First MMO Champion said it, then WoW.com said it, and now that it’s been a few days since both sites leaked information that is rumored to be details from the upcoming expansion that’s also rumored to be called World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the dust has settled a bit and revealed a few very important things.
First, let’s take a look at the news that’s caused such an outrage, shall we?
New Races and Class Combinations:
* Human Hunter
* Orc Mage
* Night Elf Mage
* Dwarf Mage
* Blood Elf Warrior
* Dwarf Shaman
* Undead Hunter
* Tauren Paladin
* Tauren Priest
* Gnome Priest
* Troll Druid
* Level Cap raised to 85
* Azshara becomes a low level starting zone
* Barrens split up into two separate zones
Azeroth will be entirely revamped.
Flying is allowed in parts of old Azeroth.
Unreleased zones and dungeons, including Hyjal, Gilneas, and Uldum will become part of WoW.
Deathwing and Azshara will be playing a major role in the Cataclysm that will happen.
I’m skeptical, to a very large extent – some of the race/class combinations don’t really make sense, and the lore implications of both Goblins and Worgen and some of the changes to the fundamentals of the game (flying in Azeroth, starting zones changing, etc) are pretty wide ranging and sound like either they must have been in the works for years, or it’d be an awful lot of work for this next expansion.
But unlike a lot of people (and I’ll get to this later) just because I don’t want something to be true doesn’t mean that it might not be – we’ll see. As to the notion of Goblins and Worgen, I hit on that in a previous post, but let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?
So we know that the worgen made their appearance in Azeroth thanks to Velinde Starsong and Arugal, both of whom started summoning worgen into the world for their own reasons. Need a history lesson? Cadistra of WoW, Eh has an excellent primer as this week’s comic.
Velinde prayed to Elune for a weapon to help her clean up Felwood and push back the corruption, and she got that weapon in the form of the Scythe of Elune (which makes an appearance in Northrend as part of a quest chain where you essentially give it back to a group of worgen in Grizzly Hills before you know what they are). She summons more and more worgen into Azeroth and uses them essentially as weapons of war – until she loses control of them and presumably she dies at their hands – that quest chain is woefully unresolved.
Arugal on the other hand was a mage of the Kirin Tor who saw Dalaran overrun by the scourge and, frustrated with the Kirin Tor’s seeming inability to cleanse the scourge from Azeroth started summoning Worgen into the world from Shadowfang Keep to – that’s right – use them as a weapon of war against the scourge. Arugal’s worgen were fairly effective against the scourge, but as if the two events were scripted together, the same thing happened to Arugal that happened to Velinde: the worgen turned on their masters and started killing them outright.
So then, it’s clear that the worgen would have no love for the scourge, but I’m curious how Blizzard will explain their siding with the alliance. It would seem to me they would be a better match for the Horde.
The Goblins are the opposite. They used to be members of the Horde in the Warcraft II and Warcraft III (pre-Frozen Throne) storyline, but left after the Second War in favor of neutrality when they realized it would make them a ton more money to trade with both the Horde and the Alliance. While they may not harbor any specific hate for the Horde, it’s curious why they would break neutrality to join the Horde again, especially considering the fact that they broke with them once. It would almost make more sense for them to join the Alliance, especially in light of the other rumors about the Horde…unless something happens to make them really attractive to the Goblins, or unless Blizzard just wants to make them the equivalent of Horde Gnomes.
The new race/class combos, as some have asserted, may be indicative of the rise of some of the various factions in the game that aren’t directly allied with the capital cities. Dwarven Shamans could be Wildhammer, for example.
In any event, only time will tell whether this is all just rumor and speculation or whether it’ll all come to light. We’ll find out as news filters out of Blizzcon next week!
That being said, I hardly think that sites like MMO Champion and WoW.com would risk their credibility with the fan community by reporting on these without being confident in their sources, and I highly doubt they would post this kind of information just to stir up this kind of trouble.
That brings me to a more nuanced point about journalism, ethics, and anonymous sources, but definitely a digression, so I’ll put it behind the jump below.