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  1. #1

    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.


  2. #2
    High Overlord Warlockspell's Avatar
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    Nice stuff

  3. #3
    sigh,...wtb new beta build, and not PR fluff.

  4. #4
    Ugh... why did they have to say it was actually intended for worgen? :\ I had hoped that was just a sorta "for now" thing until they finished the Gilneas quests on beta and sent worgen off to a proper 12+ zone. Goblins get ALL of Azshara practically to themselves, and worgen get a FISHING quest in Darkshore? That is literally the entirety of worgen presence in the zone. That is all.

    A fishing quest.

    Seriously.

  5. #5
    Neat indeed.

  6. #6
    Stood in the Fire Sarrior's Avatar
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    Epic wallpaper, Grunty ftw!

  7. #7
    The source-links in the blue:


    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)

    All link to the same warlock post. Obviously an error. Any chance this can be fixed?

  8. #8
    <3 No more corruption rolling!

  9. #9
    Ery, try searching the Warlock thread for the keyword 'healer'.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dahakas View Post
    sigh,...wtb new beta build, and not PR fluff.
    The PR Fluff is actually very intriguing. A good part of the game is absorbing all the lore and feeling truly like a hero running around, and its interesting to get more insight on how Zones have been changed and how it happens. Not much PR fluff in those posts imho.

  11. #11
    Finally we know who that evil looking fella is in the Masters Glaive... Would like to see a boss fight where he's brought back to life and we have to kill him by slamming a massive sword into his skull

  12. #12
    For anyone who didn't notice, those are Gruntys fighting the Zerglings.

  13. #13
    And the speculations about the dead creature (with Master's Glaive) in Darkshore being an old god come to an end.

  14. #14
    "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."

    Leave the Shatterspear alone!

    Pretty much ends the whole "buuhuu don't destroy the cute dancing troll"-story. Shame though.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Oneru View Post
    "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."

    Leave the Shatterspear alone!

    Pretty much ends the whole "buuhuu don't destroy the cute dancing troll"-story. Shame though.
    Shatterspears are the aggressors in this new quest chain, just FYI. However, they DID manage to finally pull off what the Night elves had been screwing around on for ages -- destroy the Tower of Althalaxx. Of course, the people that originally headed up the quests against Althalaxx are no longer around, seeing that the location they used to occupy is being shelled 24/7 by an advancing Horde front through Ashenvale. Maybe that's why they never managed to finish off the Dark Strand cult....

    Oh, change. Always screwin' with stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dexter44
    There is no patch for human stupidity
    Orihank is displeased.

  16. #16
    Bloodsail Admiral DaDimi's Avatar
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    That Shatterspear-stuff seems weird... I mean... we already know that the dancing troll village will get destroyed and all trolls killed.
    This just doesn't fit with "fending off the advances of the Twilight's Hammer cult, the naga, and the Shatterspear trolls.", because, as we all have already seen, the trolls get pretty much wiped out. And "destroying their entire village" doesn't really sound like "fending off".

    Well, that's just what disturbed me when reading the Q&A. >_>

  17. #17
    Bloodsail Admiral Narshe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahakas View Post
    sigh,...wtb new beta build, and not PR fluff.
    Maybe its more exciting for me to read about a redone zone like Darkshore because im not in beta, but id take this over more Pally garbage any day of the week.

    http://joekey.deviantart.com Sig by Lilliputia! <3

  18. #18
    Thats not marines vs zerg, that grunty's vs zerg. You can totally see the tadpole tails on them!

  19. #19
    Field Marshal Naethigan's Avatar
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    Who cares... its awesome

  20. #20
    Elemental Lord Noomz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaDimi View Post
    That Shatterspear-stuff seems weird... I mean... we already know that the dancing troll village will get destroyed and all trolls killed.
    This just doesn't fit with "fending off the advances of the Twilight's Hammer cult, the naga, and the Shatterspear trolls.", because, as we all have already seen, the trolls get pretty much wiped out. And "destroying their entire village" doesn't really sound like "fending off".

    Well, that's just what disturbed me when reading the Q&A. >_>

    It's because they are pissed off and want to completely eliminate the threat? It would seem the Shatterspear attack them just because the Night Elves are weakened. Ofcourse that makes the Nelfs angry.
    Obviously the tide turns when they manage to wake the Ancients from their slumber.

    Remember the Nelfs from Warcraft 3? This is what they are.

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