We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

WoW’s most controversial expansion is back, but better than before

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Classic is finally here, marking the return of WoW’s most debated expansion, but with key, modern improvements.

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Classic launch: An Alliance hero from Blizzard MMORPG World of Warcraft

If you’ll allow me to labor a metaphor, the jagged fault lines and yawning chasms that opened across Azeroth with the launch of Cataclysm reflected, also, a division in the World of Warcraft fandom. For some, the 2010 expansion delivered a badly needed remake and revitalization of the map. For others, the new raids were too tough at launch, and fresh material for Cataclysm didn’t arrive fast enough. And they also didn’t like the new map. 14 years later, Cataclysm has finally returned via World of Warcraft Classic. Is the history of WoW’s most controversial expansion about to be rewritten?

The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King have already arrived for World of Warcraft Classic, two expansions for the MMORPG with generally good reputations. WoW Classic has so far felt like a victory lap for Blizzard’s online opus, a celebration of all the best moments in Azeroth history. But now we come to Cataclysm. Finally playable as of Monday May 20, WoW Cataclysm Classic has more work to do when it comes to charming new players – and winning over veterans.

All the big changes from the original Cataclysm are here. The world is remade in the wake of Deathwing’s escape from Deepholm, and there are six new zones, as well as the increased level cap of 85. Worgen and Goblins appear as playable races for the first time, and you can now use the archaeology skill to find trinkets and lore across dig sites. That’s all to be expected, but there are some additions to WoW Cataclysm Classic that were not present in the original, 2010 version.

YouTube Thumbnail

First, the release cadence for content updates has been increased, so you can expect changes to come at a faster pace than they did back in the day. Leveling speeds have also been adjusted, so you can access some of the updated material more quickly. The expanded collections UI overhaul, which first arrived in Wrath of the Lich King Classic, is also present here, so you can manage the transmogrification system on an account-wide basis.

A new dungeon difficulty system will also arrive post-launch, as well as the controversial group finder tool. A new PvP season opens on Wednesday May 29, followed immediately by three raid dungeons on Thursday May 30. The Tol Barad battleground is back, and you can fly in the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. With these modern additions and perhaps some changes in sentiment towards Cataclysm over the years, maybe Classic will be enough to rehabilitate the expansion’s reputation.

Otherwise, you might want to try some of the best RPGs, or maybe take the best free MMOs for a spin.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.