Archive for the ‘Expansions’ Category

Cataclysm Collector’s Edition Announced, Available for Pre-Order

And so it begins!

Kotaku reports that details on the Collector’s Edition for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm have surfaced, and like all of the collector’s editions before it, will have a boatload of goodies inside to sweeten the pot that you’ll be spending $79.99 to purchase.

In addition to the in-game pet you’ll get with the purchase of the Collector’s Edition, you’ll also get the customary artbook, behind-the-scenes DVD, and full CD soundtrack of the music of the game. Here’s the rundown from Blizzard:

· Art of the Cataclysm art book, featuring 176 pages of never-before-seen images from the archives of the Blizzard Entertainment cinematics department and the World of Warcraft development team, as well as progressive visuals from multiple stages of development.

· Exclusive in-game pet: he may not be a breaker of worlds just yet, but Lil’ Deathwing will still proudly accompany heroes on their struggle to save Azeroth from his much, much larger counterpart.

· Behind-the-scenes DVD with over an hour of developer interviews and commentaries, as well as a special Warcraft retrospective examining the rich gaming history of the Warcraft universe.

· Soundtrack featuring 10 epic new tracks from Cataclysm, including exclusive bonus tracks.

· Special-edition mouse pad depicting Deathwing menacing the ravaged continents of Azeroth.

· World of Warcraft Trading Card Game cards, including a 60-card starter deck from the Wrathgate series, two extended-art cards, and two Collector’s Edition-exclusive hero cards, marking the first appearance of goblin and worgen heroes in the TCG.

The one thing that Kotaku fails to mention is that the Collector’s Edition is already available to pre-order at Amazon! Don’t worry, if you’re not interested in the Collector’s Edition of the game, the Standard Edition of Cataclysm is available to pre-order as well!

One thing to note though is that Amazon is clear that you’re pre-ordering a product that hasn’t been released and doesn’t have a set release date – while we’re all sure that Blizzard is aiming at a 2010 release of Cataclysm, they’re not tipping their hand to exactly when that will be. Even so, get your pre-orders in now, especially if you want the Collector’s Edition.

News and Thoughts from the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Press Tour

Blizzard took the media on a whirlwind tour of some of the new features and changes coming in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm at the end of last week, and dropped a few bombshells that were worth paying attention to, especially for those who are looking forward to the expansion based on information that’s been previously provided. The bulk of the details are over at MMO Champion’s post about the tour, but there are some significant changes worth highlighting here:

Path of the Titans is gone
The whole Path of the Titans idea has been removed from the game. It will no longer rely on Archeology or on any kind of PvE/PvP progression and instead Blizzard will just introduce a new type of glyphs: Medium Glyphs.

Medium Glyphs will add a “fun factor” to abilities, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar to the Fortification or Breakthrough glyphs first previewed during Blizzcon 2009. (But probably not these exact glyphs, a lot of stuff happened since last year)

Guild Talents are gone
The guild talents are gone and your guild now gets extra bonuses depending on its level. There are 25 levels and each level will automatically reward with more cool stuff. The leveling process remains unchanged and your guild will gain experience through PvP, Dungeon and Raid progression, questing, etc …

Guild currency has also been removed and rewards will just be “unlocked” after you reach a specific level or complete a guild achievement. Once a reward is unlocked, members will be able to purchase it with gold. Some of the rewards include guild tabards, mounts, heirlooms, and it looks like you will finally be able to have a guild tabard on your mount. (Just like the Argent Tournament banners)

New members of a guild won’t be able to buy everything directly, they will have to contribute to the progression of the guild before they can access the top rewards. Each time a player helps towards the leveling he will gain reputation with the guild, the best rewards will require players to be exalted with their guild before they can buy it.

Archeology will be less important
With the Path of the Titans gone, Archeology will become a “true” secondary profession and you won’t really have to level it anymore. However it will still be used to let you get cosmetic/optional items, get more information on the game’s lore, and ultimately it looks like we can expect rewards similar to fishing. (Nothing mandatory, but you’ll be happy when you actually find something)

Information gathered from other sites:
You will find two types of items: Common Artifacts will give you more information on the lore of a race, and might be used in some kind of collection game. Rare items will give you usable items, most of them will be cosmetic but some of them will have actual effects.

I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed by this spate of news. I thought that Path of the Titans, Guild Talents, and Archeology all sounded like a lot of fun and I was looking forward to all of them being in the game and playing an integral role in the way that guilds and groups evolved. I also thought that these changes were finally going to do something to shake up the way Guilds are made and operate in the game, and I’m afraid that with so many of the guild-wide changes removed we’ll just go back to the way guilds are now; an implementation that I think could use some serious improvement and encouragement from Blizzard.

That’s the bad news, but there is good news:

Raids and Dungeons Split
Raid leaders will be able to split an ongoing 25-man raid into up to three 10-man raids. Those 10-man raids will be able to continue from that point on, with bosses already down.

So far it looks like it won’t be possible to merge 10-man raids into 25-man raids, for obvious reasons.

Information gathered from other sites:
Raid IDs should be much more flexible. You will be able to join any raid as long as it doesn’t have any bosses up that you have already killed.
There will be more Algalon-style encounters—ultra-hard optional bosses for hardcore players only.

Rated Battlegrounds
Rated battlegrounds will be available for pre-mades of 10, 15 and 25-player sizes. The amount of Conquest points rewarded will be capped so that players who enjoy both arenas and rated battlegrounds don’t feel they have to prioritize one over the other.

Information gathered from other sites:
The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season.
The “Gladiator” equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off.

Now that’s pretty cool – and the new raids and instances look cool too. It sounds like a lot of the changes they’re making as far as rated battlegrounds and guild achievements will help alleviate the loss of some of the more interesting guild talents and features that I was looking forward to. Additionally, the changes to raids and lockouts will encourage more people to get involved and will allow people to progress without having to reconvene raids multiple times if they don’t get all the way through somewhere – the whole force of a 25-man raid can do a certain amount, and then a few 10-mans that can meet on different times of the week can continue the 10-man version of the content from there. I like that idea.

Here’s the trick though, I caught this little tidbit further down the thread notes:

Heroic Deadmines / Shadowfang Keep
Heroic versions of classic instances might not be ready for the release of Cataclysm and will be shipped in content patch instead.

Okay – this may not seem like a big deal (unless you were really hoping for those heroics come Cataclysm) but it tells me something that I’m worried about, something that was magnified with the removal of Path of the Titans and Guild Talents: Blizzard may be rushing this thing.

Seriously, at Blizzcon last year, we were all so thrilled to see that Blizzard had been making so much progress with Cataclysm at the time and that it looked so good, but considering the way they’re scaling back some of the content changes tells me either that they’re pushing for a release (likely this year) and don’t have time to implement everything they want to, or they’re worried that some of the changes they want to will be too much upkeep for their team. (I wouldn’t want to be the people who have to balance Guild Talents…what do you do when one turns out to clearly be the best and ALL of the guilds in the game flock to one tree?)

Now at the same time, the flip side to this may be simpler – Blizzard may have just decided that some of these changes just weren’t good ideas. But the notion that the Heroic Deadmines and Heroics Shadowfang Keep, two things fans have been craving for ages, may be delayed, tells me that Blizzard has a lot on their plate and their timeline is in jeopardy. If that’s the case, the question then becomes: “what’s still on the plate that made Path of the Titans, Guild Talents, and, while not cancelled – just postponed, Heroic Deadmines and Shadowfang fall off? We’ll just have to wait until a full beta starts and the NDA is lifted to find out.

Cataclysm Raid Changes Announced

Looking to get your raid on when Cataclysm finally lands? There are a few very serious major changes incoming that will rock your Vanilla/BC/Wrath world that may lead to the end of raiding and dungeons as we know them…or maybe it won’t make much difference to you.

All in all, this is going to be a lot to swallow for most players, and will represent some serious and significant changes to the way they raid. Some of the highlights?

First of all, 10-man and 25-man raids will drop the same loot, just in different quantities – that means 25-man raids won’t get higher item-level gear like they currently do – a lot of people have been fighting this point on both sides, and it looks like while at first Blizzard was coming down on the side of the people who favored better gear for 25-man raids, they’ve reversed course a bit.

Second, 10-man and 25-man raids will share the same lockouts. That means a 10-man group gets the same amount of time to complete a dungeon as a 25-man group. Yowch. That would be a problem if not for the fact that also announced is the fact that 10-and-25-man bosses will be very similar in difficulty, and not the pretty big difference they are today.

Blizzard also has some plans to change up the way raids are done, and create shorter raids with fewer bosses (much like the heroic Onyxia and Sarth runs) that are still difficult enough to accomodate a large number of people, but that just have fewer bosses.

Like I said, all of this is still up in the air, and Blizzard reserves the right to change all of it, but if anything I can see it’s a pretty big leveling of the playing field between 10-man guilds and 25-man guilds and the dungeons they run. If anything, it may lend itself to the thought that Blizzard’s noticed that 10-man runs are mostly guild runs with tight social groups, and 25-man runs are largely pugs that are done for efficiency and loot. Interesting.

What do you think? Will the new announcements impact you at all?

Read Blizzard’s full announcement and leave your comments behind the jump!


Massive Cataclysm Badge and PVP Changes Incoming

Massive changes came down the line in a blue post last night with regard to the way we’ll be buying gear in the future: almost all badges for PvE and PvP gear, and personal ratings for PvP gear will be going away. Instead, there’ll be new point systems based entirely on numbers and not necessarily items that drop from bosses, for example.

Here’s the skinny from Bashiok on the forums yesterday:

We’re continuing to refine the badge/emblem and PvP point systems in Cataclysm and we’d like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!

Our primary goal when approaching badges in Cataclysm is to address a lot of the confusion that comes with these currency systems. To that end we’re changing badges to a more straightforward point system, similar to the ones we’ve used for a while for Arenas and Battlegrounds. There will be a total of four types of points you can earn in Cataclysm (two for PvE and two for PvP), and these will remain the same even as we introduce new content.

Here’s the breakdown:

Hero Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
Valor Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)

Honor Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
Conquest Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. (currently called Arena Points)

When a new tier of raiding gear is released or a new PvP season begins, your higher tier of points will be converted into the lower tier. For instance, if a new tier of raid gear is released, your Valor points will be converted to Hero points, and similarly if a new PvP season begins your Conquest points will be converted to Honor points. Of course that means with these new releases you’ll always begin without any of the higher tier of points, and thus be unable to stockpile them.

As noted for Conquest points, the Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas will be sharing this same point type. Because of that, it will in fact be possible to get the best PvP items without setting foot in Arena; however, more powerful armor and weapons will of course require more Conquest points, so players who win their matches more often will still gear up faster. We’re removing personal rating requirements on almost all items; they’re definitely removed for weapons. We might offer a few items to the absolute best players based on personal rating, largely as cosmetic or ‘bragging rights’ type items. And you’ll have the option of purchasing the previous season’s gear with the more readily available Honor points.

We do plan to have a way to convert Honor points (PvP) into Hero points (PvE), and vice versa, at a loss. The conversions will be possible, but it won’t be a 1:1 rate, and you’ll have fewer points after the conversion process. We won’t allow the higher tiers to be exchanged for each other, however.

To explain the reasoning for the weekly cap on points for the higher tiers, this is to provide flexibility in how players choose to earn the points without feeling like they have to do all of the content as often as it is available. If your Valor income from raiding is sufficient, you may not feel the need to run Dungeon Finder every night, or perhaps even at all. Likewise, a PvP player could choose to participate in a lot of Rated Battlegrounds but no Arenas, or focus on both, and still be able to earn the points they want.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

In the end, there’ll be four different kinds of “points:” hero and valor for low and high-quality PvE items, and honor and conquest for low and high-quality PvP items, respectively. No more badges, no more badge trade-ins, no more marks of honor or honor points and then arena points, no more worrying if one type of badge will be phased out in the next patch, and so on. In the end it’ll be all about collecting those kinds of points by doing the activities that earn them, like heroic versus regular dungeons, arenas versus battlegrounds, and so on.

The changes should make things much simpler, but at the same time it opens the door to oversimplification – considering it’s all virtual, aren’t points the same as badges anyway? Even so, it’ll definitely make the process of getting gear and figuring out how to acquire the gear your really want much much simpler.

What do you think about the changes? Sound it out in the comments!

Blizzard Releases Official Gnomeregan and Echo Isles Information

Last week, Blizzard announced tons of new information about the upcoming Gnomeregan and Echo Isles instances that we expect to see in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next major expansion pack to the game. Among them are the fact that the gnomes and the trolls will both have an opportunity in the coming expansion to take their respective homelands back. Nethaera said on the official forums:

High Tinker Mekkatorque, betrayed by Mekgineer Thermaplugg and forced to flee the irradiated city of Gnomeregan with the few of his fellow gnomes who managed to survive, is preparing to reclaim his once glorious city. Meanwhile, in distant Durotar, Vol’jin of the Darkspear trolls is determined to exact revenge upon the witch doctor Zalazane for dividing the Darkspears and seizing the land bestowed to them by Thrall: the Echo Isles. Read more about the ongoing struggles of the gnomes and the trolls… and their plans to seek redemption.


There are already a number of spoilers floating around out there since a lot of the audio data and text have already started to appear in existing data packs and folks who are familiar with sites that do a lot of data mining may already have seen the content of the events and encounters.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the opportunity to hand Thermaplugg and Zalazane their marching orders and tell them to get the heck out of your character’s homeland? It’s been said that everything is going to change in Cataclysm, and this certainly looks like the beginning of that.

Thanks to for the scoop!

Stat and Itemization Changes Coming in Cataclysm had the scoop on this one that Blizzard devs and community managers have finally released details on how our stats and items will change come Cataclysm. There’s a ton of data, a lot of it specific to certain specs and classes, so I would advise anyone seriously concerns about their class and their spec to head over to and check out their series of articles describing how various class/spec combinations will change both in general gameplay and in high-end raiding.

That being said though, there are some major changes that are worth sharing for everyone, especially with regard to how some basic stats are being reworked and how other stats are going away altogether, that are worth covering. Highlights from the original post:

A few of the more major points:

  • Stamina — Non-plate wearers will have a lot more.
  • Spirit — Only found on healing gear.
  • Intellect — Grants spell power.
  • MP5 — Gone completely.
  • Spell power — Only on weapons, and just to make them clearly a caster item.
  • Attack power — Gone on most items.
  • Parrry — No longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attack.
  • Resilience — Only affects player damage and player crit damage, no impact on crit chance, mana drains, etc…
  • Block Value — Gone, 30% passive block value now when wearing a shield.
  • Weapon Skill — Gone completely.
  • Gem Color — Few stats changing. Hit will likely become a blue gem (it’s yellow now).
  • Defense — Gone, becomes dodge, parry, or block rating.
  • Reforging — You’ll be able to reforge gear to customize your stats — 50% of stat X can become stat Y. Restrictions apply (no Stamina->Strength, for instance)

There are a ton more changes, including some descriptions of exactly what each stat will look like and the effects it will have on gameplay over at the original post. Head over and take a look!

A Preview of The Abyssal Maw


On Friday, @Warcraft posted this message on Twitter, and left a number of us scratching our heads wondering exactly what was being revealed and what Blizzard was trying to tell us.

Well, yesterday we found out that over on the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm site, a new set of pages had been added to give people eager for Cataclysm related news a preview of one of the new major zones coming in the expansion, The Abyssal Maw.

Not sure what the Abyssal Maw is? Check it:

Azeroth’s native elementals wreaked havoc across the world while they were under the influence of the Old Gods.
To keep Azeroth safe from these threats, the titans imprisoned the Old Gods underground and banished the savage elementals to the titan-constructed Elemental Plane, a secure dominion where the elementals could dwell without harming Azeroth.

Four domains were created within this primordial realm to serve as ideal environments for each type of elemental. For ages since, the elementals of air, water, earth, and fire have engaged in endless strife with each other, waging titanic battles in the confines of their realm. One of the Elemental Plane’s domains, a vast ocean known as the Abyssal Maw, is home to the water elementals. Legend says that Neptulon the Tidehunter, the powerful being who rules over the aquatic realm, possesses a potent weapon that allows its owner to control the very seas of Azeroth. Thus far, the artifact has remained secure inside the water elementals’ domain… but that will soon change.

Within Deepholm, the domain of the earth elementals, the malefic Dragon Aspect Deathwing is on the verge of executing a catastrophic act: to burst forth from the Elemental Plane into Azeroth. Doing so will ravage the surface of the world and breach the barrier that separates Azeroth from the elementals’ realm. Whether Neptulon and his subjects have entered into an alliance with Deathwing remains unknown. Regardless, if Deathwing’s actions create an opening into the Abyssal Maw, nefarious and honorable factions alike will seek out the fabled weapon carried by Neptulon. Whoever secures the artifact will have control over the world’s seas, a power that perhaps no one, not even members of the Horde or the Alliance, should possess.

Oh snap – you know what this means: we could see an instance where we have to bring down Neptulon himself – we just don’t know. This also begs the question that if Deathwing’s cataclysmic burst from the Elemental Plane creates an opening between Azeroth and the Abyssal Maw, will there also be openings to the other elemental domains? We’ll just have to see. In any event, some preview images from the Abyssal Maw are up (like the one above), and it looks like a massive new zone that’s part temple and part underwater city.

Holy Cow: It’s a Tauren Paladin!


Cadistra, artist and author of WoW, Eh? and all around awesome person, put together her interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin might look like once Cataclysm comes out and we have a whole slew of additional race/class combinations to choose from. One of the more interesting race/class combos we’ll get is the Tauren Paladin – which might immediately seem contradictory to the lore but apparently already has the framework laid in quests on the PTRs – one called An Injured Colleague.

The story is essentially that the Tauren see the druidic teachings of the Night Elves as only part of the picture – not that it’s bad in any way, but the Tauren revere the Earthmother, and the moon is only one of her two eyes (well established in the lore). The other eye of the Earthmother is the Sun, and the Tauren, being a people who strive for balance in all things, have at least a few who seek to walk the path of the Sun (and in turn, of the light) as opposed to the druidic path of the moon (as in, with the Night Elves and the druids of Moonglade and the Cenarion Circle).

In An Injured Colleague, we speak to a Tauren Warrior and a Tauren Druid who share their doubts about the path they’re both on – presumably two characters we may see become the first Tauren Paladin and the first Tauren Priest, and a blue post seemed to hint that the name of the new light-following Tauren would be “Sunwalkers.”

There is a similar Alliance quest that re-introduces the Highborne to the Night Elves, thus paving the way for Night Elf mages. The quest is called “A Cautious Return,” and there are screenshots of it on the PTR in the link to “An Injured Colleague” above.

In any event though, if Cadistra’s interpretation of what a Tauren Paladin will look like is near the mark, I’m looking forward to rolling one when Cataclysm is released. And even if it’s not near the mark, I still love it: Cadistra’s work is always impressive. Check out her DeviantArt account for a larger version of this image!

Play ‘Em Off, Deathwing!


One of the things we’ve been hearing a ton about for the past several days is one of the easter eggs over at the Cataclysm art site. That’s right, Deathwing the Destroyer has his hands on a keyboard, and he’s going to play us off. All of us. You think I’m kidding.

You can click the image above to get a high-res version, or you can head over to the art site and look for the tiny keyboard just underneath the page number and above the footer where the Blizzard logo is.

So, Blizzard – when are we going to see this on a t-shirt? Jinx? Anyone?

Announcing: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm


So all of the rumors, all the leaks, they all turned out to be true.

This morning, Metzen got on stage at Blizzcon and made official what Warcraft fans on the Web have been arguing about for the past week or so. The next expansion to World of Warcraft will be called Cataclysm.

The Maelstrom roars and rips Azeroth apart: all starting zones are being reworked, and as a result of the chaos and world-changing events, zones that were previously off-limits and closed to us will now be open. The Greymane wall has been shattered, and the Night Elves step up to bring the Worgen into the Alliance. The Goblins of Kazzan (one faction of Goblins, not all of them) who lives on islands out to sea have fled their homelands because of the trauma, only to become refugees in a strange land they’d never seen, fighting enemies they don’t know (like the Kul’Tiras) – and when all seems lost for them, the Orcs step up to offer a hand of friendship and bring them into the Horde.

The Cataclysm is truly cataclysmic: Darkshore is re-made, Auberdine is destroyed. Ashenvale falls and Astranaar is firebombed by the horde. Lava runs where the Barrens used to be. Desolace is now a vibrant, lush place, and ruin exists where cities once stood and vice versa. As a result, the Horde and Alliance battle even more to secure scarce resources as the world is turned upside down. Races adapt new classes to keep up the fight (also as leaked), and finally you can fly in Azeroth.

And above it all? Deathwing has returned.

From the site:

An ancient evil lies dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane.

Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire.

Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

It’s on, kids.


Watch the announcement trailer shown at Blizzcon today here and check out the new Cataclysm site: [ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm ] where you can see screenshots, download wallpapers (you know you want a shiny happy Deathwing on your desktop), and read all about the new Goblins and Worgen.

update: The WoW Class, Items, and Professional Panel just with the man, the myth, the legend, Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street, just ended, and there were HUGE announcements. Just a teaser? Armor penetration? Gone. Mana per 5-seconds? Gone. Defense? Gone. Block Value? Gone. Hunters use focus now instead of mana. Everyone gets a stamina boost. Itemization is going to change. Want more info? was liveblogging the entire panel – read all of the announcements here!

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