What Happens to WoW Classic Players Post Cataclysm?

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Many readers here were interested in knowing what happens to players if they don't have the Cataclysm expansion pack and what to expect.

There's no phasing or anything like that (although it would have been cool) that will split up Cataclysm vs Non-Cata players.

The Cataclysm change will affect everyone in the Old World. Meaning cosmetic changes, new quests, new cities, skill/talent changes, etc.

So you will see everything that Cataclysm players see. You just won't have access to the new zones, you'll be level capped to whatever expansion pack you have (or don't have), and you won't be able to create Goblins/Worgens although you can still party with them. Talents, spells, abilities, glyphs, gear will all still be available to you just like everyone else at the same level.

Summary of Changes

- Outlands will NOT be changed.
- Northrend will have MINOR cosmetic changes (ie, stuff they've always wanted to fix).
- Mobs have not been deleted, some have just been relocated and others haven't moved at all.
- There's no point in farming certain mob (rare) drops, since they'll all be back in Cataclysm.
- Some hard-to-get drops have been moved to rare elites, making it easier for players.
- A few cities/towns have been destroyed, and new ones have popped up elsewhere to replace.
- No new graphics changes or engine improvements, except for water textures.
- No new audio changes or improvements.


But if you actually believe the hype, you'll be setting yourself up for some major disappointment.

For the most part, there hasn't been a lot of changes to the Old World. Blizzard designers literally took all of the assets and models from WOTLK and drag-and-dropped them into the Old World. Some land masses have been shifted up-and-down, quests have been changed (there are some new fun ones here and there), and there are new "familiar looking" mobs/NPCs (ie, same mobs as in Northrend, with different colored textures). That's really about it.

All of the cool new stuff is in the new 80-85 zones and dungeons - but keep in mind that the NEW content is less than half the size of WOTLK.

Since the new areas and content are so small compared to past expansion packs, Blizzard is pretty much counting on most players creating new toons and to experience all that the Old World has to offer. Which is why adding new realms is so important, and why I'm still expecting new realms to be created (while everyone else is saying they won't be.)

Total Number of Quests in WoW vs TBC vs WOTLK vs CATA?

Original WoW Quests Added: 2,600
Burning Crusade Quests Added: 2,700
Wrath of the Lich King Quests Added: 2,350
Cataclysm Quests Added: 3,000

Note: 1,000 of those quests will be in the 80-85 zones, while the remaining 2,000 are in the redesigned old world areas.

Of those 2,000 quests, however, many of them are actually based on or redesigned from old quests. So "3,000 new quests" is a little bit of an overstatement.. it's probably closer to max. 2000 "new" quests.

Another Note: This is a little piece of historical trivia I guess. Back in 2004, Jeff Kaplan stated that they originally planned 600 total quests for World of Warcraft. It grew to 1350 shortly after, and continued to grow some more (as seen above.)


In my humble opinion, the December 7 release date is still too soon. There are so many changes that still need to be made in the Cataclysm Beta (that still haven't been fixed) and I'm fully expecting these bugs (and overpowered NPCs, boss mechanics, lack of innovation) to be released in retail.

Anyhow.. here are some videos demonstrating the "DRAMATIC CHANGES" made in Cataclysm, I think they'll help put things into perspective for you:

Tirisfal Glades & Silverpine Forest Flythrough

Eastern Plaguelands & Western Plaguelands

Wetlands, Loch Modan & Badlands Flythrough

Elwynn Forest

Swamp of Sorrows & Blasted Lands

As you can see for yourself, there are very little changes.

It might just be me, but I have a different eye for these sort of things. Coming from a programming & game design background, I see 3D objects, textures and level design different from average players. While in the beta, none of the changes have impressed me at all.. there's nothing really new or cool, and all of the content from WOTLK was just copied over using Blizzard's internal (world) design tools.

When Cataclysm was first announced, I was hoping for complete underwater cities and questing zones (massive areas all underwater), a completely reshaped Azeroth, new underwater races (that you could create yourself), floating cities, class-specific quests and chains (like the "Rogue Guilds" they were initially planning for WoW Classic), new mobs, removed mobs, and most importantly an improved graphics engine. But none of that happened.

Maybe it's just me, but I'll get confirmation on my opinion once retail hits and more players can voice their own opinions. =]

I suspect there's going to be a lot of disappointment though..