Cataclysm Preview: Twilight Highlands
Azeroth's inhabitants endure a lifetime of struggle and conflict. They're subject to violence from neighboring enemies and rampaging beasts at an early age, and must learn to take up arms to defend themselves against predators. Regularly forced to cope with the deaths of friends, family, and members of their tribes, clans, cities, and guilds, these scarred survivors become stronger by reinforcing their walls, banding together with new allies, and raising sharp, careful, resilient children. They adapt. They change.
Few places on Azeroth exemplify this ever-changing dynamic more than the Twilight Highlands of the Eastern Kingdoms.
The highlands have undergone constant upheaval throughout their history, with races and factions thriving, collapsing, and changing seemingly without pause. The fortress-city of Grim Batol has played host to no fewer than three potent factions: the Wildhammer dwarves, who abandoned their home after a Dark Iron curse left it uninhabitable; the red dragonflight, which was forced to fight for the Horde in the captivity of the Dragonmaw orcs during the Second War; and, of course, the Dragonmaw themselves, who were driven from Grim Batol when the red dragonflight was finally freed from their grasp.
The Dragonmaw now cling to the edges of the highlands. They're no less wild and difficult to deal with than when they ruled Grim Batol, but their knowledge of dragons and warfare is of unquestionable importance, especially amidst the chaos of the Cataclysm. The Wildhammer dwarves dwell in forested outposts among the highlands' mountains; though long friendly with the Alliance, they have only now begun to consider casting their lot in with Stormwind and Ironforge thanks to the entreaties of their cousins, the Bronzebeard clan. Even the mighty red dragonflight has suffered greatly in recent months: its members have been decimated by a frenzied, newly aggressive black dragonflight attacking relentlessly from the petrified Obsidian Forest.
Amidst this upheaval, a new power has come to possess the highlands.
Though the environment has been given many names throughout its history, it's only been dubbed "Twilight" thanks to the dominance of its current masters. The fanatical Twilight's Hammer cultists appreciate the name, but there are more functional features to the swath of land they've chosen as their headquarters. It's rimmed by massive mountain peaks that scrape at the sky like fingernails, making invasion by land nearly impossible, and the highlands' black-glass beaches ensure that marine assaults are fraught with terror; ships docking on the peninsula risk running aground.
More important to the cult, however, is the promise of worldly extinction and change that permeates the land. In the dimness of the highlands, shadows are deeper. The sun and the rest of Azeroth seem distant. The elements themselves are more pronounced: fires burn hotter; rain forces its way into the ground; and the heaves and shudders of the land call to mind some colossal being stirring beneath the earth. This doesn't frighten the members of the Twilight's Hammer; it lulls them to sleep.
Their dark work is done here in a manner that could never have been realized in Silithus. The devoted of the Twilight's Hammer train in the halls of mighty fortresses, not tiny compounds and outposts. They summon dangerous, mercurial elementals who loathe each other to the point of outright war but still pause their feuds momentarily to work towards the destruction of the other races. Outside the highlands, the cult is fractious and divided. Here, it is guided on its mission of destruction by some of the cruelest and bloodiest names in history, yet the names associated with this cabal belie the true extent of its leadership.
These dark whisperers chose the highlands as their base of operations for a reason. They can feel the presence of the Old Gods in the air and see their victory in the darkness. The shifting landscape, battling factions, and wicked elements embody the cult's vision of what its world will become as it is finally purged of life and order. The rest of Azeroth will follow the Twilight Highlands into oblivion, one way or another.
Beta - Current zone status
And just because I know you're all going to ask anyway, here is the list of the dungeon levels from the LFGDungeons of the latest beta build.Hi all,
Here is a full list of zones, their new level ranges, and which ones are currently ready for quest testing. I will also keep this updated with links to each zone’s official feedback thread. Please try to keep feedback for each zone consolidated into these threads, it would help us keep everything organized!
Thanks to everyone who is posting corrections and links to feedback threads. I will update the list and delete your posts as needed.
- Alterac - No
- Arathi – (25-30) - Yes
- Ashenvale – (20-25) – Yes - Feedback
- Azshara – (10-20) – Yes - Feedback
- Badlands – (TBD!) - No
- Blasted Lands – Yes - Feedback
- Burning Steppes – (TBD!) - No
- Darkshore - (10-20) – Yes - Feedback
- Deepholm – (82-83) - No
- Desolace – Yes - Feedback
- Dun Morogh – (1-10) - No
- Durotar – (1-10) - Yes
- Duskwood – (20-25) – Yes - Feedback
- Dustwallow Marsh – (35-40) - Yes - Feedback
- Eastern Plaguelands – (40-45) – No
- Echo Isles - Yes - Feedback
- Elwynn Forest – (1-10) - Yes
- Felwood – (45-50) - No
- Ferelas – (35-40) - Yes - Feedback
- Gilneas (Worgen Start) – (1-12) - Yes
- Hillsbrad – (20-25) - No
- Hinterlands – (30-35) - Yes - Feedback
- Loch Modan – (10-20) - Yes - Feedback
- Lost Isles (Goblin Start) – (1-12) - Yes
- Mount Hyjal – (78-82) - Yes - Feedback
- Mulgore – (1-10) - Yes
- North Barrens – (10-20) - Yes
- Northshire Valley – (1-5) - Yes - Feedback
- Redridge – (15-20) - Yes - Feedback
- Searing Gorge – (TBD!) - No
- Silithus – (55-60) - No
- Silverpine – (10-20) - No
- South Barrens – (30-35) - Yes - Feedback
- Stonetalon – (25-30) - Yes - Feedback
- Stranglethorn – (25-35) - Yes
- Swamp of Sorrows – (TBD!) - No
- Tanaris – (45-50) - Yes - Feedback
- Teldrassil – (1-10) - Yes
- Thousand Needles – (40-45) - No
- Tirisfal Glades – (1-10) - Yes - Feedback
- Twilight Highlands – (84-85) - No
- Uldum – (84-85) - No
- Un'Goro – (50-55) - Yes - Feedback
- Vashj'ir – (78-82) - Yes - Feedback
- Western Plaguelands – (35-40) - No
- Westfall – (10-15) - Yes - Feedback
- Wetlands – (25-30) - Yes - Feedback
- Winterspring – (50-55) - No
- Ragefire Chasm (15 - 21)
- Deadmines (15 - 21)
- Wailing Caverns (15 - 25)
- Shadowfang Keep (16 - 26)
- Blackfathom Deeps (20 - 30)
- Stormwind Stockade (20 - 30)
- Gnomeregan (24 - 34)
- Scarlet Monastery - Graveyard (26 - 36)
- Scarlet Monastery - Library (29 - 39)
- Razorfen Kraul (30 - 40)
- Maraudon - Purple Crystals (30 - 40)
- Maraudon - Orange Crystals (32 - 42)
- Scarlet Monastery - Armory (32 - 42)
- Maraudon - Pristine Waters (34 - 44)
- Uldaman (35 - 45)
- Scarlet Monastery - Cathedral (35 - 45)
- Dire Maul - East (36 - 46)
- Scholomance (38 - 48)
- Dire Maul - West (39 - 49)
- Razorfen Downs (40 - 50)
- Dire Maul - North (42 - 52)
- Stratholme - Main Gate (42 - 52)
- Zul'Farrak (44 - 54)
- Stratholme - Service Entrance (46 - 56)
- Blackrock Depths - Prison (47 - 57)
- Sunken Temple (50 - 60)
- Blackrock Depths - Upper City (51 - 61)
- Lower Blackrock Spire (55 - 65)
Originally Posted by Blizzard EntertainmentEqual Effective Health among all tanks
Assuming you are defining Effective Health as armor x health, then it isn't and never has been our goal to have effective health be identical among all the tanks. Cooldowns, avoidance, emergency buttons and other class mechanics are all part of that package for us. What matters to us is whether or not the four tanks can tank the content with more or less the same chance of success. That's the metric we use, not a single number. (Source)
Lack of Swords Itemization
What? We love swords. Like a brother. A potentially dangerous, but nonetheless epic brother.
Overall, though, a fewer number of classes can equip swords as compared to those that can equip axes and maces. As a result, when only a finite number of items can be created within a specific period of time, it makes sound design sense to create more axes and maces than one-handed and two-handed swords.
Now, you may only be considering my statement in terms of itemization, but that's a trap I don't want you to fall into. Keep in mind that stats only make up half an item, and that the other half is the way the item appears in the game. We have incredibly talented, hard working artists; however, those artists still must manage their time efficiently and produce quality work that will best benefit the game. So, when determining what item artwork to develop and in what quantity, the weapon types that are used by more players (e.g. axes and maces) tend to be created in greater abundance.
Even so, there's still quite a few swords planned for Cataclysm that are just downright awesome. (Source)
Cross-Realm BoA Mails
Adding the ability for players to be able to mail Bind on Account items cross-realm is something we've discussed on more than one occasion. We understand that players would greatly appreciate having the option to send heirlooms, for example, to lower-level characters on different realms, so we're exploring the possibility. It's definitely on our radar! Due to the necessary infrastructure changes that would need to occur before cross-realm mail can be integrated, though, we have no immediate plans for adding this functionality as of yet. (Source)
Without defense gear any longer and with no block rating on gear, you're probably at ~5% block, which is way too low. We need base block to be higher, but we still haven't fully decided if that's something all characters get or just warriors / paladins, or just tanks, etc. (Source)
Threat Reduction Talents - Gone
The new "reduced fat" talent trees have no threat reduction talents. (Source)
Death Knight (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Death Knight Tanking/Self-Healing
Our intent is that DKs take more damage to compensate for all of the self-healing. As Regill points out, Blood Craze is accessible now and we want Enraged Regen to be more attractive. (Source)
Druid (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator)
Omen of Clarity
If I had to guess, Omen of Clarity will be a trained ability. It's too useful to different kinds of druids. Even if you put it shallow in Resto, Feral wouldn't be able to benefit from it until very high level.
But we'll see.... (Source)
I just posted a similar thing in another thread, but I wouldn't worry too much about the current Cataclysm implementation of Eclipse. We've been focused on getting the UI functional and having it get turned on at the right moment when you spec Balance. Last time I logged into the beta as a druid, I was having Eclipse procs show up in my combat log... as a Feral. Clearly it's not ready for prime time yet.
I'm not sure we'd ever go with charges for the mechanic. That just goes against everything we're trying to do for class design. We don't want set rotations where you know you can go 1231 ad infinitum. We want players to respond to dynamic things happening that they won't be able to predict with 100% certainty. We want the best players to be those who pay attention, not those who can follow a rote rotation. Talents like Ruthlessness and Omen of Clarity are put in precisely to screw up rotations, but also to reward players who can handle that uncertainty.
You're not going to be able to fully maximize every Eclipse proc, in the same way a mage may lose a Fireball channel if she suddenly has to move or a rogue may lose combo points if he needs to quickly switch targets. But as with those example, we also want to make sure the druid isn't totally boned if something happens and you can't take full advantage of an Eclipse.
Give us a couple of beta builds, and there will be a more fully functional Eclipse that you can then comment on. (Source)
I wouldn't put much stock in the current tuning of Eclipse in Cataclysm. We just barely have the mechanic working at all.
We will still give Balance druids the Eclipse bar at level 10, along with an active ability. At high level, mastery on gear will enhance the Arcane and Nature bonuses of the bar. (Source)
Paladin (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Divine Storm back into the talent tree
After further reflection, we don't think Divine Storm makes a good level 10 Ret ability. It really wants to be an AE attack, and it's just hard to make an AE attack a signature ability usable in as many situations as a signature attack deserves to be.
Divine Storm will probably go back into the talent tree. It won't be the 31-point though. Both the 31-point and the 10 ability need to have more single-target use. That means something like 3 new abilities for Retribution and several new or modified talents on top of that. Crazy.
As you can see, we're still iterating a lot on paladins. Our lack of communication is because things are changing quickly, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to share it all until things feel a little more stable. (Source)
Beacon of Light in Cataclysm (Source)
Paladin healing with Beacon is a lot more dynamic than it was without.
I think it works fine with the Cataclysm healing style. It will let you (sometimes) heal two targets at once, which is a great use of GCDs.
Beacon of Light does need dispel protection, or PvP is going to suck. Same with sacred shield.
Dispels are more expensive in Cataclysm in a few ways. I'm not sure it's going to be very strategic to dispel a spell that can immediately be reapplied.
Warlock (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
The plan is for your pets to scale 100% with your stats. In fact, group buffs don't even work on pets any longer so that they don't double dip from those buffs. (Source)
Removing Passive Talents
If you look at the warlock trees, there are tons of talents that buff Corruption and add range and crit damage and whatever. A couple of those per tree are okay but clearly we need to remove a lot of them and that means adding new talents, which unfortunately is slow. (Source)
Soul Harvest (Soul Harvest)
Outside of combat (which means between encounters, not when you can get out of combat for 2 sec in an Arena), you can get the shards back quickly from killing things or using Harvest Soul if there is nothing conveniently around to kill. We don't want Harvest Soul to be super convenient. It's your backup option.
If we find that it's super frustrating as a lock in a long encounter (including a long Arena match), then we'll look at ways to get shards back in combat. However our prediction is as soon as we do that, locks will start blowing their shards on cooldown and then getting frustrated at a slow Aspect of the Viper-like mechanic to get them back. (Source)
Our thought at the moment is to put Soul Link in the second tier of talents where it is accessible to any PvP-focused warlock. (Source)
Warrior (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator)
Plans for Last Stand
I said that we'd like to remove the glyph and just make the talent all there is. Not sure if we would use the glyphed or unglyphed cooldown yet though. (Source)
Unrelenting Assault: This talent has been removed. (Source)
[b]Thunder Clap Spam
We're not happy with the no cooldown model. We'll try to handle the terror of "streaming adds" in another way. (Source)
Fury / Victory Rush
Also, is there still a chance fury will get a new melee attack or is the whole victory rush thing that GC talked about the new plan?
Our concern about Victory Rush is that Arms already has two big procs to watch for (Overpower and Execute) compared to Fury's one (Slam). Adding Victory Rush procs to Fury makes them feel a lot more like Arms. The right answer might lie somewhere outside of Victory Rush. (Source)
Two Concept Arts have been added to the official Concept Art Gallery.
Two wallpapers have been added to the Official Site.