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World of Warcraft Cataclysm – Blog Part Four

World of Warcraft Cataclysm – Blog Part Four

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - Blog Part Four
It’s been a few weeks since we last checked in on the status of the Cataclysm beta and since then much has moved on. Final polish has been added to the game, the new raids available at launch have been made available for testing and epic geared pre made characters were provided to help us.

Now that Cataclysm is a mere week or so away from launching on the live servers, and with the pre launch event well underway on live we thought it would be a good time to round up our thoughts on Cataclysm and remind everyone why this is going to be Blizzards best ever expansion.

Elementals on tap
On the live servers the pre launch event is in full swing. With Deathwing about to burst forth from Deepholm, the elementals are causing havoc in the main cities of Azeroth.

What started out as small groups of doomsday cultists causing a nuisance has escalated into a full on invasion of capital cities. Stormwind City and Ironforge on the Alliance side and Thunder Bluff and Orgrimmar on the Horde side are now under almost constant attack.

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The fourth phase of the event is now running, and with limited time before Deathwing makes his appearance it seems unlikely that the city guards will be getting any time off in the next couple of weeks.

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The elementals in the attack are no pushovers and certainly can’t be soloed. We suggest grabbing a pick up group invite, which seem to spring up each time the elementals appear, otherwise there is a good chance you’ll end up face down kissing cobblestone and making the obligatory run back from the graveyard.

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Archaeology is the first new secondary profession we’ve seen since the game was first launched. Since 2005 it’s been First Aid, Cooking and Fishing, finally we get to add a little flavour to the mix.

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Archaeology allows us to explore the history of Azeroth in a fun way, while levelling the skill towards some quite decent rewards. Unlike other gathering professions Archaeology doesn’t rely on shared nodes, so we don’t have to compete with other players while levelling the skill. Even if we see another player levelling Archaeology in the same zone as us, we don’t have to worry about them beating us to the find.

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Zones in which we can hunt for finds appear on the large world map with a small shovel in them and when we zoom into the zone map we see the specific area highlighted that we need to search in.

The Archaeology mini game of searching for finds is quite fun and, most importantly, doesn’t get annoying even though we’ll have to do it several hundred times to level up this skill. To start off we land in the zone and use the new Survey skill. This drops down a spyglass along with a range light.

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The range light indicates how far away from the find we are, with Red being far away, then Amber and finally Green. The spyglass indicates which way we should travel next to reach the find. Repeat and rinse a couple of times until we reach the find.

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Depending on the zone we are in the find will either relate to a particular race, or be a generic fossil. The target is for us to put together several finds to solve a puzzle and gain a flavour item.

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Over time as we level up the skill the items change from simple gray flavour items into more interesting rewards and even, at the highest levels, epic weapons.

Archaeology is certainly a very different profession than we’ve seen before from Blizzard and while we’ll be focused on levelling our character to 85 when Cataclysm launches, once we’ve hit that goal we look forward to searching Azeroth for new finds.

Putting the Heroic back into Dungeons
One of the biggest complaints about Wrath of the Lich King was that the 5 man dungeons were too easy. Once we had any level of decent equipment any possible challenge from the 5 man dungeons vanished and they turned into AOE zerg fests. Well Blizzard appear to have been listening as they have ramped up the difficulty level of both 5 man dungeons and the starter 10/25 man raids in Cataclysm.

One of the biggest changes is the return of crowd control. Crowd control, or CC, was lost during Wrath due to the way we could steamroll packs of mobs. Now, with Cataclysm, we better dig out our CC spells or dungeon runs are going to become very painful.

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The art of being able to control a pack of mobs, take out the most dangerous ones with CC, being careful not to break the control early or bad things will happen, is a skill we’ll all have to relearn. It’s also clear that with this expansion Blizzard have a very clear path for gear progression.

With Wrath it was possible to jump into the starter raid, Naxxramas, with blue level quest reward items and a few Heroic dungeon drops. In Cataclysm the gear level required to be successful in the starter raids is more stringent. It’s expected that before we step into our first raid we’ll have spent a reasonable time in Heroic dungeons gathering items.

This step change in difficulty may well catch a few newer players out, however we feel that over time this will help the game and it will make us better players with a better understanding of what our class can add to a group or raid.

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The End is Nigh
It’s amazing to think that Cataclysm will be with us in a matter of weeks. It’s been a long wait since Blizzard first announced that Deathwing was coming at Blizzcon 2009.

Being part of the Beta this summer has been extremely rewarding. Seeing the new aspects of the game change over time, having the opportunity to play new content and get a sneak peak at what everyone will experience has been amazing.

Now, in a matter of days all World of WarCraft players will be able to begin the journey to 85. Some will power to 85 as quickly as possible, some will take their time and explore the new zones in full. Some will take the opportunity to change their main to a new class/race combination or reroll a Goblin or Worgen.

Whatever your plans are for Cataclysm we are certain that you will enjoy this expansion immensely. It’s the biggest change to the world and the largest expansion that Blizzard has attempted. Even with their amazing track record of quality output this was a very high bar to set. As far as we are concerned Blizzard has not only cleared the bar, they’ve managed to do so with style and some considerable space to spare.

Deathwing is about to change the face of Azeroth forever and nothing will ever be the same again. And to tell you the truth, we can’t wait.

Previous installments:
Part One – WoW Cataclysm Blog
Part Two – WoW Cataclysm Blog
Part Three – WoW Cataclysm Blog

Blizzcon 2010 Coverage

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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