Updated Thu, Aug 18, 2011 by Saia
So GamesCom is in full swing and the secrets have been spilling out with Blizzard devs in attendance to talk about all three of their IPs, including World of Warcraft. Blizzard dev Tom Chilton has began spilling the first beans about patch 4.3 and Blizzard have released an official preview of Transmogrification.
Chilton’s comments include the revelation that, yes, we will finally be fighting Deathwing and, on top of that, there will be three new five-man instances, including one in the Caverns of Time (though it’s not been confirmed that this will be the War of the Ancients).
The Ethereals have "recognized" that high level WoW players desire customization, according to Tom Chilton. To that end, Blizzard is implementing "transmogrification" - a system found in Aion and LotRO by which players can transfer the stats of one item to the appearance of another item. The only caveat is that the items must be the same slot (obviously), same type (leather to leather, plate to plate, etc.), class restrictions are upheld. Legendary items are off-limits as to make them part of transmogrification would ruin their "mystique", according to Chilton.
4.3 promises the ability to cosmetically customise your gear via Transmogrification.
They also revealed Void Storage, a new kind of bank account which will give players somewhere to store their old gear and free up regular bank space. The specific details on this aren’t yet clear but Blizzard has promised a preview is coming at 9am on August 18th. Finally they also announced the Raid Finder, a cross-server raid slot filler whose UI panel is nearly identical to the Dungeon Finder.
Of course, the big draw is Deathwing. Blizzard stated during the last earnings call that they’re aiming to get the patch out by end of the year and it looks like this will mark the final major patch in the Cataclysm storyline. Kotaku has confirmed that this will be the final raid of the expansion and that we will be able to ride on Deathwing's back during one of the phases of the encounter. This also fuels the fire that the next expansion will indeed be revealed at this year’s BlizzCon in November. Of course, the assembled press made a point of asking Chilton whether Mists of Pandaria was the name of the next expansion. He wouldn’t comment on “rumours and internet speculation” - Blizzard never do - but confirmed that they are working on a WoW expansion.
Right now, we know almost nothing about the Deathwing raid or the storyline specifics of 4.3 but if Blizzard is intending to get the patch out by the end of this year - and timing it for the holiday period is always a wise move - then we’re sure to be seeing the PTR go live very soon. Yet it does feel a tad odd that this could be the end of Cataclysm’s storyline, especially as the expansion hasn’t even been announced yet. Does this mean Blizzard will be aiming to get back launching an expansion every year? We don’t know but if this is the end of Cataclysm, it’s going to be very impressive and well worth waiting for.