The World of Warcraft classes, items and professions panel just wrapped up, and we learned that Cataclysm is bringing a ton of changes: warlock soul shards will now be part of the UI instead of being in your inventory; hunters will use focus instead of mana and ammo will no longer be an item; stats like attack power, defense, spell power, block value, MP5, and armor penetration are gone; talents that improve buffs are gone; Shadowmourne is the new legendary two-handed axe; abilities will now scale with level instead of using ranks; and you will be able to track more than one gathering profession at the same time. And that's just the most noteworthy stuff!
Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street started things off by discussing the goblin and worgen racial abilities. As I mentioned in my look at the goblin starting area, goblins get a rocket jump, rocket barrage attack, +15 to Alchemy, 1% increase to attack and casting speed, access to your bank on a 30-minute cooldown, and the best gold discount on all items.
For racials, worgens get Darkflight, which lets them increase their movement speed by 70% for six seconds every 3 minutes. They also get +1% damage, reduced duration of curses and diseases, and +15 to skinning without the need to use a knife. Changing worgen form is strictly visual; you can be human or worgen out of combat, but you're going to automatically change to worgen in combat.
As for classes, goblins can't be paladins or druids, while worgen can't be paladins or shamans. There are new class/race combos, however. For Horde, some possible combos are a Tauren Priest, Undead Hunter, Blood Elf Warrior and Tauren Paladin. For Alliance, possibilties are a Dwarf Shaman, Gnome Priest, Human Hunter and Night Elf Mage. You can view the full list here.
The discussion then moved to warlocks. Soul shards will no longer be in bags since they're supposed to be fun and not a hassle. They'll be part of your UI, not your inventory. They will only be used in combat, so you'll no longer be summoning with them. You'll have three shards per fight, and Demonology may give you four. They'll regen quickly out of combat, although the team doesn't know whether that will happen automatically or if it will require a simple spell.
A new warlock spell called Soul Burn will be introduced. It will cost one shard and will empower your next spell. It will have a 30-second cooldown off the global cooldown and is the only spell that will cost shards. For example, if used on Searing Pain it may make your next three Searing Pains crit. You may be able to get an instant Soulfire or Fear.
For hunters, mana has been removed completely. Hunters now use focus, which is similar to energy. Focus regenerates continuously and will come back more quickly by using Steady Shot. There will be fewer cooldowns on your abilities, no more Aspect of the Viper, and ammo will become an item, not a consumable. Later in the Q&A session, Ghostcrawler said they're not sure how they're implementing the ammo change yet, but two possibilities are you may upgrade your ammo as you upgrade your bow, or you may have more of a choice over your ammo.
Then came the talk on itemization. The team will be streamining a bunch of stats. Mana per 5 is gone, so spirit will be the universal mana regen stat for all classes. All healers will get a meditation-like skill.
Spell power is gone. Instead, Intellect now provides mana and spell power. Attack power is also gone. Agility now provides 2 AP for rogues, hunters, shamans and druids.
Defense is gone, and tanks will get the needed anti-crit from talents. Armor penetration is gone, replaced with Mastery, which makes you better at what you do.
Haste now means you're able to push more buttons by increasing the rate at which you gain energy, runes, rage and focus. Block value is going away, and Block will instead mitigate a percentage of damage. Oh, and everyone's getting more stamina.
Lastly, Shadowmourne was announced as the new legendary 2-handed axe in Cataclysm.
Moving to professions, Archaeology will be a secondary profession like cooking, and it will allow you to collect artifacts throughout world. It will give you more flexibility in the Path of the Titans system. You'll be able to do a lot with Archaelogy, which is a gathering skill. For example, you can obtain rewards like vanity pets, instantly travel to a dungeon because you discovered a passage, earn titles, find unique recipes for other professions, and so on. Ghoscrawler confirmed in the Q&A session you'll be able to track more than one gathering profession at a time.
In addition to Archaeology,reforging will be another way to customize your gear. Reforging is going to be relatively cheap and wiill be given to blacksmiths, leatherworkers, tailors, jewelcrafters and enigneers. Each profession gets a specific set of items they can reforge. For example, blacksmiths can reforge plate.
So what is reforging? It allows you to reduce one stat and add the points into another stat not already on the item. You'll be able to reforge an item multiple times.
Multi-gains were also briefly mentioned, which will allow multiple skill-ups to occur on one item. For example, a blue breastplate may give you 5 skill-up points. It will probably be implemented in gathering skills as well to smooth out the progression for leveling up.
As far as engineering, the team is trying to get back to the roots of what the tradeskill should be by adding more convenience items, gadets with catastrophic failures, and more toys and pets. Oh, and big changes are coming to fishing that will apparently make it more fun, although no additional details were revealed.
The Q&A session following the presentation also provided a wealth of miscellaneous information. Here's a bulleted list:
- Ranks for abilities are now gone. Instead, they'll scale with every level so you don't get big jumps in power every few levels with a rank increase.
- In Cataclysm, every tradeskill will increase 75 points. Reaching the max level will give you the title of Illustrious.
- The changes in leveling make it a good time to look at increasing the original backpack size.
- The team wants to make sure shamans are great AE healers, hence the chain heal buffs.
- There's a distinct possibility they may add multi-passenger flying profession mounts. The ability to make 310% flying mounts is not likely, although they may consider letting you build it if you already have one.
- Every healer will probably get a Dispel Magic ability.
- They're discussing the possibility of allowing you to increase the speed of slower mounts if you already have a 310% speed mount so you can keep the mounts you like.
- They were saving the ability to craft staves, bows and crossbows for a woodworking skill someday, but instead they may add bows to engineering. Staves and crossbows will probably be available through Archaeology.
- They may update the default UI so feral druids can be alerted when they have enough combo points and when their cooldowns are up.
- Talents that improve buffs are gone.
Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff