Having covered the more major points of the Cataclysm expansion – at least, those which have been announced so far – in my previous posts, I’m going to cover two things today and then finish up tomorrow with the smaller features. Also, I’m not going to discuss the lore of the expansion at all right now, because I’ve talked about parts of it already and quite frankly everyone and their brother has heard what’ll be happening. I might take a bit of a look at the areas which will be changed significantly in the future, but not at this time. Anyway, onwards.
It made me very happy when Blizzard announced their plans for cross-server instances. By opening up the LFG to your entire battlegroup, it ought to significantly reduce wait times for PuG instances – in my experience it tends to be the tanks you end up waiting for most, but whatever it is you need, you now have a much greater pool of players to choose from. Just don’t try to recruit players from other servers by accident!
The new system will not support raids. I’m not sure why not – people do PuG raids, and there is always the chance that they’ll be struggling for players, but maybe the hardware won’t support it or something. Admittedly it’s not much of an issue; the heroic instances put much more of a strain on the server.
As a very welcome side effect of this change, the ubiquitous problem of “Additional instances cannot be launched” will actually finally be fixed too! I forget whether it’s because of the hardware overhaul or the fact that all the players on your realm won’t be crammed into the same server space or what, but regardless it’s going away, which is fantastic. I honestly detest that message.
Alongside the changes to PvE instances, the PvP versions are also getting changes – I do, of course, mean the battlegrounds. The announcement of rated battlegrounds was greeted with great applause, especially by me, and I know I’ve wanted this for a long time. It may be hard to implement without it becoming a grind-fest, but not everyone wants to do arenas to be recognized for their PvP skills. So long as it’s done properly (i.e. not too easy to get good gear and not just a big grind), rated BGs will allow players to get good PvP gear and achievements without ever creating an arena team, which is perfect.
The way it’s apparently being done is that the battleground for the holiday weekend that week will also become the rated one, meaning it swaps about regularly. The arena points you earn each week (for arena points they are) will be capped, to prevent a grind, and you’ll have a rating similar to how the arena ratings work, which is to say one matchmaking rating and one visible, personal rating.
Rewards, as well as access to the arena rewards, will include epic mounts, contributions to the beloved guild achievements, and interestingly, PvP titles. Now, these titles were abolished when TBC was released and the PvP system got completely changed, but they’re being brought back, although in what form we don’t know – it may be that you earn them to keep, or it may be that you only get them for a season like the arena titles. I suspect it will be the latter. I’m going to admit that I don’t like this idea of titles, but that’s purely because I proudly wore my old ‘Corporal’ title for a very long time*, knowing that no-one else could get it and that it was a Feat of Strength. Still, for the majority this will be a cool change.
Tomorrow, we’ll finish the Blizzcon review, and after that, who knows? I certainly don’t…
*I wore it for several years, until it was replaced by ‘the Seeker’. Hopefully it will soon be ‘Loremaster’!