So a bunch of details have been released about Cataclysm, including some preliminary talent trees, profession details, area maps and screenshots.
The MMO-champion page will take some time to fully load, so let me run down the basics for you. Note: This may be slightly spoilerific.
New zones include Kezan, the Goblin home city, which showcases some new Goblin architecture, and looks like a cross between Fallout 3 and Loony Tunes. Vashj’ir, home of the Naga is entirely underwater. It looks like the two Gunships from Icecrown are set to make a return hovering over Deepholme. Gilneas is suitably creepy and gothic showing some new human/Worgen buildings. The Lost Isles (the Goblin starting area) look suitably lush and green, showing off the new water shaders to great effect. The Twilight Highlands with it’s massive hole, looks like where Deathwing erupts from deepholme and is most likely the staging area for invasion. Hyjal is back and looks to be the most varied landscape of the new areas, with lush green groves to burning fiery pits down to vast demonic wastelands. Tol Barad, the new Wintergrasp, looks… unfinished. Twin Peaks looks like a new Battleground. An armour plated Horde windmill versus a grassy-topped hobbit hole? Might be a capture-the-flag variant.
New Instances include the new Uldum instance, Halls of Origination which look like something out of Stargate. Lots of Egyptian themed heads on display too, expect some kind of conclusion or continuation of the Titans story chain here. Blackrock returns as Blackrock Caverns where it looks like Deathwing is screwing around with more dragons. Blackwing Descent looks like it might be in Blackrock, perhaps replacing Blackrock Depths. Throne of the Tides looks like the Vashj’ir instance, entirely underwater. The Deepholme instance looks to be where Deathwing spent his time brooding. Grim Batol looks suitably dwarven but obviously abused, expect Orcs and Dragons and quite possibly Deathwing himself to show up. Skywall, another elemental instance, again looks nice but unfinished.
As for the Old areas, well, there are some noticeable differences. Lots of places are flooded, many horde towns have been reinforced or destroyed (poor Camp Taurajo), Nessingwary’s camp has been expanded, Orgrimarr has been badassified, Azshara has… a Golf course?
All of the artwork shown so far has again been notched up from Wrath of the Lich King, and even then I’m certain we haven’t seen all the new effects, models, powers and environments they have to offer yet. Cataclysm looks to be, at the very least, a very pretty expansion.
Everywhere has some change, some more drastic than others, but it does look like the world has evolved slightly. However, the one thing, the one thing I’ve been asking for, using as an example of the stagnation of the world for the past three years still hasn’t been FIXED – lazy fat Humans.