The UK edition of PC Gamer magazine got to stay behind after class, sorry BlizzCon, this year - and found out a bit more about the forthcoming Cataclysm expansion to World of Warcraft. Teacher's pets. We're still sulking about not being invited to that particular party, but not above bringing you the headlines.
PC Gamer discovered how the first five levels of the new Goblin and Worgen races will play out. Worgen start, in a flashback, as humans from the separatist state of Gilneas who fall in with a dissenter called Crawley who advocates joining the Alliance. Then the Worgen curse falls, and the game cuts to year later, with the player transformed into one of the werewolves.
Goblins start as businessmen on the island city of Kezan, and the first five levels consist of a sort of Grand Theft Auto parody as you collect debts, play robot American football and flirt with your "hot secretary". (PC Gamer thinks Goblins are hot. Just saying.) When the Cataclysm hits, a volcano erupts and your attempt to evacuate ends in slavery.
Changes to capital cities reflect the new focus on storytelling. For example, new Horde leader Garrosh Hellscream has edged the Undead, Blood Elves, Goblins and Trolls out of a remodelled Orgrimmar, clad in black iron. "Garrosh has thrown out any races he feels can't help defend the city from the centre," said producer J Allen Brack.
Azshara - "the worst zone in the game... just a miserable experience," according to Brack - has been completely remodelled as a display of Goblin engineering might. There's a new city, a Goblin equivalent of Mount Rushmore, and the coastline has been reformed to look like a Horde symbol from space.
Graphics are getting upgraded to Wrath of the Lich King standard across the old zones. "All of the terrain technology, all of the texture blending, all of the skybox technology, will all go retroactively into the Cataclysm expansion," Brack said. Whether Blizzard will get around to remodelling creatures themselves is "just a question of how much time we have".