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Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm Game Cover

World of Warcraft Cataclysm is the third expansion in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is a prequel to World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria and it was released exclusively on Microsoft Windows systems. Released on December 7, 2010, it was followed by several updates, with the 4.0.1 patch overhauling the gameplay.

Key facts about World of Warcraft Cataclysm

  • World of Warcraft Cataclysm has a vastly improved presentation, cut scenes and cinematics.
  • Players expected better graphics after the game spent a lot of time in the making and were only partially satisfied.
  • World of Warcraft Cataclysm features better voice acting that any of its predecessors and a stellar soundtrack.
  • The gameplay was simplified to appeal to a broader audience and the emphasis was on making quests more straightforward.
  • World of Warcraft Cataclysm raises the level cap to 85 and features plenty of race and dungeons.

The World of Warcraft Cataclysm games

World of Warcraft Cataclysm is just like its predecessors centered on questing and the single player experience. Players continue their voyage from level 80 to 85 by completing various missions to earn experience points. New quests are added and when players hit the level cap they can participate in dungeons and difficult raids. The instances introduced to the sequel are easier to attend, thanks to the new looking for group mechanics.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm games also present players with multiple opportunities to compete against their peers. The obvious choice is to join a PVP realm where players can freely attack their opponents in most areas. Starting zones are protected and combat can only be initiated by the low-level players. PVE realms are reserved to those who prefer to focus exclusively on questing, doing instances and raids.

Role-playing rounds are hybrids between the two types of servers described above. In addition to allowing players to fight each other or confront AI controlled opponents, players also have to abide to certain rules. The purpose of these requirements is to create a certain gaming atmosphere and get players immersed into the virtual world.

What is World of Warcraft Cataclysm?

The third installment in the MMORPG World of Warcraft franchise brought major changes to both PVE and PVP. Released in late 2010, World of Warcraft Cataclysm was officially announced one year before at the BlizzCon. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game brought back many of the players who took a break after the previous title. It marked a high point for the franchise and patch 4.0.1 brought major changes to its gameplay.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm Dragons
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm Dragons

Gameplay of World of Warcraft Cataclysm

The gameplay of World of Warcraft Cataclysm introduces many changes to the proven game system. The continents were redesigned and players have good reasons to explore Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. As the world was ravaged by a violent change, new dungeons and raids are available, while new races are added. The level cap was raised from 80 to 85 and most of the content is only available at max level.

The developers worked on the quest system to make it simpler without cutting down on content. There are nearly 3500 new missions to complete and players can focus on the main storyline or complete side quests. The glyph system was also changed and all the talents acquired are now permanent, but require a reagent to be removed. The same sweeping changes affected the talent system, as players only receive one talent point from level 81 to level 85.

Each class unlocks new abilities and the talent system was also radically changed. Compared to the previous installments, the gameplay of World of Warcraft Cataclysm is truly innovative. Fans of the franchise know that not even the sequel brought so many changes. However, the upcoming World of Warcraft Legion is expected to set an important milestone for the franchise with revamped mechanics.

Plot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm

The plot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm has Deathwing the Destroyer as the archenemy. The evil Dragon spent a lot of time mending his wounds and plotted his destructive return. It is his presence in Azeroth that triggers the cataclysm that changes the aspect of the entire world. Heroes of the Alliance and the Horde need to put their petty rivalries aside once again to survive this sweeping evil.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm War Party
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm War Party

Garrosh Hellscream rules the Horde with an iron fist and Thrall is cast in the shadows. The once powerful shaman is no longer in control and in his absence the Horde is in danger to unravel. Loyal forces try to bring together the disbanded races, while also working with the Alliance. Many of the quests revolve around the actions of leaders on both sides, as they attempt to re-forge the shattered alliance.

The Rise of the Zandalari is an important chapter in the World of Warcraft Cataclysm narrative. Vol'jin of the Darkspear steps up to stop the tidal wave of destruction set by the rebellious trolls. He uses his contacts within the Alliance to put in and to their madness and find a way to overthrow Garrosh Hellscream. The Rage of the Firelands pits players against Ragnaros the Firelord and heroes of the Alliance and the Horde face him in his lair.

The Hour of Twilight wraps up the plot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm, as the heroes confront Deathwing the Destroyer. After fighting the Infinite Dragonflight, the heroes manage to retrieve the powerful Dragon Soul artifact needed to stop the Dragon. Thrall uses this artifact and aided by the Dragon Aspects who sacrificed their immortality, crush Deathwing.

Development of World of Warcraft Cataclysm

World of Warcraft Cataclysm was confirmed in 2010 and the open alpha commenced within a couple of months. After the successful closed better testing, Blizzard announced that the game would be released before the end of the year. They managed to hit the deadline and a couple of quests were made available before the official release. Patch 4.0.1 was released to public test realms to address the remaining issues and also to get players familiar with the content.

When the official release was announced for December 7, 2010 players were also presented with the option of pre-ordering. The game was available as Standard Edition and Collectors’ Edition as well as a digital version. This was preferred by most World of Warcraft fans, because it gave them the chance to play the moment the servers went live.

Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm Goblin vs Worgen
Screenshot of World of Warcraft Cataclysm Goblin vs Worgen

Where can I download World of Warcraft Cataclysm?

World of Warcraft Cataclysm can be downloaded from the official Blizzard Entertainment website or its game client. This is where all the titles developed and published by them can be bought as standalone product or in bundles. The original World of Warcraft, World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor and the upcoming World of Warcraft Legion can be acquired.

What are others saying about World of Warcraft Cataclysm?

World of Warcraft Cataclysm received the critical acclaim that the developers were hoping for. Once again the massively multiplayer online role-playing game received reviews scores above 90 out of 100. The improved visuals, stellar sound effects and the overhauled gameplay were celebrated by players and critics alike. Some complained that the expansion failed to capture the glory of the prequel, despite the fact that the main antagonist was deemed credible by everyone.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm subscriptions also increased and this is when the peak of 12 million players was recorded. From this point onward, the number of subscribing players decreased and in late 2012 it sank beneath 9 million. This prompted developers to accelerate work on World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor and most noteworthy release it faster than intended.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm tournaments

Players were able to participate in World of Warcraft Cataclysm tournaments, but PVP lost much of its appeal. Most of those who sought the thrills of player versus player action competed in casual battleground and arena games. It was at the time of its release the only Blizzard eSports game, besides StarCraft 2 Wings of Liberty. Now players have more options, as they can also play Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Heartstone.

My rating of World of Warcraft Cataclysm

World of Warcraft Cataclysm was at the time of its release, the best World of Warcraft game in terms of visuals and sound effects. Personally, I thought that it lacked the greatness of the Wrath of Lich King and the unique feeling of playing the original World of Warcraft. The storyline however was engaging, the quests exciting and the endgame raids and dungeons quite challenging. I had insanely high expectations, as always and the fact that I was only a little disappointed speaks volumes. In conclusion, this is a good expansion by any standards and fully deserves a review score of 9 out of 10.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Score
9
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