Upcoming level and zone changes in Cataclysm

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|07.23.10

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Upcoming level and zone changes in Cataclysm
Nethaera (Blizzard community representative) has posted some new, interesting information about the leveling experience in Cataclysm. Mount Hyjal and Vashj'ir, the two opening zones of the expansion, will now require level 80 to enter and begin questing in. Betas go through a lot of balance and experience tweaking, and this new change hints at some issues with the previous leveling curve. In addition, creatures' health pools have been increased with the new level restrictions, and level 80 is required to use the dungeon finder for the opening 5-man instances of the expansion, Throne of the Tides and Blackrock Caverns.
Nethaera -- Upcoming Level and Zone Changes
In the next beta build the minimum level for entering and questing in Mount Hyjal and Vashj'ir will change from level 78 to level 80. All associated creature will have their levels increased to match the new flow.

Additionally, after careful review and consideration we've decided to increase the hit point values of level 80+ Cataclysm creatures. The new hit point values are roughly double their previous values.

Level 80 (OLD)

Level 80 (NEW)

Players will also now need to be level 80 in order to use the Dungeon Finder System for Throne of Tides and Blackrock Caverns.

Valnoth clarified some of Nethaera's announcement, stating that characters should be level 82 after finishing Hyjal or potentially a little higher if they choose to go the Vashj'ir route.

Valnoth -- Re: Upcoming Level and Zone Changes

Q u o t e:
This should be interesting considering my mage was fully rested well into 82, yet after finishing Hyjal he was only part way through 81, and thus had to complete a large portion of Vash'jr. Based on that, I was wondering how toons starting either zone at 78 would have enough quests to get to 82. Guess I don't have to worry anymore ;)

The experience curve is being tweaked so that you will be level 82 upon completing Hyjal. You will be a little over 82 if you opt to do Vashj'ir instead.

Please note that we are in the process of doing some cleanup and polish to both zones so you may very well see quests disappear.

Finally, Valnoth reiterated that you cannot enter Cataclysm zones until 80. Raid-geared level 80s will still be able to mow through the masses of creatures, while green-geared level 80s will be given a large ramp-up in power after the opening zones.

Valnoth -- Re: Upcoming Level and Zone Changes

Q u o t e:
Could Warriors get fixed so that we're not massively nerfed from live? I approve of the spirit of this change, as if I were doing the damage I'm doing on live, I'd be killing things very quickly. Turns out though, losing 100% armor pen and then a ton of strength turning into stamina (as well as Heroic Strike disappearing) results in a massive Warrior nerf.

As to the change in level, can a blue confirm whether it is intended for players to have to level to 80 to experience the new Cataclysm zones when the expansion drops? I feel as though the strength of BC and Wrath was that they allowed you to go to the next expansion earlier if you wanted, meaning that they lasted for 10 levels for both max level and under levelled characters that just wanted to move through.
I'm looking forward to the expansion to try and level some characters past the level 20 hump that I have (where I just really dislike all the zones in the old world), but the 3rd and 4th time through Northrend were really not that fun, and having to do 12 levels there just seems unnecessary.

First of all, this isn't the complain about your class thread, so if you feel the need to comment stick to the subject matter at hand.

Secondly, as the initial post indicated, you will not be able to quest in Mount Hyjal or Vashj'ir until level 80.

Valnoth -- Re: Upcoming Level and Zone Changes

Q u o t e:

can't complain because it took me two 1 second gcds to kill mobs with mangle and rake but its because I am really geared. I do however worry about my newly made alts who are going to get into the zone in full quest greens and have rough time doing it. are quest items from northrend good enough for the big health jump in hyjal?

The speed at which a green geared level 80 coming out of Northrend kills creatures in these zones is more in line with what we expect for and from combat times. Raid geared level 80s will still kill level 80 NPCs in under 10 seconds, but at least they will be able to fire off a few abilities before the creature is killed.

Furthermore, upon completion of the first series of quests in Hyjal or Vashj'ir, quest geared level 80 from Northrend should see a significant jump in power due to quest reward itemization.

With only five new levels added on to the game, Blizzard has distanced itself from The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King models of allowing players two levels under the cap into the new expansion content. Previously, Hellfire Peninsula opened to players at 58, and Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord opened at 68. The decision to close Cataclysm to players under 80 seems like a necessary move to keep content tight in the new zones. Considering that Northrend is itemized already from 78-80, Blizzard can capitalize on the active content to move players into the new spaces.
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