Very little will change in Outland and Northrend. It would be nice to make more changes for continuity, but consider that Wrath of the Lich King shipped with roughly 1,000 new quests, and Cataclysm is scheduled to ship with upwards of 3,000 new quests. (Source)
Let's stop and think about this for a second. We have two new starting areas, so that's quests for all the starting races and classes. There's also some significant changes to existing race's class combinations, so they will need quests as well. Even with this as a consideration 3000 is a HELL of a lot of new progression content on the quest side. It does suggest that a lot has been added, but what this figure makes no allusion to is what will be removed, and this is more of an issue for some (especially those I know who have Loremaster on their list of 'Things To Do Before Cataclysm Hits')
Another significant Blue quote from yesterday makes reference to something I've been hoping would happen since we all piled into Outland: a direct progression of Life on Azeroth. I'll let the Blue explain it (coz they do it so much better than I ever could):
We're definitely not taking a simplistic inside-out approach and flipping the feel of every zone around. Some areas will change drastically as a result of Deathwing's cataclysmic return. These areas will change for better or worse. You'll also see a lot of what we refer to as political progression. For instance, the Forsaken are determined to really come into their own as a faction now that the Lich King is gone. They intend to continue to fight for their preservation with allegiance to the Horde, which requires that they find alternate means of sustaining their forces since they cannot reproduce. Politically, they're determined to expand their territory around Lordaeron and march into Greymane. It is in the Horde's interest to have a coastal stronghold on Eastern Kingdoms in the event that an attack on Stormwind becomes imminent.Actions have consequences, and the laying the ground here as a reason why the Worgen would side with the Alliance (as the Forsaken want to take their lands) is an excellent reason for creating the conflict. It's not simply the remodelling of Azeroth that's important for many of us, it's the advancement of the 'story' in which we have all become so emotionally invested. This will mean of course that levelling from scratch will be a fundamentally different experience than it was before the Expansion, and this is perhaps the biggest masterstroke from Blizzard: they really have recreated the game with a way for the 80's and the newbies to exist together in a world that although remains fundamentally the same has moved forward. It also means that many many people who may not have considered doing the 1-85 grind are going to roll a new character, just to see what all the fuss is about. This may be one of the reasons Blizzard polled people recently and suggested that new character slots might be added to the server maximum of 10... they KNOW people will want to roll on their existing servers...
So, beyond the physical changes of the world, you'll see a lot of storyline advancement, as the setting on Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms will now be post-Lich King. (Source)
However the biggest OMG moment from yesterday's Blues may not be of interest to some, but it stopped me in my tracks. Rated Battlegrounds in Cataclysm already were a great idea, but now they have EPIC written all over them:
We're currently expecting both normal and rated battlegrounds to be cross-battlegroup (within a region) for the launch of Cataclysm. So, players queueing from anywhere in north america (for example) could play vs players on any north american battlegroup, etc. This applies to all regions, not just north america. (Source)I can play with anyone in Europe. ANYONE. That's just win, that is, and it should mean that ratings are more accurate and that people will have a harder time 'cheating' the system for points. That's just...
Is it time for the Expansion yet? :D