Blizzard recently did the Cataclysm Press Tour for official fan sites and I'm sure all of you guys have seen the flurry of information that has been released as a result. Here are my reactions to the news.
Path of the Titans: Gone!
It's hard for me to have a strong opinion about this one way or the other. It kind of sucks that something was removed, but how can I get up set about it when I never new what it would be in the first place.
If I am honest with myself, I have to assume that this is a good thing for me personally. I don't play my toons just to play them. I play them to do something specific. For example, when it is raid time I play Graylo. I am rarely on him otherwise. I never long on and think "what should I do with Graylo today." I always pick my activity before I pick which toon I'm going to play. If I want to level, I pick Graybel. If I want to explore the Horde side of things I pick my other Graylo. If I want to run some heroic I will probably pick the lock or the priest.
So, what does any of that have to do with the Path of the Titans? Well, with the removal of PotT i have one less thing I have to do. In my opinion that is a good thing. I was not looking forward to doing that with 5 toons. The real question is will I do Archeology now?
Guild Talent Trees: Gone!
The guild talents are gone and your guild now gets extra bonuses depending on its level. There are 25 levels and each level will automatically reward with more cool stuff. The leveling process remains unchanged and your guild will gain experience through PvP, Dungeon and Raid progression, questing, etc ...I am a little disappointed that Guild Talent Trees are being removed, but it is hard to argue with Blizzard's logic. Ultimately how the guild is specced would be up to one person, the GM, but would impact several dozen players. This has the potential to cause drama, and I agree that people shouldn't make guild choices based upon a guild spec.
Guild currency has also been removed and rewards will just be "unlocked" after you reach a specific level or complete a guild achievement. Once a reward is unlocked, members will be able to purchase it with gold. Some of the rewards include guild tabards, mounts, heirlooms, and it looks like you will finally be able to have a guild tabard on your mount. (Just like the Argent Tournament banners)
New members of a guild won't be able to buy everything directly, they will have to contribute to the progression of the guild before they can access the top rewards. Each time a player helps towards the leveling he will gain reputation with the guild, the best rewards will require players to be exalted with their guild before they can buy it.
I love how they have changed it though. I think guild reputation is a great idea. First, it encourages new members to participate in the guild. Second, it gives guild members the incentive to stay with a guild. I don't think it will be or should be strong enough to keep someone from transferring, but hopefully it will be strong enough to prevent some of the silly "grass-is-greener" transfers. Finally, it provides another indication of seniority within the guild. I know that guild ranks already provide this to some extent, but that isn't necessarily true depending on how the guild is managed. With guild reputations you know who is new and in the same boat as you are. You know who is been with the guild for a couple of months and may be able to answer your question without bugging an officer. As long as it isn't a barrier I think it will help to create community.
Honestly I don't have a clue where to start this topic. It sounds like Glyphs and Inscriptions are getting completely redone.
Medium Glyphs: Medium glyphs are the kind of glyph you'd take if you had more choices. Medium glyphs are good for situational abilities, cooldowns, defense and utility. These sound a lot like optional talents to me. My guess is that things like Glyph of Innervate and Glyph of Rebirth will be Medium Glyphs for druids. Those are both great glyphs but there is no way they can complete with the DPS glyphs. The problem with medium glyphs is that they will just be nice. I doubt they will be anything to get excited about.
Non-Consumable Glyphs: Glyphs are in a weird place where they’re not consumables like potions but they’re not as permanent as say, talents, either. And we know that some players walk around with stacks of glyphs that they’ll swap in and out depending on the situation.
So the new glyph UI is designed more about collecting all the glyphs for your character and storing them there. Any time you want to switch glyphs you can just use that. Glyphs are now permanent.(src)
This is a big change. From a player's perspective I like it. I hated carrying around a stack of Typhoon Glyphs and Thorns Glyphs when we were running both ToGC and ICC. I know I didn't have it that bad off, but for anyone that was swapping glyphs frequently this is a great change.
The real question is what this will do to the Glyph market. I've seen some people predicting doom and gloom, but I don't think that is necessarily true. Assuming you still have to by glyphs from a scribe, all this will change is who buys your glyphs and which glyphs they buy. The people who swap glyphs in and out will buy less of course, but there are plenty of people who will buy all the glyphs even if they don't have any intention of ever using them. So we may sell fewer Glyph of Starfall, but we will sell more Glyphs of Wrath.
That of course is only going to happen if my assumption is correct. Unfortunately the following quote makes me doubt that assumption. "We’re going to focus inscription on more of the non-glyph aspect of the trade skill. So, Darkmoon Faire cards, trinkets, offhand items, things like that. We also want to tie the ability to change glyphs into inscription. We’re not sure of the name yet but the idea is that scribes would basically sell a kind of eraser and the eraser is what allows you to blank out your glyphs and write in new ones." To me this sounds like scribes won't be creating glyphs anymore.
The interface opens and you place the item in it. It then asks you to pick a stat to reduce, and then pick a stat to add. You can’t use primary stats like agility, strength and intellect, but you can use all of the secondary stats like hit, crit, haste, parry, dodge, things like that. Then you reduce one of the stats by – at the moment it’s 40% but to make the example easier, say it’s 50%. If you have 100 crit, you reduce that by 50, that then gives you 50 points to put on, say, hit.Out of all the new features in Cataclysm Reforging is probably the one I'm most exited about, and GC finally spelled out how it would work. I've heard a few different interpretations on what GC said, so this is what I took it to mean. If you have an item on it with 100 crit rating, you can take it to the reforger and turn 50% of that crit rating into another secondary stat. So, you start with an item with 100 crit rating and end with an item with 50 crit rating and 50 hit rating and no loss of itemization. If I'm correct this sounds awesome.
The only question I have is what stats are Primary and what stats are Secondary. More specifically, which category will Spirit fall into. Some of you may have seen the post I made on the official forums, but here is the issue I see.
GC specifically states that Int, Agi, and Strength are primary stats and that all the rating stats like Crit, Haste and Hit are secondary stats. All of that makes sense, but Spirit has traditionally been grouped with Int, Agi, and Strength as Base stats, and Blizzard is making a big deal about how mana regen will be very important for healers in Cataclysm. Since spirit is the core stat of healer mana regen in Cataclysm it is easy to see how Spirit could be considered a Primary stat.
However, for Moonkin, Ele shaman, and to some extent Shadow Priests, spirit will act like Hit rating, a secondary stat. If we are expected to share gear with our healer specs then it is quite likely that we will have a ton of spirit on our gear and will likely be way over the hit cap without reforging.
Now, I will admit that reforging isn't the only way this issue could be resolved. First off, there is no reason that we have to have spirit on our tier set. So that is four or 5 items where we could ignore spirit all together. It's also possible that Blizzard will have both Spirit and non-Spirit leather drop from the bosses. But if all the leather has Spirit then we will need reforging to stay at the cap.
Reforging Update: Woot! Ghostcrawler stopped by the thread I started concerning Spirit and Reforging. (First time a blue has commented on a thread I started. This must be what it feels like to be Murmurs.) There is his comment:
We don't want players changing Agi, Str, Stam or Int (or armor!) on items for probably obvious reasons, but converting Spirit to something else or something else into Spirit shouldn't be a problem.(src)As of now it sounds like Spirit is a secondary stat though GC did leave some wiggle room if they change their minds. All in all, I think this is good news, and not just for Moonkin, Ele Shaman and Spriests. It is a good deal for healers to if an abundance of non-spirit caster gear drops as well.
25man vs 10man loot: More badges marginally more loot
I know we debated this in early May, but let me try and reiterate my concern. People as a general rule will follow the path of least resistance if the rewards are the same. I know there are exceptions, but for a majority of people this is true. So if you provide two paths of raid progression with the same rewards then people are going to flock to the easier one.
In WotLK 10mans have been the easier option because, people out gear the instance with 25man gear and even Ghostcrawler said "Remember that in LK the 10s were specifically designed to be easier (with a couple of exceptions where we messed up)(src)" I doubt Blizzard will be able to perfectly balance the difficulty of 25man and 10man raids relative to each other but lets assume that they get close. In such a situation I think most people would agree that 10mans are organizationally easier. It's easier to find 10 competent players then it is to find 25. It's easier to manage the schedules of 10 people then it is to manage the schedules of 25 people. If this is true, I can see a slow but eventual death of the 25man raid structure.
That is why I am unhappy with these comments:
The amount of gear in the 25 person raids will be roughly equivalent on per-person basis to the 10 person raids. One thing to keep in mind it that we don't plan to allow players to upshift from 10s to 25s, only downshift from 25s to 10s on a given week.
The statements beforehand said that 25person would have more gear per person than 10s, so I wonder if "roughly equivalent" indicates a change in plans, or just not wanting to commit yet to either "exactly the same" or "more".
The number 6 per boss was being mentioned I believe, so slightly more I guess, but anything can change in testing so I wouldn't say that it is set in stone. But we all know you guys won't call us out if anything changes during a beta, right?Later on Ghostcrawler does go on to say:
So basically there will be no real incentive (gear-wise at least) to run 25 man raids.
There are rewards like badges/gold for the additional coordination involved, but we are trying to avoid having gear be the reason that one style is better than the other.
I think this is one of those cases where it's not going to be possible to please everyone. Most players either prefer 10s and have no use for the 25s or want to run 25s and don't want to feel like they are being inefficient for doing so. In other words, half the community wants an incentive to run 10s and no incentive to run 25s and half the community wants the opposite.I definitely fall in the bucket thinks there should be some additional incentives for running the 25man raid that is at the very least more organizationally difficult. However, I don't think more loot, badges and gold are a good incentive. Getting six items for a 25man is only slightly better then the five items 2 and a half 10mans would get.
I am also disappointed that Blizzard thinks Badges and gold are really any kind of reward. Badges are only valuable for the first couple of months of a patch and then are ignored for the most part, and gold is so easy to obtain that no one is going to go spend hours raiding to earn gold. Hopefully they will find a better system.