Children of Cataclysm: a letter to Raid Warning Podcast

I wrote an email to the guys at the Raid Warning Podcast, and then realized that it would make a really good  blog post.  So here it is, exactly as I sent it to them.  Share your thoughts on the subject of how “Children of Cataclysm” will experience the game.  If you haven’t listened to Raid Warning, do it.  They are a ton of fun!  Find them at www.raidwarning.net.

Dear Raid Warning,
This is a response to a discussion from Raid Warning #43, your discussion about what a new player will experience after the Cataclysm hits.
BTW- I love the show guys.  I especially appreciate your round tables. I’ve been listening for several months now.  Keep it up.  You have a nice balance of quality content discussion, and fun screwing around.
 
I am a “Child of Wrath,” a player who didn’t join the game until WOTLK was out.  I didn’t buy the expansions immediately, but rather as I’ve leveled, so I think I have a pretty good idea of how Blizzard handles this.
 
Changes made to the world at large are experienced by anyone with the Vanilla set.  Buying the Burning Crusade expansion opened up the higher level cap, unlocked Jewelcrafting as a profession option, unlocked the Draeni and Blood Elves as races options, and unlocked the new areas introduced with Burning Crusade, namely the Draeni starting zone, the Blood Elf starting zone and Outland.  If I tried to hop on the boat from Auberdine to Azuremyst before I purchased Burning Crusade, as I indeed did try to do, I receieved a little message saying “This area is only available to players with the Burning Crusade exansion.  However, any changes made to the Old World over time were still experienced by me just like anyone else with all of the expansions.
 
Buying Wrath of the Liche King unlocked the higher level cap, Death Knights, and the Northrend areas.  Again, any changes made to the Old World over time were still experienced by me just like anyone else with all of the expansions.
 
Based on these experiences, here’s how I expect things to go down for “Children of the Cataclysm” who buy Vanilla after Cata hits, or anyone that doesn’t immediately buy the expansion.
  • Vanilla will continue to be sold as the starter.
  • Any map area that has existed previously will be still be accessible in its new and altered form.
  • Obviously any mechanical changes to classes and races.
  • You will still need BC or WOTLK to access the Draeni and Blood Elf starter zones, Outlands, and Northrend.  You will also need those expansions for the introduced races and professions and expanded level cap.
  • When you buy Cataclysm, only then will you get access to the 85 level cap, the new races, the new race/class combos, archaeology, and any Old World map areas that did not previously exist in Vanilla.  You will not be able to enter Gilneas unless you have the expansion.  I also wager that some other areas will be added that you will not be able to enter unless you have the expansion.
So really, unless I want to play Worgen, Goblins, or the new race/class combos, a new player could very easily buy Vanilla and need nothing else until they hit level 60.  They will still be able to explore the very altered Old World, with the exceptions of areas that are newly introduced.  This is how it was handled with the Blood Elf starting zone, which is on the same Old World continent, and accessible from the plaguelands.  You just couldn’t cross the magical line unless you had the expansion.
 
From a marketing standpoint, I expect they will either continue to sell the current battle chest, and force you to still buy WOTLK and Cata seperately, or they will put Vanilla, BC, and WOTLK in a new, larger and more expensive, battlechest.  Or maybe they will create a Battle Chest 2, where they combine WOTLK and Cata.  Interesting possibilities.
 
Just wanted to share my thoughts. 
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