World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Released

With the release of Cataclysm, the maximum player level has been raised from 80 to 85.

The game's two main continents, Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms have been redesigned with a changed appearance and some new areas. The quest system has been refreshed with almost 3500 new quests along with new and streamlined low and mid-level quests to complement the redesigned areas of Azeroth. Ten new dungeons and five new raids have been added as well as a new secondary skill, Archaeology. The glyph system has been overhauled to now have three types of glyph: prime, major, minor. Furthermore, glyphs are now permanently learned and require a reagent to remove from a slot. Two new playable races have been added, the Worgen and Goblins. In addition, existing classes have been expanded to be available to more races. The major cities of Orgrimmar, Stormwind and Dalaran have all experienced major changes. Lastly, the existing talent system has been overhauled. Players are awarded their first talent point at level 10, the next at 11, and then once per two levels until level 80. Levels 81 through 85 receives a talent point at every level bringing the total to 41 talent points. Talent points allow the player to choose new/improved abilities in combat.

The central plot of the expansion is the return of the evil dragon aspect Deathwing the Destroyer (originally Neltharion the Earth Warder). Last seen in Warcraft II, which took place over a decade before, Deathwing has spent that time healing himself, and plotting his fiery return from the elemental plane of Deepholm. His return tears through the dimensional barrier within Azeroth, causing a sweeping cataclysm that reshapes much of the world's surface. In the midst of the world-wide disaster comes renewed conflict between the Alliance and the Horde, which is now under the rule of Garrosh Hellscream.

The Cataclysm is responsible for a number of political changes within the Horde and Alliance. With the wake of the cataclysm, the Horde's leader, the orc shaman Thrall, stepped down from his duty as Warchief of the Horde to better help the world of Azeroth as a whole. This duty was relinquished to the former overlord of the Warsong Offensive, the Mag'har orc warrior Garrosh Hellscream. The human king Varian Wrynn deployed many of his forces to prosecute the war against the Horde, storming the Southern Barrens and Stonetalon Mountains, while Garrosh, unlike Thrall, embraced war with the Alliance.

There are several new areas the players will investigate and also join in different actions by either quests or endscenes.