Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft patch 4.0.3a: The Shattering of Azeroth is now live. The patch prepares the game for the upcoming expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which introduces new race/class combinations among a host of other new features.
From Blizzard's press release: "Without warning, the corrupted Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, erupted from the stone heart of Deepholm, the domain of earth within the Elemental Plane. Jagged fissures were torn across the earth, and monstrous waves pummeled coastal regions. From Thousand Needles to the Blasted Lands, the surface of Azeroth was reforged through violent upheavals. Now, the Horde and the Alliance must defend their homes against Deathwing and his minions, burdened by the unsettling fact that the world as they know it has changed…forever."
This is the most drastic upheaval to the MMO's environment in its six-year lifetime. Not only will the game areas bear the visual repercussions of Deathwing's devastation, but Gnomes and Trolls will have new starting areas, the game will feature new loading screens and cinematics, and XP requirements to reach levels 71-80 will be reduced by 20%.
Finally, those who are yet to obtain the Swift Zulian Tiger and Swift Razzashi Raptor mounts will have missed their chance as the Zul'gurub area is removed from the game!