So there's no new continent to explore come the new Expansion. There's a Big Bad of course... and BOY is he mad. Mad enough it seems to take all that we are familiar and comfortable with and rip it apart, quite literally. The World of Warcraft, as we know it, will change forever.
When I first heard about the changes to Onyxia I was, as you will recall, a bit concerned. Changing lore like this has inevitable consequences... unless of course you're changing everything else to move with it. My main worry was that Blizzard would simply cherrypick certain events and amend the lore around them. The last thing I was expecting was for them to rebuild everything from the ground up.
There's plenty of videos like this around, which show just how much work Blizzard are going to have done to rewrite the original Azeroth. In the beginning, you were never going to fly, it was all about Public Transport, and the world was hastily created to accomodate that. Now that everyone wants to fly, the most logical solution is to start again, and at the same time mix the entire place up. Plus, in Lore terms, it makes really rather perfect sense. As Wowwiki points out, this is not the first time a Cataclysm has shattered Azeroth...
So, in a repeat of previous events we find ourselves in an Azeroth where EVERYTHING has changed, and everywhere has the possibility of new quests. This is perhaps the greatest masterstroke of all: we're used to having clearly defined areas to Quest in, that are well-signposted. If I read the information right, new quests are going to be available EVERYWHERE, you have to go find them. The aceness of this concept is still boggling my mind, as it means I'll be off to explore all over again, rediscovering places I'd long since forgotten which will be new, yet familiar. Frankly, this is possibly THE BEST THING Blizzard could have done with the Old World.
The Great Sundering, also known as simply the Sundering or the Cataclysm, was a world event which reshaped Azeroth approximately 10,000 years ago at the end of the War of the Ancients. This was caused by the Well of Eternity exploding, due to it being too weak when Sargeras tried to enter through a portal fueled by the Well's energies.
Prior to the Sundering, there was only one continent on Azeroth, referred to as Kalimdor. In the catastrophic explosion, eighty percent of the land mass was destroyed leaving behind the major continents and scattered islands that are known today: Northrend, Kezan, the Eastern Kingdoms, and the remnant still referred to as Kalimdor.
The site of the Well of Eternity became a swirling vortex of power known as the Maelstrom.
The seismic shifts also play a direct part on revelaing our two new races: displacing the Goblins from the South Seas and cracking open the Greymane Wall to reveal the Worgen for the first time. If the amount of enthusiasm for Worgen in our Guild is any indicator Blizzard got it spot on in terms of picking the right race for each faction. There was a flurry of activity yesterday where people were desperately trying to register Worgen names, most of which had already been taken. Clearly the enthusiasm for the new content is unabated.
The fact we're only going to 85 this time makes me think Blizzard are moving away from a fixation on levelling and XP and are shifting more towards time-based rewards. By far the biggest criticism of the process is that you have to do it to get to the most relevant content, after all... and why those gold sellers have a nice line in power levelling on the side.
I'm still getting my head around all these changes to talents and this Path of the Titans stuff, so more on that once the braincells properly align. For now... how long until Beta??? :D