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World Of Warcraft Prepares For Cataclysm in Patch 4.0.1

Simplified Talent Trees? Brand new statistics? No more Soul Shards? It's the end of WoW as we know it!

Are you gearing up for the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?  So is Blizzard. Today, the company updated their 12 million player-strong MMO to Cataclysm pre-release patch 4.0.1, bringing with it a host of substantial system overhauls. This final patch will help set the stage for Cataclysm’s December 7th launch by introducing several of the expansion’s new features into the current version of WoW.

So, what are those substantial system overhauls? The most important gameplay adjustment in the patch is the radically simplified Talent Tree system. Replacing the original 71-point skill system with three smaller, leaner 31-point trees, players will chose a single branch on the tree as a "specialization" when they reach level 10, after which all earned skill points must be put into that tree. Each additional skill point will automatically increase the potency of abilities associated with that tier (along with unlocking new skills), but players won’t be able to put points into other specialization trees until they’ve reached the top of their their initial tree. These new specialization trees also come with class and tree specific “Mastery” bonuses that provide unique buffs to a class depending on how their chosen specialization.
 

They've also added those sweet new Cataclysm water effects in the patch, bringing the game in line with the best looking releases of 2005.

== TEASER ==To compliment this simplification of the talent tree system, Blizzard has also gutted and replaced the current stats system to make gear selection and optimization more efficient. Some stats have been giving increased functionality (intellect, for example, now boosts spell power in addition to raising the maximum amount of mana for damage-dealing spellcasters). New stats, like “Mastery” will increase the general effectiveness of unique abilities that come from “mastering” a specialization, while old stats like MP5 (mana regenerated every 5 seconds) are being removed from the game entirely.

Beyond the statistical changes coming to WoW, patch 4.0.1 will also introduce sweeping adjustments to the core mechanics of many classes. Hunters will no longer use Mana for their abilities, instead gaining a dedicated “Focus Bar” for their many strike shots (and they start with Pets at level 1 to boot). Balance Druids gain a new “Eclipse” mechanic which will have players alternating between casting Nature and Arcane Spells to achieve buffs for the opposite spell type. Warlocks are now forever freed from the chains of Soul Shard farming, as that resource has been removed from the game entirely. 
 

 A screenshot of the discussion on the WoW forums, post patch.

While all of those changes will be pleasing to WoW players in-game, the most substantial change in patch 4.0.1 actually exists outside the game: a new streaming launcher that will download WoW as you play it. You'll start off with a core WoW client file and download the rest of the game as you play, making it easier than ever to regress back into your old habits, and chase those old dragons one more time.
 
And that’s not the least of the changes coming in Patch 4.0.1. Also included in the update: 

  • A new “Flexible” Raid Lock system has been added to Icecrown Citadel and the Ruby Sanctum, allowing players to fight each boss in a raid instance once a week without having to worry about being saved to a specific raid group’s version of the instance. This system will be added to future Cataclysm raids.
  • Players can now “reforge” items, taking a stat on a piece of equipment and changing it into a different stat.
  • The “Emblem” system of gaining new high level gear has been replaced with a point system that more closely resembles the Honor and Arena Point system used for PVP matches.
  • Ability and Spell Ranks have been removed from the game. Now, instead of buying new ranks of abilities from trainers, those skills will automatically scale up in power as players increase in level and invest into talent trees.
  • There are now three types of Glyphs that characters can apply in game, up from the two in Wrath of the Lich King.
 
Phew! That’s a heaping pile of new features. You’ve got eight weeks to allocate Talent points, familiarize yourself with the new systems, and finally kill that pesky Lich King before Azeroth is torn apart in a massive firestorm. Get to it!  
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Posted by MattBodega

Are you gearing up for the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?  So is Blizzard. Today, the company updated their 12 million player-strong MMO to Cataclysm pre-release patch 4.0.1, bringing with it a host of substantial system overhauls. This final patch will help set the stage for Cataclysm’s December 7th launch by introducing several of the expansion’s new features into the current version of WoW.

So, what are those substantial system overhauls? The most important gameplay adjustment in the patch is the radically simplified Talent Tree system. Replacing the original 71-point skill system with three smaller, leaner 31-point trees, players will chose a single branch on the tree as a "specialization" when they reach level 10, after which all earned skill points must be put into that tree. Each additional skill point will automatically increase the potency of abilities associated with that tier (along with unlocking new skills), but players won’t be able to put points into other specialization trees until they’ve reached the top of their their initial tree. These new specialization trees also come with class and tree specific “Mastery” bonuses that provide unique buffs to a class depending on how their chosen specialization.
 

They've also added those sweet new Cataclysm water effects in the patch, bringing the game in line with the best looking releases of 2005.

== TEASER ==To compliment this simplification of the talent tree system, Blizzard has also gutted and replaced the current stats system to make gear selection and optimization more efficient. Some stats have been giving increased functionality (intellect, for example, now boosts spell power in addition to raising the maximum amount of mana for damage-dealing spellcasters). New stats, like “Mastery” will increase the general effectiveness of unique abilities that come from “mastering” a specialization, while old stats like MP5 (mana regenerated every 5 seconds) are being removed from the game entirely.

Beyond the statistical changes coming to WoW, patch 4.0.1 will also introduce sweeping adjustments to the core mechanics of many classes. Hunters will no longer use Mana for their abilities, instead gaining a dedicated “Focus Bar” for their many strike shots (and they start with Pets at level 1 to boot). Balance Druids gain a new “Eclipse” mechanic which will have players alternating between casting Nature and Arcane Spells to achieve buffs for the opposite spell type. Warlocks are now forever freed from the chains of Soul Shard farming, as that resource has been removed from the game entirely. 
 

 A screenshot of the discussion on the WoW forums, post patch.

While all of those changes will be pleasing to WoW players in-game, the most substantial change in patch 4.0.1 actually exists outside the game: a new streaming launcher that will download WoW as you play it. You'll start off with a core WoW client file and download the rest of the game as you play, making it easier than ever to regress back into your old habits, and chase those old dragons one more time.
 
And that’s not the least of the changes coming in Patch 4.0.1. Also included in the update: 

  • A new “Flexible” Raid Lock system has been added to Icecrown Citadel and the Ruby Sanctum, allowing players to fight each boss in a raid instance once a week without having to worry about being saved to a specific raid group’s version of the instance. This system will be added to future Cataclysm raids.
  • Players can now “reforge” items, taking a stat on a piece of equipment and changing it into a different stat.
  • The “Emblem” system of gaining new high level gear has been replaced with a point system that more closely resembles the Honor and Arena Point system used for PVP matches.
  • Ability and Spell Ranks have been removed from the game. Now, instead of buying new ranks of abilities from trainers, those skills will automatically scale up in power as players increase in level and invest into talent trees.
  • There are now three types of Glyphs that characters can apply in game, up from the two in Wrath of the Lich King.
 
Phew! That’s a heaping pile of new features. You’ve got eight weeks to allocate Talent points, familiarize yourself with the new systems, and finally kill that pesky Lich King before Azeroth is torn apart in a massive firestorm. Get to it!  
Posted by jon_e

Still no.

Online
Posted by billnyethesciencepie

YES

Posted by Duffyside

WoW stinks.

Edited by gakon

Would like to try some of this stuff out, but I probably won't be playing until December. 
 
Also, Kessler, your description of the talent changes is slightly innaccurate.  They're moving from a 71-point system to a 41-point system.  The trees themselves, instead of going 51 points deep, will go 31 points deep. 
 
Not too big a deal, though.

Posted by Metal_Mills

No more soul shards? Almost worth buying it for that. Still, I kinda want to play again but to get this I'd have to buy both other expansions, work through them, then get to this. It's too much.

Posted by MisterMouse

water effects!

Posted by stinky

 
as a long time player, i am happy for these changes to come about. 
 
i dream of a WoW where i don't have to fuss over spreadsheets or visit Elitist Jerks to figure out how to play my character. 

Posted by Mijati

Renewed last night... god damn WoW.
 
Got to wait until tomorrow as on EU servers but really looking forward to this, will be strange to see what effects it has on level 80 content.

Online
Posted by Maitham

Stop trying, im not playing WoW!

Posted by PhatSeeJay

It's going to be fun to tinker with this new stuff!

Posted by misterpope

I like this game. A lot. It's pretty fun. So this is good to hear.

Edited by Vorbis

Everytime I get nostalgic about the old days and consider resubbing I just look at the most recent patch notes and realise there's almost nothing left of the original WoW I loved. Then the urge subsides.

Posted by Gaff

I... must... resist!

Posted by Addfwyn

I was actually interested in this for a while, but FFXIV stole my heart away.  Despite all the flak it gets, I just love it more than I have for an MMO in a long time, so think I'll be passing on a return to WoW.
Posted by ___pocalypse

My goal has been to build a PC by Cataclysm, and these changes all sound pretty appealing. I am not the biggest WoW fan, but it holds a special place in my heart and I miss it. Totally stoked.

Posted by FunExplosions

This update needs some Kessler Kam.

Posted by Shinri

I'm now waiting for the servers to go back up, which knowing Blizzard, will take fucking ages. 'We've extended it by 2 hours. Oh, sorry, another 2... another 2..."
 
Still, the new launcher looks awesome and I can't wait to get playing.

Posted by HansKaosu

After the horror fest that was FFXIV, im happy to return to WoW. 
 
Its the only MMO i keep returning to after all other mmos fail to impress me.

Posted by Floppypants

Must get all my alts to 80 before Cataclysm... so I can put them on the shelf and work on my new goblin and worgen alts

Posted by Red

Downloading patch now, but it's taking hella long. So this new patch includes the redesigned Talent Trees, or is that not until Cata comes out?

Posted by oatz
@Duffyside said:
" WoW stinks. "
You stink.
Posted by riffingt0n

Some of these things sound neat, but I doubt they'll fix what killed the game for me - the lack of challenge. Playing a tank through the original game and Burning Crusade when it was fun, it was disappointing how much of a faceroll it became in Wrath (not just tanking, but the lack of need to CC).. sigh.
 
Also, watching bad players fail at easy content is way more frustrating than watching them fail at harder stuff >.>.
 
*Looks at the raid leader mantle on the wall and decides to leave it there* 
 
For those that go back, enjoy.  It does look like a lot of nifty stuff.

Posted by lleake

Yeah, I'll be sucked back in by the expansion.  

Posted by NickyDubz

Super excited
Holler!

Posted by sins_of_mosin

I won't be playing WoW again until after I get a new PC and sadly, that just took a hit and going to be pushed back into next year.
Posted by Pop

Europeans are getting it tomorrow, but I'm taking a break until 2 weeks before cata, there's no point getting used to the imbalance at level 80 when it's going to be different at level 85 and I already know what glyphs and talent tree I'm using in cata. And greens in cata are going to be better than purples from wotlk. 

Posted by Symphony
@Red said:
" Downloading patch now, but it's taking hella long. So this new patch includes the redesigned Talent Trees, or is that not until Cata comes out? "
It includes em. 
 
Can't wait to mess around with the new talents for my priest and rogue... pally is still feeling iffy with their combo poi... err "holy power" but I'm sur I'll get used to it. 
 
My biggest concern is how many add-ons I have are going to be totally FUBAR'd >.>
Posted by RedRocketWestie

I quit before BC, so I probably don't fully grasp the changes that have already been made, much less the impact of these, but this reeks of "if it ain't broke..." 
 
Blizzard has the nigh-undisputed heavyweight champ MMO. Are people unsubscribing? Is the magic gone? Because this sounds like they're straight-up replacing it with an entirely new game. I'm sure I can't make any argument that hasn't been repeated 10,000 times on the WoW forums, but for starters, that talent system just sounds bad. It'll lead to a lot less diversity in builds.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

Just sold my account for 100 bucks.
 
Free at last!

Posted by Areyow
@Metal_Mills:  I don't think you need to do that.  The whole purpose of cataclysm is to involve players in the old world again.  You could still easily play 1-60 (or 1-58), because the entire world is patched.  You'll see everything that players w/ all 3 expansions would see, for those levels.  You would be limited to the main races (probably not the expansion races) and probably wouldn't have access to a Death Knight.   
My suggestion would be if you think it would be fun, give it a trial, or if you've played before, the scroll of resurrection.  You can snag 10 free days.  If you still feel the yearning (nay... the hunger) to play, you can always buy the expansions later.   I recall picking up a battle chest, which had WoW and BC combo'd for 14.99 at Best Buy not too long ago.  
Posted by Korosuzo

I just started up WoW again about 2 weeks ago and it seemed to be the same old stuff happening but with Cata coming in December I must admit I'm getting sucked back in.  Playing on the PTR I've messed with these new changes and it definitely freshens up the classes and revitalizes the game just in time for the expansion.   
 
Raiding will still be "blah" but I can't wait to level new alts with these changes to all the classes and try out new quest lines and areas in the old Azeroth world.

Posted by belowzeros

looking forward to this for some reason.  everything old is new again?
 
it took me 2 years to fire up my collectors WOTLK it just sat there but this one i might crack open before the year is over.

Posted by Jonnyflash80

Oh God! I can not get hooked on this game again for I fear I will not play any other game for the next two years. 
 
Damn you Blizzard! *shakes fist in air*

Posted by Gaff
@TaliciaDragonsong: Congratulations! You can enjoy the new leveling experience as it was meant to be played! No boosts, no trust fund, no artifacts!
Posted by Jeffsekai

Meh

Posted by BiG_Weasel

Just one thing to say to this-  Star Wars Galaxies New Game Engine.  'Nuff said.  

Posted by JackSukeru

MUST.....NOT.........

Posted by TooWalrus

Playing WoW is nothing to be ashamed of, people!

Posted by aTmoz
@Red said:
" Downloading patch now, but it's taking hella long. So this new patch includes the redesigned Talent Trees, or is that not until Cata comes out? "
If u read that long post above u would now the answer to ur question...
Edited by CocoRodriguez--defunct

The one thing about Cataclysm that is making me kinda want to come back is that Trolls will be able to be every class except Paladin.
 
And I can make that Paladin a Moo-cow. Which is a good consolation prize.

Edited by Bummey

Awww fuck, is it that time already? New WoW expansion? There goes the first few months of 2011...

Posted by gakon
@riffingt0n: Ghostcrawler has said they're bringing back crowd control for Cataclysm, especially in 5-man instances.  I've heard a number of people assert that "heroics are back"; we'll see about raid dungeons.
Posted by MordeaniisChaos

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!! 
 
I cannot play this game again, no, please... .NOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 
I can feel my money crying already... =/

Posted by animathias
@RedRocketWestie said:
" I quit before BC, so I probably don't fully grasp the changes that have already been made, much less the impact of these, but this reeks of "if it ain't broke..."  Blizzard has the nigh-undisputed heavyweight champ MMO. Are people unsubscribing? Is the magic gone? Because this sounds like they're straight-up replacing it with an entirely new game. I'm sure I can't make any argument that hasn't been repeated 10,000 times on the WoW forums, but for starters, that talent system just sounds bad. It'll lead to a lot less diversity in builds. "

They just announced reaching 12 million subscribers after being plateaued between 11 and 12 for a long while. They're changing things because it's been stagnating for 5 years. No one wants to level an alt anymore unless they can turbo through it, and new players are urged to go to Draenei and Blood Elf starting zones because the quests there are more streamlined and fun.

They've learned quite a bit about quest and xp structure in the last 5 years, and the idea of them taking that knowledge and injecting it into their old content sounds brilliant.

As for the talent trees? Meh, who can say? All I know is that right now every class has 3-5 cookie cutter specs and if you don't use them, you're a f***ing noob! and you don't know how to play. Also, if you're not of one of 3 classes or 2 races, you're also a f***ing noob! so I don't listen to 98% of the people who play WoW. 

Posted by ThePhenomenal1

well i've already been playing for the past month or two to get prepared for cata. my main has just gotten to lvl 42 and i really hope to get as close to 80 as i can before december 7th. so that way i can experience both ends of the expansion content.

Posted by FrenchFriedFool

For all the terrifying changes and the daunting prospect of doing my talent tree again, my god it's good to be free of soul shards. Seriously, fuck soul shards.

Posted by Warchief

blood tank!

Posted by OtakuGamer

If I wasn't so picky to what class I should stick with I would be lvl 60 by now.  lol
  
Random question, what's the best solo class?

Posted by gakon

Also, while we're here, let's reiterate the severe need for a new Rorcraft videro.

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