World of Warcraft Cataclysm

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm review: Prepare for the latest WoW expansion to suck you in

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Blizzard World of Warcraft Cataclysm
  • Blizzard World of Warcraft Cataclysm
  • Blizzard World of Warcraft Cataclysm
  • Blizzard World of Warcraft Cataclysm
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • World-changing storyline, streamlined questing system, goblins and Worgens are fun additions

Cons

  • Requires previous expansion packs to run, dangerously addictive

Bottom Line

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion is a worthy investment for both old and new WoW players.

Would you buy this?

There was a time when I was wildly hooked on a little game you may have heard of: World of Warcraft. I played it on a daily basis, forgoing meals and a decent amount of sleep just to spend more time with the game.

Sounds crazy, but the MMORPG is highly addictive for a reason: It's a good game. It's a really good game. If World of Warcraft wasn't good, it wouldn't have endured for six years with more than 12 million pious (and paying) subscribers.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, WoW's first expansion pack, opened the doors to a new playable area, the Outlands and added a whole bunch of features that excited existing players. At the time, I thought Blizzard could do no wrong.

But the second expansion, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, was somewhat of a disappointment to me. Several elements lead me to believe it pandered more towards casual players. While I know there are people that will feel differently, it just didn't grab me like Burning Crusade. But fear not, because Cataclysm comes in to give the game some welcomed reinvigoration.

Digging back into infant years of the WoW universe, the story in Cataclysm revolves around the return of the Black Dragon Aspect, Deathwing the Destroyer. He's hell bent on seeking revenge on his dragon brethren who forced him out of Azeroth (the game's world) due to his megalomaniac tendencies.

Deathwing returned to Azeroth in style: ripping landmasses apart, triggering volcanoes and completely changing the face of pretty much every part of the world. Rivers now flow where they hadn't before and random vortex tornados litter the land.

Needless to say, this is the biggest change to the in-game world in its six-year history; it's hard to imagine how another expansion would top Cataclysm. The company took something that was already great, redesigned it and made something even better. Genius!

Arguably, Cataclysm is several steps up from the comparatively bland Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

Having played WoW for four of the six years that the game has been out, I had taken a hiatus before Cataclysm. It was a strange feeling when I logged onto my well-broken-in character to find I was completely out of place. My home base of Dalaran was close to deserted and all the changes — most of which are dramatic even for a seasoned player — made my head spin.

For one, the level cap has been pushed up from 80 to 85. But rather than having to engage in a lot of good old fashion "grinding" — a way to earn a steady trickle of experience points — questing has been made, dare I say it, more pleasurable. Blizzard has streamlined the questing system so not only does it give you a clear indication of what the objective is, you also know where to go on the map. This eliminates lots of fruitless wandering around.

Experienced players should have no problem with levelling, but new players be warned: WoW is not just a game, it's a commitment. A really, really time consuming commitment. You don't get from level one to 60 in a day or two — but once you're hooked, the days will just fly right by you!

The way you customise your character has also been given an overhaul, and some parts of the user interface are unrecognisable. Some aspects of the game have been streamlined, and the results will please both hardcore and casual WoW players.

Something that always gets players excited is new playable races. Alliance gets Worgens, which is essentially werewolves, and the Horde receives Goblins. Both worthy additions to the WoW family and choosing to level one from scratch is a great way to reconnect with the altered land of Azeroth.

To play Cataclysm, you are required to purchase the original WoW (with a level 60 cap), Burning Crusade (which bumped the cap to 70), as well as Wrath of the Lich King (level cap maxed at 80).

Bottom line is Cataclysm not only rejuvenates the game for old fans but it has much to offer for newcomers as well. So get the game, but try not to quit your day job for it.

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