Top 5 WoW-related BlizzCon 2009 announcements

Eric Franklin lists his favorite Blizzcon 2009 announcements for WoW.

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
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Eric Franklin
4 min read

Time is money, friend. Blizzard Entertainment

Well, BlizzCon 2009 came and went quicker than a Death Knight murders a "clothie"--especially when said "clothie" is me. While I'm a fan of all of Blizzard's games, I was most excited about the World of Warcraft announcements from the event.

Yes, of course the new expansion was "revealed" at the event, but thanks to leaks days before, many of the overall details were already known.

Luckily, Blizzard took some time this weekend to dive into more detailed changes and additions to WoW. Remember that all of these details are subject to change. Here are my favorites. Enjoy.

5) Goblin racials
Sure, of the two new races, the Worgen look much more badass, but the Goblins definitely trumped them in having the coolest racial abilities ever. Here's the list:

-Always receive the best possible gold discount, regardless of faction
-The ability to call your personal servant allowing you bank access for 1 minute
-Increased Alchemy skill by 15.
-Rocket Barrage-Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing scaling fire damage
-Rocket Jump-Activates your rocket belt to jump forward
-A one percent increase to attack and casting speed

Wow...just wow. Did I mention that the Goblin race mount is a friggin' race car!? While the Alliance got the better-looking new race, the Horde won out on what could be the most novel one. Blizzard has already mentioned that it plans to redo the racials for all races to put them more in line with these.

4) 5-Man Icecrown
Sure, many of us cannot wait to finally face down the Lich King, Arthas, along with 9 to 24 of our closest buddies in Icecrown Citadel. For those of us who don't raid, however, and don't plan on raiding, it's nice to know Blizzards isn't forgetting us.

Along with the Icecrown Citadel raid dungeon in patch 3.3, we'll be getting a new five-man dungeon, as well, which will feature three wings and a total of eight bosses. Good news for the casuals. I'm hoping for the best five-man gear in the game as well as the most complex and fun encounters. Here's hoping.

3) Paths of the Titans
Paths of the Titans is a new character progression system for max level players. Turning in artifacts via the new Archaeology profession earns you progress through this new progression system.

First, you'll choose from six different paths. Through each path, you'll earn abilities like:
-Medic-Bandages heal targets by an additional 30 percent
-Fortification-Nearby allies take 10 percent less damage for 6 seconds
-Breakthrough (my personal favorite)-Increases damage dealt by 10 percent for 10 seconds. Only usable after you deal a critical strike.

Your chosen path won't be specific to class or role, so, for example, a Rogue will be able to offer his groups more utility by taking the Fortification skill. Best of all, Blizzard says the system won't be a grind to increase, as there will be a maximum amount of progress you can make in a week.

If the skills in the other paths are as compelling as those mentioned above, then I'm inclined to believe this feature will be a huge hit, as it will further allow players to differentiate themselves from their peers. Can't wait to get more info on this one.

2) Cross-server LFG (Looking for Group)
I've been wanting this ever since cross-server Battlegrounds was released. Since all my WoW friends are scattered across multiple servers, this may be a good way to actually get to play with them without transferring.

Also, this will increase the pool of players you can choose from when attempting to form a group. Now, instead of scouring a list of five DPS and no healers, there will be a list of 50 DPS and no healers. Woot! (I kid).

1) Warlock soul shard changes
OK, I'm biased. At least I can admit it, though. A change a long time in coming. The Warlock shard system as you know it, is long gone. Instead of an annoying and time-consuming system that was more of a nuisance than a benefit, Blizzard is changing shards to be like a resource, similar to Death Knight runes.

No longer will Warlocks need to farm shards, as they will no longer be requires for certain spells and abilities. Here a few details: Soul Shards no longer take up precious space in your bags. You get three shards per fight, and they will regenerate very quickly out of combat. Shards are now used to power only Soul Burn; Soul Burn empowers other abilities. For example, empowering Soulfire makes it an instant cast instead of an up-to-six second one.

No more flying out of Dalaran to steal the souls off a few demons right before a raid. While I'm sure there are Warlock players that will take issue with this change, most players have to agree that this feature has immense potential. Warlocks: OP (overpowered) once again!

There were plenty of other noteworthy WoW announcements this weekend, which you can checkout at GameSpot. What were some of your favorites?