With the introduction of WoW: Cataclysm, Blizzard is looking to overhaul both the talent system, and what it means to progress your character when you've already achieved max level.
The two mechanisms for addressing these areas in Cataclysm come in the form of the new Mastery stat and mechanism, and the Paths of the Titans Ancient Glyph system.
Mastery is a new stat that will be showing up in gear that will provide a generic bonus to you depending on the talent tree where you have invested the most points.
Why do this?
Blizzard wants to provide more options to players in talent trees, trimming out talents that only provide passive bonuses, simplifying talents that have too many effects, and to let more pve players choose fun and utility talents that do cool situational things (instead of being forced to take a 5% crit bonus talent, for example.)
Mastery passive bonuses will come in three flavours:
- Increased damage, healing, tanking.
- Stat-like bonuses (e.g. haste, crit)
- Something unique for your spec.
It's the last bonus that gets modified by the new Mastery stat that will show up in Cataclysm gear. The unique bonus will be specific to the spec in which you have the most talent points, which means there will be 30 different types of bonuses, one for each possible spec in each class. An example of such a bonus was shown for ret pallies, which would gain a % decrease in ability cooldowns depending on their Mastery rating.
Other examples include increased poison damage for assassination rogues, reduced energy cost for subtlety rogues, increased pet damage for beastmastery hunters, and increased focus regen for marksman hunters.
The new Talent pane, which will show you all three talent trees in their entirety at all times (no more scrolling!) will show you exactly what mastery bonuses you're getting from your invested points in each talent tree, and how your Mastery stat rating is modifying your unique bonus.
To find out the details about the new Path of the Titans progression system, and just what the heck ancient glyphs are, hit the jump!
Path of the Titans
The Path of the Titans system is Blizzard's solution to max level character progression. With only 5 more levels being added to the max level cap in Cataclysm, Blizzard wanted to add a system that would keep players going down a path of character progression without making it feel like a grind, and with a mechanic to gate the progression, keeping players from reaching "max level" within days.
The main way in which your character will progress down a Path of the Titans is through a new, third type of glyph: the Ancient Glyph. This new type of glyph will show up in your glyph panel, and instead of being a single slot, involves a path progression that goes through ten ranks, with one slot in each rank, each progressively further and further down your chosen Path.
How do you choose your path? Cults that serve various different Titans will be located around Azeroth, and you'll be able to align yourself with a particular cult, providing you with a specific ancient glyph path. At release, Blizzard plans on having 5 different paths, with more to come in content patches.
All these paths will be class agnostic, providing benefits useful to every class. For example, an ancient glyph may provide increased healing from bandages, 20% less stun and bleed duration on your character, an activated ability that has allies take 10% less damage for a period of time, etc. Each path will have 2-3 choices of glyphs per rank.
Blizzard also plans on not letting players advance through all 10 ranks of a path at the release of Cataclysm, only opening up new rank levels as content patches are released.
To get the glyphs to put into your ancient glyph slots is where the new secondary skill, Archaeology, comes in: Your discoveries will be able to be traded in to the cult that you've aligned yourself with in order to earn new glyphs.
The ancient glyph system will also be designed to de-stress the grinding aspect and work more in a gated way. There will be a max amount of progression that you can earn down your Path each week, and the goal is that everyone will be able to get all their ancient glyphs, not only the hardcore raiders/pvpers.
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