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"Cataclysm" redirects here. For the in-universe event that is the subject of the expansion, see Cataclysm (event).
Were you looking for the warlock talent, see [Cataclysm] or the new war between the Alliance and the Horde, see Cataclysm War? Or perhaps the 0199World of Warcraft package World of Warcraft package that includes this expansion.

All will burn beneath the shadow of my wings...

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (or Cata for short) is the third expansion for World of Warcraft. Set primarily in a dramatically reforged Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms on the world of Azeroth, the expansion set follows the return of the evil Dragon Aspect Deathwing the Destroyer -- formerly known as the ancient guardian Neltharion the Earth Warder -- whose fiery arrival from Deepholm, the elemental plane of earth, causes a massive worldwide catastrophe known as The Shattering.

Cataclysm will return players to the two continents of Azeroth for most of their campaigning, after years away in Outland and Northrend, opening new zones such as Mount Hyjal, the sunken world of Vashj'ir, Deepholm, Uldum and the Twilight Highlands. It will include two new playable races: the worgen from the legendary kingdom of Gilneas for the Alliance, and the goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel from the isle of Kezan for the Horde. Flying mounts will finally be usable in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, while the new secondary profession Archaeology will be introduced. Reforging will make its debut in game, while player classes will be fully updated, including new race-class combinations.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was officially announced on August 21, 2009 at BlizzCon 2009. The "friends & family" phase of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm alpha began on May 3rd, 2010[2], while closed beta began June 30th, 2010.[3]. Patch 4.0.1 on October 12, 2010 updated the game to new system architectures (as well as the new talent trees) for the expansion, Patch 4.0.3, released on November 16, 2010, updated the final pre-expansion core files ("The Shattering" itself, with the classic world changes). The game's official cinematic debuted October 17, 2010.

Both standard and Collectors' Edition content and pricing were announced on August 17, 2010[4]. On October 4, 2010, Blizzard Entertainment officially announced the release date for the expansion: December 7, 2010, including for the first time a digital download edition at release.[1]


From the official site:

An ancient evil lies dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane.
Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire.
Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

Major expansion changes and updates

  • Player level cap increased to 85.
  • Seven new high-level zones: Mount Hyjal and Uldum in Kalimdor; Vashj'ir and the Twilight Highlands in the Eastern Kingdoms; Deepholm in the elemental plane of earth; the PvP zone and daily quest hub Tol Barad; and, added in patch 4.2, the daily quest hub zone Molten Front.
  • Two new player races, the Worgen of Gilneas for the Alliance and the Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel for the Horde. New leveling zones added for these two races include Gilneas, the Isle of Kezan, and the Lost Isles.
  • A dramatic alteration of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms due to the Cataclysm, resulting in massive environmental changes, as well as questing and progression changes, for nearly every zone, resulting in new leveling experiences. This includes new starter areas for the gnomes and Darkspear trolls, faction changes for some zones (such as Hillsbrad Foothills) and, with the environmental redesign, the ability for players to fly on both continents. (The blood elf and draenei content will still be instanced and limited to ground mounts only.)
  • Seven new high-level dungeons and four new raid instances, all available in regular and heroic modes (with raids in both 10- and 25-player varieties), as well as four heroic 5-man revamps of classic dungeons and former raids (Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman). This will also include Blizzard's new Flexible Raid Lock system, a change to raid functionality which includes the ability to move between 10- and 25-player raid groups, combine or split groups, and vary regular & heroic attempts.
  • New PvP opportunities including the Tol Barad zone and a PvP-instanced dungeon, Baradin Hold, as well as two new battlegrounds Battle for Gilneas and Twin Peaks.
  • Class redesign (coming immediately prior to expansion launch in Patch 4.0.1 but optimized for the expansion) including new talents and spells, simplification of talent trees, and reorganization of class buffs.
  • Revamp of character and gear stats, including elimination of some stats and major changes to base stat operability (such as intellect creating spell power, strength and agility affecting attack power, etc.) This includes the addition of Reforging to the game, giving players the ability to add certain stats on gear in return for removal of others.
  • New race/class combinations (see the chart below) which will be available to all players in Patch 4.0.3.[5].
  • New Archaeology profession.
  • Level cap raised on all main and secondary professions to 525, with many new items, patterns and rewards.
  • A new Guild advancement system, which includes guild leveling, achievements and rewards.
  • Consolidation of previous expansion set currency systems; rewards will include two PvE currencies, Justice and Valor points, as well as two PvP currencies, Honor and Conquest points.
  • New technology enhancements including support for DirectX 11 features and hardware cursor in OpenGL mode, additional video options and a new water rendering engine.[6][7][8]

New zones

Map of the reshaped Azeroth.

Map of the new zones in Cataclysm. Not to scale

Unlike in the previous two expansions, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, there is no new continent/world for additional content; instead, Cataclysm returns players primarily to Azeroth itself, with seven new high-level (80-85) zones. Each of the five leveling zones features its own unique breadcrumb (introductory) quest and cutscene; afterwards, each is accessible quickly through portals in Stormwind City and Orgrimmar. Tol Barad is also available at level 85 via these portals; Molten Front is only accessible via Mount Hyjal.

New level 80-85 zones

  • Neutral Mount Hyjal: Level 80-82 zone in northern Kalimdor. Originally planned for the first release of the game, then later utilized as a Caverns of Time raid instance, Mount Hyjal focuses on the druids' defense of the world tree from the Twilight's Hammer and Ragnaros's forces.
  • Neutral Vashj'ir: Level 80-82 underwater zone off the western coast of the Eastern Kingdoms. This zone is further split into three major subzones: the Kelp'thar Forest, the Shimmering Expanse, and the Abyssal Depths. Shipwrecked by tendrils of an Old God, adventurers must fight for survival against the naga forces out to enslave Neptulon.
  • Neutral Deepholm: Level 82-83 zone within the elemental plane of earth. Access to Deepholm has been opened by Deathwing's return to the world through the Maelstrom. The Earthen Ring scramble to recover the World Pillar fragments stolen by the Twilight's Hammer, initially opposed but later assisted by Therazane's forces.
  • Neutral Uldum: Level 83-84 zone in southern Kalimdor. A Titan refuge hidden by ancient technology for millenia, this vast desert, filled with archaeological treasures, is now fought over by the invading elemental forces of Al'Akir and Uldum's native residents, the Ramkahen.
  • Neutral The Twilight Highlands: Level 84-85 zone in Khaz Modan of the Eastern Kingdoms, disputed by Alliance and Horde settlers (the Wildhammer clan and Dragonmaw clan, respectively) and disrupted by Twilight's Hammer operatives.
  • Neutral Tol Barad: Level 85 end-game zone off the coast of Lordaeron in the Eastern Kingdoms. It separated into two subzones: an Outdoor PvP zone in the style of Wintergrasp, and the Tol Barad Peninsula, a daily quest hub akin to the Isle of Quel'Danas. The two zones are instanced, and thus accessed via portals or the battleground queuing system and not via the open world.
  • Neutral Molten Front: Level 85 end-game zone. Added in patch 4.2, the Molten Front is located within the Firelands, accessible through a portal next to the Sanctuary of Malorne, via unlocking through daily quests that start in the Mount Hyjal zone (players must complete zone quests up to a point). The zone features daily quests with two faction-type paths, the Druids of the Flame and the Shadow Wardens, and "mini-bosses".

Also included as a new zone, albeit unpopulated, is Neutral Ahn'Qiraj: The Fallen Kingdom, the site of the above-ground level 60 raid dungeons Temple of Ahn'Qiraj and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj. There has been no word as yet if this will continue questlines from Silithus, or simply marks flyover territory for flying mounts venturing into the area. In addition, the Maelstrom appears as a region on player maps; Deepholm, Kezan and the Lost Isles appear as individual zones on the Maelstrom region map.

New starting zones

  • Alliance Gilneas: Level 1-12 starting zone for the worgen. Players start in the Gilneas City subzone (1-5), eventually making their way to the larger zone (5-12) to complete the leveling process; they are then redirected to Darkshore to continue. Unlike the Horde counterpart starter zones, Gilneas is available (in the form of the "Ruins of Gilneas") as a general, albeit unpopulated, world zone used only for a couple of phased Undead quests from Silverpine Forest.
  • Horde The Isle of Kezan: Level 1-5 starting zone for the Bilgewater Cartel goblins, a seedy, freewheeling port town in the shadow of Mount Kajaro. Kezan is available to Goblins from the start; players are unable to return as the isle is instanced.
  • Horde The Lost Isles: Level 5-12 zone for the goblins, a lush tropical island enclave off the eastern coast of Kalimdor. The goblin storyline continues here directly from completing the Kezan starter area, and progresses to Azshara. Like Kezan, the Lost Isles are instanced and players will be unable to return following their departure.

In addition, many changes were made to starting areas for other races. Most notably, the gnomes now begin in an instanced part of the Gnomeregan dungeon rather than share their starting experience with the Ironforge dwarves, before heading out into Dun Morogh as before.

Dungeons and raids

Original instance announcement for Cataclysm at Blizzcon 2009.

Blizzard developers announced at BlizzCon 2009 that they intended for Cataclysm to ship with the most end-game content yet seen in an expansion. While there are technically fewer dungeons and raid instances than in the previous two expansions, it is expected that each will be sufficiently challenging.


There are currently seven new dungeons expected to be included at Cataclysm release, with both regular difficulty versions (levels noted below) and heroic difficulty content to be encountered at level 85:

Four additional dungeons from classic World of Warcraft, both low-level instances or former raids, have had level 85 heroic 5-man versions added with new content:


Cataclysm will ship with three end-game raid dungeons and a PvP-unlocked raid dungeon (in the same style as the Vault of Archavon), each with both 10 and 25-man settings. Once the final boss of each has been defeated, players can set each boss to heroic mode (as in Icecrown Citadel).

Additional changes

  • Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj has been be re-tuned as a 10-player raid instance instead of the 20-player format it had prior to Cataclysm.
  • Nearly all dungeons feature changes to some bosses and mobs to follow the WotLK progression and the new level band the dungeons can be found in. Quests for the dungeons are now found inside the instances themselves to lend access to Dungeon Finder players.
  • Stratholme has been split into two separate dungeons, Stratholme - Main Gate and Stratholme - Service Gate, akin to the "wings" (living and dead) referred to in earlier iterations.[9]. Some bosses and mobs have changed to follow the WotLK progression.

Future dungeons and raids

  • There will not be anymore raids or dungeons being released as a part of Cataclysm. This was confirmed via an interview with Dave Kosak that 4.3.2 will be the last patch of Cataclysm. How World of Warcraft will take on 2012

Factions and organizations

New end-game factions

Numerous new factions are introduced in the expansion, and like in previous expansions feature quartermasters selling gear and other faction perks. New factions for end-game and leveling content include the following:

New racial factions

  • Alliance Gilneas is the worgen racial faction. The people of Gilneas are a nation of survivors; having walled themselves off from the rest of humanity, they must now face new threats from within.
  • Horde The Bilgewater Cartel is the goblin racial faction. Run by the ruthless Trade Prince Gallywix, the Bilgewater Cartel is the most powerful trading company on the Isle of Kezan. From their headquarters at Bilgewater Port, the cartel dominates trade all over the South Seas.


Several new options for player-versus-player game play are available with Cataclysm, including:

  • Tol Barad, an island fortress that blends outdoor PvP play (like Wintergrasp) with the expansion's main daily quest hub (like the Isle of Quel'Danas). The zone is split in two: the PvP area and the Tol Barad Peninsula. The Peninsula will always have six daily quests available to players (from their respective factions); winning control of the PvP portion of Tol Barad will grant six additional daily quests, three outdoors and three inside Baradin Hold (a raid instance that unlocks with each win like Vault of Archavon.)
  • The Battle for Gilneas is a new battleground in which players take control of the northwest sector of Gilneas (instanced), very much like Arathi Basin. This battleground was originally planned as "The Battle for Gilneas City" and would have taken place inside the city map itself, but this was later deemed unfeasible.
  • Twin Peaks is a CTF battleground located in Twilight Highlands, similar to Warsong Gulch.

Both of the new battlegrounds released with Cataclysm will be rated, like arenas, and will provide the same rewards as arenas. New arenas are planned to be added with the expansion, but not directly at the release.

Prominent figures

Among the many figures confirmed to have major roles in the story of Cataclysm are:

The Naga ruler and former leader of the Night Elves, Queen Azshara, makes a small but important appearance during the leveling process in the Darkshore region. However, she is not expected to be an end-game boss during this expansion; it is surmised she will play a much larger role in the next expansion pack.

Detailed expansion alterations/updates

Stat changes

  • Attack power is being removed from gear. Death knights, paladins and warriors will still gain 2 attack power per point of strength, and all druids, hunters, shamans and rogues will get 2 attack power per point of agility and no attack power from strength, with the exception of druids in bear form / dire bear form, who may get attack power from strength in order to allow them to share tanking cloaks, necklaces and rings with death knights, paladins and warriors.[11]
  • Spell power is being removed from gear, with the exception of caster weapons. Characters will gain spell power from intellect much like how they currently gain attack power from agility and strength.
  • MP5 and spirit: MP5 is being removed, all healing specs will rely on spirit for mana regeneration, with the rate affected by the Meditation passive talent tree bonus. The 5 second rule may be removed, with "in combat" and "out of combat" mana regeneration based on whether characters are in or out of combat. Spell DPS classes will no longer rely on spirit for mana regeneration, and spirit will no longer be on cloth spell DPS gear. Balance druids and elemental shamans will get talents to gain hit rating from spirit to allow them to share gear with healers and leather and mail caster gear will no longer have hit rating.[12] Shadow Priests will also have hit conversion on one of their talents in order to make it easier for them to gear up through more options.[13]
  • Armor penetration is being removed from gear[14]. However, some physical damage specs may still be able to gain armor penetration through talents and / or mastery bonuses.
  • Haste for melee and physical ranged DPS classes will affect the rate at which energy, rage, focus and runes are gained. Enhancement shamans and retribution paladins will gain talents which allow them to gain similar benefits from haste. It will continue to provide weapon speed increases for these classes[15]. Haste for casters is unchanged.
  • Block value is being removed from the game, blocking will provide 30% damage reduction, which can be increased through talent trees and mastery bonuses.
  • Defense is being removed from the game, including both defense rating and the defense skill. All tanking specs will get anti-critical hit talents similar to Survival of the Fittest.[16]
  • Weapon skills are being removed. A character has the proficiencies for all the weapons his/her class can use from the start, and doesn't need to improve them.
  • Resilience affects only damage and crit damage done by players.
  • Mastery rating is being added. The mastery bonuses will be trainable passive bonuses somewhere around level 75. Depending on the primary talent tree, characters will have a different Mastery available on the trainer with a base potency and 0 Mastery Rating.[17]


  • Profession level cap raised to 525 and will be named Illustrious Grand Master <Profession>.
  • Reforging will allow, through specific NPCs, to convert a percentage of one item's secondary stat into another secondary stat (e.g. Hit -> Crit).
  • New secondary profession: Archaeology.
  • Inscription will have three glyph tiers: Prime, Major and Minor glyphs (with primes being the old majors, and the new majors being a brand new tier of glyphs).[17]
  • Tailoring, Leatherworking and Blacksmithing will have their specializations removed and related recipes will be baseline.
  • Tons of new materials required for professions:
    • Herbs - Cinderbloom, Stormvine, Heartblossom, Whiptail, Azshara's Veil and Twilight Jasmine.
    • Jewels - Uncommon: Alicite (yellow), Nightstone (purple), Zephyrite (blue), Carnelian (red), Hessonite (orange), Jasper (green); Epic: Amberjewel (yellow), Demonseye (purple), Ocean Sapphire (blue), Inferno Ruby (red), Ember Topaz (orange), Dream Emerald (green), Shadowspirit Diamond (meta)
    • Metals - Obsidium (and Cut or Folded Obsidium), Elementium (and Hardened Elementium), Pyrium, Truegold (a.k.a. Krovalian Gold), Ebonsteel
    • Cloth - Embersilk cloth (drop), Dreamcloth (crafted)
    • Skins - Savage Leather (and Heavy Savage Leather), Blackened Dragon Scale, Scarred Shell Fragment, Pristine Hide
    • Inks - Blackfallow Ink (from Ashen Pigment, common), Inferno Ink (from Burning Embers, uncommon)
    • Enchanting Items - Hypnotic Dust, Greater/Lesser Celestial Essence, Heavenly Shard (rare crystal), Maelstrom Crystal (epic crystal)
    • Other Materials - Volatile Life/Earth/Air/Fire/Water/Shadow (elemental motes), Deepstone Oil (created from Albino Cavefish, like Pygmy Oil), Chaos Sphere (first tier orb)


  • Extensive revisions to the talent system: talent trees are cut down to 31-point talents (7 tiers each tree). Players will gain a talent point about every two levels up to 80, instead of every level, and then 1 every level after 80 for a total of 41 talent points at level 85 (vs. 71 points at level 80 in WotLK).[18]
  • Selecting a primary talent tree is unlocked at level 10 and a tree must be chosen before talent points can be spent in it. This will provide passive bonuses and a unique active ability. Players will be unable to spend talent points in a secondary tree until they have invested 31 points in your primary tree (at roughly level 70).[18]
  • Many passive talents with generic bonuses, such as increased critical strike chance, damage reduction or increased healing, and specifically those that provide bonuses to buffs and perhaps debuffs, are being removed.[18]

PvE and PvP

  • 25-player raid leaders will have the possibility to split down the raid into a maximum of three 10-player raids. This is to allow players to continue a raid even if someone has left the group. 10-player raids cannot, however, be converted into a 25-player raid.
  • 10- and 25-player raids will share the same ID in Cataclysm. However, players will still be able to join any raid as long as they don't kill the same boss twice in the same lockout. This means players will be able to continue a raid with a different group at the condition the new group is the same point or beyond the invited player.
  • While 10- and 25-player raids in Cataclysm will give the same loot, the 25-player mode will give more loot per character.
  • There will only be four different "badges" in Cataclysm, now all called Points: two PvE (Justice and Valor Points) and two PvP (Honor and Conquest Points).
    • Justice points and Honor points will only have a cap on the total number of points that can be accumulated.
    • PvE Valor Points and PvP Conquest Points will have a cap on the total number of points, as well as a cap on the maximum amount of points earned in a week.
  • Cataclysm will include a new "auto-quest" mechanic, allowing players to pick up the next quest in a chain without having to go back to the original quest giver, or start on quests simply by entering an area or killing specified units.

Race and class changes

All of these combinations, excluding the goblin and worgen options, will be available to all players regardless of expansion level in Patch 4.0.3.[5] Goblins and worgen are limited to Cataclysm purchasers.

Cataclysm class chart [19]
Death Knight Druid Hunter Mage Paladin Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
Alliance DraeneiDraenei Draenei Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alliance DwarfDwarf Dwarf Yes Yes New Yes Yes Yes New New[20] Yes
Alliance GnomeGnome Gnome Yes Yes New Yes Yes Yes
Alliance HumanHuman Human Yes New Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alliance Night elfNight elf Night elf Yes Yes Yes New Yes Yes Yes
Alliance WorgenWorgen Worgen New New New New New New New New
Horde Blood elfBlood elf Blood elf Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New
Horde GoblinGoblin Goblin New New New New New New New New
Horde OrcOrc Orc Yes Yes New Yes Yes Yes Yes
Horde TaurenTauren Tauren Yes Yes Yes New New Yes Yes
Horde TrollTroll Troll Yes New Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes New[20] Yes
Horde UndeadUndead Undead Yes New Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Zones affected by the Cataclysm

See also: Cataclysm map comparison

These changes are not phased. The world-changing patch will happen in Patch 4.0.3, not Patch 4.0.1 as believed earlier. They will be seen by everyone, from level 1 to 85, whether or not they buy the expansion.[21]

MVP Frejya has an excellent series of posts detailing the zone changes.[22]


The new level flow for Southern Kalimdor

  • Ashenvale: A huge volcano erupts at the center of the zone. Heavier deforestation around the Warsong Lumber Camp causes the orcs to encroach on Silverwind Refuge. Zoram'gar Outpost is reinforced with black iron, similar to the Horde outposts in Northrend. Astranaar becomes the victim of air assaults launched by the Horde. New flight paths: Blackfathom Camp, Stardust Spire (Alliance); Hellscream's Watch, Silverwind Refuge (Horde).
  • Azshara: The zone has been claimed by the goblins, reshaping it in the shape of the Horde crest. A new pass has been cut in the mountains between Azshara and Orgrimmar. Bilgewater Harbor has been built in between the two peninsulas. The rocketway stretches the length of the zone allowing for faster access from one side to the other. Trade Prince Gallywix has built a new pleasure palace in the west. Valor'mok and Talrendis Point have been obliterated. New flight paths: Bilgewater Harbor, Bitter Reaches, Southern Rocketway Terminus (Horde).
  • Azuremyst Isle: The draenei have built a new flight path at Azure Watch (Alliance).
  • The Barrens: The Barrens has been split in two by great fissures in the land, spouting fiery rivers of lava.
    • The Northern Barrens is a level 10-20 zone, largely unchanged geographically from its prior incarnation. New flight paths: The Mor'Shan Ramparts, Nozzlepot's Outpost (Horde).
    • The Southern Barrens intended for higher level players; portions have grown lush thanks to the work of the druid Naralex. The passage into Mulgore has been closed by the tauren with high walls and a gate as a response to the Alliance moving into the Southern Barrens, constructing several towers and burning down Camp Taurajo, which is now completely destroyed.[23] New flight paths: Honor's Stand, Northwatch Hold, Fort Triumph (Alliance); Hunter's Hill, Desolation Hold (Horde).
  • Darkshore: Auberdine is destroyed, and the very land torn asunder. The Alliance relocates to a new town in the northern end of the zone called Lor'danel. Shatterspear Village, previously a closed zone, is now accessible. New flight paths: Lor'danel, Grove of the Ancients (Alliance).
  • Darnassus: The city hosts a new worgen area called the Howling Oak. There is a new flight path in-city that connects to Dolanaar and Rut'theran Village far below, though the transporter still functions.
  • Desolace: Once a barren wasteland, the Cataclysm has caused a rift to form, allowing water to flood in from the coast and bring life back to the region. However, the region is now being invaded by demons, including shivarra. New flight paths: Thargad's Camp (Alliance); Furien's Post (Horde); Thunk's Abode, Karnum's Glade, Ethel Rethor (neutral).
  • Durotar: The Darkspear trolls have retaken the Echo Isles as a new starting area. Much of the western portion of the zone has been flooded. The gateway to Orgrimmar has been heavily reinforced. A ship dock near Skull Rock welcomes goblins from the Lost Isles. New flight paths: Razor Hill, Sen'jin Village (Horde).
  • Dustwallow Marsh: The Alliance has built a highway through the swamp, connecting Theramore Isle directly with the western entrance to the zone.
  • The Exodar: The city now includes a direct flight path connection with Rut'theran Village at Teldrassil, and the flight master has moved inside next to the bank.
  • Feralas: Feathermoon Stronghold has been razed by naga. The Isle of Dread has been flooded and sunk by tidal waves caused by the Cataclysm. New flight paths: Whisperwind Grove (Alliance); Irontree Clearing (Horde); Ruins of Constellas (neutral).
  • Mulgore: The starter area for the tauren has been heavily assaulted resulting in a charred vale; the entrance has been blocked, leading the Tauren to construct a direct route to Bloodhoof Village. The gates into the zone have been blocked by Horde militia (access is available via Thunder Bluff). New flight path: Bloodhoof Village (Horde).
  • Orgrimmar: After Garrosh Hellscream takes over control of the Horde, Orgrimmar becomes a heavily-armored fortress city. New areas include a central platform for flight masters, a "Goblin Slums" district and a rear gate into Azshara. The Valley of Honor has also become the second trade district, with its own bank, auction house and inn.
  • Silithus: While much of this zone remains the same as it always has, there is a new portal in Cenarion Hold to the Blasted Lands, for players to continue their leveling journey.
  • Stonetalon Mountains: Eruptions decimate the landscape, spreading the flames of the Charred Vale even further. The goblins have cut through the mountains, forming a valley that leads into Ashenvale. The western coastline is now accessible. Stonetalon Peak has been destroyed by faceless ones and tendrils of an Old God. The battle between Horde and Alliance has become a major part of this zone. New flight paths: Thal'darah Overlook, Mirkfallon Post, Windshear Hold, Farwatcher's Glen, Northwatch Expedition Base Camp (Alliance); Cliffwalker Post, Krom'Gar Fortress, Malaka'jin, The Sludgewerks (Horde).
  • Tanaris: The eastern part of the desert has been flooded, with Gadgetzan becoming beachfront property; Steamwheedle Port is destroyed and populated with homeless goblins. The pass to Uldum has opened up in Thistleshrub Valley. New flight paths: Gunstan's Dig (Alliance); Dawnrise Expedition (Horde); Bootlegger Outpost (neutral).
  • Teldrassil: Rut'theran Village has been knocked off the base of Teldrassil and is now its own island just offshore. The docks have been reconstructed at Rut'theran after the obliteration of Auberdine in Darkshore.
  • Thousand Needles: The entire canyon floor has been flooded, resulting in the Shimmering Flats becoming a lake, destroying the Mirage Raceway. The eastern canyon wall has collapsed, opening up the coastline. Twilight Hammer agents and several pirate factions have taken up refuge on the cliffsides. Freewind Post has been captured by the Grimtotem tribe. Razorfen Downs has been moved to the Thousand Needles map from the Barrens map (no new dungeons in this zone despite early rumors). New flight path: Fizzle Pozzik's Speed Barge (neutral).
  • Un'Goro Crater: Williden Marshal has relocated to Marshal's Stand just southeast of Fire Plume Ridge, as Marshal's Refuge has been overrun by stone watchers. A second Titan overlook has been revealed in the eastern cliffside. New flight paths: Marshal's Stand, Mossy Pile (neutral).
  • Winterspring: Darkwhisper Gorge is now part of Mount Hyjal and has been claimed by the Twilight's Hammer.

Eastern Kingdoms

The new level flow for Lordaeron

  • Arathi Highlands: An increased Horde presence has entered the zone due to the takeover of Hillsbrad. New flight path: Galen's Fall (Horde).
  • Badlands: Cut off from Loch Modan, the Steamwheedle Cartel have set up the port town of Fuselight-by-the-Sea (which provides entrance via boat for questers from the Eastern Plaguelands) and the hilltop community of Fuselight in the eastern portion of the zone. The Scar of the Worldbreaker has obliterated the central portion of the zone: mountains have been sheared off and a huge chasm has been "dug" out. Kargath has been destroyed by the Cataclysm, New Kargath has been built just to the southwest, across from an Alliance toehold near the scar. New flight paths: Dustwind Dig, Dragon's Mouth (Alliance); New Kargath, Bloodwatcher Point (Horde); Fuselight (neutral).
  • Blasted Lands: The cataclysm has opened the southern mountains, creating access to the coastline, and reforged the Tainted Scar into a forest. The orcs, worgen and blood elves have all made significant inroads into the area. New flight paths: Surwich (Alliance); Sunveil Excursion, Dreadmaul Hold (Horde).
  • Burning Steppes: New neutral quest hubs both immediately south of Blackrock Mountain and in the center of the zone lead players on a quest to eradicate the Blackrock Army. A pass directly to the Swamp of Sorrows has opened up just east of Morgan's Vigil. New flight path: Chiselgrip (neutral).
  • Dun Morogh: The Gnomeregan Exiles have retaken the surface levels of Gnomeregan to open up the new gnomish starting experience as New Tinkertown. The Ironforge Airfield is finally accessible as a questing hub via transit from the Gol'Bolar Quarry. New flight paths: Kharanos, Gol'Bolar Quarry (Alliance).
  • Duskwood: The Worgen have settled the abandoned homes of Raven Hill. New flight path: Raven Hill (Alliance).
  • Eastern Plaguelands: The five guard towers have each been given flight paths. An invisible wall exists on the northern reaches of the zone (still forcing traffic to Ghostlands through the instance portal). In beta, Acherus is still accessible via flying mount to all classes but the flight path is non functional except for death knights. New flight paths: Crown Guard Tower, Corin's Crossing Tower, Eastwall Tower, Northpass Tower, Plaguewood Tower (neutral).
  • Elwynn Forest: Northshire Valley has been invaded by orcs. One of the quarries has been closed. New flight paths: Goldshire, Eastvale Logging Camp (Alliance).
  • Eversong Woods: New flight path at Fairbreeze Village (Horde).
  • Hillsbrad Foothills: The zone has been completely retooled, subsuming the Alterac Mountains (which is no longer its own zone). A massive Horde invasion has turned the entire zone into a Horde-only leveling area; Southshore has been destroyed by the Forsaken Blight, and Hillsbrad Fields have been corrupted and have become the Sludge Fields. New flight paths: Southpoint Gate, Ruins of Southshore, Eastpoint Tower, Strahnbrad (Horde).
  • The Hinterlands: Both the Horde and the Alliance have made new inroads into the interior of the zone. New flight paths: Stormfeather Outpost (Alliance); Hiri'watha Research Station (Horde).
  • Loch Modan: The Stonewrought Dam has been destroyed; most of the water in the Loch has escaped and flooded the Wetlands below. The Twilight Citadel looms high in the Twilight Highlands just to the east. The path to the Badlands has been closed as a giant chasm now separates the zones. New flight path: Farstrider's Lodge (Alliance).
  • Redridge Mountains: The Lakeshire bridge has been completed, finally. The new quest chain involves saving the freshly-built bridge from the invading Blackrock orcs with the help of the Bravo Company, led by John J. Keeshan. A mountain pass high above the eastern edge allows transit from Burning Steppes to the Swamp of Sorrows, bypassing Redridge altogether. New flight paths: Camp Everstill, Shalewind Canyon, Keeshan's Post (Alliance).
  • Searing Gorge: A new quest hub has opened up just north of Blackrock Mountain. New flight path: Iron Summit (neutral).
  • Silverpine Forest: The Greymane Wall has been destroyed by the Cataclysm, opening up the passage to Gilneas. The Sepulcher has been heavily fortified. The Forsaken build-up is intense as they prepare to invade Gilneas on Garrosh's (and Sylvanas's) orders. Some of the questing in this zone continues into the Ruins of Gilneas zone (the unphased Gilneas region in Azeroth). New flight paths: Forsaken High Command, Forsaken Front (Horde, both phased); Forsaken Forward Command (right inside Ruins of Gilneas on the far side of the Greymane Wall, also Horde).
  • Stormwind City: After Deathwing's return the city has been dramatically changed; the Park has been obliterated, and a new lake area and city cemetery have been opened. The castles and terrain have been remodeled to accommodate flying mounts. The Dwarven District now hosts a second bank, auction house and inn for the city. The Keep has been heavily remodeled.
  • Stranglethorn Vale: The vast zone has been split into two separate zones in the expansion set, Northern Stranglethorn (including Zul'Gurub) and the Cape of Stranglethorn, split at the location of the Sundering. While there is one large map for the two zones (like in Vashj'ir) they are considered two individual zones:
    • Northern Stranglethorn: Also referred to on the larger map as Stranglethorn Jungle. Zul'Gurub is no longer a raid zone in the expansion; instead, it has become a questing area. Hemet Nesingwary Jr.'s campsite has been dramatically altered. New flight paths: Fort Livingston (Alliance); Bambala (Horde).
    • Cape of Stranglethorn: Booty Bay has been ransacked. Huge goblin oil constructions line the southern coast, and the Bloodsail Buccaneers have established a larger presence in the region. New flight paths: Explorer's League Digsite (Alliance); Hardwrench's Hideaway (Horde).
  • Swamp of Sorrows: The Steamwheedle Cartel has set up Bogpaddle in the northeast corner of the zone. The Alliance has also established Marshtide Watch, a new fortress just north of the Pool of Tears, which has opened up to the great sea. New flight paths: The Harborage, Marshtide Watch (Alliance); Bogpaddle (neutral).
  • Tirisfal Glades: Brill has been heavily fortified with new Forsaken architecture. The Ruins of Lordaeron have been heavily remodeled to accommodate flying mounts, including fleshing out the (abandoned) city, though the Undercity below remains unchanged. New flight path: Brill (Horde).
  • Western Plaguelands: After the Lich King's downfall, the Scourge are easily subjugated, resulting in the beginnings of recovery in Felstone Field, Dalson's Tears, the Writhing Haunt and Gahrron's Withering. Andorhal is undergoing a three-way fight for control between the Alliance, Horde and what's left of the Scourge. Hearthglen has now become a home for the Argent Crusade led by Tirion Fordring, who has finally left his shack on the Thondroril River in Eastern Plaguelands. New flight paths: Western Andorhal (Alliance); Eastern Andorhal (Horde); the Mender's Stead, Hearthglen (neutral). The Thondroril River flight path has moved across the bridge to Eastern Plaguelands.
  • Westfall: The Gaping Chasm has formed as a result of the Cataclysm. Sentinel Hill has been fortified in an attempt to handle the large quantities of homeless affected because of the war in Northrend and the fall of the Defias Brotherhood. New flight paths: Moonbrook, Furlbrow's Pumpkin Farm (Alliance).
  • Wetlands: Heavily affected by Deathwing's destructive exit from Deepholm. Menethil Harbor is underwater, as is the Mosshide Fen as a result of the destruction of the Stonewrought Dam in Loch Modan. The path to Grim Batol is now part of the Twilight Highlands, with a breach leading east to the Highlands proper. New flight paths: Dun Modr, Whelgar's Retreat, Greenwarden's Grove, Slabchisel's Survey (Alliance).


Level ranges

Eastern Kingdoms
Zone Old New
Alterac Mountains 30-40 Merged
Arathi Highlands 30-40 25-30
Badlands 35-45 45-48
Blasted Lands 45-55 54-60
Burning Steppes 50-60 50-52
Deadwind Pass 55-60 TBD
Dun Morogh 1-10 1-10
Duskwood 20-30 20-25
Eastern Plaguelands 55-60 45-50
Elwynn Forest 1-10 1-10
Gilneas World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 1-12
Hillsbrad Foothills 20-30 20-25
The Hinterlands 40-50 30-35
Loch Modan 10-20 10-20
Redridge Mountains 15-25 15-20
Searing Gorge 40-50 48-50
Silverpine Forest 10-20 10-20
Stranglethorn Vale
Northern Stranglethorn
Cape of Stranglethorn
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Swamp of Sorrows 35-45 52-54
Tirisfal Glades 1-10 1-10
Twilight Highlands World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 84-85
Western Plaguelands 50-55 40-45
Westfall 10-20 10-15
Wetlands 20-30 25-30
Zone Old New
Ahn'Qiraj: The Fallen Kingdom World of Warcraft: Cataclysm ??
Ashenvale 20-30 20-25
Azshara 45-55 10-20
Northern Barrens
Southern Barrens
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Darkshore 10-20 10-20
Desolace 30-40 30-35
Durotar 1-10 1-10
Dustwallow Marsh 35-45 35-40
Felwood 48-55 45-50
Feralas 40-50 35-40
Moonglade 1-70 1-70
Mount Hyjal World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 80-82
Mulgore 1-10 1-10
Silithus 55-60 55-60
Stonetalon Mountains 15-30 25-30
Tanaris 40-50 45-50
Teldrassil 1-10 1-10
Thousand Needles 25-35 40-45
Uldum World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 83-84
Un'goro Crater 48-55 50-55
Winterspring 55-60 50-55
Great Sea
Zone Old New
Kezan World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 1-5
Lost Isles World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 5-12
Tol Barad World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 84-85
Zone Old New
Abyssal Depths World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 80-82
Kelp'thar Forest World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 80-82
Shimmering Expanse World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 80-82
Elemental Plane
Zone Old New
Deepholm World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 82-83


Volcanoth, a monstrous volcano-turtle.



The new Cataclysm-themed launcher

The launcher has been updated to stream installation and patch data from the servers instead of being required to download it all before playing. The new launcher is broken up into three stages of download progress:

  • SETUP (RED): Core game, or 5% of content, is being prepared. You cannot enter the game at this time.
  • AVAILABLE (YELLOW): Base game, or 70% of content, is not completely applied. You can play, but your game experience will not be ideal. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.
  • PLAYABLE (GREEN): Extended, or 25% of content, is almost complete. You may begin playing at this stage with few game issues. You should ideally have 1 MB/sec or better when choosing to play.

The updater and downloader have been integrated closely into the Launcher, resulting in less application switching when patching and installing.[26]

Main interface

A new overlay appears whenever you gain a level.

New guild invite interface.

  • Practically everything about the interface has changed.
  • The spellbook is now more intuitive and tells you what spells you've missed to train.
  • The paperdoll interface has changed.
  • When a player gains a level you can more clearly see what level was gained as well as what new abilities are available to train.
  • Guild invites has a new look, showing the level of the guild.

Class-specific UI elements

Info compilations


Concept art


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cinematic
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Ending [SPOILER]
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm TV Spot
World of Warcraft Cataclysm Official trailer
Before/After World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm zone changes
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm zone changes
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm zone overlooks

Canceled or postponed features

  • Revamped character progression via the Paths of the Titans, and Ancient glyphs was planned and announced, but later cancelled.[27]
  • Guild talents and guild currency have been removed. Instead, guild advancement bonuses are automatically unlocked based on guild level.[27]
  • One dungeon (the second Abyssal Maw dungeon) and one raid instance (the Firelands) originally announced at Blizzcon 2009 will not be happening on release, though they will likely appear later.[citation needed]
    • Another Abbyssal Maw dungeon or raid was never added.
    • The Firelands was added in Patch 4.2.
  • The large "neutral port" on Blizzcon 2009 maps,[citation needed] set between the Eastern Plaguelands and Hinterlands and expected to be a sanctuary town, did not materialize. Instead, a smaller goblin port appeared in the Badlands.


While the initial reception of this expansion was good and in line with previous expansions, there were quite a few criticisms that cropped up over the life of the expansion.

  • Leveling was "too fast" from 1-85, since many players would level out of zones long before even half the content was completed.[28]
  • Archaeology was possibly the least compelling profession and by far the most of a grind with very little payoff.[28]
  • Level 85 Heroic mode dungeons were considered too hard initially and frustrated many players.[29][30] Alot of this was based on the contrast of players getting used to World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Wrath of the Lich King Heroics which were considered "too easy".
  • Revamped Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub as level 85 Heroics seemed to be underdeveloped lore-wise and in-congruent with the rest of the Cataclysm storyline.[29][30] They basically seemed to be inserted for the "gear grind" to get appropriate item level gear for other dungeons and raids.
  • Molten Front (Firelands) daily quests were interesting, but still quickly became another grind.[30]
  • Even Blizzard Entertainment Zarhym admitted that the quest development for the Alliance was subpar or incomplete.[31]
    • Much of this was largely based on the inability for worgen players to do anything or see further lore development in Gilneas past around level 12 along with the added insult that Horde players could see the culmination of the worgen storyline in Silverpine Forest via their quests.
    • Although Tol Barad was added to the game for dailies and as a PvP zone, there was almost no lore development for why it was there (an Alliance prison island created by the nation of Kul Tiras). The nation that supposedly built up the island and claimed it as a stronghold was nearly ret-conned out of existence except for a few NPCs and items carrying the name.
  • The worst expansion in terms of retaining subscribers.[32]
  • Some considered Cataclysm the worst expansion to date.[33][34]


Thousands of players have received e-mails inviting them to join an "alpha test". These are scammers who are looking to capitalize on unsuspecting victims.[35]

A few points to remember if you receive an invitation to help test any Blizzard product:

  • Blizzard does not invite the general player base to alpha tests. It has an army of game developers and testers for that. As with the previous two expansions, beta testing will be announced by Blizzard on the official World of Warcraft website. Beware of clicking official-looking links to that site in e-mails, as scammers often build official-looking copycat sites - instead bookmark the official site or use the link on the game login screen.
  • It cannot be stressed enough to players that Blizzard will never ask you for your credit card, password, user name, e-mail address or any other information it already has. This will not happen ingame, nor in e-mail. If you are asked for this info, you are being scammed.
  • Whenever a beta test, along with accompanying player access, begins, scammers may begin sending emails advertising beta access. Beta access will always be made available through your account, and you will be notified through the email address used to create that account. To be sure an email offering beta access is legitimate, do not follow links in the email; instead, go directly to the account management website (where if the email notification was legitimate, you will be able to download the beta client). There is a thread in the official forums by MVP Frejya about what to expect from Blizzard.


  • With the inclusion of this expansion in the new World of Warcraft package, the old World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm CD key will not work like the new package key or an updated Battle Chest key through World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm.[36]


  1. ^ a b WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ IN STORES STARTING DECEMBER 7. Blizzard Entertainment (2010-10-04). Retrieved on 2010-10-04.
  2. ^ Cataclysm Alpha has begun!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
  3. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Begins Closed Beta Test for World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™. Activision Blizzard. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  5. ^ a b Zarhym 2010-10-04. Re: Does 4.0.1 include new race/class combos. Archived from the original on 2010-10-05.
  6. ^ Bouboille 2009-08-22. Class Discussions Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  7. ^ Bouboille 2009-08-22. Blizzcon Day 2 - Game Systems Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  8. ^ Bouboille 2009-08-22. Blizzcon Day 2 - Open Q&A Panel. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  9. ^ Fewyn 2010-09-08. Azeroth, Revisited: Stratholme in Cataclysm.
  10. ^ Cataclysm Lore Details - World of Raids Forums
  11. ^ Ghostcrawler 2009-11-18. Questions about Feral Tank in Cataclysm. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  12. ^ Eyonix 2010-03-01. Cataclysm Stat & System Changes. Archived from the original on 2010-03-01.
  13. ^ Error on call to template:ref web: Parameters archiveurl and archivedate must be both specified or both omittedGhostcrawler 2010-06-10. Priest Cata Talents. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10.
  14. ^ Ghostcrawler. World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Pets, Scaling, And 3.3. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08.
  15. ^ Eyonix. World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Stat & System Changes. Archived from the original on 2010-03-01.
  16. ^ Ghostcrawler 2009-10-29. Icewell Radiance is in!. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2010-02-11.
  17. ^ a b Zarhym 2010-07-17. #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter -- 7.16. Archived from the original on 2010-07-17.
  18. ^ a b c Zarhym 2010-07-07. Cataclysm Class & Mastery Systems Update. Archived from the original on 2010-07-07.
  19. ^ World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - Features. Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved on 2009-08-28. “Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.”
  20. ^ a b Ghostcrawler 2010-05-12. Race/Class Balance Between Horde/Alliance. Archived from the original on 2010-05-12.
  21. ^ Aratil 2009-10-22. 24. Re: #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22.
  22. ^ Frejya (MVP) 2010-11-19. The Shattering: Zone Changes.
  23. ^ Tracey John 2009-08-25. Q&A: How Cataclysm Will Change WoW Forever. Retrieved on 2009-08-28.
  24. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Bashiok 2011-04-27. #18 - portals in shattrath/dalaran?. Official General Discussion forum (US).
  25. ^ Combat Shadowglen Thornshooter
  26. ^ Zarhym 2010-08-03. New Cataclysm Launcher Available. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03.
  27. ^ a b Boubouille 2010-06-13. World of Warcraft Cataclysm Press Tour (Update #3).
  28. ^ a b Messiah 2011-01-06. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Review (Page 2). Ten Ton Hammer.
  29. ^ a b Sean Gibson 2012-05-01. A Last Look Back at World of WarCraft: Cataclysm. Gaming Illustrated.
  30. ^ a b c Reliq 2011-12-06. A Year of Cataclysm – An Incoherent Look Back. Azeroth Observer.
  31. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Zarhym 2011-12-01. #130 - So let's say Theramore isn't favoritism. Official Community > General Discussion forum (US).
  32. ^ Chris Hornyak 2011-12-30. MMO Update: Looking Back at World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. MMO Update (
  33. ^ Lume 2011-09-08. Cataclysm in Review: A Conclusion. Lume the Mad (blog).
  34. ^ Wolfshead 2011-01-17. Is Blizzard’s Cataclysm the Worst Expansion in MMO History?. Wolfshead Online.
  35. ^ Andrew Powers 2009-07-16. World of Warcraft scam alpha test. Retrieved on 2009-08-20.
  36. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Vrakthris 2013-10-23. #3 - Question regarding Cataclysm and Battle Chest. Official Support > Customer Support forums (US).

See also

External links

Press materials



Other sites