Archive for the ‘Expansions’ Category

Blizzard Wieghs in on WoW’s Difficulty

A lot of people have a bone to pick when it comes to the overall difficulty of World of Warcraft – many of them go right out and say that they think the game has become easier over time, that Wrath of the Lich King was probably a low-point in the simplicity of the game and the changes made during that period made the game so simple that you could play without paying attention. Those same people are generally grateful that Cataclysm has seen the pendulum swing back in favor of a more difficult game overall.

At the same time, there are plenty of people who think that the game was fine early on in Vanilla WoW, and hit a pretty broken and difficult period in The Burning Crusade. They’ll say that the balance and difficulty were adjusted in Wrath of the Lich King, and the game found its sweet spot during that expansion, and that the changes in Cataclysm to make the game more challenging were unwarranted and the game now has just too steep a learning curve to really be accessible to anyone but people who play all of the time.

I’m curious what you think, but before we get to that point, Bashiok – one of the blue posters at the official forums – had a few things to say on the matter, and they’re worth reading:

I understand and respect gaming masochism. But, I think that changing mechanics to be more reasonable and less punishing is an improvement, not a detriment, to games in general. Many of us Original Gamers pine for the days of D&D-based yore when games were seemingly intended to break us down into sobbing masses created by an uncaring necromancer of pain and suffering, or at least didn’t try to avoid it. Overcoming all of the obstacles (I CHOOSE NOT TO SHOOT HER WITH THE SILVER ARROW… NOOOOO) was a big part of what gaming (I HAVE 1 LIFE!?), and especially PC gaming (HOW DO I LOAD MOUSE DRIVERS?), were about. But, I feel we’re lucky to now be in an age where those ideals (intended or not) are giving way to actual fun, actual challenge, and not fabricating it through high-reach requirements (I NEED A FAIRY MONK WITH A MAGIC LOCKPICK?).

What we’ve always been trying to do, what WoW has always been about (and to which much of its success is due) is to make an accessible MMO. Anyone that looks back at the game at launch and wishes it was as challenging now as it was then is not aware of the painstaking effort put into making this game accessible as compared to its predecessors. Since release we’ve refined that intent, eventually evolving the very few masochistic designs WoW actually ever started with, but ideally still offering those same prestige goals that give that feeling of achieving something great if you’re able to pull it off. We’ve made a lot of progress toward striking that balance and continuing to evolve the game, but it’s not something we’re ever likely to perfect, and we’ll be constantly working to hit that elusive goal. Hopefully it’s to the benefit of everyone playing and enjoying the game, and they’ll continue to enjoy the journey that a living, breathing, persistent universe will take us on.

I have to hand it to Bashiok partially for slamming so many old school gaming references into such a tiny addition to the thread, but he has some good points too: there’s a sense of nostalgia among people who have been playing video games – especially PC games – for a long time and remember the days when games were still fun and exciting, but far more punishing and difficult. But he does pose the question: does difficulty and punishment for making the wrong decisions make a bad game? Does a strict game with rigid gameplay styles automatically equate a GOOD game, or does it just make it a game that some of the most dedicated and determined gamers will love but no one else will ever play?

It’s a difficult line to walk, I have to admit, and while I have no real complaints about the difficulty level in Cataclysm (while I will be one of the people to say things in Wrath of the Lich King were a little on the easy side, and I thought Burning Crusade was a good place, especially with some of the changes Blizzard made at the tail end) I can see how difficult it is for them to walk it. At the same time, I think it’s clear that Blizzard isn’t fooling themselves: they know they can’t make everyone happy, and they shouldn’t try to – stick to their principles and their guns, and the game will continue to be successful.

What do you think? Is Cataclysm just too damned hard, or are people complaining about nothing? Sound off in the comments!

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A

Over at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community, eminent news source tchernobyl was kind enough to post the results of the latest Blizzard developer Q&A session, hosted over at the new official forums.

The whole post at LJ is here, but I’ve cut a few snippets I felt were particularly interesting:

Q: Are there any plans to update Outland and TBC zones to facilitate better level flow? – Atreydes (Latin America)

A: We think the flow of the zones works out well. It is true that you can finish the continents before hitting every zone because of the accelerated quest experience (further enhanced by mechanics such as heirlooms) but most players going back through the content on new characters seem perfectly happy to get through it faster than they did with their original character. What we don’t like is the strange way you go back in time when you go to Outland and Northrend and then back to the future (heh) when you go to the level 80-85 zones. That is definitely something we want to fix.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Russian players:

Q: Will the Outland and Northrend be “renewed”? Will there be new quests? – Мандрэйк (Europe [Russian])

A: Because we did those areas more recently than Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, we don’t feel the same urgency to go update them. They just don’t have the level design and quest flow problems to the same extent as the original content. We recognize though that some players are getting awfully tired of Hellfire Peninsula, and we’d like to come up with a good solution there.

This one is of particular interest to me. While I agree that the biggest issue with Outland and Northrend is that the player feels like they’re going back in time when they’ve leveled and then move into those zones to continue leveling but somehow the events of the Cataclysm haven’t happened there yet, I’m just as concerned with level tuning and story that players are missing when they push through all of those zones just for the sake of racking up dings.

I think the content of TBC and WoTLK deserve more than just a slight tweak to get the characters to give a nod to the fact that old world Azeroth isn’t the same as it used to be: I’m not saying they need to be directly affected by the Cataclysm, and I’m not saying that quests need to be reworked or zones completely changed, but I do think that when you go into outlands you should see the fruits of the past several years battle against the Burning Legion, and when you go into Northrend now you should see at least a little progress from the results at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, even if it’s only to note that the war is still open on that front and there’s still work to be done.

Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW? – Danksz (North America/ANZ)

A: We polled the entire World of Warcraft development team and included the most interesting, unusual, and potentially terrifying responses. They included: roasting my own coffee; hiking all over SoCal; gardening with yuccas and bamboo; building my own 3D printer; attempting to turn my living room into a live action scene from Tron using blacklights, stencils and a helluva lot of paint; autocross racing my sweet ride; board games (I have over 450 of them); being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan; mastering cooking (duck confit, breads, pastas, more breads); building Star Wars Lego sets; trying to control my computer using brainwaves and an EEG reader; plein air/outdoor watercolor painting; geocaching; hockey; painting miniatures; swing dancing; crafting old-time cocktails; running 5 / 10 Ks / mud runs; motorcycling; go; blending smoothies; skydiving; work on my Jaina/Varian fanfic; baking bread; playing drums; reading sci-fi; comics; playing WoW.

Sounds like a fun place to work! Or at the very least fun people to work with.

Q: Will the devs consider giving us reason to interact in the new world of cataclysm? We sit in cities waiting on queues. Theres little reason to leave the city gates outside of farming and archeology. The *main* cities feel alive, the world however feels quite dead. – Odiem (North America/ANZ)

A: While you’re leveling up your character and gathering professions, you’re more than likely interacting with the world plenty. World of Warcraft’s endgame has centered on dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds and Arenas for some time, so it’s natural that you spend more time in cities organizing and preparing for those group-based events. We do think there is more that we can do to promote compelling solo gameplay for max level characters, though. The 4.2 patch has a pretty epic questing experience involving the Firelands and we’re really excited to see how players respond to it.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Korean players.

Q: PvP realms are getting indistinctive from the PvE realm as players are not engaging into PvP contents, since they are not finding it attractive. The only difference from the PvE realm is that it’s possible to attack opponent around zones in Conflict. Is there any plan to strengthen the difference between PvP and PvE realms? – Soulcube (Korea)

A: We don’t think it’s that world PvP is unattractive, we just think it’s just the cumulative effect of a lot of changes we made to the game to meet other goals. For example, flying mounts are really cool and convenient, but they mean you are much less likely to stumble upon someone from the opposite faction while travelling. We considered teleportation a mandatory feature for Dungeon Finder to succeed, but then you are less likely to bump into an enemy outside of a dungeon. To get world PvP back in some form, we’d have to develop something like the Isle of Quel’danas: a non-flight zone that is not a sanctuary where players congregate to finish quests or earn rewards. We’ll think about ways to do something like that again in the future.

I can’t say I’m satisfied with the devs’ answer on this one. While I agree that there’s plenty of world interaction when you’re out and about and questing and gathering and boosting your professions, I think that the concern of PVP players is probably more serious for them than the devs are really picking up.

Back in the vanilla days, when mounts were both expensive and far off, and when beginner mounts were slow enough that you could still be ambushed on one successfully, it was pretty hazardous playing on a PVP server during those early levels. I remember trying to just quest as a poor level 25 Tauren Druid and getting repeatedly ganked in Stonetalon by level 60 Night Elves coming through the pass.

Admittedly, I moved on to play on PvE servers after that, but I understand how global combat is a core component of playing on a PVP server, and between flying in old world and earlier/faster mounts, it’s become all but a moot point.

Q: I think a lot of people would like to see some more options for inventory storage are there plans for any of the following? Bank slots/Equipment manager storage/Upgrade backpack/storage for costume, cosmetic, toys/tabard storage. – Shinysparkle (North America/ANZ)

A: We do have some storage solutions in the works. We’d like to convert tabards in particular to something like the current UI to manage titles. We don’t want to just keep giving players larger and larger bags in which to lose items. We’re focusing more on better ways to organize items.

Finally! A fix is coming for my tabard addiction!

Q: During the expansions released since vanilla, the specialities of the different classes were watered down more and more. By now, many classes can do almost everything and almost none is still special. Are there any steps planned to give the classes more “charisma”, so that they are more distinguished from each other and regain their special flair? – Blades (Europe [German])

A: Sometimes when players say “special flair” what they really mean is “something so awesome that everyone will have to take me.” We really don’t want to go back to that model, which just isn’t tenable in a game with 10-player raids and 30 different talent trees. We have no problem spreading around buffs and utility that we consider more-or-less mandatory, such as the battle rezes and raid buffs. At the same time, we think there are enough unique abilities out there to make the various talent trees shine. Shaman have a great interrupt with Wind Shear. Warlocks can get out of danger with Demonic Portal. Discipline priests can mitigate a lot of damage with Power Word: Barrier, but Unholy death knights have their own version in Anti-Magic Zone. We struggle a lot with how much homogenization is good for the game, largely so that you can play with your friends, and how much is bad for the game, because then your character feels less special. It’s something we’ll continue to work on in an attempt to strike that perfect balance.

I really REALLY like the answer to this question. A lot of players who have been around for a long time miss the days when people formed their raid or dungeon groups because specific classes had “ubertalents” that were so good in the situations the raid would put you in that you absolutely wanted to have them – and it made the people who played that class feel uber as well.

In reality, that’s indicative of a lack of balance, and I’m glad that Blizzard is trying to strike a line between giving people talents that feel epic and important without being essential to specific – or every – encounters.

So what do you think? Blizzard developers took this one in stride, I think – and there were some great questions. I don’t think this will be the last dev Q&A that the developers do, so stay tuned for more in the future. What would you ask Blizzard developers if you had the chance? Sound off in the comments.

Discussion :: How Are Those New Races Working Out For You?


(image courtesy of Penny Arcade. Click to see the original comic!

Cataclysm has been out for a while, and although many people have spent the bulk of their time rushing to get up to 85 and geared up for heroics and other dungeons that represent the state of end-game content right now, a lot of other people have taken the other approach: take it nice and slow, and roll on the of the new races or character race/class combinations, start from the beginning, and take your time getting through all of the new quests, changed zones, and updated content.

So, if you’re one of those folks who decided to roll a goblin or worgen and start from level one, how are those races working out for you? Do you find the lore works out for you, or that it’s all just a smashed-together trainwreck?

Some people have noted that the Worgen feel kind of abandoned, much like the Draenei were in The Burning Crusade, that they’re essentially leveled to about 10 or 15 and then shipped off to do quests that essentially already exist and join the storyline of another race (namely the Night Elves.) The Goblin experience, however, is much better – but this is all secondhand that I’m hearing. What I want to hear is what you think! Sound off in the comments.

Cataclysm Collector’s Edition, Unboxed!

Most of us are wringing our hands, waiting patiently for our copies of Cataclysm to be delivered, or for the new servers to go live and for those of us doing the digital upgrade to be able to play and access all of the new content – we still have at least 12 hours to go before the first of us get to play Cataclysm, but the folks over at Gearlog got their hands on a copy of the Cataclysm Collector’s Edition nice and early, and have tons of unboxing photos to share!

If you’re a fan of unboxing porn, and I don’t know who really isn’t, this is an article worth drooling over.

The collector’s edition has all of the goodies we’ve come to expect in a box like this, including the gorgeous stylized box that will fit right in with the collectors editions of the other expansions, a beautiful hardcover artbook, the behind the scenes DVD and the beautiful soundtrack (that we know we’ll love – the music for Cataclysm is already well loved,) guest passes, WoW TCG cards, and more, including the Lil’ Deathwing in-game pet.

Check out all of the photos over at Gearlog!

Discussion :: Waiting for the World to Change

That’s great, it starts with an earthquake…

Okay, for those of you who read the title and were looking for the song that it matches up to, here you go. Still, while we’re all sitting here, waiting for the servers to come back up, waiting for our beloved Azeroth to change forever, and waiting for The Shattering, I figured I would ask everyone what they’ll miss from old Azeroth. You can see a lot of those responses over at Twitter if you’re following me (I’m @halophoenix,) but I asked the Twitterati what they would miss the most, and the responses were great.

I started the discussion with one of mine:

@halophoenix says: think the Crystal Caverns in Un’ Goro were the first place I saw and said “wow, that’s really really gorgeous.” #goodbyeoldazeroth

Here are a few or the responses I got:

@immamoonkin asked: “I wonder what’ll happen if I jump off this big tree.” #goodbyeoldazeroth

Which of course got her, myself, and a few other people talking about the quintessential newbie Night Elf experience: finding the branches off of the World Tree in Teldrassil and jumping off. The first time I jumped off was the first time I landed somewhere that I couldn’t wisp back to my body. I was so freaked out I thought I had broken the game. I even logged off for a while hoping I’d be able to sort it out when I came back. Yup – completely forgot about the Spirit Healer. We also discussed that first epic ride from Darkshore into Ashenvale, and the huge, towering, bright trees and winding paths we encountered.

Speaking of which, one of my friends had a minor freak-out about the event, and explained there were a number of things she’d miss about old Azeroth:

@tongarityphoon: – EVERYTHING. I don’t even know. Darnassus, Teldrassil in general. ASHENVALE. Oh my god.
- Mene hit level 20 and I was so fucking PUMPED for Ashenvale, it was BEAUTIFUL and I felt so big and strong ;;
- Oh gosh, and Blackrock Depths. THE PLAGUELANDS, those were always what made me feel like I was really reaching the high levels.
- WHAT ABOUT SCHOLO dear god I three-manned that once at level 60, pre-BC.
- AND I WILL MISS STRANGLETHORN VALE. I never thought I would say that but BOOTY BAY T_T OH GOD. And the cities. THE CITIES.
- Stormwind and Darnassus not so much Ironforge OH GOD AND ORGRIMMAR and the UNDERCITY Thunder Bluff, meh. I MIGHT CRY
- THE DEEPRUN TRAM AND THE SEA CREATURES YOU CAN SEE THROUGH THE SIDES OF IT I already miss running to Ironforge as a baby for AH
- WINTERSPRING AND ITS LUDICROUS BEAUTY

You can see she’s a little distressed about the whole “end of the world” thing, but then again, who wouldn’t be?

I have to admit, I’m right there with her though – I remember the days of having to make the Wetlands run from Menethil Harbor all the way to Ironforge as a lowbie, with crocolisks on your ass the whole way. Oh, those were the days.

I took the opportunity to remind her that Orgrimmar is currently on fire. I’m not mean, am I?

@errant_pastor said: sob. uh. everything. ;_; so many goals unaccomplished. sob

And @immamoonkin had another one for me – one that reminded me of me back in the vanilla days:

@immamoonkin chimed in: I got another: “Oh… there’s a FERAL and RESTO tree? Uh… *continues to put points in balance*” #goodbyeoldazeroth

Yeah, this was me with my first hunter way back in the day. My horrifically embarrassing n00b claim to fame? For a while there I never trained traps. I was level 60, and my hunter main couldn’t lay a trap to save his life. I looked at them as optional: I didn’t NEED them for anything, and I had gotten this far without them, so…why bother? When I went into an instance with a PUG and they asked me to lay a trap to CC a mob, I sheepishly admitted I didn’t know the skill. Yeah, you can imagine how well that went over. But it did get me to train them up right quick!

@Raevyns had this to say over IM:
- The calm green purple of the forests around Auberdine..
- Hours spent in the Barrens, killing Quillboar…
- And those loooong twilight’s hammer quests in Auberdine and Silithus…
- Being pounced by Tiny in Ungoro

I wish I could say that Quillboar were going away, or their horrific dying scream would be changing, but alas, I know from what I’ve read about the Tauren starting quests now that we’ll still hear from the Quillboar, whether we like it or not.

And oh, “Tiny.” Tiny was our name for any of the three devilsaurs that roam Un’Goro Crater – their massive hulking frames scaring the bejeezus out of characters who ventured into the crater for the first time. They’re huge, they make the ground shake, and they had a HUGE aggro range. Yup – when you’re level appropriate, those guys are seriously OP.

We waxed rhapsodic about the time in the game when you HAD to get faction with the Timbermaw to get through their tunnel, and that was pretty much the only way to progress in the game – sure you could try and do other things, but all of your level-appropriate quests were in Winterspring, and well – good luck getting there if you weren’t a Druid.

My friend Syddie took the high road though, and reminded us to not look back, but look forward to all of the new and wondrous things we would see in Cataclysm!

@thesyddiegirl said: I’m going to miss being able to somewhere and have certain memories tied to it but really looking forward to changes as well!
- There’s just too much that is new and exciting and revitalizing for the game for me to fuss about things that are going away.

She has a good point! The world will change, but now there’ll be much much more to explore and see!

So what are some of your memories of old Azeroth? What will you miss the most, and what will you be looking forward to as soon as the shattering is all finished and the realms come back up again? Let us know in the comments!

Global Cataclysm Launch Events Announced!

If you live in Fountain Valley, California, or in Taipei, London, Toronto, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rotterdam, Stockholm, you’re in luck! Blizzard has scheduled a Cataclysm Launch Event at a store near you, so you can head over at midnight, meet some devs and game masters, pick up your copy of the game at midnight, and maybe get a little loot for your trouble.

For the rest of us though, we’ll just have to watch as our friends – especially our European ones, since they have so many, and after all, Ghostcrawler himself will be in London for the launch event there – revel in the event and report back to us about how awesome they are.

It’s possible there are more coming, so stay tuned to the Launch Event page for more if there is anything more, but if not, the rest of us will just have to have our own little launch event with our copies of the game and some booze.

The Cataclysm Beta is Officially Over

keyboard deathwing

Well folks, that’s that – it’s all over. The Cataclysm beta is finished, all said and done. Sayeth the Zarhym on the official forums:

We’re just about two weeks out from the official global launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm! And with that, the time has come to conclude the beta test. We will be shutting down our beta realms momentarily. We want to sincerely thank all of you for your dedication to testing, providing feedback, reporting bugs, and everything else you’ve done to help us make this expansion the best World of Warcraft title to date.

Stay tuned to our new community site (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/) for the latest news and updates as we get closer to release. We’ll see you in Cataclysm!

Yeah, the down-side to this is that they aren’t doing anything fun like a wide open beta or any huge world-ending event in Cataclysm, but…well…it is the Cataclysm after all. That should be world-ending enough, shouldn’t it?

If you didn’t get into the beta, no worries – you only have a week or so left before the fun comes to you!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm to be Released on December 7th

Blizzard announced this morning that the date we’ve all been waiting for, the release date for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be December 7th, 2010, according to a post over at Shacknews, which cites Blizzard as the original source of the report.

If correct, and it likely is, the Shack is no slouch (trust me, I’m a Shacker,) this means that all of the nonsense Amazon has been pulling by changing the shipping dates for pre-orders is just that – nonsense, and that Amazon may have heard rumbling that a release date is coming, but nothing confirmed.

If you haven’t pre-ordered, now’s the time to do it!

Update: We just got the press release, and here it is confirming the news:

IRVINE, Calif., Oct 04, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft(R): Cataclysm(TM), the highly anticipated third expansion for the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game*, will be released starting on December 7, 2010. The expansion will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows(R) XP/Windows Vista(R)/Windows(R) 7 and Macintosh(R) at a suggested retail price of $39.99 and will also be offered as a digital download from the Blizzard Store. A special Collector’s Edition packed with bonus items will be available exclusively in retail stores for a suggested retail price of $79.99.

“Cataclysm includes the best content we’ve ever created for World of Warcraft. It’s not just an expansion, but a re-creation of much of the original Azeroth, complete with epic new high-level adventures for current players and a redesigned leveling experience for those just starting out,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With the help of our beta testers, we’re putting on the final polish, and we look forward to welcoming gamers around the world to enjoy it in just a couple of months.”

The first two World of Warcraft expansions, The Burning Crusade(R) and Wrath of the Lich King(R), each shattered PC game sales records upon their release.* In Cataclysm, the face of Azeroth will be forever altered by the return of the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing. Players will explore once-familiar areas of the world that have now been reshaped by the devastation and filled with new adventures. In an effort to survive the planet-shattering cataclysm, two new playable races – worgen and goblins – will join the struggle between the Alliance and the Horde. As players journey to the new level cap of 85, they’ll discover newly revealed locations, acquire new levels of power, and come face to face with Deathwing in a battle to determine the fate of the world.

The beta test for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is currently underway. Visit the official Battle.net(R) website at http://www.battle.net to set up a Battle.net account and sign up for a chance to participate. To learn more about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, visit http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/cataclysm.

Video :: WoW Insider – Cataclysm Beta: Worgen Emotes and Backflip

The folks over at WoW Insider took this fantastic video which shows some of the new Worgen emotes, gestures, and animations from the latest iteratio nof the Cataclysm beta. Things look to be shaping up really well, and the emotes for the Worgen – males anyway – seem to be either near complete or extremely close.

Sadly, Worgen females aren’t fully implemented yet, so no similar video for them, but with people bantering about a potential release date, it’s likely they’ll be coming soon. In the interim though, this is a fabulous look at what you can expect as far as the way the new race plays when you finish your install of the expansion and roll your first Worgen. Because I know you will.

Edited: Cataclysm Point Conversion Announced

Lately I’ve been doing a lot more tweeting. Especially about WoW. I’ve been working on gearing up to be most prepared for the Cataclysm release. My druid has already made the server transfer over to Eldre’Thalas, my original WoW home realm. So, reading all of the various blogs from those who are actually on the beta, I’ve come to realize a few things.

1. We’re all (and by all I mean each and every single person playing WoW right now) going to be relearning the game… all over again. All of us on equal footing.
2. Some quest reward gear from Cataclysm will be better than most T10 items from WotLK, much like WotLK quest rewards were better than BC end game items, and Vanilla before that.
3. The game will be wholly different than what we’ve all become accustomed to.

Lately Ive been reconnecting with old friends from EldreThalas on twitter (find me at a @hestiahdruid if youd like). Lots going on there. My friend Kurn is rebuilding her old guild. Were getting ready to hit the ground running at the very onset of Cataclysm, and Im getting excited over the possibilities! Getting to see the game before its been old news for months. Wowhead let me know, via twitter, that a Blizzard announced the currency conversions.

Previously it had been announced that Blizzard was taking WoW to a point system that was universal across the board. Something I believe should have been implemented a long time ago, but I digress. All of your old badges of Conquest, Valor, Heroism and Justice will be converted to a designated gold amount while Emblems of Frost and Triumph will convert directly over to the new Justice Point system. Equally a similar conversion will happen with the Honor system and all previously earned honor points, Arena points, Wintergrasp Marks, etc.  will convert over to the new Honor Point system.

There is a hard cap of 4000 points for either point system. At the beginning of Cataclysm there will be a soft cap allowing those players who have banked large quantities of Emblems or Marks to go over the hard cap. The difference being, players will not be able to earn more Justice Points or Honor Points until the previous points are spent to below the 4000 cap. All Justice points and Honor points earned over the cap will be converted to their designated monetary value and mailed to the character.

The biggest thing to pay attention to is the fact that both Frost and Triumph emblems have the same conversion value into the new system. Anyone without a raiding guild knows that obtaining Frost Emblems is much harder than getting Triumph Emblems. At level 80 you can earn 2 Frost Emblems for a random dungeon, and 5 Frost emblems once a week for the weekly. Anything above that requires the player to participate in ICC or VoA to get Frost Emblems.

A player needs roughly 1500 emblems of both types to even come close to hitting the hard cap once Cataclysm arrives. Those of us who want to have the ability to spend freely once the expansion hits know this means its time to run back-to-back random dungeons.

EDIT:  The new conversion rate of emblems has been changed to reflect an equivalent mathematical value to the current emblem system. This blue post explains that Frost and Triumph emblems now convert at a 11.58 Justice Point per emblem. Meaning that in order to max out at the start of 4.0.1, you’ll need roughly 345 Frost/Triumph emblems.

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