but according to MMO- Champion: None of the information below has been officially announced by Blizzard, this is only a compilation of information gathered from reliable sources. Just keep in mind that it takes a LOT to make me post something on the front page and I'm definitely not speculating here.
Other sites started it, I'll try to finish it. Think twice before you read this post, we have a lot of spoilers here.
Most of this stuff will be announced at the Blizzcon anyway, if you didn't take the time to order the live stream you might want to consider doing it. We will probably see a lot of interesting things here.
Quote from: Blizzard (Source)
This year, for the first time, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy a live Internet stream of BlizzCon coverage from the comfort of your own home. The stream includes the same content as the DIRECTV pay-per-view event, but you do not have to be a DIRECTV subscriber to purchase it. It consists of over 16 hours of video, including interviews and commentary, main stage presentations, and tournament coverage. It’s now available to order for $39.95, and purchasers will also receive the BlizzCon 2009-exclusive in-game pet, Grunty the Murloc Marine (not available in all regions). Head over to the BlizzCon 2009 Live Stream website to get more information, to test video playback on your system, or to place an order.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the next expansion for World of Warcraft. Dark and forgotten threats that have long stayed out of sight have finally arrived on our shores, unleashing a cataclysmic event upon Azeroth and now preparing more nefarius plans to take it back.
The level cap in the next expansion will be slightly lower than expected this time around; 85.
This suggests Blizzard wants more room for expansions before hitting the level 100 cap. With less leveling to do (along with the revamped leveling listed below likely to increase the speed and ease of leveling), leveling a new race remains appealing for new and existing players alike.
Leveling from 80-85 should be a much bigger deal, the idea is to make sure that gaining a level really means something and doesn't make you feel like you just have 4 more levels to go.
Cataclysm doesn't introduce any new classes to the game. Instead, Blizzard have offered more race and classes combinations to players. The Some of these have alreadly been datamined from the 3.2.2 Test Realms. The An Injured Colleague quest and it's new Night Elf counter-part help to introduce the lore for these new race and class combinations, so we can probably expect to see more of these for some of the less traditional ones.
- Human Hunter
- Orc Mage
- Night Elf Mage
- Dwarf Mage
- Blood Elf Warrior
- Dwarf Shaman
- Undead Hunter
- Tauren Paladin
- Tauren Priest
- Gnome Priest
- Troll Druid
The events of the cataclysm has caused two new races to seek new allies. The Goblins for the Horde and the Worgen for the Alliance.
Deathwing once again sought the services of the goblins, as slaves. Unable to refuse such an offer, the goblins were enslaved by him. A large group have resisted however. With their previous homes devastated by the cataclysm, they escaping to an island off the coast of The Barrens. As they strive to recover, they come across an Orc captured on an Alliance ship and rescue him. The Orc turns out to be none other than Thrall himself, and in return offers the Goblins a place within the Horde. These events are carried out in a quest line, allowing players to experience first-hand the reasons behind the Goblins' shift from neutrality.
The cataclysm has cracked open the Greymane Wall, finally revealing what has happened to the kingdom of Gilneas and its citizens. With the Worgen curse taken hold, they have found a partial cure, allowing thme to retain their Human minds even when transformed. Venturing forth from Gilneas and seeking help from the Alliance, they have decided to join them, to combat the new threats of Cataclysm.
Gilneas will make extensive use of the phasing system (much like the Death Knight starting area), to show what happened while the kingdom was cut off from the rest of the world and lead up to present day.
Worgens will have two forms, a Worgen form and a Human form. Players will be able to customise the look of both forms.
Cataclysm will be the first expansion not to introduce a new continent, instead making use of previously unreleased zones and revamping existing ones.
Classic Azeroth Revamp
A cataclysmic event caused by Deathwing and Azshara will change the face of Azeroth as we know it. Most of the new content for Cataclysm will take the form of a revamped Azeroth, taking advantage of newer additions to WoW such as phasing and daily quests. Most of the quests and mobs in the classic zones will also be redesigned to make leveling less painful. With the revamp, a greater narritive and sense progression will be offered to players. Some zones and dungeons will change drastically to fit this, e.g.,
- The Barrens will be split into two separate zones of two different level bands.
- Azshara will become a low level (~10-20) zone.
- Some of the zones like the Thousand Needles will be flooded.
- Durotar is wrecked and apparently Orgrimmar could be destroyed. A new Orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion.
- Gnomeregan will be part of the expansion as well and gnomes might be able to reclaim their capital. (The last part is still unconfirmed)
- Wailing Caverns will be become a lush tropical area as a result of the druid's magic.
- The Blackrock Spire will erupt and a new version of Blackrock Mountains will be available, apparently Ragnaros will be back too.
In the aftermath of the cataclysm, and the new conflicts on the horizon relief efforts can be found in many zones and new open PvP areas similar to Lake Wintergrasp.
Flying in Azeroth
Part of the redesign of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor is the introduction of flying to the two continents, allowing access to many new areas and quicker travelling across the large continents.
Classic Dungeon Revamp
Redesigning Onyxia's Lair in Patch 3.2.2 was just the first step. As most of the leveling will take place in revamped areas of Azeroth, so too will the dungeons, allowing players to use them to level from 80 to 85.
Unreleased Zones & Dungeons
With the addition of flying mounts to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms and the redesign of many zones, most of the previously unreachable or incomplete zones will now be made available to players. This is where most of the new content from 80 to 85 will take place. Some of these are,
- Hyjal (present)
- Gilneas - The Worgen starting Zone.
It is unclear if the old Goblin locations such as Kezan and Undermine will be included in Cataclyms with the revelation of the goblins' plight, but several new islands have also been risen from the seas by the events of Cataclysm, some on the backs of giant sea turtles and whales, with the addition of several underwater zones.
Characters and Events
Deathwing the Destroyer / Neltharion the Earth-Warder will play a major role in Cataclysm. Having been driven mad by Old God whisperings and turning against his own kind only to be fail in his attempts, Deathwing has sunk into the shadows. While the Horde and the Alliance were busy fighting back the Burning Legion only to then be beset with the Scourge, he has been lurking and moving things into place. After Lady Sinestra's failed attempts to create a Twilight Dragonflight, he again retreated to Grim Batol and succeeded where she failed. With his results seen in the Obsidian Sanctum, he has finally created the supreme Dragonflight he sought and plans to unleash it upon the world. But what of the Old Gods' sway over him?
Queen Azshara will also play a major part in Cataclysm. Unknown to many mortal races, long forgotten by others, and believe to be dead by her own kind, she has not been dormant in depths of the Maelstrom. Having those around her transformed by the Old Gods into Naga after her failure in the War of the Ancients, she has become far more powerful and a greater threat than she once was. Not content with just Nazjatar and the depths of the sea, Azshara seeks to reclaim power and reign once again. With the true plan behind Lady Vashj's support of Illidan remaining a mystery we do not know what hand Azshara has yet played. The big question remains, is she now serving her "saviors", the Old Gods?
I'm still not sure who is the true end boss of Cataclysm is, but the cataclysm appears to have been caused by attempts to incantation to summon extremely powerful beings using an ancient incantation by Deathwing and Azshara. They're both very powerful, but the cataclysm itself suggests something more powerful is behind it, perhaps their shared past of Old God influence?
The Guardian of Tirisfal
Malfurion Stormrage will be returning to Azeroth to aid in the creation of the new Guardian of Tirisfal - Thrall! Med'an's role in these events is currently unknown.
The New (New) Horde
Thrall will hand over the leadership of the Horde to Garrosh Hellscream, while he serves as a coordinator for both the Horde and Alliance forces in and effort to combat the new threat of the Naga and Black Dragonflight. Without Thrall to keep Garrosh in check, he declares open war on the Alliance. In the political upheaval Cairne Bloodhoof is implicated as a traitor to the Horde and murdered by Garrosh. Cairne's son Baine takes over as the new Tauren chieftan. This could explain why Baine was removed from the game in Patch 3.2.2, you can find more information about this in Ahmo Thunderhorn - replacement for Baine Bloodhoof?
now i have said back pre-TBC, that the game will never be the same when TBC is out, TBC was good, WOTLK was ok, but it seems that the new expansion will destroy everything..
seriously, a Tauren paladin? lol
I noticed there was a lot of confusion surrounding the lore of these new additions, but, rest assured, that if properly investigated it can be shown that these additions do indeed make sense!
Yes, these do contain some amount of speculation in to how they will fit into the lore, but I trust you are all smart enough people to tell when I wander into the realm of speculation and guesswork!
* Human Hunter
Humans have long been proficient in the art of hunting and trapping wildlife, and while it was their Elven allies that wielded the bow and arrow in wars past, many humans have been shown to be quite adept at the art, one even managed to achieve the rank of Ranger Lord before being turned the Scourge. He is more commonly known as Nathanos Blightcaller. And in Northrend, much of the Grizzly Hills is occupied by human hunters and trappers.
Early concept art has been unearthed of Human Hunters, perhaps showing they were an originally intended class.
Thanks to Kanaru for putting these images on Imageshack!
* Orc Mage
Orc mages are quite frankly not that far of a stretch, seeing as Thrall condemns warlock magic, perhaps he has begun to offer magic wielders amongst the orcs training in the art of the magi. There really is a fine line between mages and warlocks, the difference usually being the employment of shadow magic instead of the arcane.
EDIT: A new theory has been suggested that Med'an, who's story is so long winded that I will not repeat but provide a link to, will return to the Orcs since he is a half-orc, and bring with him his amazing mage powers passed down from his father, Medivh, to impress the Orcs and perhaps even begin to teach him the arcane arts.
Credit goes to Envojus for the theory!
* Night Elf Mage
Many people struggle with this one, but I will seek to perhaps even give a quite plausible explanation for the return of the Highborne that is seen in this screenshot (http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/images/news/2009/august/highbornes.jpg). While many people believe that all the Highborne left to become High Elves or Blood Elves, that is not a true. There are many remnants of Highborn, most notably that of the Shendralar, who dwell within Dire Maul. I speculate that since Immol'thar and their Prince Tothreldrin have been slain by adventurers, they have found themselves without a source of power or immortality, leaving them vulnerable to the dangers the demons and ogres pose. So, they send an envoy to Tyrande in order to ask for re-admittance into Night Elven culture but with the catch of being able to practice their magics as long as they do not consume sources of power like Moonwells.
* Dwarf Mage
It is a little known fact to those who were not involved in the beta that Dwarves could in fact be mages until a last minute change was made by Blizzard. If you look in your manual you received with your copy of vanilla WoW, you will see that Dwarves are listed as having mage as a playable class, showing how last minute a change this was. Quite frankly, there's no reason why they could not be mages, in fact there are famous magi amongst the dwarves, such as Thaurissan. And with such close contact to humans and gnomes, both races with magnificent mages, it seems a small miracle they have to have mages themselves.
World of Warcraft Manual
* Blood Elf Warrior
Every race has meat shields, and blood elves are shown they are no light weights when it comes to melee combat. It is not implausible for there to be warriors who are not Blood Knights.
* Dwarf Shaman
They already exist in the form of the Wildhammer Clan. And, while some may argue that this is a lore lol because Alliance players roll Ironforge dwarves, one would notice that while the Wildhammer Clan once had the distinction of being a seperate, neutral, faction, that is no longer true and they are merely designated as Alliance members.
* Undead Hunter
Once again, there are many humans who proved themselves quite able hunters in life, that could very well carry over into death, as in the case of Nathanos Blightcaller. Perhaps the Blightcaller provides training and acts as the leader for up and coming undead hunters?
Sources: See Human Hunter
* Tauren Paladin
Personally, I believe the Taurens gaining usage of the Light is perhaps the biggest stretch out of all of these. But perhaps the Tauren do not tap into the Light as Humans and Blood Elves do, but rather through their "sun god". There is already evidence of some druids beginning to experiment in the usage of the Light, and with proper training applied, an eight foot tall cow-man clad in armor and the power of the light would be a formidable force indeed.
* Tauren Priest
Tauren Priests could be those who did not posses the physical strength to become Paladins, yet still heard the calling of the Light. And of course, when there is Light, there will always be those who embrace the shadow.
EDIT: There are sketches in the Collector's Edition Artbook that came with vanilla WoW that do depict Tauren priests. This could be another case like the Dwarf Mage. I will attempt to find copies of this art and post them soon. (8/15 4:54 CST)
Pictures have been found and can be viewed below, credit once again to Kanaru.
Tauren Priest: http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/4788/warcraftsamwise065b.jpg
Sources: See Tauren Paladin.
* Gnome Priest
Gnome Priests may seem an odd decision at first, but take a moment to consider the mindset of the gnomes. They are curious beings who wish to understand everything around them, and what surrounds them is the Light. Every other race besides the Gnomes in the Alliance has priests, it is no wonder that they have not sought to study the art of healing through the Light sooner. I could see them perhaps taking a much more methodical approach, rather than the religious approach of the other races.
* Troll Druid
Once again, seemingly another "WTF?!" choice, but this one is even simpler to apply and understand. Essentially every troll raid and almost every troll instances involves cases of trolls taking on the forms of animals or the essence of the animal. Usually this is attributed the Loas. It seems likely that the trolls will learn to shapeshift in a controlled manner into a select number of species by invoking the name of these "Loas". Under sources you can find a list of every troll themed instance with a case of troll transformation!
i guess we will wait for blizzcon..