World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - PC

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Game Description: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring sweeping changes to the world of Azeroth. Players will be able to adventure as two new playable races, achieve new levels of power, take on challenging quests and dungeons in all-new zones, and experience dramatic changes to familiar aspects of the game in the wake of a world-shattering disaster.
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E3 2010: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Hands-On Preview

E3 2010: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Hands-On Preview

By Kevin Kelly - Posted Jun 13, 2010

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

When Blizzard says World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is big, they aren't kidding. This expansion is going to affect the entire world of Azeroth, and they're adding nearly 3,000 new quests. "We're looking at it as a 1 to 85 thing," says lead designer Tom Chilton. Meaning it's not just a few new areas for people to immediately hop to the top of the expanded level 85 cap. This is, in effect, a comprehensive re-skinning of the entire world, with a lot of extra stuff tossed in to boot.

The basic logline for Cataclysm is that the dragon Deathwing (from way back in Warcraft II) has been biding his time after having his ass handed right back to him, and he returns in a big way. He rips the universe a new one with a dimensional rift, and that's what causes all the problems on Azeroth. Which has to be a bummer for property values. "Destruction Adjacent Fixer-Upper" just doesn't have a nice ring to it.

Stormwind and Orgrimmar: Now Fully Flyable

With the world in upheaval, which is both physical and political, things are changing everywhere, and not just because of Deathwing. Developers and programmers have also been wielding a heavy hand. One of the biggest visual changes is that the capitol cities of both Stormwind and Orgrimmar have been given enormous makeovers. Both cities are now fully flyable, and as a result that had to be rebuilt with an eye toward three dimensions.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Stormwind has been revamped with additional areas added, including a new Dwarven District that has its own bank, inn, auction house, etc. As it used to be, the city tended to bottleneck up around the existing trade district, so why not have two? They've also added new lakes, a graveyard that wraps around the back of the city, and a semi-destroyed area, courtesy of Deathwing. It's right where the druid trainer used to be in the park district. (Don't worry, he'll relocate.) Soar to the tops of the city turrets on your mount and survey the beauty. It's pretty impressive.
Orgrimmar has also gone through the home improvement machine, with a lot more drama behind it. Thrall takes off and leaves Garrosh behind, and Garrosh takes the opportunity to redecorate in a big way. You'll hardly recognize it any more, except maybe for The Drag, the only area of the city that retains the look and feel of old Ogrimmar...although reconstructive surgery has started here as well. Goblins, Trolls, and Taurens all get their own areas, and you'll find a new, direct transition to Azshara as well out through the city's back gates, which is handy for travel time.

Elemental Planes: Totally Gorgeous

The developers took us to some of the elemental planes in via their drool-worthy god mode, where we got to see some of the impressive new areas coming to the game. Deepholm is where Deathwing had been cooling his jets prior to Cataclysm, and it's a magnetic, rainbow gem-filled wonderland in the middle of a spheroid. Of course, Deathwing has provided the place with a new skylight, but it's actually quite an improvement as you can now gaze out to into the vast, starry sky. The entire area is dark, spacy, and amazing. Like a Led Zeppelin album cover come to life.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Skyfall is at the other end of the spectrum. It's an elemental plane that exists far above the Egyptian-inspired city of Uldum. It looks very reminiscent of Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back, complete with picturesque vista and billowing clouds. The development team joked that you might encounter characters here with names that reflect Star Wars. Personally, I'm holding out for Lander Kalmissyan.

Uldum itself is fairly amazing as well, with its obvious roots in Egypt. You'll see pyramid-influenced architecture and hieroglyphics everywhere. The entire city has been covered by an illusion for centuries, but Cataclysm shakes things up and all is revealed. It was previously one of the homes of the Titans, and there's something big happening here. Apparently there's a rumor that some sort of massively powerful weapon is hidden here, and the Horde, the Alliance, and Deathwing all want it for themselves. Maybe they should work out some sort of sharing schedule.

Player vs. Player vs. Player

A lot of work has gone into PvP, with the addition of two new battlegrounds with more to come. They showed us Twin Peaks, which is where the Dragonmaw Orcs are doing battle against the Wildhammer Dwarves. It’s similar in size to Warsong Gulch, and is meant for 10 vs. 10 matchups. It also has two graveyards per side, which should change the CTF dynamic.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Raiders of the Last Boss

Raids are getting some tweaks too. Players can now jump into any new raiding group, providing that they’ve already beaten the boss that matches up to the point where the raid they want to join is. Confusing? Assume you’ve killed the second boss in a raid. Now you can join any other raid that has done the same. This should eliminate a lot of player downtime and the worst thing about WoW: waiting.

Raids can now be “downshifted” as well. Suppose your 25-player raid meets up, and not everyone is there. You can break the raid up into 10-person raids and continue soldiering on. Unfortunately, you can’t upshift your raid from 10 to 25, which is to avoid the social problem of splitting up, sticking your b-listers into a raid, tanking past the next boss, and then recombining.

The Guilded Age

Guilds are getting a huge shot in the arm. There’s now a complete guild landing panel, complete with a pseudo RSS feed that tells you when other members level up, beat a certain boss, perform a unique task, or were awarded a guild achievement. It’s a great way to keep up with other members. Rather than finding out weeks later, now you can see that Ironbutt reached level 82 the day before and congratulate him.

Guilds also earn reputation as a group, which is gained by killing bosses, going on quests, hitting the rated battlegrounds, or earning guild achievements. You can earn the ability to purchase unique guild mounts, which are customized with guild flags. You’ll even be able to plant guild standard in the ground and gather your teammates around for a perfect screenshot. Plus, there’s a new roster where you can easily find recipes and talents via their profession pane, in case you need something specific.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

You Call This Archeology?!

Blizzard went into more detail about archeology, and said it’s something that will probably appeal to the casual player. It basically serves as a way for them to add more lore to the game, and it digs extra-deep into the history of Azeroth. You’ll encounter some common artifacts and rare items, but those will mostly be toy or cosmetic items. There will be very powerful items, and the Horde and Alliance will have their own unique archeology paths.

Goblins Are Awesome

While they opened up both starting areas to us, I spent all of my time in the Goblin zone. The gothic horror element of the Alliance Worgen really appealed to me, and that’s where I thought I’d spend all of my time finding out why I’d started to grow hair in strange places, but the cute and cuddly evil Goblins won me over. They have lawn flamingos. Seriously.

Plus, there’s an extremely early quest you can accept that gives you a souped-up hot-rod that you can drive all over the goblin roads and run down NPCs who call you a menace. The hot-rod has a “Punch It!” ability that increases the speed by 50%, and there’s a radio that plays Warcrafty tunes, and even a horn you can honk. What’s not to love?

You keep this jalopy for a while, but sadly, it doesn’t stay with you forever. It’s an extremely fun starting zone, very user-friendly, and there’s a ton of humor here. One quest involves dressing up, going to a party, and entertaining guests by getting them hammered. Awesome.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

What They Eliminated

The last time Cataclysm information was firehosed onto us, it was at BlizzCon. But, as Blizzard is constantly refining things, a few things were dropped. No longer around are:

  • Guild Money: Instead of having guild money, there are now guild achievements. Rather than having one person in charge of the guild’s cash, now you can unlock achievements that allow everyone to buy new items with normal gold as the guild unlocks them.
  • Guild Talents: This got tossed out because the developers thought one guild would find a perfect “formula” of talents, and then everyone else would just copy that.
  • Glyphs: The Path of the Titans: They’ve dropped this and eliminated paths as well, although they may revisit Path of the Titans down the road. Instead, they’ve made glyphs “as cool as we wanted them to be.” Glyphs will now be permanent, and they come in flavors of major, medium, and minor.

Blizzard didn’t tell us when this is all coming out, or even when we’d be able to join the beta. Personally, I haven’t played WoW in years, but this has me itching to rejoin immediately. Which is probably no coincidence to Blizzard, either.

Comments are Closed

  • Korithian

    Love it or hate it there is a reason why World of Warcraft is number one and I think Catalysm will further add to this. Don't get me wrong I'm not a fan boy but I read this and I see them adding more of the things that made the game so popular.

    I sure wouldn't want to bet against WoW mantaining its 11 million subs and even growing if this content is as good as its made out to be. And I'm sure Blizzard will be working hard to make it a compelling and engrossing expereince.

    Posted: June 15, 2010 12:46 PM
  • Drakbak

    I quit WoW after a 5 year run back in october because they made raiding ridiculously simple. It just wasn't fun anymore, so I quit. I'm not opposed to making raiding more accessible, but Blizz just made raiding stupidly easy by catering to people who didn't know how to play the game. 5-man dungeons were a joke, and were only useful for achievement whores because you could run into the first tier of raids and get epics with green quest gear. There was no sense of needing to progress until Ulduar finally came out, and by then the community were filled with too many players who thought that zerging bosses was a valid strategy on most fights.

    Battlegrounds killed World PvP and Arenas killed Battlegrounds (and class balance).

    Paid services such as realm transfers (with ever reducing CD periods), name changes, race/faction changes, etc, etc. also ruined the game by absolutely destroying local (server) communities. Cross-realm pvp added to this but was a necessary evil to help reduce queues.

    ALL THAT SAID.......I will still probably end up playing Catalysm because I love the lore that surrounds the Warcraft universe, and I'm excited to reroll and see all the changes they made to the old world, including all the new quests. Once i'm done with the questing, I'll probably take my leave unless changes have been made to make the endgame fun like it used to be.

    Posted: June 15, 2010 8:18 AM
  • DamienHell

    Aww I was excited about the path of the titans :((

    Posted: June 15, 2010 8:14 AM
  • TheDfresh


    SWTOR will snuff this out like a candle on it last half inch of a wick.

    Posted: June 15, 2010 7:15 AM
  • Raisinbman

    They got rid off guild talent points :(

    I liked that idea...

    Posted: June 15, 2010 6:14 AM
  • OC^_gamer!

    I wasted 5 years of my life playing WoW. Most of which was spent raiding pretty hardcore. Ever since the release of WotLK, Blizzard has dumbed down raiding to the point where a blindfolded chimp would probably not have too much of an issue becoming successful. Seeing them take such a radical shift in their raiding philosophy baffled many hardcore raiders like myself. Considering that right before this, they had released one of their hardest dungeons to date, Sunwell Plateau, with the infamous guild destroyer known as M'uru, this confused us even further.

    Coincidentally (or not), this was also right around the time that Blizzard had finalized their merger with Activision. Now obviously Activision couldn't alter something that had already been implemented, but they did have a few tricks up their sleeves that were known as patches. Not too long after Sunwell released did Blizzard throw out yet another patch that basically made all raid instances in Burning Crusade a complete and utter joke. At this point, many of us were beginning to believe that Big Brother (Bobby Kotick) had some kind of hand in these important decisions. Of course Blizzard would never admit to any of this, standing firm by their statement that the merger would in no way effect WoW. But let me ask you this question my fellow gamers; If the merger changed nothing, then what was even the point of merging to begin with?

    While it is true that many casuals were complaining about raiding during the BC days, it wasn't the difficulty of the raids they were complaining about, it was the accessibility. So what does Blizzard do with WotLK after heeding their concerns? They roll out a FIFTEEN BOSS dungeon for the first tier of raiding. But guess what? The casuals aren't complaining anymore, even though the dungeon isn't any more accessible to them. So what made them stop complaining? It was because it was an astronomically easy dungeon. On top of that, it was a remake of the original Naxx 40 from Vanilla WoW, so there were already many boss strats available online. This just goes to show you that they didn't care about accessibility, they were just plain bad and they were hiding behind their "casual-ness" as an excuse for being bad. Not to say that all casuals are bad, I've met many a good casual in my time. Just most of them.

    The only thing that really kept me going as long as it did were the competitive WWS and WMO parses during the Naxx and Ulduar days. However, I soon too got bored of that as well and just quit. Above all this, the community in this game is just outright terrible. Especially those Gearscore baddies. And this is coming from someone with a glaive set. God, I always loved shooting down the gearscore baddies by linking them my glaive FoS whenever they asked for a Gearscore. So if you happen to be reading this post and are in love with Gearscore, you're dumb and one can only hope that natural selection will one day come around to bite you in the butt.

    I don't expect this simplicity to get better with Cataclysm either. In fact, it will most likely get worse. At the very best, it will stay the same. A word a warning to anyone out there considering to buy this game. If you are looking for even the slightest of challenges, this is not the game for you. Modern Warfare 2 online play is probably a more challenging game than this, and that's saying a lot. However, if you are the type that likes everything handed to you on a silver platter, then I would definitely recommend this game to you. I also fully expect the nouveau generation of WoW players to flame the crap out of this post. You know I was just like you a few years ago. So blinded by my addiction that I thought anyone who even suggested something like this was dumb. Then one day I just woke up, and I hope that eventually you will too.

    Posted: June 14, 2010 8:21 PM
  • StealthClone

    I kind of liked the idea of Path of the Titan's. Seemed like a new interesting way to customize your avatar based on choosing a faction. Shame it won't be in the expansion.

    Posted: June 14, 2010 5:33 PM
  • element1293

    WPVP FTW if your hating on WPVP then your prolly a clicker and have rage quit / spirit rezd more then you can count..Militia FM FTW

    Posted: June 14, 2010 4:16 PM
  • atamosk

    lol the people who are flaming wow dont understand the game because a) they sucked at it and didnt spend time looking up info, which now you dont have to cause the tutorial system is legit b) dont feel like spending the money or cant cause they are 12 and their parents wont let them or c) elitist jerks (no not the people who bring you great class strats) lol wow it not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it has alot. yes i am sad to that world pvp is gone, but its not the biggest loss and if you think about it it really loses its luster anyway since you can only live that expirience so many times. each new step makes the game more challenging for the hardcore players and easier to brake into and be "cool" for the people who don't have or want to spend a lot of time on this game. they are trying to please their 11 million users so that people dont feel like they have to spend hours on the game, but if you want to you can. I know I only get on for raids and when my friends are on i try not to spend to much time on and I have done pretty well. anyway, you can't say wow is a bad game you can say it is not for you however which is cool.

    also they didnt make SC into a mmo because it is a stronger RTS and they want to keep it an RTS.

    also the stylized graphics are on par with blizzards games and WC3 graphics. They don't want it to be realistic it gives the game character.

    wall of txt crits you all for over 9000

    Posted: June 14, 2010 3:08 PM
  • boohoodman

    world of warcraft is possibly the gayest game ever

    Posted: June 14, 2010 1:13 PM
  • Bigsampson

    Wow some of you sound like the usual tool elitist jerks saying how you dont like the game ans such not....... get a clue the game is massive and only a small % of people are in top guilds. You say how easy it is and all this crap yet the odds are that you have never been in the top 1 % of the game. I mean to each is to own IMO. Are you going to tell me that the Super Mario series sucked because it wasnt hard? go cut your penis off and eat it you filthy cannibal.

    Posted: June 14, 2010 12:21 PM
  • TheBaldr

    I assumed Blizzard wasn't going to attend this year like they didn't attend last year because they have their own show. Kinda a cool to see them back at E3 again.

    Posted: June 14, 2010 6:21 AM
  • L33tcakes

    Now will the other cities no longer be flyable? Or will they be gone completely? It would seem weird if they made the rest of the world flyable but not other major cities. Although, as a horde player, I don't want Org to change. :(

    Posted: June 13, 2010 5:59 PM
  • hoof_hearted4

    WoW is just dumb, ive tried the trial several times and even managed to get into it once getting to like lvl 28, but i got sick of it soon after and stopped playing. its just sooo boring and crappy cartoon graphics. when will they come out with an mmo with good even somewhat realistic graphics. im not talking MGS4 or U2 graphics just something a little better, anything would be better then WoW graphics. but ya i just cant see how ppl can spend hours and hours into this game and get multiple characters up to 80 (thats the cap right? or is it 60?) biggest waste of blizzards time ever. i dont understand why they would have made an mmo off of warcraft when starcraft was always and still is their biggest rts. i would much rather have played a WoS (ghost doesnt count)...maybe someday they will make it, one can only wish

    Posted: June 13, 2010 5:08 PM
  • CamperHunter1

    LOL... sounds like this guy really enjoyed the Goblin area, hell it makes me want to come back to WoW to see it.

    Posted: June 13, 2010 2:39 PM
  • fatboy1790p

    my sister STANK

    Posted: June 13, 2010 12:03 PM
  • Ataraxis117

    I remember being in beta for wow before it even came out in i believe it was august of 2004. I joined the alliance and raided booty bay with everyone that had a level cap of 14. We swam the whole way from westfall because we didnt know at the time how else to get there. The game was amazing, running into horde for the first time was quite an experience. You couldnt talk to those players, and they couldnt make characters for alliance on your same server. World pvp was spectacular, especially the old school southshore vs. tarren mill battles. We would taunt each other between factions, fighting for land we were questing on.

    Wow would have been amazing if they emphasized more on world pvp, against land, resources ect. They pulled a 180 and came up with battlegrounds, rendering the world itself useless for pvp, and nothing but pve gain for levels and questing. I used to love wow, but they really did screw a lot up. For money, and greed, they changed the game, even charging for faction (promoting traitors) and realm changes. This doesnt sound any different than the other wild directions ive seen them go over the years.

    Posted: June 13, 2010 10:45 AM
  • Stormraught

    Alright content update, but we all still know WoW is a filler game between the good stuff.

    Posted: June 13, 2010 10:27 AM
  • BoydofZINJ

    I tried WOW. I can never get into it. it is too easy to level, and the graphics are subpar. However, I understand why the graphics are so low... to ensure more machines can play the game. More people who have the capabilities of playing means more people are going to play. LOTRO (Lord of the rings online) is the best MMO for PvE out there right now, IMHO. EVE is a good space game... but lacks many aspects. I am waiting for a new MMO that will inspire me and be PvP.

    Posted: June 13, 2010 8:26 AM
  • Str84twenty

    WoW used to be so awesome until they made to where you can have a Horde and a Alliance on the same PvP Server. Completely ruined the game.

    Posted: June 13, 2010 4:24 AM