BlizzCon 2009 kicked off today, and we just learned a few things at the con that are sure to get World of Warcraft fans excited. In case you haven't heard, FEARnet fave Sam Raimi is attached to direct the upcoming World of Warcraft film. The film is in the early development stages while Raimi is hard at work on Spidey 4, but according to Blizzard founder Mike Moreheim, World of Warcraft is a passion of Raimi's. He plays the game with his son, and brought him and some friends to BlizzCon 2008. While chatting with some of the creatives at Blizzard, Raimi mentioned that he "heard" they did not have a director attached to the feature film. But apparently Raimi was on the company's "Top Five" list of dream directors for the project. Things fell into place after that, and Raimi and Blizzard are working with a "major screenwriter" to flesh out the story.
Meanwhile, the landscape of in-game WoW is about to be ripped apart – literally. The new expansion, entitled Cataclysm, details just that. The entire in-game world has been torn asunder by Deathwing the Destroyer, a massive dragon who has been living underground. When he awakens, he leaves a path of violent destruction in his wake, which will literally change the game as players know it. We aren't talking just a new island or continent (even though new areas will be revealed), we are talking a complete revamp of all the lands you have played a dozen times over. Once Deathwing is released, there is no going back (even if you don't install the upgrade).
The second-most intriguing change is the addition of two new playable races: the Horde will have goblins (those little green guys who usually work down by the docks), and the Alliance will have the worgen, an aggressive werewolf-like race that will allow you to shape-shift. Both races will also have their own brand new starting area. Other bits that hardcore WoWers will enjoy include more high-level raids and zones; flying mounts in Azeroth; level cap increased to 85; new race/class combos; new PVP and Battleground areas; and guild advancements and achievements.
No release dates for either project have been announced. Speculation places World of Warcraft: Cataclysm around the end of 2010; World of Warcraft: The Movie likely after that.