So here we go: My favorite news from the World of Warcraft - Cataclysm rumors at MMO-Champion:
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.
If you've been reading a while, you might remember I mentioned criticizing the virtual ghettoizing in another blog, where you couldn't see nuttin' without the expansion, and asked (here on Panzerkin) for this style of Old World revamp to happen in LK (where we know it didn't happen). Here's a bit from those posts:
[From Curmudgeon Gamer]:
Blizzard needs to ensure that expansions are backwards compatible, not so much that expansionless folk like myself can go to the new lands, nor even that we should be provided access to the new trainers, etc, but players with expansions should continue to flow through old hotspots (possibly with new buildings in cities accessible only if you have the expansions, etc) so that the communities at least do not give the impression of being quite so perfectly cleaved.
Instead, it created another system of virtual ghettos back in WoW's Old World. Endgames shifted. Years of development time for instances, etc, rendered worthless. Those new to WoW or who hadn't seen the OW end game had no real incentive to go back.
There were options. Create mobs that have a new attack type or one for which there was little resistance gear in the OW, kinda like fire resist was used in the original. Keep the progression of items natural, and ensure items (other than just epics) continue to have some important value in the future. Here, I'm thinking about something like the Illdari-Bane items -- perhaps there's a mob in the WotLK that can only be damaged by items that specifically harm demons by 150 or more points.
Glad to see that wasn't such a crazy idea after all. Looks like we might even get to fly in the Old World too.
This leads me to one question: What happens if you don't have the expansions? Can I still walk around the Old World? In fact, if, "Durotar is wrecked and apparently Orgrimmar could be destroyed. A new Orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion," and, assumedly, much of the 'make-up' content is hidden from newbies by flight, do I now actually have less available content in Azeroth than before the upcoming expansion? UO just recently got smart enough to give everyone access to every expansion for free. Let me tell you, when I played one month of UO two years after one month of UO, years after years of UO, one of the big reasons I didn't care to stick around even with the Kingdom Reborn interface is that I couldn't go anywhere new. I was still stuck on my Third Dawn era dungeons and content. Nice. Thanks for keeping me in the virtual ghetto.
But yeah, this sounds like fun. Assuming these rumors are true, IANAL, LMNOP, etc. ;^)