Cataclysm Raid and Badge Changes

Looks like we have Raid and Badge Changes for Cataclysm on back-to-back days!  When I first read through these changes, I immediately thought of the outcry many of the more serious World of Warcraft players will start spewing out.  I understand.  In fact, I don’t blame those of you who are upset.  These changes more or less are catering to a casual-hardcore crowd, and most of Cataclysm seems to be shifting in that direction.

You know what , though?  I love the changes so far.  Before I get into my personal thoughts on the subject, let’s hit the highlights of the news from the last two days:

Raid Changes

  • 10 and 25 man normal raids will drop the exact same loot. 25 mans will simply drop a larger quantity of items.  The same holds true for the heroic versions.
  • Heroic versions of bosses in Cataclysm will be decided on a per boss basis.  This is how it is done in ICC now as well.
  • 10 man and 25 man will share the same lockout.  If you do a 10 man in one week, you won’t be able to do that same 25 man as well.
  • The difficulty in 10 and 25 mans will be very comparable to each other.
  • The intention for Cataclysm is to have many smaller raids with fewer bosses, as opposed to one large one with many bosses.

Honor and PvP Badges and Points

  • Badges are going away and being replaced by a point system, similar to what is now used in PvP.
  • PvP rating requirements on most gear being REMOVED.
  • Hero Points – PvE points.  What we consider Emblems of Triumph, these will be the most commonly available.  max cap to own, no limit on how fast they can be earned.
  • Valor Points – PvE points.  What we consider Emblems of Frost, these will be acquired in raids, and Dungeon Finder dailies.  Max cap to own, also cap to how many can be earned per week.
  • Honor Points – Common PvP points.  Acquired in normal Battlegrounds.
  • Conquest Points – Elite PvP points.  Acquired via arenas and rated Battlegrounds.

The Good

Starting with the PvE changes, I simply love them.  I consider myself a casual/hardcore player.  We have a smaller guild who can, at times, have difficulty fielding 25 mans consistently.  Those of us that have beaten the Lich King in 10 man, may very well not see him defeated in 25, thus hindering our ability to gain better gear for heroic versions of ICC.

With smaller raids, there will be more raids to tackle in any given week.  Our current raiding schedule is twice Mon-Fri.  Right now, we chip away at ICC.  In Cataclysm, we may get 1 full raid down one night, another on the second night, and half of a third.  I see much more potential to tackle more content in a smaller time span.  I’ll be honest, hacking away at an instance for 5 to 6 hours a night isn’t fun.  Let me run in for 3 hours or so, learn fights, master them, and move on to more content.  Some view this as ‘dumbing down’ the game, but I like beating content.  The more I see, the happier I am.  I choose not to complain about the difficulty.  (That said, I absolutely love the difficulty of the Lich King fight.  A true test of gear and skill, probably the best fight in WOW so far.)

In regards to the PvP changes, this is simply renaming the current point system, no complaints here!  Oh, yeah…ahem…rating requirements BEING REMOVED!  YES!  This allows for non-PvP players such as myself to get into PvP without the fear of not being able to gear up without a large amount of time dedicated to the process.  Does it strip away the achievements of hardcore PvPers who go through the rigors of getting their gear.  Unfortunately yeah, but for me, it’s a great change.

The Bad

The bad news for the PvE changes is that it deals a significant blow to the hardcore players all across WoW.  Realm and World firsts will lose some significance until heroic modes are beaten, and the degree of separation between great guilds and good guilds will become further blurred.

I’m not a fan of capping the total number of Hero Points a player can have.  I hope they make this number relatively high, because I tend to hang onto points at times as I work out different gear combinations.  It is not unlike me to save up and purchase 3 pieces of gear at once.

Also, because Paladins fill 3 roles, it can be hard at times to determine the best use of your gear currency. I’ll reserve more judgement until I see more specifics, but that is pretty much the only thing that stands out to me as a dislike.  Everything else gets a thumbs up!

For PvP, it’s difficult for me to peg negatives on the changes because I rarely PvP. With these changes, I can see myself in the arenas and battlegrounds much more.  Because Blizzard is apparently catering to players very similar to myself, I understand why this would outrage hardcore PvPers.  It simply strips them of any pride and accomplishment for mastering this aspect of gameplay.  Maybe Blizz will have better news for PvPers later on, but for now, I am seeing a lot of upset players!

Here are the notes for those interested:

Badge and Point Changes From Bashiok [Source]

We’re continuing to refine the badge/emblem and PvP point systems in Cataclysm and we’d like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!Our primary goal when approaching badges in Cataclysm is to address a lot of the confusion that comes with these currency systems. To that end we’re changing badges to a more straightforward point system, similar to the ones we’ve used for a while for Arenas and Battlegrounds. There will be a total of four types of points you can earn in Cataclysm (two for PvE and two for PvP), and these will remain the same even as we introduce new content.

Here’s the breakdown:

PvE

Hero Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most dungeons. (most like the current Emblem of Triumph)
Valor Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the current Emblem of Frost)

PvP

Honor Points — Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
Conquest Points — High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There will be a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas. (currently called Arena Points)

When a new tier of raiding gear is released or a new PvP season begins, your higher tier of points will be converted into the lower tier. For instance, if a new tier of raid gear is released, your Valor points will be converted to Hero points, and similarly if a new PvP season begins your Conquest points will be converted to Honor points. Of course that means with these new releases you’ll always begin without any of the higher tier of points, and thus be unable to stockpile them.

As noted for Conquest points, the Rated Battlegrounds and Arenas will be sharing this same point type. Because of that, it will in fact be possible to get the best PvP items without setting foot in Arena; however, more powerful armor and weapons will of course require more Conquest points, so players who win their matches more often will still gear up faster. We’re removing personal rating requirements on almost all items; they’re definitely removed for weapons. We might offer a few items to the absolute best players based on personal rating, largely as cosmetic or ‘bragging rights’ type items. And you’ll have the option of purchasing the previous season’s gear with the more readily available Honor points.

We do plan to have a way to convert Honor points (PvP) into Hero points (PvE), and vice versa, at a loss. The conversions will be possible, but it won’t be a 1:1 rate, and you’ll have fewer points after the conversion process. We won’t allow the higher tiers to be exchanged for each other, however.

To explain the reasoning for the weekly cap on points for the higher tiers, this is to provide flexibility in how players choose to earn the points without feeling like they have to do all of the content as often as it is available. If your Valor income from raiding is sufficient, you may not feel the need to run Dungeon Finder every night, or perhaps even at all. Likewise, a PvP player could choose to participate in a lot of Rated Battlegrounds but no Arenas, or focus on both, and still be able to earn the points they want.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

Raid Changes from Nethaera [Source]

We’re continuing to refine the raid progression paths in Cataclysm, and we’d like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!The first of the refinements being made is that we’re combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn’t apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.

We’re designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we’ll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They’ll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items. Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.

Dungeon Difficulty and Rewards

10- and 25-player (normal difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop the exact same items as each other.
10- and 25-player (Heroic difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop more powerful versions of the normal-difficulty items.

We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you’re able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.

We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week.

We do like how gating bosses over time allows the community to focus on individual encounters instead of just racing to the end boss, so we’re likely to keep that design moving forward. We don’t plan to impose attempt limitations again though, except maybe in cases of rare optional bosses (like Algalon). Heroic mode may not be open from day one, but will become available after defeating normal mode perhaps as little as once or twice.

In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience.

We design our raids to be accessible to a broad spectrum of players, so we want groups to be able to make the decision about whether to attempt the normal or Heroic versions of raids pretty quickly. The goal with all of these changes is to make it as much of a choice or effect of circumstance whether you raid as a group of 10 or as a group of 25 as possible. Whether you’re a big guild or a small guild the choice won’t be dependent on what items drop, but instead on what you enjoy the most.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

Additional Raid Changes Info from Zarhym [Source]

Here are some clarifications to a few common questions we’re seeing.

Regarding how the raid dungeons will share the same lockout. This means that you cannot do separate instances in the same week. If you defeat an encounter in 10 player normal mode then you are locked to the 10 player mode of that dungeon for that week and can flip between 10 player normal and 10 player heroic on a per boss basis (assuming heroic is available). In this scenario you cannot do the 25 player version. Is this correct?

Correct. There should be no circumstances under which you kill a boss more than once per week on the same character. However, in the same way that you can decide on a per-boss basis whether to try normal vs. hard mode, we might allow you to change between 10 and 25 on a per-encounter basis for additional flexibility. If you started a raid in 25-player mode and then found that you couldn’t get everyone together later in the week, you might be able to downsize the next few bosses to 10-player.

Will legendary items be available through 10 player dungeons? How about special mounts like Invincible?

In some of these specific cases, the answer is that we just don’t know yet. We’re going to have to walk a fine line between dropping the same items in both 10- and 25-player modes, versus still offering something extra for the 25s. If we over-reward the 25s, then players who like 10-player raiding will still feel compelled to find more warm bodies. If we don’t provide any extra incentive for 25s, then some players may stop playing with their friends in order to avoid the extra organization required for a large raid.

Overall, our goal is that you make the decision between whether to raid with 10 players or 25 players based on what you find fun and not because of the reward structure.

For perspective, it might help to look back at how we changed lockouts and hard modes on every single raid tier of Wrath of the Lich King to see what felt right and try to fix problems that arose from previous tiers. After seeing the first tier of Cataclysm raiding, we may decide to adjust our design for the next tier.

How many pieces of loot will drop for 10 and 25 player modes respectively?

When we say “25 should drop more loot,” we’re just sharing a philosophy. You shouldn’t assume that this means that 10-player modes will drop 1 item or that 25-player modes will drop 6 items, or whatever. We haven’t finalized how much loot will drop, but our general goal is that 25s should drop more to help make up for some of the logistical cost.

Will achievements be broken down by 10/25 modes? Will realm first achievements/titles be only for 25s? Will meta-achievement mounts be available for both versions still?

There will just be raid achievements, not 10- vs. 25-player versions in most cases. The achievement won’t care if you complete it in 10s or 25s. If we do meta-achievement mounts, it’s possible we’d still have different colors of mounts, or maybe even different mounts; but for some players that might mean that 25s feels mandatory again, which would be a potential problem. This is the kind of thing we’re going to have to consider carefully, and again, we might try a few different implementations before sticking with something we like.

We’re also not sure about realm first achievements or titles. We don’t want to encourage, say, 25-player focused guilds to run a 10-player raid instead because they think that will get them the ream first title faster. One potential solution is you can earn a realm first title in 10 or 25, but not both. These types of achievements also serve as great content for guild achievements.

Comments

  1. indigo says:

    I hate changes in Cataclysm … i really hate …. 🙁

    I am pala and i hate the holypala vs. priest role switch.
    I hate the “combat pet/dk army” for paladin. Why? omg why? why? why? 🙁
    Why Blizz destroiyng the 25 man? I don’t see any reasonable reason. ANY! (Difficulty of assembling 25 people is not reason! It is hard maybe but is not reason!)

    Am i alone in this? 🙁

  2. snieh says:

    They aren’t destroying 25 mans. People will still have the option to do them. If people aren’t going to do a 25 man simply because it doesn’t have better gear then I guess they only ever cared about gear to begin with. People who care about 25mans will show up week after week to do them. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people to do them with since there seems to be a river of salty tears over these changes.

    And why are you freaking out about the class changes? Blizzard does this EVERY expansion. They flip the game upside down. It keeps things fresh and new. To me it’s like playing a new game every time.

  3. Khor says:

    See from my point of view, I run with a smaller guild. Getting enough for 25-mans can be challenging at times, and even then you can dilute the talent when doing so. This isn’t a bad thing, but forming 10-mans is much easier for us, and it doesn’t penalize us gear-wise. I haven’t been on a guild 25-man in over two months because I work those days. Yet, I make both of our 10-man nights.

    Yes, it does cater to smaller guilds, but think about the work that goes into maintaining 4 separate raids for one single dungeon (heroic and normal 10 & 25). Blizz is essentially narrowing it down to 2 versions with 2 versions of loot as opposed to 4. This can allow them to focus on other content, perhaps other raids.

    Changes work for me…

    The ONLY thing I am worried about right now is our single target DPS as Ret, and will it still be competitive. The incoming Divine Storm nerf has me wondering, so it’s just a waiting game to see what will come.

  4. indigo says:

    To Snieh: If I wanna play “new game” then I create new character – leveling is easy in this days with dungeon finder. For a “new game” i dont need game style changes (e.g. holypala vs. priest). For new game i dont need “combat pet” for paladin. If i wanna “combat pet” I can play with DK or Hunter. If I wanna heal raid i can create priest.
    So still … i hate this changes. I choose paladin class for his roles in raids. If blizz change his roles -> change my roles -> change my choices.

    You have right – every expansion contains changes. I can nothing do with this but still i can hate it.

    Blizzard motto for every update: “Nerf the paladin”
    Final Blizzard motto: “Delete every class and make only one supernonuniqueclass for all players = end of differences = end of discussions”.

    Oh.

  5. Azamar says:

    I like the new changes! I agree with the Admin, My friends and I have a small guild and 10 man raids are easier to put and keep together. We all work and have families and we can’t always dedicate the time we’d like. We all play the game regularly and wish we had more time to play but, we have real lives, homes, jobs, children, careers, Etc.. If we can take a little longer to obtain the higher level gear, that’s fine with us! At least we’ll have a chance to get it!

  6. Demonic hero says:

    Ok this is my first ever post on these changes. People need to face up to this. 90% of the wow community can’t play/ raid every night for what ever reason. 10% are hard core play 24/7. These changes are good for that 90% it means they can enjoy all game content without having to for example leave/devorce there parters just to play 10 hours every day to achieve high content. sure it may upset 10% but it makes the game fair for every 1 no matter on there commitments. The truth is that 90% don’t need to post upset so all u will ever realy here from is those who in that 10% blizzard knows this but I’m sorry if ur in that 10% but my best advice is become casual and enjoy the wonders of real life get a gf\bf and stop being so selfish and feal happy that the 90% can enjoy the game as much as you do . End of : )

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