Six years of hard work. Hundreds of thousands of man hours. Twelve million subscribers who have spent billions of hours hacking, slashing, grinding, looting, and every other vaguely dirty term you can think of. So, how do you follow that? “Blow it all up,” says Blizzard. “And use a dragon.” The end result? A total reinvention of World of Warcraft that’ll have you hooked from the first second and keep you there for—oh—a couple hundred more hours. At least.
Azeroth may be in shambles, but we're happy to report that the real-world natural order has been preserved. Which is to say that a new World of Warcraft expansion came out, and people bought it. How many people? All the people.
Within its first 24 hours on shelves, Cataclysm ravaged 3.3 million PCs, soundly trouncing former record-holder -- and previous link in the aforementioned Natural Order -- Wrath of The Lich King's 2.8 million. According to Blizzard, that makes Cataclysm the “fastest-selling PC game of all time.”
So then, that's all for this year, folks. See you next WoW expansion or – God forbid – when another game series shatters the record and, with it, the very fabric of reality.
There are fans, and then there are frothy mouthed disciples. And then, about 100 links above them on the devotion food chain, there's this kid – or, as the Internet has dubbed him, “Red Shirt Guy.” If you're not a fan of watching videos – because, let's face it, those newfangled camera-majigs are probably coming up with new ways to steal your soul as we speak – here's the short version:
During a panel at BlizzCon, Red Shirt Guy approached Blizzard Loremaster Chris Metzen with a question about a Warcraft character named “Falstad Wildhammer.” In response, Metzen said he thought Wildhammer had kicked the bucket, only to have Red Shirt Guy cooly explain that Wildhammer is, in fact, alive and kicking according to the game's lore.
Now, slightly more than a week later, WoW's Council of Three Hammers has a newcomer in its ranks. Standing next to the very much alive Falstad Wildhammer is a short, red-shirted dwarf called “Wildhammer Fact Checker.” Congratulations, Red Shirt Guy. Until the far-off day when Blizzard pulls the plug on WoW's servers, consider yourself immortalized.
Still though, we can't help but feel a bit left out here. After all, it's our career to question game developers at every turn and generally make their lives unbearable. Where's our videogame character, huh?
Mark your calendars, former WoW addicts. December 7 is your final test. You will be tempted and goaded, and – for the first time in your life – you will feel like a social outcast for refusing to pretend you're a burly, heavily armored orc man. Cataclysm's coming, you see, and while it may herald the beginning of an in-game apocalypse, it doesn't have to be the end of your real life.
"Cataclysm includes the best content we've ever created for World of Warcraft. It’s not just an expansion, but a re-creation of much of the original Azeroth, complete with epic new high-level adventures for current players and a redesigned leveling experience for those just starting out," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. "With the help of our beta testers, we're putting on the final polish, and we look forward to welcoming gamers around the world to enjoy it in just a couple of months."
Re-creation of Azeroth? Best content ever? Well, we suppose we could maybe give it a quick try... Wait, no! We have to be strong. Resist! Resist like our guild did against Onyxia when our tank went down and we had to hold her off until he charged back in and saved the day!