - Get 1,000,000 honorable kills.
  • Creepjackers - Get 2,500,000 honorable kills.
  • City Attacker - Kill 500 enemy players in any Horde home city.
  • City Attacker - Kill 500 enemy players in any Alliance home city.
  • Active Duty - Win 500 Battlegrounds while in a guild group.
  • Call of Duty - Win 1000 Battlegrounds while in a guild group.
  • Tour of Duty - Win 1500 Battlegrounds while in a guild group.
  • 5-Cap Crew - Win 10 Arathi Basin matches while controlling all 5 flags in a guild group.
  • Horde Slayer - Complete the slayer achievements listed below.
  • Alliance Slayer - Complete the slayer achievements listed below.
  • Orc Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Orc races listed below.
  • Human Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Human races listed below.
  • Night Elf Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Night Elf races listed below.
  • Dwarf Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Dwarf races listed below.
  • Draenei Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Draenei races listed below.
  • Worgen Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Worgeni races listed below.
  • Tauren Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Tauren races listed below.
  • Undead Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Undead races listed below.
  • Troll Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Troll races listed below.
  • Blood Elf Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Blood Elf races listed below.
  • Goblin Slayer - Get an honorable kill on each of the level 85 Goblin races listed below.

Professions
Professions
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Archaeology
  • Bone Gaming Dice - Dwarves love gold and dwarves love drinking, so gaming seemed like a natural fit for both. These dice appear to have been carved from sheep bones. What might be dried blood is still visible on the 5 pip.Creates Item #63112.
  • Ceramic Funeral Urn - Some dwarves sealed their deceased in tombs. Those with a concern for the undead might be more apt to cremate remains. This urn is chipped and cracked, its ashes long since lost. The word 'Thunderbolt' is visible in Dwarven printed on the underside.Creates Item #63409.
  • Pewter Drinking Cup - \"If there\'s one thing dwarves love, it\'s drinking. And fighting. Two things.\"This cup may have belonged to a minor noble or wealthy merchant. It\'s heavy enough to bash in someone\'s brains, and residue suggest it may have been used for just that.Creates Item #63408.
  • Silver Neck Torc - Dwarves are famous metalsmiths. While they produce many implements of war, they are adept at working with softer metals as well. This piece of jewelry was sized for a lady with a very thick neck.Creates Item #63411. /
  • Stone Gryphon - Gryphons have long been allies of the Wildhammer dwarves, who brought their noble steeds to the rest of the Alliance. This small figurine was expertly carved from alabaster. The talons are sharp enough to pierce leather.Creates Item #63410. /
  • Worn Hunting Knife - This weapon has a notched blade and a handle fashioned of elk or ram horn. The initials 'W. G.' are carved near the pommel.Creates Item #63110. /
  • Cloak Clasp with Antlers - This clasp is fashioned of lacquered wood carved to resemble stag antlers. On the reverse is engraved the name 'Pyramond' in Darnassian.Creates Item #63407. /
  • Feathered Gold Earring - The feathers are probably from scarlet and green macaws, though they have been well preserved. The gold is twisted to appear like thorns or veins. The pin used to pierce the ear looks particularly painful.Creates Item #63413. /
  • Fossilized Hatchling - When you finished assembling this tiny skeleton through some eldritch magic, the little critter sprang back to life. He's a pretty good pet. Since he's a skeleton he doesn't eat much.Creates Item #60955. /
  • Jade Asp with Ruby Eyes - This tiny figurine could possibly be a representation of High Priest Venoxis, though snakes of all types are venerated throughout troll culture. The delicate jaws on this figurine can be closed, presumably to draw blood from a finger.Creates Item #63412. /
  • Moltenfist's Jeweled Goblet - Even among dark iron dwarf kings, Moltenfist's avarice was legendary. This goblet, while once of high craftsmanship, has seen better days. It has been partially melted by exposure to lava or dragon fire.Creates Item #63414. /
  • Belt Buckle with Anvilmar Crest - Modimus Anvilmar was the high king of the dwarves before the War of the Three Hammers and is depicted by the great statue at the gates of Ironforge. This brass buckle might have belonged to a member of his house guard or a servant.Creates Item #63113. /
  • Black Trilobite - Trilobites are exctinct crustaceans that apparently were once quite diverse and numerous across Azeroth. Myths persist of living trilobites of supposedly epic proportions.Creates Item #63109. /
  • Fetish of Hir'eek - Hir'eek is one of the animal spirits worshipped by southern trolls. Hir'eek's totemic animal is the bat. Jeklik, a high priestss of Zul'Gurub was one of Hir'eek's most famous followers.Creates Item #63120. /
  • Highborne Pyxis - This is a small box of delicate ceramic, probably used to store cosmetics, jewelry or other small items belonging to a Highborne lady. The clasp is of silver and fashioned to look like two acorns and a holly leaf.Creates Item #63129. /
  • Inlaid Ivory Comb - While the most valuable jewels have gone missing, this cosmetic item must have been worth a small fortune back in its day. A series of tiny nautilus shells decorate one side, while the inscription 'Lament for lost Zanara' is visible on the other.Creates Item #63130. /
  • Lizard Foot Charm - This is a small, mummified foot of a jungle lizard. Any magic it once contained has long since been drained.Creates Item #63118. /
  • Preserved Fern - Ferns are primitive plants that have stems, leaves and roots but no seeds or flowers. They reproduce via spores, much like mushrooms. In ancient times, ferns occupied the niche that flowering plants do today.Creates Item #63121. /
  • Scrap of a Silk Dressing Gown - This mesh is finely woven, possibly of spider silk. The scrap is a silvery white that subtly shifts color in the light. It's a wonder that it has endured years of being buried in the earth.Creates Item #63131. /
  • Voodoo Doll - Little is known about the emergence of voodoo among the trolls. The troll belief system is complex, full of dark spirits and primal often animalistic gods, known as loa.Creates Item #63115. /
  • Wooden Whistle - A small whistle carved from oak. It might have been used to summon a pet or mount or possibly used as a child's toy. It appears to have been chewed on by an animal or young dwarf.Creates Item #63111. /

Inscription

Spell Diffs
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Mounts

Companion Pets
  • Dark Phoenix Hatchling - Right Click to summon and dismiss your baby dark phoenix. / Instant
  • Rustberg Seagull - Right Click to summon and dismiss a Rustberg Seagull. / Instant
  • Armadillo - Right Click to summon and dismiss your Baby Armadillo. / Instant

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Blood
  • Blood Boil now deals [ 8% of AP + 297 ] damage, up from [ 6% of AP + 223 ].


Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Balance
  • Hurricane base damage increased by 33%.
  • Innervate now regenerate mana equal to 20% of the casting Druid's maximum mana pool, down from 33%.
  • Starsurge now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • Entangling Roots now has a 2 sec cast time, up from 1.5 sec.
  • Starfall now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards. Base damage increased by 33%.
  • Lunar Shower now increases damage done by your Moonfire by 15/30/45% (Up from 2/4/8%)
  • Force of Nature now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • Solar Beam now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • Lunar Guidance no longer increases the radius of your Solar Beam.
  • Moonglow now reduces the mana cost of all your damage and healing spells.
  • Nature's Majesty now increases the critical strike chance with all spells.

Feral
  • Thrash now has a 6 sec cooldown, up from 5 sec.
  • Swipe (Bear) base damage increased by 33%.
  • Swipe (Cat) now deals 215% weapon damage, up from 125%.
  • Furor now increases your maximum mana by 5/10/15% instead of increasing your intellect by 2/4/6%.

Restoration
  • Lifebloom now heals over 10 sec, up from 7 sec. Costs 7% of base mana, up from 5%.
  • Omen of Clarity is now properly flagged as Passive.
  • Regrowth HoT effect reduced by 60%, now heals over 6 sec instead of 21 sec. Cast time reduced from 2 sec to 1.5 sec.
  • Natural Perfection is now a Tier 5 talent, down from Tier 6.
  • Swift Rejuvenation is now a Tier 6 talent, up from Tier 5.
  • Revitalize revamped - When you periodically heal with your Rejuvenation or Lifebloom spells, you have a 8/16/24% chance to instantly regenerate 3% of your total mana. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
  • Heart of the Wild no longer increases maximum mana by 5/10/15%, now increases Intellect by 2/4/6%.

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Beast Mastery
  • Viper Venom and Scorpid Venom seems to be gone.
  • Widow Venom no longer mentions "Only one Venom per Hunter can be active on any one target.", I guess the 2 previous venoms are indeed gone.
  • Focus Fire now has a 15 sec cooldown. Down from 30 sec.
  • Improved Kill Command now Increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Command by 5/10% instead of reducing its cooldown.

Marksmanship
  • Kill Shot now deals 150% weapon damage (down from 200%) and scales with 30% of your Attack Power (down from 40%). Base damage reduced by 50%. Cooldown increased from 6 sec to 10 sec. Focus cost removed.
  • Multi-Shot - Fires several missiles, hitting your current target and all enemies within yards of that target for x% of weapon damage. / 40 Focus, 5-35 yd range, Instant
  • Aimed Shot no longer deals 300% of weapon damage, now deals [ 40% of RAP + 681 ] damage. Cast time increased from 2 sec to 3 sec.
  • Arcane Shot base damage reduced by 60%, now scales from 19% of Attack Power, up from 17%.
  • Chimera Shot no longer deals 190% weapon damage, now deals [ 24% of RAP + 401 ].

Survival
  • Serpent Spread - Targets hit by your Multi-Shot are also afflicted by your Serpent Sting equal to 6/9 sec of its total duration.
  • Point of No Escape no longer affects Freezing Arrow.


Mage (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Arcane

Fire
  • Flamestrike base damage increased by 33%.
  • Hot Streak now affects the next Pyroblast cast within 15 sec, up from 10 sec.
  • Blast Wave base damage reduced by 25%.

Frost
  • Blizzard base damage increased by 33%.
  • Brain Freeze additional effect - When Frostfire Bolt is instant, it can benefit from Fingers of Frost.


Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Divine Plea now let you gain 10% (down from 25%) of your total mana over 15 sec. Cooldown changed to 2 min, up from 1 min.
  • Consecration now scales from 22% of AP and 22% of Spell Power, down from 32%.
  • Exorcism mana cost changed from 20% base mana (up from 8% of base mana). Cooldown removed.
  • Lay on Hands cooldown reduced from 20 min to 10 min.
  • Tower of Radiance now procs from Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Holy Light or Divine Light.
  • Blessed Life now has a chance to proc whenever you take direct damage. (Old - "All attacks against you")
  • Illumination is gone.
  • Denounce revamped - Reduces the mana cost of Exorcism by 25/50%. In addition, you have a 50/100% chance when casting Holy Shock to make your next Exorcism spell instant and cost no mana.
  • Enlightened Judgements is now a Tier 4 talent, up from Tier 3. Healing value increased by 30%.
  • Healing Light renamed to Blazing Light - Increases the damage of your Holy Shock and Exorcism by 10/20%. (No longer affects Word of Glory's healing)
  • Arbiter of the Light no longer affects Holy Light.
  • Conviction is back as a Holy Tier 5 talent - Gives you a 1/2/3% bonus to damage and healing for 15 sec after causing a critical effect from a weapon swing, spell, or ability. This effect stacks up to 3 times.
  • Daybreak (Tier 3) *New* - Your Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light have a 15/30% chance of resetting the cooldown on your Holy Shock.

Protection
  • Seal of Justice now deals [ 0.5% of MWS * AP + 1% of MWS * Spell Power ] additional Holy damage on each hit.
  • Vindication now has a chance to reduce physical damage done by the primary target of the skills. (Old - All targets)
  • Grand Crusader now only procs from damage dealt to your primary target.
  • Sanctuary now also reduces all damage taken by 3/7/10%.

Retribution
  • Selfless Healer now has a 50/100% chance to proc, up from 30/60%.
  • The Art of War revamped - Your melee attacks have a 7/14/20% chance to reduce the cast time by 100%, reduce mana cost by 60%, and increase damage by 60% of your next Exorcism.
  • Pursuit of Justice additional effect - You have a 50/100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power when struck by a Stun, Fear or Immobilize effect.

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Holy
  • Hymn of Hope now restores 2% mana, down from 3%. Increases maximum mana by 15%, down from 20%.
  • Holy Nova base damage increased by 33%.
  • Holy Word: Chastise now disorients the target for 3 sec instead of immobilizing it for 2 sec.
  • Revelations Serenity (Heal) base healing effect increased by 65%. Cooldown reduced from 45 sec to 20 sec.
  • Holy Concentration now increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit.
  • Twirling Light now heals for for 30/60% less. (Old - 30/60% of the amount)

Shadow
  • Shadowfiend now gives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks, down from 5%.
  • Mind Control now has a 2.5 sec cast time, up from 2 sec.
  • Sin and Punishment now affects enemy targets within 10 yards, up from 6 yards. Additional effect - When your Mind Flay critically hits, the cooldown of your Shadowfiend is reduced by 10/20 sec.
  • Veiled Shadows now reduces the cooldown of Shadowfiend by 30 sec/60 sec. (Down from 1 min/2 min)
  • Masochism *New* - When you take a damaging attack equal to or greater than 10% of your total health or damage yourself with your Shadow Word: Death, you instantly gain 4/8% of your total mana.

Discipline
  • Aspiration is gone.
  • Twin Disciplines no longer increases the damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield.
  • Strength of Soul *New* - When you heal a target with your Heal spell, the duration of the weakened soul debuff on the target is reduced by 2/4 sec.
  • Inner Focus is back as a Tier 3 talent.


Rogue (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Combat
  • Combat Readiness is now trained at level 81. Down from 83.
  • [u"
    rl=http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/51723/]Fan of Knives[/url] now deals 80% of weapon damage, up from 60%.
  • Kick now costs 15 energy, down from 25 energy.

Subtlety
  • Redirect is now trained at level 83. Up from 81.
  • Cloak of Shadows now increases your chance to resist all spells by 200%, up from 100%.


Shaman (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Elemental
  • Magma Totem base damage increased by 33%.
  • Fire Nova base damage increased by 33%.
  • Rolling Thunder is now a Tier 3 talent, down from Tier 4. Mana regeneration increased from 1% to 2%.
  • Improved Fire Nova moved to Enhancement.
  • Elemental Reach no longer increases the range of Thunderstorm, now affects the range of all your Shock spells. (Old - Just Flame Shock)

Enhancement

Restoration


Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Affliction
  • Seed of Corruption base AE damage increased by 33%.
  • Drain Mana mana cost reduced from 17% of base mana to 12% of base mana.
  • Drain Life now restores 5% total health to the caster every 1 sec regardless of damage done. Soulburn now reduces cast time by 50%, down from 60%. Mana cost reduced from 17% of base mana to 12% of base mana.
  • Life Tap changed to - You Life Tap for 20% of your total health, converting 75% of that into mana.
  • Corruption now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • Haunt now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • Soul Swap now has a 40 yards range, up from 30 yards.
  • And I think Dark Pact is gone, but since I also screwed up with Soul Link last time, I strongly suggest that you assume I'm stupid until it's confirmed.

Demonology
  • Soulburn now lasts 20 sec, up from 15 sec.
  • Unending Breath is back.
  • Nemesis is gone.
  • Hand of Gul'dan's range increased from 30 yards to 40 yards and revamped - Summons a falling meteor down upon the enemy target, dealing 1597.26 to 1886.4 Shadow damage and erupts an aura of magic within 4 yards, causing all targets within it to have an increased 10% chance to be critically hit by any of your demons for 15 sec.
  • Ancient Grimoire is now a Tier 5 talent, up from Tier 4.
  • Demonic Rebirth has a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Aura of Foreboding (Tier 4) *New* - When your Hand of Gul'dan lands, all enemies within 4 yards will be rooted for 2/3 sec and stunned for the same duration if they are still within the Curse of Gul'dan aura 6 sec afterword.

Destruction
  • Shadowflame no longer fears the targets.
  • Hellfire base damage increased by 33%.
  • Rain of Fire base damage increased by 33%. Range increased from 30 yards to 35 yards.
  • Immolate range increased from 30 to 40 yards.
  • Chaos Bolt range increased from 30 to 40 yards.
  • Empowered Imp now has a 2/4% chance to proc from your Imp's Firebolt.
  • Soul Leech now restores 1/2% of your total health and mana, down from 5/10%.
  • Backdraft now reduces the casting time of Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Shadow Bolt by 10/20/30% for 15 sec. No longer has 3 charges.

Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Arms
  • Sweeping Strikes now lasts 30 sec instead of lasting 5 attacks. Cooldown not changed yet.

Fury
  • Inner Rage now increases damage caused by all abilities by 15% (Down from 50%) and increases rage costs by 50% (Up from 15%). Values are just inverted and this is most likely a bug.
  • Die by the Sword is now a Tier 4 talent, down from Tier 5.
  • Meat Cleaver is now a Tier 5 talent, up from Tier 4.
  • Improved Execute is now a Tier 2 talent, down from Tier 3.
  • Enrage is now a Tier 3 talent, up from Tier 2.

Protection
by Published on 2010-08-30 07:53 AM

Goblin Mount - Goblin Trikes
Someone pointed out in a mail that the only screenshots of the Goblin mount I posted on the front page were awful, and he was right. As far as we know, the Goblin racial mount will be a Trike and just like any racial mount, the Goblin Trike Key and Goblin Turbo-Trike will be usable by all races.

Nothing about the Worgen mount for the moment. (I know you're going to ask)

Goblin Trike

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Goblin Turbo-Trike

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Exciting talent trees so far
Originally Posted by Ghostcrawler (Blue Tracker)
There was another thread on this topic that kind of turned into the "DK neglect" thread, so I thought I would start a new one on the original topic.

We're interested in opinions on which current Cataclysm talent trees you find the most exciting.

Ground rules:

1) It isn't of much use to us if you like a talent tree because of one particular ability. That tells us little about the talent tree as a whole.

2) Likewise, your opinion won't count as much (in our minds anyway) if you like a talent tree just because it has all the talents you wish *your* class had. In that same vein, this is probably one case where you're more objective when you find that you like your own talent tree rather than just being all wistful about someone else's toys.

3) Please try and stick to the talent trees themselves and not use this thread for your laundry list of ideas to improve your class.

4) Brevity is the soul of wit.

Another way to think about this: Which classes benefited the most (in the sense of coolness, not necessarily raw power) from the talent overhaul?

[...]

Is it equally valid to discuss the opposite of this? As in, what talent trees you feel haven't really been changed at all, or received close to no benefit really of the overall as it's been so far?
The feedback is useful to a degree. The problem is it's really common to see something like "I'm disappointed with my tree. All the other class got a lot of amazing toys and new talents that I really think should be in my tree. All the other classes are incredibly excited about Cataclysm, while the people who play my class are all drunk in the gutter with despair. My tree has changed the least of all the trees and will clearly be terrible in Cataclysm." That kind of thing tends to be a cross between the grass is greener mentality and just campaigning for buffs. If you think you can be really objective about it, then go ahead, but my concern was that we'd get a lot of "My tree is the worst" feedback, which isn't useful when everyone says that about their tree. Ultimately, it's easier for us to make changes when we know what excites you rather than knowing that you want to be buffed (because we can pretty much assume the latter).

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Dispellable Buffs
Many buffs can be dispelled because they are magical effects and because it's strategic to do so. Some buffs can't be dispelled either because it doesn't make sense, because the class couldn't function without the buff, or both. Slice and Dice can't be dispelled, but Savage Roar and Inquisition can be. We might decide to make or all or none of them dispellable. We really need to see more end-game PvP to make that determination. (Source)

Reforging useful stats
It's a matter of degree. Some players will reforge for a sub 1% dps gain, and that's their prerogative. We don't think the stats need to be that close, but they need to be somewhat close. If Ret paladins perfer crit to haste (or Enhacement prefer haste to mastery, etc. etc.) then that's okay so long as crit doesn't provide twice the dps per stat point as haste. If you're willing to take a previous tier's gear because the stat budget is more optimal, then we've got a problem, as we had a few times in the LK content. (Source)

Breaking crowd controls with melee AE
This is a consideration for many players though. A Prot warrior can't just merrily Thunder Clap no matter what -- they have to evaluate their surroundings, decide if it's appropriate to move slightly farther away, or if they just need to forgo their AE attack for the time being. If Crusader Strike constantly cleaved everything, then that would be really annoying. Having to sometimes drop a 15 sec cooldown ability out of your rotation (assuming you can't move or anything) shouldn't be that big a deal. There are no fights that I can remember off the top of my head where you need to keep a target CC'd in the middle of the melee for long periods of time, and if there are any, they are fairly rare. You should be thankful for the opportunity to sometimes respond to your surroundings by doing different things rather than always mashing the same buttons like you are dashing out a song on a piano. (Source)

Class Roles
You guys worry way too much about what buckets you're supposed to be in. It seems every time I come to the forums, I am asked to define someone's role.

In PvE, the only roles are tank, dps and healing. In PvP, the only roles are dps and healing (except for very specific circumstances like tanking Drek in AV). Situationally you might be called upon to carry a flag or defend a tower, but that's what you're doing at the moment, not what your talent spec is all about. There are 30 talent trees. They're all a little different. PvP doesn't have positions like quarterback, grenadier, left fielder, drum major or striker. Use all of the abilities you have in order to support your allies and be successful. If you're a Ret paladin, you should focus on melee dps, because that's where your strongest abilities lie.

Sometimes when I do try and explain how we think a spec should work, I often regret it. I'll say something like how Ret is supposed to be a melee dps class, and keep getting asked "Then why do we have heals?" or "Why should someone take me over a rogue if I'm just melee?" Trying too hard to label things is always going to result in a simplistic answer.

I'm not trying to dismiss the question. It's just not the way we think about things. (Source)

Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Death Knights neglected in Cata?
"Neglect" is one of those words that typically makes developers roll their eyes and skip over to the next post. Just so you know.

Even the original DK trees are not very old compared to all the others, so in that sense, they didn't have so many layers of build up cruft that needed shaking off. We've changed up some of the mechanics that weren't working and got rid of some of the boring passive damage, but overall we didn't feel the need to replace talents like say Rime, Dirge or Killing Machine.

I'm just saying that it shouldn't come as much surprise that the most recently designed tree didn't need as much overhauling as say warrior and mage, which hadn't changed much since vanilla. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Can't use Shred on unusual raid encounters (Kologarn)
When we make an entire instance full of Kologarns then it will be a problem. I think you'll be fine if you can't manage maximum dps on every raid boss. I think the game loses far more when we can't make original bosses with unusual mechanics that we gain by having every dps spec do about the same relative damage on every fight. (Source)

Shred position prereq
PvP is rarely ever decided by someone's long term sustained dps though. It has a lot more to do with making the right decision at the right time.

In PvE there is no question that Shred is superior, but in most fights you can Shred. Those few fights where you can't Shred aren't ubiquitous enough to feel like a big deal. If you just find it too difficult to always get behind a creature to be able to Shred, then I'm not sure what to tell you. We don't think this problem is so widespread that Ferals are at a huge disadvantage overall. We agree that Feral has a really high skill cap in Lich King, but that's more do to the John Madden nature of the rotation than to Shred's positional requirement, and it's also something we've taken steps to improve in Cataclysm.

Many specs can't perform their highest 100% potential when mobs are moving or when they have to step out of the fire, but we aren't about to change those in order to make things easier on the player. I think raiding is plenty easy to be honest, unless you're talking about the more challenging heroic-mode encounters in which, yeah, we're asking you to step it up a little. (Source)

Innervate
Innervate is now based on YOUR mana, not the target's mana. GC specifically stated this makes Innervate useless for Ferals, as they do not want Ferals helping Healers in their mana management.
That's not actually what I said. I said that we wanted Feral's Innervate to be less powerful than Balance and Restoration, because we don't want "stack Ferals" to be the solution for healers who overheal a lot. Your Innervate will still be valued (probably more valued, all things considered), but it won't be and shouldn't be the magic pill that gets you a raid slot. (Source)

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
New Multi-Shot
Our current version of Multi-Shot has not target cap. It's a little like Fan of Knives. (Source)

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Seal Damage
There's no evidence of that though. You're just fretting. We nerfed Seal damage recently because Ret paladins were beating everyone on damage meters. We aren't spending much effort on numbers yet, but we need them to be reasonable enough so that playtesters don't do unusual things that they wouldn't do when the numbers are tuned more accurately. (Source)

Holy Power on white attacks?
Holy Power on white attacks was too unpredictable to the point of annoying. Imagine you have 2 Holy Power, start to push Crusader Strike and then at that instant get a white attack proc. Now you have wasted your 1.5 sec GCD *and* wasted Holy Power because you're technically at 4 now. Having Holy Power tied to yellow attacks is at least the kind of thing you can train yourself to watch out for. If you aren't hitting any buttons, then you aren't going to get Holy Power for example. You can notice after every button mash if you got that extra proc or not -- they aren't just happening out of the blue.

Stacking haste for fast Templar Verdicts
If hitting TV after 23 seconds qualifies as burst, then I think we'll be fine. Yes, once in awhile a Ret might get off a 32K Templar's Verdict, but that's not going to global anyone.

[...] Haste for most melee grants them more resources. Ret still isn't super dependent on mana though. It will be limiting enough that you can't spam heals or expensive spells like Consecrate, but it won't be so attractive that if we incorporated a haste to mana mechanic that it would at all be attractive.

Haste for casters makes their spells cast faster, but again you're doing so little of that that it won't be something you really need.

So neither of those mechanics works for Ret paladins. You'll get more damage from autoattacks of course, but so do the other melee. Tying haste to Crusader Strike cooldown is more consistent with the "haste lets you do more" model for the other melee. (There are no general mechanics that let haste lower the cooldown of something, so you're technically inaccurate in that sense.)

Finally, we could have just made the haste affects Crusader Strike cooldown a core mechanic. We made it a talent because we found in playtesting that some players liked CS at a predictable 4.5 sec cooldown and others appreciated having the cooldown come faster with haste. (Source)

Interesting Rotations
"Interesting" is in the eye of the beholder, so that's sort of a hard point to argue. We do think it's more complex though. Part of the problem is it's rather difficult for anyone to screw up the Ret rotation on live. If you hit things when they come off cooldown, you'll do pretty competitive damage. You have no resource to worry about and it's pretty hard to throw your rotation off for very long.

The change to Holy Power and adding spells like Inquisition and Zealotry means there is a lot more to juggle. If you let Inquisition fall or you aren't prepared to maximize Zealotry uptime, then you aren't playing to your full potential. If you don't hit TV when you get 3 Holy Power, or if you religiously hit TV but eclipse buttons like Judgement in the meantime, then you're not playing optimally.

Basically we are now engineering opportunities for players to make a mistake. If nobody can make a mistake, then there really is no test of skill and no opportunity for anyone to get better. That's the "faceroll" rep that the tree sometimes gets saddled with -- no matter what you do, you'll end up doing high damage. In Cataclysm, that won't be the case.

If you find you can master the new rotation trivially, then congratulations, you'll be one of the better paladins out there. I am very confident however that not everyone will be able to do so, and so Ret paladins who do a lot of damage will get more respect for being good players than for having picked the right class on the character select screen. (Source)

Retribution Rotation
Imagine you did nothing but Crusader Strike and Templar's Verdict. With no haste, you can do a Templar's Verdict every 13.5 seconds. With enough haste to lower Crusader Strike to 4.4 seconds, you can do a Templar's Verdict every 13.2 seconds. In the space in between Crusader Strikes you will be able to Judge and use Holy Wrath and sometimes get Exorcism procs. You might also use free cycles for utility abilities depending on the situation. But your rotation should never be so full that every Crusader Strike must land every 4.5 sec or its wasted. It might be wasted sometimes, but not so often that Sanctity of Battle is an unattractive talent. (Source)

[...] I'm going to leave out the Exorcisms, because they aren't predictable.

Here is a 4.5 cooldown:

0s: Crusader Strike (back at 4.5)
1.5: Judgement (back at 9.5)
3.0: Holy Wrath (back at 18)
4.5: Crusader Strike (back at 9)
6.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
7.5:
9.0: Crusader Strike (back at 13.5)
10.5: Inquisition (back at 40.5)
12.0: Judgement (back at 20)
13.5: Crusader Strike (back at 18)
15.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
16.5:
18.0: Crusader Strike (back at 22.5)
19.5: Holy Wrath (back at 34.5)
21.0: Judgement (back at 29)
22.5: Crusader Strike (back at 27)
24.0: Templar's Verdict
25.5:
27.0: Crusader Strike (back at 31.5)
28.5:
29.0: Judgement (back at 37)

Here is a 4.2 cooldown:

0s: Crusader Strike (back at 4.2)
1.5: Judgement (back at 9.5)
3.0: Holy Wrath (back at 18)
4.5: Crusader Strike (back at 8.7)
6.0: (Hopefully Exorcism)
7.5:
8.7: Crusader Strike (back at 12.9)
10.2: Inquisition (back 40.2)
11.7: Judgement (back at 19.7)
13.2: Crusader Strike (back at 17.4)
15.7: (Hopefully Exorcism)
17.2:
17.4 : Crusader Strike (back at 21.6)
18.9: Holy Wrath (back at 33.9)
20.4: Judgement (back at 28.4)
21.9: Crusader Strike (back at 26.3)
23.4: Templar's Verdict

Like Snozberries, I did that math quickly so I may have screwed up somewhere, but assuming I did not, your hardest hitting ability is available 0.6 sec earlier. Not a huge dps increase overtime, but probably comparable to an equivalent amount of crit rating (given that this is not the only haste benefit). (Source)

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Lightwell Range
15 yards. (Source)

Lightwell vs. Health Stones
Healthstones are good and good players use them. If bad players continue to ignore Lightwell, we can live with that. If it becomes as useful as a Healthstone, perfect.

Also note that ignoring a Healthstone (or Lightwell) will be essentially like casting a mana drain on your healer, which is not the case today. (Source)

The MMO Report
Look, it's monday! Hello MMO Report!



Comics
Dark Legacy Comic #253 and Teh Gladiators #162 + #163 are out!

by Published on 2010-08-28 08:13 AM

Bastion of Twilight - Build 12803 Preview
Bastion of Twilight will be one of the first raid instances of the expansion.

Encounters
There are 4 encounters in Bastion of Twilight, plus an additional Heroic-Only encounter.

  • Valiona and Theralion
  • Halfus Wyrmbreaker
  • Twilight Ascendant Council (Ignacious, Feludius, Arion, and Terrastra)
  • Cho'gall
  • Lady Sinestra (Heroic Only)




Zone Screenshots
The screenshots of the zones are without NPCs or doodads, this isn't representative of the final instance, just a preview of the architecture. Obviously a subzone like the Throne of Apocalypse is more impressive when Cho'gall is here sitting on his huge throne.

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MLG Raleigh Tournaments This Weekend
Originally Posted by Bashiok (Blue Tracker)
Tune in this weekend to the MLG Raleigh Starcraft II and World of Warcraft tournaments!

The live streams for North America's first major StarCraft II event start at 2:00 PM PDT, today, Friday August 27 with the Pre-Game Show featuring Day9, JP, HD/Husky, Vhell and Vansilli. The matches culminate in the championship finals held tomorrow, Saturday August 28 at 2:30 PM PDT. All matches feature live commentary by Day9, JP, and Husky.

The MLG World of Warcraft games begin at 4:00 PM PDT on Saturday with the championship match running at 2:30PM PDT on Sunday.

For more information about the teams attending, tournament schedule and how to watch the streams, visit www.mlgpro.com
Live Streams



WoW Schedule
Saturday August 28th
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM - Check-In / Account Setup
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM - Check-In / Account Setup / Warm-Up
7:00 PM - 7:40 PM - Dinner Break
7:40 PM - 10:00 PM - Winners Round 1

Sunday August 29th
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Warm-Up
10:00 AM - 11:10 AM - Losers Round 1
11:10 AM - 12:20 PM - Winners Round 2
12:20 PM - 1:30 PM - Losers Round 2
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM - Lunch Break
2:00 PM - 2:35 PM - Losers Round 3
2:35 PM - 3:10 PM - Winners Round 3
3:10 PM - 3:45 PM - Losers Round 4
3:45 PM - 4:20 PM - Losers Round 5
4:20 PM - 4:55 PM - Winners Finals
4:55 PM - 5:40 PM - Losers Finals
5:40 PM - 6:25 PM - Finals

Starcraft 2 Schedule
Friday August 27th
10:30 AM - 1:30 PM - Early Check-In
1:30 PM - 5:00 PM - Check-In / Warm-Up / Account Setup
5:00 PM - 5:30 PM - Welcome
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM - Winners Round 1
7:30 PM - 8:30 PM - Losers Round 1
8:30 PM - 9:30 PM - Winners Round 2
9:30 PM - 10:30 PM - Losers Round 2
10:30 PM - 11:30 PM - Winners Round 3 / Losers Round 3

Saturday August 28th-
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Warm-Up
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Losers Round 4
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Winners Round 4 / Losers Round 5
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Losers Round 6
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM - Winners Round 5 / Losers Round 7
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM - Losers Round 8
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Winners Finals / Losers Round 9
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM - Losers Finals
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM - Finals


UI Addon Functionality Returning
Originally Posted by Zarhym (Blue Tracker)
With the release of the next beta patch, we plan to re-enable the ability for players to use third-party addons. Many of the core user interface features are now implemented in the beta test and functional, so we feel it’s a good time to open up the field for developing and testing UI modifications.

Be sure to continue leaving us feedback about all of the new user interface features here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...66722&sid=2000

Feedback about the new guild interface can be provided to us here: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/th...66721&sid=2000

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

We Are Legendary - Retroactive!
We are making a exception for this guild achievement. Any legendary items you have already earned will count. (Source)

New content for the next Beta Patch
We do not plan to patch today, though we plan to have a great deal of new content in the upcoming patch. You'll get access to new zones and dungeons, and potentially an increase in level cap to 85. (Source)

Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Feral Q&A
Can you make savage roar undispellable?
This is something we're discussing, but haven't made a decision yet.

Will Shred ever have no positional? : \
We like Shred and Backstab with positional requirements. We haven't changed our stance on this. If you find Shred too difficult to use in PvE, then Mangle. If you're not happy in PvE with the damage you can do while Mangling, and can't manage to stay in a position where you can Shred, then I hate to say it but this probably isn't the spec for you. In PvP we think it's more of an issue, but we've also buffed Mangle to where you can do credible damage with it.

Will dash be given the same treatment as sprint? (lower CD lower dura)
We think Dash is fine.

Is the new version of innervate intended to be worth less to specs with small mana pools like Feral?
Yes, exactly. In Cataclysm, healer mana matters a great deal. In that environment, having some dps who can prop up healer mana so well is quite overpowered. It's okay to have utility in providing the healers extra mana, but it can't get out of control. Balance and Resto druids will have bigger Innervates, but then they are also balanced around needing to use those on themselves most of the time.

Can you change the new version of survival instincts to have less of an effect but a shorter CD?, 60% is great, but at a 5 min cd, id rather have 40% on a 3 minute cd or something to that effect ya know?
This is the kind of thing we're still messing with. There are situations where the short cooldown weaker version is more useful and others where it isn't.

Is Bear form damage going to be a little bit higher then it currently is for Cata? can pulverize and mangle at least hit harder then maul? its kinda lame that our talented abilities hit much weaker then maul in bear atm
I wouldn't worry too much about numbers yet. We haven't made much of an effort to adjust them and won't until we're happy with the basic mechanics.

What is the purpose of thorns? you've been consolidating weird buffs so, i figure this is on the list of weird buffs with no real purpose
We think it has more of a purpose with more damage packed into a smaller window than weak damage available 100% of the time. In the latter case you'd never think twice about attacking someone with Thorns because it's never not there. It also asks a little more of the druid to use Thorns at the right time rather than just whenever the buff drops off. Thorns isn't a raid buff on the scale of something like Fortitude or Bloodlust so we see no reason to consolidate it.

Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Crusader Strike
I see this comment a lot, but I don't understand it. Can you explain to me why a 4.4 Crusader Strike is not strictly better than a 4.5 Crusader Strike? That might be the case if your rotation was so jam packed that you can't fit in another Crusader Strike until its cooldown drops by an entire 1.5 global cooldown, but we've gone on record saying that the rotation won't work that way. Hitting Crusader Strike even a fraction of a second sooner means a Templar's Verdict comes that sooner, letting you start the rotation again. That's a dps increase.

Haste is valuable above and beyond the Sanctity of Battle talent of course. Swinging more often is a dps increase alone, and can also lead to more frequent Art of War procs or Seal ticks.

Templar's Verdict at less than 3 stacks will almost never make sense unless you're in a situation where perhaps someone is running away (and for whatever reason you can't stun them etc.) so you might as well hit them now. (Source)

Priest (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Lightwell Feedback Needed
While any kind of feedback is helpful to a degree, we are much more interested in the feedback of players who have tried Lightwell in the most recent beta builds than those who just never cared for the talent. We are actively making changes to the spell to see how it plays, so it's important for us to know if the changes are noticeable and fun without that feedback getting buried under the cruft of bad reputation that Lightwell has built up over time. If it's still not cutting it, we're prepared to try something different, but we need a chance to see if that is in fact the case. (Source)
by Published on 2010-08-27 06:18 AM

If you can read this news post, you're on the new servers!
As mentioned yesterday, we finally started moving the servers to Curse's infrastructure this week. We're still moving a lot of stuff and some pages might be down for a little while but ... we're there! It means we can finally start planning funny updates to the site, and, well, a lot of bug fixes. We also have a couple of shiny pictures, thanks to Xtek.

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Dual-Specialization Price Reduced
The price of Dual-Specialization has been lowered in a recent beta build, it now costs 100 gold and new players who reach level 40 should be able to afford it without too much problem.



Character Selection Screen - Built-In Theorycraft
In Cataclysm, the character screen will let you check easily how much of stat you need to be capped, calculations for Expertise, Hit Rating, and a few other stats are available. This will probably save you a lot of time when you try to figure out if you really need that extra hit on your shiny new epic.



Build 12804 - Mount Hyjal Update
Mount Hyjal received a very interesting update in the latest beta build. If you visited the zone or looked at screenshots during early beta, you probably remember the huge crater called Archimonde's Vengeance. Well, this subzone is gone and has been replaced with a greatly improved version! The crater is no longer there but the key NPCs of the questlines are still around.

Before

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After

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Concept Arts
The Blizzard Art gallery has been updated with 2 pieces representing the Warcraft universe.

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by Published on 2010-08-26 09:16 AM

Baradin Hold Preview
Baradin Hold is the new PvP Raid Instance in Tol Barad. Just like the Vault of Archavon in Wintergrasp, the instance will only be available to the faction controlling the zone and according to the current layout of the map, Blizzard will most likely add more wings over time.






Cataclysm Zone Q&A: Azshara
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Delve into the mysteries of Azshara with game designers Craig Amai and Dave Kosak, who talked with us about the Horde's northward expansion and the rise of the Bilgewater Cartel as part of our ongoing coverage of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Adventure, conflict, and, of course, profit await those who enter the newly re-imagined Azshara!

Q. What was the original concept for the zone?

A. Azshara has always been somewhat barren in terms of content, so our original plan was simply to fill in most of the unused space and then take some of the quests that spanned multiple zones and move them completely over to Azshara. The zone itself was a bit of a blank slate, so this approach seemed obvious from the very beginning.

While discussing our goals for the overall flow for Kalimdor, we started to heavily consider when, where, and how goblins would be introduced to questing on the continent. We realized that we were in sort of a dilemma because, at that point, four out of six Horde races were being routed through the same 10–20 leveling experience in the Northern Barrens. It was only then that we decided to retrofit Azshara as an alternative zone for level 10 through 20 Horde characters and make it a goblin hub.

Naturally, once goblins got involved, things sort of exploded.

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

A. Azshara is designed for level 10 through 20 Horde characters. Goblins will be encouraged to level in this particular zone because it expands on their story and sheds some additional light on already established characters. Orcs, trolls, and tauren will be able to choose between Azshara and the Northern Barrens, based on their personal preference. (Hint: Pick Azshara!)

Q. Without giving up any spoilers, what's the general storyline for this zone? How has it changed from the original design?

A. Having recently gained the mantle of warchief, Garrosh Hellscream is preparing for war to claim all of Kalimdor for the Horde. The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, headquartered in Bilgewater Harbor, are playing their part by building war machines, constructing weapons, and establishing a massive naval harbor within sight of Orgrimmar. Meanwhile, the night elves aren't content to sit idly by; they fully intend to challenge this unwelcome occupation in Azshara and hopefully stymie a conflict that would otherwise be carried deep into their forests.

Amid all this tension, the Bilgewater Cartel is also out to make a name for itself in true goblin fashion. What is the best way to show solidarity? Reshape the Bay of Storms into a giant Horde symbol! From there, a secret lab, an extensive rocketway, and a "pleasure palace" with its own golf course are just natural leaps in goblin logic.

Overall, players will find that very little remains of the Azshara of old. The Hydraxian Warlords have departed. Azuregos is missing. Xylem's tower still stands, but Xylem himself seems to have stumbled upon something that has quickly driven him insane. And while clumsy explorers continue to be eaten by the local giant-life, the goblins have developed a method to make such an unfortunate circumstance practical and, yes, profitable.

Q. How has Orgrimmar's relentless expansion altered the lands of Azshara?

A. Orgrimmar now has a massive gate leading north into Azshara, and the canyon that winds into this gate will give players a brief look at the war machines being wrought from goblin ingenuity and technology. The rest of the zone expands further on this promise of destruction. The middle of Azshara includes the new Bilgewater Harbor, which acts as a naval port for the entire Orgrimmar fleet, launching boats and zeppelins to carry out Garrosh's vision for the future of Kalimdor and beyond.

Q. What have the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel, now aligned with the Horde, done to reshape Azshara in their (or Trade Prince Gallywix's) image?

A. A quick glance at recent cartographical surveys of the region will show that the goblin commitment to the Horde cause is strong. Azshara is now the largest terraforming project on Azeroth! Whether it's sculpting the terrain to promote Horde propaganda, moving an entire mountain to pillage the minerals underneath, or slapping the face of the trade prince on a nearby crag, there's no question who wears the pants in Azshara these days.

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

A. Well, there are super-intelligent raptors, a haunted bulldozer, a crack squad of goblin commandos, a hunt for Azuregos, an insane mage with countless apprentices, rat riding, parachuting from an exploding tower...

What if we just say that the most exciting new addition to Azshara is the entire zone?

Q. You mentioned earlier that Azuregos is missing, but now he's being hunted. What's going on there?

A. Strangely, Azuregos has disappeared, and no one seems to know where he flew off to. After that last group of bloodthirsty adventurers came through on some sort of quest to make a now-useless quiver, he's just been... well, he's gone, and there have been whisperings of someone in Bilgewater Harbor who will pay handsomely for information on his whereabouts.

Q. What goes into redesigning a zone like this?

A. We wanted to maintain the original color palette and fall-foliage theme for Azshara, but beyond that, it was a complete rework from the ground up. Artists began the process by creating some incredible landmarks, including a giant cannon centerpiece for the new city and an entire "pleasure palace" complete with the goblin equivalent of Mount Rushmore, which just oozed goblin flavor. Level designers then reshaped the environment, literally moving mountains, parting waters, and erecting a colossal, zone-encompassing rocket freeway. We then worked to complement the new scenery by adding a bizarre array of quests befitting the unique and crazy capitalistic culture of the Bilgewater Cartel.

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

A. Not using our new terrain phasing technology to blow up everything. Self-restraint doesn't come easy.

Q. What should players do or go see first?

A. Players should ideally start at the beginning, near the rear gate of Orgrimmar, and then follow the quest series from there; it'll lead you on a nice, smooth ride of awesome. Or, if you're the impatient type, head straight to Bilgewater Harbor, take a stroll through town, and grab some lunch at the local crustacean shack.

Q. So, last question. Bilgewater Harbor: great port town or the greatest port town?

A. From its roots as a humble "city-in-a-box" to the bustling metropolis it is today, Bilgewater Harbor straddles the line between myth and legend. At least, that's what the brochure says.

The orc commanders might argue differently, though. It isn't exactly easy to maintain discipline in an otherwise lawless city where every vice you can imagine is available for just a handful of silver and debauchery is half off.

Thank you, Craig and Dave, for taking the time to sit down and speak with us about the work you've done to revitalize Azshara as an epic leveling zone in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!
As usual, here is a bunch of screenshots from the current build of the beta!


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