With all the hoo-haa about Cataclysm, and I am sure it is great, though I am not currently active in the Game, I am very surprised — well neigh shocked — that no article I’ve read has proclaimed it for what it really is.
Ahem … Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, wecome to World of Warcraft 2, the Warcraft: Reloaded, Worlder of Warcrafter, 2 World of 2 Warcraft.
Really, that’s what we’ve got here. It is not an expansion. It is a re-crafting and updating of the base game.
I don’t know what the makers of Everquest did to create Everquest 2, but this is precisely what Blizzard needed to do with WoW. They couldn’t abandon Azeroth and put us in a new world. Instead, they needed to refashion Azeroth and develop a new game for people to restart the playing. Viola! Pin the blame for the new landscape, the new quests, etc. on a big gecko. At the same time, make sweeping changes to game-play to upgrade and modernize it. (How many of us woke up with disappointment to find 4.0.1 active and our well-known characters replaced with low-functioning idiots? I have never seen mobs gathered around target dummies as densely as in the days after 4.0.1 as people tried to figure out ‘what does this button do?’.)
And, kudos to Blizzard for handling the role-out and publicity in a way that was not disruptive to the players (though I did read complaints about the jarring nature of 4.0.3a [The Shattering] dropping in a single night rather than something to be phased in). The customer base was retained and not put off by the requirement to, say, go out and buy software right now if they want to keep playing.
Regardless, please enjoy your WoW 2.