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The WoW tourist's guide to important Cataclysm locations

It was a hectic two days at this year's BlizzCon with lots of revelations, some good, others awesome. Destruction is coming to Azeroth with the return of Deathwing, changing the face of the planet forever. While we won't see the game until 2010, the world will change entirely and cities will be revamped in order to enable them to be made flyable. However, there are several very important locations currently in-game (for the most part) which are going to be very important to the coming Cataclysm.

Check out our gallery below as we take you on a guided tour of some of the important places you should probably visit right now before they are changed forever.

Filed under: Blizzard, Expansions, Screenshots, Lore, BlizzCon, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

Night Elves and Worgen: Druid allies of the Moon

For some, the Worgen seem unlikely members of the Alliance. These lupine creatures have a long history within Azeroth, even if no one is quite sure where or - to quote Chris Metzen, "when" - they come from. The choice to include the isolationist zone of Gilneas is logical. After all Arugal's infamous Shadowfang Keep is located just north of the Greymane Wall, right up the road. Added to this the fact a Gilnean hasn't been seen in a decade, well that makes them ripe for a lorefest. Blizzard have all but confirmed it was their isolationist attitude which led to the people of Gilneas becoming Worgen but if that is the case then it's kind of ironic. They hid to escape the undead plague and instead succumbed to another infection entirely.

Formally humans and now Worgen, the trailer hints that it will be the efforts of the Night Elves which will see the Worgen joining the Alliance. Now this in interesting because the Night Elves have their own history with the Worgen, Velinde Starsong and the Scythe of Elune. But given that the Gilnean Worgen are the only other Alliance race who can become Druids, there's an even deeper link between the two races. Also, given that Druids are skilled shapeshifters, the Night Elves could hold the key to helping the people of Gilneas deal with their curse.

Now the werewolves on which the Worgen are based are lunar creatures. In the most popular mythology they are forced to transform when the moon is full but this is not always the case. Part of this can be seen in the Wolfcult of Northrend's Grizzly Hills who remain in human form until forced into combat. For the Night Elves, who revere the larger silvery orb known as the White Lady as their supreme Goddess, Elune, the Worgen are a part of their mytholgy. While in the past, the Scythe of Elune storyline has been a big part of Worgen lore, how much of it and the pull of the Moon - which is found in traditional werewolf lore - will make it into Cataclysm remains to be seen.

This is part of the excitement of a new expansion, the promise of the unknown is just that, so promising! For a short time, our imaginations can wander without the constraints of fact and detail. We can dream of what we want the Worgen and, specifically, the Druid class to be within the lore of Azeroth. Regardless of what this might be in the end, there is definitely going to be a close bond between the Kaldorei and the people of Gilneas which will shape how World of Warcraft moves into a post-Cataclysm age.

Filed under: Alliance, Druid, Expansions, Lore, Cataclysm, Worgen

Breakfast Topic: Will you subscribe to the World of Warcraft Magazine?

The announcement that Future and Blizzard are teaming up to produce World of Warcraft: The Magazine surprised almost everyone, I think. No more so because of the undeniable shift from print to digital media. However the fact that Blizzard is involved and the promise of no adverts and a "coffee table" kind of feel makes this very appealing. Granted the subscription is a little high, especially when you consider you're only getting four issues for your cash and yet I think a lot of people are going to sign up. I'm probably going to be one of them.

As a fanbase, we're know for collecting shiny things to do with our game of choice, whether it's a Wrath Collector's Edition or a Starcraft II messenger bag. Personally my thing is artbooks: I've got the whole set from the Art of the World of Warcraft to the Cinematic Artbook from last year's BlizzCon so the idea of a magazine loaded with artwork and interviews and all that jazz makes me very excited. What about you, constant readers, will you be tempted to subscribe?

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

European weekly maintenance: 26th August 2009

So BlizzCon is over for another year and the road to Cataclysm stretches out in front of us. In Azeroth, things continue as they always do. Wednesday, as every WoW player in Europe knows, is maintenance day and Blizzard have just announced their plans. Tomorrow will see scheduled maintenance, meaning all European realms will be offline from 3:00am until 11:00am (CEST). On top of that, a selection of realms will be getting extended maintenance to hopefully fix that annoying instance-launching problem.

Aerie Peak, Anachronos, Boulderfist, Chamber of Aspects, Eonar, Frostmane, Grim Batol, Jaedenar, Kazzak, Kilrogg, Outland, Ravenholdt, Saurfang, Tarren Mill, Vek'nilash and Wildhammer will all be offline from 1:00am to 3:00pm (CEST) on Wednesday, and also from 3:00am to 7:00am on Thursday 27th August. The sheer length of this maintenance means that hopefully Blizzard might be close to cracking it, so hang on in there, okay?

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Blizzard, Expansions, Europe

BlizzCon 2009: Entering a brave new world

Chris Metzen, speaking during the World of Warcraft preview panel, revealed that Cataclysm will introduce seven new zones, on top of revamping the old world. This revamp changes both the game mechanics (adding the ability to fly anywhere) and the lore, as old zones are forever changed, both geographically and territorially. These new zones are:
  • Gilneas
  • Twilight Highlands
  • Deepholm
  • The Lost Isles
  • Sunken City of Vashj'ir
  • Mount Hyjal
  • Uldum

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Cataclysm easter egg reveals Deathwing's musical side

Blizzard is a cunning bunch and they seem to love easter eggs. No we're not talking lovely chocolatey orbs like the ones you find during Noblegarden, rather that they like hiding artwork in plain sight and waiting for us to click on it. Tucked away in the Cataclysm official site is the kind of artwork which practically demands to end up on a T shirt. Yes, Deathwing is actually the sixth member of The Artists Formally Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain (aka TAFKAL80ETC or that funny Prince-like symbol with the Horde sigil at its center). Oh and he plays the piano. Who knew, eh?

You can find it by clicking here and looking for the small keyboard at the bottom of the page (it's in the middle underneath the artwork, just below the page indicator). Alternatively, if you want all the gratification and none of the work, click here to download the awesome high res version. We fully expect to see everyone wearing them come next year's BlizzCon rather than those three wolves howling at the moon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Lore, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What do you think of new race and class combos?

One of the big things announced at BlizzCon were the new class and race combinations. These were originally datamined from patch 3.2.2 and include everything from Gnome Priests and Goblin Rogues to Worgen Druids. I'm especially excited about the last one.

For years, the race you played has been indelibly linked with the class and defined how you play the game. Say, for example, you like playing Night Elves, you're limited class-wise to rolling Druid, Priests, Hunters, Rogues and Warriors. On the other hand, if it's a specific class then you are sometimes limited to a particular race. So Draenei are the only Alliance race which can current become Shamans while the same is true, Horde-side, for Blood Elves becoming Paladins.

From a lore perspective, there is little preventing any of these combos. This is especially true as Azeroth expands and the game evolves. But readers, this is new territory for us, as WoW becomes more open. What do you think of the possibility of lore-centric or even playable class and race combinations?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Patches, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Draenei, Blood Elves, Lore, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

BlizzCon 2009: How far along is the development of Cataclysm?

We knew Cataclysm was coming, but it's nice to be able to play it. Today. At BlizzCon. Yes, rather than firing up the PTRs to let visitors kick Onyxia's butt (again) or proffering a glimpse of Arthas' defeat, attendees get their first taste of the new expansion set. How awesome is that? To be able to play the game this weekend, though, suggests that it's at a good stage in development. After all, Wrath was announced at BlizzCon 2007 but we didn't actually get to play it (at least the internal Friends and Family Alpha version) until the WWI in July 2008, nearly a year later.

Blizzard's Lead Level Designer on World of Warcraft, Cory Stockton, has stated that Cataclysm's development began before Wrath shipped (there's a surprise ...) but it's obviously futher along than many might have thought and then Mike Morhaime hesitantly confirmed the game was slated to be released in 2010 along with StarCraft II. So when exactly could we expect to see the third World of Warcraft expansion?

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

WoW Magazine site now live, hints at Doomhammer

Coming from left field, much to the surprise of everyone here at Team WoW.com, was the announcement of World of Warcraft: The Magazine which will be published by Future later this year. As promised, the website for the subscription-only quarterly went live in the wee small hours of this morning (GMT).

You're probably scratching your heads and wondering why we're mentioning this when there's all the BlizzCon fun and games to talk about. Well, amonght other things, there's a really nice piece of artwork of the Lich King by Wei Wang, who we believe is going to be named the Eighth Son of the Storm at BlizzCon.

On top of that are the first hints at what the first issue will contain: a piece on the game's fifth anniversary (which suggests we may well see it around November time), articles focusing on new content (which I'm assuming is either code for Cataclysm or a peek at patch 3.3), and the lore behind the legendary weapon Doomhammer.

This is probably the entry which is going to have theorists asking intriguing questions. The Doomhammer is currently held by Thrall, and it's one of those uber weapons which most players want to get their hands on but can't get (because it's not actually implemented). It turns out this weapon will be the next 'Frostmourne', a replica weapon that if you have the cash you will be able to purchase and hang on your wall to confirm your hardcoreness.

Either way, check out the website and hit the link to subscribe if you like what you see. Alternatively, if you're at BlizzCon this weekend, you can visit the Future booth and do it there.
BlizzCon 2009 is here! WoW.com has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out WoW.com's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What do you think of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?


They taunted, they teased, they insinuated and then, just as the ceremony was about to end, Chris Metzen finally dropped the bombshell and announced World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Yeah we knew it was coming, we were -- to misquote Illidan -- prepared. Now, in the aftermath, we've had time to ruminate and digest all the information: Deathwing, the raised level cap, the guild leveling, heroic versions of Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines, a new secondary profession in the form of Archeology, two new races and seven new zones, a new (and broken) Azeroth and the ability to fly in the old world. Phew, that's a lot to digest. Even more information seems to be dripping out in panels and post-opening ceremony interviews.

So readers, we want to know what you think of Cataclysm. Are you pleased? Which bit excited you the most? Is it the new races or the promise of facing another insane Dragon Aspect? Are you scared by the drastic and irreversible changes that will befall Azeroth? Were you hoping for the Emerald Dream or a fully Maelstrom-centric expansion and feel like the Lost Isles and Vashj'ir are half measures? Tell us in the usual manner by dropping your thoughts and meditations in the comment box below.

BlizzCon 2009 is here! WoW.com has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out WoW.com's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

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