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

Blizzard isn’t scared of WoW Cataclysm’s bad reputation

Love it or hate it, World of Warcraft Cataclysm is coming to WoW Classic, and Blizzard was shocked by just how much players wanted it.

Blizzard isn't scared of WoW Cataclysm's bad reputation: A huge black dragon soars through the air above a burning landscape

World of Warcraft Cataclysm Classic: It’s real, and it’s coming. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask in dismay. ‘Leave it at Wrath of the Lich King, it all goes south after Cataclysm.’ Well, following a series of surveys and player feedback, it turns out that, despite all odds, the community wants to relive one of WoW’s most divisive moments all over again.

You can hear a pin drop in the Anaheim Convention Center as executive producer for World of Warcraft, Holly Longdale, announces WoW Cataclysm Classic. It’s not really a surprise – it’s the logical next step for Classic. But given it’s one of the most divisive chapters in the MMORPG‘s history, I find myself wondering how the community is going to react.

While at the time the critical response to Cataclysm was pretty good, a lot of players criticized the expansion’s seemingly ramped-up difficulty (especially Heroic raids) and disappointing final raid, Dragon Soul – which also added the ever-controversial LFR (looking for raid) function. As someone whose first steps in Azeroth were amid the whispering emerald fields of the Jade Forest, Cataclysm felt like a bad memory for my guildmates, who I remember ranting about it all the time.

So, after the opening ceremony, I ask Longdale why Blizzard chose to reopen the Cataclysm chapter of the WoW saga, and how the “changes” she mentioned at the Opening Ceremony will affect the experience.

A picture of the BlizzCon 2023 stage showing off World of Warcraft Cataclysm Classic

“So we, much like many players, were like ‘Oh, God, are they gonna do Cataclysm?’ and we were like ‘why don’t we just ask?'” she tells me in our exclusive interview. “Then we got the survey data back and… it wasn’t bad.” She cites the expansion’s length, as well as “all of the circumstances surrounding Cataclysm” as the aspects that likely left a bitter taste in players’ mouths, admitting that the expansion’s first run “could have been better.

“But we were honestly really surprised and delighted that [the survey] assuaged our fears – it felt like something we absolutely should do [Cataclysm Classic].

“Then it was looking at, what are the right changes to make? There’s a difference between what will change for launch versus what will change throughout, but [the team] want to continue quite a bit of the stuff that they’ve been doing in Wrath [of the Lich King Classic], so I’d expect some of those things – a lot of those things – to carry over,” she tells me with a wry smile. “And the pacing is different – more than likely, Cataclysm is going to play out over a year.”

YouTube Thumbnail

Recalling some data from the surveys, Longdale notes that players called Cataclysm’s endgame content “some of the best raids in WoW,” noting that there “wasn’t really anything that players identified that they didn’t like at all. Even classes themselves – we were expecting that to be an unpleasant response, and it wasn’t.

“I don’t know if we were coloring things with how hurt we were by the loudest in the room,” she laments. “And when we do surveys, it’s not the loudest in the room.”

A black dragon creature with molten orange lava in its mouth in a cave

So, love it or hate it, Cataclysm is back. The skies will rain fire as Deathwing sunders Azeorth, bringing about a whole new World of Warcraft. Having spent far too much time visiting the familiar yet unfamiliar vistas of Northrend in WotLK Classic, I’m excited to experience Cataclysm in action for the first time – Deathwing, you killed me plenty of times in Heroes of the Storm, but not any more.

If you, like me, left BlizzCon with a hunger for all thing Warcraft, then we have a list of the best WoW addons for retail World of Warcraft, as well as a WoW Dragonflight tier list so that you can dive in as one of the game’s best classes.