Is anyone else excited? I certainly am and it gives us something to focus on during the inevitable wait. To be fair, at least Cataclysm's not scheduled for 2012! We don't have that long to wait, we could be rolling Worgen and Goblins in just under/over a year's time. That just about makes it bearable. But it also leaves us with time to think about what Blizzard will do to introduce players to this brave new world.
Hit the jump to find out what we think could well happen prior to the launch of Cataclysm.
It was a hectic two days at this year's BlizzCon with lots of revelations, some good, others awesome. Destruction is coming to Azeroth with the return of Deathwing, changing the face of the planet forever. While we won't see the game until 2010, the world will change entirely and cities will be revamped in order to enable them to be made flyable. However, there are several very important locations currently in-game (for the most part) which are going to be very important to the coming Cataclysm.
Check out our gallery below as we take you on a guided tour of some of the important places you should probably visit right now before they are changed forever.
We've got a special treat for you on this week's podcast: it's actually two episodes in one. Since we were all at BlizzCon this past weekend, we went ahead and recorded a podcast both nights of the con -- after the show, tired as we were, we trudged back to the hotel and recorded some audio reflecting on what we'd seen earlier in the day. Obviously, this is our very first of the first impressions -- some of the things we talked about Friday night were clarified on Saturday, and since we didn't have much time here, we obviously hit on only the biggest highlights. But we did get in some good discussion about Cataclysm and what we've been told so far, Icecrown and what the devs mentioned, and of course the convention itself and what we all saw on the floor.
It was actually a lot of fun to sit down and do the show with us all in the same room -- of course it's not usually possible, given that we're all in different places around the country (and world), but it was definitely an interesting thing to try while we were all at the con. And while we're talking about the con, a huge thank you to everyone who came up to us and said how much they loved the podcast -- we really, really appreciate hearing stuff like that. Of course, as you can probably hear, the podcast is a ton of fun to do anyway, but it's great to hear you guys are having as much fun as we are.
Next week, we should be back to normal -- we'll be live on the air at 3:30pm Saturday with Turpster, our usual rotating panel of WoW.com folks, and maybe even some special guests. Thanks for listening, see you then.
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For all those of you out there who don't have the time to slog through the 100+ articles we published on BlizzCon 2009, we've condensed the events of the past few days into the most important things you need to know:
THE END OF WRATH: Developers gave some pretty revealing information on what we can expect to see in patch 3.2.2 (the revamped Onyxia raid) and in patch 3.3, where we'll finally stare down Arthas himself.
But there are some indications of things to come which will surely affect roleplayers. The most obvious change involves the changes the whole world will be going through. Each of our existing characters' will have their own reaction to the cataclysm, of course, as well as the opportunity to go through the game from 1 to 60 with a new character, and maybe not be quite as bored as you were the last 6 times you did it. Your new tauren paladin's leveling experience will be very different from your tauren shaman's, and each one will have different things to talk about once they reach the level cap.
Another obvious addition is that you can start another character with whichever new race you like most. Many players have been wanting to play goblins and worgen for a long time, and appreciate the new parity that the two races bring to the two factions -- the Horde now has a diminutive race that is likely the closest the Horde could ever come to "cute," and the Alliance finally gets a race that is actually monstrous. This opens the doors for people to try out the opposite faction even more than before. We've already talked about these two races in a previous article, but now that the expansion's new races are confirmed with additional lore and information, there's quite a bit more to say.
Totem Talk is Wow.com's weekly column about all things Shamanistic. This week, we go "aaah aaah BlizzCon! Goblin and Dwarven Shamans! All sorts of stats changing! Aaaah!" with Matthew Rossi. Be warned that Cataclysm spoilers may be thick on the ground in this post.
The past few days have been a crazy basket of news for us Shaman players. The Alliance will have a second Shamanistic race with the inclusion of Dwarves (which makes sense, really, since Dwarves are effectively descended from beings of pure earth) and the Horde will get a fourth race of Shamans in the Goblins.
Frankly, an expansion based around the upheaval as Deathwing himself smashes the elemental plans pell-mell into Azeroth is pure bliss for a Shaman. This is what we're for! The elements in disarray, Ragnaros bucking wild on Mount Hyjal, the planes leaking through into Azeroth... time to get out there and do what we do best.
But that's not all. With stat simplification gear is changing, Mastery will change the way our talent trees function, and then there will be the Path of the Titans to help customize us even more than Glyphs did. Shamans are going to gear differently, have five more talent points (but the talents themselves will be changed and streamlined, we're told) and play differently in Cataclysm. Let's start talking about how.
Well, readers, BlizzCon 2009 is over and done, and our staff is slowly but surely beginning to make its way home in celebrated zombie-like fashion. In the meantime, we've outsourced article production to our household pets, so be gentle with your criticism of Toonces' efforts today (stupid cat can't even spell QQ correctly). Anyway, here's what happened on Day 2 of BlizzCon:
The Props team at BlizzCon showed a video on what they do, and also displayed a lot of the characterization and mood setting of the new Goblin and Worgen starting areas. The Lost Isles for the Goblins are just beautiful and quirky and funny, abounding in tropical drinks, a breakfast machine, and a "rocket-catapult-turtle-powered-machine" (and did they actually build a railroad out of bamboo?), although I have to say that the Dickensian/Victorian feel of Gilneas is just...words fail me. It's lovely. This is perhaps the loveliest, most haunting, spooky and creepy zone Blizzard's ever done, and...it's going to be an almighty lagfest when Cataclysm hits. Oh well. Truthfully, I had no idea just how much of what we think of as the "landscape" is in fact the Props team at work.
As an FYI for readers who have observed this on previous video, yes, there are gold-sellers' ads popping up on Viddler, and no, we're not happy about it, and we certainly didn't put them there.
The shrewd and tenacious goblins are the Horde's newest playable race with the Cataclysm expansion. Though considered the go-to neutral race in World of Warcraft thus far, the goblins have an active history of working with the Horde -- as well as some shady deaings with many of Azeroth's other sentient races -- in previous Warcraft games. So strong is the goblins' reputation for driving a hard bargain that a dwarvish saying for doing the impossible is "cheating a goblin".
Interestingly, they weren't always the eccentric and self-destructive inventors, tradesmen, and arms dealers we know them to be today. The first reference to goblins in official lore, chronologically, is in the War of the Ancients trilogy of novels, which indicates that the goblins have been around for quite some time. Once a reclusive, barely sentient race native to the isle of Kezan, the race was in thrall to the jungle trolls, employed as miners in the island's tunnels and caves. It was while mining that goblins first discovered the mineral kaja'mite, the key to their meteoric rise in intelligence.
Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that serves up piping hot Mage content, with a steaming side of inappropriate humor, a light sprinkling of random 80's pop culture references, and just a dash of incompetent attempts at math. Speaking of math, last week was awesome, guys. I was apparently so wrong it took 111 comments for you to decide exactly why and how stupid I am. The effort and the display of raw number-mastery you guys displayed made me proud to be one of you. You guys make me feel like the dumbest kid in class, being forced to do math problems at the chalkboard in front of everybody, and I couldn't be happier about it.
So, like many of you, I've been stuck here at home for the duration of BlizzCon. My day-job (what I like to refer to as my "what I do when I'm not being a Mage") has kept me here in sunny Las Vegas instead of in sunny Anaheim, and so I find myself at my computer, dividing my time between writing this column and furiously hitting the refresh button on my browser, hanging on every word my co-bloggers serve up from the convention floor. I wish I'd been able to make the reader meet-up this year, but that was not meant to be. I wanted to meet all of you, stammer like a dork while trying to say hello to Felica Day, and possibly get jumped by a gang of angry Warlocks while I screamed "Ice Block! Ice Block! Iiiiiice Bllloooccckkk!" at the top of my lungs. I will be there next year, with my level 85 Goblin Mage in tow, even if it kills me.
I'm really having difficulty processing all of the information out there, and the vast, universal, and sweeping impact it will have on everything about this virtual world we play in, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Guild leveling? Mastery system? Southshore... taken by the Horde? My mind is leaking from my ears. I'm not even kidding; it's gross. But the purposes of today's column will be to try and make some preliminary sense of this massive glut of newness, and apply it to the only class I care about: Mages. What will the new (old?) content mean for those of us who wander the current, relatively un-sundered Azeroth, conjuring portals and pastries? Read on for my initial impressions.
We have only experienced the first day of BlizzCon and my mind has already been blown. We have heard so many amazing details about Cataclysm and they're promising more for today.
The changes are not just to our old favorite instances or to the zones around Azeroth. Implementing terrain phasing is going to change everything we know about leveling and running around our favorite zones. Also, who doesn't love the idea of Gnomes finally get to be Priests and as Ghostcrawler put it, "Be self-sufficient." (Well, they still don't have Hunters but that's okay.)
We got confirmation from Chilton that it in fact Goblins and Worgens will be added to the game in Cataclysm. We also learned that Goblins and Worgens will both get to play Hunters. But they're not the only new races added to the Hunter ranks. We also got confirmation that Humans and Undead will both be able to play Hunters. So all in all we got some really good additions to the Hunter community.
What about those awesome changes to the Hunter class? Well, how about the removal of Armor Penetration for one? We aren't going to have to worry how Armor Penetration works or when should stack for it...
The DirecTV stream cut out for me after the opening ceremony, so it's possible there are a few things I'm missing; drop a comment if it looks like I've omitted anything. Anyway, here's what we know about the Goblins (the new Horde race) so far: BACKSTORY
The playable race is a group of Goblins based on the Isle of Kezan, a new zone between the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. While Goblins and the neutral Goblin trade organizations as a whole originate here, the official site and trailer both hint that the playable group has had (or is that, will have?) a recent and deeply unpleasant encounter with the Alliance that makes the Horde a logical choice when the time comes to pick sides. From the trailer, it would appear that much of the Goblins' starting zone is taken up by the eponymous cataclysm, the need to get away from the destruction, and their induction into the Horde, but we don't have too many details on it yet.
The playable Goblins won't be formally associated with any of the neutral Goblin trading organizations we already know and love (figuratively speaking, of course; the Steamwheedle Cartel's been bilking us for years). There's also no mention so far of the other Goblins going anywhere, so I'm assuming that the game's preexisting Goblins will remain in the game in whatever capacity they can post-cataclysm, and the Horde Goblins are a faction unto themselves named the Bilgewater Cartel.
With official word that there will be new race-class combinations in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Blizzard has posted the official matrix of what races will have what classes available to them. Big surprises so far include Worgen Druid and Goblin Shaman!