BlizzCon kicked off this morning with a keynote address that brought some major announcements for some of their games. First, World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm, was officially revealed. It differs from the previous expansions in that they will not be creating an entirely new continent for players to explore. Instead, the two huge continents from the original game will be going through a literal cataclysm, causing some zones to be destroyed, new ones to become available, and existing ones to be entirely revamped. Big news came for Diablo III as well, with the announcement of the Monk class and a trailer showing how it plays. More details for both games as well as StarCraft II will undoubtedly become available over the next few days, but read on for more about what we already know. If you have any questions, don't forget to post them here.Cataclysm will also be different due to the fact that the new level cap is 85 — a five-level increase, as opposed to the ten-level increases from previous expansions. That's not to say there is less content, but the idea is that each individual level will be more meaningful. There will be two new playable races for this expansion: Goblins for the Horde and Worgen for the Alliance. The disaster apparently strikes the Goblins hard, forcing from their lands and into conflict with an "unknown enemy," which the Horde helps them with. Meanwhile, the Greymane Wall has broken open, revealing the kingdom of Gilneas, the residents of which were turned into the werewolf-like Worgen, but were able to keep their human minds.
The revamped Azeroth will include updated dungeons — heroic versions of Shadowfang Keep and the Deadmines — as well as entirely new dungeons for leveling and endgame. It's not yet clear whether the old version of the damaged zones will still be around in some form, but look for an explanation in the next few days. Players will be able to use their flying mounts in the new Azeroth. The dragon Deathwing is making a return, and will serve as a major villain. In addition to the damaged zones, some will change in other ways — Desolace, which is currently a barren wasteland, will find new life from the water of the tidal waves, turning the land green. The more damaged zones will feature lots of lava and broken terrain. There will be new Battlegrounds, new Race/Class combinations (we saw a Troll Druid, Tauren Paladin, and Gnome Priest), a new profession called Archaeology, a guild leveling system, tons of new monsters and quests, as well as a new "character progression" system called "Path of the Titans."
From the Diablo III Monk trailer, you can see that the class seems to have an area-of-effect swing of his weapon, a way to reflect spells, and an attack that sprints between a bunch of enemies, hitting each of them. The monk also seems to be able to make enemies explode quite easily. And messily.