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100% More Cataclysmic!

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I just finished my first week of graduate school, and boy does it take up a lot of time!  This weekend is really going to make me appreciate how relaxing the summer was.  Now I am at Mariana’s house, where I am  trying to help her with her plight with pneumonia (Don’t worry, she’s on the road to recovery!)  What this really means is that I am away from my mega-awesome PC and only have my laptop to play WoW.  Well….I tried that just now….and I don’t think I can play more than 5 minutes of 4 frames a second…oh well =P  Now I have an excuse to write an exhaustive article about the Cataclysm announcement at Blizzcon 2009 and what it may mean for the future of World of Warcraft:

352px-Deathwing_Cataclysm

First, the backstory…

Horde and Alliance are dealing with Arthas, the Lich King, in Northrend.  He is a bad guy, and rightfully so, we are responding to his threat.  Meanwhile, under the earth and in the Elemental Plane of Earth, Deathwing the Destroyer (previously known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder), dragon aspect of the black dragonflight, has been tending to his wounds from the War of the Ancients and planning his next move carefully.  The Old Gods have been gathering power, as seen through the awakening of C’thun and the prison break-out of Yogg Saron.  Their power has spread to Deathwing as well, who has seen a 10-fold increase in his power since his last appearance on the physical plane.  The whispers inside Deathwing’s head have also increased in intensity, driving him even more crazy.

It is time for Deathwing’s plans to take effect.  With the mortal races locked in a battle with the Lich King at the gates of the Icecrown Citadel, Deathwing literally errupts from the Elemental Plane of Earth and rips through into the Physical Plane.  This eruption destabilizes all of the elemental planes (the others are water, fire, and air) and looses many more elementals upon Azeroth.

The eruption also scars Azeroth forever.  The powers of the Earth-Warder ripple through the planet, leaving huge gashes in places like the Barrens, sending the ocean into Darkshore and wrecking the Alliance town of Auberdine.  Blackrock Spire erupts, changing the landscape and opening up a new base of operations for the Twilight Cultists.  Other places, like Desolace, benefit from the Cataclysm: It’s shoreline wrecked, water floods in and lay down the foundation for a more fertile land.

Finally, an entrance is made to Deathwing’s hiding place in the Plane of Earth.  Called “Deepholm”, adventurers will be able to venture into Neltharion’s home and take the battle to his sanctuary.  On the Physical Plane, Deathwing took up residence in Grim Batol, along with his Twilight Cultist followers.

The Future…

So now that the world is ruined, what should we expect?  Well for one, the feud between the Horde and Alliance will ramp up.  Orgrimmar will be outfitted with better armor (a lot more steel), Southshore will be taken over by the Horde, and Zoram Strand in Ashenvale will get bigger and more armored.

Barrens-cata

The level 1-60 leveling experience will also get a face lift, being made friendlier and more streamlined to avoid having to figure out which zone to go to at which level…the quests should have a feeling of more flow from zone to zone.  Also, some zones you know as level 20 zones will become level 40 zones.  This goes for all the zones: their monster and questing levels may be changing.

Cataclysm_Ashenvale_-_Zoram'gar_Outpost

Did I mention flying mounts in Azeroth?  They are going to be remapping both continents  in order to have a fully fleshed out landscape that will allow flying anywhere.  this means you can fly from Undercity to Booty Bay on your own mount and still get there in 14 minutes or however long it takes to fly that stupidly far distance.  Places like Undercity and Orgrimmar are getting updated to look better from the top, as in the case of both cities, a wall in the front blocks the view so the designers didn’t ever design what it would look like from the sky.

New Zones

There will be seven new zones in Cataclysm: Gilneas, The Lost Isles, Mount Hyjal, Uldum, Twilight Highlands, Deepholm, and The Sunken City of Vashj’ir.

Gilneas and The Lost Isles are the starting areas for Worgen and Goblins, respectively (i’ll talk about them in a few moments).

Mount Hyjal is in trouble, again.  This time, Ragnaros, released from the Elemental Plane of Fire (and apparently really really pissed off about dying in Molten Core) is out trying to destroy the world tree by way of inferno.  He is at his full power now, showing you that once and for all, Molten Core was merely a setback.

Uldum is a Titan compound in the desert south of tanaris.  Apparently, a giant Titan cloaking machine was used to hide Uldum (but they missed the door with the elite’s hanging around it?….) but said device broke when Deathwing ripped Azeroth asunder.  Titan cloaking machinery isn’t what it used to be I guess.  Rumor has it there is some Titan super weapon in the desert of Uldum, and everyone is out to get it…including you!

Twilight Highlands will include Grim Batol and be the hangout place for Deathwing and the Twilight Cultists.  It will encompass the area northeast of the current Wetlands.  It will also be a level 85 zone.  (What? level 85?  I’ll also talk about that in a few moments)

Deepholm is the original hiding place for Deathwing in the Elemental Plane of Earth.  Expect Old God influence down here close to the center of the world, where the Old God’s are locked up.  I would also expect Earth Elementals and lots of nature resistant monsters.

Finally, The Sunken City of Vashj’ir will be a sunken night elf city underneath the Maelstrom.  There will be underwater combat and underwater instances.  It will also include the instance to the Elemental Plane of Water, which will be a whirlpool at the bottom of the ocean you have to get sucked into.  Why it is named after Lady Vashj, handmaiden to the night elf Queen Azshara, we may never know.  As far as I know, Lady Vashj is still hanging out in Serpent Shrine Cavern out in Zangarmarsh….

New Races

The Cataclysm affected more than just what we knew.  The Goblin island of Kezan got rocked hard when their island volcano started spewing liquid hot magma, so they fled.  One particular cartel had their boat shipwrecked upon The Lost Isles, a group of islands between Kezan and Kalimdor.  Throughout the starting zone for the Goblins, you will go from neutral to finding refuge with the Horde in nearby Orgrimmar.

Goblins_cataclysmCataclysm_Worgen

At the same time Kezan’s volcanos were exploding, earthquakes were knocking down the Greymane Wall in southern Silverpine Forest.  What lay behind the wall was unexpected (well, the community expected it, but lorewise, completely unexpected!).  The Worgen curse spread to the humans of Gilneas, where they have fought to keep their humanity and not be taken by the vicious animal now living inside them.  Playing as a Worgen, you will be able to convert between human and worgen form anytime while out of combat, but must always be a worgen while in combat.  I suspect when you enter combat in your human form, you will go through a quick form change animation to fight as a worgen.  The out of combat form change animation is available online in the form of a video from blizzcon, and I must say it looks pretty darn awesome.

Increased level cap

Forget that +10 levels per expansion set you were taught back with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King…only 5 new levels are being added this time around with a level cap increase to 85.  Blizzard says this is because they wanted to focus more on revamping the entire world and also honing their focus on endgame.  Obviously they want to get more into storytelling at the level cap, so the more people who can get to the level cap and actually listen to their story, the happier they will be.  Questions like “will heirlooms still work in the expansion?” have yet to be answered….

New Raids and Instances

Shadowfang_Keep

Blizzard has said they will release Cataclysm with 8 heroics and 4 raids for level 85 players.  Of these 8 heroic instances, 2 will be revamped old world instances: Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.  The other 6 will be in the new zones that are being added.  I can see the reasoning behind making heroic Shadowfang Keep, with Archmage Aurgal and his connection to the Worgen Curse, but I think heroic Deadmines is just for the fans who wanted more VanCleef.  If they give Horde a flightpath in Westfall, I’ll be happy about this heroic.

Comment your thoughts/opinions!

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World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (?) POSSIBLE SPOILERS

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This is quoted from the Something Awful forums and http://mmo-champion.com front page…but it is just so ridiculous that I had to repost it so more people would read it.  So here begins the story of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!

“Azeroth is changed completely. Some zones are completely destroyed, some are shattered, some are flooded (Thousand Needles), some are ripped in half. Coastlines the world over are changed. Durotar is wrecked, along with Orgrimmar, which is torn in two. A new orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion. Gnomes retake Gnomeregan in an instance.

Malfurion comes back and helps activate the new Guardian of Tirisfal – Thrall. Thrall hands over leadership of Horde to Garrosh Hellscream while Thrall serves as a coordinator for both Horde and Alliance forces and players to combat the Naga and Black Dragonflight. Garrosh declares open war on the Alliance, and you can expect more Wintergrasp like areas on the old map. Due to some political manipulations, Cairne Bloodhoof gets painted as a betrayer and is murdered by Garrosh. Cairne’s son takes over as Tauren chief.

For Worgen, the Cataclysm brings the Greymane wall down, revealing their secret — that the worgen curse has ravaged the kingdom. They’ve managed to find a cure that keeps their human mind permanently but also keeps them in their worgen form. Seeing that they can no longer survive alone, the worgen residents of Gilneas rejoin the Alliance.

As for Goblins, Deathwing calls on the goblins as slaves like he has in the past. Their leader decides to go with Deathwing and enslaves his people because there’s no crossing Deathwing and surviving. Fortunately, a large group manages to escape and join the Horde, knowing that they can’t go it alone. See the pattern here?

The level cap is 85. New landmasses include islands that are raised as a result of the cataclysm, underwater zones, and the newly-redone old-world zones. Flying mounts will be useable in Azeroth. Many old-world dungeons are changed completely.

Half the point of Cataclysm is to remake the old quest lines, eliminate redundancy and give an overall narrative to all players, whether level 1 or 80. At any particular vanilla area, you can expect to see reconstruction/relief efforts, or all out war between Horde and Alliance NPC’s. Wailing Caverns is going to be completely redone into a lush green tropical area, as a result of the druids working their magic to prevent it from falling into lava.

Leveling from 80-85 will be a MUCH bigger deal. Initially in 2008, they considered not raising the level cap at all, as making those quests takes a lot of manpower away from raiding content. But they are trying to make the story so grand and sweeping that ding’ing will actually MEAN something and not just be something you do.

Expect a couple of underwater cities to be on the backs of giant sea turtles and whales.

Make no mistake, the Old God content is not done. Since Netharion and Azshara both have ties to Old Gods, it is now clear that the SERIES wide antagonists of WoW are the Old Gods.”

Who knows if this is going to happen or not…but personally I have never seen http://mmo-champion.com wrong on a front page article before, so we’ll see what happens next week at Blizzcon.  Have fun speculating!

Damn you Retribution Paladins!

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Tonight I did my first battle grounds -EVER- on my mage.  Looking back on it, I’m not really sure why I never ran anything on her, but I think it’s because she was my last 70 in TBC and I was too busy doing stuff with other characters to ever bother with mage PvP.  Plus I’m not a big PvPer to begin with, so it’s an easy thing for me to overlook.

I got several random achievements throughout the night and, appropriately, got made fun of in the my guild for getting stuff like “100 honorable kills”.

We also started a 3v3 arena team tonight (Hover Cat Flies Low).  Though it is a rogue/mage/priest team (zomg op), we are 2-8.  Obviously, we are (1) not wearing any pvp gear, (2) have 0 resilience, (3) total noobs.  It’s okay though, I figure it’s better than 0-10!  Haha.  I changed my second spec to a frost arena/pvp spec and it feels very light and fun after casting those horribly long frostfire bolts for the past few months.

We won most of the battlegrounds tonight – amazing for Horde on our server – and all I have to say is this: why is it that every single retribution paladin that sees my mage has to tear off after me, stun me, and own me?  Just wondering.

Written by Mariana

May 10, 2009 at 7:06 am

Discipline Priest now even more awesome!

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Healing as a discipline priest just got a lot better as of Patch 3.1.  Here are the changes from the live-server patch notes:

Discipline

  • Divine Aegis: Divine Aegis effects will now stack, however the amount absorbed cannot exceed 125*level (of the target). It will also now take into account total healing including overhealing.
  • Improved Divine Spirit: This talent has been removed.
  • New Talent: Improved Flash Heal: Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal by 5/10/15%, and increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal by 4/7/10% on friendly targets at or below 50% health.
  • Grace: This talent no longer decreases damage done to the target, but the duration has increased to 15 seconds and the healing bonus has increased from 2% to 3%. This affect now cannot be applied to more than one target at a time.
  • Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Now also increases your total stamina by 2/4%.
  • Meditation and Improved Power: Word shield have changed locations with each other.
  • Meditation: Now grants 17/33/50% of mana regeneration while casting.
  • Mental Agility: Reduced to 3 points (4/7/10%), down from 5.
  • New Talent: Soul Warding: Reduces the cooldown of your Power Word: Shield ability by 4 seconds, and reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Shield by 30%.
  • Penance: Damage increased approximately 30%.This spell can now be cast on yourself.
  • Power Infusion: This effect now has a new spell effect.
  • Renewed Hope: This talent also now allows you to proc the Renewed Hope buff on all party/raid members every time you cast Power Word: Shield, reducing damage taken by 3%. Lasts 20 seconds.
  • Unbreakable Will:Increased from 3/6/9/12/15% to 6/12/18/24/30%

Diving Aegis is getting a nice buff by allowing it to stack AND counting the total amount of the crit heal, not just the net heal.  With high enough crit you can get a shield up to 125*80 on an end game player…so with some quick math, you can stack crit and stack up a shield to block 10,000 damage.  PLUS your power word shield.  That is some nice mitigation.

The new flash heal talent is great for discipline since it is our main heal next to penance.  Reduced mana cost and crit to targets under 50% are both really welcomed.

Grace got a slight nerf, but thats okay, 3% increased heal is fine, I guess we’ll try to get it on the tank and all will be okay.

More stamina for the priest is always great, so Imp. fortitude is nice, especially since we all have the talent in our healing spec anyway.

50% mana regen fixes the spirit mana regeneration nerf that is going on across the board, so I’m not too worried about the discipline priest mana regeneration.

Soul Warding looks nice, I assume it will be taken by all discipline priests since both saving mana on PW:S and reducing its universial cooldown are good for our healing style.

PENANCE DOES 30% MORE DAMAGE! Now soloing is going to be even better! Also, we can cast it on ourselves…that’ll save a wipe or two.  Sometimes getting stuck on trying to heal me while watching the tank die creates a guilty feeling…

Power infusion is going to look different now…hopefully it will look cool…we’ll see.

Renewed Hope procc’ing on the whole party is also awesome.  I like the idea of active group buff’s from proc’s.  Less damage for everybody!

Unbreakable Will increasing to 30% is nice for our pvp fellows.  I don’t think i’ll be taking the talent if this is the only change on the talent…

Well, enjoy discipline priests!  Use these to your advantage when trying to get your guild’s bid for the legendary mace!

~Nick Fox

Written by Nick

April 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm

You Lack Discipline!

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I hope everyone knows that title as a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger meme, and if you don’t, you know it is now!  ….Go look it up, kiddos.  ANYWAY.  I’ve been up to a lot recently, thus my lack of posting.  I decided to switch mains, away from my elemental shaman and towards my new priest, Vellem.  Vellem is now a level 72 Discipline priest, quickly leveling up to 80.

Vellem

I knew I wanted to heal with my priest…Resto shaman got boring in TBC, and I am really starting to hate Taurens and their hugeness and ugly hooves.  The gear on them also looks bad.  Have you seen a Tauren in level 80 blues and purples that arent tier sets?  Really ugly.  The caster shield from Mexxna doesn’t help either, with its primary color scheme and shiny center.  Taurens also sit on drake mounts as if they’re about to fall off, which annoys me after flying around for awhile.

All this led up to my eventual switch back to priest.  My first level 70 in TBC was an undead priest, and I healed up to ZA with that character as holy.  It is an undead…and the reason I switched from that character to the shaman was because of how badly the gear looked on undead.  I’m sorry, but if I spend weeks farming for an item, or get some lucky drop in an instance, I want to see all of it, not just part of it, and my bones for the rest.  Must every item I get have custom holes cut out for my arms and back hump?  Just cover that back hump with a cloak, I dont need to rip it so I can see 4 vertabre when I hobble around. /rant

So as you can see from the picture, I rolled a Blood Elf, and leveled all the way back up to 70, and now beyond.  The gear, while sometimes has a stupid model, looks great on the Blood Elf.  No bones are showing, my shoes completely cover my feet, and im not overly huge so nothing is streatched out.

I decided to go discipline this time around.  I’ve been reading about priests and have seen that discipline are really good single target healers.  Their shields can soak up a lot of damage, and their crits can apply a new shield, Divine Ageis (if specc’ed for it, which you really should be).  Discipline priests gear/gem more for Spell Power, Crit, Haste, and Intellect, since both the increased mana pool and increased crit chance are both great.  Discipline priests also benefit most from actually health points regained, as opposed to overhealing.  We have talents in our tree that regenerate mana back for each health point returned to the target via our heals, so if we are actually restoring health to say, the main tank, we will get mana back.  Holy has a similar talent that works the exact opposite.  Serendipity, which is far down the Holy tree, regenerates mana back to the priest for each point of overhealing done.

There has been some hatin’ on Discipline priests, saying that if a priest wants to heal they should go Holy, but I think most of those people are misinformed.  Holy priests are better for multi-target/group healing, but they lose on their single target abilities.  Priests are unique in that they are the only class with two completely different healing trees to work with.  It is almost like having a holy paladin and resto shaman at a whim.  Once I get to 80 and start doing heroics/intro raids, I’ll write about how end game Discipline is.  So far, for both soloing/questing and 5-man dungeoneering, Discipline is really working out great.  It is definately a spec that cannot compensate for the rest of the group if they suck, but when the whole group is doing the right thing, this spec really shines.

Here is a link to my leveling spec. I am currently filling out Spirit Tap in the Shadow tree to help me regenerate mana faster while soloing.  Otherwise, work down the Holy tree as you move from 72-80.

Action Shot

~Nick Fox

Gear in Wrath of the Lich King

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So I have one major complaint about this expansion: why does all the gear look the same, have no shinies (I like shinies!), and look like crap even at 80?!

Maybe I got too used to looking leet in my “sweet epix” in TBC, but Arco is level 80 (and wearing 3 heroic epic pieces  even!) and still looks like she just rolled out of a metal recycling plant where rust was a major issue.  Is this just a problem with mail gear?  I am starting to think so…  Every deathknight I see looks pretty sweet in plate and even my 74 mage looks more respesctable than my hunter.  Check it out:

Be honest, doesn’t Eau look twenty times better?

To be fair, Druids look pretty bad too, but that’s always been true…  Then again, people who play druids kind of did that too themselves by choosing to play something so nature-ish!  😉

Now give me my sweet hunter loot back, damnit!

Written by Mariana

December 20, 2008 at 12:26 am

New gear!

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Today in ZA I was able to get Tuskbreaker aftet months and months of wanting it and never having it drop for my hunter.  I know the cross bow from badges is better, but I don’t care – I love this thing.  I also changed out some of my gear because I was over the hit cap because of some new boots I got on Hyjal a couple nights ago.

The items I changed into:

Chest – Arrowfall Chestguard – This was already in my bank, but I decided to experiment a little more with haste now that I’m using the Tuskbreaker.

Hands – Gauntlets of Rapidity – Badge reward I decided to get; I was saving the badges for the cross bow, but changed my mind.

Finger – Angelista’s Revenge – same explanation as hands.

Feet – Quickstrider Moccasins – the ones I got in Hyjal, they’re pretty sweet and have skulls on them if you look hard enough! Haha!

In related news, ZA has been massively nerfed and we have all been massively buffed.  It’s not even challenging in any way anymore.  I’ve practically demoted it to Kara-farm status in my mind.

In other related news, hunters are way OP now.  I’m not calling for a nerf, but I feel one coming.

In completely non-related news, a made a new character on the Moonguard server – a Draenei Shaman named Xunni.  I’m thinking of leveling her elemental and yes, I know, I’m a masochist.

Written by Mariana

October 24, 2008 at 5:56 am