Reports abound that Blizzard has recently trademarked the word Cataclysm.
This sounds more like the title given to an expansion than a full game, so the speculation that World of Warcraft's next expansion will be titled Cataclysm, or possibly something along those lines.
Let's do a little more speculation about how the next expansion will shape up.
The two main continents of Azeroth will be destroyed. That's the cataclysmic event that the title portends. It won't be a complete destruction, only the areas level 50 and below will be destroyed.
It's no secret that Blizzard have gradually been reducing the importance of the original game for some time. Leveling has been sped up in order to get players to the high level raid content, and let's face it, no-one goes to the original WoW dungeons (raid or otherwise) anymore.
So this will give Blizzard a chance to get rid of all that pesky low-level content in favor of the high level stuff.
Of course this means one of two things must happen.
- All new characters created will start at level 50 or above.
- Blizzard will subtract 49 from the character level, effectively scaling everyone back down 50 levels, but with all the old attributes and gear intact.
Some of the old content can be repurposed for high-level use. After all a cataclysmic event often brings new and more serious challenges to a population. But much needs to be destroyed otherwise there will be too much new high low-level content and we know Blizzard doesn't want that.