Today, in Japan’s early-morning hours, Blizzard deployed patch 4.0.1 to test realm servers. Per Boubille’s summary, the patch is basically everything in the Cataclysm beta minus the Cataclysm-only features. This means 2 things: the next expansion is much closer to release than most suspected, and WotLK players not involved in the beta can get their first taste of the Cataclysm changes as the game goes through its second-ever awkward expansion transition.

If you recall the last time Blizzard moved between expansions, TBC ended with Ret Paladins rofflestomping every opponent this side of the galaxy, raid bosses exploding like loot pinatas because of the immense raid-wide buff changes, and other related chaos. Things are slated to get just as messy this time around with massive class mechanic changes, gear/stat/talent/glyph overhauls, and more. Wave goodbye to game balance in the months between releases. Most worrysome, expect to get nerfed hard if your class got re-engineered and you accumulated transition-unfriendly goods.

But this also means there’s a light at the end of the bland grind-tunnel that is present day WotLK. Halion was a nice distraction for guilds, but most folks are long past bored. We finally have a good indication with this patch that Cataclysm will see a late-2010 release. Hell, we might even be treated to a static release date at this year’s Blizzcon!

My excitement for WoW is returning. Let’s hope their timetable is fast enough to keep me strung along till release day.




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