Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cataclysm Profession Preview

There isn't a lot of exciting news in the Cataclysm Profession Preview posted by Blizzard yesterday, but there are a few things I would like to comment on.

Alchemy:

  • New elixirs will be about 75% as strong as flasks. So you can get more total stat points with two elixirs, but flasks will still be the best at giving you a single offensive or defensive stat.
  • New Mysterious Potion created with common materials restores health and mana in a massively random range, as well as sometimes granting the benefit of another potion. The health and mana range is from 1-20,000 and is able to crit. The minimum amount restored, however, is scaled upwards by the Alchemy skill, making it a great choice for alchemists to keep for themselves.
For no rational reason I often think of Alchemy as my main profession. It's the first crafting profession that I leveled to max level, and it's on my main toon. Though I have no real reason to value it more then any other, I do. Therefore, my interest is little higher when it comes to this profession.

The Elixir's change sounds interesting, though I doubt it will have much of an impact on how we use consumables. While it will provide more realistic options, it sounds like a flask will still be the best option in a raid situation, and I've never thought flasks or elixirs were necessary at any other time.

I am very interested to see how the "New Mysterious Potion" works out. In concept, I've always been a big fan of the Mad Alchemist potions, but feel that they have failed to deliver for me as caster DPS. In TBC the random elixir proc was useless because I had a flask, and when I didn't it usually gave me something like attack power. In both TBC and WotLK, the mana returned was less then that of a Mana potion. Therefore if I needed the mana I used a mana pot. The random affect was to unreliable to make up for the less mana returned.

In Cataclysm, it sounds like mana will become a bigger issue. If this potion remains a cheap but inconsistent mana pot I doubt there will be many people using it. I and many other people will prefer the consistency and possible greater return from a normal mana pot.

Enchanting:
New Cataclysm weapon enchantment preview:
  • Avalanche -- Chance to deal Nature damage on melee hit/spell hit.
  • Elemental Slayer -- As expected, this enchantment helps players deal devastating damage to elemental creatures.
  • Hurricane -- A stacking haste proc.
  • Heartsong -- Mana regeneration through increased Spirit when chain-casting spells.
  • Many more maximum-level enchantments are still in progress.
I'm loving this new concept for weapon enchants. Lets be honest, in most cases item enchants are boring. It's 30 Spell Power to Bracers or 23 Haste to Cloak. There is very little debate as which is best, and very few of them do anything other then provide stats. With this announcement it looks like they are moving away from the traditional 65 SP enchants at least in the weapon slot. Instead they will be providing useful buffs or procs.

Obviously we don't have many details, but I hope that the weapon enchant becomes more like Glyphs. If you are going to Ragnaros then Elemental Slayer might be the best option, but Avalanche might be better for non elemental targets. Maybe there is a fight that requires a lot AoE and the Haste from Hurricane might be better.

I like the idea of having to put some thought into which enchant you should use. The main issue I see with this model is that the materials cost for these enchants could remain very high for weapon enchants. If that is the case then many people will resist making multiple changes.

The other thing I would like to see from enchanting is have enchants that scale with gear. A fresh 80 with gold gets the same benefit from their enchants that someone with the best gear from ICC. It's not that big of a deal, but I would like to see enchants have a bigger impact on the performance of highly geared players.

Inscriptions:
  • With the large number of class changes coming with Cataclysm, many existing glyphs will see new functionality.
  • Minor glyphs are woefully uneven from one class to the next right now, so they're a focus for us to clean them up and try to ensure that everyone has minor glyphs they're excited about.
  • We'll be adding more major glyphs as well, but in the hopes of making them as balanced as possible, we'll likely wait until after the expansion ships to add any for the new abilities in Cataclysm.
  • New and more desirable off-hand and relic recipes will be added.
As a whole I think Inscriptions has been a very successful profession, but it hasn't lived up to what I first envisioned when it was announced before WotLK was released. I thought it would provide a lot more options. Instead of having one glyph for every spell, I thought they would have a couple of glyphs for most spells.

Take Moonfire for example. It's a good DoT for PvE moonkin. The direct damage portion of the spell can be good for PvP moonkin to get some quick burst on a target or to stop them from capping a flag. Obviously the spell has multiple uses but the current glyph set up only focus on one. In addition to the Glyph of Moonfire why don't we have another glyph that is more attractive to PvP moonkin. Maybe it could increase the direct damage of Moonfire by 300% but reduce the DoT damage by 90% and add a 6 second cooldown. I pulled those numbers off the top of my head, but I would like to have a choice of which Moonfire glyph to use as well as choosing between Glyph of Moonfire and Glyph of Insect Swarm.

Speaking to the post directly, I agree with all the bullet points. I don't think minor glyphs have been implemented well as a whole, and waiting to add glyphs for new abilities is probably a good idea. What I found most interesting though was last bullet point. Scribes will be able to make relics in Cataclysm.

I don't expect to use a crafted relic on Graylo, because I assume the best ones will still come from raiding. However, leveling my shaman has reminded me how difficult it is to get a relic until you raid. I hope they allow low level scribes to make relics also for low level toons since you currently can't get a relic until level 60.

Herbalism:
  • All Cataclysm herbs have the chance of containing Volatile Life.
  • There won't be a new Lotus equivalent in Cataclysm. Alchemists will use the more reliably-found Volatile Life to create the new high level flasks.
  • "Heartblossom -- Named for its deep red color, this delicate flower grows close to the ground, and always in pairs. If one blossom is taken, the other flower begins to wilt immediately and dies soon after. It is considered very unlucky to disturb a Heartblossom without blessing it first."
It sounds like the "volatile life" is the new crystallized life. Getting rid of the lotus model makes some sense since guild mats are likely to kill the market for them. I assume the volatile life will be used by other professions as well an this should help maintain the market.

I am very interested in the quote regarding Heartblossom. I wonder if this is just some RP, or are they actually going to make herbing more interesting. Will you get more herbs if you /bless it first? would it be more profitable to herb in pairs to get both halves of the Heartblossom? I have a feeling it's just RP, but a change of pace would be interesting.

Quick Hits:

  • I like what they are doing with the crafted gear from Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring, but I doubt it will have much of an impact. All of the professions provide decent leveling gear, but I find it unnecessary in general. I have gotten plenty of decent leveling gear from quests and imagine that will be easier during Cataclysm. I've used very little crafted gear on my toons and what I did use was mostly done so by the toon with the profession. Having random stats won't make crafted gear more attractive, or less time consuming to create.


  • The Jewelcrafting changes were pretty predictable. Int and Hit had to be moved out of yellow or it would have been a very crowded socket color. The random possibility of crafting a "superior" or "epic" item when you craft jewelry is interesting, but I think in the end it will be like playing the lottery. If it happens you get some extra gold by selling the better item.


  • I think First Aid is a mandatory profession for any level 80 (even those with healing spells), but the big problem with it is that bandages do very little for very well geared players. It will be interesting to see if this third bandage fixes that. In the end I think it would be best if bandages scaled a little with the players health pool.

6 comments:

Cain said...

It just seems like more of the same on the professions to me. Most of the changes are minor tweaks to the existing model. The change to elixirs is to try and make elixirs used again where as flasks have become about the only thing anyone uses now.

The armor crafting randomness just seems pointless. I would have liked to have seen them give cooler additions to those professions while leveling instead of just a random twist to the item. It will probably end up being more annoying in that you really want one of the specific possible outcomes and you have to craft many to get it.

I like the idea of more unique enchants, much like they tried to do with more unique weapons in ICC, but I'm guessing it will still end up being this one is the best for X role so everyone uses that. I just hope that tanks aren't still using mongoose for lack of anything better :)

Maestro said...

I'd worry about bandage scaling in PvP. This could give some classes and certainly some gear levels a distinct advantage.

I'm not sure I actually see the point of the crafting change. Now, you are no longer crafting an item because you want it, but because it will award more skill points. The reason people crafted items with more mats was because someone desired the item. That should be enough motivation to do it. Now we're double dipping. I don't think this has any impact whatsoever on the power leveler and just allows those levelers with deeper pockets to level faster.

Voink said...

Gray, the crazy alchemist's potions return the same amount of mana as a runic mana potion. So with the cheaper cost, random proc, and healing they give, there's no reason not to use them.

I've always had a soft spot for alchemy so I'm happy to see that changes coming in cataclysm.

Graylo said...

@Voink

Hmm! You are correct. Did it change at some point? I know that was not the case in TBC, and I am fairly sure it was not always the case for the WotLK version.

Anonymous said...

i <3 my crazy alchemists' potions


/glugglugglug

but seriously i dont bother with straight up mana pots when it might proc speed or wild magic - also pre-potting on boss fights is pretty much mandatory - the mats r so cheap too

Cathy said...

You mentioned:

"While it will provide more realistic options, it sounds like a flask will still be the best option in a raid situation, and I've never thought flasks or elixirs were necessary at any other time."

Actually I often use flasks for BGs as well. I think one flask that is highly under used is the Flask of Toughness for the plus 50 resilience (nice for those that need a boost in resil)

I'm curious as to the Heartblossom. Perhaps if you don't pick the other within a few seconds, it blows up and so do you hehe.

I have to say I find it exciting and overwhelming to think of all the new work coming up with gear, professions, class changes.. /SIGH