Welcome to Player Attack!
Check your inboxes, boys and girls - the publisher has started sending out invitations to people who've signed up via their Battle.net accounts. If you're chosen, it's not all fun and games and getting an early look at one of the industry's most anticipated titles - your job also involves providing valuable feedback to Blizzard, helping them find bugs, address balance issues and (of course) make the new content as polished as possible.
The news today also reveals that anyone who's already played Cataclysm (perhaps in the Family & Friends Alpha) are no longer bound by any NDA. Blizzard have also officially opened the Cataclysm forums, for all your discussion needs.
Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime has been waiting for this day for a while:
"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.
"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."
In case you'd been living under a rock for a while, Cataclysm is the third expansion for World of Warcraft, which just happens to be the most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game in the world.
The first two expansions for the game, The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King shattered PC sales records when they were released in 2007 and 2009 respectively - and nobody expects Cataclysm to be any different.
The corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has returned, changing the face of Azeroth forever. The bad news? There's no going back - once-familiar areas of the world have been devastated, torn apart and torched. The good news is that they're now filled with new adventures... and in an effort to survive the disaster, two new playable races have joined the struggle.
Wolf-like worgen have signed up as a dark force for the Alliance, while cheeky goblins provide some comic relief for the Horde (who are already plenty dark enough). The level cap has been increased to 85, and on their journey to reach this goal, gamers can acquire all-new levels of power, discover all-new locations and - if they're lucky - face off with Deathwing, in a battle to determine the fate of the entire world!
...so, what are you waiting for? If you haven't already signed up for your spot in the beta, do it now now now, and then check your inbox for your invitation. I hear the more you check, the more likely it'll appear...
I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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Jimmy the Geek