WoW: Cataclysm Part 2: The World Reshaped

WoW: Cataclysm Part 2: The World Reshaped

The wreckage of Auberdine in Darkshore
The wreckage of Auberdine in Darkshore

As the Worgen and the Goblins join the Alliance and Horde, Azeroth as we know it is no more - the explosive Cataclysm has reshaped the world from level 1 to level 85.

Deathwing's explosive return to Azeroth changed the world of Warcraft, and as the four WoW masterminds unveiled the third expansion to the massive MMOG, we got a look at just how much had changed.

Beyond the revamped classic zones, there are seven new zones to explore in Azeroth. Two of them are the new Worgen and Goblin starting zones - Gilneas and the Lost Isles, respectively - for levels 1-15, and the other five are meant to carry players from level 78 to level 85. All of the new zones are heavily steeped in Warcraft lore: Uldum, Mount Hyjal, Deepholm, the Sunken City of Vashj'ir, and the Twilight Highlands (housing the long-awaited stronghold city of Grim Batol).

The Old is New: As far as the existing zones go, every single zone will be getting a revamp from Elywnn Forest to the Eastern Plaguelands - updated quests, art, and items, using what the designers learned in TBC and WotLK - "We're only getting better." It will be a lot more fun to go through the old world with a new character, said Afrasiabi, and Chilton quipped that they would be "ditching Agility/Spirit boots as quest rewards - or there will be hell to play."

Every classic zone will be getting a revamp, with some more than others. The "Phasing" mechanic from Wrath of the Lich King will be heavily used throughout Cataclysm, even phasing entire terrain - we saw an entire coastline sink below the sea over the course of three phases. Not every zone will change hugely, while some will look entirely different: Elwynn Forest might only receive new quests and some minor changes, but the Barrens, for instance, are completely split in half - one half filled with cracks and lava-spewing crevasses, one half regrown and lush thanks to the efforts of the Druid Naralax.

Similarly, the new sources of water unearthed by the Cataclysm have restored some greenery to Desolace while raising (or sinking) islands off of the shore. In the Night Elf zone of Darkshore, the town of Auberdine is completely destroyed, and the quest hub moved to a refugee town in the north - meanwhile, Garrosh Hellscream is on the warpath, setting up new Horde fortresses in the Zoram Strand. In Stonetalon Mountains, the Goblins have blown out the tunnel between Stonetalon and Ashenvale, and the Charred Vale is now filled with lava - "The even more charred vale."

As all of Azeroth will be flyable now (you can use those fancy flying mounts in the old world!) all of the cities have been made flyable - we saw the Undercity, and it's looking pretty cool from the air.

The New is Newer: The remade old zones aren't the only draws for Cataclysm, as we got a look at some of the brand-new locations as well. The Sunken City of Vashj'ir and Mount Hyjal are the two "starting zones" for the new expansion (Blizzard having learned their lesson from Burning Crusade). Vashj'ir is an entirely underwater zone, a submerged city on the ocean floor. The developers mentioned that they were hard at work making underwater combat "not suck," and from how they described it, it seemed like there would be seamless integration between swimming and fighting on the sea floor - with underwater mounts, naturally.

Hyjal has been teased - and requested - since the beginning of WoW, but only now did the developers feel they could add the Hyjal that they "wanted to give everyone." After being banished back to the Elemental Plane by adventurers back in Molten Core, Ragnaros the Firelord has returned, laying siege to Hyjal in an attempt to burn the World Tree to ash. Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage has finally woken from his slumber in the Emerald Dream to oppose him, and players will have to make a stand against the Firelord once more, with Terrain Phasing used to great effect.

Uldum is very "Egyptian," a desert with a huge river running through it, the fabled land of the Titans. It's rumored to hold a superweapon - "Uldumsday weapon" drew a groan from the crowd - and a new race of stonelike cat people made by the Titans, the Tol'vir. The rise of Uldum is actually related to the actions of players adventuring in Ulduar - a sequence of events that "will result in crazier stuff farther down the line" for Azeroth.

Deepholm is not physically in Azeroth, but the elemental plane of Earth - where Deathwing was chilling and gathering power before he erupted back on Azeroth. It is a massive subterranean zone, the "biggest zone we're building," and acts as a hub to all of the other new areas in Cataclysm.

Finally, the climax of Cataclysm will take place in the Twilight Highlands. Deathwing has made his base in Grim Batol, so powerful and molten that his path literally burns the city in half where he flies, a molten crevasse through the city. It is the Headquarters of Deathwing's Twilight Hammer servants, his brand-new Twilight Dragonflight, and they've pushed the benevolent Red Dragonflight out to a last-ditch stronghold.

There's No Going Back: These changes, by the way? They're for everyone, even those who don't have Cataclysm. There will be no way to go back to do old content once Cataclysm hits, and the level progression will be completely changed. Zones are for smaller level ranges (there won't be any more Stranglethorn Vale, covering 15 levels), and certain old-school zones will be revamped as higher or lower level content (for example, Western Plaguelands is now for the low 40s).

The world has changed, but Cataclysm has more beyond that. There are new race/class combinations, new dungeons and raids, new PvP systems, and an entirely new system of character advancement called the Path of the Titans - come back for the third and final part of our preview of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!

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I find this really intriguing. Old zones revamped with the new skills they've gained while making TBC and WotLK? Count me in. I want to see it. You'll at least have me re-enabling my WoW account.

For a long time I've wanted to see Blizzard "freshen up" the old world, show a little change for everything that had happened over four-plus years.

Yeah. I'd say they did me one better.

Aw I loved stranglethorn vale. You make alot of enemies there that last for the rest of the game.

I've only played WoW for a few weeks, I'm level 57 and getting ready to depart for the Outlands. Even for me its exciting to see I'll have good reason to return to those lower-level zones and see what interesting things come from it. Blizzard may be stingy cheap and 98% evil, but I do have some confidence they could pull off something interesting. If only they'd go shell out some cash to get better servers and let people actually PLAY the instances...

I hate them. I hate Blizzard so much right now. I just quit WoW and was feeling really good and now they announce this! I see your plan Blizzard, the devious sods that you are. Your trying to draw the people back who've left because they'll be itching to know what's changed in the old world.
"Cough"
In a less ranty way, this seems really good and might make me start playing WoW again when it comes out. Always wanted to fly in the old world.

Well now I have to reanimate my account, good play Blizzard, good play.

Actually makes me want to start a new character when they release this

Seriously, this looks like a hell of an expansion, especially for thoughs noobs such as myself who never made it to level 60. This really gives me a fresh reason to get back into WoW and start from scratch, while picking up my Dwarf Hunter and Draenei Paladin along the way.

One thing I will say is that, which a reskinning of most of the old areas, it would have been nice to also see a reskinning of some the races. Orces, Humans, Taurens and Trolls are still just about the ugliest things to crawl Azeroth and need a redo.

WANT.

NOW.

Beltom1066:
I hate them. I hate Blizzard so much right now.

I know! Its like they listened to everything I complained made me get tired of it, and are now putting it in. Why would they do that to me?!

On the bright side, I'll be finished school when this comes out, so I might actually be able to play it.

Does anyone else think that these new changes are kind of pointless to new players? I mean the new zones will be somewhat better since Blizzard has more experience in designing them, but what affect will the new zone look have on new players? They wont care that the new zones have changed since they didn't play the game before the changes (of course I'm talking about new players to game). Plus with the new higher levels being in the old world and flying mounts I can see ganking dramatically increasing.

Despite this I like how they announced this expansion early which means they will have a lot of time to work on it. And I like how they really fleshed out the world in response to the event occurring (although if they do this to often it will seem like they're just making up new stuff) which makes Azeroth feel like it's own world that responds to change. I am considering playing WOW again if only because my patience for Warhammer crashes is growing thinner.

hmm yeah but outland will still be really boring and the death of me... outland is what put me off ever making it past level 63

FryerTuck:
Does anyone else think that these new changes are kind of pointless to new players? I mean the new zones will be somewhat better since Blizzard has more experience in designing them, but what affect will the new zone look have on new players? They wont care that the new zones have changed since they didn't play the game before the changes (of course I'm talking about new players to game). Plus with the new higher levels being in the old world and flying mounts I can see ganking dramatically increasing.

Despite this I like how they announced this expansion early which means they will have a lot of time to work on it. And I like how they really fleshed out the world in response to the event occurring (although if they do this to often it will seem like they're just making up new stuff) which makes Azeroth feel like it's own world that responds to change. I am considering playing WOW again if only because my patience for Warhammer crashes is growing thinner.

Well, if they're completely redoing the old world that means they're bring all they've learnt from the last 4-5 years with them. There are few early areas in WoW that just arn't worth bothering with. A complete remapping and changing/adding of quests could make the would thing a lot smoother and more enjoyable. I'm starting to think of it as a HUGE tidy up.

Barrens in half?, will this double or half the amount of Chuck jokes?

The changes look good, I've got three alts I'm trying to get up at the moment and honestly, it's a massive buttpain to do.

CantFaketheFunk:
As all of Azeroth will be flyable now (you can use those fancy flying mounts in the old world!) all of the cities have been made flyable - we saw the Undercity, and it's looking pretty cool from the air.

Oh God... I could actually feel tears of joy swell up in my eyes when I read that. I've always wanted to see the original Azeroth from the sky... If it's one thing you can respect about Blizzard, they give their audience what they want... eventually.

It's cool to know Deathwing will be the next major villian but I'm also interested how they've increased the cap by 5 rather than 10 this time. Regardless, can't wait.

WoW, that is truly a ballsy move, but I love it and can't wait to start up with WoW again

[/quote]

SomeBritishDude:

Well, if they're completely redoing the old world that means they're bring all they've learnt from the last 4-5 years with them. There are few early areas in WoW that just arn't worth bothering with. A complete remapping and changing/adding of quests could make the would thing a lot smoother and more enjoyable. I'm starting to think of it as a HUGE tidy up.

Really? I haven't played in a while so I wasn't aware of some zones not worth coming to them. I agree that this is a big tidy up, plus it's a very clever way of doing it.

SomeBritishDude:

FryerTuck:

Well, if they're completely redoing the old world that means they're bring all they've learnt from the last 4-5 years with them. There are few early areas in WoW that just arn't worth bothering with. A complete remapping and changing/adding of quests could make the would thing a lot smoother and more enjoyable. I'm starting to think of it as a HUGE tidy up.

Really? I haven't played in a while so I wasn't aware of some zones not worth coming to them. I agree that this is a big tidy up, plus it's a very clever way of doing it.

What I mean is, while it was certainly interesting to visit much of the world, there where a couple of areas that could have you struggerling if you tried to level up their. Plus, the sceneery in a quite a few zones made them pretty damn boring.

The night elf areas looked cool at first but quickly grew boring when you relised they were the same for miles around for instance, at least for me. Throwing some larva in there might liven things up a bit.

May of well done WoW2, with a new engine and complete overhaul maybe a better character creator or something. Not like they can't afford it. Everyone would buy it. But then again..they don't have too.

I actually liked the original wow a lot more than I liked the expansions.

FryerTuck:
Does anyone else think that these new changes are kind of pointless to new players? I mean the new zones will be somewhat better since Blizzard has more experience in designing them, but what affect will the new zone look have on new players?

I would reckon that a lot of old players will reroll to see the new content, thereby repopulating old zones and giving new players someone to encounter and perhaps actually play with during leveling instead of soloing through mostly empty areas.

i'm sold. the only question is whether to level my old toon to 85 first or roll a new one.

i think since the wrath of the lich king blizzard has really tried to move somewhat away from new players and making content for the veterans. not that im complaining.

There are new race/class combinations,

Am I the only one who read that and thought "Why thank you do we see a gnome priest now"?

anyways as said before DAMN YOU BLIZZARD YOU MONEY VAMPIRES!

Damn.

Looks like I'll be playing WoW again when this comes out. I gotta admit, I'm missing it a little.

Id probably go back to WoW if these following things happened:

Aion Failed
Champions Online failed
Global Agenda Failed
KOTOR:Online failed
I have free time.

to be honest, that is a huge list >.>

and plus, the level cap is going to be lvl 90 now, imagine the hell it will take if you restarted and went from lvl 1-90.

Jenkins:
Id probably go back to WoW if these following things happened:

Aion Failed
Champions Online failed
Global Agenda Failed
KOTOR:Online failed
I have free time.

to be honest, that is a huge list >.>

and plus, the level cap is going to be lvl 90 now, imagine the hell it will take if you restarted and went from lvl 1-90.

85, actually. And no matter the level cap, they want the time you spend leveling to roughly be the same as it took to get to 60 in the first place, whether it's 85, 90, or 100.

As much as I would like to see the new content. I honestly don't think I could go back to the game. Just thinking about my /played makes me cringe.

So...

Can I get another demo?

...*whimper*
Fuck you guys, I already said I can't afford to play WoW again.

Whyyyyyyyyy.
WRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYY

Hm, revamping a lot, no going back...
Might give it one hell of a boost filled with new... things and stuuf

BUT since its a HUUUGE revamp this might actually make a lot of the veterans drop the game

just a thought

Thank god, I hope they also figure out a way to balance out that damn economy. Starting to really like the new patch too. My disc priest is unstoppable and can quest easily now!

 

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