50 reasons to play World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

41. You'll fight the wind

Earth, Fire, Water... the Air plane is represented by Skywall, home to a mid-80s levelling area, one five man dungeon and a single boss raid. Since Warcraft lore says Skywall is home to Al'Akir the Windlord, it's safe to assume that he's the big boss.

42. You'll be going to Egypt. Ish.

Situated far South of Un'goro Crater, Uldum is a desert zone with two instances themed around ancient Egypt. It's home to a lost Titan city and a race of giant stone cats, the Tol'vir. We think the final Uldum dungeon, currently just a giant facade at the very south of the zone, will be patched in as a raid later on.

43. You'll be back at Blackrock...

In vanilla WoW, play culminated in Blackrock Spire and Blackwing Lair They were epic instances, taking hours to play through. Now, they're back. In Cataclysm, Deathwing's return as head of the Black Dragonflight stirs up more trouble under the mountain. A raid dungeon, Blackwing Descent, will see you face off against Deathwing's son Nefarian, alongside a five-man, Blackrock Caverns.

44. ...And back to the battleground.

Arena fights are widely regarded as the pinnacle of World of Warcraft's PvP. That's going to change. Do well in battlegrounds, now, and you'll have the same access to rated arena gear as gladiators. Hot loots for all!

45. New Alts are coming

Ever thought that the cruel pigeonholing of Dwarves into axe- wielding warriors and paladins was a bit prejudiced? Then rejoice in the new class combos Cataclysm allows, like Tauren priests, Human hunters and Blood Elf warriors.

46. Wintergrasp's getting a sequel

The new world PvP zone in Cataclysm is the Isle of Tol'Barad. It's an off-shore prison policed by mages from Dalaran and Stormwind, but it's main purpose is to host faction level battles between Alliance and Horde. Don't fear for lag, though: these battles aren't going to be concentrated around the prison fortress. “In Wintergrasp, explains Chilton, “players are so concentrated that it becomes difficult for the server to handle. We'll be trying to spread players out among different objectives more effectively.” Chilton didn't confirm it, but spread out objectives and vehicle combat suggest that boat-to-boat fighting might well be a mainstay of Tol'Barad battles. When the battle for control of Tol'Barad is over, it will become a daily quest hub, which the designers are hoping will encourage yet more fighting.

“We thought that when the battle wasn't going on in Wintergrasp, it would be a good environment for spontaneous world PvP,” explains Tom. “But the way the Lich King economy developed players didn't stay after the battles to farm for primals. What we're trying to do is meld the idea of Wintergrasp with the Isle of Quel'Danas (the daily quest hub from the Burning Crusade ). That felt like that players were naturally there and had activities they wanted to do, and PvP spontaneously happened without us needing to force it.”

47. Your guild will level-up

Guilds in World of Warcraft are about to be overhauled, with the intention of making it much harder to bounce from group to group. Guilds will be able to gain levels and achievements and invest points in meta-talent trees. These abilities will range from reducing costs for new gear, to increasing gold drops, removing reagents for buffs and mass resurrection. It's just another reason to play with friends. Or with your friends in the official, absolutely awesome, PC Gamer WoW guild.

48. You'll be recruited

Guild leaders largely find new members by either spamming advertisements into the trade channels, or via word of mouth. A new Looking for Guild interface should make recruitment less of a trial. Group calenders should also make guild alliances and informal pugs easier to arrange.

49. You can ditch the spreadsheet

World of Warcraft's statistical mechanics are largely incomprehensible to the average player. That's changing – with arcane numbers like armour penetration, and mana-per-five being removed from the game entirely. Say goodbye to your spreadsheet.

50. Tier upgrades are staying

In Wrath, Blizzard finally nailed how to keep players interested in the very best loot in the game: upgradable tier items. Bought over a period of months, each armour set can be upgraded twice, by combining it with tokens earned in raids. That's how top-end loot is likely to function in Cataclysm, too. “We really like the idea of having each tier set broken into three stages like that which players can progress through,” says Chilton, “A lot of players have access to the tier set, but the upgrades still give players a way to express their awesomeness.” Your tier 11 set is going to rock.

Adam Oxford


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