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Comprehensive Blizzcon 2009 WoW Notes

This is a HUGE list I got in an e-mail about most, if not all, of the currently released information on Cataclysm and upcoming plans for Lich King.
Bare with me, I’m trying to format this as I go along, to be a little less ridiculous to read.

Rumored release date is Nov 2010 for the Xpac, which will be 2 years after Lich King.

Raids & Dungeons
The concept of Ulduar teleports will be back in future instances including Icecrown Citadel. Developers do not want you to have to run for hours just to get back to a boss after a wipe.

Cross Server LFG
-This will let you PUG 5-man instances and search for groups through multiple servers.
-It will come with its own reward systems. If you’re the leader of a PUG and complete the dungeon succesfully you will be rewarded.
-It should be out for patch 3.3.0.

Icecrown Citadel
-Icecrown Citadel will have 4 floors.
-It will be a 10 and 25 players raid with 12 bosses
-Waypoints / Teleporters are being reused here because the instance is really big.
-You will fight Sindragosa, the ultimate Frost Wyrm. You will also fight Arthas.
-The instance is built around the spire where the Ice Throne sits.
-At the 2nd floor, you will have to board an airship with your faction leader and race against the other faction to reach the 3rd floor. You will eventually board their ship with rocket packs and catapults to fight them.
-The 3rd floor seems to be the biggest one and will feature 3 wings
-The 4th floor is where you will fight Arthas

Icecrown Citadel – Dungeons
-The Icecrown Citadel will also feature a 5-man dungeon.
-It has 3 different wings and feature 8 bosses in total. You will have to unlock the 2nd and 3rd wings through an epic questline.
-You will fight alongside Horde and Alliance heroes.

Cataclysm
-4 Raids : Grim Batol, Skywall, The Firelands, Blackwing Descent
-Dungeons : Grim Batol, Uldum, Deepholme, Skywall, Abyssal Maw, Blackrock Caverns
-Old World Heroics: Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep

Abyssal Maw (LVL 78-82)
-Abyssal Maw is one of the two 5-player dungeons located in the Sunken City of Vashjir. It will be non-linear.
-It’s a giant vortex in the center of the zone, getting near the vortex will pull you down to the elemental plane of water.
-The dungeon will be on the ocean’s floor. You will be able to see the ocean through windows in the dungeon and will make an extensive use of the new water effects in Cataclysm.

Halls of Origination
-Halls of Origination will be a non-linear dungeon with elevators to access higher floors. It will feature 7 bosses.
-This is one of the first 5 players dungeon located in the lost deserts of Uldum
-This is the ultimate titan dungeon, it will feature a lot of titan’s lore and you will meet Brann Bronzebeard once again here.

Lost City of Tol’vir
-Exterior 5-man dungeon

Blackrock Caverns
-Blackrock Caverns is an entirely new instance located inside Blackrock Mountains. It was a good occasion to reinvent a fan favorite.
-It is now an off-site base for Deathwing and it’s now occupied by the Twilight’s Hammer. You will find out why the Twilight’s Hammer is here and what they want here.
-It will feature new art, loot, and creatures. The Beast still lurks …

Blackwing Descent (Raid)
-Nefarian will return in this instance. This is an entirely new raid inspired by the original Blackwing lair with new loot, new art, new creatures.

The Firelands (Raid)
-The Firelands is the Elemental Plane of fire. You will fight Ragnaros again here and you will finally fight him at his full strength.

Onyxia 5th anniversary
-Onyxia is back with updated encounter mechanics. You will find new and updated loot here based on the original items with improved stats.
-Onyxia’s 310% flying mount “Brood of Onyxia” is going to be a very very rare drop.

Rated Battlegrounds
-Rated Battlegrounds will be an alternative way to get arena points.
-Each week, one of the BG will be the Rated Battleground of the week. Winning in this battleground will improve your rating and give you points. Losing will not lower your rating.
-New PvP titles will be added, as your rating progress you will unlock higher titles. If you earned a PvP title you will keep it.
-When a Battleground is rated for the week, its normal non-rated version will still be available.
-The amount of Arena Points will be limited to prevent grinding.
-You will also earn guild level by playing these rated battlegrounds with your guildmates.

Tol’barad
-Tol’barad is a mix of Lake Wintergrasp and the Isle of Quel’danas.
-Every x hours the Daily Quests of the zone will shutdown and players will fight to capture the control points, the first team to get all of them wins.
-The winning team gets access to better daily quests rewarding more gold/better items.

Guild Leveling
-Guild experience is earned through multiple ways, players leveling, killing bosses, leveling professions, PvP victories, reputations.
-Each guild level rewards you with one talent point, these talents affect the whole guild. The top 20 earners of the guild will contribute to the guild experience for the day.
-Some of the guild talents will allow you to remove reagent costs from spell, get increased gold drops, summon your entire raid, rez your entire raid after a wipe, automatically transfer a % of gold dropped by bosses to the guild bank. Guild talents can be reset.
-Once your guild reached level 20, the guild experience becomes a currency and let you buy things like mounts, professions plans, banners, potions, rare reagents and guild talent respecs.
-Anyone can learn a guild profession recipe, if you leave the guild after learning it you will loose the recipe and it will be transferred back to the guild bank. Guild heirlooms also work the same way and are bound to the guild.

Guild Interface
-Guilds will have their own achievements, some of the old achievements might be converted to guild achievements. Some of the achievements are building a legendary item, maxing out every profession, etc …
-A guild news feed will be added, it will shows boss kills, items looted, it will come with different filters to let you find specific information.
-You can now check the professions of every members of your guild and check their recipes list to see if they can create an item.
-You will also be able to invite other guilds to your guild events through the in-game calendar.

Mastery system
-There are too many talents right now and a lot of them are boring and just give passive bonuses. (1% hit bonus, etc …)
-The goal is to make talents more fun and useful, Body and Soul or Juggernaut are a good example.
-The old passive bonuses will be automatically added to your character through the Mastery system as you spend more points in a talent tree. Spending a lot of points in Fury will give you extra crit, etc … this will be implemented for all classes.
-Mastery bonuses will lower energy cost, increase your armor penetration, etc …

Path of the Titans
-Character progression slows down drastically at level 80. Players will improve their character through the Path of the Titan by using the new Archeology profession.
-Archeology rewards you with “Ancient Glyphs” and give you bonuses reduced damage, reduced stun duration, etc …
-They are NOT inscription glyphs and are totally different, as you progress after level 85 you will earn points to buy more glyphs. They are tied to your talent specialization and cannot be respecced.
-You will eventually get all your ancient glyphs, but hardcore players will get them faster. There will be a weekly limit to how fast you can get them.

Path of the Titans
-Path of the Titans is another great new feature we covered that encompasses rewarding progression at max level. This new feature implements a third new type of glyph called “Ancient Glyph,” and as you can see, it is themed after the titans. These special glyphs are not associated with the Inscription tradeskill, and are also not specific to any class.

You’re able to unlock a path and progress within that path as you continuously engage in different aspects of the game. As you advance, you will be able to unlock special glyph sockets for your character. You can also respec your path at any time, in case you decide to change your path.

You earn these ancient glyphs by using the new Archaeology secondary profession to recover and trade in titan artifacts. Each path will have 2-3 choices per rank, and again, you can respec if you decide to go down another path.
– Path of Aman’Thul, the High Father
– Path of Eonar, the Lifebinder
– Path of Norgannon, the Dreamweaver
– Path of Khaz’Goroth, the Shaper
– Path of Aggramar, the Avenger
– Path of Golganneth, the Thunderer

You can earn progress down any of these paths by doing things such as questing, raiding, PvP, trade skills, etc., with a possible weekly cap for maximum progress. Over time, you’ll be able to unlock new ancient glyphs that will greatly benefit your character.

This new system will be accessible to all players at max level. Players will eventually be able to reach new ranks for ancient glyphs, encouraging them to further develop their characters. There is also a possibility that we will introduce whole new paths in future content patches.

General

More character slots might be added but maybe not for Cataclysm.
You might be able to reorder the characters on your character selection screen at some point.
There are some ideas for “mentoring” to let people of varied levels play together without powerleveling. Things like downleveling yourself to play with them is a possibility but it might not be for Cataclysm.
Character visual customization is something they would like to adress, but they don’t really know what the right solution is. They have a few ideas in mind and might do something about it soon.
Oceanic servers will get their own maintenance time at some point.
Dancing is still in the work and the animation is working on them, there is still some work to do to make it a real feature.

Races

Race changes will be available shortly after Faction changes. There is no point in not allowing that since you can’t really prevent people with multiple accounts to play both side on PvP servers anyway.
All races will have updated racials with Cataclysm, they should be similar to what the Goblins have. (Increased health/mana potion effects, etc …)

Guild Leveling System

The idea behind the guild leveling system is to make people want to be in guilds and make people feel better about being in a guild. The goal is to take that feature and make it the best they can. (Guild Talent Trees, etc …)
You will be able to create guild heirlooms with the new guild leveling system, you can buy profession plans and anyone in your guild can wear that item, it will scale with level.

Professions

Armorsmith and Weaponsmith specialization really felt like the Blacksmith was limited by his choice, that’s why it was ignored in Wrath of the Lich King. Ultimately it’s better if the player can craft more stuff instead of just being able to craft 2H swords or whatever.
Herbs and Ore Nodes will be reitemized with the revamp.

Player vs. Player

XP in Battlegrounds need to be fixed because there is a lot of XP leeching in the 71-80 Brackets. Once it’s fixed, it will be improved across the board.

Raids & Dungeons

You can’t get Frostmourne because it would take control of your soul. Frostmourne would be playing your character, not you. The weapon has an unique fate and the encounter is going to be mega.
There won’t be any option to do Onyxia at level 60 anymore after the revamp in 3.2.2.

Cataclysm

There isn’t any plan to prevent ganking in the contested zones of Azeroth, even with flying mounts available here. This is just part of being on a PvP server.
They can’t spoil the Thrall / Garrosh storyline, but with the cataclysm raging everywhere, what do you think the world’s mightiest shaman would need to do?
Northrend and Outland won’t really be affected by the Cataclysm but some of the areas will be updated for the expansion. For example, you will be able to level up Archeology in Outland.

Itemization

The 5 second rule might be removed with the changes made to spirit but there isn’t any final decision about that.
There is no plans to prevent Paladins and Shamans from using cloth, but there were some discussions to limit it somehow.
Armor Penetration is removed from the gear but not from the game. There are plans to reintroduce it in another way to allow players to kill plate wearers. (Armor Penetration talents, etc …)
Spirit is going to be a healer stat only, it won’t exist on DPS Gear. Healers need it to regen and other casters don’t use it at all. (Other casters will use Intellect for Spell Power)

Classes

They won’t add a new class in Cataclysm, they have to be very careful about adding more classes and do not want tons of them.
The philosophy about pure DPS classes is still the same, they don’t want hybrid to do everything they can do. The elevated hybrid DPS in Wrath of the Lich King is in a “good place” now.

Classes – Pets

In Patch 3.3, pets will scale of all of your stats and allow buffs from raid encounters to affect them.
In Patch 3.3, there will be changes to make sure that pets can’t be hit by AOEs from bosses but others (PvP) will be able to affect them.
Pets classes might get a “move to this location” command for their pet, long cooldown abilities that let your pet teleport to you to get out of trouble. This would be good feature since developers can’t make pet AI as smart as a player.

Druid

There isn’t any immediate plan to give feral druids a legendary, casters are next on the list.
Trolls and Worgens Druids will get their own bear, cat, travel, and aquatic forms.

Hunter

Hunters might be able to choose the talent tree of their pet to let them pick the pet that looks best to them. Zhevra is a possibility for Cataclysm.

Mage

Night Elves Mages have been added because it sounded pretty cool to have Elves using arcane when they shouldn’t be anymore.
Mage abilities like Molten Armor will be changed to use other stats since mages won’t have Spirit anymore.

Rogue

They want to see rogues use more daggers, they’re THE rogue weapon and we don’t see enough of them. In Patch 3.2.2 they might add an assassination talent to make daggers more attractive.
One of the plans for cataclysm is to take a lot of the early subtlety tree and make it passive for the class. The unattractive stuff will be taken out to let you get the cool talents.

Shaman

Sacrificying the group utility of mana tide totem to give it a much better regen is a possibility.
Enhancement Shamans do not use INT anymore and will be given talents to not need it just like Retribution Paladins.
Enhancement Shamans having to run in and out of melee ranges to redrop totem and sacrifice DPS is a legitimate problem, they don’t want enhancement to have to run out like that.

Warlock

Warlock’s survavibility wasn’t really good at the start of Wrath of the Lich King, but they’re in a pretty good place right now.

Warrior

Arms lost their iconic ability when Mortal Strike was given to more classes. They need to find a new ability to fill that niche or make Arms’ MS the “ultimate” mortal strike.
Archaeology
Archaeology is the new secondary profession that will be joining the ranks of cooking, fishing, and first aid in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Archaeology allows the player to unlock new abilities and rewards by discovering ancient treasures throughout the world. Each archaeologist uses the profession to uncover clues hidden in the world around them, such as troll relics or map fragments, and decipher their meaning, enabling the clever archaeologist to manipulate pieces of the past, learning the location of a treasure cache or valuable artifact. Such artifacts are highly sought after by the Archaeology Society, and they pay in gold and items for their return. Those who have mastered archaeology can find Titan artifacts, earning special currency used to unlock character paths and allowing the player to further customize their character.

Reforging

Reforging is another way to customize your gear.
It will be relatively cheap, you will need a Blacksmith / Leatherworker / Tailor / Jewelcrafter / Engineer to do it. Each profession get to reforge a type of items.
It lets you reduce one stat for another. Some restrictions will apply, you can’t put the extra stat on something that is already on the item.

Professions

Multi-gains will be added, while you level up your trade skills, rare items will give you more points as you skill up. (Rare items will give you 5 points for example, while green bracers will only give one)
Gathering should be a little more fun.
Engineering is a very fun tradeskill, but it’s either amazing or it sucks and everybody drops it. More convenient items like Jeeves or Wormhole Generator will be added to the profession in the future to get back to the roots of Engineering.
Fishing will also have some big changes, no details yet but it’s going to be more fun.

Itemization
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, there are plans to streamline the statistics found on items. We want to remove all unnecessary stats, make all existing stats understandable, and make all “core” stats more appealing. Here are some examples of such plans.

MP5: This will be removed from items and replaced with Spirit. All healers will be given a meditation-like ability.
Spell Power: Spell Power is being removed from items as well. Don’t panic, we’ll be improving Intellect so that it provides mana and Spell Power.
Attack Power: We’re removing Attack Power from items as well. Instead, we’re allowing Agility to provide the necessary Attack Power for leather and mail wearers. Strength will provide the appropriate amount of Attack Power for plate wearers. This means leather and mail items will no longer be desirable for plate wearers.
Defense: The Defense statistic is also being removed from items so that players no longer have to worry about juggling around “the cap.” Tanks will receive the necessary anti-crit from talents, like Survival of the Fittest.
Armor Penetration: This ability is too confusing and “mathy.” It is being replaced with Mastery, a stat that makes you better at what you do. More on that later!
Haste: Will also increase the rate at which you gain energy, runes, and focus. Retribution paladins and Enhancement shaman will have a talent that allows them to take advantage of this benefit.
Block: Block Value is being removed. Blocking will now always mitigate a percentage of damage.
Stamina: Players will notice more Stamina on gear as Defense, Spell Power, Attack Power and Armor Penetration are removed.

Legendary Item

Shadowmourne – You won’t get Frostmourne in Icecrown but Death Knights and Hunters will get a Legendary Axe named Shadowmourne.

Goblins

Rocket Jump – Activate your rocket belt to jump up to 20 yards, every 2 min
Rocket Barrage – Fire your belt rockets at an enemy within 30 yards, every 2 min. (Shared cooldown with Rocket Jump)
Time is money – Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
Best Deals Anywhere – Best possible gold discount, regardless of reputation.
Pack Hobgoblin – Calls in your personal servent, allowing you bank access every 30 min.
Better Living Through Chemistry – Alchemy skill +15, Your potions give more health / mana
Goblins can be all classes except Paladin or Druids

Worgens

Darkflight – Activate your true form, increasing movement speed by 70% for 6 sec, every 3 min.
Viciousness – Increase damage by 1%.
Abberation – Reduced duration on Curses and Diseases used against you by 15%.
Flayer – Skinning skill +15, you skin creature fast, and you don’t even need a knife.
Worgens can be all classes except Paladins or Shamans

Worgen Form

The Worgen Form is cosmetic only
out of combat you can pick between Human or Worgen.
In combat you will be a worgen.

Hunter

Hunter’s mana is GONE!!!
Hunters now use focus, no longer care about intellect or mana regen.
Focus regenerates contunously, Steady shot improves the rate of getting focus bag.
Rogue energy comes back at a 10 / sec rate, Hunter focus comes back at 6/sec (12/sec with steady shot)
A shot costs 30 to 60 focus.
Hunters will have fewer cooldowns on abilities
Ammos will become an item, not a consumable.

Warlock

Soul Shards are no longer in your bags. The goal is to make them fun, not a hassle.
Soul Shards will be integrated to the user interface. (Just like Death Knight runes)
You get three shards per fight, they will regen very quickly out of combat.
It will be possible to get more for long fights or mistakes through Drain Soul.
Soul Burn (New Spell) : Cost 1 Shard, 30 sec cooldown, off the GCD. Empowers your next spell, many (not all spells) behave differently when empowered.
Empowered Searing Pain : Next 3 Searing Pains crit
Empowered Summon Demon : Instant Cast
Empowered Soulfire : Instant Cast
Empowered Fear : Instant Cast
Empowered Death Coil : Longer Horror, more healing received.
They are only used in combat, summons or demons won’t use your shards.
Quote from Blizzard staff

General

Level cap will be 85 because developers wanted to focus on the right things: redoing Azeroth and providing more end-game content.
A new guild advancement system will let you earn guild perks and level a guild through 20 levels with points to spend in a talent tree. You will access abilities such as cheaper repairs, less durability loss on wipes, or mass resurection.
Phasing can now add and remove terrain based on your progress. Coasts will be progressively more flooded depending on how far you are in a storyline for example.

Path of the Titans

Talent trees won’t be extended, you will just get 5 more talent points.
The Path of the Titans will let players follow a path (not restricted to classes), this is a new talent system with new skills and passive abilities.
A mastery system is being added as well, a lot of talents will be reworked to be more fun. The point is to get rid of a lot of the talent skills and not make you spend all your points in a talent tree just because it gives you more damage or higher crit chance.

Archeology

Archeology is a new secondary profession, not many details about this one but we’ll probably hear more about it in future panels.

Deathwing

Deathwing, the leader of the Black Dragonflight will be the main vilain of the expansion.
Deathwing heard the whispers of the Old Gods after the arrival of the Burning Legion, he eventually grew very powerful and also became very very crazy.
His plan was to catch the Alliance and Horde unaware with something so massive that it would bring up the Elemental Planes.
The Elemental Planes were created by titans to contain the elementals, they weren’t happy with this decision and some of them like Ragnaros got really angry.

New races – Worgens

Other races were discussed for the alliance, but the developers really felt that the alliance needed a monstrous race and horde needed something fun and tiny.
Genn Greymane closed the Greymane Wall to block the Scourge’s plague. Gilneas got nervous as the Scourge progressed to the south.
Arugal was a patriot, he called the Worgens to battle for Gilneas but eventually was surprised by how dangerous what he called down was.
Worgens are from somewhere else … or even someWHEN else. They have a wolverine temperament and spent a lot of time trying to contain the beast within.
Racial – Visciousness – +1% damage.
Racial – Dark Flight – +70% run speed for 10 seconds.
Racial – Abberation – Duration of Curses and Diseases reduced by 15%
Racial – Flayer – Skinning skill increased by 15.

New Races – Goblins

Goblins are a technological race from Kezan, their society is broken up into trade cartels run by trade princes. They are new factions and not the ones you can already see in game.
The Cataclysm hit Kezan really hard and it’s possibly destroyed. The goblins are now refugees on the Lost Isles.
As a goblin you start as a neutral cartel and eventually join the horde as you progress through the questlines.
Racial – Best Deals Anywhere – Always receive the best discount regardless of faction.
Racial – Pack Hobgoblin – Calls your personal servant allowing you bank access for 1 minute. 30 mins cooldown.
Racial – Better Living Through Chemistry – Alchemy skill increased by 15.
Racial – Rocket Barrage – Launches your belt rockets an an enemy, dealing fire damage. 2 min cooldown.
Racial – Rocket Jump – Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 min cooldown.
Racial – Time is Money – 1% increased attack and casting speed.

Old World

We all left a little part of ourselves in Northrend and the old world will be much darker than it was to make heroism and brotherhood more meaningful like Warcraft should be.
Every zones will be revamped with new quests, items, and art. The old world will be a brand new experience and you won’t have to deal with the annoying agility/spirit quest rewards anymore.
Azeroth is now flyable. Pretty much all the zones will be changed to some extent, some of them like Elwynn Forest won’t change too much but others like The Barrens will be sundered in two by Deathwing.
The Wailing Caverns are now a lush and verdant Area.
Desolace now has a lot more waters and a lot of plants can be seen in the screenshots.
The Horde finally conquered Southshore.
Auberdine was destroyed and the night elves have set up a new camp north of it. Garrosh wants to expand the horde and has built a fortified camp at the south of the zone.
Stonetalon has been cleaned by the Goblins, Azshara will be the new Goblin zone, and are using quarries in the mountains of Azshara to build their town.
Apparently Orgrimmar will be rebuilt and reinforced with steel, it now looks a lot like Garrosh strongholds…
Undercity has been redesigned to be flyable, it now looks much more impressive from the outside.

New Zones

7 new zones will be added : Twilight Highlands, Mount Hyjal, Deepholm, Uldum, Gilneas, The Lost Isles, Sunken City of Vash’jir.

Starting Areas

The Worgens and Goblins starting zone level goes from 1 to 15.

Vasj’ir

Sunken City of Vashj’ir will be an underwater zone and was the home city of Lady Vashj before the original sundering, this is a gateway to the Abyssal Maw. Going through the Abyssal Maw will take you to the Elemental Plane of Water, even if the zone will be underwater you will be walking on the sea floor here, new underwater mounts will be available and should have the same speed as normal flying mounts.

Deepholm

Deepholm will be the new hub of the expansion, you will have portals here to let you teleport to Hyjal, Uldum, etc … The Twilight’s Hammer now serves Deathwing and have brought him back to full health in the Temple of Earth at the center of the map.
Deepholm isn’t really connected to Azeroth, the connection is where Deathwing emerged from the ground.

Uldum

Uldum will have at least two dungeons and is heavily inspired from Egypt. The sea at the west of Tanaris was just an illusion created by the Titan and Uldum is actually a brand new zone. It is rumored to hold a super weapon. Uldum is also the home of the Tolvir, a race of stone-like cats created by the titans.

Plane of Fire

Ragnaros used the cataclysm to come back from the Plane of Fire where we sent him and is now sieging the World Tree in Mount Hyjal to burn it down. Malfurion is back from the Emerald Dream. The whole zone (Hyjal) will make extensive use of phasing.

Twilight Highlands

The Twilight Highlands will feature Grim Batol, Deathwing literally broke open Grim Batol as he emerged from the ground. This is the new Twilight’s Hammer base in Azeroth and both Horde and Alliance will have a new port town with boats here. The Red Dragonflight is still here but has been pushed back to the west of the zone near the Wetlands.

Dungeons & Raids

The Firelands will be a new raid dungeon, it will let you go to the Elemental Plane of fire and visit Sulfuron’s Keep, Ragnaros will be here and he’s really pissed.
Uldum will feature two new dungeons, the Lost City of Tol’vir and the Halls of Origination (a titan city)
Grim Batol will have a level-up dungeon and a raid instance.
Skywall (Air Elemental Plane) will have a level-up dungeon and a raid instance.
The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep will be back in a brand new level 85 heroic version.
Blackrock Caverns will be a new level-up dungeon located in Blackrock Spire. This is an entirely new dungeon, new art, new creatures, new everything.

Player vs. Player

Battle of Gilneas will be a new battleground where the objective is to control the city by controlling as many districts as possible.
Tol’barad will be a new PvP zone and will also be the most important daily quest hub. Just like Wintergrasp a battle will happen every few hours and the winning side will get access to the Tol’barad Prison and extra daily quests, the really profitable ones.
Rated battlegrounds will be added to the game and should get you the same rewards as Arenas.
New arena maps will be added.