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- World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Disclaimer: This is only relevant to current or past WoW players. If you've never cared about the game… well, you ain't gonna start now.
Blizzard just finished putting up their previews for the three new 5-man dungeons and the raid instance for their massive 4.3 patch, which should be the last major content patch before the next as-yet-unnamed expansion (keep an eye on Blizzcon for that). It's no secret that World of Warcraft has been bleeding subscribers with Cataclysm, losing nearly 1 million players (though when your starting player base is 12 million, that isn't all that much in the grand scheme of things). If the stuff in 4.3 doesn't give those numbers a jolt, I don't know what will.
As a total lore nut, I'm looking forward to how the story will unfold in the new instances. The three 5-man dungeons will span the course of Azeroth's history, from a bleak alternate future in which Deathwing blew up the world, to the distant past of the War of the Ancients, to a present-day last ditch effort by Thrall and co. to prepare the Dragon Soul to kill the big bad black dragon.
And you'll get your chance to do that in the raid instance, Dragon Soul. The raid will supposedly have a feel unlike any other in the game thus far, with two separate encounters comprising the entire Deathwing fight, taken across the entire world. In a recent interview with Tankspot, WoW's lead designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street had this to say:
We've never done a raid like this before. Our raids have almost always been a long hallway with trash, and then a boss room, and then another long hallway. This one is so different. It's very event driven. It's more scripted than location-based. A little bit like Hyjal, but even then you were kind of like, “Okay, we're in the Human area, and now we're going to the Orc area.” This one is a lot more like the bosses are coming AT you.
If the epic storyline wrap-up isn't your thing, 4.3 is also bringing back the updated Darkmoon Faire with games, items, quests, and events that should be actually interesting instead of completely pointless.
And lastly, the much-anticipated Transmogrification feature is also coming. Something that WoW players have wanted for years, this lets you change the art on your gear to that of any existing gear that you currently own, within a reasonable set of restrictions. You no longer have to be burdened by looking at ugly gear if it's the best thing you've got – just 'mog it to something classic like an old tier set!
With all of this stuff in the works, as a perennial WoW player I'm more excited for this patch than I've been since Wrath of the Lich King came out.