World of Warcraft Cataclysm was announced during Blizzcon 2009 and released December 2010. The third expansion presented a world transformed by Deathwing‘s emergence through the elemental planes. The zones of Azeroth were turn asunder, set ablaze, or drowned beneath shifted seas. In the wake of the devastation, classes expanded to new races, new allies joined the Alliance and Horde, players took to the skies of Azeroth, and many game systems were changed. Cataclysm‘s wide-ranging modifications came to define the boundary between the Classic and retail eras. When World of Warcraft Classic was released in 2019, it provided the opportunity to play the game when it felt more challenging and complex. World of Warcraft Classic has grown to include the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King expansions. There are now signs Blizzard is considering adding Cataclysm to Classic.
It makes sense that Classic content would conclude with Wrath of the Lich King; it was the last expansion before everything changed. However, Blizzard sent a survey to players in September 2022 asking about features in a potential Cataclysm Classic. The detailed survey suggests Blizzard may be considering a partial expansion, including only the most favored or essential game elements. Such a move would alter the foundation of Classic, but with the announcement of looming Classic Hardcore realms, Blizzard appears to be creating a World of Warcraft multiverse, where subscribers can invest their time in the setting most comfortable to them.
What Cataclysm Classic Lite Could Look Like
When thinking about structuring Cataclysm Classic, I believe in keeping the old, and minimizing the new. Cataclysm included far more changes than I wish to discuss point by point. You can them review here on Wowhead. The following game elements were chosen based on my casual playing style. Please note, thanks primarily to my anxiety, I do not PVP or raid, so I will not be discussing those features, but feel free to post your thoughts and comments if you do.
- Azeroth Untouched – Cataclysm new flight paths, quest hubs, and flow sped up questing, but made the world feel smaller. Classic is about the Old World and should remain as such. No 3D revamp of Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms should ever be imposed on Classic.
- No Flying in Azeroth – The 3D revamp was essential for flying to be introduced, without it, flying is not possible. This is fine.
- No Talent Tree Update or Specializations – I confess to be on the fence here, but if the goal is to maintain the Classic structure as much as possible, then leveling should progress from 80 to 85, with five points to spend on the current Wrath of the Lich King Classic talent trees. This pertains to hunter pet talent trees as well. I do not want specializations because they lock the talent trees and stifle creativity (even if everyone is reading the same best build articles).
- Yes to Expanding Classes to Races – In order to stand against Deathwing, existing races were able to roll previously unavailable classes. I always support more character choices.
- Yes to Goblins and Worgens – New races are part of the expansion thrill. No reason to change it now.
- Yes to Profession Changes – Evolving Professions is another expansion mainstay and does not break the Classic game style.
- Yes to Class and Stat Changes – Not including these features require changing nearly every piece of Cataclysm gear and weapons to similar Classic stats. I do not believe Blizzard would perform this action
- Yes to New Zones – After all these years The Burning Crusades‘ Blood Elf and Draenei starting zones remain instanced zones, separate from the rest of Azeroth. The Goblin and Worgen starting zones were originally instanced so no change is needed there. Since Cataclysm’s leveling zones can not added to the continental maps, they can accessed through cut scenes and portals.
As stated, this list features the elements I believe allow Cataclysm to join the Classic expansion family with minimum disruption. Of all of these items, the first is the most vital. Classic cannot exist on a transformed Azeroth. What would be the point?
Will Blizzcon Show The Way?
This article is speculation, but it shows how Cataclysm can be added to Classic. Whether it would be welcomed by the player base is entirely another matter. Blizzcon 2023 will be here soon. Will Blizzard risk a Cataclysm Classic reveal, considering how “well” the Diablo Immortal‘s announcement went over? They may not want a similar reaction the first year they are streaming the event free, to a potentially large non-playing but curious audience. I believe we will hear more about Cataclysm Classic closer to the end of the year, unless Blizzard is feeling very confident.