World of Warcraft: Cataclysm class previews (part 1)
As the impending doom of the Cataclysm looms ever closer, Blizzard has granted it's heroes a small preview of the changes to come that will prepare them for this great disaster. After being announced officially (although most of us knew it was coming) at last years Blizzcon, Blizzard has kept a fairly tight lid on things that will be happening to the game in Cataclysm. With the Cataclysm website getting only a few scant updates, players were left mainly to their own thoughts and ideas as to how Blizzard will take WoW to the next level. This week however, that all changed as Blizzard has rolled out a small preview for each class (except for pallies, unfortunatly they have to wait until next week :( ) to give a taste of the new abilities, talents and changes that will be happening once Cataclysm drops later this year.
Before I get into the good stuff let's recap the changes that we know are coming.
1. The return of Deathwing:
No we aren't dreaming, possibly the best villain in the entire WarcCraft lore is finally making a comeback. Not having made an appearance at all in WoW, and only being mentioned in passing (in regards to his two offspring Onyxia and Nefarion) most players in WoW probably won't even know who he is. Deathwing (real name: Neltharion) is the leader of the Black Dragonflight, and was at one point the Earth Warden and arguably the most powerful of all the Dragon Aspects (whom are Malygos, Alexstrasza, Yszera and Nozdormu). Driven mad by whispers of an Old God (possibly our good friend Yogg-Saron) Neltharion shed his mantle and took up that of Deathwing the Destroyer much to the dismay of the other Dragonflights. Alas, Deathwing was pushed back by the combined might of the Aspects, however they were unable to destroy him. For countless years he has been waiting, deep under the crust of Azeroth, for his time to strike. That time... is now.
2. The Cataclysm:
After regaining his power inside of his subterranean domain, Deathwing is once again ready to terrorize and destroy the denizens of Azeroth. Erupting from the very crust of Azeroth itself and causing the great Cataclysm, Deathwing has returned. The sheer force and power of Deathwing's entry into the realm of Azeroth has caused shockwaves that will be felt all over the world. The world of Azeroth has been torn asunder, deserts are now lush and full of life whereas the Oasis of old have been smashed into oblivion. The entire landscape of Azeroth has been marred by this great event, and it will allow players to undertake new journeys in Azeroth as they explore this "new" world. All zones have been transformed and as such players will have to find new paths in which to progress through the early levels of the game (1-60) as well as a plethora of new quests to undertake.
3. Increased level cap:
The heroes of Azeroth are currently ill prepared for the return of the Destroyer and will have to season themselves again if they plan to stop the dreaded Deathwing. Although typically Blizzard has granted players the ability to go an additional 10 levels (60-70, 70-80), this time around however you will only be leveling to 85.
4. Flying mounts in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms:
Players will now be able to use their flying mounts in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. However there hasn't been any word on whether it will require new training or if there will be a level requirement to do so (like cold weather flying in Northrend).
5. The Maelstrom:
A constant reminder of the atrocities committed in the past by the Highborne, the Maelstrom churns eternally between the two great continents. Underneath the chaos though, is a beautiful underwater world rich with life that players will have to explore if they want to become powerful enough to face the dreaded Deathwing and emerge victorious.
6. Two new races, Worgen and Goblin:
While the great Cataclysm has wrought much destruction in the world of Azeroth, it is not without gain. The great wall surrounding the kingdom of Gilneas (erected to keep the Scourge at bay) has been shattered. But a great darkness has enveloped the people, causing them to become Worgen. Old alliances have been reforged and the Worgen take their place alongside the heroes of the Alliance.
On the other side of the coin, the Goblins have found themselves without a home, as the great cataclysm has brought nothing but chaos and invaders to their home isles. Both taking pity and seeing an opportunity, the Horde has welcomed the Goblins into their ranks.
7. New class combination's:
If the heroes of Azeroth ever hope to defeat this unrelenting evil, they must open themselves up to new endeavours. Coming with Cataclysm players will enjoy new class combinations such as Tauren Paladins and Priests, Human Hunters, Undead Hunters, Orc Mages, Troll Druids, Blood Elf Warriors, Dwarf Mages and Shamans, Night Elf Mages, and Gnome Priests.
8. Guild leveling system:
Arguably one of the coolest features in Cataclysm, is the ability to gain guild XP through various ways. This can include individual player leveling, killing progression bosses in dungeons and raids, PvP events such as battlegrounds and Arena and various other activities that players will have to discover for themselves. The benefits of leveling your guild are worth the trouble, things like cheaper repair bills and mass resurrections are just some of the talents that will be available in the guild talent tree.
9. New profession and player advancement system:
A new secondary profession, Archaeology, has been introduced into the game that will coincide with the player advancement system known as the Path of the Titans. Path of the Titans is a system that will allow players to further customize and progress their characters after they have reached 85. Players can expect to choose from multiple paths that will lead to unique and interesting bonuses that will help keep players feeling refreshed and eliminate the "cookie cutter" mentality that is currently present in WoW. Archaeology has been implemented to support the Path of the Titans allowing players to discover ancient treasures and artifacts that will help you progress through the Path of the Titans.
10. New (and old) raid content
let's face it, without raid content would anyone still play WoW? With that in mind Blizzard has promised that Cataclysm will feature more raid content than ever before. With multiple raids open to players the minute they ding 85 as well as bringing some old raid bosses back, such as Ragnaros and Nefarion (I admit I squealed with glee when I heard they were making a return). Also coming to the table are heroic versions of classic instances like Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines, so once again Van Cleef can challenge you and your friends.
11. Sweeping changes to the talent and player stat system
Blizzard has not turned a deaf ear to the millions of players out there that have been crying out for a more streamlined and effective stat system. Coming in Cataclysm players will find some stats such as Defense, Attack Power, and Armor Penetration removed from items in the game. Players will still be able to gain said stats however it will be through talents, abilities and accumulation of more traditional stats like Strength, Agility, Intellect, Spirit and Stamina. Also Blizzard has added a new stat called Mastery, which will simply make you better at your chosen spec (for example a Resto Shaman will find their heals heal for more). Accompanying these changes will be an overhaul of the talent system. Blizzard has promised to get rid of passive talents that players feel they have to get or their spec will be broken. Talents like passive 5% crit will become a thing of the past while new talents will take their place. Also, the more points you spend in a talent tree, the more effective you will become in said tree (this applies only to the tree you spend the most points in). I will go into the details of what Mastery will do to individual classes and specs when I preview the coming class changes.
Well that about covers everything that we know is happening in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Check back everyday over the next week (and beyond) as I will be bringing you detailed analysis and theory crafting all the new class changes that have been preview earlier this week.