World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is Blizzard’s third expansion for World of Warcraft. Most of the new content for Cataclysm takes place in a revamped Azeroth where familiar zones across the original continents of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor have been altered forever and updated with new content. Players are able to travel through 7 new zones in total. Cataclysm introduced many new features, including the increase of the game’s level cap to 85 as well as hundreds of new items, quests, creatures and abilities. Additionally, there are two new races, the Worgen of the Alliance and the Goblins of the Horde. The main antagonist of this expansion is Deathwing the Destroyer, who has made his return into Azeroth from Deepholm, causing a new Sundering.
- Level cap raised to 85.
- New Alliance race: Worgen, with Gilneas as starting zone.
- New Horde race: Goblins, with Kezan/Lost Isles as starting zones.
- New Secondary Profession: Archaeology.
- Classic world revamp of every zone with updated quests, art and items.
- New Race/Class combos, such as dwarf shaman, tauren paladins and undead hunters.
- Azeroth is flyable. (minus zones added with The Burning Crusade in Azeroth, such as Eversong Woods)
While the attention of the Horde and Alliance remained fixed upon Northrend, an ancient evil has been lying dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth, nursing his hatred for the inferior creatures that infest the surface realm and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire. Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the
Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.
The face of Azeroth is altered forever as the destruction left in Deathwing’s wake reshapes the land and reveals secrets long sealed away.
Cataclysm features 9 new zones for players to traverse through during their adventures against Deathwing the Destroyer. All of these zones except the starting zones for the new races can be quickly accessed via portals in Orgrimmar or Stormwind, once the introductory quests for the zone have been completed. It is worth noting that the Cataclysm zones start strictly at level 80, instead of starting two levels before the former cap like the Outlands and Northrend zones.
Gilneas is a human nation located directly south of Silverpine Forest on the continent of Lordaeron. The kingdom is ruled by Genn Greymane, who constructed the Greymane Wall that separates Gilneas from the rest of Lordaeron.
Gilneas is the new Worgen (1-12) starting zone. The Cataclysm has shattered the Greymane Wall, and the threat of Forsaken attacks and an offer of aid from the Night Elves brings Gilneas back into the Alliance.
Kezan is the Goblin’s (1-6) initial starting zone in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Located east of Azshara in Kalimdor, the player causes Mount Kajaro to erupt, forcing the evacuation of Kezan. Fleeing across the Great Sea, the goblins become shipwrecked on the Lost Isles, after getting caught in Alliance-Horde crossfire. As Kezan is destroyed as part of the starting goblin storyline, players other than level 1-6 goblins cannot travel to this island.
The Lost Isles is a new zone located off the coast of Kalimdor, east of Azshara and is the Goblin (5-12) starting zone in WoW: Cataclysm. After the Cataclysm destroyed Isle of Kezan, the shipwreck’s survivors washed ashore on the Lost Isles off the coast of Kalimdor, where they discover the island’s dense jungles and the resourceful goblins find themselves under the protection and safety of the Horde. Like Kezan, players other than level 6-12 goblins cannot reach the Lost Isles.
Mount Hyjal is the name of a massive mount in northern Kalimdor and is a level (80-82) zone in the new expansion.
Ragnaros is back from the Plane of Fire and wants to burn down the World Tree in Mount Hyjal. Malfurion Stormrage is back to defend the World Tree along with the armies of Cenarius.
Sunken City of Vashj’ir
The Sunken City of Vashj’ir is be the first underwater zone, level (80-82) and was the home city of Queen Azshara and Lady Vashj before the original sundering. In the center of the city is the gateway to the Abyssal Maw (Elemental Plane of Water) which contains a 5-man dungeon and will feature a raid instance in a future content patch. New underwater mounts are available and have the same speed as normal flying mounts.
Deepholm is a large underground zone beneath the Maelstrom in the center of the Azeroth ocean. It contains one new dungeon, the Stonecore, for level 82 players on normal difficulty. The storyline of this zone revolves around the conflict between Therazane, the queen of the stone elementals, and the twilight cultists attempting to manipulate the Maelstrom.
Uldum is a level (83-84) zone south of Un’goro Crater, on the southern coast of Kalimdor. The zone contains two new dungeons inspired by ancient Egypt and is a rumored to hold a “superweapon” as well as the Tol’vir, an ancient race of stone-like cat people created by the titans. The zone also contains the entrance to the Skywall. The largest quest chain in this zone is one big Indiana Jones parody.
The Twilight Highlands features Grim Batol, a level (84-85) zone near Wetlands and is the new Twilight’s Hammer base in Azeroth.
Tol Barad is a Level 85 end game zone. The zone is seperated into two subzones. Tol Barad Island is an Outdoor PVP zone in the Style of Wintergrasp, and contains a raid dungeon and daily quests only available to the faction that controls the zone. Tol Barad Peninsula contains a variety of daily quests for level 85 characters.
Cataclysm features two new races for players to create new characters with.
The Worgen (Alliance)
The Worgen are a race of feral wolf-beasts whose very name inspires fear. Theories regarding their history abound, yet the Worgens’ origins remain steeped in mystery. The worgen’s first appearance in the Eastern Kingdoms has been traced back to the Third War, when the Archmage Arugal utilized the wolf-beasts as a weapon against the Scourge. Arugal’s weapons soon turned against him and the curse of the Worgen rapidly spread among the human population, transforming ordinary men and women into ravenous, feral creatures.
There are those among the Gilneans, however, who cling to hope. Many believe that a treatment for the Worgen curse may exist, although others have nearly given up, fearful that if the Greymane Wall should fall, their humanity will be lost forever. Venturing forth from Gilneas and seeking help from the Alliance, they have decided to join them, to combat the new threats of the Cataclysm.
Worgen are able to play as either; Warrior, Rogue, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Priest or Death Knight. Outside of combat, Worgen can appear in either their human form or their Worgen form.
The Goblins (Horde)
Originally slaves of jungle trolls on the Isle of Kezan, the goblin race was forced to mine kaja’mite ore out of the volcanic bowels of Mount Kajaro. The trolls used this potent mineral for their voodoo rituals, but it had an unexpected effect on the slaves who were in contact with it: kaja’mite generated a startling new cunning and intelligence in the goblins.
The goblins’ natural greed soon lifted them to prominence as masters of mercantilism. Great fortunes were amassed and the Isle of Kezan became a hub for fleets of goblin trading ships. By the end of the Third War, goblins were providing weaponry, vehicles, and devious services to both the Horde and the Alliance, but recently, the goblins of Kezan have found a new enemy in the Alliance and have driven some trade princes from their comfortable neutrality. Reforging old pacts with their one-time allies, the goblins have been welcomed back into the Horde.
Goblin are able to play as either; Warrior, Rogue, Shaman, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Priest or Death Knight.
New Features and Major Changes
Aside from the new zones and races, Cataclysm features a number of other changes.
Guild advancement allows guilds to level in a way similar to characters. There are 25 guild levels, and guild members can earn experience for their guild through completing quests, killing dungeon or raid bosses while in parties made up of at least 80% guild members, and winning rated battleground matches in raids made up of at least 80% guild members. At each level all guild members gain a new perk which includes advantages such as 10% additional experience gain while leveling, faster hearthstone cooldown, and a mass resurrection power which can be used on guild raids.
Guild achievements do not contribute towards leveling, but may unlock certain rewards which can be purchased by the guild members of appropriate reputation with the guild. These include vanity pets, recipes for feasts, heirloom gear, and more.
Guild reputation is earned on an individual basis, and ensures that a player must contribute to the progression of the guild in order to take full advantage of the rewards. Whenever a player earns XP for the guild, he also receives reputation with the guild.
Newly added to the game are Flight Master’s License and Master Riding. Flight Master’s License allows flying in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Deepholm. It is available at level 60 and costs 200-250g depending on your faction with the trainer. Master Riding allows you to ride ALL flying mounts at 310% flight speed. It is available at level 70 and costs 4000-5000g depending on your faction with the trainer.
City portals have been removed from Dalaran and Shattrath. In Dalaran, in place of the city portals are now class trainers. Players looking for quick travel, especially between continents or expansions, may want to consider use of a mage. Portals to Blasted Lands, however, do still exist. Many new flightpoints have been added to most zones in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms.
Orgrimmar and Stormwind contain portals to all six level 80-85 zones added in Cataclysm, which are activated to players as the complete the introductory quests in each zone.
Inscription has gotten an overhaul to allow for further customization of your character. Glyphs have been divided into three tiers instead of two, namely Minor, Major, and Prime.
- Minor glyphs make small changes such as removing reagent costs or changing the visuals of certain spells.
- Major glyphs are fun glyphs which will either make something work differently or improve your dps in a way that’s hard to spreadsheet out.
- Prime Glyphs are unambiguous dps/healing/survivability upgrades.
Furthermore Glyphs have been changed to function like skills, in that you will effectively “learn” one by using it, adding it to a list of which a set number may be chosen at a time.
New Profession: Archaeology
Archaeology is the new secondary profession (cooking, fishing, first aid) in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Archaeology allows the player to find artifacts scattered across Azeroth. There are two kinds of artifacts: One of them is “lore artifacts”. These will teach you about the world… of Warcraft. Occasionally archaeologists will complete Rare artifacts instead, which can be fun/vanity items or epic gear that binds to account.
General Profession Changes
Specializations for Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring have been completely removed. Recipes previously only available to a specific specialization under one of those profession may now be learned by anyone with the proper skill level in their particular profession.
Mastery is the new stat for Cataclysm gear. In addition to much, much larger base stats (strength stamina, intellect etc.) the thing that will make players want new gear is mastery. Mastery is a stat that makes you better at what you do. Every spec has one different mastery bonus.
Each of these mastery bonuses is uniquely designed for that spec. Discipline priests get stronger shields, restoration druids get stronger heal-over-time spells, combat rogues get a chance for an extra attack, protection warriors get extra block chance, etc. More mastery means a stronger mastery bonus.
Cataclysm Stat & System Changes
- Stamina: Because of the way Blizzard assigned Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools are much closer between plate-wearers and other classes than they were in WotLK.
- Spirit: Can now only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters have other systems in place to regenerate mana.
- Intellect: Will now grant Spell Power and provide less mana regen than it currently does.
- Haste: Haste has become more attractive for melee classes by allowing them to recover resources such as energy and runes more quickly.
- Block Rating: Block has been redesigned to scale better. Blocked attacks will simply hit for 30% less damage. Block rating will improve the chance to block, though overall block chances will be lower than they are in WotLK.
- Parry: Parry no longer provides 100% avoidance and no longer speeds up attacks. Instead, the next attack will each hit for 50% damage.
- Resilience: This only affects damage done by players and critical damage done by players. It does not impact crit chance, mana drains, or other such effects.
- Spell Power: This has been removed from all armor, but can still be found on caster weapons. Intellect now grants Spell Power to compensate for this.
Talent Tree Revamp
All of the talent trees have been revamped. In vanilla WoW, players had 51 talent points to spend; in Burning Crusade it grew to 61, and in Wrath they ended up with 71 points. Rather than seeing it go to 76, Blizzard decided to consolidate the trees. A level 85 player will receive only 41 talent points. Instead of getting a talent point every level, a player earns one point every other level; this is usually offset with skills to train, creating a back-and-forth between new skills and new talent points to augment them.
Furthermore, players are presented with a choice at level 10 that allows them to pick a branch of their talent tree that they’d like to specialize in. As an example, a Warrior could choose to specialize in Arms, Protection or Fury, receiving a handful of specialization-specific passive talents and a few abilities that are only available to that specialization (Arms – Mortal Strike / Protection – Shield Slam / Fury – Bloodthirst).
Cataclysm Class Changes
Each class received major overhauls to their talent trees, and many classes had spells/abilities changed to be made available at different levels than they previously were. Some spells/abilities have also had their visual effect changed. Most, if not all, classes will have to visit a trainer upon their first log-in after patch 4.0.3 to train in spells/abilities that were either not previously available to them, or that have been altered in some major way.
Dungeons and Raids
There are eight new 5-player dungeons, available in both regular and Heroic modes. In addition, four 10- and 25-player raid dungeons for Cataclysm’s launch.
- Blackrock Caverns (80-81)
- Throne of the Tides (80-81)
- The Abyssal Maw (82-84)
- The Stonecore (82-84)
- Vortex Pinnacle (82-84)
- Lost City of Tol’vir (85)
- Halls of Origination (85)
- Grim Batol (85)
- Blackwing Descent (85)
- Bastion of Twilight (85)
- Throne of the Four Winds (85)
- Baradin Hold (85)
- Firelands (85)
Classic 5-player dungeons revamped for level 85 heroic mode
- Shadowfang Keep
- The Zul’Gurub raid instance was removed in Cataclysm. For a short time it was a subzone of Northern Stranglethorn and a quest hub. In patch 4.1 it was redone as a new level 85 heroic mode 5-player dungeon.
- Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj has been retuned as a 10-player raid instance instead of the 20-player format it had prior to Cataclysm. It will not increase in level however, so it’s still a level 60 raid.
- Stratholme has been split into two separate dungeons, Stratholme – Main Gate and Stratholme – Service Gate, (Living and Dead). Some bosses and mobs have changed to follow the WotLK story progression.
Cataclysm has more new raiding content at its launch than the previous expansions.
Improved Quest Design
Following the success of ‘phased’ story based quests in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack, (in particular during the Death Knight starting zone), Cataclysm has expanded on that technology by having even more dramatic phased events and story-heavy quest lines in the new (81-85) zones.
Quests in most zones in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, including starting areas, have also been changed. Changes range from slight to extreme. Some quest lines have been completely removed, others have been revamped, and completely new ones have been added. The quest achievements for Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms have also been changed to reflect quests completed by zone as in Burning Crusade and Lich King, rather than by continent as they were previously.
Quests have also been streamlined in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms in such a way that players can expect to spend less time in each zone completing quests, though they may be completing a similar amount of quests as before. These changes include less “back-and-forth” steps and more quest hubs throughout zones
Raid Progression Changes
The raid system has been ‘refined’ with a few changes to the way that players are saved to instances. All raid sizes and difficulties are being combined into a single save, so 10 and 25 man raids will both share the same lockout unlike how players could do both 10 and 25 man versions of the instances in Wrath of the Lich King, now they will only be able to be saved to 10 or 25. Heroic mode works in the same way it did with Icecrown Citadel on a per-boss basis allowing players to activate heroic mode for only the bosses they want instead of doing it on all bosses. Furthermore, both versions of the raid share the same loot, however 25 man bosses will drop more loot then on 10 man so players will still have a reason to progress in 25 man content over 10 man.
The first few raids released in Cataclysm are smaller raids containing only six or seven bosses to allow for players with less play time to be able to raid, whilst the later raids will be larger. Lastly, Blizzard also plans to continue the ‘gating’ system that they used with Icecrown Citadel which involves releasing a few bosses of a raid at a time over a few weeks.
Badge Changes (PvE and PvP)
The badge system that was used in the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions has been replaced with a points system, for both PvE and PvP, as a way to make it simpler. There will be two types of points for PvE and PvP that can be earned:
- Justice Points – Low-tier, easier-to-get PVE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from certain normal dungeons and all heroic dungeons. (most like the old Emblem of Triumph)
- Valor Points – High-tier, harder-to-get PvE points. Maximum cap to how many you can own, as well as a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from Dungeon Finder daily Heroic and from raids. (most like the old Emblem of Frost)
- Honor Points -Low-tier, easier-to-get PVP points. There is a maximum cap to how many you can own, but no cap to how quickly you can earn them. Earned from most PvP activities.
- Conquest Points -High-tier, harder-to-get PvP points. There is a maximum cap to how many you can own, and a cap to how many you can earn per week. Earned from winning Rated Battlegrounds or Arenas.
Whenever a PvE raiding tier or new PvP season is released the higher tier points will be converted into low tier points, to prevent stockpiling them. In addition to this, personal rating on PvP gear has been removed.
Twin Peaks Battleground
Twin Peaks is a new 10 vs. 10 battleground in Cataclysm and will be using the same capture-the-flag style as Warsong Gulch. Players must work together to infiltrate the enemy base, steal the flag and returning it to their own base while remaining in control of their own flag. The first faction to capture three enemy flags before time expires will win the battle.
Located within the Twilight Highlands, the Twin Peaks remains a crucial point for staging attacks against the black dragonflight and the Twilight’s Hammer, who are now controling Grim Batol. The Wildhammers now calls upon heroes of the Alliance to help claim the peaks and fend off the Dragonmaw orcs. The Dragonmaw clan, having spent years working to enslave red dragons, once again provides strategic importance to the Horde.
As with The Burning Crusade expansion pack and Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard Entertainment released a Limited Collector’s Edition of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
The Limited Edition comes in a special box that contains many exclusives, including:
- Art of the Cataclysm art book, featuring 176 pages of never-before-seen images from the archives of the Blizzard Entertainment cinematics department and the World of Warcraft development team, as well as progressive visuals from multiple stages of development.
- Exclusive in-game pet: He may not be a breaker of worlds just yet, but Lil’ Deathwing will still proudly accompany heroes on their struggle to save Azeroth from his much, much larger counterpart.
- Behind-the-scenes DVD with over an hour of developer interviews and commentaries, as well as a special Warcraft(R) retrospective examining the rich gaming history of the Warcraft universe.
- Soundtrack featuring 10 epic new tracks from Cataclysm, including exclusive bonus tracks.
- Special-edition mouse pad depicting Deathwing menacing the ravaged continents of Azeroth.
- World of Warcraft Trading Card Game cards, including a 60-card starter deck from the Wrathgate series, two extended-art cards, a loot card, and two Collector’s Edition-exclusive hero cards, marking the first appearance of goblin and worgen heroes in the TCG.
Alpha/Beta & Release
As of May 3, 2010, it was officially confirmed through a blizzard blue post that the “Friends and Family Alpha” testing of Cataclysm had started. On June 30th, Blizzard announced the start of the closed Beta for WoW: Cataclysm. The expansion was released on December 7, 2010.
The Cataclysm soundtrack shipped with the Limited Collector’s Edition. It was composed by Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, David Arkenstone and Neal Acree. Laurie Ann Haus provided the vocal solos and Susan Craig Winsberg performed the flute solos.
Track # – Title – Length
01 The Shattering 12:04
02 Xaxas 2:16
03 Tempest’s Wake 3:12
04 Depths of Vashj’ir 3:41
05 Castaways 4:02
06 Reforged 8:39
07 Restoring the Balance 3:04
08 Curse of the Worgen 3:25
09 Defenders of Azeroth 8:35
10 Eventide 2:31
11 Thaurissan’s Reach 2:30
12 Uldum 5:19
13 Breath of Al’Akir 2:36
14 Call of the Elements 2:46
15 Guardians of Nordrassil 6:45
16 Dominion of the Stonemother 3:46
17 Nightsong 2:38
“The Shattering” and “Xaxas” tracks were performed by the Northwest Sinfonia Orchestra. All orchestral tracks were recorded by John Kurlander. The album was produced by Russell Brower.
In preparation for the launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Blizzard has updated the recommended minimum system requirements for the game.
(with the latest Service Packs or updates)
Mac OS X 10.5.8, 10.6.4, or newer
RecommendedMac OS X 10.6.4 or newer
The ESRB rated the game Teen for Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence