Blizzard announce WoW: Cataclysm

Written by Joe Martin

August 22, 2009 // 11:35 a.m.

Tags: #blizzard #cataclysm #cologne #deathwing #gamescom #wow

GamesCom 2009: We may be out here in Cologne at GamesCom, not over in California for BlizzCon 2009, but we still managed to be present in spirit for Blizzard’s announcement of the next World of Warcraft, dubbed Cataclysm.

Unveiled during the opening ceremony of BlizzCon, which was then streamed live to a private party in Cologne, Cataclysm is a radical overhaul of the entire WoW universe, bringing a tonne of new features and content to the biggest MMO in the world.

Based around the rise of the enormously evil Deathwing, Cataclysm is unusual in that it doesn’t bring a new playable area to gamers and instead is built around a rebuild of huge portions of Azeroth. Entire portions of the aging landscape have been remapped by Deathwing’s rise, with some areas disappearing entirely as earthquakes and flood wrack the land.

The massive changes to the topography of Azeroth bring a number of changes to the fundamentals of the game, with the Goblin race signing up as a new playable Horde race as their entire homeland disappears overnight. The Alliance meanwhile will get access to the Worgen race – a breed of werewolves and wolfmen. There’ll be a tonne of new race/class combinations as well.

As if that weren’t enough for the 12 million+ World of Warcraft subscribers, the Cataclysm expansion will also have hundreds of new quests, loads of new dungeons and raids and a raised level cap too. Players will soon be able to push themselves all the way up to Level 85, with new high-level loot and the like becoming available too. There’ll also be new flyable mounts for players in Azeroth too, according to the launch trailer which was streamed to Cologne from Anaheim, California where BlizzCon is currently underway.

It’s also a testament to the success of World of WarCraft that, despite Blizzard’s best efforts and the support of partners like GamesCom in Cologne and DirectTV, the internet was still bought to a crawl as soon as the Cataclysm announcement trailer started running. In the end the number of fans trying to watch the trailer online was so massive that Blizzard’s Vice President had to stop the live transmission and run a locally-held version of the trailer for those of us in Cologne instead.

There were no release date details announced for WoW: Cataclysm, nor did Blizzard seem eager to announce one either, promising that the expansion would only be released when it was ready, as with all of their other games. At this point of course it doesn’t really matter whether it’s ready or not – it’s still going to be the best-selling title of whatever year it’s released in. Chatting to some Blizzard reps in the aftermath of the party it was pointed out that World of WarCraft is so big that it accounts for more than 56 percent of Activision’s entire income, toppling Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk combined. Wowzers.

We’ll bring you more details about the Cataclysm as soon as we can of course, but for now why don’t you let us know your thoughts and tell us whether you play for the Alliance or Horde, in the forums.
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