Pretty much exactly as predicted, Blizzard Entertainment announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft Friday afternoon during the opening ceremonies for its annual Blizzcon convention in Anaheim, Calif.
Called Cataclysm, the next expansion will, among other features, raise the character level cap to 85, introduce two new playable character races, and involve a wholesale refresh of Azeroth, the setting for the original World of Warcraft game released back in 2004.
Specifics were hard to come by during the opening ceremony. As is customary, no release date or pricing for Cataclysm was mentioned. Blizzard did detail the new player races (goblins for the horde, the werewolf-like worgen for the alliance) and listed a few new race and class combinations that weren't allowed previously. And of course players can expect new dungeons of varying sizes to explore. You can read GameSpot's live blog of the official presentation, which includes more details about Cataclysm as well as Blizzard's forthcoming Diablo III. Blizzard will also be hosting numerous panel discussions as Blizzcon proceeds throughout the weekend, and we expect more information will emerge.
We'll let GameSpot do what they do best and handle the nitty-gritty details of Cataclysm, Diablo III, and Blizzard's other in-development game, Starcraft II as they're revealed, especially since, unlike us, they're actually at the event. We'll keep an eye on the big picture stuff, and report back accordingly.