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The Fallout of Cataclysm: A Critical Look at WoW Classic

May-10-2024 PST

The Dawn of Cataclysm Classic


Ask any OG World of Warcraft fan when they stopped playing the game and you will almost certainly be told 'Cataclysm' or one of the other slew of sub-par expansions that followed Wrath of the Lich King. This was the case for me back in 2010 when the original Cataclysm expansion came out. What started as excitement quickly turned sour, especially seeing a lot of the lore-significant choices made in the Vanilla version of WoW, the Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King being overturned for the sake of modernising the game.

A Return to Azeroth: Nostalgia vs. Innovation


With no plans at all from Activision Blizzard to set up Wrath or The Burning Crusade dedicated servers, one can only lament that World of Warcraft Classic is going to run the same course as it did previously. There is a clear argument to be made that WoW Classic exists because of the changes that Cataclysm first wrought in 2010. Iconic and nostalgic start areas like Mulgore and Northshire Abbey were ruined, alongside so many other beautiful locations in Azeroth. Sure, you can still play Vanilla WoW, without any expansions, but it isn't a stretch to say that World of Warcraft was at its best during The Burning Crusade and, to a lesser extent, into Wrath of the Lich King (WOTLK). To put it simply, the introduction of Cataclysm is the point of no return in World of Warcraft, where the game fundamentally changes for the worse, in my opinion. Cataclysm is the start of modern WoW, making the 'Classic' moniker so far from the truth.


The Vacuum of Innovation: From WOTLK to Cataclysm


For what it's worth, I think the biggest problem with the jump from Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm was that Blizzard ran out of material for a new expansion. The end of WOTLK in WoW was the conclusion of a story that began in Warcraft 3 and the Frozen Throne; the models, lore, story, and characters were all fully utilised to tell the story of WoW, and it felt like a natural continuation. Models were ripped directly from the RTS and it was pure magic to be involved in that world so deeply in the MMO.


The Lore Dilemma: A Departure from Tradition


Due to this reliance on the RTS games, this would have been the perfect time for Blizzard to introduce another Warcraft RTS or something else to lay the groundwork for the next WoW expansion. I'm paraphrasing here, but Blizzard said 'heck no', and got Deathwing to literally, spiritually, and mentally ruin and reshape Azeroth to start things fresh, in a manner of speaking.


The Evolution of Gameplay: Class Changes and Lore Reinterpretation


Not only does Deathwing change Azeroth in terms of visuals, but Blizzard also decided it was time to mess with the established lore of Warcraft and make further changes, such as giving more races access to other classes. At face value, this is great because it is silly that humans just can't figure out how to be Hunters, but on the other hand, there are some classes that have lore significance as to why you can't play as them.


The Call for Preservation: Nostalgia and Player Sentiment


I think it's incredibly unlikely to ever see, for example, a Burning Crusade server on Classic WoW, but to me, it makes sense to allow people to continue to play Wrath of the Lich King Classic, as this is truly the last expansion that World of Warcraft could be considered 'Classic'. The modernisations, quality of life additions, flying mounts in Azeroth, class changes, and everything else added in Cataclysm make it indistinguishable from what it used to be. As such, dedicated Wrath of the Lich King Classic servers would serve as a time capsule of when WoW reigned supreme.


Navigating the World: Exploration and Gameplay Dynamics


For many, it must have been exciting, but for me, it ruined so much of what made World of Warcraft so enjoyable. Having dedicated WOTLK servers alongside Vanilla and Cataclysm would be the perfect way to keep everyone happy and provide what is truly considered the best version of classic Warcraft.


The Future of Classic WoW: A Community Divided


You don't have to go far to see this mentality echoed, with many on Reddit expressing disappointment that the classic servers aren't going to offer anything other than Vanilla and Cataclysm. Not to mention, there is a reason that some WoW private servers that only offer The Burning Crusade expansion are extremely popular. Perhaps Blizzard will change its mind on this point and finally learn from the huge mistake that was the Cataclysm expansion and give the people what they want: dedicated Wrath of the Lich King servers in Classic WoW.


All in all, it's essential to stock up on WoW Cataclysm Classic Gold before the chaos breaks out, and have fun before everyone else does.