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Hi. My name is Gina and I played World of Warcraft.
It's been about two years since I left my poor level 80 Shaman, my level 70-something DK, and my level 54-ish Pally sitting in various areas in the large world of Azeroth. There was talk of course that I might go back once the new expansion, Cataclysm, came out but I was unsure.
Until a friend got in to the Cataclysm beta.
It's one thing to hear about a gaming beta, but something else entirely when you're there to see it first hand and play it. I'm going to tell you the cool and not so cool things to expect in the new expansion and what the beta looks like.
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Introduction to Cataclysm
So if you hadn't heard or you've been under a rock, Blizzard announced the release of a new expansion to their World of Warcraft game franchise at last year's BlizzCon. Taking place at the tail end of the reemerging Lich King (from the last expansion, Wrath of the Lich King), a dormant evil has been sitting and waiting - Deathwing the Destroyer.
For Warcraft fans, this old enemy's return signals a huge transformation for all of Azeroth, factions and classes alike. With the dragon's return comes the introductions of two new classes for players - the Goblins, who had been a neutral presence in some places, and the Worgen, whom players have fought within Shadowfang Keep; there is also another level cap, though only up to 85, as well as new zones for high level players.
Of course, the most anticipated thing is how the world of Azeroth has changed.
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I must admit, my attraction to this new expansion was based on the fact that, with the reemergence of Deathwing, there would be changes within the world that I had come to know. And while the last two expansions gave us the new continents of the Outlands and Northrend, the fact that the basis lands of the game, the Eastern Kingdom for the Alliance and Kalimdor for the Horde have been in some cases, drastically changed.
I was able to view and play through some of these changed areas and when I say they've been changed, they have been changed. As an Alliance player, the first city that we viewed was of course Stormwind. While on the outside things seem to be fine, there are some inner changes to the city. First is the addition of a graveyard just off the bridge of the Valley of Heroes, which is still unknown, but could easily be attributed to lives lost in conflict. There are also revamps in the town itself, including the auction house and the bank.
Moving from the Eastern Kingdoms, we moved to Kalimdor. Flying over Auberdine in Darkshore was a surprise, as the city is completely destroyed. It's gone. The dock which used to drop and pick up passengers is gone, as is the city itself. For those Night Elves crying, no worries. It seems as though the NEs that were there have located to the west, on a little island next to where Auberdine once stood.
Don't want to give anything away, but a lot of the map has changed, with revamps of scenery and level areas in some, and with other areas completely destroyed.
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As with the last two expansions, Cataclysm introduces new features, such as a new level cap and two new races. Among these new features is th ability to now fly in both Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. If you remember, flying mounts played a major importance for high level players in the lands of Outlands and Northrend.
The downside to this, especially for advanced players thrust into the new Achievements, meant places that had previously been explored now had to be explored again. Not such a bad thing, but having to ride around Loch Modan when I just spend 6,000 for my cold weather mount seemed like a big waste of money when I couldn't use it anywhere outside of Northrend. Apparently, others felt the same, as now you can fly over most cities in the world.
The level cap to 85 does seem odd, but according to Blizzard, they wanted to focus more on end game for high level players, and they've certainly done that with several new areas and instances for those of us at 80 and above. New playing areas include Mt. Hyjal, which had previously been closed off, and the Twilight Highlands, located east of the Wetlands.
Players under 80 need not be disappointed, for there are new areas for them as well, including Gilneas and Kezan, the starting areas for the Worgens and Goblins respectively.
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As with any beta, there of course are going to be some issues. In watching Cataclysm being played and playing myself, there are a few glitches. One major thing we saw was the constant dismounting of flying mounts in various areas. One friend reported that he had been dismounted in air at least three times. Now whether there is a possible barrier that stops you from going too high is unknown at this point, but there is a liability of it being an issue upon release date.
My friend also reported - and which I saw at one point - some combat issues. While not the combat itself, but it seemed as though boss fights seemed tougher than usual and not end boss, but entry level boss. Even as geared out as he and the group that he was in and as organized as the group was, they seemed to die before even getting a hit in. Again, this could just be a test; you don't want the bosses too easy, where there's no challenge, but you also don't want them so hard that there's no probability of beating them.
Time will tell on this.
A small matter is that of the new races, the Goblins and Worgen. It seems rather odd that the Worgen, whom players have fought against would be on the Alliance, while the Goblins, who have always been neutral to either side, on with the Horde. They have their backstories of course, it just seems like an odd match. Again, time will tell how these races will figure into the fight of factions.
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Overall, the game itself looks amazing. Again, the very concept of turning well known cities and capitols completely on its ear should make even the wary want to try a 10 day trial. The revamps on levels in some areas should entice lower level players to want to explore, while new areas for both high and lower levels should keep the excitement going.
The new features of a new level cap, new races, and even new classes for some races should even tempt those players that have stopped playing into taking on the mantle once more.
With the new expansion, there are new system requirements set forth by Blizzard. More about the Cataclysm expansion, see the official Blizzard website. The release date is scheduled for some time in November 2010.
A collection of previews and in-depth reviews of the new World of Warcraft Expansion Cataclysm.