World of Warcraft panel hit by Cataclysm

BlizzCon 2009: Third add-on to popular massively multiplayer online RPG explained in detail, with Blizzard developers outlining new zones, Worgen and Goblin races, and more; apparently coming next year.

ANAHEIM, California--Diablo and Starcraft have their place, but the real cherry in Blizzard Entertainment's pie is its flagship massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. With its 11.5 million subscribers worldwide, as of the company's last official accounting, the game brings in some $100 million a month for Blizzard. That, and people seem to think it's pretty fun to play, too, with critics lauding praise upon the original and its two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

Someone's hungry for WOW details.

With Blizzard's opening ceremonies for BlizzCon 2009 just concluded, the publisher immediately convened a panel detailing the future of its MMORPG. Specifically, that topic was the just announced new expansion, Cataclysm.

As had been speculated, the expansion will include the addition of two new races--Goblins and Worgen--as well as raise WOW's level cap to 85. Blizzard also said during the opening ceremony that the expansion signals the return of Deathwing, an ancient evil dragon bent on destroying Azeroth.

With the expansion named, Blizzard now holds forth to delve into deeper detail on what gamers can expect from the latest WOW add-on.

[12:31] With Cataclysm just announced, a panel of Blizzard develops prepare to take the stage.

[12:31] The sound crew is checking the mics, with about three minutes left before the panel is expected to begin.

[12:31] The crowd hasn't thinned at all from the opening ceremony, as Alliance and Horde devout are atwitter to hear more about the new races coming to their respective factions, Worgen and Goblins.

[12:31] The AV guys are still doing their thing. It looks like there are four mics set up, though no word on which WOW devs will be running through the expansion.

[12:33] And here we go, the announcer comes on: Chris Metzen, Tom Chilton, Lynn Sparks, Corey Stockton.

[12:35] Tom Chilton is game director of WOW, Chris Metzen is VP of creative development, and Corey Stockton and Lynn Sparks are lead world designers.

[12:36] With Wrath of the Lich King, it felt good to have the expansion focused on a primary villain.

[12:36] He says that with Burning Crusade, the primary antagonist wasn't in the player's face enough.

[12:36] He's not talking about Deathwing, who debuted in Warcraft II expansion, Beyond the Dark portal.

[12:37] Deathwing is one of five dragon aspects that was supposed to protect the world. However, about 5,000 years ago, he heard whispers of The Old Gods deep within the world, and they drove him mad.

[12:37] The fiery, earthen power that he possessed began to rip him apart so that iron plates had to be affixed to his body to hold him together.

Late to the WOW party: Goblins and Worgen.

[12:38] His sole purpose has been to subject Azeroth to usher in a Day of the Dragon, where dragons rule.

[12:38] According to Metzen, he's a nutcase.

[12:38] The Old Gods have grown in power and provoke Deathwing.

[12:38] In Deep Home, his lair, Deathwing has erupted into the world, and his arrival into the physical plane of Azeroth has sparked the massive cataclysm.

[12:39] He is ever-present, and the great enemy that must be dealt with.

[12:40] Sparks is talking now and says that elemental planes will be the primary new zones.

[12:41] There are four planes that the titans created many years ago to contain the elementals.

[12:41] Metzen says that these elementals were not been keen on being locked away and are ready to wreak destruction now that they've been freed by Deathwing's arrival.

[12:41] Concept art is shown, with a city rising from an ocean, as well as lava oozing rocks rising from the sea.

[12:42] Metzen is now talking about the Worgen, who are essentially werewolves.

[12:43] The Alliance needed a monstrous race, Metzen says.

[12:44] Metzen then regales the crowd with granular detail about the Worgen's roots. Apparently, the Worgen curse was afflicted upon the people of Gilneas and was created by a sorcerer who was attempting to ward off the invading Scourge.

[12:44] Attendees will be able to play the Worgen and Goblin start areas today.

[12:45] Sparks says that these areas top the Death Knight introduction "by a mile."

[12:47] Apparently, there are surprises coming to level one through five, so players will be able to play today at level six.

[12:48] Metzen is now talking about the new Horde race, the Goblins.

[12:49] Goblins reside on the island of Kazaan or somewhere thereabouts. They are a mercantile, technologically advanced race. Think medieval Ferengi.

[12:49] The specific group you play as is from this island.

[12:49] The cataclysm hit the island of Kazaan very hard, and the goblins became shipwrecked on The Lost Isles.

[12:49] A lot of Wrath Gate cinematics will be incorporated into Worgen and Goblin starting areas, Sparks says.

Live from Anaheim.

[12:49] Goblins don't start off as a Horde race, he says, but as a neutral race and are forced to join the Horde.

[12:49] Metzen says that the Goblins should provide some comic relief to the Horde and shows concept art of a goblin driving a hot rod. "That's their mount, by the way," Sparks says.

[12:51] Metzen is now talking about the Upheavel, where certain zones have been transformed by tidal waves, storms, and the like.

[12:51] There's a lot of new stress between the Alliance and the Horde, he says. Can't we all just get along?

Attendance is over 20,000 people this year.

[12:53] "While the Lich King will get what's coming to him, we left a bit of ourselves up there in the snow." Metzen is apparently talking about PTSD?

[12:53] As such, the expansion, he hopes, will ramp up the drama in WOW.

[12:53] Sparks says that while the game began as very much an Alliance versus Horde experience, some of this conflict was lost in later developments. It's important that this conflict is revived in a big way.

Why hello there. Come to BlizzCon often?

[12:57] Chilton is now talking about new features.

[12:57] Big happenings: The level cap has increased to 85.

[12:57] The level cap was a key decision for Cataclysm, as they wanted to make sure that they focused their time and energy in the right places, he says.

[12:58] Wanted to spend enough time on revamping old zones and making sure there is plenty of new content for max-level players.

[12:58] Chilton shows an in-game screen of the Worgen, who look like wolves in armor, wielding a cutlass. The crowd seems pleased.

[12:58] Goblins apparently have a rocket belt?

[12:58] The belt is used to propel them forward, as well as let loose some rockets that do damage to targets.

[12:58] A screenshot of a Goblin rogue is shown, wearing black armor and looking actually kind of cute.

It's not easy being green.

[12:58] "Lots of players are going to hate him on the battlegrounds. I'm sure we'll hear all about that by next BlizzCon." Looks like we have a time frame for release.

[12:58] Uldum will be in the game in the south, with Mount Hyjal in the north. The Lost Isles and Sunken City of VAshj'ir will be in the middle of the water. Apparently, the Sunken City will be an underwater zone.

[12:58] Deepholm, Twilight Highlands, Deepholm, and Gilneas in the east.

[1:01] Every zone will feature new quests, art, and items, Chilton says.

[1:01] Chilton is now talking about the Guild Advancement System, which is completely new.

[1:01] Everything players do will contribute to the advancement of the guild, with guilds able to level up to level 20.

[1:02] As guilds level up, players gain access to new perks, such as a guild talent tree.

[1:02] Cheaper repairs, less durability loss, and so on. Mass resurrection is another perk.

He looks happy to see everyone.

[1:04] New race/class combos are also in the cards, and he shows a Tauren Paladin.

[1:04] Gnome Priest is also shown.

[1:04] Dwarf Shaman is now onscreen.

[1:04] Chilton is now talking about phased terrain, which was first introduced in the Lich King expansion.

[1:05] The world will be able to change as players progress through quest lines, Chilton says.

[1:05] He shows an in-game progression of a coastline being eroded.

[1:05] He's now talking about archaeology, which is a new secondary profession.

[1:05] Players will be able to explore ruins and gain access to archaeology nodes, which integrates with the new Path of the Titans.

Insert furry joke here.

[1:06] As for the new Path of the Titans, Chilton says it is a new way to customize a player's character. There are still 51 talents in the talent trees, but the Path of Titans will be a new type of alternate advancement.

[1:06] These abilities will not be class-specific and include abilities and passive bonuses. Chilton says it is designed to add more customization to a player's character.

[1:07] The Mastery System is also new and is designed to prune the talent system.

Like a thief in the night...

[1:08] Stockton is now talking about the new zones, as well as some of the changes coming to the classic zones.

[1:08] He says the cataclysm has affected every zone; some more, some less.

[1:08] There are five new zones, which he calls level up zones, for level 75 to 85.

[1:08] Stockton says that players can now fly everywhere; there are no restrictions.

Move over Finding Nemo...

[1:10] He says that the level flow has changed, with some zones that were once for low-level players revamped for higher level content.

[1:12] Stockton shows a complex leveling chart, which is designed to illustrate how players will progress. Alliance apparently lost South Shore.

[1:12] One of the most heavily affected zones is The Barrens. The zone was split in half, right down the middle, with a flow of lava separating the two sides.

[1:12] Desolace is another zone that has been significantly affected. This zone, which was once barren, has been flooded with water and is now quite fertile.

There will be new areas to explore as well.

[1:13] Darkshore has also seen significant changes, with certain camps moving and expanding.

[1:15] Stonetalon Mountain is another changed zone and has been heavily burned with lava flows.

[1:15] Stockton is now talking about the five new zones.

[1:18] Beginning with the Sunken City of Vashj'ir; it is designed for 78 to 82 players. Along with Mount Hyjel, this zone flows directly to Deephom, Deathwing's lair.

[1:18] Entrance into the Abyssal Maw Vortex is in the center of this dungeon, which is the elemental water plane.

Who fancies a swim in the elemental water plane?

[1:19] When players are on the sea floor, combat will function normally. However, they can also swim upward to fight while floating.

[1:20] Stockton says that underwater mounts will be introduced and will be normal, flying speed.

[1:20] He's now talking about Deepholm, which is located in the elemental plane of Earth.

[1:20] It is designed for players level 82 to 84.

Deepholm is where the heart is...

[1:21] Deepholm will be a large, subterranean environment, though players will still be able to fly in it. Stockton says that the zone will be massive.

[1:21] Because it is a central hub, players will be able to enter portals to head to the other new zones.

[1:24] Uldum is next on Stockton's list. Two dungeons will be available in this zone.

[1:25] It is designed for levels 83 to 84 and features a layout that Stockton compares to Egypt, with its river delta and pyramids.

[1:25] Stockton says that Uldum is rumored to contain a superweapon, though he doesn't go into detail.

[1:25] The zone will also debut a new race, the Tol'vir.

[1:25] And now he's talking about Mount Hyjal. The zone is under siege by Ragnaros; woh rules over the elemental plane of fire.

Nice shades, dude.

[1:26] Malfurion Stormrage is apparently back, as well.

[1:27] Stockton says that terrain phasing will be used heavily in the Mount Hyjal area as fire consumes the landscape.

[1:27] Lastly, there is Twilight Highlands, which is just east of Wetlands.

[1:28] The zone is also near Grim Batol, and this is where Deathwing is, his base of operations.

Artist's concept of a stone elemental.

[1:29] Red dragons will be in abundance here, as well.

[1:30] There will be a lot of new content in this zone, especially as it pertains to dungeons and raids.

[1:30] Correction: There will be a lot of new content in general.

[1:32] He runs through a number of new areas, including The Firelands, Uldum, Blackrock Caverns (which is located in Blackrock Spire), Grim Batol, Skywal.

[1:32] He then says that WOW will have a couple of new heroic dungeons: Deadmines and Shadowfang keep.

[1:32] Lastly, Chilton is back to talk about new player-versus-player content.

Gilneas, everyone's favorite rainy medieval hamlet.

[1:34] Tol Barad, which is an island, will be a new PVP zone. There is a prison on the island, and both Horde and Alliance want control of it.

[1:35] Battle for Gilneas Battleground is the second, and Chilton says that three total battlegrounds are scheduled to be with the expansion.

[1:35] New arena maps and rated battlegrounds will also be introduced.

[1:36] And that's it from the WOW preview panel! The team will be on hand to go into more detail on each of the subjects discussed as BlizzCon progresses.

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Discussion

264 comments
Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

So are all the Goblin towns going to be Horde now? It's nice they are re-doing the old world but I don't care much for the new races. Also, I'm hoping they announce a weekly or even removing the fee.

gam3reclypso
gam3reclypso

i saw that there are going to be worgen hunters, i wonder if u can tame a humanoid, now that would be nice.

necrosoulja
necrosoulja

i think this expansion is gonna be cool wicked awsome and EXTREMELY AWSOME... cap to lvl 85, fly in azeroth, brand new characters: (worgans) and (goblems) and new profession and new pvp new exploration. well everyone knows what im talking. there are many new things going to be on this new expansion just hope there is no hackers

necrosoulja
necrosoulja

Well im realy looking aford to getting this new expansion maby if im lucky get it when it first come out

necrosoulja
necrosoulja

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

necrosoulja
necrosoulja

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

necrosoulja
necrosoulja

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

ZabuzaR
ZabuzaR

Since BC and WotLK came out, Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms was left to die. Its nice to see this next expansion to bring them back.

Daiyus704
Daiyus704

Finally the Goblins and Worgens are joining the fights. This will get interesting.

ilidiandemon
ilidiandemon

OMFG I'm going to die of excitment right now :S

lee1823
lee1823

cheers killzone gamer i downloaded the trial so i guess i can see for myself and decide wether it's for me or not. i've clocked most of the rpg big hitters such as oblivion / fallout etc never played one online though. will give it a try.... failing that i've still got to get into two worlds. nice one

Sonic_Wolfe
Sonic_Wolfe

Wow...a WoW revamp. A commendable, and exciting update of the game to keep it fresh and new. As someone who shelved WoW for being too much of the same, this has rekindled all my interest, altho. Ill wait til I get my new laptop, all in honour of Blizzards franchises; Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and Cataclysm. NB, as a HUGE Wolf fan, the Worgen alone are enough to bring me back. STO and Old Republic better be crap!!!

Slizergiy
Slizergiy

This new expantion pack is going to do wonders for the low level content. After all WoW has been out for afew years now, and by now we've probably done all the low level content to death and its getting stagnated now. This will finaly add some new life and intrest to the classic areas

killzone_gamer
killzone_gamer

Most of my friends play WoW and I don't out of principal because people get so addicted to this game its unreal. In answer lee, from what I have been talked at about it, level 80's will swamp you yes, and they aren't always that helpful. If I were you I'd buy oblivion or another game that is a one off payment. ;)

lee1823
lee1823

i never played WoW before - looks interesting though. i love rpg's and may get this.... just out of interest - how easy is this to get into though? if i join am i going to be swamped with level 80 players that have been playing WoW for years that wont touch me with a stick?

mAD_ADaption
mAD_ADaption

Omg great WoW gets a new furry :/ I don't think it's a smart idea for blizzard to gain attention from that audience. Nothing good can come from that. I really don't want to go walking through a town and see one of those things doing a sexy dance :( it was bad enough with the elves, and now it's going to get worse.

Nibustan
Nibustan

Looks like i'm gonna start playing again. The water looks nice =D. Still WoW was best when it just were WoW and not with all the expansions.

Odnomiar
Odnomiar

Happy days... Can't wait for this, it's gotta be a year or so away though:( Worgen seem very interesting, also looking forward to the archeology profession. wonder what sort of stuff you'll be able to dig up? :D And I love that Azeroth is gonna get a face punching! it's gonna make running round all those familiar places much more intersting again! Go Blizz!

AllGunsBlazin
AllGunsBlazin

@Buttduck Doesnt matter this expansion is going to be bigger than TBC and wotlk.. The stuff they are changing and doing is huge. The level cap is 85 as they didnt want to expand into a huge new area.

Craft2299
Craft2299

I must say, another expansion was a "Boo" for me, but then its features pretty much lightens up the word "Replayability." I dont need to worry about playing threw the same da** quests over and over again ^^ Now i can actualy start a new character and be clueless again :D Goblin-Shaman FTW!

Darkbeyond
Darkbeyond

Anyway to summerize my comment this Expansion will rock and be the best yet

Darkbeyond
Darkbeyond

Okay first time i heard of expansion i thought how gay Then i seen at Blizzcon on interent stream that this is going to rock and its only five lvls becasue the game but end at lvl 100 if its popoluation dies down alot but at this rate i dont think it will. Anyway Bfor all you WoW haters you just dont like the game becasue A:you have to pay and B you would rather have a game with pure blood then a game with good storey and lore even though bloody games are rlly good.

Buddikaman
Buddikaman

This game is pure hype, for a great MMO play Everquest 2. WoW has always been a EQ rip off and has never managed to attain the depth or challenge of that franchise. HIGHLY overrated game.

NeoTaintedAngel
NeoTaintedAngel

I've read a couple comments by users below and I can't help but to think, "What the... ". WoW's target audience has changed a number of times, to say something like, "GTFO it isn't aimed for you." Is a rather ignorant thing to say. I no longer play, I wish my old guild the best of luck, but seriously? Their new ideas seem... lacking. But I guess that's inevitable when operating in the same world. (Of Warcraft)

Buttduck
Buttduck

Why is the cap only a 5 level difference with an abundance of new and expanded content? That seems stupid.

Stoneys_Rock
Stoneys_Rock

Yay can't wait. :) As for cash cow and QQ I hate WoW why won't they stop, every game gets sequels and thats even more needed in an mmo when people run out of content to do, and as for wow hating GTFO the game is clearly not aimed at you. lol

Malicious_Wolf
Malicious_Wolf

To me WoW=fail. Thats my opinion. Can't blizzard just make a new game from scratch and stop releasing worse and worse crap.....

alixkid
alixkid

Can anyone say Cash Cow.

Chrysus
Chrysus

I've been on the Wow detox for over two years and trailers like this really make me miss it. What an inspired game world innovation

oskuuu
oskuuu

finally we get the goblins! worgens are pretty nice too =P

I_Pwn_U_n00bs
I_Pwn_U_n00bs

Tauren paladin.... At least I stopped playing this game when it had SOME credibility now they are just murdering there already patchy lore to appeal to mass audiences.

NuKkU
NuKkU

i really might try WoW one of these days its not going away anytime soon thats for sure

AphexSpawn
AphexSpawn

cant wait, and all this does fit with the lore if half the wow players actually knew any of it, death wings story has been around for a very long time along with worgens, most people surprised by these decisions are the people who don't know crap about wow other than lewts. i wouldnt say its to soon for an expansion at all most people have 2 80s and most guilds have at least done uldar on normal and started toc

toastisgood
toastisgood

@Viper11023: If you knew what you were talking about,you would know that worgen are part of the alliance,they were one of the original human kingdoms.Goblins were already a part of the horde but then became neutral. It sounds like the horde goblins will be a different group of goblins than the neutral ones.As for "revamping" old areas It would probably be better if the original areas were changed for a limited time as a special event,like the scourge invasion.

Santesyu
Santesyu

Alright alright let me change up the mold, I have been lvl 80 for quite some time and a lvl 74, personally I think this is hitting it way too soon, and they are gonna change some of the old areas permantely? I believe thats pretty bad some of us likes wow as of right now just the way it is regardless if this game sells billions it will still lose some of its hardcore fanbase because I dont know about you but this seems like a cash cow to me. I believe they are trying to follow in nintendo's footsteps with releashing anything and think the public will just buy it...that aint flying to me.

Siofen
Siofen

Wtf is blizzard doing to the warcraft lore? It gets dumber with each passing expansion; I mean first it's space-pirate blood elves now it's werewolves in the alliance? Am I the only one that see's the abortion of a story-line that blizzard is committing? I hope to god blizzard considers the WOW lore to be non-canon. It's just a train wreck..

leon_trunks
leon_trunks

Oh NO! and i just LEFT wow...darn i feel it slipping...HELP ME!

lifegivith
lifegivith

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

MasterSpeed_
MasterSpeed_

can't wait for this expansion, hope they even out classes a bit more aswell

svaubel
svaubel

Cataclysm looks promising actually. The old world definately needs a revamp. Worgens look to be pretty cool. Though an evil lupine race being on the Alliance makes absolutely no sense.

legacywolf
legacywolf

Wow....... Just as I was about to cut WoW from my life....... another expansion comes out..... OMG. But i'm really excited to see what the zones will all look like after the expansion. I can really see that Blizzard is trying to make lvling to 80 and 85 fun again. Because everyone have been playing chars from lvl 1-60 in the same zones over and over. AND THAT GETS FKING BORING. So all i can say is that I'm going back to WoW! Story Close!

Kashmiro
Kashmiro

Yea it looks cool and everything, I'm just kind of bored of WotLK right now and I'd kinda like for Cataclysm to come out as soon as possible cause it looks pretty interesting