World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Hands-On

We get our hairy and little green hands on the two new races announced at this year's BlizzCon.

by

Today Blizzard flexed its might and threw its rabid massively multiplayer online game fans a bone by ending speculation about the announcement and details for the next expansion pack for its World of Warcraft franchise. Just nine months since launching its Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the new pack, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, will forgo the introduction of any new playable classes and, instead, focus on adding two of the game’s most requested races--Goblins and Worgen--to the playable roster.

Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development made the announcement to the thunderous applause of the convention’s 20,000-strong attendees. We got our hands on a work-in-progress build of the game, which was playable at the show to coincide with the announcement, and took the two new races for a spin.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is taking a slightly different approach and will go as far as to drastically change the physical landscape of the planet. After keeping out of the limelight and presumed defeated, Deathwing, leader of the Black Dragonflight, is positioned to return and become the game’s new antagonist as Azeroth is literally torn asunder. Adding a new continent is one thing, but Cataclysm is already setting the bar high on tearing Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdom realms a new one. Huge volcanic gullies have been cut into the countryside, leaving pieces of land precariously teetering and on the verge of collapsing into the lava below to turn the Barrens into the new Burning Steppes. Elsewhere in Azeroth, the earthquakes have caused huge waterfalls to appear and floods to occur, leaving even the most vibrant parts of the neighbourhood looking pretty trashed. Azshara looks to have been hit pretty hard with most of its trees felled, which leave wide open spaces where there was thick forest before. It’s not all bad news, though, as zones like Desolace have somehow managed to spring to life, transforming their dustbowl environments into lush, verdant fields covered in grass and trees.

Azeroth will be getting a makeover when Cataclysm hits.

As players have come to expect, the expansion will also increase the current player cap and allow you to gain experience again. Interestingly, Blizzard is only adding a modest five additional levels to take it to level 85. Although Blizzard is including only half as many levels as we’ve seen in the last two expansions, it is promising to add just as much (if not more content) in a smaller package. These perks will come in at least three major new abilities per class, a new secondary profession, archaeology, and a new “Path of the Titans” quest line linked to crafting high-end items for your current job descriptions. You’ll also now be able to use your flying mounts in Azeroth, resolving a major bugbear suffered by WoW fans. Though from the sound of it, you shouldn’t expect to be able to take to the skies before hitting 85 because Blizzard is treating it as a reward, not a right.

We jumped into the driving seat and took both of the new playable races for a spin. The Alliance will gain access to the Teen Wolf-looking humanoids called the Worgen, while Horde players will be able to play the ingenious and greedy Goblins. We tried out the Worgen first, and though we were able to roll fresh characters, there was no option to create a female version or customise the look of the human form of our character. All new characters created began at level five, unlocking many of the basic skills. This was presumably to get players up and running faster and into the meat of the experience. Notoriously easy to level, we took up our bow with a hunter and launched into Darkhaven, the Worgen starting area. The zone immediately struck us as a combination of the Darkshire and Death Knight starting area Ebon Hold because of their muted colour palettes of grays and browns.

Live out (almost) all your Teen Wolf fantasies with the Worgen.

We began our experience trapped in a torture device with our head and hands bound while villagers stood around watching. A nearby non-player character promises that we will be healed, and after accepting a nearby quest to drink a potion from local chemist Krennan Aranas, we’re freed and let into the town. It’s here we’re given the ability to switch in and out of Worgen and human form at will. It’s a purely cosmetic change, though once you enter combat, you’ll automatically become Worgen. Meeting with Aranas and his associates, we were given a series of quests that saw us needing to locate a crate full of reagents to the southeast, kill Forsaken guards, and cull the local Abomination population by tossing barrels on their heads and shooting them until they exploded.

In a farm cellar nearby, we located our next contact, Lord Godfrey, who asked us to wipe out nearby Forsaken combatants. A distressed mother present is taking up the cause against the undead and requests we find her children, Cynthia, Ashley, and James, who are lost around the area. Once we’d completed the tasks, we were given the job of commandeering a catapult to fling ourselves onto a pair of nearby ships in order to kill the ship captains, Anson and Morris.

Worgen racial abilities were already implemented in our build and included a 1 percent damage buff, a hefty resistance to enemy curses--reducing their duration by some 15 percent--a six second dash on a three minute cooldown, and a 15 point skinning bonus without the need for a skinning knife. The latter of which makes perfect sense given you have such lovely big claws with which to shred targets.

These little green guys will join the World of Warcraft race roster with the Cataclysm expansion pack.

Tossing our hairy human to the side, we switched our allegiances to the Horde with a view to rolling a Goblin. We decided to stick with the hunter class, and after spawning into the world, we found ourselves clinging to life on a bit of driftwood. A short soliloquy from a nearby NPC revealed that the Goblins had been caught in the crossfire during a battle between the Horde and the Alliance. As is only fitting, you’re jolted back to life (after a couple of attempts) with the help of a pair of Goblin jumper cables and given the task of rescuing fellow Goblins caught in the skirmish and trapped in nearby floating escape pods. You’re given a pair of nifty flipper gadgets, which increase your swim speed to get the job done. They were also particularly useful for deftly avoiding the sharks patrolling the water near the crash site.

Once back on dry land, we were given quests that revolved around locating and acquiring missing crates of tools, killing young Teraptor hatchlings, and--in typical Blizzard humour style--feeding bundles of explosive-laden bananas to monkeys and watching them detonate as they chowed down. Farther down the coast, we were given a short escort mission that saw us protecting Goblin miners and returning an Orc journal found on a slain comrade to reveal more of the story behind the battle raging between the two factions.

Like the Worgen, Goblin racial attributes were available for a sneak peek and are unsurprisingly engineering and financially motivated. “Best Deals Anywhere” rewards you with the best gold price for items regardless of your reputation; the vendor “Better Living Through Chemistry” increases your alchemy skill by 15 points; and “Time Is Money” increases your attack and casting speed by 1 percent. Rockets are a Goblin’s best friend, and the rocket jump ability will propel you forward a good distance with a two minute cooldown. The “Rocket Barrage” racial is also on a two-minute cooldown and deals fire damage to enemies. “Pack Hobgoblin” allows you to access your bank remotely for up to a minute once every half hour and provides a handy way to deposit precious Goblin loot when you’re out and about.

We’ve been confined to the two starting zones for the new races so far, so we have yet to see the real effects the cataclysm is having on the world around us, but we’re already eagerly awaiting the chance to get out and do some exploring. Blizzard hasn’t indicated any expected time frame for the release of the new expansion, but this looks to just be the tip of something much, much larger, and we'll be following it with interest.

Discussion

102 comments
lilynipper
lilynipper

You will see Piccolo in the expansion pack, NOIIIIIIICE!!!!

RetroGamer742
RetroGamer742

Im a big fan of the game but it just isnt fair how you buy all of the games and the expantions cost a fortune!!!... Just too Stingy Blizzard =(

Lordborg909
Lordborg909

@methodium amen to that brother, played WOW for 3+ years through vanilla, BC, then WOTLK.... so WOWed out it aint funny. Uninstalled it, cut up the disks and threw them away.... *YAWN*

mathis1176
mathis1176

It should be EMPHESIsed, made PLAIN, that you cant get this UNTILL you fork out the cost of the preceeding expansions. I got suckered into paying for what I thought was WoLK and got BC, they refuse to upgrade without another 40 bucks. this is deceptive advertising, How can we trust thes thieving rogues? And GS is going along with it. I feel cheated.

Wardishy
Wardishy

As someone who couldn't afford to play WoW for more than a couple of months, should I abstain from buying/installing Cataclysm until I get the most out of the rest of the expansion packs the next time I subscribe? I'm just a little worried about the effect the "cataclysm" will have on other expansions, stories, quests, etc.

methodium
methodium

After playing WoW for 4 years or so I cant begin to describe how uninterested I am about this . I am soooo ' WoW'd' out ... done with it . > prepares for mega thumbs down , but doesnt care

vega13mv
vega13mv

awesome, this should keep me busy till FF XIV

ronnieo54
ronnieo54

graphics aren't that bad really, it's supposed to be cartoony. It may not seem like it, but they have upgraded the graphics over the last 5 years; and they will do so again with cataclysm. of course, some people are all about graphics, and that's fine because their opinions and buying power keep the developers motivated to advance the medium; I myself still play 8 bit games regularly and care more for the overall experience. it takes all kinds i guess.

kid23455
kid23455

I think this sounds more like a big patch

Rivenearth
Rivenearth

rahl247, you do realize that they did that in Burning Crusade? They simply made pally and shammy both sides? No new classes were introduced. I am glad to be seeing your kind leaving the MMO scene and hope that you find some greener pastures elsewhere. Good luck and happy gaming.

rahl247
rahl247

hahaha instead of more classes they give more races that uses the same classes. lame if you ask me and it will be the same ole same ole. i played wow since launch got tired of it and yes i have every expansion and it got old for me. was a great game 4 me till i got tired of it. i will even say its still a great game but when you play the same game for years it gets old. specially when they have not really implemented anything new but the same old rehashed instances. but agian i am tired of all mmos anyways.

Proudmoore
Proudmoore

Aion: Shiny awesome graphics...3.5 million subscribers WoW: Middle of the pack graphics....11-12 million subscribers Not everyones machine can handle splashy new graphics...hence why they dont make them demanding...they reach more customers and make more money.

Proudmoore
Proudmoore

....Of course you need all 3....

Hobbitslayer18
Hobbitslayer18

I really wonder if you need all 3 games to play this one, I hope not so I can install the original WoW again and just buy this one.

wallacom
wallacom

I hate when people say: "i dnt ply wow cause the grafix suks". If you didn't play wow at least for a day, don't comment how much you hate it. Furthermore, not every person cares about the quality of the graphics, I believe a company like Blizzard have the resources and the people to create graphics better than Aion and the rest of them, but fortunately there is 11 million people who love the game simple as that.

Senior_Rosa
Senior_Rosa

I played WoW for a month and a half and the quit ('cause my free subscription died), and i have to say it's really addicting, but as well as Robert1037, i believe graphics are crap. It would be a much better experience if they update designs too, heading to Aion ones. Anyway, Cataclysm seems to be a very interesting update since it completely rebuilds the old maps!

samsnakechief
samsnakechief

the only reason i like WoW is that people help you out a lot and that its really active...compare it to Warhammer, Gw, and Aion, theyre not that active...i just hope the "new" Azeroth dosnt get ruined, what would happen if you fall in the lava?

Robert1037
Robert1037

I realy like the idea of re inveting and touching up azeroth..does any1 else like the graphics on Wow??? cause tbh i prefer them to very well spruced up ones like aion.

Gammet25
Gammet25

Just keep the expanisions coming. Blizzard you're on a roll.

blackwing55
blackwing55

Don't really like warcarft but this one with the wargens perk my intrest

Hugomanen
Hugomanen

Im still waiting/hoping for the singleplayer version to come out someday, i know its unrealistic. But if they released a version in which raids and stuff could be scaled down to fit one player going through them the game looks really entertaining! i just dont wanna do the whole mmorpg thing

bibleboy93
bibleboy93

ok to clarify something every1 is wondering most the goblins are still neutral just the goblins from there home island between kalimdor and eastern kingdoms to the south is going horde no other goblins

Lionshord13
Lionshord13

Its going to be an another perfect blizzard game...Azeroth splits in two and i cant wait fot Deathwing.I also expect the new races.I don't like goblins for horde.The alliance got better ones the worgens...that's the only bad...

Nina_Pro
Nina_Pro

@Vasot - Do you know why 11 Million ppl pay 15 dollars a month to play WoW and not just around 5-6 Million? Because of a graphics engine that can be run on older model computers at a decent enough fps to play the game. So no. They dont need a new engine. You dont like the graphics play Age of Conan or Aion and stfu.

Vasot
Vasot

Eeeek ugly cartoony graphics !! :( ...The game reminds me some Disney movies made for children. Blizzard needs a new graphic engine...

Link3301
Link3301

we probably dont have to worry that much about high swooping down on flagged noobs and pwning them since their will probably be flying guards like in outland.

Zallomallo
Zallomallo

Hope we get new starting quests.

hobobobo00
hobobobo00

is it just me or do goblin racials seem a bit cheap?

Rekvan
Rekvan

At last some wild beasts in the alliance!. I been waiting so long for this day!,the alliance looks more spooky now. Also the goblins bring the High-tech Technology in the horde, at last a race capable of building some crazy machines. Watch out, Azeroth has changed! take out your flying beast from the stable (nice new form to pwn noobs :) ) and watch out for the lava! Seek the ruins for valuable items with the Archeology. Become stronger reaching level 85 (Im sorry if you don't want to leveling :D) and go to the new raids and claim your T9 from the bosses(Uh...right you must kill them first)

cale245
cale245

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dg3215
dg3215

flying mounts in azeroth = mass ganking of new people haha have fun levelin... But anyways I like this game still I dont play it often anymore though and, I think its just a tired game of repetition, but still expansion looks cool, i dont know if I will be playing then. Finally no purpose in farming for gear anymore cause well it wont matter when cataclysm arrives.

bryanfalcao09
bryanfalcao09

Im just a little upset that they came out to soon with cataclysm. I dont feel like they went through that much with the story in north rend and now all of a sudden cataclysm is coming out. It feels like that ulduar is not that challenging of a raid and neither is the argent coliseum and all of a sudden comes cataclysm. They should of atleast waited after the ice crown raid.

comachrissie
comachrissie

I haven't gotten too much onto the story side of it, but as a Horde player I'm still ok with going to the smug Alliance side if I have to, just to play through the Worgen storyline. With phasing, the great characters, and the general shakeup of Azeroth it'll make it more fun to lvl again. Flying in Azeroth - feels a bit cheaty but woohoo I'll take it!

infinity_
infinity_

goblins joins the Horde. so this means faster flight times? (har-har)

Wigge
Wigge

the Worgen joins the alliance because Lady Sylvannas and her Undead Forsaken attacks them (as in trailer). And the goblins is according to the Human king Warian Wyrnn "mini orcs and tells the alliance to slay them!"

Gallahadd
Gallahadd

I think this is a bit unfair. The worgen are more of an evil race.. they should be on horde.. and then the goblins? they've always stayed neutral with both factions... so does horde now get all of the neutral towns with goblin NPCs? Also, I hope another expansion/patch will change azeroth's appearance back again. I mean, I've always liked the original.. it was there when I first played, so its kind of symbolic to old players. I dunno, i'd wish they'd make another world, not RE-DO what's been created.

Dirkaah
Dirkaah

Theres only one thing about this exspansion i dont like and thats the Dwarfs being able to play shammys

majbros
majbros

i would assume the hunter focus would be simmilar to mana, with a diff name. Cause if you think about it, its not quite magic, but crazy ass skills

huntard511
huntard511

so far i'm really excited about the expansion. but i noticed in some of the notes that hunter's mana was now being replaced with focus. as a hunter player thats a little upsetting to me. but maybe it will be more convenient,i hope so atleast. as far as the new graphics and landscape goes, the expansion looks awesome. i think a feature i like most tho is the flying mounts in azeroth. hehe now we can tease the new players by flying above their starting areas :)

flint101_7
flint101_7

Wow is too old and just a grind now they should have put the new races as a new faction at least + they need to change the game bk to how it used to be and make things hard to work for lol but if its attracting customers still lol

fubbal
fubbal

Cool I guess but I'm ready for The Old Republic.Wow is yesterdays news!

ottyk
ottyk

xpac looks amazing, my only problem is i bearly have any space on my computer as it is, and surely remapping Azeroth is going to be one hell of a patch. Lets hope blizzard sort out their downloader first...

DarckArchon
DarckArchon

NiteX think what you want but lets see how fun it is too have an Aly/Horde lv 85 guy hovering above you and coming down too kick you're A&* when you're level 5 lets see how fun is that.

k6saurus
k6saurus

@SuperGamer911 nope, I believe Blizzard stated that they were updating the graphics for water.

SuperGamer911
SuperGamer911

Sound awesome. Btw, is it just me, or does the water look more realistic?

wolfdog1dmn
wolfdog1dmn

@ Zero_x830 Read more into this xpac before talking out your ***. Blizzard has stated many times that you DON'T have to buy this xpac to get the new world. The only thing that installing this will get you is 1. The races 2. The new profession 3. The new areas (Gilneas & Lost Isles) 4. New level cap Now on to the game itself I had quit WoW almost two years ago. Didn't get WotLK cause it didn't fix the thing that made the game boring. The world never changed, what you do doesn't matter. Then I saw this Blizcon, waiting for Starcraft 2. Not only is the entire world changing, they are actually planing on making the world change while you play. If they keep with that plan I will buy this xpac. But I have come to learn that Blizzard and promised content is like Valve and release dates.

NiteX
NiteX

You don't want flying mounts? How could you not? Ruin what hole? Dude what have you been smoking? I believe your the only person in the world...... of warcraft that doesn't want flying in Azeroth. Please tell me how are you going to get around a destroyed planet walking? Plan on scaling huge craters? Have fun with that!

DarckArchon
DarckArchon

The only thing i don't want is: -Flying Mounts in azeroth cos it will ruin the hole fun -Class mixes, Tauren Paladin ? come on you gotta be kidding me But the rest looks cool, im wiling too play as Worgen or Goblin and see the world torn asunder and revisit some old zones.

zaxafreon
zaxafreon

Denu1 Posted Aug 26, 2009 11:40 am GMT "played the trial and really liked the game, i generally like the whole universe of warcraft, would buy WoW if i could afford it's monthly fee, i pay a lot out at the mo, but why cant i play Naga or Pandaran, and i probley missed the explanation but why are the dreani with the alliance? didnt they ally with the bloodelves and naga when illidan took over outland," illidan allied the broken dreani and anyway they h8 the orcs for killin most of there people so they wouldnt join horde