First off, happy Halloween to everyone! Enjoy some candy, tricking, treating, and other “festivities”. This year I decided to test my pumpkin carving skills, the first pumpkin I’ve carved since I was probably 13 years old.
Needless to say…my carving did not go well. Apparently you can’t have floating bits of pumpkin for “A’s” and steak knives are not well suited to carving letters. Also, pumpkins do not have spell check. A sad fact I learned only after showing my friends my fancy pumpkin design.
A few quick site news points you’ll want to be aware of. With Cataclysm right around the corner we’ve been feverishly preparing for the big launch, and I can tell you we’re going to hit the ground running day 1 for Cataclysm. We’ll have all your major guides ready, including:
- Updated Class Talent Guides for level 85
- New Macro Class Macro guides featuring new skills and abilities
- Dungeon and boss guides for all new 5, 10, 25-man encounters
- 1-525 Profession Guides, including a guide for archaeology
- New gold making guides, reputation, PvP, and more!
Dominate WoW Gold Update
I’ll have more specifics about our updated gold guide in the coming days, but I can tell you it’s going to be big. We’ve been testing and working out new strategies for Cataclysm. We’ll be releasing our updated guide before Cataclysm even goes live, so you’ll hit the ground running day 1 of Cataclysm.
We’ve already released phase 1 of our gold guide update, check it out… Zuggy’s WoW Gold Guide
It’s no surprise that there are many huge game changing elements prepared for Cataclysm, but perhaps the most game changing are those not even planned. I’m talking about inflation and it’s about to take the World of Warcraft economy by storm.
What is Inflation?
A rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation is also the erosion in the purchasing power of money – a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy.
In short, the gold you have accumulated in WotLK is going to actually be worth less, or in other words, buy fewer items / services in Cataclsym. Ex. you bought infinite dust for an average price of 2 gold in WotLK, but are now willing to pay 3 gold in Cata.
Is this a new phenomenon to WoW?
In a word, no. The inflationary cycle has been an ever present fact for each major expansion pack release. They are caused by several factors, but in my opinion in accordance with the monetarist view of inflationary economics, the biggest factor is in the dramatic increase in the money supply. The money supply is increasing for several reasons.
- Quests in Cataclysm will reward more experience and higher valued (vendor) item rewards than those in WotLK
- The end of a given expansion is always marked by a huge saving period. Raiders often stop raiding several weeks, or months, prior to an expansion and there is a general saving trend. Resulting in huge cash reserves that will be rapidly dumped into the economy upon the Cata launch.
Point #2 is particularly interesting, as the last year of Cataclysm has seen perhaps the greatest increase of WoW rich guys in the game’s history. The world first player to hit gold cap was just January 2008. Since that time, but particularly since WotLK released there has been a huge number of players hitting the gold cap, or at the very least, amassing huge sums of gold.
If Blizzard knows this is going to happen why don’t they do something?
The fact of the matter is, they are! And for most expansions they have done a great job of preventing hyper inflation. In the real world governments can help to decrease inflation by increasing spending or taxation. Blizzard is a bit handcuffed in that regard, because they are not direct participants in the WoW economy so they cannot increase their spending and they don’t currently tax players (with the exception of the WoW auction house).
So instead they find ways to sneakily increase player spending right before an expansion. This helps to reduce the money supply in preparation for the expansion. They do this in a variety of ways:
- Implementing changes to make players “want” to spend gold. Ex. the glyph craze of 4.0.1, making Wrathful PvP gear require no rating requirement (players acquire this gear and then buy enchants, gems, etc.)
- Introducing very expensive and desirable items. Ex. the Gigantique bag of 3.0.1 (cost 1,200 gold, a huge sum at the time), late expansion vanity pets
In these ways Blizzard is able to reduce the overall money supply and create a more positive economic environment for natural growth to occur in the expansion.
Why these changes won’t be enough for Cataclysm
While Blizzard has made some great changes and helped to reduce the money supply, it’s my opinion that it simply isn’t enough. The main reasoning behind this is simply the sheer volume of super wealthy WoW players. There is a huge, and growing, population of gold top dogs on each server who have the ability to do severe damage to the economy. In addition to the super rich, you have an immense population of players who have simply been saving for far too long.
The glyph craze, wrathful pvp gear, and other 4.0.1 changes helped to get players spending a lot bit, but most of this gold went right back into the hands of the WoW super rich. Unlike with the WotLK launch, most of those changes directly removed currency from the economy by requiring vendor purchases.
What’s going to happen and what to do
The inflationary period will likely not exist long-term in the WoW economy. This is simply because players aren’t going to keep saving. Once the initial period of extreme spending ends, perhaps 12 weeks, prices should drop down into more “normal” levels. However, I would say the first 3 months of the launch will be marked by abnormally high prices, even beyond what we have seen in previous expansions.
Even after the initial inflationary boom there is likely to be a higher than average static inflation that persists throughout the next expansion. The insanely high money supply combined with a substantial increase in the amount of gold from quests should solidify a strong inflationary period after Cata’s launch. That said, it’s not all bad, but it’s important to not buy into the inflationary panic.
- Save your big purchases until after the initial hyper inflation panic has died off
- Virtually any items you can farm / craft / find are going to be their most profitable in the long-term if you can sell them as soon as possible. Don’t wait around thinking you’ll craft or farm something later. If you do it now you’ll make a much higher return over the long-run.
For fear of sounding any more like the fear mongerer Roubini I’ll just leave you with this. Don’t panic! The increased inflationary period will probably persist for a time on most WoW servers, perhaps not all, and for perhaps not as long as I’ve guessed. There are so many potential factors that go into the equation it’s hard to speak in any sort of absolutes. However, without panicking we can prepare ourselves and profit / not lose gold unnecessarily by just being informed.
As always, what are you thoughts? Share your comments below.
Words cannot accurately describe the most recent addition to Blizzard’s cinematic mastery. With a December 7, 2010 launch date now officially confirmed by Blizzard they have just offered up another tantalizing piece of Cataclysm with the cinematic trailer. Without question one of the best cinematic creations Blizzard has developed.
Well, it’s official…or at least as “official” as it can be right now. The world of warcraft Cataclysm release date is looking like it’s going to be November 2nd, 2010. This information is coming from mmo-champion, and is backed up both other industry new sources. It’s primary based on a timeline that Blizzard has used for other expansions. The pre-cataclysm launch sequence started a number of months ago, and as evidence of the 4.0.1 patch going live on the PTR we can say with some level of certainty that things are moving forward to launch.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that things can certainly changed and this date could be pushed back, but currently it’s looking like early November is the go live date. Let’s hope it stays that way
Excellent video in HD of all the revamped WoW capital cities for cataclysm. All of the major WoW cities are getting a major face life for Cataclysm. This video features many of the major changes already in place, but expect more intense changes to come!
Compiled list of all of the recent Cataclysm changes and updates announced at the recent Blizzard press event.
edit: added info about spell haste, talents, and solo players
General Cataclysm Changes
- There are, as of the event, 3000 new quests planned for Cataclysm. That’s nearly 3 times as many quests added with Wrath of the Lich King.
- Leveling up will display a “toast” similar to earning an achievement. It will show:
- The level you reached
- If a new talent point is available
- Any new abilities for that level
- Feature unlocks: battlegrounds, dungeon finder, riding, glyphs, etc.
- Garrosh is the “acting” Warchief of the Horde.
- Garrosh’s stronghold is at the front of Orgrimmar, right as you enter through the front gate, to show “who is in charge.”
- The Valley of Wisdom is now the Tauren district.
- A new auction house, inn and bank have been added to the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar.
- Deathwing destroyed The Park in Stormwind. This was done to drive home the impact Deathwing has had on the world, and because he wasn’t happy about his daughter’s head hanging from the rafters.
- A new auction house, inn and bank have been added to the Dwarven District in Stormwind.
- New music will be added for all of the cities, and a large portion of the game world.
- The Forsaken have set up a foothold in Silverpine Forest and have rebuilt many areas with their unique architecture. They’ve done this to provide a base of operations for assaulting Gilneas, which is very strategically valuable to the Horde.
- Heirlooms will work for both Goblins and Worgen from the launch of the expansion. You earned them, so you get to use them — no matter what you’re leveling. They will only scale up to 80 though; new heirlooms that scale to 85 will be introduced with the new content.
Cataclysm Spell Haste, Talents, and Solo Players
Spell haste in Cataclysm
We’re not getting rid of spell haste and I agree it’s fun to get quick spells.
I was talking more about the PvP environment (and to a lesser extent PvE) where the balance has shifted too heavily towards very fast or instant spells that leave the other side with no chance to predict, react or attempt to counter what you’re going to do. It’s a problem with CC, I’d agree, but it’s also a problem with some of the really hard-hitting nukes where someone can die in a couple of GCDs before they can pop a defensive cooldown or even get healed.
We want combat to be less binary, where someone can get into a wounded state and then move either towards being fully healed or being dead depending on what they and everyone else involved in the battle do. We want there to be some back and forth — some chances to make mistakes and then recover from them. PvP can currently feel like a tennis match where the team who scores the first point wins.
There still need to be moments where if you line up all your cooldowns you can kill someone who is wounded, but those need to be not every spell you cast. Given talents and gear, fully three-second cast time spells aren’t really going to be that common for actual casters, but spell interactions are balanced around having a cast time so that the other side has a chance to respond. When every spell is at the GCD cap or hasted by a talent or proc then you sometimes die before you even know what happened.
31/41/51 Points Talents
We design the 31, 41 and 51-point talents to be attractive if not mandatory. There are very few builds that don’t go down to the bottom of a tree and we don’t think the ones that don’t are in some way more interesting builds.
Remember, the passive bonuses are just that — bonuses. If you find a build that avoids 51 points in one tree but picks up something really awesome instead, you will still be fully functional.
You can still choose to level up Archaeology, which is going to have quite a bit of content. We are also updating all of the other professions to make them more interesting. In addition to goblins and worgen, we have redone the questing for most of the original zones, and all of the lower-level zones. If you like solo play, you will find literally thousands of new quests. We will also offer more achievements, many of which are designed with the solo player in mind.
There are also two buckets of solo players: one is the type of player who pretty much treats WoW as a single-player game and doesn’t interact much with other players. The other category is the player who may have lots of friends online but doesn’t feel like they have the time commitment for very organized and scheduled PvP or raiding. The new dungeons and BGs will also offer you lots of content if you are someone who plays alone but doesn’t mind working together with strangers for short periods of time. The big Cataclysm feature you will miss out on as a solo player is the guild revamp. Again, if you just like to play alone but don’t mind being part of a guild, you will still be able to help your guild contribute though.
Quick list of Cataclysm archeology changes and updates.
Edit: added more about paths of the titans
- No longer involved in Path of the Titans, since it was removed.
- Will now help to “dig into the lore of the game” — essentially being used as a vehicle for storytelling.
- There are two types of “artifacts” players will be able to uncover through Archaeology.
- The first will be more of a lore or story artifact.
- The second can reward items; cosmetic or fun in most cases, with the rare usable weapon.
- It will not provide any must-have items.
We have some end-game plans for Archaeology. I would compare it to Cooking, which isn’t mandatory, but useful enough that nobody is surprised at the appearance of a Fish Feast.
Many of the archaeology items are stored in your journal, not your bags, so inventory space shouldn’t be a big problem. While many of the artifacts are only there for rewards, the rare finds run the gamut from unique toys to usable weapons to special pets.
Paths of the Titans Removed
Further clarification on the removal of Path of the Titans
Path of the Titans Removal
We still think it would be cool to add some kind of post-game progression to allow for player customization, but we would have to be very careful and do it right. Nobody wanted to see a feature that felt like it delivered on half its potential. Nobody wanted to be thinking about how we were going to “fix the flawed Paths system” in 5.0. If we can come up with a design we like, then we’ll try again in the future.
A big part of game design is triage — knowing when something is good enough, knowing when something can be good with just a little more work, and knowing when something is a lost cause… at least for now. There are very few WoW features that we kill outright. Most go into a design parking lot, and we get together every few months to review those features and consider what to work on next.
[...] Fortunately, one of the benefits of being Blizzard is we don’t have to ship a product until we think it’s ready. Our marketing department works with us on the game, but they understand that when the game is ready is ultimately up to the team. We didn’t cut it because we ran out of time. We cut it because we didn’t think the design we had was fun. At the high level we still like the idea, and if we can solve some of the problems we might bring it back in the future.
Quick list of recent announced Cataclysm PvP and battleground changes.
edit: added additional information on interrupts and classic pvp titles
Battlegrounds – General
- Launching with two battlegrounds: Twin Peaks and the Battle for Gilneas. More to come post-release.
- Twin Peaks will be a capture-the-flag map similar to Warsong Gulch with a few small differences.
- Two graveyards for each faction, with one of them being in the middle of the map. Dying out in the field will cause you to spawn here rather than at your base.
- It’s relatively similar in size to WSG, but the field itself is larger, with the bases taking up less space.
- Twin Peaks will NOT be replacing Warsong Gulch like some players were expecting it to.
- Blizzard wants to focus on introducing new BGs to offer a variety of environments, rather than focusing on updating older ones.
- Players will participate in rated battlegrounds by forming their raid group prior to joining the queue.
- You will only face off against other rated groups.
- Each week the format for rated battlegrounds will be different. It will rotate between 10, 15 and 25-player battlegrounds.
- Rating loss will not exist until after a certain threshold.
- Conquest points will be rewarded for winning rated battlegrounds.
- There will be a limitation on the number of Conquest points you can earn each week to prevent feeling like you must participate in both arenas and rated battlegrounds.
- There will be end-of-season rewards for rated BG teams similar to arenas:
- The classic Honor titles will be coming back and rewarded to the top teams each season.
- The “Gladiator” equivalent teams will also receive epic ground mounts. Ground mounts because they want to reward something you can ride in the battleground and be proud of / show off.
Cataclysm Interrupts and Classic PvP Titles
Interrupts in PvP
We don’t want interrupts to be binary either. They shouldn’t be able to lock a caster down. We currently have something of an arms race where the melee got more mobility and interrupts, so the casters got more escape methods and instant spells. We just need some bilateral disarmament, so that melee can sometimes interrupt spells.
Characters with existing PvP ranks titles
The plan at the moment is to grandfather in anyone with an existing BG PvP title and just let you keep it.
Below are a few brief changes and updates for the Cataclysm new zones. Make sure to check out the video at the bottom.
- It’s keeping with the Egyptian theme; “WoW does Egypt,” according to Alex Afrasiabi.
- The tour was impressive; the zone looks great. Incredibly detailed textures on the terrain and buildings. Lots of pyramids and other Egyptian-themed sculptures.
- Uldum was locked away, protected by a Titan machine which created a projection of a large, impassible mountain, but the Cataclysm destroyed that machine — opening up access to Uldum.
- The Tol’Vir are still planned to be a new race introduced here. Not ready to be shown though.
- The Elemental Plane of Earth, where Deathwing was nursed back to health and “rebuilt”.
- It’s essentially the “core” of a sphere (though not Azeroth; it exists on its own plane).
- Deathwing ruptured out through a tower in the middle of Deepholm and entered Azeroth through the Maelstrom, according to Alex Afrasiabi. It looks like Blizzard changed their mind since BlizzCon.
- Therazane will be present here and is involved in a reputation similar to Sons of Hodir, “with the lessons learned from that,” says Alex Afrasiabi.
- Orgrim’s Hammer and The Skybreaker are both here. Orgrim’s Hammer has been shot down by The Skybreaker.
- You will encounter many stone and crystal creatures here.
Cataclysm Zone Change Video
The following are the recent Cataclysm glyph changes and updates to the glyph system, including the removal of the Path of Titans. These changes were announced at the recent Blizzard press event.
edit: added more specifics about the new glyph system
- Path of the Titans has been scrapped and will not be implemented.
- Instead Blizzard will focus on improving the glyph system, as they feel it didn’t quite hit the intended goals in Wrath.
- Glyphs will now be available in 3 categories: Major, “Medium” (PH name) and Minor.
- Major glyphs are core to each class and will be expected to be used to perform at maximum level.
- Medium glyphs will be to provide “fun” alterations to abilities.
- Minor glyphs will largely function as they do today.
- Based on the mockup shown, you’ll be able to have 3 glyphs of each type at level 85: Major, Medium and Minor.
- The glyph UI will now display all of the glyphs available to your class, even if you haven’t learned them yet, to the right of the section where you apply your glyphs.
- Blizzard wants to make glyphs permanent so you don’t have to carry a stack of them around. Simply learn the glyph and then you can swap it whenever you want.
Cataclysm Glyphs / Inscription
More on the updates for glyphs and inscription
Glyphs in Cataclysm
Minor glyphs are fine in our opinion. They weren’t intended to offer power and they are certainly much more flexible than major glyphs. Some classes need some better minor glyphs though (e.g. warlock).
Medium glyphs are the kind of glyph you’d take if you had more choices. For example, a Fury warrior these days in PvE probably takes Execution, Whirlwind and Heroic Strike. Why wouldn’t you? You hit all of those buttons a lot. The glyph of Cleave isn’t bad, but you just don’t find yourself in situations where you would use it as much as Heroic Strike, so it just never competes. If it wasn’t competing with Heroic Strike though, say it was in a different category, then it might be worth considering. Bloodthirst would be an excellent medium glyph, because it is useful but doesn’t contribute to dps. Medium glyphs are good for situational abilities, cooldowns, defense and utility.
Now having said that, we are also taking a hard look at the major glyphs. Glyph of Sprint (movement speed) is a pretty interesting one. It is probably a dps increase given that it helps your time on target, but it’s hard to put a number on that. It’s very easy to put a number on Glyph of Eviscerate (crit chance). It’s a math problem. That glyph is either going to be demonstrably better or worse than the other majors, leading to the cookie-cutter mentality. We already have plenty parts of the game where there really isn’t a wrong choice to be made — with enchants and meta-gems for example, there is typically a right or wrong answer given that we don’t make several per spec. We do make several glyphs per spec, so we think they can be cooler. Customization was our original design for glyphs, and frankly we just didn’t deliver on it. They feel like talents, and pretty simple talents at that.
The challenge for us is that ALL glyphs have to follow this model. If they don’t for some classes, as happened in LK, then eventually the whole thing unravels. We have a much better feel for what makes an interesting gylph now. I’m not going to promise we’re going to deliver on it this time around, because we weren’t able to the first time. But it is a goal and we’re going to spend a lot of time on it.
Non-Consumable/Learnable Glyphs in Cataclysm
Making glyphs more interesting to every player is more important than making consumable glyphs a reliable money-maker for Inscription, given that there are plenty of other ways to handle the latter.