Let the Cataclysm Begin!

Gilneas Zone Map

Map of the new Worgen starting area Gilneas

As you probably know, the beta for Blizzard’s next expansion to World of Warcraft, Cataclysm, has started and we’ve got ourselves an invite.  While the beta will most likely be continuing over the next few months, we’ll be providing in-depth hands-on previews of the features as Blizzard opens them up for test.  Let this be a caution: All content below will contain spoilers. If you’re cool with that, continue reading to find out what the future holds for Azeroth.

At this point, not all of the vanilla WoW content (everything that has existed since the game’s release) has been modified to their post-Cataclysm state.  Also, the level cap at this time is only 82 (eventually it will be 85), and also only two new areas and instances are open.  What is almost complete (save for a few bugs) are the new races’ starting areas: Gilneas and the Kezan/Lost Isles.

I decided to start my beta experience with a new Worgen hunter.  After choosing his features, I was surprised that the game started me out as a generic looking human in Gilneas City, just as the Worgen invasion/infection was starting.

Those not familiar with how a new character first starts, here’s a brief rundown.  You start in an area that’s fairly secluded, completing a set of fairly simple quests until you’re about level six.  At that point you’re shuffled off to the next largest town which has a larger area with more quests designed to advance your character to around level 12, at which point you can move onto a new zone.

Up to level six, the Worgen starting zone has you helping to stave off the incoming threat throughout the city.  Unfortunately many of the quests simply have you running back and forth between quest givers advancing the story.  There are a few notable quests though, both involve riding a horse and either saving someone, or firebombing groups of worgen.  There is another quest towards the end if the area where you use a cannon to blast away very large groups of Worgen coming to attack you.

It’s obvious that Blizzard is learning from their previous development as the phasing content idea (where completing quests changes the zone) that was particularly prevalent in the Death Knight starting area introduced in the last expansion is greatly used in this starter zone.  As you complete quests, your group of defenders slowly losses ground to the increasing number of Worgen attackers.

At some point while doing these quests, your character is bitten.  After making your last stand against the invading Worgen, the infection takes over.  The game wasn’t very specific about what happened at this point, but somehow you were captured and taken to the next city, Duskhaven.  Here you’re given an elixir to retain your sanity (but not powerful enough to revert your form) and are released to undertake the next part of your journey.

Nimby and pet

My new Worgen Hunter and his starter pet

This was as far as I was able to get last night.  As far as what’s next for my Worgen hunter, it seems that a fight with the nearby Forsaken is around the corner.

What’s interesting is that I don’t know when this occurs.  I was under the impression that this area was sealed off from the rest of Azeroth all this time to prevent the Worgen from getting through, so maybe this beginning is taking place in the past?  There was no voiceover during the fly-in like when you typically start a new character, so perhaps that will explain it once they implement it.

So far it’s very exciting to see all of this new content.  I’m planning on starting a Goblin next, to see how they’re introduced into the game.  Plan on seeing details on that next time.

About the Author

Having over 25 years of gaming experience, Zach knows a thing or two when it comes to one of his favorite entertainment activities. Additionally, he has also written many articles previewing and reviewing titles which can be found in various places around the net, including VGBlogger.com.