Cataclysm Screens

By: Damian Lampl - 5/6/2010 2:20:30 PM

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Deathwing sighting...

It's no secret I'm excited for Cataclysm to come out and the latest screens posted on MMO Champion have only ramped up my anticipation.  Normally I try to shield myself a little bit from the spoilers because 1) things are still being changed and tweaked and I'd prefer to not expect one thing only to have it be completely different when the game is released anyway, and 2) it's fun for me to explore from scratch when the new game comes out and to see things in-game for the first time.  I can still remember being in awe of the atmosphere they created in a video game during my initial impression of Orgrimmar.  It was beautiful.  The city felt alive, massive, nearly overwhelming and my orc warrior knew he was home.

But for some reason I couldn't help myself in stealing a peek at the Cataclysm alpha screens.  And I'm glad I couldn't.  It will still be a fun experience stepping into a "new" Azeroth when Cataclysm hits, and checking out the early screens merely whets the apatite for more.  It's pretty amazing that after more than five years, this game continues to improve and maintain the interest of so many people.

If you're like I used to be and want to save as much surprise for the game's release as possible, don't read the rest of this article.

I'll always be Horde at heart so I naturally have to start there.  I loved what they did with Horde architecture in Wrath and that looks to continue in Cataclysm with Orgrimmar getting a makeover Warsong Hold style.  The banners have tattered and faded to a stunningly muted red as opposed to the bright Horde red of old, providing a much darker, battle-hardened atmosphere.  Some of the old buildings still stand similar to the way they are now, some are gutted, some are more distinctly carved out of the surrounding stone landscape, and there appears to be a spot for Tauren refugees.  The main strategic points of interest also received nice upgrades, looking hardier and, for lack of better terminology, more badass.  Even more badass than they used to look.  I know, right?  But overall it's very orcish and looks incredible.

Relative to the Horde I haven't spent much time in Alliance towns but to my untrained eye, Stormwind looks largely unchanged.  The building textures appear more detailed and the scale of the city is definitely on display in the aerial shots but to me the only aspect that really sticks out is the color-coordination of the rooftops for each district.  But again, they may already be color-coordinated and I just didn't realize it.  Overall it definitely gives the sense of being a large city, certainly larger than Orgrimmar seems to be.

Ashenvale looks like it's been mostly taken over by the Horde with an expanded and fortified Zoram'gar Outpost, as well as an apparent occupation of Silverwind Refuge.  The Night Elves have maintained Astranaar but Hellscream's Watch now looms above to the north (well, not really a looming presence but it exists).

Thousand Needles is largely under water sans the highest plateaus at and near the same elevation as Freewind Post.  The ever-opportunistic goblins built Fizzle Pozzik's Speedbarge on top of the now submerged raceway ruins in what will be known as the Shimmering Deep instead of Shimmering Flats, and my lore is horrible but there's a settlement for what I'm assuming to be Deathwing's minions on the cliffs to the south of Freewind Post.  Razorfen Downs is also now part of the Thousand Needles map instead of the Barrens (or the new Southern Barrens).

The orcs blasted through the northern mountains of Orgrimmar and added a gate to Azshara, giving goblins a hell of a lot shorter run than they would have normally had to get around to Orgrimmar's previous back door.  Apparently goblins think the Horde need to lighten up since they built Gallywix Pleasure Palace complete with swimming pool and golf course, but it's entirely possible they allow Alliance there, too, since the Night Elves slapped up Darnassian Base Camp and still have Talrendis Point.  The goblins also built their own little capital city and made sure to fortify it with a big ass cannon.  You just can't go wrong with cannons.  As an added bonus and show of gratitude, the goblins shaped the coast to look like the Horde emblem.  I mean, come on, that should even get the Alliance to yell, "For the Horde!"

They just keep adding screens to that post, too.  So many new shinies to look at.  So much awesome.  Brill is f---ing gorgeous.  It's going to be a ton of fun finally being able to fly in Azeroth and see all the new sights.





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