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WoW Rookie: More Cataclysm changes for newbies and leveling players


New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide.

We've told you how to get ready for your first raid -- and now, we're going to help you actually get your hands dirty, in a new series for beginning raiders in Ready Check. We fired things up last week with Raiding 101; look for additional installments in future weeks (including today!).

Beta access being what it is (up and down -- and when it counts most for deadlines, the latter), we were unable to complete the Horde companion piece to last week's Alliance newbie zone revamps in Cataclysm. We're still working on that for you ... In the meantime, since we've got you revved up for Cataclysm news, we'll round up more rookie-centric details found scattered across the site over the past month.

Spoiler No. 1: Cataclysm spoilers ahead; proceed at your own risk.

Spoiler No. 2: This week's content has been posted previously, elsewhere at If you're an assiduous reader, this week's content will not be new news for you.

First, a couple of general tips for the leveling crowd:

xvkarbear asked:

I think someone mentioned this on the WoW Insider Show of old ... But I can't remember the details.

There's a name I want for a character of mine, but if I try to name a new character that, it tells me the name is unavailable. Looking at the armory, the character must be under level 10, because there is no listing for that name under my server. I remember hearing that you can petition for a name someone else has taken if that name falls under certain conditions.

What are those conditions? And would I just put in a GM ticket in game?

Honestly, I'm not aware of any strict criteria for making names available. The best thing to do is just ask by petitioning a GM. I've gotten one released before, and several people I know have done the same, but I also know people who couldn't get the names they wanted. Whatever eldritch ritual is used for deciding which names can be released will likely remain shrouded in mystery until the end of days, when the great Worm descends from seething nuclear chaos to devour the smoldering husk of this universe, and then He and only He shall know.

Jack Spicer asks:
I'm not certain I want to test this myself, so I'll ask. What happens if when you are done with a random dungeon, you roll on the loot but then teleport out of the dungeon before the loot is rolled for? Does it just remain on the corpse, flagged that you "won" the roll, or does it magically send those frost orbs to you across the continent?

It remains on the corpse. I've done quite a few instances where people dropped group before rolls were completed, and the loot not only stayed on the corpse, no one else could pick it up.

What's ahead in the expansion

Sumadin asked:
With Menethil Harbor flooded, how do Alliance players get to Theramore and Howling Fjord? Has it all been moved to Stormwind?

As it turns out, docks float. Menethil Harbor is both a fully functional quest hub and fully functional port town. You can still get to Theramore and Valiance Keep from there.

Kavu asked:
I wonder about worgen form and combat -- I remember hearing that worgen would need to be in worgen form while in combat, but if you're in human form and, let's say, cast Moonfire, do you then have to go through the few-second transformation?

Transformation only takes time when you hit the Two Forms button. When going into combat or casting a spell, the change is instantaneous.

Crewdie asked:
So in the expansion, you get locked into a talent tree as soon as you pick it, right? Any chance this will affect the LFG system? As in, "You aren't spec'ed to tank; you can't tank?"

As of a few builds ago, I was able to queue as healing on my elemental shaman. I haven't tested it recently.

Mike asked:
Is there a set formula for stat conversion for pre-Cataclysm items? Like a weapon with 300 spellpower and 60 intellect becomes a 360 intellect weapon in Cataclysm?

I don't think we can say with any certainty what the final system for pre-Cataclysm items will be. For one example, here's Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas on live. It has int and SP on it. In the current beta, it has completely different itemization: no int at all, 224 more spellpower, nearly half as much physical DPS (not that many casters would care, I suppose) and close to twice as much stamina. So clearly, spellpower on items isn't just going away. Looking at various ICC caster swords (which seem to be to be a good option, as they're usually mage/paladin weapons), we see again no int and heavy spellpower on them.

So keeping in mind that there are months to go yet in the beta, the answer to your question seems to be: "If anything, they dump int on current raid weapons and jack up the spellpower." Hope that helps.

Ryu3010 asked:
I know they said Winterspring hadn't received any changes ... but what about Un'Goro? I haven't heard anything about that area, either.
Un'Goro received a questing overhaul, and with it, one of the best new NPCs in Cataclysm: Maximillian of Northshire. If you like Don Quixote, you'll love Maximillian.

I just hope you weren't too attached to Marshal's Refuge. Or Linken.

malytwotails asked:
I haven't seen much (if anything!) about Cataclysm changes in Winterspring. Should I assume this is just a work in progress?

Yep! The Cataclysm beta forums have a thread in which Blizzard poster Motive keeps track of zone status in the beta. Winterspring is currently marked as not ready for testing. It's also not marked as "in progress" either, so it will go hand in hand with Silithus as the final zones to receive any Cataclysm love.

Phoenix asked:
The staff seems to really like the new Silverpine Forest in Cataclysm. Why is that?

Silverpine Forest continues what Wrath tried to start with the Forsaken at the Wrathgate. It shows that they're still a real force and a real threat. Sylvanas doesn't just sit around in her throne room. She directs the Forsaken's war on Gilneas personally. You see her out and about throughout the zone. Heck, Sylvanas escorts you from the top of the zone down to Sepulcher, telling you the history of the Forsaken, since you're still considered freshly risen. The zone really shows how cruel Sylvanas has become (and has been) and how she thinks the Forsaken should wage war. Combine that with a fantastic game of cat and mouse between the Forsaken and the Gilnean Rebels led by Lord Darius Crowley and a wide assortment of just plain fun quests ... it makes for a very engrossing zone. I did not feel level 15 while questing through Silverpine. I felt like a badass and an important part of what was happening.

As I've said again and again, the only downside to this zone is that the Alliance doesn't get to experience it. The Alliance should be able to see Crowley's wonderful exploits here, but they don't. It's unfortunate.

Valorum asked:
I know it's hard to say because the cap is 83 right now, but is 80-85 intended to take about the same amount of time and work as 60-70 did and 70-80 did? For the beta testers, does 80-81, 81-82 and 82-83 feel like two levels at a time?

80-81 didn't take long for me -- two hours, maybe. But then again, I was fully rested, and I was also rested until halfway through 81. There's no real way of avoiding it right now, since you automatically have a full rest bar when you log in. To put it into perspective, though, leveling from 82 to 83 takes 6.5 million experience; even with heavy questing in the appropriate zones, it's going to take a while. My bar barely moved when I turned in quests at 82.

Saberix asked:
Is going to re-do the leveling guides when Cataclysm hits?


Valt asked:
Is leveling armor looking like it did in Wrath? That is, a couple models spread around all items?

There are four or so new armor models per armor class; one looks to be a dungeon set, and the others are leveling outfits. Right now it looks like there's one graphic set per armor class for Hyjal/Vashj'ir and one for Deepholm; I'm assuming that the Uldum/Twilight Highlands level range gets it own models too, but those zones aren't officially open or properly itemized yet, so we don't know for sure.

My rogue is modeling the Vashj'ir/Hyjal leather set below.

Perchino asked:
Have there been any whispers about nerfing Northrend XP before Cataclysm in the same way that Outland was nerfed before Wrath?
Actually yes, just yesterday. Blizzard came out and said it likely will nerf Northrend XP like it did Outland XP.

shotgun.shenanigans asked:
We know in Cataclysm we'll have to visit a dungeon's entrance for LFD to allow us to queue for it. Question is, how easy is it going to be to get to some dungeons that are in enemy territory? Is it going to automatically let us queue for Stockades/RFC without visiting the entrances if we're the opposite faction? What about things like Scarlet Monastery or Gnomergan? How difficult is it going to be for a player of the opposite faction and appropriate level to visit those dungeon entrances?
Once you're of the appropriate level to enter Deadmines and Ragefire, you're automatically eligible to queue for them, regardless of whether you've discovered the entrance. My goblin can do Deadmines or Ragefire at 16. I'm not sure about Stockades.

Branthan asked:
Maybe I missed it, but do we know how much flying is going to cost in the old world when Cataclysm arrives?


Blizzard has said a few times that flying in the old world will not require any sort of "Cold Weather Flying"-like activation; you'll be able to fly around Stormwind and Orgrimmar as soon as Blizzard enables it (and we don't know when that will be exactly). The 310 percent flying speed will cost something, though, and we don't know what that'll be, either.

Highlighter asked:
Are there weapon skill-ups anymore? Do I need to spend time whacking low-level mobs to level up my one-handed sword skill so I can tank properly?

Nope, weapon skills have been removed from the game in Cataclysm. And thank god, too ... I'm really tired of leveling up my alts' weapon skills. My rogue just got the 232 heroic dungeon axe, and it's been very annoying so far having to level it up.

Highlight also asked:
Do characters start out with all possible weapon proficiencies for their classes, or must they run to the appropriate weapon master? For example, my worgen hunter starts with a gun, but if I wanted to use my heirloom bow, would I have to run to weapon master to train bows? Or do I start with the skill immediately?

Proficiencies are gone as well. If you can use the weapon, you can equip it and start killing things with it right away, with no steps in between.

MonJoe asked:
Of the new hunter races, which ones start with guns and which star with bows?
  • Human crossbow
  • Dwarf gun
  • Night elf bow
  • Draenei crossbow
  • Worgen gun
  • Orc bow
  • Forsaken crossbow
  • Tauren bow
  • Troll bow
  • Blood elf bow
  • Goblin gun
Guilegamesh asked:
Have the vanilla/BC/Wrath dungeons and raids changed at all, or does the "more CC, less AoE" thing apply only to Cataclysm raids and dungeons?

Some vanilla dungeons have changed in terms of mob placement and quests, but the fundamental design philosophy of those dungeons and their BC/Wrath brethen remains unchanged. You won't see Utgarde Keep suddenly require heavy CC to complete.

Kavaan asked:
Has there been any news on whether the old races are getting a much-needed facelift in Cataclysm? It's been a very popular request among players, and while I'm sure there are more pressing concerns among the dev team, I find it hard to believe that it would ignore what so many have asked for.

A Blizzard rep recently stated that remodeling the vanilla races is on their to-do list, though what that means is anyone's guess. I think they do realize that the old races look irredeemably awful compared to worgen and goblins, or even to blood elves and draenei, but we'll almost definitely not see new models for them for Cataclysm.

jbg asked:
Has anyone gone through all of the old 5-mans to see if they have been changed at all?

Nearly every low-level dungeon has been changed in some way. Changes range from boss changes (Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, Stockades, Stratholme) to new quests (Dire Maul, Scholomance, Scarlet Monastery) to level changes (a whole bunch of them).

The newest change I've seen is a certain infamous gnoll being the end boss of Stormwind Stockades. Other changes include some scheming elementals within Dire Maul, new events in Scarlet Monastery, and replacements for Rivendare and Dathrohan in Stratholme.

Reader tip of the week

Thanks for the steady supply of tips for your fellow players; keep 'em coming to This week's pearl of wisdom comes to us from Klebaten of A52:
The first, most important purchase a low level should consider is larger bags. Bag space at low levels is a very precious commodity that fills up quickly with quest rewards and various materials from the gathering professions. Before looking at those wonderful greens and blues in the AH for gear, before buying materials level a crafting profession, get bigger bags. It can be the large sacks from the bag vendors in capital cities or buying netherweave bags from the AH. Fill up all those bag slots with at least 10-slot or larger bags. More bag space means less time back at town selling off stuff, less time having to figure out what to destroy for room for that shiny green that dropped and ultimately in the end, more money.

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to pulling together enough cash for mid-level expenses such as mounts and dual specialization, to what to do when you finally hit level 80.

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