Blizzard Entertainment has officially announced the release date for World of Warcraft's third expansion, Cataclysm. The expansion will go live on December 7, after several events leading up to its release. To kick things off, Patch 4.0.x will introduce many of the class and balance changes that have been designed for Cataclysm, and is likely to go live in mid-late October. A later patch, close to the expansion's release, will introduce major changes to "classic" (level 1-60) Azeroth, which will affect all players regardless of expansion ownership. There will also be world events leading up to the expansion's release, in which players will experience aspects of the titular cataclysm.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm features major changes to the game's two original continents, a heavily-revamped 1-60 levelling experience, two new races, a new profession (archaeology), and levelling zones/dungeons/raids for levels 80-85. For more information about Cataclysm's main features, see our original story. For a wide variety of visuals from the expansion, see our new screenshot gallery, featuring Blizzard's screenshots of the day from the past several months.