11. You could be a feral Death Knight
Worgens have eight class options. You can create a Death Knight, Druid, Warrior, Hunter, Mage, Priest, Rogue or Warlock. A werewolf death knight? Yes please.
12. Cataclysm chooses fun over efficiency
The talent trees for all character classes are being completely overhauled, and the main goal is to prune out boring but valuable talents that passively increase damage or healing. That should mean more toys to play with, extra buttons to click and more variety in playing styles. “I'd expect to see a further pruning of critical class buffs and debuffs,” explains Chilton, “because it's still a little more restrictive than what we'd like to see. A lot of what Mastery (see 13) and the talent changes are about is making sure that the choices players make about their character are interesting. Hopefully that will add character depth without making the game more complex.” Is this the end for two button raiding?
13. You'll master your role
Instead of spending points on passive skills when it comes to deciding your talents, you'll earn 'Mastery' bonuses. A rogue might pick up bonus poison damage for each point in Assassination, for example, and hit rating for every Combat skill. It's a way for Blizzard to prune technical talents and exchange them for fun clickable abilities.
14. Play through a new five levels
The previous level cap for World of Warcraft characters, 80, is being raised to 85. Previous expansions have shifted it in increments of 10 – 60-70 f Burning Crusade and 70-80 for Wrath of the Lich King. The disparity may come from the sheer amount of quests and zones players currently have to play through. Levelling a new character is an huge amount of work.
15. You'll gain the right to choose your build
At level 85, players will have access to an outrageous 76 talent points. Blizzard's Greg Street points out that this means you can have a signature 21 point talent from one tree and a 51 point ability from another, hopefully removing the reliance on 'cookie cutter' builds for raiders.
16. You'll be a tomb raider
Recurring NPC Harrison Jones may have some of the best lines in WoW, but he's going to be joined by friends in Cataclysm. Everyone. That's thanks to the new Archaeology skill. With it, you can find hidden artefacts, uncover tidbits of lore and enter phased events. Perhaps you'll even see secret messages written on the eyelids of a cute girl in the third row.
17. Progress won't stop at level 85
Linked to the Archaeology skill is a brand new way of levelling called Path of the Titans. There are six Paths to choose from, linked to each of the mythical Titans (the creators of Azeroth) and you earn new abilities in them by cashing in your archaeological finds. Joining the 'Cult of Golganneth the Thunderer', for instance, hardens you against physical damage – perfect for Player vs Player orientated players. Significantly, you'll pick your path independently of your class and talent spec.
18. You'll find even more glyphs
Path of the Titan talent trees will feature several choices at every tier, and the new abilities are added in the form of ancient glyphs, which sit on the same panel as your current glyphs. If you're an inscriptor, it may be worth stocking up on materials right now.
19. A new way to use professions
Currently, all players can customise their gear with gems and enchants – an essential step for top-tier raiders. In Cataclysm, most of the professions will be able to tweak the stats on items. Tailors, blacksmiths, leatherworkers, jewellers and engineers will be able to alter weapons and armour by 'reforging' it. That means taking 50% of the bonus for one stat and replacing it with a brand new one.
20. It's going to tell better stories
Blizzard's phasing tech, which can show players in the same zone different terrain and NPCs depending on their progress through a quest chain, is going to be everywhere in Cataclysm. The new starting zones for Goblins and Worgen, for example, will change as you level towards the cataclysm event itself. “Phasing is a powerful tool,” says Chilton, “but it can be disruptive to the player's perception of the integrity of the world if we use it too much or in the wrong ways.” The narrative of Cataclysm is going to be even more heavily embedded in the quest chains than it was in Wrath of the Lich King. “We don't really approach any quest line or story with the idea that we need to use phasing here,” Chilton explains, “We approach it based off the needs of what it is that we're trying to achieve. So if we're talking about the Barrens, we'll try to identify the most core thing to do with what's going on with the story of the Barrens and we'll try to focus more on those than we ever did before. And if in the process of doing that we have an idea that's awesome and will be supported really well by phasing, then we decide whether or not to use it.”