World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is the third of four expansions for the wildly popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), World of Warcraft. Cataclysm introduces entirely new areas as well as updating the game overall and revamping the original areas. As an expansion it received wide renown, generally getting ratings of 9/10 and up. The expansion was revealed accidentally in February of 2010 and officially unveiled in May of the same year; it was released on December 7, 2010.
Cataclysm expanded the leveling system from 80 up to 85 and introduced two new races, one for each main faction. The Alliance gets the Worgen while the Horde receives Goblins. The new races come with new abilities, skills and story lines; Cataclysm also gives more in-depth back stories to the original eight races.
The expansion adds a ton of new content, with IGN's review stating that you can "expect to play for well over a hundred hours before you've really touched upon everything Cataclysm has to offer." Ten new dungeons and five new raids have been added along with 3,500 new available quests, and other quests have been restructured and improved. Archaeology was also added as a new secondary skill.
It also brought a huge update to the game, with major redesign of the original two continents with new areas and a somewhat different appearance, as well as allowing for flying mounts which weren't in mind during the original WoW release. The UI (user interface) was also updated as were the graphics for the game.
The plot for Cataclysm revolves around the reawakening of a dragon that hasn't been seen for two in-game decades (an aspect of the dragon appeared during the real-time strategy game Warcraft II). The dragon, formerly known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, makes a return as Deathwing the Destroyer. The game also makes use of the current political atmospheres of the Horde and Alliance factions, which saw a number of changes with the new expansion pack due to Blizzard's habit of having expansions reveal in-game history in the making.
Reception of the expansion was extremely good. 3.3 million copies were sold within 24 hours of release, putting it second all-time in one-day sales. Anecdotally, the game in the number one spot, Diablo III, was created by the same developer (Blizzard Entertainment). Metacritic, the aggregate ratings company, gave it a 90/100, which usually means universal acclaim. IGN gave it a 9/10 and is cited as saying that, "Cataclysm is far and away the most impressive expansion to an MMO ever made." GameSpot rated it 8.5/10.
Essentially, Cataclysm is a good expansion to a well-loved MMO. The millions of sales should tell you that if nothing else. If you're a fan of MMOs and RPG-type games, or already are playing World of Warcraft, this may well be worth your time and money. It prices for $10 on the Blizzard Store website.