The NDA for a recent Blizzard press event ended this evening, and a deluge of brand new Cataclysm information has hit the net. Some highlights include:
- Patch of the Titans has been scrapped and will not be implemented.
- Inscription will be receiving an overhaul; glyphs will now come in three tiers rather than two.
- Guild leveling will happen, but it will not be coming with guild talents or currency.
- The Bastion of Twilight will be Cataclysm's entry-level raid with Cho'gall as the end boss.
Path of the Titans and glyphs
Path of the Titans has been scrapped. Blizzard will be overhauling Inscription's systems instead. Glyphs will have three tiers rather than two. Rather than Minor and Major, there will be Minor, Medium and Major. Medium will not be the final name, but you get the idea. Glyphs may become permanent additions. You purchase it, you learn it and then you always know it. You can only use three of each type of glyph at a time, but you can switch them freely after learning it.
- Major glyphs will be powerful, core glyphs. They will be expected to be used at the level cap.
- Minor glyphs will change very little.
- Medium glyphs will be fun/cosmetic glyphs for non-core abilities.
- Guild talents and guild currency have been scrapped. Guilds will automatically receive perks and bonuses for leveling up (there are 25 levels), but there will be no guild talent trees. Boss kills, winning battlegrounds and similar activities will accrue XP for your guild.
- In place of a currency system, guilds will gain rewards by completing guild achievements. Once a reward has been unlocked, you will purchase it with gold. Rewards include unique tabards, mounts (carrying your guild's battle standard) and heirloom items. Once a guild has earned an achievement, it will never go away and the rewards it bestows will always be available. The achievements will be very comprehensive, covering even classic/legacy raids. To earn a guild achievement in a raid, a 10-man raid must have 7 players from the same guild. A 25-man raid needs 20.
- Players will be able to gain reputation with their guild, much like you would with a group like the Argent Crusade. You gain reputation for participating in dungeons, battlegrounds or completing guild achievements. The top-end guild rewards will require Exalted reputation and is on a per-character basis. You'll need to grind up your guild reputation even on your alts. You do not lose all of your reputation immediately after leaving a guild or being kicked. If you're quitting (or being kicked) for a joke, you won't lose all of your hard work
- The guild UI has been overhauled. The UI will display your guild's XP bar, an upcoming events section with a feed of your guild's calendar events, an RSS feed of your guild's recent events (boss kills, rated battleground wins, etc.), your character's guild reputation bar and your recently gained perk.
- The guild roster will contain profession information for each player, and you can view their recipes even when they are not online.
- Grim Batol's Bastion of Twilight is one of Cataclysm's entry-level raids. There will be five bosses, with the end boss being Cho'gall. Defeating Cho'gall on hard mode will reveal another step in Cataclysm's narrative.
- Skywall's Vortex Pinnacle is another of Cataclysm's 5-mans, a flying palace in the Elemental Plane of Air. Flying mounts will work, but there will be no flying combat. Players will meet Warcraft's version of a djinn.
- Players locked to a 25-man raid will have the option to split your raid ID into three parts, so you can split into three smaller 10-man raids if necessary. All three raids will pick up at the same point the 25-man raid stopped. Once split, the raid cannot be reassembled. Also, while 10-man raids were intentionally easier than 25-man raids in Wrath of the Lich King, that will not be true in Cataclysm.
- Raid IDs will not be as strict as they are now. If your raid dead-ends but you find another raid that has killed the same bosses, you can leave your ID and join theirs.
- Algalon-style encounters are not going away; there will be many more of them for both 10- and 25-man raids.
- 25-player raids will provide more loot per player -- about 50% more.
It's keeping with the Egyptian theme -- "WoW does Egypt," according to Alex Afrasiabi (lead world designer).
- Uldum will be Egyptian-themed, carrying over some themes we saw in Ahn'Qiraj. As we learned at BlizzCon '09, a cat-like race known as the Tol'vir will be introduced in this zone.
- Deepholm is the Elemental Plane of Earth, where Deathwing has been resting and being "rebuilt." Contrary to what we heard at BlizzCon 09, Deathwing will not be breaking into Azeroth via Grim Batol. He has broken through Deepholm and then through the Maelstrom. The Skybreaker and Orgrim's Hammer are present in Deepholm, though the Skybreaker has shot down the Horde ship.
- Cataclysm will launch with two new battlegrounds: Twin Peaks and the Battle for Gilneas. More are planned for content patches after launch.
- Twin Peaks will be a capture-the-flag map (like Warsong Gulch) but there will be two graveyards for each faction, one near home base and one in the field.
- In rated battlegrounds, teams will only face off against other rated groups. Rated teams will not be queued against random people to simply steamroll them. You will not lose rating until after a certain threshold, giving you little to lose when your team is new. Conquest points will be the reward for winning rated battlegrounds, with a cap on how many you can earn each week. At the end of every season, rewards will be given out similar to how the arena handles them. Titles, (ground) mounts, et cetera.
- Path of the Titans has been removed, so Archaeology's focus will be on showing off the lore of the game and learning Azeroth's history. Players will find two types of artifacts: Lore artifacts are one, which teach you about the world. The second will be cosmetic/vanity rewards. This profession will be entirely optional.
- The "level up" experience has been overhauled. When you level up, your UI will display if you've gained a new talent point, unlocked any abilities, unlocked any features (battlegrounds, riding skill, the ability to use glyphs, etc.) and various other details you might otherwise overlook leveling up.
- Garrosh is the acting warchief of Orgrimmar and has moved his throne room to the front of Orgrimmar. The Valley of Wisdom, Thrall's old hangout, is now the Tauren district.
- The Park in Stormwind has been destroyed by Deathwing to show the impact he is having on the world.
- Heirlooms will work for new Goblin and Worgen characters, but they will not scale past level 80.