Saturday, August 22, 2009

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Expansion III isn't a new continent, but a complete rework of the Old World. From the Official FAQ:
While the attention of the Horde and Alliance remained fixed upon Northrend, an ancient evil has been lying dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth, nursing his hatred for the inferior creatures that infest the surface realm...and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire.

Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

The face of Azeroth is altered forever as the destruction left in Deathwing's wake reshapes the land and reveals secrets long sealed away. Players will be able to re-experience familiar zones across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, rewrought by the cataclysm and filled with new opportunities for adventure.

The highlights include:
  • 2 New Races: Goblins (Horde) and Worgen (Alliance)
  • All/Most of the old zones remade for a completely new 1-60 experience
  • New Archaeology secondary profession
  • New Race/Class combinations
  • Flying mounts in Azeroth
  • Guild leveling

I have to admit that I was quite surprised when I first read the rumors about this expansion, and am very pleased they've turned out to be true. As someone who levels at a... uhm... "stately" pace, I had started to feel left behind by the game. Honestly, I don't even have any characters in the 1st expansion... but even so, it was worth buying because it added new races that even lowbies like me could enjoy. This wasn't the case with Wrath of the Lich King, especially if you don't really have an interest in Death Knights... and with all the mount changes in the 3.2 patch, I figured Blizz just wanted to speed people out of the 1-60 range so we could catch up with everybody else. I think it's a brilliant move (not just because it suits my play style perfectly) to revamp 1-60 with all the better design tenets they've learned over the course of the last two expansions. They flipped it around right when new players were likely to feel like there was really too much ground to make up to be worth it.

I'm excited that the Old World won't just be n00bs, power levelers, twinks... and me.