In what will likely be my last installment of the Cataclysm Beta Report, I thought it would be a great time to go over some things you should probably do before server maintenance tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Because, it is quite likely this will be when Blizzard pushes patch 4.0.3a to the live realms, which is titled “The Shattering”, for obvious reasons – this will be the patch that changes Azeroth forever.
Deathwing will burst forth from the bowels of the planet and pave a trail of destruction across the surface of Azeroth, changing most, if not all, of the zones we know and love forever. First off, let’s take a look at what will and will not be in this patch.
What WILL NOT be in this patch:
- Level 81+ zones (Hyjal, Vashj’ir, Deepholm, etc.)
- Professions above 450
- New races (Goblin and Worgen)
- New race starting zones
- Flying in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor
- Guild leveling and achievements
These are all expansion-specific features, which means you must have your account upgraded to Cataclysm on or after December 7th to make use of.
What WILL be in this patch:
- More talent changes
- Talent resets for druids, priests, shamans and paladins
- Portals will be removed in Dalaran and Shattrath, to be replaced with class trainers
- New race/class combos will be available (sans Goblin and Worgen, of course)
- Massive – some would say, cataclysmic – changes to most zones in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor
- New 1-60 leveling experience
- New achievements for the new zones (and Cataclysm in general)
- Cataclysm load screens, log-in screen and intro cinematic.
- Experience required to get from 71-80 will be reduced by 20%.
There will, naturally, be other bug fixes and balancing adjustments, as well, but that is standard for all patches. So, now that we know what is and isn’t coming pre-expansion, let’s take a look at what you can do to prepare.
Wrap up any Loremaster-related quests and achievements you need to do. This achievement – and the ones that lead up to it – will be changing dramatically. While how things work in every situation is still unclear, the Loremaster achievements will be changing from a number of quests complete tally, to a zone-by-zone achievement set-up like they have for Outland and Northrend.
Here’s what Blizzard had to say on the subject, to help alleviate some (but not all) confusion:
“You may be wondering how the shattering will affect the Loremaster achievements. If you’ve already completed Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms or Loremaster of Kalimdor, you will not lose your achievements. However, if you’ve made progress toward these achievements without yet completing them, be aware that any quests that are removed from the game will no longer count toward your progress, so you may see your achievement quest counter drop. If you’re close to earning either of these achievements, we strongly suggest you finish them with great haste, as Deathwing’s return is imminent.
In addition, the Loremaster achievements are being redesigned slightly to make them easier to track. Rather than having players complete a huge number of quests throughout a single continent, the criteria will change so that you will instead need to complete a set number of quests in each zone. Once you’ve earned the achievements for each listed zone on a continent, you will then be awarded the Loremaster achievement for that continent. For those who do have Loremaster of Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms completed already, you can still go back and get the new achievements for questing in individual zones on those continents.”
Last chance for Zul’Gurub tiger and raptor mounts! If you haven’t gotten these mounts yet, and you still want to farm for them, you have one more chance by hitting up the respective bosses today. Zul’Gurub, as a raid instance, will be gone after 4.0.3a. It is turning into a questing sub-zone in Northern Stranglethorn. The Razzashi Hatchling vanity pet, which was first said to be disappearing for good, has been given a new home somewhere, so we will have the chance to get it again in the future if we haven’t already received it.
The last thing of note from Zul’Gurub is the turtle polymorph spell for mages. While ZG is no longer going to be there and this spell will no longer be available through that means, it will still be obtainable in-game through some other route which is as of yet unknown.
Stock up on level 80 elixirs, food and anything else you need for your jaunt from 80 to 85. As the age of Wrath of the Lich King dies down with The Shattering, it’s highly likely people will not be farming Northrend as much as they had in the past, which means the price of materials and final products made with those raw materials will go up. Get in while the getting is good – Frost Lotus is only 3g each on my server! Once people start focusing on Cataclysm content with The Shattering, these prices will likely skyrocket because of low supply.
Use Pilgrim’s Bounty as a way to visit some zones that you may never see in this state again. Not only does Pilgrim’s Bounty provide the reason to visit all your own faction’s main cities, it also has an achievement where you have to visit the opposing faction’s cities. This likely means a lot of ground travel through zones that we might not have seen for a while and may never see in this state again.
I know for me being a Tauren Druid, traveling to The Exodar and Darnassus, I got the chance to see one of my favorite spots in the game again in Ashenvale, as well as the cold, dreary Darkshore. I also ran through much of Stranglethorn Vale and Duskwood on my way to Stormwind, and don’t forget about the soon-to-be-drained loch in Loch Modan as I made my way to Ironforge.
The Alliance may have a similarly surreal experience flying into either Southshore or the two Plaguelands zones, which will all be drastically different after The Shattering, as they make their way to Undercity and Silvermoon. Also, as Alliance characters visit both Thunder Bluff and Orgrimmar, make sure to take in The Barrens, and maybe even kill a few NPCs in Crossroads one last time for old time’s sake. While Crossroads will still be there, the entire Barrens area will be drastically different after The Shattering.
If you’re done with Northrend, set your hearthstone to a capital city in lower Azeroth before you log off for the night. As mentioned above, the portals to major cities will be removed from both Dalaran and Shattrath, to be replaced by class trainers for those leveling through the respective regions to take advantage of. Blizzard doesn’t want those cities to be the “hub” any longer – they want to switch things back to the main Azerothian cities for each faction.
If you still want to leave yourself bound to either of those cities, they both have NPCs that will teleport you to Caverns of Time in Tanaris. This is best for Horde players, as they have both Orgimmar and Thunder Bluff only a short flight away. Alliance players can do the same, although their choices are Darnassus (a long flight) or Stormwind (via Theramore).
This is obviously no object for mages, who can teleport wherever, so if you are a mage and want to capitalize on the fact that the majority of the population probably won’t think to bind themselves somewhere outside of Northrend, you can hang out in Dalaran and charge 30g for a port. Druids have another alternate means of transportation at their disposal, as well, which is Teleport: Moonglade. This works better if you’re Alliance, as Darnassus is a short flight away. For Horde, the flight from Moonglade to either major city on Kalimdor is about the same as it is from Caverns of Time to those same cities. So, it’s six one way, half a dozen the other.
Ultimately, just keep in mind that the portals will no longer be around in Dalaran and Shattrath for quick transportation and plan accordingly.
The events that lead up to Deathwing’s arrival above-ground will probably end, as well. So, if you haven’t finished everything you want to do as far as the elemental invasion goes – do it today. For the most part, this just involves a series of reward-less quests (except for maybe some gold in your pocket) and a feat of strength for closing one of each elemental rift. All indications leads to the fact that, oddly enough, Pilgrim’s Bounty will continue right through the sundering of the world, so get the stuff done that is going away (most likely) tomorrow and save the event achievements for later in the week.
If The Shattering goes live today or next week, you have this to help you along the way. So, we’ll see you on the other side!