With the launch of Cataclysm, players of all level ranges will have plenty of reason
to hop on their preferred mount of choice and go out exploring. Not only will the use
of flying mounts give an all new perspective on things, but the attention to detail
on some of the zone revamps that I was shown easily rivals if not exceeds the most
visually stunning areas of Wrath of the Lich King.
First, we’ll take a closer look at how some of these changes will no doubt help
foster a massive population explosion in the two main factional capital cities of
Stormwind and Orgrimmar before moving on to an overview of some of the other
redesigned areas of the game.
Stormwind Keep has been fully redesigned so that it’s no longer just a faÃ§ade placed
against the surrounding hillside. The interior of the structure has also been given a
new layout to make it much easier to navigate, while the fully built exterior
certainly helps give the keep a much more commanding presence, especially when viewed
Stormwind Keep has been completely rebuilt and now serves as a major landmark.
Another major landmark thatâ€™s undergone a more radical change is the park district
which has been completely destroyed by Deathwing. This is actually one of the very
first acts of devastation that Deathwing causes leading into the expansion. Whether a
direct attack on the Alliance city is proof that he is secretly rooting for the Horde
is anyoneâ€™s guess, however, we were assured that the druids need not worry â€“ they
will still have trainers located in other parts of the city.
Other points of interest include a couple of new lakes as well as a sizable graveyard
wrapping around the rear section of the city where a number of new quests can be
found. Call it what you will, but itâ€™s some of the interesting details that have
been added like this that really help transform the city into a place worth exploring
rather than just being used for the necessary evils of auction house and bank access.
Speaking of which, a second trade district has also been added in the Dwarven area so
that players will no longer need to pile up in one spot to access things like the
bank or auction house.
With Garrosh now in charge, Orgrimmar has become much darker and dare I say vastly
more visually appealing. The squat stone structures are gone, replaced by taller,
meaner looking buildings befitting the overall climate of war and devastation in
Azeroth. While the overall layout of the city has remained largely intact, certain
new elements have been added to reflect the changes at the top of the orcish food
Orgrimmar now has a much darker, more aggressive visual style
For example, Garrosh now has a massive stronghold placed smack in the middle of the
Valley of Strength. In fact, this imposing structure is the first thing players will
see when entering the city. As a long time horde player, I previously avoided Org
unless something like a seasonal event required me to travel there. The main reason
being that I couldnâ€™t step foot through the gates without the theme song from the
Flintstones getting stuck in my head for most of the following week. In Cataclysm,
however, I fully expect that the redesigned Org will regain much of its former glory
as one of the main gathering nexus for horde players, myself included.
Other radical revamps to the city include an all new district for Goblins and Trolls,
but as Garrosh isnâ€™t exactly the welcoming type when it comes to non-orcs, this new
area is somewhat of a slum, at least when compared to other areas in Org. Also of
note, players will now have a direct path between Org and Azshara. While flying
mounts will make getting to the zones north of Org a total breeze, this new entrance
will no doubt come in incredibly handy for lower level goblin characters.
Taurans also have a much larger presence in the Valley of Wisdom, notably expanding
over the spot where Grommash Hold currently stands.
Forsaken on the Move
If youâ€™re a fan of the undead style of architecture found in Wrath like I am, then
youâ€™re in for a real treat. From what we were shown, most undead towns and outposts
have been fully rebuilt to utilize this same design style. Not only that, but entire
areas such as Silverpine Forest have been completely revisited as the Forsaken have
begun a full assault on Glineas. In fact, this will play a large role in the starting
experience for new worgen players, pitting them against a true enemy rather than
killing countless bears and other random creatures commonly associated with newb
The Forsaken have begun a full assault on the Worgen city of Glineas
The effects of this conflict are clearly present throughout the area, so whether you
â€™re an alliance player curious to check out the new Worgen zones or a Horde player
eager to get into some pew pew action as an undead Hunter, this is one area youâ€™ll
definitely want to check out.
Uldum â€“ WoW Does Egypt
Not only have numerous old world zones been completely reimagined to fit in with the
expansion’s theme of destructive upheaval, but many new zones are being added as well
for those players eager to make the climb up to the increased level cap of 85.
Lead World Designer Alex Afrasiabi prefaced his overview of Uldum by describing the
zone as â€œWoW does Egyptâ€, and boy was he ever not kidding. This is a massive zone
on par with the largest Wrath has to offer and includes plenty of Egyptian themed
elements including pyramids and plenty of white sand interspersed with small pockets
of vegetation. Two new dungeons will also be found here, as well as the entrance to