The Cataclysm is close. You can just feel it. But between now and December 7th, World of Warcraft will be undergoing a radical overhaul - beginning with tomorrow's (Wednesday in Europe) 4.01 patch. The notes are ludicrous. The changes giddying. The download a mere 5 gigabytes. Read on to discover exactly what's happening.
Alongside the destruction of WoW that Catacylsm will being to the old world, comes a radical rebalancing of the game's systems, mechanics and concepts; with changes in the underlying stats that determine how the game plays, new class abilities, radical new talent trees, new ways to customise your character, new reward systems, even a cap on the size of your guild.
MMO-Champion has a long summary of every change revealed, but you're best off getting a cup of tea before you start reading. The systems themselves have been trialled for an age in the Cataclysm beta. What's fascinating, though, is exactly how players will react - particularly given the changes to how their classes play. Hunters, for instance, now don't use mana. death knights have a brand new tanking tree. Warlocks get to shatter crystals as part of their every day life, while druids get a new ability bar that asks them to chase the moon We're not even kidding.
Already, the PC Gamer guild has had to re-think how we invite players. Previously, without a guild cap, we'd let anyone in. Now, with the guild cap at 1000 players, we're limiting the number of alts we can invite, and have had to set up multiple sister guilds. Our raids are progressing, even though we know many players will be figuring out how their characters play on the fly. And don't ask about PvP: we just don't know.
If you want to play the changes as soon as possible, then start your background downloader tonight.
Are you playing WoW at the minute? Are you ready for the madness?