World of Warcraft panel sees Cataclysmic changes

BlizzCon 2009: Blizzard devs discuss the class, item, and profession updates that will be implemented in the new expansion pack.

Who Was There: Lead game designer Greg Street, item designer Travis Day, and profession designer Jon Lecraft

What Did They Talk About: The trio ran through an overview of the various changes in store for World of Warcraft when the Cataclysm expansion hits. The news was met with cheers and with some cries of dismay. The panel kicked off with a run through the racial traits of the two new races being introduced: goblins and Worgen. The new alliance race, the Worgen, will have four: aberration, flayer, dark flight, and viciousness. Aberration will reduce the duration of curses and diseases on Worgen by 15 percent. Flayer increases skinning by 15 percent and allows Worgen to skin faster without needing a knife. Dark flight is an instant-cast 70 percent boost in movement for 10 seconds with a 3-minute cooldown. Finally, viciousness increases all damage by 1 percent.

The Worgen get four racial traits: aberration, flayer, dark flight, and viciousness.

It was noted that Worgen form would essentially be cosmetic and offer no bonuses. Players will automatically shift to Worgen form only during combat and will have the freedom to decide if they appear as human or Worgen out of combat. In terms of classes, Worgen can be all but paladins and shamans.

The new goblin horde race will have five traits: vpack hobgoblin, personal servant, best deals anywhere, rocket barrage, rocket jump, and better living through chemistry. The pack hobgoblin trait will let you call in a personal servant who will give you bank access for one minute. Best deals anywhere lets goblins receive the best gold discount regardless of faction. Rocket barrage fires a goblin’s belt rockets at an enemy to deal fire damage. Rocket jump uses the rocket belt to jump forward. Finally better living through chemistry increases your alchemy skill by 15. Goblins can be any class except paladins and druids.

Besides the introduction of the new playable races and the classes they can be, new class and character combinations were revealed. Horde players can look forward to orc mages, Tauren priests and paladins, troll druids, undead hunters, and blood elf warriors. Alliance players can anticipate dwarf shamans and mages, gnome priests, night elf mages, and human hunters.

The panel then shifted to warlocks, which kicked off the start of the highs and lows for attendees who responded with cheers, boos, and a mix of both as they absorbed the information. The unique casting class is being revamped so that soul shards, which are crystals needed for a good chunk of their spells and summoning, will work totally differently. The shards will now be used only in combat and, most importantly, will not take up precious space in your bags.

While the revamp is still being refined, it appears the shards will work somewhat like runes do for deathknights. The shards will be used only in combat and won’t be needed for summoning. Warlocks will have three shards per fight, although the team is considering giving demonlogy specialized warlocks a fourth. The shards will be displayed in the user interface, like deathknight runes, and regen quickly when the warlock is out of combat. It will be possible to get more shards during long fights or when they make mistakes.

The team is also considering an “evocation”-style action to help shards regenerate more quickly. Warlocks will also gain a new spell--soul burn--which will cost one shard and feature a 30-second cooldown. The spell will empower the next spell you cast and will act as a modifier. Some examples given as to how the spell would enhance spells included fear becoming instant, soulfire becoming instant, summoning a demon becoming instant, death coil causing longer horror and offering more healing, and the next three searing pains cast causing critical hits.

The next class getting an overhaul in cataclysm is hunters, who will lose mana and rely on focus for their attacks. Focus will continuously regenerate, although steady shot will improve the amount of focus you regenerate. The example shown was that passive regeneration would replenish six focus per second, while using steady shot hunters will earn 12 focus per second. To give context, the plan is for hunters to have a max of roughly 100 focus, with shots costing somewhere between 30 and 60 focus. Hunters can expect fewer cooldowns on abilities as well as the possible removal of their various aspects. Ammo will also become an item as opposed to a consumable.

The focus then shifted to itemization, which elicited a range of reactions from the assembled masses. The underlying motivation for the big changes revolves around removing unnecessary stats and making all core stats appealing. Mana per 5 is now replaced with spirit. Spirit is changing to essentially be mana regen. Mage and warlock gear will also no longer have spirit on them. Healers will get a meditation like skill to help as well. Spell power is gone. Intellect will now serve double duty, as both mana and spell power. Attack power is gone. Agility will now provide 2 attack power for rogues, hunters, shamans, and druids. Defense tanks will receive the needed anticritical talents from survival of the fittest. Armor penetration is gone and replaced by the new mastery mechanic, which enhances the talent tree you have the most points in.

The block value is being done away with and will simply mitigate a percentage of damage. A tweak to haste will increase the rate at which players gain energy, runes, rage, and focus. Finally, stamina will be increased to compensate for the loss of the above features to balance things out. In addition, a new legendary weapon was shown--an axe called Shadowmourne--which players hoping for Frostmourne will need to be satisfied with because Frostmourne isn’t slated to be appearing anytime soon.

The last bit of the panel focused on professions, many of which were still taking shape. Archaeology is a new secondary profession that will let players collect artifacts throughout the world. As players find them, they’ll unlock paths in the newly announced path of the titans system. Players will earn unique rewards, vanity pets, instant travel to dungeons, titles, and recipes for other professions. Players will track all of the above in a journal that will hold the artifacts (ensuring they don’t take up bag space). The specifics of the profession are still being figured out and may include some kind of minigame.

Reforging is a new ability that will let players customize their gear by reducing the stat on one item and increasing another. The ability will offer specific reforging options to leatherworkers, tailors, jewelcrafters, and engineers. The only trick to the ability is that players will be limited to what they can do with the points--players won’t be able to increase existing stats on the weapon, only new ones.

As far as existing talents go, there will be a number of tweaks. Multi-gains will allow players to craft different types of items that yield more points. The example given was players having the option of creating five bracers for a single gain each or one belt that would yield a five gain. Gathering is being looked at in the hopes of offering more flexibility and yielding different bonuses. Engineering is being tweaked to focus more on convenience items, such as the wormhole generator, toys, and pets. It also appears that engineers will have a belt to hold profession-specific items.

The Takeaway: The changes to the game created by the Cataclysm expansion will run deep and will bring fundamental changes to how even veteran WOW players approach the game.

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Discussion

76 comments
Wojcha
Wojcha

If they keep up with this, we'll be playing a raid with a Murloc Power Ranger level 115, that is specialized for two-handed lightsabers, made with the new Energy Weapon profession.

DaveOxo
DaveOxo

Agreed. I do know that lore is a big part of the game for some people, But ultimately WoW is just a game, and it is a great game. I personally thougt WotLK was great just because it was different and it was a change so to speak when you finished the rest of the game, i think its a great idea with the two new races because theres a lot of people who would like to 'start again' in the game and how better to do it than with a new story and new races? Im sure if you really like WoW that much you will be able to adjust to cataclysm and it will be a quality experience for most of us. :)

UltraBlue21
UltraBlue21

Also as far as the books go, you need to realize that, they are someone elses rendition of what they believe the world of warcraft lore to be. It is just them selling rights for someone to write a book about it, and to be quite honest there is a lot of the books that don't truly follow the actual lore

UltraBlue21
UltraBlue21

actually that's not altogether true, while they don't have a huge history, you should go look into the information on arugal and how they were created notorious98

notorious98
notorious98

Draken10, perhaps you should pay attention when you're playing the game. The Timbermaws are Furbolgs. The tribe that you help as a Draenei on Azuremyst are Furbolgs. How many worgens did anyone see before WotLK? At least when Blizz added Blood Elves and the Draenei, they had rich histories. They had alot of lore behind them. The Worgen? Not much. Once again, I'm not thrilled with the choice. And when has a pally had any problems? The last time I checked, DKs were top on OP and pallies were second. Trust me, I know this. My main is a pally.

Ninja_Tin
Ninja_Tin

Imo... i think this is gonna be fail. Worgens are stupid for ali, however the goblins i like for the horde. Troll Druid? cmon... and tauren pallys? tahts stupid. I always said blizz should start fresh and make WoW 2... there is to much stuff going on with WoW atm.. I love wow...but when it was classic, you can't beat it. However i likek the fact that im gonna be in old azeroth again, but how are the flying mount going to work out? i dont think my computer can take another expansion either... Hopefully everythign will work out P.S WotLK was the worst xpack...ever

caffienedeath
caffienedeath

@all WoW haters cmon guys you cant hate WoW for moving on with the stroyline. maybe the humans wanted to be hunters like there good friend the dwarves. maybe gnomes found a god or godess to believe in you dont know until you find out for real.BE were warriors in WC3 as well and taurens never really shined so stfu bout them.this expansion is the best one in my point of view and anyone who hates because of the lores needs to get on with the story and people who hate it for other reasons shouldnt be looking at stuff they hate thats like if i looked at recent news reports of micheal jackson. so dont hate something and post negatively on this website

goatboy0088
goatboy0088

Im so glad i dont play this game anymore. I predict that cataclsm will be wows last heroa. I mean you can only put so mutch lipstick on a pig. Honey moods over WoW pack your bags and GTFO and P.S. blizz MOVE ON , like the rest of us.

Draken10
Draken10

and all of you complaining about wow ripping off warhammer or something, rust relax and take the game as it is, complaining wont fix it, it will only make subconsciously dislike the game more.

Draken10
Draken10

pallys have always had problems but still can be good allies in combat and what is a furbolg

notorious98
notorious98

I've played WoW since early '07. I've started reading the books and I gotta say that I'm not that excited about this expansion pack. Personally, I think the Furbolgs would have made for a better race then Worgens. Even Blizz admits that Worgens don't have a rich history and not much is known about them. At least Furbolgs have existed since the War of the Ancients. As far as the classes go, I was pretty confused about the Night Elf mages (and yes, Darkbeyond, Blizz has already confirmed them). Human hunters aren't that far out of the realm of possibility. Undead hunters? Very strange. Worgen druids? Even weirder. Personally, I think it's a matter of trying to give people the most out of their choices. If you wanna be an ally druid, you GOTTA be a NE. If you wanna be an ally shaman, you GOTTA be a Dranei. Horde pally, you gotta be BE. It's just a little limited in scope. All in all, the only things I'm excited about are the archaeology and, of course, the dreaded Deathwing.

tehfireballer
tehfireballer

If they dont fix paladins by the time this comes out, im not buying it.

tovey87
tovey87

@Highwind4: I noticed bizzare combos too. I think the whole theme of this game is, "Desparate Times call for desparate measures" which gives an excuse for the races opening their minds to new forces.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

This is the first WoW news I actually clicked on. This expansion looks tempting. The Worgen look very cool and the game changes sound smart. -Now if they increase travel speed, I'm re-sold.

Darkbeyond
Darkbeyond

Okay so i am so excited ive played WoW ever since the beta in and think its time for some tweaking in old world 04. And for all the WoW haters plz stop spamming the fourms and go play Silkroad Online or Runescape plz and thx. But anyhow shapeing to be the best WoW expansion yet cant wait to hear more. =)

Darkbeyond
Darkbeyond

Okay highwind if your gonna kill or excitment go to a WoW hate site and secondly they never said there was going to be NIGHT ELF mages. And the worgan formily humans WHERE HUGE ON HUNTING so the humans could take hunting up again and Blizzard can change the lore btw in case you didn't know. And i agree with you on the undead hunters and Tauren looks gay but the rest looks sweet.

Highwind4
Highwind4

There are many holes in in this new expansion about class and race relations. Starting with Alliance. Human Hunters: how many human hunters can you count in lore? humans are more likely to domesticate their animals than to tame them as pets. Dwarf Shamans: with the big uldum dungeon, has anyone come across a earthen shaman? gnome priests: again in lore, there are barely any priests there, and i have read in articles that majority of gnomes have no faith and rely on other things, but with the inclusion of the priest, why weren't they given the option of paladin as a well? night elf mage: NIGHT ELVES FORBID ARCANE MAGIC, that is why they split off from the High elves. Now the Horde/ Undead hunters: they're living counterpart never was able to tame beasts, why should the dead be able to, they're more likely to frighten the pet than tame it. Tauren Priest and Paladin: how is it that the Mighty Tauren is given 2 new classes that do not really add up, if any of the other classes that are given the priest class, shouldn't they be given the paladin class as well? it's best not to give any of the original races any new classes, because it takes away from that uniqueness that each race has. but these are just my thoughts.

Icehearted
Icehearted

So so so so glad I kicked that addiction. Between expansions and achievements, it's a miracle any players out there can find the time for those unnecessary things in life like sunlight and food. I kid of course, but I'm way glad I moved on to other games.

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

Wait a minute...there's other MMO's out there besides WoW?

Tauu
Tauu

@michaelrjohnson So you and the other WoW players here don't have any good dedicated websites that exclusively cover WoW news with a larger forum community to discuss such news? My problem is that this site is beginning to look more like WoWspot than Gamespot. There are more than twice the amount of WoW articles in the past year here than all other MMO articles combined (and the WoW articles are much more detailed too). It's very close to being one article per week on average. When Gamespot allocates so many of their resources to WoW news, we get a more narrow view of the video game industry. In the MMO world, it ends up creating a near monopoly. How are other MMOs supposed to compete when they're not covered in the news? Nobody knows about them because all we hear about is WoW. For example, some pretty big details about FFXIV have surfaced before and during Gamescom. Did Gamespot cover it? Nope.

Bowser05
Bowser05

Can't wait. This is definitely shaping up to be the best expansion thus far...but only time will tell how good or bad it really is. Here's to waiting and hoping (DEATHWING YES!)...

LavisBlade
LavisBlade

Honestly as a veteran who has played this game on and off from beta (2004 anyone?) till now I have to say I think they are doing some of the right tweaks this time around. Stream lining stats is great it will push the game back to the good days BEFORE MC. Item upgrades will be easily seen without having to calculate and convert different numbers. Most importantly it will make it easier on blizzard to make items faster and easier which I feel is their main reason for the change. It's a good change! Both class changes were long coming. Hunters have had mana problems for years since blizzard "fixed" feign death drinking on boss fights not to mention the change to mana pots. Warlocks shard usage became less and less over the ex-pacs, but any veteran will tell you of the days when you needed 40+ shards to summon an entire raid. Now days they are barely used as is and really they don't serve much of a purpose to actual gameplay but rather a nuisance. More class-race combinations is great but honestly I remember back in beta the cries for more customization in that area of the game and they all went unheard. This change came super late and really adds nothing to the game now. Path of the Titans (Feats) and Archaeology (Tome of Knowledge) is a total ripoff from various other games most notably Warhammer. New races... whatever adds nothing but frills to the game.

Genexus
Genexus

Well what can I say...WOW!!! LOL... LOOKS BRILLIANT and CANNOT WAIT!!!!! :) :) :) :)

lozvil
lozvil

I trust Blizzard, they can do whatever they want and I will still play WOW. They didn't let us down yet. They're excellent in what they're doing with their games, especially WOW. They just want to keep the game fresh and new so it's not repetitive. And in fact, they have to move on with the story. So if you are really a WOW fan, stop complaining and just play the most crazy EPIC MMO of the century. Cool...

Allicrombie
Allicrombie moderator moderator

Sounds very interesting

michaelrjohnson
michaelrjohnson

@Tauu Really? Because I am one of those 10+ million people you are referring to, and this is exactly where I came for the Blizzcon news, because I knew that such an event is huge videogame news meaning it would be covered in depth on this site from a reliable source. Seeing as I'm one of those people you are referring to, I have no problem understanding the article content. I also would be what you call an average gamer with every system under the Sun. I have found these articles to be incredibly informative. If you are not interested in the depth of the information provided then here is a thought...don't read them. If you don't feel that content that is interesting to you is provided by Gamespot, then let them know. I for one am very happy with the WoW coverage and hope they don't change a thing.

Tauu
Tauu

@michaelrjohnson The people who understand articles like this one don't come here for their WoW news. They go to dedicated WoW websites. To the average person who visits Gamespot, the content of articles like this one look like a foreign language. This is really, really, really detailed niche stuff. Why have it here? If Gamespot is really interested in increasing traffic they would stop spamming WoW articles that few can understand and post articles that make sense and appeal to the average gamer.

RAPTORLunchbox
RAPTORLunchbox

I think it's funny that people are complaining about the Lore to WoW which Blizzard has come up with through all their games. They can develop and change the lore all they want because guess what its their game. WoW is a continuation of what went down in Warcraft 3 and its expansion so they gotta go somewhere with the story! And with this MMORPG they have a chance to write their own story and keep it fresh. I think they went in an excellent direction. This expansion has me excited to return to WoW. And as other people have said if you dont like the changes just dont play it, nobody is going to make you shell out the money to buy the expansion and keep your account active. Keep up the good work Blizzard! I am also looking foreword to Starcraft 2!!

michaelrjohnson
michaelrjohnson

@Tauu You seem to fail to realize that Gamespot is a business first and foremost. So if you were a business and you had limited display space, would you make equal space for one product that sells maybe a couple hundred thousand units with one that sells tens of millions? Gamespot is guaranteed to increase traffic by catering to what the most people are interested in.

Tauu
Tauu

@finaleve If Gamespot is going to cover WoW news like this then they should post detailed articles covering big updates and expansions from every major MMO. This biased reporting gives the impression that WoW is the only MMO worth anyone's time. That's the point I was trying to make. From what you've said in your post it looks like WoW suits you and that's fine. There are many others who have played WoW for a long time but in the end decide they prefer the gameplay, graphics and community of another MMO.

finaleve
finaleve

Tauu >You're complaining that a gaming news site is reporting news on a game? Anyways, I have to disagree. I've played a few of the other MMO's, and honestly, WoW is the only one I come back to. I've played FFXI (Did not want to spend hours looking for a party anymore), Everquest 2 (game just didn't look good, was way too shiny to me), Guild Wars (my gateway drug, if you will, which isn't bad but it could have done a lot more), Maple Story (And people complained about the WoW grind?), FlyFF (was alright til I could fly, then I got bored), and a few other MMO's (obviously not as memorable) but I end up coming back to WoW. WoW is built upon layers. You can play casually, or you can dive deeper into the game with some of the content and get more out of the game, between PVP and PVE. Reading through this, I still have my gripes. Blood Elf Warriors (Goes against any of the lore thus far, unless they have changes made)? Worgen's in general (Goblin's seem to get the benefit, plus I dislike the concept of the Worgen's). 2 Druid's on Horde now (even though I'm sure there will be more NE druids than both Troll and Tauren Druid's). Liking some of the changes in terms of stats because, honestly, it was confusing as to what gear is better, even with the recent patch. Overall, I'm curious as to how the world will work. Will people still in vanilla WoW be affected in anyway, or will there be an option when making a character? Otherwise, I'm excited to see this through.

invictuslemming
invictuslemming

No Tauren rogue??? Sorry Blizzard thats the only thing which could get me back again. :P On a more serious side, I hope they don't change too much of the game and end up shooting themselves in the foot like SoE did with star wars galaxies.

Tentaculat
Tentaculat

I'm liking this expansion. It's as if Blizzard kicked all their fanbois in the nuts to see if they'll shell out some more cash. Night Elf mage? That's just a big **** you" to the lore, but whatever, stealthed pyro ftw I guess...

Master_Hav0c
Master_Hav0c

@ GROMkill: they're changing it to 85 instead of 90 so they can still have 2 more expansions (or three) @Tauu: the reason that Gamespot is giving so much attention to WoW, at the moment, is that Blizzcon is on and new info is coming out every couple of hours.

cgharlow
cgharlow

Let's be honest here. Cataclysm isn't offering a whole lot as an expansion. Level 85 cap...do you really believe that suddenly those 5 levels are going to as meaningful as 10 levels used to be? 2 new races (really a poor joke towards better customization of a toon), revamping of the original continents (not nearly the same as developing a whole new continent), tweaking of mechanics (mostly because they just aren't working well anymore), revamping 2 classes that have needed serious overhauling since Wrath was released...er, a few new dungeons on top of revamping existing dungeons... I left the game 6 months ago because Blizzard really went the wrong way with design decisions in Wrath. I had very high hopes that the next expansion would turn things around and I would reactivate my account. Blizzard is putting just enough effort to maintain its player base and keep the money flowing.

Decrate
Decrate

and... they are redesigning the entire original world! this is as great a time as ever to join WoW since it will be updated to todays high quality standards.

Decrate
Decrate

wow so many changes... removing spell power, attack power, armor pen, and mp5! making warlocks use dk rune system! making hunters use a modified rogue system! i hope this goes well lol. sounds good so far

infinity_
infinity_

wow is just another fancy name for Runescape die, silly kiddygame

alixkid
alixkid

I look as this as a restart for WOW. the last two expantions didn't do much at all, and i think maybe Blizz finaly figured that out. So they are trying a whole new restart with Cataclysm.

IBEX333
IBEX333

Seriously guys.. Stop wasting your time with this game. Why do you want to grind? Come join me in EVE Online! A much better game. And did I mention no grinding?

slyguy65
slyguy65

i can see already im gana hate my loved warlock when that thing comes out

Trogeton
Trogeton

Whoa there are too many WoW topics today

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

my takeaway: what was the point of those working so hard to get this far in the game if everything is about to be put on its head its like building a huge house of cards only to find out that now you need to do it all upside down its almost forcing people to start over.furthermore what the point of horses/kodo/etc. if the worlds been cut up into bite sized morcels.. nothin thats right.

Barighm
Barighm

Change is good, but it almost looks like enough to change make the game feel "new" again. Not bad for simpler games, but WoW is complex enough that a complete overhaul may cause it to become unfamiliar to veterans. That could drive those players away. It may be better to break the game down to its core elements and create a brand new game from scratch. Constant patching will turn the quilt into an ugly, over-coloured, and weakened mess.

fuzzylover
fuzzylover

its going to be interesting to see how this expansion plays out.

RiseFM
RiseFM

The beginning of the end. WoW: Casualysm

Im_single
Im_single

Everything I've read so far has been a major improvement on how the game plays. I know there are a TON of QQers who will whine and whine unless the changes are gonna be a buff for their favorite class and a nerf for their most despised. These changes do change how WoW is going to be played and IMO that is a very good thing, any veteran WoW player is going to tell you that WoW needed a drastic change because everything is becoming to uniform, everybody knows the ins and outs too well and we need something to shake up the mechanics to get people thinking on their toes again. Also the changes really simplify things that needed to be simplified and I can't see how that is a bad thing at all.

Tauu
Tauu

It's funny how Gamespot reports all these little details about this particular MMO just because it has a larger playerbase. It's not necessary since WoW players are on WoW websites getting this info anyway, and it's unfair to other MMOs and their players who really don't care about WoW and would like to see their MMO of choice get more attention. WoW is not the undisputed king of MMOs when it comes to quality and overall gameplay and shouldn't be treated as such. It's misleading to those who are interested in playing an MMO and are looking into which one to play. They end up going to WoW because of the media hype when that game isn't the best choice for them.