I re-subscribed to World Of Warcraft yesterday and have been playing on a level ~20 character with a friend. I've seen references in quests and dialogue to the defeat of the Lich King, and several prominent figures from Northrend like Thassarian hanging out in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Has this progression in WoW's storyline had any effect on quests in Northrend? Will my level 20 gnome be unable to witness the betrayal at the Wrathgate and the assault/retaking of the Undercity? Does the Lich King no longer make cameo appearances during major quests? Or is the continent of Northrend surrounded by some kind of lore-protection bubble?

(I'm kind of hoping it is, because man, that stuff was cool.)

  • 3
    Oh man all these Cataclysm posts are tempting me to resubscribe! Must... resist...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Nov 30 '10 at 16:26
  • 3
    Jooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin usssssssssssssss.
    – Brant
    Nov 30 '10 at 16:29
  • @ivo we need to be able to downvote comments - resistance is futile...
    – Antony
    Dec 3 '10 at 5:55

For the most part, Northrend and Outland are unchanged. What changes do exist, primarily are there to push players back to the old world at level 80 - i.e. the portals to the various faction capitals have been removed from Dalaran (except for Stormwind/Orgrimmar), replaced by a full slate of class trainers and an Auctioneer.

In general, WoW tends to play somewhat fast and loose with it's timeline and always has - the only real rule of thumb is that, for the most part, higher level content is chronologically later - but the Cataclysm breaks this rule somewhat as the 1-60 world now takes place some 5 years after the events of Wrath of the Lich King. Essentially, once you hit level 60, you go back in time for a little while to check out The Story So Far before rejoining the rest of the world at 80.

The most dramatic 'lore' change to Northrend is that the loading screen no longer depicts Arthas, but rather his replacement.

  • Good point on the removal of portals -> class trainer and auction npcs Nov 30 '10 at 16:52
  • How I hate the removal of portals. HIGHLY annoying. Dec 2 '10 at 22:13
  • @Satanicpuppy: I can assure you, you'll care substantially less in approximately one week. Dec 2 '10 at 22:18

I know the Battle for the Undercity was removed from the game. Not sure about other questlines that may have been altered.


  • 3
    Well, that's disappointing.
    – Brant
    Nov 30 '10 at 18:24

By and large it hasn't changed. Blizzard reps have said in an interview that they would have liked to have updated Outland and Northrend as well, but they simply didn't have time.

I seem to recall they did say that they would likely be updated, although not as much as the old world was, in a later expansion.

Note: I can't find said interview right now.

  • 1
    Was it this interview? "We have started to talk about what we need to do because there's currently no conguity between the story that we are telling in Cataclysm and the one in Outland. It feels a little weird to have the whole "Deathwing is back and has destroyed the world" and then you walk into Outland and you're like "Hey! There's this guy, Illidan". We don't exactly know how we're going to tackle that yet, but we definitely want to find a solution."
    – Brant
    Dec 1 '10 at 21:19

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