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.
Blood sky
Stormwind
Stormwind Keep has been fully redesigned so that it’s no longer just a façade 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

from above.

Stormwind Keep has been completely rebuilt and now serves as a major landmark.

Another major landmark that’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 anyone’s guess, however, we were assured that the druids need not worry – 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 it’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.

Orgrimmar
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

chain.

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 couldn’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 isn’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 you’re a fan of the undead style of architecture found in Wrath like I am, then

you’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

zones.

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

’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 you’ll

definitely want to check out.

Uldum – 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 “WoW does Egypt”, 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

Sykwall. 

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