Cataclysm Launch Event!
On 7th December a Cataclysm was unleashed across Azeroth as the latest expansion to monster MMO World of Warcraft arrived on UK shores.
Hours before that fateful event however we were delighted to be able to be involved with the Official London Launch Party at Sound in Leicester Square.
We sent along James and Nick from our web team to give their impressions on the big night. Here's what they thought!
I arrived at London's Sound nightclub, no.1 Leicester Square, at 9pm and couldn't help but notice a massive queue that wrapped almost completely around the square. It led all the way up to a small entrance, which had been transformed for the night with WoW and GAME branding.
We walked into the venue before the doors opened and straight into a fancy porch area, all lit up with red lights that pointed towards a very flash looking motorbike. On closer inspection, the bike had Wrath of the Lynch King graphics all over it - now that's what I call an epic mount!
We were then taken up to the fifth floor of the club where we were ushered into a room which looked like a haunted house queue in a theme park; replete with original Warcraft artwork covering the walls and big TV's showing Warcraft in 3D!
Here, SteelSeries were showing off the impressive accessories they're renowned for; a gaming keyboard with a follow key on it particularly caught my eye. No serious WoW fan should be without it.
We were jammy and had a play on Cataclysm using SteelSeries gear for a little while, then moved on to the last table in the area where we got stuck into the Warcraft trading card game. It seemed quite complicated, and it became quite apparent that the guy showing us the game was just playing against himself, but I still claimed victory by defeating Nick with my Shadow Bolt . . . owned!
Next stop was the red-lit VIP lounge on the fourth floor, where a massive countdown clock took pride of place next to a photo area. Immediately I wanted to know what the green screen was for so I led the group down a small flight of stairs to speak to the young lady with the camera in her hands. Within seconds Nick was stood in front of the bright green screen and snaps were shot, with our curiosity piqued. I was next up, still wondering what that green screen was for. I now have a photo of myself looking awkward on my desk with Deathwing breathing fire behind me. Awesome!
All the way down to the ground floor we went next, where we could see the full extent of the festivities: a massive screen, an impressive stage, a countdown clock and queuing posts, leading to a GAME branded till area. And behind that was solid gaming gold - piles and piles of boxes full of Cataclysm. Exciting!
Not too long later the doors were open and punters were filling the queues with goody bags in hand. The countdown clock was now running down to minutes rather then hours and Jason Bradbury had taken the stage in his trademark enthused manner, capturing the crowd's attention.
After talking for a while about his love of all things WoW, Jason then invited Greg Street, aka 'Ghostcrawler', the Lead Systems Designer on Cataclysm, and Game Designer David Kosak. After the introductions they leapt into a Blizzcon-style question and answer session, include questions put to them from our very own Twitter followers.
Before too long the entire room was chanting "30, 29 ,28... it was time.
Having been there since 6pm the day before, the guys n gals at the front of the queue were understandably buzzing with excitement. They even had camping bags hanging off them - now that's dedication!
Finally the clock hit zero and in a flurry of excitement the Horde (and Alliance!) surged forward to start purchasing the game and then headed home to play well into the night!
You can join them now by purchasing World of Warcraft: Cataclysm!
The Cataclysm London Launch event was attended by two of Blizzard's WoW team, Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Warcraft's Lead Systems Designer, and Game Designer Dave Kozak. Hosted by TV's Jason Bradbury it was a brilliant night with a real WoW flavour.
As a big World of Warcraft fan, I found the Q&A session perhaps the most enthralling bit of the whole night. Here, questions were asked about the lore of Azeroth and how decisions are made with progressing the story, given the sweeping changes made in Cataclysm - which reforms the entire gameworld, bringing destruction to some of the most well-loved places in Blizzard's virtual world.
Dave and Greg explained that Blizzard employ a 'Story Council' of senior staff who get together and decide the direction of the story while making sure 'it's cool to play'. Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall in that, eh?
Another question involved levelling of characters and how it's much quicker in Cataclysm than it used to be. Greg and Dave answered by saying the intention is for players to level multiple characters to be able to see every quest and area, rather than having to do every quest and area to be able to level. With Cataclysm, then, you'll never feel like you're missing out on one big part of the experience because it's not tailored to your chosen race.
Finally a question was asked about the level of difficulty in Lich King and how high level gear was too easy to acquire. The guys confirmed that epic level shoulder armour would only be available from Raid bosses, to much cheering from the gathered crowd!
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is OUT NOW.