Saturday, July 24, 2010

My plans for Cataclysm

Truth be told, the news coming from the Cataclysm beta has played a big part in wooing me back to WoW. Initially I was set on not returning before the expansion or maybe even after that. I tried playing some older games (after getting a bit tired of Borderlands) but I found them boring and quickly abandoned them. For that reason I won't even mention them. Since I'll always be a gamer I decided that what the hell, I might as well return to WoW.

I'm very excited about Cataclysm because it will be a whole new game, almost like World of Warcraft 2. We could call it World of Warcraft 1.5 and not be far off the truth. The best part? It will follow Blizzard's tradition of mirror-polished gameplay.

I've said it before and it bears repeating: revamping Azeroth the way they are doing is probably the best decision they could have made. Questing in "New" Azeroth should provide a cure to the most severe cases of burnout. I confess I was suffering from burnout myself 3 months ago when I quit. The breath of fresh air that is Cataclysm has brought me back to set my affairs in order before the whole world changes forever.

I've accomplished so many things in Wrath of the Lich King, even as a solo player, but I see even more things that need to be done come Cataclysm.

New classes

I have a big urge to start 4 new classes, the only ones I haven't played extensively yet. Well... except for a shaman. I have a level 67 shaman on a Horde server but I want all my main characters to be Alliance and on the same server so I can easily share gear and gold between them. And before you suggest, I don't want to pay Blizzard any money for a race change and server transfer. Furthermore, I want to level a new shaman with the all-new talents and class mechanics.


I want to level a new shaman as enhancement. I have been preparing for this by acquiring a whole set of heirlooms for him: shoulders, chest, double trinkets and double Venerable Mass of McGowan. I was also thinking about trying some healing but the problem here is that I don't feel like carrying 2 sets of gear. I'm just curious as to how shaman healing works. I keep seeing shaman healers cast that cool chain healing spell and sometimes it gets me drooling. Maybe it's just the visual fx...

The big unknown here is what race to pick. Initially I was gonna go with a dwarf because I love dwarfs and dwarf shamans are a cool concept IMO. But then I realized that they don't have any good racials for a shaman. On the other hand, draenei have great racials but I don't like how the males look and I'm not going to play a female. Luckily racials are still being worked on so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


I've wanted a mage for ages and even got an undead one to 28 on yet another Horde server. Unfortunately I never understood what the optimum leveling spec for a mage was. I think I'll go with frost in Cataclysm. I have a full complement of heirlooms ready and waiting for my new mage (shoulders, chest, staff and double trinkets). Leveling should be smooth and quick. The question of race remains. I'm almost certain it will be a worgen but things might change.


Thanks to worgen who are uber-cool, I will finally be able to level an Alliance druid. No, I would never play a night elf - I hate them. I will level him as feral and will definitely become a bear tank. Demand for tanks remains strong as ever which translates into instant queues for the dungeon finder. My new druid will likewise be decked in all possible heirlooms (shoulders, chest, 2H mace and double trinkets).


Last but not least I want to finally level a warrior. The warrior class has always been the most unappealing to me but that's a legacy of vanilla WoW and things have changed a lot in the meantime. I want to level him as protection, as I'm curious how warrior tanks operate. Oh and the instant queues are an added bonus. He, also, will benefit from heirloom chest, shoulders, double trinkets and a weapon. Here lies the problem since I have the option for two 2H heirloom weapons: Repurposed Lava Dredger and Reforged Truesilver Champion. The Bloodied Arcanite Reaper would be an even better choice.

You will notice however that all these weapons are NOT tanking weapons so they will only server me until I start tanking my first dungeon, around level 15. Unfortunately I don't see any really good heirloom tanking weapons, unless you count Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge, which seems to be the only one remotely good for a tank if only due to the fact that it has stamina on it. On a paladin I know that fast weapons are best for tanking but the one I just listed has a slow speed for a 1H weapon. On the other hand I'm not yet sure what speed works best for a warrior but I've heard they will normalize weapon speeds in Cataclysm such that all tanks will use the same weapon speed.

In any case, I'm still not sure what race my future warrior will be. It might be a good old boring human all over again.

New 31-point talents

Initially I was a bit skeptical about the huge changes to talents but then I realized that it's all for the better. I believe this will make it easier for all of us to make choices and we won't have to agonize as much over certain talents and builds. I'm not as happy about gaining 1 talent point every 2 levels but I'm aware they couldn't have done it any other way.

Specialization at level 10

You know what? I think that this isn't such a bad idea after all. In fact it could be brilliant. Personally I was never the type to mix talents from different trees only to re-spec every 10-20 levels for "leveling efficiency". I couldn't be bothered with all that micromanaging. Whenever I started a new character I had a certain spec in mind and that's how I allocated my points from level 10 onwards. Also, I never spend a single point in secondary trees until I reach the bottom of my main tree.

For me, this change is a win-win. I think it's brilliant that at level 10 we get some of the most defining skills for our specialization. It will make a lot of things easier, including leveling and instancing. Just imagine how, for example, tanks struggle these days at low levels with only 1-2 real tanking skills. The new system should make true tanks out of us from the get-go.

Interface changes

I'm very happy about the interface changes that I've seen so far. The re-organization of the character screen is a good thing, with the accordion-style boxes that you can hide/unhide. I love the new leveling experience which clearly shows which skills are available, as well as the new spellbook which tells at a glance at what level the various skills will become available.

New tracking system

The new minimap tracking system makes me giddy. Just imagine: we'll finally be able to track whatever we want, simultaneously on the minimap! Including double gathering skills if that is the case. Amazing.

Flying... all over the place

Wow, flying in the capital cities! Incredible. Some people are upset that this will increase lag and cause performance problems but I wouldn't worry too much about that because first of all people will be spread out fairly evenly between the capital cities and secondly these cities are bigger than Dalaran and Shattrath and thus can accommodate more people before performance issues start rearing their ugly heads.

Overall a new experience

With the total overhaul to all classes, the new races and the overhaul of Azeroth, Cataclysm will certainly be a big refresh to WoW and in fact the biggest one to date. The only thing that makes me a bit sad is that Outland and Northrend won't change much (if at all) which means that leveling through them will be somewhat boring. But hey, I'm glad we can finally fly in Azeroth and that trumps everything.

My leveling plans

Since as a solo player I'm not tied to anyone, I can do things at my own leisure. My plan is to start each of the 4 new classes I talked about and level them quickly to level 10. Then I will park them in an inn and switch to my level 80s. I will try to level those on rested XP as much as possible, switching between them often. For the first time since vanilla WoW, I will queue up for instances while leveling. Oh boy, fun times! I can't wait.

The only remaining question I guess is when will Cataclysm be launched. If I were to offer a guess I would say sometime in October (2010 :). I'm pretty sure they will announce this at Blizzcon so we only have a few more days to find out.

Update: OK it seems I made 2 mistakes.
1. Blizzcon apparently will take place in late October (22-23) and not at the end of this month as I mistakenly thought.
2. Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge is not that good of a tanking weapon considering I already have 2x Venerable Mass of McGowan which not only has the same amount of stamina but also some agility which is not a bad stat for tanking.


Wolfblitzer said...

I just finished leveling my prot warrior, and I used the venerable sword the whole way. The slow speed isn't really a big issue. The whole reason for a fast weapon as a prot warrior is for more heroic strikes. Since heroic strike is changing with cataclysm it will be a non-issue. The bright side of a slow weapon as prot is that devastate hits harder.

Darth Solo said...

Of course, slow weapons hit harder. So I can rest easy now and use a Venerable Mass of McGowan instead of buying the sword.

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