With Cataclysm, seven new dungeons for 5 players (Vortex Pinnacle, The Stonecore, Throne of the Tides, The Halls of Origination, The Lost City of Tol’vir, Grim Batol and the Blackrock Caverns) have two heroic versions of old dungeons (Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep) and four new raid instances (Baradin Hold, Throne of the Four Winds, Blackwing Descent, and Bastion of Twilight) entered World of Warcraft. In addition, other Classic instances have been revised. The emblem system has also been fundamentally changed: Instead of emblems of triumph and frost, there are Points of Justice and Points of Valor in Cataclysm.
New 5-man instances
Cataclysm brings seven new dungeons for 5 players: Vortex Pinnacle, The Stonecore, Throne of the Tides, The Halls of Origination, The Lost City of Tol’vir, Grim Batol and the Blackrock Caverns.
If you are not afraid of heights, it is best to buckle up on your group members beforehand, because it goes high. Located in southern Uldum, with a required level of 81, this instance is waiting for you. You meet here the air elementals who made a deathwing pact and now attack Uldum. This instance has three bosses for you:
- Grand Vizier Ertan,
Level range: 81-85
The Stonecore lies deep below the continents. For a long time it was Deathwing’s home, its realm, its refuge. But after his outbreak, the way was clear for mortals. Now Allianz and Horde are exploring the impressive areas of Deepholm. Walls full of crystals that artfully flicker in the lights of the visitors. Monsters that look quirkier than ever. The Stonecore lies in the middle of Deepholm. This instance of 5 fits perfectly to the area in which it is located and deepens the story even further. In addition to the impressive stone dragons, you will also find other attachments of the Twilight Hammer Clan and worms that consist of rings. You can also enjoy everything in this unique setting of Deepholm. You have to measure yourself in the Stonecore with 4 bosses:
- High Priestess Azil
Level range: 81-85
The Throne of the Tides
The Throne of the Tides is a beautiful instance for level 80-83, and in the heroic mode at level 85. Accessible through the Abyssal depths, in which a whirlpool pulls you directly in front of the instance entrance. Shortly after arriving, you can admire the beautifully designed windows and their new water effects. If you just want to go through the instance, it shouldn’t matter much, but to get quests for this instance you have to go through the Vashj’ir zone, which is a real task: well over 150 quests are waiting to be completed. But the effort is worth it. In addition to the area itself, this instance is also a visual highlight among the innovations. In this instance you will face 4 bosses:
- Lady Naz’jar
- Commander Ulthok
- Erunak Stonespeaker
Level range: 80-83
In the course of the complete revision of the Blackrock, a completely new instance is also inserted. The Blackrock Caves are an instance for the level range 80-83. After the Deathwing eruption, the Shadowhammer clan established an outpost there on behalf of Deathwing. In the style of the well-known Black Rock instances, the Black Rock caves are also an instance full of lava and debris. However, there are new rewards, opponents and architectural styles. The Blackrock Caves are not a warmed up version of the previous Blackrock instances. The Blackrock caves are defended by a total of 5 bosses, which must be completed:
- Rom’ogg Bonecrusher
- Corla, Herald of the Twilight
- Karsh Steelbender
- Lord Obsidius
Level range: 80-83
Zone: Blackrock Caverns (between the Burning Steppes and the Searing Gorge)
Halls of Origination
The Halls of Origination continue the Ulduar story. You will encounter Titan buildings and fight against the Deathwing wing henchmen and, like Ulduar, against mighty stone beings. The Halls of Origination contain a total of seven bosses and are the first part of the Uldum instance series. In addition to strenuous fights, there will also be a reunion with Brann Bronzebeard. You can expect:
- Temple guardian Anhuur
- Earthrager Ptah
Level range: 84-85
The Lost City of Tol’vir
Tol’vir in Uldum, the country of the Titans, has a strong Egyptian character like the entire zone. Between pyramids, statues and tombs you fight your way through the open air instance. In addition to the cat-like Tol’vir that inhabit the city, you also meet a silithid people of the Qiraj. You will find the following bosses:
- General Husam
- Augh & Lockmaw
- Prophet Barim
Level range: 84-85
The Grim Batol fortress towers majestically far above the marshland. Once dwarven, later orcic, now dominated by the Wildhammer and Schattenhammer clans. This fortress still offers enough shelter for a host of opponents. You will face dragons, cultists and other well-known enemy types. With an extremely high opponent density, this instance becomes a tough chunk at least at the beginning. In addition to the normal enemy groups, 4 bosses are also waiting for you:
- Drahga shadow burner
- Blacksmith Throngus
- General outline
Zone: Shadow Highlands (Twilight Highlands)
New raid instances
Cataclysm includes three raid instances at the start:
The Throne of the Four Winds (10/25)
Like the 5-man version of the Vortex Pinnacle, the raid instance is located in Southern Uldum and hovers high above the air. Here you have to fight against a lot of elementals, including 2 boss encounters:
- Conclave of the wind
Blackwing Descent (10/25)
In the middle of the scorching gorge and the burning steppe, the Black Rock rises high above all other peaks of the surrounding mountains. Developed as a fortress, it withstood many attacks. As one of the entry-level instances, this raid instance offers the typical black rock flair. Smoking objects, dark stone walls and raging dragons, and not too little. Divided into two floors, the raid groups will be dealing with 6 opponents, including none other than Nefarian himself:
The Baradin Hold is the focal point of the Tol Barad Open PvP area. You can only enter the raid instance if you have previously decided the PvP battle for your faction. The system should already look familiar to you from Wintergrasp. Here you will meet only one boss again, without any trash groups beforehand:
The Firelands (The Fireland, Ragnaros Home Level) (10/25)
Ragnaros, appears as the final boss of the instance. Starting from his temple, he commands his troops to take Hyjal.
Scholomance, Stratholme & Co.
Instances like Scholomance, Stratholme etc. have been adjusted and revised not least because of the level changes in the surrounding areas.
Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep (heroic)
Blizzard is relaunching two well-known instances with Cataclysm as a heroic version: Both the Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep have been revised and implemented in the game as a heroic version. Both were also modified in their normal variant. The environment has remained the same, but new bosses have been introduced, which breathe new life into the new variant.
The heroic variants are only available for level 85 players, the normal variants have retained their level requirements to some extent.
Emblem system: points instead of emblems
Even before Cataclysm, all previous emblems were removed from the game and replaced with justice points. With the first Heroic instances at level 85, the bravery points are introduced.
Justice points are given for playing WotLK instances (but only until you are level 81!) And for Cataclysm instances on a normal level of difficulty. The exact distribution of the points you see in the table below.
Points of Valor
As with justice points, there is a maximum number of Valor Points that a character can have at the same time (hard cap). For Valor Points, the maximum number of points that can be earned per week is also limited. Valor Points can be earned like Emblems of Frost through random heroic instances and in raid / raid instances. Valor points are NOT exchangeable for other points (neither Justice Points nor PvP Points).
New raid system
Blizzard is constantly working to improve the raid system in Cataclysm and announced some of these changes early on.
- All raid sizes have been merged into one instance ID. 10 and 25 versions use the same instance ID.
- Raid bosses can only be defeated once per week per character.
- The desired game mode (normal or heroic) is determined directly in the instance at the respective boss.
- The difficulty levels for 10 and 25 players in the respective modes should be as close as possible.
- The bosses in the 10 and 25 version therefore drop exactly the same items. Only the heroic versions of the items have better stats.
- The higher effort for putting together a raid of 25 is rewarded with more loot (items, badges, gold) and thus represents the more efficient variant.
- When developing the version of 10, the class designers made sure that 10-player groups should not be more difficult than 25-player groups. This ensures that you can raid with 10 players without disadvantages within the same ID if half of the guild is on vacation or sick.
- There are big raids for an epic feel as well as smaller ones. The latter are especially intended for the first raid levels (tiers)
- The system of gradually unlocking raid bosses will be maintained.
- There are no longer limited attempts at bosses, unless they are exceptional encounters like Algalon (Ulduar).
- Access to the first raids is fairly quick, but the loot from it should not totally devalue those from the heroic 5-player instances and high-level quests. The only prerequisite for these first raids is good blue equipment from instances, quests or the professions.
- The overall goal behind all these changes is to give the players as much freedom of choice as possible, for example whether they would rather play with 10 or 25 participants. The decision will not be based on what item you want to receive, but on what is more fun.
Experience the Instances & Raids discussed in this article through various of Cataclysm Private Servers that strive to deliver a scripted experience.