I wrote this 3 days before they officially announced the expansion and boldly made the statement "Should Blizzard actually release this expansion and the leaked details proving true, I will chop my balls off". I felt like a bit of a tool afterwards. Either way, instead of letting it go to waste I'll paste it here. Too lazy to edit it from futuristic/hopeful sense to...present-sad.

I went off a bit too long about the genius of Warcraft in the beginning but I think I've made some good points here...

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My first encounter with Warcraft III was a LAN party at a friend's house. I played for fifteen straight hours. I found my place in the gaming world by dominating with the Night Elf team. I was amazed; so much story, atmosphere and life to a game. To this day I believe that Warcraft has one of the best structured storylines I've experienced, even after some undesirable changes brought about by World of Warcraft.

For fifteen hours I sat, building bases, leveling heroes and slowly catching on to the game's lore. For the next several weeks all my time was spent on finishing campaigne mode over, and over, and over. For weeks after that I read up all the game's story; I memorized all the heroes, the titans and for once I felt truly obsessed with a game. Shortly after I managed to remove myself from infatuation and played the game more casually.

I can speak nothing but kind words for Blizzard for the formation of the storyline for Warcraft up until The Frozen Throne. Even retrospectively, the characters had story significance and life. Reading over Blizzard's descriptions for them really indicates how much thought was put into each hero. For example, on WoWWiki.com hosts a 7500 word article on Thrall.

However, World of Warcraft somewhat changed the focus on story and turned more attention on gameplay and scripted bosses. While this wasn't necessarily a bad turn, it hasn't been for the best. I haven't ever managed to grasp the story of the original World of Warcraft. All I can recall of it was evil dragons conspiring to take over the world.

Either way, I was a huge fan of Vanilla WoW, as it's called. It had something mysterious and captivating about it, and the game stayed fun no matter how often it was played. Despite the obvious flaws in storyline and costume design, I haven't found the recent expansions to be quite as fun.

The expansions have brought some very needed changes to World of Warcraft, and I still support Blizzard in the fantastic universe they've created.

After recent developments by Blizzard, however, it seems as though they have made a turn for the worse. The "old" Warcraft universe was based on lore; a game built to fit a story instead of a story built to fit a game.

Assuming the leaked expansion details for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm are true, the game is going to take a huge downhill turn. It's unlikely that any move by Blizzard at this point would dent their userbase, intellectually speaking the game is not moving in the right direction.

Naxxramas was a good revision for Wrath of the Lich King, yet the details of Cataclysm indicate that there will be a similar revamp for Ragnaros. While this wouldn't be bad for the game, it certaintly wouldn't do it justice. The story of Ragnaros and Molten Core has been finished; in a world with so much thriving lore and advancement, what is the use of going back and opening closed chapters?

MMO-Champion.com reported their leaked details for Cataclysm. The first point in question is:

"New" Classes: No new classes per se, but some classes previously unavailable to some races will now be playable, and they include:
Human Hunter, Orc Mage, Night Elf Mage, Dwarf Mage, Blood Elf Warrior, Dwarf Shaman, Undead Hunter, Tauren Paladin, Tauren Priest, Gnome Priest, Troll Druid."

Assuming these rumours are correct, Blizzard has completely turned their back on consistency. Before getting flamed I'll admit that this is opinion, but consider this: a Tauren, a missionary of nature, learning the ways of a Paladin? Bending the light to fuel his strength? A Dwarf knowing the Shamanistic rituals of the Horde? It was enough of a let down when Draenai got Shamans, taking with it the whole point in choosing sides, but of all things Dwarfs?

It's not that every class has to make sense. I wouldn't expect to find an Undead Priest in a realistic environment, but you've got to admit, the idea is very fun to toy with. Undead Shadow Priests actually make perfect sense, and to prove this Blizzard gave them one of the best Damage-Over-Time spells in the game: Devouring Plague.

The second point:

"The level cap in the next expansion will be slightly lower than expected this time around; 85.

"This suggests Blizzard wants more room for expansions before hitting the level 100 cap. With less leveling to do (along with the revamped leveling listed below likely to increase the speed and ease of leveling), leveling a new race remains appealing for new and existing players alike."

By pumping out more and more expansions, Blizzard can keep the cash cow alive for years. Unfortunately, this puts it in a similar genre as The Sims on Steroids.

With this apparently unwarranted expansion, what does this mean for the genre? Will it die out? Sadly, it will only grow, and World of Warcraft will only get better. However, and sadder still, World of Warcraft will grow by parring itself with a common Arcade game. Should anyone be doubtful of the truth behind this statement, a quick look over the Wrath of the Lich King talents will answer it; every class has been packed with instant cast spells, practically all of them capable of eating away overly generous amounts of your health.

To end this article, I will state, entirely borne out of opinion, that World of Warcraft will only continue to grow from hereon until Blizzard have literally exhausted every avenue they can to keep it alive; not off of original and well-thought story, nor sensible and consistent game development, but rather through a continual intellectual sundering of their game with every oncoming expansion.