Screenshot via World of Warcraft YouTube

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Classic closed beta now live, aims for August release window

That classic "end of the world" feeling.

The earth trembles in anticipation of Deathwing’s re-emergence of Cataclysm Classic. The re-launch of the World of Warcraft expansion that literally changed the world is now available in closed beta. You can experience all the fun of a dragon-fueled apocalypse now by signing up at Blizzard’s portal.

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Cataclysm was a huge expansion, and WoW‘s most monumental undertaking. The entirety of the main world was rebuilt for new stories, quests, locations and more. The expansion also saw the introduction of the Worgen and Goblins as playable races, the Archeology skill, and transmogrification. The ability to change your gear’s appearance continues to be one of the most important features for style-savvy players.

It’s interesting to be in this position. Ever since World of Warcraft Classic launched in 2019, the handling of future expansions has been a curiosity. Then, Burning Crusade happened, and we knew we’d see more content added. However, Deathwing’s debut remains a pivotal point in WoW‘s history.

The 2024 Roadmap for World of Warcraft, outlining Cataclysm classic
Image via Blizzard

For many people, World of Warcraft Classic was about revisiting an older Azeroth. When Cataclysm launched in 2010, it became impossible to do old quests or visit earlier versions of the game. Deathwing’s globe-spanning tantrum changed more than the landscape. It also brought about the biggest single engine change for WoW.

The most immediately obvious change was flying. Players could fly in The Outlands and Northrend, but were grounded in the main game. Cataclysm added flight to the old world, plus introduced zones like Gilneas and Uldum.

Where does that leave us with World of Warcraft?

It feels a bit strange as we gear up to stand in the fires of Deathwing once more. This content is still currently available in retail World of Warcraft. Granted, so is the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King content, so it’s not totally weird. The appeal of this Classic run is to play the game as it stood in 2010. While you can still do this story content in retail, the game doesn’t quite play like it used to.

But, if you don’t feel like moving forward with expansions, good ol’ Classic is still available. The next phase of Season of Discovery and a new Hardcore mode are both live. And if you’re not feeling nostalgic, The War Within is looming just over (under?) the horizon.

Cataclysm Classic is planned to launch on or by August 31, 2024.


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Author
Randy Marr
Contractor Writer - Randy is an avid fan of collecting things in video games and immediately forgetting that he owns them. That includes the games themselves, too. It's probably why he's spent so much time over the past two decades writing about World of Warcraft and Nintendo games.