Shared Topic: Future Cataclysm content patches

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic is about future Cataclysm content patches. Here’s the skinny:

Although players are still busy digging through all of the Cataclysm raid and heroic content, some are already starting to wonder what we’ll see added to the game in the 4.1 patch and beyond. While we have some hints, what do you expect to see added over the life of the expansion? How many patches? How many new dungeons? What will happen to your favorite professions? And how will the expansion’s storyline continue to unfold — and which loose ends will be wrapped up by the time the 5.0 patch is released?

Well, the facts currently known is that there will probably be three major content patches, 4.1 due around April/May bringing us Ragnaros and ZG/ZA instances. Who would’ve thought we would be looking forward to raiding old instances for new loot this time last year? Perhaps we should’ve seen it earlier when they retrofitted Naxxramas and Onyxia for the current content tier, but I think if we’re going to bring back old content now isn’t too bad a time to do it, as long as the time saved is spent on improving the quality of future patches and not say, Titan.

From the 4.1 leaks as well as Blizzcon’s 2010 D&R panel, we know there will be an event where mobs from the elemental plane of fire invade Hyjal, leading to a new daily quest hub in Firelands. There will be seven bosses and the whole place takes place in a floating land mass similar to Oculus. As well as Zul’Aman/Gurub, Abyssal Maw will be the third 5man coming in 4.1, taking place in Vashjir. It comes with 4 bosses and it will feel different from TotT due to the whole place taking place outside.

4.2 brings us War of the Ancients, a new Caverns of Time raid. With 4.1 taking over our summer, 4.2 will probably come out around Blizzcon 2011, which is on October 21-22. There I see either Titan or Starcraft 2′s expansion being officially announced, and even possibly WoW’s 4th Expansion. After all, Diablo due next year, and Blizzard don’t have a lot of IPs up their sleeve. If it is the expansion then perhaps it will be the Emerald Dream, and the whole naturey flowerey tone will get us PUMPED!!! for War of the Ancients.

War of the Ancients role in Cataclysm’s story is the Demon Soul, the process which became the pivotal turning point from Neltharion into Deathwing. Perhaps Blizzard’s enhanced maps feature will be released around this time, providing boss detail in dungeon maps. Maybe there will be a bunch of dungeons coming with this patch to supplement the raid, such as another Twilight’s Hammer based dungeon in Deepholme.

The big question by now is will we see changes to how guild EXP will work? Blizzard want people to be casual and flexible with how they raid but current daily GEXP caps are incompatible with weekly lockouts. You risk guilds capping out very fast and wasting GEXP one day and vice versa for the rest of the days you’re not raiding. At this point most larger guilds will be level capped, so will Blizzard fix it for the small guilds?

4.3 will feature Cataclysm’s last foe, Deathwing. Perhaps there will be an Onyxia type of raid before 4.3 to tide us over, maybe something as simple as a new Tol Barad boss, but this content patch will probably come out February or so. Blizzard have never been the type to release things around the holiday season, after all.

Whilst the Twilight’s Hammer seem to be pretty much everywhere in Cataclysm, the base of the black dragons is mostly in Twilight Highlands. It is where the duel between Alexstrasza and Deathwing takes place, and it is said that both were pretty wounded from the ordeal. So perhaps Deathwing will find solace in nearby Grim Batol, and look after the remaining clutches of his Twilight brood. Also within his lair will be more servants of the Old God, hinted in the Grim Batol dungeon. And more probably Twilight’s Hammer cultists. Can’t get enough of those guys!