Quick Intro: Last night Blizzard released info to their official fansites and announced a few changes from the original Cataclysm described in Blizzcon 2009. I’m not going to go into the details of each change; you can find those at MMO Champion and WoW Insider.
Adding my voice to the chorus of opinions on the WoW blogosphere this week, here’s what I think about each change, point-by-point (I apologize for the very girly coloring, but I swear it helped me organize my thoughts. Also made me feel like throwing on some lip gloss):
1. Path of the Titans. While I was kind of excited to see this new glyph system in place, I can’t really miss something I never had. And, like a lot of other people, I saw it breaking down into an additional part of a cookie-cutter spec. “Here are the talents you should use, and you should use this Path and these Glyphs.”
I like the idea of adding the mid-level glyphs, but I’m curious to see what kind of things we can expect to see. Are they going to be passive changes to spell functionality, or are they going to be activated like abilities?
The examples given include things like “Breakthrough, Instant Cast: Increases damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds. Only usable after a critical strike.” This sounds as though it acts like a trinket that becomes available after a crit. On the other hand, they said specifically not to expect these particular glyphs as “a lot of things have changed.” I guess we’ll have to see.
2. Guild Leveling. I was pretty bummed when I read initially that guild talent trees were gone. I still like the idea of that a lot; I’ve always thought that one of the keys to a successful guild is knowledge of the guild itself, its members, and its strengths and weaknesses. How cool would it be to choose your guild talents based on what you know about your guild? On the other hand, there could be a lot of bickering about how to spend those talents.
I read on and was immediately relieved. Guild leveling will continue; your guild will earn XP and level up based on dungeon completion, rated battlegrounds, raids, questing, etc. Instead of choosing your guild rewards, though; they will be automatically unlocked as you level. In the end, you still get rewards for your guild (battle standard for my mount? heck yeah!), and I’m okay with that. I’m also looking forward to the Guild UI makeover with a guild feed and the ability to browse guild members’ recipes freely and whenever.
The guild reputation idea comes with good and bad, like everything else.
- If you hit exalted with your guild, you’ll be less likely to leave it on a whim.
- If you’re using guild rewards, you’ll have earned them. If this is implemented correctly and it’s not a one-day-and-you’re-exalted type deal, no one will say, “Hey, Joejoebeanbuttcow doesn’t deserve to have the heirloom gear, he’s only been in the guild for an hour.”
- Competition drives excellence. I guarantee that just like there’s an unspoken race between our guild members to be the first to the level cap (I was one of the first 10 AND the first druid, boo-yah), there will be a race to see who gets to exalted first, both in-guild and between guilds.
- If you grind to exalted with a guild, the GM gets a girlfriend who decides she hates you because everyone thinks you’re cool, and you suddenly get /gkicked with no invite back, you’ve essentially wasted a bunch of your time AND you have to start from scratch with a new guild.
- Guild fallouts could be a lot more dramatic. Guild splits are nothing new, but now you throw in a bag of rewards and you could see bridges burning well into the night. Let’s say a guild gets into an argument over…I don’t know, fried chicken. The Pro-Chicken Movement (PCM) and the Burger Only Clan (BOC) are now at the breaking point. Who leaves? Neither side wants to give up all of the work they’ve put in, not to mention all the guild rewards. So maybe an officer sided with the BOC group kicks 5 of the PCMs one day, and that’s reciprocated. Or maybe the GM picks a side and kicks all 18 of the BOCs out. Either way it happens, it’s not pretty.
- Top contributors may get burnt out. Depending on how guild objectives are weighted, 5-10 guild members may take the initiative in grinding guild XP. A big chunk of the guild may decide not to bother with actively helping, and those original 5-10 will start to feel like they’re doing all the work but everyone is benefiting. This isn’t horrible, as 5-10 more would most likely step in and the process would start over, but it’s still something less-than-ideal.
3. Lockout Flexibility. I like the fact that you won’t be locked out of an instance all week because you get in a PuG that fails after the first boss. That’s a fair change, in my opinion.
I’m still not sold on the 10- and 25- sharing the same lockout, but the concept of dividing the raid is an interesting one. In my guild I forsee: “Okay, we need some more practice on this boss, let’s go ahead and split into 3 10-mans and get some experience and gear.”
I’m a little worried about the fact that you’ll have 5 people left either picking up five more people or not getting to go because of raid comp. I guess we’ll have to see what encounters and raid comp requirements look like before I can decide whether or not to hate it.
4. Rated Battlegrounds.To add sugar to an already delicious BG-healing, Horde-killing pie, they’re bringing back the old PvP titles I never got an opportunity to earn, the Gladiator-level teams will get unique epic ground mounts to ride into battle, AND the cap on Conquest points means I won’t feel forced to do arena and BG. Yum.
5. Lore. I never wavered on this. This is the part of Cataclysm I’m excited about. It’s the reason I didn’t QQ too much when the raid lockout information came out and I didn’t agree with it: regardless of what else is going on, I want to experience the lore. I’ve been reading about this universe since I first started playing 4 years ago. From Grim Batol and the “terrifying secret” defeating Cho’gall will reveal to flying in Skywall to finding out just what happened to Orgrim’s Hammer to finish it off, I’m excited about the story, the adventure, and the discovery.
This is the stuff that stood out to me, but as always, go read for yourself and see what you think. Whether people are excited, cautious, or crying over changes, the excitement is still in the air. No one really knows anything until we get to drop our character into Cataclysm and see what happens next. Throw up your umbrella boys and girls, the sky is falling, and I’m cool with that…for now.