Cataclysm raging December 7

Blizzard puts delay rumours to bed by confirming a pre-Christmas release date for latest World of Warcraft expansion.

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Last week, rumours were flying that Cataclysm, the latest expansion pack for Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, wasn't going to be released in 2010. Today those rumours were finally dealt with by the developer when it confirmed a December 7, 2010, release for the add-on to its all-conquering massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

The gameworld is being redesigned for the flying mounts introduced in 2007's Burning Crusade expansion.
The gameworld is being redesigned for the flying mounts introduced in 2007's Burning Crusade expansion.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was first officially revealed at the company's annual BlizzCon shindig in 2009. It will raise the game's level cap to 85 from 80 and features a comprehensive reworking of much of Warcraft's persistent world as well as several entirely new areas for players to explore. It also adds a new playable race for each of the game's factions to the mix; a group of technological and avaricious goblins have joined the Horde, while the cursed Worgen have sided with the Alliance.

Cataclysm will be the third expansion pack for the hugely successful MMORPG since the game launched in 2004, following 2007's Burning Crusade and 2008's Wrath of the Lich King. Before releasing Burning Crusade, Blizzard said its goal was to release annual expansions for the franchise, but the release cycle has been closer to one every two years since then; there was a 22-month gap between Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, and 23 months will have passed since Lich King's release when Cataclysm hits retail.

The Warcraft franchise will have been around for just over 16 years when Cataclysm reaches eager gamers in December. Talking to GameSpot around the time of the franchise's 15th birthday, Blizzard lead designer Jeff Kaplan said, "I honestly believe that there are enough compelling ideas to keep WOW going for as long as the Internet is up."

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