WOW Cataclysm to begin beta soon?

Blizzard appears to be suggesting so.

Blizzard's closed beta for the new World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm may begin soon.

The developer mailed members of the press informing them it was "starting to gear up" for the testing phase, although 1UP reported that no dates were disclosed.

Blizzard has committed to a calendar 2010 launch for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, but said little more. A beta soon could mean a summer launch, or simply that there will be a long testing period before full release in the autumn - perhaps October, when Blizzard's annual BlizzCon event gets underway.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm brings Onyxia's and Nefarian's dragon-father Deathwing back to Azeroth, a return that has devastating consequences for the existing world, tearing it asunder. In real terms, that means Blizzard is revamping the entire old world.

In addition, the level cap's being upped to 85, two new races introduced - the Goblins for the Horde and the Worgen for the Alliance - and new class-race options available.

And that's not all; head over to our hands-on impressions of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for a bigger picture.

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