More Cataclysm Changes, Icecrown Citadel Buff Increases and New RaF Mount Live.
After the epic news about the changes to twenty five and ten man raiding earlier in the week, there have been a couple more announcements regarding system changes for Cataclysm.
The emblem system featured in Wrath of the Lich King is being simplified a lot for Cataclysm. This is a much needed change in my opinion as the number of emblem types you could potentially earn was becoming ludicrous. More confusing was the conversion system in place to change the higher emblems into the lower tier versions.
There will be four sets of emblems in Cataclysm; two for PvP and two for PvE.
Hero Points – These are the lower tier emblems and should be easy to obtain. There will be a cap on how many of these emblems you can have at any one time, but there won’t be a limit on the speed with which you can earn them. They’ll be earned from most dungeons.
Valor points – These are the higher tier emblems which are harder to obtain. There will be both a cap on how many of these emblems you can hate at any one time along with a cap as to how many you can earn per week. They will be obtained from the daily heroic dungeon and from raids.
Honour Points – These are the low tier and easily obtained PvP points. There will be a cap on how many you can have at any one time but no cap on the speed at which you can earn them. These will be rewarded from most PvP activities.
Conquest Points – These are the higher tier PvP emblems. Much like the highest PvE emblems, there is both a cap on how many you can have at one time and a cap on the speed at which you can earn them. These replace the current arena points system and will be rewarded from both arena games and from winning rated battle grounds.
It’s worth noting that to prevent you stock piling emblems, every time a new tier of raid content is released or a new PvP season commences, your highest tier emblems will be converted down to their lower tier variants. There will be a system in place to convert the PvP emblems to PvE emblems and vice versa. However, you will pay a penalty or “tax” for doing this, it will not be a 1:1 conversion.
The good news for some (myself included) is that you can earn the highest level PvP rewards without needing to take part in arenas.
I have to say from a personal point of view, I really like these changes. I enjoy battlegrounds but not arena matches, so the ability to still aim for the highest level rewards without needing to take part in an area of the game I don’t enjoy is a huge plus. The limit to the number of higher level emblems you can earn per week has been met with a degree of scepticism from the community, with some people arguing that again, Blizzard are rewarding more casual players who don’t want to invest as much time in the game. I can understand their argument but on the other hand I prefer the idea of choosing where you earn your x number of emblems a week from. I enjoy raiding. I have less interest in running random daily dungeons every day. Yet I felt obliged to do so at the start of Icecrown Citadel as I saw it as having a responsibility to my guild to gear up as fast as was possible.
In Wrath, we have seen people using alt characters to run the daily multiple times and use the emblems to buy the higher materials for crafted items for their main characters. We’ve also seen the limited attempt system causing some guild’s to practice encounters on their alts before attempting them with their main characters. (Though fortunately, the limited attempts should be a thing of the past come Cataclysm). Many people have suggested that the changes to the raid mechanics, with ten and twenty five man raids sharing a lock out, will result in more people turning to alts to satisfy their lust for raiding. I confess that I think if the most expensive crafting materials are still available from emblems, capping the rate at which we can earn them will merely serve to reinforce this alt mentality.
Icecrown Citadel Buff Increased
We all knew it was coming and this reset it arrived, Hellscream’s Warsong and Strength of the Wyrnn have been increased in strength to 15% from 10%. As a recap, these buffs now increase healing done, damage done and hit points by 15%. In addition, the number of attempts for the wing bosses in heroic modes has now been increased to 45.
X-53 Touring Rocket is Live
This was promised some time ago but then delayed. Finally, the x-53 touring rocket is live and replaces the zhevra as the new “recruit-a-friend” mount. This mount signifies the first, multi-passenger, flying mount. Like the celestial steed from the Blizzard store, the mount scales in speed. That is to say, if you have already earned a 310% speed mount in game through the achievement system, this mount will take the same speed.
For anyone disliking the raid changes for Cataclysm or simply wanting a new alt character (or are predicting a main change perhaps), this is the perfect time to buy yourself a second account and do just that. Linked to your first, you’ll gain additional experience, have the ability to summon your characters to each other and earn the mount for your main account. It’s well worth noting that you can buy upgrade the account online via the Blizzard store and you can also buy digital game cards here. If you want the mount immediately, you’ll need to use a game card.
Overall, it’s been an exciting week of Cataclysm changes announced. While there is an understandably mixed view amongst the community, specifically related to the raid lock out alterations, I’m thrilled so far with all of the information released. With the implementation of the mastery system, the raid changes and the caps on how fast you earn emblems, Cataclysm is shaping up to be an expansion about choices. The mastery system should allow people more flexibility in how they spec as opposed to the cookie cutter PvE specs that have dominated tBC and Wrath. The choice between which size of raids you participate in is huge for me. Generally MMOs make the mistake of pushing ambitious players into joining large scale guilds if they want to truly maximise their character’s potential in terms of gear. Realising that smaller groups of players can be equally dedicated and skilled is a huge step forward for the genre in general, allowing smaller groups of friends to still see the highest level of content without being pressed into big guilds. Frequently, friends are separated and unable to enjoy the highest PvE experience together. Even assuming they join the same guild, there are often rotations for spots and people can’t raid together. The changes cater for exactly this scenario as well as allowing players with more obscure real life commitments to still compete.
The one aspect I’m really keen to hear a few more details about now is the Path of the Titans. Once again, this adds a further element of choice to the game.