Blizzard talks World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 4.3

Game director Tom Chilton details what's next for Blizzard MMO game: transmogrification, new instances, new storage, and new legendary content.

The massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft continues to welcome millions of subscribers to the virtual fantasy realm of Azeroth, and the development team at Blizzard is preparing to unveil its latest content update, the upcoming 4.3 patch for Cataclysm (the game's most recent retail expansion). Though no specific release date has been announced for it, the new patch will introduce six significant content additions: three new dungeon instances designed for five-character adventuring parties; a new high-end "raid" instance for groups of either 10 or 25 characters; a new type of item storage known as "void storage"; the option to "transmogrify" lower-level items by combining them with higher-level items such that players can make current, high-end gear look like lower-end items; a random raid finder tool; and a new legendary weapon for rogue characters that can be attained only as the reward for a new legendary quest line.

Deathwing will continue to loom large over the Cataclysm plot line.

Blizzard's game director, Tom Chilton, recently spoke with GameSpot on the update, describing its purpose as being a combination of responses to player requests and to the team's own internal wish list. "We've always kind of had a backlog of features that we've wanted to do, like transmogrify, and it's nice to finally be able to do it. But we have been planning for 4.3 to be one of the most substantial patches for Cataclysm yet."

Chilton went on to explain that the new dungeon instances will tie in directly with Cataclysm's ongoing storyline. The plot continues to focus on the ancient dragon Deathwing, the creature involved in bringing the expansion's titular disaster to Azeroth in the first place.

"[The dungeons] start by sending you to a grim version of the future where Deathwing wins--essentially the extinction of all life, and players get a sense of what that's like," Chilton said. "So, you get Nozdormu, the Aspect of Time, to send you to the Well of Eternity to help Thrall to battle Twilight's Hammer and Deathwing's minions."

According to Chilton, "The key to those instances is they tie in very directly to the new raid, as one big content package, and most players are going to get a chance to experience all of it." The game director suggested that the 4.3 update is intended to serve low-level beginner players who might otherwise find high-end content to be inaccessible.

"So, if you want to experience things like the Deathwing encounter, you won't just be relegated to only a dungeon experience," Chilton said. "All three [of update 4.3's] dungeons lead directly to the Deathwing raid storyline."

This goal of creating content for "middle-of-the-road guilds" was also the inspiration for the update's new random raid finder, which will let players find available raids much like the game's already-implemented dungeon finder feature.

"We've struggled since [the Wrath of the Lich King expansion] to fit our player base into raid content at a challenge level that feels good to different types of players," Chilton acknowledged. "In Lich King, before we implemented the heroic levels, we were servicing the casual raiders and hardcore raiders, but not the people in the middle. With Cataclysm, we serviced the hardcore and middle-of-the-road guilds, but maybe not the beginners and casual players, hence the new random raid finder. I think it's especially important in this tier of content, since we've built up Deathwing to be this ultimate enemy of the world, more so than the Lich King, to let anyone who wants to experience do so."

The director then went on to discuss the patch's other additions as being improvements intended to meet player needs. Transmogrification, which will let you merge a lower-level item with a higher-level item to create a new object with the latter's powers, is a feature that has apparently been on the development team's docket for some time, though exactly how the feature will work hasn't been finalized. According to Chilton, "[The team is] still in the process of figuring out the right set of restrictions, so we don't have everyone running around wearing high-level-looking gear, or low-level gear to deceptively look weak. We need to figure out the customization options while making sure not everyone has a fishing pole, or is wearing low-level cloth armor to purposely seem like an easy target."

Void storage, a new type of inventory management that will let players store up to 80 items, is intended to be an economical way to hang on to even more in-game possessions.

"I see this as being for everyone," Chilton said. "I think the gold pricing will help even people who are gold-poor be able to use the feature. It'll serve as [a money sink] to some extent, but it won't be horrifically expensive. I think it ties in pretty well at the level of [services like] reforging items."

The legendary rogue item and quest line are also being developed, partly in response to the favorable reaction from players to the legendary staff weapon from the Firelands zone added in 4.2. "There's going to be a pair of legendary rogue daggers you can get from the Deathwing content and a legendary quest line that goes through it," explained Chilton, "and we'll continue to make [legendary items] in the future with a good chance of quest lines associated with [each of] them. I can't guarantee how things will work…but so far, that seems to make sense for the time being. The Firelands staff was for casters in general, for instance. But we'll continue to spread the wealth around [to other classes]."

When asked about his view on the game's current state and future, Chilton admitted that while the team "added a lot of new content [in the original launch of Cataclysm], I don't know if we evolved the gameplay as much as we might have, and might not have added enough new activities to do, hence transmogrify and all the other content. We've found that over time with an MMO, the player population fragments more and more in terms of being in different emotional or mental states in the game…at the beginning, everyone is a new player, but as time goes on, you've got people that have been playing for seven years, and they're more likely to want more activities. And on the other hand, you've got players who have been in for only one year, and they're kind of in their prime, and are very sensitive to any changes in gameplay, and then you have new players who haven't experienced any of that, and for them, they're dealing with a game that's very big and complicated and possibly overwhelming. It's tricky to find the right balance of tried-and-true content versus new gameplay."

The developer then concluded his remarks by adding, "More than anything else, I'd want to tell all the fans out there that we appreciate the time you've put into WOW. And it's our desire to help people feel like they can always come back, and can always have fun."

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Discussion

56 comments
Gusted
Gusted

@MysterLocke The WoW experience died after Vanilla. The first time I picked up a green item and replaced my chest piece from C'Thun was the death of WoW for me. It was, really, the first time that Blizzard showed everyone how unimportant everything they do inside the game actually is. Wrath was a great expansion - much better than TBC - but it was also the beginning of the gearscore / "link achievement" era of WoW. It pushed elitism to a level I personally had never experienced. It's a shame too. The ilvl and achievement check should be something people aspire for, not as a means by which to hold them back.

PrplMnkyDshwsr7
PrplMnkyDshwsr7

Quit 11 months ago haven't looked back...except to catch up on all the great games I missed out on for the last 7 years.

emperiox
emperiox

Ghostcrawler ruined this game...

crazychords
crazychords

WoW is over, it has passed awayand it must be in a better place now. Blizzard needs to accept it and get over it, make another game, its time for something new. Just let the game and it's players rest in peace.

warorc
warorc

I played wow since beta. Stopped after Cataclysm came out. I played it for like a week and realized it's still the same ol' crap. Renew your gear every expansion or season, grinding XP, Gold and Gear. Elitist and jerks are people that just play too much wow. They get frustrated and want to get GREAT gear. Then "noobs" wipe them in raids and they become rude. I do understand it though. It's human nature... WOW is the hugest success in history for sure. Blizzards next MMORPG title TITAN will be exciting to see what will be different. If you wanna PVP and not have to grind gear, play HoN (Heroes of Newerth). It totally satisfies all my gaming/PVP needs. It's an extremely hard game to be good at (SKILL!) and totally awesome graphics and sound. Diablo III will be awesome. I've played it twice already at different Blizzcon's :) I uninstalled wow like one week after Cataclysm release and cancelled my accounts. Yes I had two!

AceMarine45
AceMarine45

Blizzard has made it so the main key feature is gear. I think companies like Bioware have a great idea. They make story, pvp, pve, gear, and even exploration their key features in swtor. So, no matter what you do, you will get a sense of satisfaction. That is all a gamer really wants, to feel u have finished something remarkable.

AceMarine45
AceMarine45

@DeViLzzz The thing is, people would get borded waiting for their timers. That wouls be a healther way for the players but not the companies. Mythic did the samething with Warhammer, and we all know what happened to them. If you dont, they still hold the worst loss of subscribers in one month in MMO history. I agree with your, and wouldnt mind seeing something like that, because i rather enjoy the story in the game and would play a instance just fot eh ecperience alone, however, for a business plan, it doesnt sound like a good idea. Im my opinion, it is the gear. There are such huge gear gaps, and overpowered gear in the game it creats a competitive addictive behavior. When you play a game u want to be the best, but u cant ever be the best in the way blizzard has designed their game. The moment you begin feeling that way, they take it away with another patch. The deverse gear is fine, but dont make so u must have that gear to compete.

Cowbie
Cowbie

I'm a casual type player and loved everything about Wrath, I bailed and really disliked Cata. Still have mad respect for the game and Blizzard though.

Hentheden
Hentheden

@mythochondria I fully agree. WoW should be fun, but it shouldn't take so long that you end up having to quit because you have to do something else and get on with life.

samuraisami
samuraisami

Wow was great during TBC. Classes were different from each other. Raids were pretty balanced and required you to do some attunement quest which revealed the story of the raid instance and prevented noobs from entering. WotLK butchered the whole game. Raids and dungeons became grind-fests as they required no skill to beat and classes started looking like carbon copies of each other. Cata was a step into the right direction from WotLK. Raids and dungeons actually required some skill to beat like in TBC, but then they went and nerfed everything back to WotLK days with the 4.2 patch. It really killed my motivation for the game.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Thanks greek5 for making some of the comments you did. Yes WOW was fun and I too played the game 3-5 hours per day and did lots of raiding and such but just because I and many of millions of others did it doesn't mean it was ok. Seriously Blizzard and other companies need to adopt many of the recommendations I have had over the past few years which will make the game able to be played in a healthy way. My recommendations will also make mmorpgs content last longer and make companies more $. 1. Raid and dungeons lockouts extended for all .... 2 weeks minimum for raid lockouts ... dungeons 48 hr lockouts 2. Dailies for rep n gold only available 2 times per week

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

make it free so we can play it now... I played it when it was first out, it was something unique, refreshing. we were excited to play and discover the game. in my first play, I played 8+ hours without stopping. wandering in its world, watching it like its alive, seeing all different places, all was amazing. but now its just grindfest and its tiring. so if it becomes free, new people will try it and enjoy it for a while too and even some old players may just wander in its world from 0 just to enjoy, not as a job...

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

The game is too big for its own good now. Between the bugs, class balance, and push for new content, Blizz doesn't have time to pay attention to detail, like how dull doing dailies for a week just to unlock raid content really is. I feel that most people who still play WoW only play it because of it's social aspect, the memories they had with their guildies and the want to relive those memories. I never finished content past BC, but I might go back and play it if it becomes free sometime in the next few years. There's a lot of content I haven't experienced, and I really like the world and all it's characters, but I see no reason to resubscribe to a dying game.

greek5
greek5

I only started playing wow in 2007, and only quit last year, but during those 3 years was playing at least 3 - 5 hours a day, did it all, full tier gear, high 2000 arena ratings, raids till early morning, idiots shouting over vent, you name it. In some way or another wow gave some good memories for gaming, but the time you need for the game to get "good" is just to much, and thats why i think alot of people complain.. we spend way to much hours in game to get the best gear only for it to become useless in the next patch. i feel wow should of had an ending with lich king.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Since it's release the only competition WoW has really been up against were poorly made Korean MMO's and Guild Wars and although GW was successful it was missing a few key elements to make it a real contender. I think the more rigid take with the MMO scene from a few NA developers is going to bring some serious competition that will hopefully define themselves as the next step in MMO gaming.

Oni
Oni

Oh you crazy kids and your disdain for this game. Every WoW news update you come in here and troll. The game is great. If you play a little bit at a time it will last forever. If you don't like it, fine, but that doesn't mean it's bad. :)

Unholy123
Unholy123

Oh B-Team will you ever stop pandering to w/e your forums are filled with? I wonder what the A-Team is doing with Titan tbh at least they understood limits and pacing. . (if you have no Idea what I mean then good for you)

AzatiS
AzatiS

@mythochondria I feel every single word you just said. I agree with everything you just said.

terminus
terminus

Use to love this game, I only play now when free promotions come out, and when they do, I don't even play for the whole week or time given. Blizzard paid too much attention to the whiners who couldn't beat certain classes, and now, I feel, every class is the nearly identical. I have all 10 classes, all maxed, and I have dominated with all of them in battlegrounds/dungeons. I have been able to do this since WOW came out...learn to play, learn to improvise, learn your enemies. Until WOW has at least 6-8 new classes, from another world, that eventually make it to azeroth or kalimdor, and really throw off the standard classes we have now, I don't wanna know anything about this game anymore, it's been nice going back to Battlefield type games for a change.

dre256x
dre256x

Well done Blizz, you have manage to keep 10mil person interested in your game this long... then again the mmo market takes too long to bring quality MMO games to the scene.

mythochondria
mythochondria

I think blizzard made an outstanding job with wow, it was a pillar in the video games history. You can't deny it. Blizzard can control the game, but can't control people that play the game! and this, slowly, ruined the game in the end. I play wow since vanilla, i've been an hardcore raider, a casual raider, left the game 4 times and came back. Today I simply want to play casual. And that's where the game fails me. I DON'T WANT to plan raiding nights, and work my ass to show i am good...It doesn't have to be like a job! I want to go out with friends if I have the chance. I don't want to bow to the "must link achievement and ilvl" thing to enjoy some raids. Game is broken. Full of elitist jerks, un polite people that can't wait to shout their: "wtf retarded noob stupid" etc. I find myself leveling alts, but it becomes boring after a while considering i have 6 characters. Is it also true that no mmo was able to surpass wow until now. I tried warhammer, rift....poor design, no creativity, no real magic happening like it was with wow in the beginning. If we need blizzard to have a good successor to wow that's fine by me, but please make it fast.

MysterLocke
MysterLocke

I still play WoW and enjoy it. umadbro? I doubt half the people who claim they played TBC even did. All vets know that the 'WOW experience' died in Wrath.

KillerBill316
KillerBill316

@James00715 Shhh! Don't let Activision see your last paragraph! Kotick might be watching...

James00715
James00715

I have all the expansions and a lot of good memories, but my time with WoW is pretty much over. The leveling is always fun, but the whole gearing situation gets old each expansion. Even PvP is tedious. For my casual playing it takes 2-3 months to get fully geared for PvP. Just when I get on top of things the next season starts and I have to start all over. All I do now is level alts occasionally, but I can't justify the subscription fee for the short amount of time I play. If it were free to play I would definitely keep playing. After Diablo 3 I don't ever see myself coming back to WoW. Diablo 3 has everything a casual player could want without the subscription fee. I wouldn't mind buying some WoW time with Diablo 3 real money AH though.

matijapolih
matijapolih

played all expansions ... and i must say after Burning Crusade all thing just fall apart ... it's disaster ... they didnt do anything to improve gameplay it becomes really boring after just few hours ... when Diablo and Guild Wars comes out , this will become just another free to play game , and they allready started with it ... it's time for some new and better things

MoreThot
MoreThot

people still play this game? geez! i quit playing during the burning crusade expansion, the game was still pretty fun then but it just gets old after a while, plus i missed the 40 man raids from the original wow. Was a fantastic game in its prime and i LOVED it, but all things come to an end. But its a good thing, makes way for new and improved MMO's to hit the market.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

@AzatiS Right on, and I think Diablo 3 is gonna scratch a lot of those itches. I simply don't see myself playing WoW after D3 hits.

n0matter
n0matter

Cata killed this game. The devs tried to cater to the most vocal and demanding elitist pricks and it was a recipe for disaster, coming off the heels of Wrath which was a very casual expansion. Lesson learned for them hopefully. People are also ready for the story to wrap up. The whole Deathwing plot seems forced and unnecessary. It certainly didn't deserve an entire expansion. Bring back the Burning Legion and finish it already.

eoj
eoj

Wow is a dying game. It set the standard for mmos but all things come to a end. With guild wars 2 and tor coming out wow numbers will take another hit. The game is still the best in the market but there are 2 mmos that will further increase the declining. Don't be surprise if you hear blizzard cutting out severs some in the future.

fredwv
fredwv

WoW died with Arthas.

FuZi0n_1
FuZi0n_1

I hope the random raid finder is for both 10 and 25 man raids

Barighm
Barighm

It's your desire to allow players to always come back and have fun? For $15 a month even if I just want to play for a few days? My, is that ever contradictory. WoW is at that point where I like to come back and play every few months. I've already given that game hundreds of dollars and I still don't feel like I've seen everything. I'll pay for expansions because that's only fair, but anything else? Not a chance. Make the game free for the loyal subscribers.

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

You lucky WoW players, Although I never go into WoW I was into Ragnarok Online, and the updates took extremely long. And I see you guys get a couple a year. Lucky D:

AzatiS
AzatiS

@richardthe3rd I cant agree more with you. +1 And thats why i want 1) Games that you can solo them but be able to have a great time by grouping also 2) A game which WONT be so much gear oriented ( pvp wise ) but skill wise only 3) An mmorpg that finally will introduce MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER pvp and not instanced 10vs10 or arena boxed 5vs5 only... Give massive seiges , give Server vs Server... 5) enough with pay to play. If i want to play or i can play only 4 days out of 30 why i need to pay in the end... So all in all. Diablo 3 + guild wars 2. My combo

AzatiS
AzatiS

Sorry , i quit in June and i dont think ill ever go back to WoW again... That was my fourth and final quit since BETA. I had great times and bad times. Game is getting too old and i got imba bored of it. Im waiting Diablo 3 and Guild wars 2. And thats it.

vega13mv
vega13mv

cool, im not that far in the game yet so i dont know anything about raids or heroics or anything but it sounds like cool new content so im all for it

zoxdj
zoxdj

@Sirbobislost FYI HALO should have been a trilogy so there should be no more sequels, COD is boring so DEAL! Just make it happen! :D

jmrwacko
jmrwacko

"But we have been planning for 4.3 to be one of the most substantial patches for Cataclysm yet." I'd hope so, there's only been 3 of them.

KaBo0m
KaBo0m

Why are you nerds thumbs downing a guy just for saying he's excited for the game?

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

@ atopp399 I agree with you. There's a sort of regression period after a new expansion is released where you have a window of opportunity to jump into raids and stay ahead of the curve in terms of gear. If you fall behind and don't take advantage, it's incredibly difficult to get back to that spot, and you really have to know people in order to do it. I haven't raided in WoW for some time, as I enjoy just playing casually and doing PvP and leveling alts. Raiding becomes a rat-race, and a strange combination of competitiveness, elitism, and exclusion. It really does feel like a second or third job at that point, and it stops feeling like a game. Though I think the only way an MMO could topple WoW is if they could make raiding seem less like this. I have no idea how to do that though.

Mondo80
Mondo80

Loved Lich king, lost interest in cata

atopp399
atopp399

I enjoyed playing the game and leveling a character and even some raid content but the high end game has become so elitist that it really isn't fun anymore. When I quit it was all about Gearscore. If you did not have a high enough score you were not invited, which makes sense, yet the scores these raid leaders require meant you basically had to have done content with gear you couldn't obtain without a higher Gearscore, lol. It just becomes an elitist circle jerk at the high end game and if you try to do the more basic heroic dungeons or lower raids and you don't know EXACTLY what you are doing then you are shunned. Their argument..."Create your own group or raid if you don't like it"... However, people will not join a raid/group with a leader who doesn't know the content...

Brakkyn
Brakkyn

Love it or hate it, play it or don't, WoW is still around and probably has alot of life left in it. Detractors will simply have to come to grips with that so they can move on with their lives.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I have to hand it to Blizzard; no other company does a better job of convincing people to jump on a hamster wheel and perform repetitive tasks better than them. This success has more to do with understanding customer psychology than anything else. This coming from a 7 year WoW on-and-off veteran.

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

What happened WoW? used to be such a hardcore & truly epic experience. oh yea, you tried to make the game easier and more accessible...

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@jasonzilla11 Ofc blizzard should end the game because your bored of who cares about the people still playing and enjoying it as long as long as a few people are happy instead of the vast majority.... While were at it I'm bored of halo and CoD let's get those cancelled as well

rat5112
rat5112

@jasonzilla11 Yes why should Blizzard pay any attention to a game that makes them tens of millions of dollars every single month. What could they possibly be thinking?

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

I can't believe that people still play that game. And a lot, too. I'm kinda tired of WOW. I think Blizzard should just stop updating the game and start focusing on something else. Then people will finally (hopefully) move on.