BestBuy held a live Q&A with Blizzard Entertainment developers Tom Chilton, (Game Director) and J. Allen Brack (Production Director). on November 18th to answer questions about the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion. Zarhym and Lylirra were present as well.

You can read the complete Q&A transcript below:

Blizzard Quote:
Dorothy-BBY: Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm chat with Blizzard Developers Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack, as well as moderators Lylirra and Zarhym. Thank you all for joining us and the chat will start shortly. Sit back, and enjoy asking some questions about Blizzard’s newest release! Game on!

JABrack: Hey there!

Tacgnol: Will the heirloom items scale to 85?

JABrack: The current plan is to have heirloom items stop at level 80 at the moment.

palondon: Right now, up to 50% of Ignite damage disappears due to the technical limitations of spells critting within certain timeframes. This has implications for Mage dps and the value of Mastery as a stat. Is overall damage being balanced to compensate and can we expect a solution in the near future?

TomChil: We’re resolving that by rolling up any “lost” ignite damage into the next ignite that overwrote it

deathmane: Has Blizzard considered adding a “Tabards Tab” to the UI, so that tabard collectors can switch out tabards more effectively without having to take up bank and bag space? –Thanks! Deathunholy of Galakrond

JABrack: Hi. We have talked about adding a tabard tab. We’ve talked about doing a closet tab to handle it. It isn’t something we are adding for Cataclysm though.

SenyoPanda: Will it be as long of a wait to fight Deathwing as it was for Lich King?

TomChil: Hopefully not, we definitely have a goal to get our content patches out more quickly than we have in the past without sacrificing quality of course, we plan for deathwing to be the most amazing encounter we’ve ever made! =]

Guest-124: Are there any plans to potentially add queueing to the rated battlegrounds instead of it having to be a pre-made raid team? I was really excited when I first heard about this feature, but after reading the FAQ i was a bit disappointed with that design.

TomChil: we’re currently looking into the possibility of having players in the honor battleground queue be able to be called to action by groups that aren’t quite full, but we’re going to see how the current queue’ing works out first – that isn’t something that would be available just yet

Guest-85: Will you allow players to fill their quest log with say, 25 dailies, and then turn them in right after Midnight on December 7th to get a quick boost towards 85? This is how it worked in the beta, but some players are confused on whether it will work on Live. Thanks!

JABrack: Regarding 25 daily quests to turn in when the expansion goes live, this is something players have been able to do for the last 2 expansions and we aren’t talking about changing it now.

Guest-224: Is Hit rating intended to tramp all other stats but Str for Fury till the 27% hardcap? Seems excessive :smileyhappy:

TomChil: generally speaking, we do balance hit rating to be the “best” stat until you’re at the hit rating cap

Josh-BBY: Quick note about the moderation of the chat. Every magician has their secrets. :smileywink: We unfortunately cannot answer some of your questions. If yours wasn’t selected ask another burning question and we’ll see if our hosts can get to them!

Guest-96: I understand the decision from an economic perspective but I was wondering if the deveopers were disappointed in the decision to allow race changes immediately following the release of the expansion.

JABrack: Regarding allowing race/faction change on day one. Actually this wasn’t an economic decision at all. This was a decision that the leadership team made. Our priority as a dev team is to allow players to play the game with their friends, the way they want too.  We also talked about the fact that this is a week one problem. So we made the decision not to restrict anything.

felixlevron: Will darnasus be re built to be a real tree or will it always look like a dead stump with trees at the top.

TomChil: …but now that Deathwing is doing his thing it makes much more sense than it used to! ;]

Zarhym: Deathwing hates trees.

axelumog: A lot of players I know are trying to plan out what characters to roll for the new expansion, and the big question is: Will there be ANY new realms tagging along with the release of Cataclysm? Some point to low pop realms as a reason against, but surely with the redux’d 1-60 experience and the droves of returning players desiring clean slates, there has never been a better time for a fresh realm or two?

JABrack: We haven’t decided exactly what the new realm decisions are yet, but we open new realms when there is player demand for them. One thing we can’t do is plan all realms for day one. The goal is for realms to have good concurrency so everyone has a great game/matchmaking experience.

Guest-138: Could you comment on the plan for raids in cataclysm? If i remember it was said that there would be smaller raids in cata but more of them. Would that mean like two small raids per patch or more patches in total?

TomChil: the idea is that we’ll have more raid environments, but fewer bosses in each environment, but a similar total number of raid bosses overall… if that makes sense. =] So, for cataclysm launch we have the skywall environment, the twilight bastion environment, and blackwing descent versus having almost all the bosses in one environment like we did with naxrammas

Wikehaja: With the changes to the game environment itself, what new computer requirements will be optimal to run the game smoothly?

JABrack: One of the things that is really important to us is a great gaming experience regardless of your hardware. While the system requirements do go up over time, we do want the experience on slower machines to be great. We do this by trying to add a lot of graphical options to allow players to control the experience from “runs fast” all the way to “looks great”. 

Retro94: Will there be more than one Legendary weapon in Cata? Will there be a Caster DPS legendary? Any info or plans would be awesome =) Thanks!

TomChil: It’s likely there will be more than one legendary weapon, although it’s too early to say for sure. We do, however, have a plan to do a caster dps staff soon.

Guest-226: where did Uldum come from?

TomChil: Egypt ;]

JABrack: The idea with Uldum is that it has always been there, cloaked from the eyes of the players. The emergence of Deathwing has damaged some of the technology that kept it hidden. There is a story in the zone that explains this and what has been happening in the player absence. 

MatthewRhino: With resource systems now broadened to include focus, rage, energy, and runic power as well as mana, and there being conditionals like enrages, holy power, combo points and runes, will classes that just use mana be getting similar treatment or remaining as they are?

TomChil: Really that decision is made on a class-by-class, talent tree-by-tree basis. If we feel like the talent spec in question needs a broader resource management then we do it, but we don’t like to unnecessarily complicate a spec’s resource management if it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Guest-14: Is the Moonkin form for troll and worgen on the beta and ptr the final form or is it just a placeholder?

JABrack: Final!

Guest-12: Why is it that we are not able to use Archeaology before the exspansion? I thought it was really cool how you guys released Inscription last time and would love to have the opportunity to level it before the exspansion drops.

JABrack: Using archeology before the expansion was something we talked about, but ended up adding everything about the profession to the “post sundered” world. Thus, you won’t be able to use archeology before the sundering happens.

Sair77: The first tier of Cataclysm raiding has 3 seperate instances to tackle. Are you guys planning on keeping with the Burning Crusade model (SSC/TK, BT/Hyjal) and having multiple instances per raid tier? Will Deathwing have to share the spotlight with some other instance?
TomChil: We’ll evaluate that on a tier by tier basis. When we have awesome ideas that we can successfully make happen we’ll do multiple environments, but it won’t necessarily always be the case. We do have a super cool idea for the deathwing tier though… or at least so we hope. =]

Zuesian: Are there any plans for a new Lock mount? I would love to see a possible flying mount for Locks. Fireion Gnomeragen.
JABrack: One of the things we look at with mounts is broad appeal. While we do specific class mounts from time to time, most of the time we look to have mounts that all classes can use.

Arakiba: What happened with the Worgen district in Stormwind?
TomChil: We decided it didn’t really fit very well, it was looking kind of awkwardly forced into the city. Plus deathwing would have destroyed it anwyays.
Dorothy-BBY: RAWR!!!

Guest-128: As the world of Azeroth is changing I was wondering if the Death Knight zone will stay the same or will it also be affected by the cataclysm?
JABrack The death knight zone doesn’t have any changes for Cataclysm.

Guest-310: I have been confused from the different posts for tier gear. Will there be three levels within each tier still or just heroic and normal and in either case will u just be getting them with points or will u still have to get certain things off drops off certain bosses to get the higher more heroic version of the tier gear?
TomChil: There is still just normal and heroic difficulty for the raid and dungeon content, and the heroic gear has a higher item level than the corresponding normal gear

Guest-392: Do you feel faction imbalance is a problem at the moment? My queue is around 10-15 min at prime time as a member of the Horde and I know this is the case on at least two of the battlegroups. If so, do you think Worgen will fix the problem? And if they do not, will free faction changes ever be a possibility in the future on battlegroups or servers with a major problem?
JABrack: We are working on some technology to further combine the PVP queues at server sites. This has been going on behind the scenes for a few weeks now in preparation for Cataclysm. Queue time is one of those things that gets a lot of attention and time, but will change significantly post Cata. Really good question.

IanG: What would you say was the hardest and/or easiest parts of developing this expansion? After all, many are saying this is the best expansion to date… So, what was the biggest challenge/easiest feat in creating it?
JABrack: There have been huge challanges with this expansion, unlike any we’ve seen in the other two expansions. The scale of Cataclym is huge for us, and something we didn’t really expect when we started development. But we certainly feel like the effort has been worth it, and feel it’s our best expansion so far.

Guest-202: Why does it seem the scorpion guild mount doesn’t have a guild flag where the lion does? I was hoping to see Hordes of scorpions from our guild walking around with our tabard hanging from the tail like a flag behind them. ~ Sorenji of khaz modan
TomChil: When riding a scorpion mount, your character displays holding a large standard with your guild symbol on it.