[Cataclysm] New race/ class combos in before expansion

Ladies and Gentleorcs, start your engines. We have a release date for Cataclysm and it is 7th December. I imagine there was a lot of pressure for Blizzard to get this one out of the door before the end of the year (and not just from bored players.) Player vs Developer notes that the digital download will be available from Blizzard on launch day, which didn’t happen with previous expansions. Will Cataclysm sneak in as the biggest game of the year? There’s a lot of competition.

But there are going to be some major changes in the game before this date too. It’s been quite usual in the past for class changes to be patched in before an expansion and that will happen here too.

isheepthings sums up the changes coming into the game via patch 4.0.1 which is due in a week or so.

I predict that the raid lock changes in particular will be quite confusing to people. My brief summary:

  • 10 and 25 man raids will share the same locks
  • You can zone into any raid as long as it’s further into an instance than any boss you have already killed that week. So if you go into ICC on Wednesday and clear the first wing, you can go in with any raid later in the week as long as those bosses are already down when you zone in.
  • Blizzard explain it more fully here.
  • However, if your raid clears the first wing when you aren’t there and you then clear the rest of the instance with them the next day, you cannot later go into a new raid just to kill the first wing (because you have already killed the later bosses.)

More interestingly, Zarhym commented in answer to questions on the official board:


Q u o t e:
Will the new Race/class combinations (not Worgen/ Goblin), be available prior to Cataclysm? Or do you have to have a Cataclysm account to create an Orc mage or a Troll Druid?


They will be available to everyone shortly before the release of Cataclysm when The Shattering takes place.

So it sounds as though the world will change before the expansion launches, at which time everyone who is desperate to play a blood elf warrior, tauren paladin, dwarf shaman et al can get their groove on.

Is your character race purely cosmetic?

There is a long tradition, stretching back to the earliest MUDs, that players have a choice of fantasy races for their characters. It has become part of the MMO scenery, even though in many games it will never much affect your play. So is a race just cosmetic, just another way to customise your character visually?

PvD posted awhile back about how races are sold in the cash shop for EQ2X at the moment. You can buy options for that game in packs of three, and each pack is arranged to offer one popular race with two less popular ones. Other than that, there’s no rhyme or reason in the selections. This puzzled me as a concept – the idea of picking a race because ‘it was included free in the pack with the one I actually wanted’ feels like a very unintuitive way to make that choice.

I was minded of this because I have a friend who has a really strong preference for playing elves. If a game doesn’t offer elves, her interest drops. One of the things she is most excited about in Cataclysm is the ability to play a blood elf warrior for the first time. And this has nothing to do with game elements like racial abilities. She just likes elves. If she played EQ2X I don’t think she’d be too thrilled to see the elf races split between packs (she’d probably just pick the one she liked best and not bother with the others, whereas she’d have paid more for a pack that included all of them.) I know others who always play humans, and prefer to pick a human character who looks as close to themselves (in some idealised form) as possible. So some players go into the game with a vague idea of how they want their character to look or act and pick the race that fits it most closely.

For other people, the most important thing about picking a race is any in-game advantage. So optimal racial abilities or starting areas would play a bigger factor in the choice. If racial abilities change, these guys may take advantage of a paid race change in game.

Others are more interested in aesthetics. Which race looks prettiest or most badass? Which race/ class combination has the coolest looking armour?

And in some games, that’s pretty much it for racial identity. It’s all about how you look and whether you get any minor mechanical perks. EQ2X for example does have racial lore, but it isn’t equally emphasised for all races. You can easily go through a starting zone that seems to have been designed for another race without learning anything about your own.

When races are more than a collection of stats and a skin

Warcraft certainly wasn’t the first game to emphasise racial starting areas and lore. But their commitment to doing so has always been quite impressive. When you pick a race, you’re also picking a starting zone in which you’ll have about 20 levels worth of race specific content. (Unless you’re a gnome or troll, in which case hang in there for Cataclysm!)

This is fertile ground for roleplayers, who might go with the strongest lore or most appealing backstory. As well as their own starting areas, races have their own architectures, racial leaders, history, and in-game racial stereotypes. So gnomes are not just small and squeaky but also crazy scientists with silly names. Forsaken are sarcastic, deadpan, and have no moral compass. Dwarves like beer and blacksmithing (is there any game in which this is not the case?).

Racial lore is about to get a huge boost in Cataclysm with the addition of Archaeology to the game. I think this is going to be one of the most popular new mechanics that the expansion brings. And as a side-effect, it adds more oomph to the races and their backgrounds.

Why is this big at the moment? Because of course Cataclysm will add in two new races to the mix. They’ll have very solid racial abilities, new lore, new cool models, and since players like new stuff anyway they’re bound to be heavily played. And also, many classes will have new racial options in the expansion.

This is most striking for druids, who soon will be able to pick from two races per faction instead of just one fixed choice. And one of the most asked for screenshots from the beta was the picture of the new troll and worgen druid forms. I’m thinking this shows that a lot of people are mostly about the aesthetics with their racial choices.

Is it mostly about the looks for you? I wonder if people tend to pick their first character based on look/feel/ prior idea and maybe explore the lore of other races after they’ve played the game and are making alts.

Transferable skills: Raiding in LOTRO

bg_lin1 Note: I am going to be discussing raiding as it is now on EU servers. We don’t yet have the latest F2P patch with the associated rules changes, new content, and so on. We don’t yet have a date for it either.

I now have enough radiance on my gear to be able to set foot into Barad Guldur (BG), which is the big Mirkwood raid instance. It is a change of pace from Moria with more animated suits of armour and fewer mushrooms; but there are still plenty of orcs. The end boss is (dah dah DAH) a Nazgul, and I’m not sure what happens if you kill it but if we find out I’ll let you know.

Me being there at all is only possible because of an infinitely patient raid group which is also in need of warm bodies. I have in fact given up trying to understand how raiding works in my kinship. They are all very nice, but I feel as though the newbie raid group threw radiance gear at me and now  don’t seem concerned whether I raid with them (I have always assumed previously that good raid etiquette was to raid with the guys who geared you). So I’m thrown in with the big boys and girls, into proper LOTRO progression raiding! They have all been remarkably nice about having a noob on board.

So how does LOTRO raiding compare with WoW raiding

Raiding in LOTRO reminds me a lot of raiding in the later raids of vanilla WoW. Obviously we don’t have 40 people, these are 12 man raids, but there are several similarities:

  • Trash mobs need some strategy. The pulls are carefully planned, tanks allocated to mobs, kill order required and use of raid marks and assists widely used.
  • Endurance boss fights. The LOTRO designers like longish boss fights so typically, once you have figured out what to do, your raid has to continue to do it flawlessly for several minutes.
  • There is plenty of movement and interaction in the actual boss fights. This is why I’m reminded of the end of AQ40 or parts of Naxx40, rather than earlier instances. The end boss of BG in particular is an extremely demanding fight which gets significantly harder if even one person dies.
  • Lots of abbreviations. This is probably standard for any MMO, but the LOTRO raids have abbreviations for the different instances, different bosses, different class abilities and talents (I fled to the net when someone gave me advice on how to spec so that I could decode it) and people will expect you to know them if they are mentioned mid fight.
  • The designers aren’t concerned about making fights that favour either melee or ranged to a great extent. But melee seem to get the shaft more often. Maybe this is inevitable in boss fight design but it does my head in to be standing and just watching an entire phase of a boss fight without being able to do anything.

The picture in the screenshot above is a trash fight in Barad Guldur. In this one, the raid pulls a group of wights. Each wight will focus on one player for a set amount of time (20s or so) and follow them around before switching to someone else. So the goal is for everyone to run away from their wights whilst killing everyone elses’.

If this sounds like mad fun, it is. And as an extra spice, imagine a UI which doesn’t announce who is being followed. You just have to keep an eye open.

Here’s some ways in which LOTRO raiding really struck me as different from WoW:

  • It takes a long time to recover between wipes. Between death debuffs (which can be removed) and time to run back into the instance, it’s not unusual to have only 3-4 tries at a boss in a session. Admittedly, we don’t raid long stretches of time, but it’s still very different from a WoW setup. This does however give people much more time to chat.
  • Repair bills hurt. LOTRO allows tokens from daily quests to buy potions and consumables but those repair bills can be fairly pricey. I’m not entirely sure how people make loads of cash in the game but I think I’d be farming a lot if I was raiding more heavily.
  • No boss mods. This is the big one, you have to actually pay attention to spell effects and boss shouts to figure out what’s going on. People are great about calling effects on voice chat but what you will not have are big wodges of text in the middle of the screen telling you exactly what to do.
  • Limited information. This is probably not such an issue now because BG has been live for at least a year, so there are plenty of websites where you can find out about the fights. But it is still a game in which each raid group has to figure things out for themselves. I do feel for the more hardcore EU raiders, because that will all have been done in the new raids by the time we get the content patch.

So does being a raider in one game transfer to the next?

The answer to this is yes and no. The only reason I’ve been able to transition so smoothly to the LOTRO raids is that I have been able to apply playing skills from other games. Once you learn what the fire looks like in the new game, you already know how to get out of it.

And when I say smoothly, I don’t mean that I’m some kind of amazing all-star. I just mean that I can follow basic instructions without wiping the raid. It’s only the lack of damage meters which mean no one can really compare performance easily.

The skills which do transfer best are situational awareness and being able to figure out what is going on in a fight by watching it (or particularly, what went wrong in a failed attempt). Those that need to be relearned are UI dependent – like watching for debuffs or checking the chat for boss shouts.

But one thing to bear in mind is that I’m playing a melee/utility class in LOTRO. I don’t have to wrestle with the default raid UI for healing, or the clever Warden/ Runekeeper mechanics. For those classes, this really is like raiding in hard mode.

Cataclysm: Peacebloom v Ghouls

singingsunflower

Anyone who was paying attention to the latest list of Cataclysm achievements will have noticed a couple for surviving waves of “Peacebloom v Ghouls.” And if, like me, you love Popcap games you were probably dancing around at that point, because it could only mean one thing: Plants v Zombies comes to Warcraft.

And as an example of why Blizzard is always so feted for their polish, not only have they implemented a version as a minigame, but one of the rewards is a singing sunflower pet. And it will be voiced by Laura Shighara, who is the composer for the original PvZ score and song.

Here is a video of the WoW minigame in action, with some voiceover explaining what is going on.

Does anyone else wonder how this fits into the new ‘no advertising on MMOs’ scheme at Activision? Sure, it’ll be great fun but I’d be astounded if it doesn’t also sell a lot of PvZ (which is an awesome game, incidentally).

Minigames in MMOs

Lots of MMOs feature mini games of some sort. You could even argue that combat is a type of minigame, as is playing with the economy. But it’s the instanced style of minigame that has the possibility to be so anti-immersive. Not only does it take you out of the main virtual world, but into another one with completely different rules.

And the sad thing is that the parts of MMOs which probably should be minigames (crafting!) usually aren’t.

Anyhow, if you love the sound of Peacebloom v Ghouls and are curious about other games which offer a lot of slickly executed minigames to try while wandering around the world, hie thee to Free Realms. It’s a very neat game and has lots and lots of cool minigames (including tower defence, bejewelled-style match-3 games, and cart racing) to try out as you explore.

SOEs latest Clone Wars Adventures is also chock full of minigames, although without the virtual world to wander as well. (This game is more like a minigame arcade.)

You might also want to check out Wizard 101, in which combat works far more like a card based minigame than a typical MMO and which also has an arcade of rather addictive minigames to help you regen mana.

Feel free to recommend any games in comments and I’ll add them to the list.

Alas, poor deathknight, I knew ye well

dualwielddwarf

Readers, I have a confession to make.

I have not one, not two, but THREE level 80 Death Knights in my stable of alts vs only one of any other class. For me, the class has been one of the great successes of the expansion. I haven’t done much raiding on any of them other than the odd VoA, they’re my fun alts.

And every single one of them has a talent spec which will disappear in the next patch. I can’t help that I like blood dps and frost tanking!

Things I love about my Death Knights:

  • Hair colour. People ask where my dwarf got the awesome hairdye. I say that’s not dye, it’s BLOOD! Or else I lie and say there is a special barber in Silithus, just to make them run across two continents because I am a death knight and I am eeeeeeevil.
  • Free weapon enchants. Why did Blizzard think it was a good idea to give Death Knights a free rune enchant that is the best weapon enchant in the game when everyone else has to pay through the nose for Berserking? I have no idea. There is no conceivable balance reason for this.
  • Levelling is such a breeze. For sure it doesn’t hurt to start with a nice set of blue quality gear, but access to fast running and lots of self heals in combat makes for a happy melee class. Expect this to change in Cataclysm unless you want to level as a tank.
  • Everyone hates them. The bar for a DK is very low, so if you are even moderately competent as a tank, people tend to be impressed.
  • Not one but two interrupts. Suck it, paladins. (OK, my warrior also has plenty of interrupts, massive numbers of stuns, and charge but the DK is almost as good.)
  • Pet army of ghouls. It doesn’t get better than this, and the fact they always piss everyone off is a bonus.

I’m sure at least one of them will struggle through to 85. I still like my warrior best, but death knights do run them a close second for me.

edited to add: I will write a proper comparison between warrior and death knight, but was inspired by Larisa’s post on how she loves WoW to write about something I really enjoyed in this expansion. Suffice it to say I enjoy both classes very much. And warriors will be amazing to level in Cataclysm too — getting Victory Rush so early minimises downtime.

[It came from the PUG]: No one knows the way back from the graveyard!

So the instance in question last week was Blood Furnace – I’ve been finally levelling my bank alt. (Hurrah!) Things were going well, the tank was getting more and more confident with every pull. We killed a boss and kept going. Then the tank got a bit over-confident, pulled too many groups at a time … and we wiped. The tank said, “Haha, oops sorry” … and then left.

But why? It was a decent group, we could have gone back in, pulled that room more smartly and cleared the instance. There was no rage quit.

My guess is that it is because the run back to Blood Furnace from the nearest graveyard is not only a long one, but most people don’t even know the way anyway. And once everyone realises that most people don’t know the way, they can mentally add up the extra delay in their heads and do the maths themselves. Even with more mellow groups in the past, I have had to offer to show people the way back from the graveyard. So if you wipe in one of those instances, you potentially have a long and tedious wait, especially if one of the other guys fails to mention that they don’t know the way.

I don’t have major issues myself with running back. At least you get to see a bit of the world and know where the instance is supposed to actually be compared to everywhere else. But the game very clearly failed in this case at making sure that players will know the graveyard run before they enter an instance for the first time (ie. when you might expect to wipe.) Other instances are even worse – the run back to Blackrock Depths is notoriously long, even if you do know the way.

I do blame the group for being wimps and not even discussing the problem. It might be that everyone actually did know the way back. But I miss the LOTRO solution which is that when you release from an instance, you reappear just by the entrance.

Wow, I’m nearly 80!

I have been the most casual of WoW players since my return near the beginning of the year. I re-joined to try the Refer-a-Friend thing with Spinks and we zoomed through levels 1-40, the bit I was dreading from over-playing them previously.

But then I took a break, the R-A-F thing ran out, and we started getting busy in our lives. So I’ve been shambling along, doing dungeons, questing, ranting about why I couldn’t fly when I first got to Lich King content, ranting about how obtuse parts of the game seemed.. and here I am, about a thumb’s worth of xp away from level 80.

I cheated for two levels and let my husband play my char while I was at Comic Con. He always loved Shaman and has an addiction problem when it comes to MMOs, so this is about the only way he can play – for a limited period of time. But he did me proud, he levelled my first aid (which I left languishing at silk levels) and he kept my jewelcrafting appropriate to my level. He also got me (as I said initially) a couple of levels, from 75-77 – and I could fly again! Hurrah!

How’s it been? Definitely an eye-opener, coming straight from LotRO back to the fully finished Lich King. I felt rushed, not by friends and family, but by the game seemingly focusing on getting those next few levels till you got to Dalaran, the next levels to fly again, etc etc. And I felt fairly inadequate for much of it. Yes, if I’d read quests better I’d have done better, but a lot of them didn’t grab me. Until I got to Grizzly Hills, where I read them all and fell in love with the zone. Let that be a lesson to me. But I got a clue early on with each zone about whether I’d like it or not, and having such a rich choice of places to level was a little intimidating.

Of course, to Spinks, I was a bit of a burden. I’d launch into fortnightly rants about how rubbish WoW is, how hard they make it for no reason when you start Lich King, and that telling me it’d all get better doesn’t help. I didn’t really have the same negative reaction to the Burning Crusade content, probably because the dungeon finder got me through any rough points – I do remember a very negative response to my first bombing runs though, so maybe I had the odd rant then. I’d also prove how noobish I was in the middle on dungeon runs she was trying to explain for me. But she survived, I think and now has been guiding me through more obtuse bits like what the hell the tabard rep system is, why I should/might care, and what tabard I might want (to save me looking it up for myself).

And that’s probably been one of my enduring take-aways from my levelling. Having a very knowledgeable friend/sibling/guild member really made me a bit lazy, but I also didn’t ever feel the need to go read up on the minutiae of the game – but everyone I was playing with had assumed I probably would. I looked up some speccing advice and that was it. To me, it’s been a casual game, getting some cash and a feel for the world again before Cataclysm launches. It’s not really been about being the best, more about being ‘good enough’. Because of that a lot of my focus is heirlooms for alts, crafting that might be useful, getting a vague feeling about zones I like – rather than reading up on how all the systems work. In fact, if you questioned me now, I’d be pretty vague on heirlooms, PvP honor marks, tabards and rep and what the hell a heroic is (except people will inspect my gear, tell me I’m shit at everything and then I get better reward for suffering through it, if we succeed!).

Still, overall, I’ve had fun, and during my ranty times I’ve been online less, but I’ve not given up as I did with previous attempts to return to the game. I’ve plugged away at it and on sunday, I’ll have my first ever level 80 in World of Warcraft.

How to acquire Wrath (level 80) heirloom items in WoW

heirloom sword

Heirloom PvP sword - note the bound on account and gold coloured text

Heirloom Items have been one of the great innovations of the current Warcraft expansion. There are three reasons for this:

  1. They are account bound. You can pass them freely between any character on your server which is on the same account, even between horde and alliance.
  2. These items are designed for alts. Whereas a normal WoW item has fixed stats, an heirloom grows in power in proportion to the character wielding it. It will always be roughly equivalent to a good blue item of similar level, and will scale smoothly from level 1-80. Plate heirlooms even scale down to chain if the wearer is below level 40 (so that low level warriors and paladins can use them), similarly chain items scale down to leather at low level.
  3. As well as scaling with level, some of the heirloom items also give the wearer a permanent xp boost. Other games may let you buy a temporary +10% xp potion, but some heirlooms offer that bonus permanently.

Currently available heirlooms include a wide choice of weapons, chest pieces, shoulders, trinkets, and a ring. And characters can equip any heirloom of an appropriate armour type or lower (so for example, your resto shaman could use cloth heirloom shoulders).

If you can equip a new alt with heirlooms, you are not only giving it a boost but also making the levelling process much easier on yourself. No need to keep looking for a new weapon every few levels, just use an heirloom and don’t worry about it.

OK, so you are playing WoW at the moment and would like to earn some heirlooms for your alts and to help prepare for Cataclysm, how can you do that? There are three different methods for buying heirlooms – all of them will require a high level character as the buyer (at least level 70 although it will be difficult to get enough emblems, seals, shards etc before the buyer is level 80.)

A fourth method is that an heirloom ring (+5% xp) can be acquired if you win the weekly Ka’luak fishing derby. The ring cannot be gotten in any other way.

Buying Heirlooms with Emblems of Triumph (Group PvE Route)

Emblems of Triumph are the rewards given for running Wrath instances, heroics, and lower tier raids (Naxxramas, Malygos, Ulduar, and Trial of the Crusader).

  • In general, you will receive 2 emblems of triumph for completing a random (normal) instance via the dungeon finder (first instance of the day only, any random instances after that give cash and xp instead.)
  • Heroic instances give more emblems. There will be one for each boss in addition to the two awarded at instance completion (the first instance of the day will give two emblems of frost instead.)
  • Lower tier raids award one emblem per boss.
  • The weekly raid quest awards 5 emblems of triumph and 5 emblems of frost.

You can run normal Wrath instances in levelling gear. If you wish to run heroics, it would be a good idea to gear up a bit and get some practice first. This means that there is a trade-off between spending your emblems on gear that will make it easier for you to run heroics (and hence get emblems more quickly), or saving up for the heirlooms first.

To put this into perspective, you would have to run  random normal instances for 20 days to acquire enough emblems to buy an heirloom chest. You could acquire the same number of emblems from 6-8 heroics which you could run back to back in a single day, if you really wanted to (warning: I don’t actually recommend doing this).

Heirloom costs with emblems of triumph

  • Chest (+10% xp) – 40 emblems
  • Shoulders (+10% xp) – 40 emblems
  • 1 handed weapon – 40 emblems
  • 2 handed weapon – 65 emblems
  • Trinket – 50 emblems

How to buy your heirlooms with emblems of triumph

allyvendor

The heirloom vendors are located with the other emblem vendors inside the Horde or Alliance specific areas in Dalaran.  Enchanter Isian is the Alliance vendor, and Enchanter Erodin does the honours for the Horde.

allyemblem You will notice that the vendors want to be paid in emblems of heroism. But you only have emblems of triumph!

Fear not, it is possible to convert your emblems into lower tier ones (which is what emblems of heroism are), although it is mildly annoying to have to do so.

conversion

1. First go to the emblem of triumph vendor. On the very last page of items which they sell, you will see Emblem of Conquest. You can exchange emblems of triumph for emblems of conquest on a 1:1 basis. So if you want to buy an heirloom chest, first buy 40 emblems of conquest.

2. Then go to the emblem of conquest vendor. Just as above, on the very last page of items, you will see Emblem of Valor for sale which you can buy for emblems of conquest. Buy 40 (or however many) emblems of valor with your emblems of conquest.

3. Then go to the emblem of valor vendor. Again, on the last page of items that they sell emblems of heroism and each one will cost one emblem of valor. Swap your emblems of valor for emblems of heroism.

4. Now finally you can go and buy your heirlooms!!

If you also have spare emblems of frost which you’d like to use for this, you can convert them into emblems of triumph at the frost vendor in the same way. So do that first and then go to step 1, above.

Buying PvP Heirlooms with Stone Keeper’s Shards

Another way to buy heirloom items is using Stone Keeper’s Shards. These are awarded every time you kill an instance boss while your faction holds Lake Wintergrasp. They are also awarded for completing daily PvP quests in Wintergrasp.

You’ll tend to acquire these in large amounts if your faction does regularly hold Wintergrasp and you run instances, and the cost of the heirlooms reflects this. If you don’t want heirlooms, you can also buy gems and enchants with the shards.

The PvP heirloom vendor is inside the keep in Lake Wintergrasp so you can also only buy the items when your faction holds the zone.

Costs are as follows:

  • Shoulders (+10% xp) – 200 shards
  • 1 handed weapon – 200 shards
  • 2 handed weapon – 325 shards
  • trinket – 250 shards

Note: Heirloom chests are not available as PvP rewards.

Buying PvE Heirlooms with Champion’s Seals (solo PvE)

The last way of buying heirlooms involves the Argent Tournament. Before you can even access the vendor, you must have completed the Crusader achievement and also be exalted with the Silver Covenant/ Sunreaver faction. (Note: This may be very grindy and does involve lots of jousting and daily quests.)crusaderemb

Champion’s Seals are awarded by the Argent Tournament for any quests that you complete for them. This includes all the Argent Tournament dailies that you access once you are a champion for at least one faction. You can also earn Champion’s Seals by completing the Trial of the Champion instance on heroic mode. (1 seal per boss.)

The heirloom vendor is located inside the big Argent Crusade tent at the tournament, the heirlooms are identical to the PvE ones which you can buy with emblems of triumph, and costs are as follows:

  • Chest (+10% xp) – 60 seals
  • Shoulders (+10% xp) – 60 seals
  • 1 handed weapon (melee) – 60 seals
  • 1 handed weapon (caster) – 75 seals
  • 2 handed weapon – 90 seals
  • trinket –- 75 seals

The easiest way to buy heirlooms is by instancing, and then using emblems of triumph for PvE heirlooms and shards to buy PvP heirlooms (either of which will be fine if your main goal is to ease levelling).

It is very difficult to buy heirlooms before the buyer is level 80 (this has been a big criticism of the heirloom system). The only way to do so would be via daily random normal instances (2 emblems of triumph per run) — although you can also access the Argent Tournament at level 77, by the time you have done enough quests to get the Crusader title, chances are that you’ll have hit level 80 anyway.

ps. I would not be surprised to see these turning up for sale in the cash shop at some point, but Blizzard have not yet mentioned any plans to do so.

Guild Achievements in Cataclysm — Time to Start Over?

This week, Blizzard passed out more information about the plans for guilds in Cataclysm. That’s more about guild ranks, guild levelling, guild achievements, guild reputation, guild rewards, and by the way if you’ve completed any of the activities required for guild achievements previously then those won’t count and you’ll have to do them again.

They helpfully gave an example:

Let’s just say, that for example, you need to complete the new guild achievement “We are Legendary” in order to unlock the Dark Phoenix. That achievement requires the guild to gain access to all 6 legendary weapons currently available in the game. (note that all guild achievements start on Cataclysm launch, so anything you have now will not matter, it must be done with your guild after launch)

This is just an example, so may not be the actual achievement required to unlock the pretty dark phoenix mount. But what a way to make people feel that their Wrath legendaries are not only worthless (liable to be replaced by Cataclysm greens in a few months) but also that their guild might have to go farm them all over again.  The question is, would people feel less resistance to repeating some achievement if they did so with a different or new guild?

For example, when character achievements came into the game, players had to start from scratch, even if they had completed some of the achievement raids or instances previously. I couldn’t really be bothered to go repeat the older instances on Spinks just for an achievement. But on a new alt, I might be more inclined to go out of my way to do it. Crazy, huh? But in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I’ve already beaten TBC heroics on Spinks several zillion times. Like hell I need to do that again!! It’s not my fault that the game is stupid.” I think this comes from mentally ticking off achievement boxes in your head. Once you know you have completed a goal, it feel sour to be told that you need to redo it because the first time didn’t count.

If this is true for other people, then there has never been a more appealing time in which to start a new guild. A new guild can tackle all of the new achievements together without ever having to think, “This sucks, we did that last expansion so why do we need to do it again?” I could easily imagine 10 man guilds holding regular runs through old raid instances with the aim of eventually collecting legendary items (assuming that achievement makes it live.) But I’m not sure I can imagine raids doing that who already have done it before.

Maybe one measure of how hardcore a guild is will be how easy they find it to get people to do these runs again. And again. And again. At least it answers one question about what raid guilds might do on their off-nights.  Wonder if we’ll be able to solo Molten Core at 85…

Are you planning to start or join a new guild when Cataclysm hits? I know I’m looking forwards  to tackling the achievements in our newish little Alliance guild.