It’s been a couple of weeks since BlizzCon announced Cataclysm for next year. I touched on races and classes at the time, but haven’t gone back to any of the other goodies since. Today, I’ll touch on the level cap.
Blizzard announed they are deviating from the standard 10-level increase in an expansion. Instead, Cataclysm will build from 80-85. One thing that continues to pop up is that World of Warcraft will likely cap out at level 100 and this is just a way of drawing out that process. That might be true, but I’m going to give credit where it’s due: the next expansion is not about your character, it’s about Azeroth.
Yes, you’re going to be able to end-game raid, PvP, create items, and so forth, but this could actually be the closest thing to WoW 2 without being the real thing. There’s plenty of gameplay changes (which will also be discussed at a later time) in the works, but more importantly change comes to the World…of Warcraft itself.
Just from the trailer alone, we have two new starting areas, an (THANK GOD) overhaul of existing ones, Flying in at least some areas, and of course all the zones getting blown up/burned/new growth and so forth. To sum up, a month before Cataclysm comes out, and the day it launches, Azeroth will be completely different.
Blizzard is going to accomplish a number of things with this expansion, but hit two very important areas: alts and end game. Let’s face it, nearly all of us have an alt (or 20). Some would have more, but to do the same 1-80 venture is…*yawn*…getting stale fast, if it hasn’t already. By clean-slating much of the quests south of Northrend, it makes the game new again. Suddenly, levelling someone new is exciting. Of course, the new race and class combos help that even further.
The other issue is end game. The developers have made it very clear there is going to be HUGE focus on end-game raiding and such. I think we, as players, are going to have more choices on where we want to go when we get to “end-game” than ever before. Then again, we haven’t really had much choice. Blizzard has towed a “you go here, then here, then here” route for most end-game. Defeated Naxx? Head to Ulduar. Done that? Here’s ToC. I would expect to see more, you just helped Malfurion save Mount Hyjal. Well, now you’re ready to go do this, this or this. It would be a welcomed change.
This is to say nothing of the new zones (there’s something south of Tanaris?), including PvP, or city changes. Instead of focussing on “the next 10 levels,” Blizzard is giving us five, and making everything old new again. Quite frankly, it’s brilliant.