The fictional home of World of Warcraft, known as the world of Azeroth, has been shattered. Lands are on fire, entire regions have been flooded, and thousands have perished in the land’s upheaval. But what lead to the destruction? Could Azeroth’s warders have prevented the madness and suffering in a time of healing?
Deathwing, former Aspect of the Earth, has returned to Azeroth after years in seclusion, slowly recovering from the wounds he suffered at the hands of the Dragon Aspects (ancient dragons created by the Titans, charged with watching over Azeroth). Still twisted by the will of Azeroth’s most evil foes, the Old Gods, the Aspect of Death now wishes to rain death and destruction upon any citizen of Azeroth who dares oppose him. In a fit of rage and fury, Deathwing flew across the world, destroying entire regions, cities, and populations, leaving a trail of fire and destruction in his wake.
However, Deathwing is not the only evil force bent on destroying Azeroth; the elements, once calm and peaceful, have been driven mad by Deathwing’s return. The elementals have recently taken to attacking various settlements and cities throughout the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and refuse to cooperate with the soothing minds of Azeroth’s strongest shamans. Additionally, the Twilight’s Hammer cult has arisen, lead by Cho’gall.
All of this could not have come at a worse time for the citizens of Azeroth. The various faction leaders, as well as the heroes who aided in the campaign against the Lich King in the frozen north have only just returned from Northrend, tired and hurting from their two-year-long campaign against Arthas’s undead forces. Tens of thousands perished in the war, supplies are low, and families are grieving. Deathwing’s return has forced the leaders, heroes, and citizens to postpone their recovery and mourning to immediately take up arms against their recently-arisen enemies: the Aspect of Death, the Twilight’s Hammer cultists, and the elements themselves.
The time for plotting, brooding, and infiltrating has long since passed. Deathwing has returned, and he will not settle for anything less than the total annihilation of life on Azeroth.
Blizzard took the opportunity of the world being destroyed (story-wise) to literally revamp the entire World of Warcraft. The original game was released in 2005, and although the game is the most successful MMORPG of all time, it was impossible to ignore the fact that the original game – which every new character is forced to play through for 60 levels before hitting their newer expansion content – was dated. Art assets, game development, and goals had drastically changed since World of Warcraft first shipped.
Blizzard has virtually re-done the entire world. Dozens of zones have received art facelifts of a number of varieties: some zones have been ravaged by fire, earthquakes, and Deathwing himself; other zones have been flooded; dated graphics have been completely re-done, making zones appear much nicer; lush forests have grown within once-barren deserts; new settlements, villages, and cities have popped out throughout all of Azeroth. The game’s newer aesthetic is much more pleasing and certainly more in line from what we’ve come to expect from their more recent expansions and the gaming industry as a whole.
The visuals of the World of Warcraft were not the only aspect of the old world to get a facelift. Blizzard scrapped nearly every quest in the original game in favor of new, more fun, more technologically advanced quests. Blizzard re-designed the entire leveling experience from the ground up, all while chasing a goal of besting their previous expansion, which was hailed for its exciting and fun quests. Players can now find some of the most fun, quirky, and compelling storylines in the very areas they start as level one characters in. But the excitement doesn’t stop there – powerful, emotion driven, comedy-centric, and adventure-tastic (not a word) quests are found at nearly every turn, totaling over 3,000 new quests added to the game.
More love for the players came within the addition of two new races to the World of Warcraft: the long-awaited goblin and worgen races. These new races will be playable following the release of the Cataclysm expansion on December 7th. Settlements for the two new races can also be found throughout the new world.
Revised dungeons, new item sets, thousands of new quests, a whole new world, and more now await players who venture into the World of Warcraft, whether they’re working on their first or tenth character. The highlight of the changes: Blizzard released it all for free. Fans who already own the original World of Warcraft can now play through an expansion’s worth of new content for no additional cost, and new players are able to experience the new content by simply buying the original World of Warcraft (for only $10!).
Blizzard, known for knocking it out of the park with every title they release, has managed to continue this tradition with World of Warcraft, The Shattering patch. We highly recommend venturing into Azeroth to experience the new world for yourself.
(Blizzard is offering the original World of Warcraft for $5, and its two expansions for $10 each for a limited time on their official Blizzard store. Check the deal out!)