Over 3000 new quests in WOW: Cataclysm

But Paths of the Titans has been binned.

Blizzard has shown third World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm to the press, revealing that it will ship with three times as many new quests as last effort Wrath of the Lich King. But much has been cut from the game too, including the planned new customisation system Paths of the Titans.

"Wrath of the Lich King shipped with about 1000 quests, a little over," lead world designer Alex Afrasiabi told Eurogamer. "Cataclysm will ship with - we're tracking to ship with over 3000 new quests."

Around 1000 of these quests will be in the zones taking players from level 80 up to the new level cap of 85, while the remaining 2000 will be in the redesigned "old world" from levels 1 to 60.

The Paths of the Titans - a high-level character customisation system - revealed when Cataclysm was announced at last year's BlizzCon has been scrapped, Blizzard believing that it would overcomplicate the game.

The new profession Archaeology, once planned to feed into Paths of the Titans, is now a more casual game of collection and completion rewarding players with lore, collectables and rare toys.

Archaeologists will be able to assemble a skeletal raptor mount, and grant raid buffs by deciphering runes in dungeons, lead system designer Greg Street told Eurogamer.

So players don't feel like they have to run both 10- and 25-player raids, in Cataclysm both will be rewarded with items of the same level, and they will share a lockout, forcing you to choose which to run that week.

However, a 25-player raid can be broken up into up to three 10-man raids if you lose players and can't proceed, and lockouts are now more flexible, allowing you to move between raids as long as you haven't made more progress.

The new guild advancement system has also changed since BlizzCon, with the talent trees scrapped in favour of guild-wide Perks awarded every guild level, like regular abilities. Players will earn reputation with their own guild by completing certain tasks, with reputation ranks unlocking new rewards for purchase at a vendor.

Character progression has been drastically changed and streamlined, with spells and abilities no longer possessing ranks and unlocking in a new order for every class. The UI has been overhauled too.

Blizzard showed two new Battlegrounds - Twin Peaks, a variation on Warsong Gulch's capture the flag, and Battle for Gilneas, a domination map on city streets - and the Skywall, a spectacular dungeon of fragmented architecture hanging in the sky which you'll need to use your own flying mounts to get around.

Amid the myriad changes to the old world, the faction capitals of Orgrimmar and Stormwind both have complete facelifts and get a new trade area with a second bank, auction house and inn.

You can read lots more in our interview with Street and Afrasiabi and hands-on preview of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, or check out the new screens.

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