Major Class, Item, Profession Changes Announced

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.

Itemization

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.

Professions

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.

Q&A session

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
News Reporter
ZAM.com

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Don't Get Your Knickers in a Bunch
# Aug 22 2009 at 2:19 PM Rating: Decent
10 posts
What you guys seem to be forgetting is this: we still have a LOOOONG time before WoW:Cataclysm comes out. In that time, they will tweak, refine, and make these immense changes better actually possible. For those of you worrying about itemization, if you have a **** ton of gear with MP5 on it, they'll replace it, and compensate your MP5 loss with appropriate amounts of Spirit. Same for SP, they'll replace that with appropriate amounts of Int. And this will go for ALL of your gear! If the expac comes out, and it changes how much SP or MP5 you would normally be having, then your abilities will be changed to compensate, so your actual stats will truly be unaffected. This happened with +spell and +heal turning into SP. Sure, you got a little less +heal per SP point, but it evened out with your abilities. No need to worry people. Personally, I welcome the change to stats, but only if it comes in moderation. I like the fact that WoW makes you watch more stats in your gear, compared to other games where you have only 4 stats to worry about (though I've played games where you only have to worry about 2. it was still fun, but too simple IMO). Condensing stats and changing useless stats (Haste) into something useful again seems like a welcome change. I'm still confused about Defense changes, however, but I'm guessing Tanking will be turned into something more about survival, like it aught to be. Make mobs/bosses hit harder, making you actually have to WORK to survive. That will make tanking more fun, IMHO.

I for one, am very happy with these new changes. I'm glad they're FINALLY opening up the rest of the Old World. I have been looking forward to a graphical rehaul for a VERY long time! I can't wait to explore the "new" areas that are created, I can't wait to experience the new Lore (this is pretty much the first xpac that Blizz has released that we HAVEN'T already played in any of the Warcraft games). Heroic VC and SFK = EEEEEEPIC!!! SFK is STILL by far my favorite instance EVER, and making it applicable to my end-game character will be AMAZING!!

What I'm really excited for is the Worgen. I really hope that Gilneas turns out to be something like a Worgen-infested late 1800's version of England and France, much like Jakel and Hyde. The screenshots of Gilneas seem to point in that direction, with the style of buildings, and the clothing of the NPC's there.

All-in-all, I'm very happy with this new expansion, and I can't wait to play it! My guess is that it'll be released summer 2010.
Tauren Paladins? buahahaha
# Aug 22 2009 at 1:05 PM Rating: Decent
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silly stuff here, but also some really cool stuff in this expansion. Lots of huge changes. No mp5 or spellpower? My jaw just dropped on that one. Literally. It looks like healers will be stacking int and spirit now. Which isn't a bad thing. It'll probably make gearing a healer easier (not that it was hard before). And allow them to share a little more gear. And I like the blurb about shaman healing. I may have to bring my resto shaman out of retirement. :)

No defense is just plain weird. Can someone explain that one to me? I'm not a tank, so what do I know. I guess they'll just go for dodge and block now?
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Tauren Paladins? buahahaha
# Aug 22 2009 at 8:25 PM Rating: Decent
42 posts
Quote:
And I like the blurb about shaman healing. I may have to bring my resto shaman out of retirement. :)
Finally they admit that shaman healer is not so great anymore compared to Priest and Resto Druid witch both gained very nice AOE healing buffs at WotLK. I admit that Resto Shaman was overpowered at TBC end raid content but at WotLK they aren’t so spectacular anymore.

I have played Resto Druid, Resto Shaman and Holy Priests as healers. My feeling for playing all these classes is that Shaman is weakest healer now. Shaman chain heal is not spectacular compared to other healers AOE heals. Now I put my helmet on and wait all angry Resto Shamans coming to accuse me not being able to play Shaman Healer.
Tauren Paladins? buahahaha
# Aug 22 2009 at 8:10 PM Rating: Decent
42 posts
Blizzard probably want to streamline stat system where multiple stats gives same things like defense gives miss, block, parry, dodge. AGI gives dodge and armor. STR gives block and parry. I imagine streamlining helps future itemization and it helps to implement this new re-forging profession system that they are speaking about. Streamlining is probably must thing to do if they want to implement re-forging to WoW.
My personal opinion for this chance is pretty neutral it’s hard to say if it’s good or bad. Reducing stats is decently better way to go than increasing them.
Epic WTF
# Aug 22 2009 at 10:47 AM Rating: Decent
Well great there goes lets see...80% of my JC recipes! Seriously blizz put in all these gems to buff those stats like a year 1/2 ago with BC and now they are just total and utter garbage when the new expansion launches? I better get some epic **** for all this, like new gems to replace those and they better be for free. I'm already going to Aion when that launches next month, but I'll probably keep my WoW account to check this out. It's just all so sudden, and yeah change is ok sometimes, but this is too much change in a short period.

Yay for new remade zones, yay for flying in Azeroth, and yay for new races. What happend to the more hero classses we were supposed to be getting with new patches and such, have yet to see anything about Archmage, Warden, Blademaster, and Demon Hunter.
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Let's see first how it works...
# Aug 22 2009 at 9:53 AM Rating: Good
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Changes to MMO's simply happen, that is one rule we all should remember.

Ultima Online had its Age of Shadows overhaul, and it is still running. (not as strong as it once was, but it was in decline even before).
Star Wars Galaxies had two overhauls. First there was the CU. It was a minor change but even then people complained about it. Then they had the huge change.

What I see, is a change in the size of the CU, not the NGE, to keep the SWG comparision.

And I would suggest to everyone to first wait and see how it actually plays, before calling for the blood of those who actually own the game. After all, we just see certain changes and not the whole plan.

I personally will channel my energy into having fun with WOW and the friends I have through this game, and -when Cataclysm is here- to adapt to the new things. Sometimes new things are good things, we just have to give them a chance.
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Why are people freaking out about this!?
# Aug 22 2009 at 9:21 AM Rating: Good
4 posts
So Blizzard is trying to simplify things so they can allow for player customization and people cite SWG!? SWG failed for 1 huge reason. Greed. Sony felt they needed to simplify a game to such a point that it simply became redundant. When I read this I was excited! Getting rid of useless stats that don't make sense. Really when I look to upgrade gear on my Pally or DK I look for STR not AP. ArP is really a stupid stat when you think about it. It takes away from hit and ap and haste to a lesser extent. It really is kind of a waste. I remember the outcry when SP replaced +spell and +heal. Did the subscribers all run? No they came back in flocks. So before you all get your knickers in a twist really think about this. They are making the game better for itemization which is and always was a mess. SWG failed because the changes they made were so god awful that someone deserved the death penalty. Blizzard makes good games PERIOD! I'm looking forward to the changes and I think you all should too!
I'd Rather..
# Aug 22 2009 at 8:20 AM Rating: Decent
See Night Elf Shamans (since they're already druids; hold similar believes as shamans) and Orc Paladins (just because the tauren model is in need of redesign).

Apparently, Blizzard doesn't realize that even Juggernauts can fall if they trip.....
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Wrong time for this
# Aug 22 2009 at 6:30 AM Rating: Good
11 posts
I have to agree with what a lot of people are saying already that the AP, ArP and other stat losses will mean bad things for toons built to maximize a specific stat. The biggest problem I see is that Cataclysm is comming out at exactly the wrong time if they are going to make such a drastic change. Over the next few months we are going to be seeing the release of several new MMO's. Now, diversity is a good thing, but making a drastic change to a well established game at the same time new games are comming onto the market is a VERY bad marketing decision in my book. A lot of players will probably want to sample the new games, but by making such a major change at the same time the new stuff is comming out, a lot of players who would not normally bother checking into new games becomes a much larger possibility, and with more people checking them out, there is more chance that less and less people will come back to WoW. Add in those that will be frustrated by the changes and decide to leave for greener pastures, or decide that the new game is better after trying it out, and where does that leave WoW? Sitting on the sideline watching its player base fall month after month. Oh well, I guess that common sense is not something that executives are paid to have is it?
Good idea...bad idea.
# Aug 21 2009 at 10:14 PM Rating: Good
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It is in my opinion a lot of these changes should have been saved for a WoW2. Many of the ideas sound spectacular, but the problem we're seeing here is taking an almost 5 year old game and then drastically changing it. If they don't do it just right they are going to alienate their core players. Even if they do do it right, if the changes are too drastic, many still may just drop the game. Very few people want to relearn the game.

Although there are some flaws with Vanilla and some flaws have developed over the years. The greater majority of players will agree World of Warcraft is a good game. To completely reshape it this far into the game is very dangerous.

People are creatures of habit and familiarity. The potential psychological impact of completely altering the game could make people very uncomfortable. Uncomfortable customers are not good customers to have.
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Good idea...bad idea.
# Aug 22 2009 at 12:06 AM Rating: Decent
19 posts
I disagree... I believe that gamers by and large welcome changes to a game if those changes are a real improvement. Blizzard has changed WoW so much in the last five years that if there ever were any so-called "core" players in the game, they probably left a long time ago. Aside from a few unanswered questions here and there, all of the changes in Cataclysm sound fantastic.

As for Jewelcrafters getting the shaft, it does sound like neocron may be onto something there... however I'm sure that JC's will have other (possibly new) gems to sell, and there are always other ways of making money.

Now we just need a release date for all this goodness =D
Good idea...bad idea.
# Aug 22 2009 at 4:52 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
I disagree... I believe that gamers by and large welcome changes to a game if those changes are a real improvement.


Once again, I'll cite SWG as an example of how gamers do not enjoy having a game messed with, even if it was an improvement.

First of all, look at the elimination of MP5. My healer has been built on increasing her mana pool with stat bonuses, relying on the MP5 item bonuses for mana regen. That means that Spirit wasn't as important to me. Now, unless Bliz finds a decent way to make sure I retain my spellpower & MP5 balances right out the gate, my toon could be screwed.

Even worse, let's remember - this is BLIZZARD we're talking about. With radical changes of this nature, and Bliz's tendency not to completely test changes beforehand, how many months of nerfs and talent wipes are we going to be subjected to after the expansion?

Bliz just does not have a good track record at thinking things through before implementation.
Doesn't look good
# Aug 21 2009 at 9:55 PM Rating: Good
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Of course I'll reserve judgment until after we know more, but on the first look this reminds me a lot about what SOE did to Star Wars Galaxies. After a year, they radically overhauled how the game worked, making many characters obsolete. It didn't matter that the overhaul was good and what the game should have been from the beginning... it was too major, and people got very angry and left the game.

Stats
# Aug 21 2009 at 7:41 PM Rating: Good
Yea I'm not too keen on the changes to stats... especially considering how much they've crammed the New and Improved method down our throats with WotLK. Just when I get comfortable with ArP and AP with my Warrior... they go bye bye. I also foresee a lot of jewelcrafters getting the proverbial shaft here. With all those nice stats like ArP, AP, Spellpower, and Haste going away, so too will the gems that give those bonuses. Bleh.
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Blizz FAIL
# Aug 21 2009 at 7:06 PM Rating: Default
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If blizz isnt careful they are gonna LOSE a TON of ppl to this stuff. Sure some things might be a nice upgrade but others are total and utter JUNK. Warlocks, whom which was my first 80, will no longer have the shards as a bag slot item. Thats GREAT! but now we have to use them for attacks but can only use them 3 times, maybe 4 if in demonology, is TOTAL BULL...
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