The times, they are-a-changin’
So one of the great things about this wonderful world (of warcraft) is that over time, it changes. Now, it’s obviously not as dynamic as it could be, given enough development time and personnel, but each new patch and new expansion changes the world.
Cataclysm is no exception to this, and in many ways, it takes that concept to the next level. Not only is there new zones that haven’t been in the game before, five new character levels, new dungeons and raids, etc., but the majority of the classic world is getting reworked to some degree to reflect. The passage of time and the changing situations, politics, factions and the like.
But, even that isn’t the extent of it. Game mechanics are being reworked drastically as well, from talent points to resource systems. The most drastic changes in mechanics are probably to the Hunter, whose resource system has irrecovably changed the way the class plays and shoots. Death Knights’ talent trees have had their design philosophy altered to fall in line with all the other classes in terms of a dedicated tree for tanking, and the others for damage. Warlocks and paladins are getting an additional resource system added to their existing use of mana in the form of soul shards and holy power, respectively. Warriors and bear druids are getting rage normalization and the resulting changes that come with it. And these are the only ones I can think of, off the top of my head.
All told, this game is going to be a very different one after the introduction of version 4 of the game. There will be even more diversification of race/class combos as well as two brand new races. Cataclysm is probably the most sweeping of changes the game has ever seen, and it’s coming upon us soon(tm).