WOW Cataclysm closed beta begins

Who will spill the beans?

Blizzard Entertainment has begun closed beta testing World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm.

Invitations will be sent to "a wide range" of people signed up to Battle.net. And with six months of the year left, Blizzard appears to be well within the 2010 launch time-frame targeted for Cataclysm.

"Our focus with Cataclysm has been to build on the knowledge we've gained through the previous expansions to deliver the best, most compelling World of Warcraft content for our players to date," commented Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime.

"Gathering focused feedback during the beta test will go a long way in helping us reach that goal when we launch Cataclysm later this year."

Head over to the Battle.net website to sign-up and put your name down for the beta. There's no mention of an open testing date.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm brings back mighty dragon Deathwing to the world of Azeroth, and his arrival has given Blizzard the chance to redesign the entire old world. Where plains were once barren, now they flaunt lush jungle, and where pastures were once green they now seep lava.

Two new races - the worgen for the Alliance and the goblins for the Horde - join the fray, and Blizzard is raising the level cap to 85.

That's Cataclysm in a nutshell; Oli Welsh offers a much more in-depth look at World of Warcraft's most ambitious expansion yet.

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