While the heroes of Azeroth laid siege to Arthas in the Ice Crown Citadel, a new threat has emerged. Deathwing the Destroyer’s power has scarred the world, and battles between the elements have torn World of Warcraft apart in Cataclysm, the third expansion for Blizzard’s massively multiplayer online franchise.
Players can look forward to new features such as the level cap jumping to 85, a leveling guild system and two new player races: the Worgen and Goblins.
For those veteran players that have flown hundreds — if not thousands — of automated flights from one end of Azeroth to the other, the expansion’s biggest perk might be the debut of flying mounts in the old world. Before, players could only fly within the areas of earlier expansions.
Having run three level-80 characters all over Azeroth for a recent festival, I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and fly. The first thing I did after transferring my Tauren Druid character to the test server was to fly all over Azeroth.
The lands I spotted aren’t the same environments my character would remember starting out. The damage done to the world from Deathwing is amazing. As if that wasn’t enough, rough weather has ravaged regions, particularly the night elf outpost Auberdine. Wide chasms of lava have split zones in two, while the South Fury River has overflowed its banks and most of Northern Durotar is flooded.
The peace between the Alliance and Horde has always been fragile. Certain areas of the game became player versus player (PvP) hotspots where battles between Alliance and Horde players would go on for hours.
In the last two expansions’ sanctuary cities, characters could visit the same city and perform tasks such as banking, selling to vendors or just hanging out with friends as well as enemies. In Cataclysm, that could change. Leadership shakeups between the two factions look to fan the flames of war between Alliance King Varian Wrynn and new Horde leader Garrosh Hellscream. Each side has laid siege to towns and camps throughout Azeroth and are fortifying their positions across the world.
As high level characters return to the old world, this could be a chance to see those world PvP fights break out once more across the lands. As a proud member of the Horde, my druid was not happy to see a Horde camp burned to the ground.
There are some extreme WoW makeovers happening as well. The Horde city of Orgrimmar has been beefed up from the front gate to the new back entrance to Azshara. Forsaken towns have also been given a new look, as Brill and Tarren Mill don’t resemble their old, desolate former selves. Some nice decorative touches have been added as well, including a statue of Lady Sylvanas, the Forsaken Queen, which stands in the middle of Brill.
New players will be able to experience things that veteran players couldn’t before. First off, my Worgen hunter was happy to see a mailbox that didn’t take long to reach. This will make it easy for players wanting to send good gear, bags and gold to their new Goblin or Worgen characters right away.
Flight paths have been added to areas like Brill, Razor Hill and Bloodhoof Village for the Horde. This has been one of the best hidden treasures found in Cataclysm so far. It’s much easier to travel between cities compared to before.
Speaking of hidden treasures, players that have only flown over the Ironforge Airport or heard rumors of the place can now see it with their own eyes. Before, a visit here got you an instant ban from the game. But with flying mounts, curious players can explore more freely. Just watch out for the attacking Dark Iron Dwarves.