World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Previews, Interview, and Concept Art

Blizzard Entertainment was busy revealing more information about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm while I was off at E3, having published a preview of the Grim Batol dungeon, a preview of the Ruby Sanctum dungeon, an in-house interview with J. Allen Brack, and two new pieces of World of Warcraft concept art. From the interview:
BI : I wanted to get your thoughts on the legacy of the game. Twenty years from now, when kids are reading game design textbooks, what do you think they might say about World of Warcraft?

JB : I love talking about this. How has World of Warcraft helped contribute to the gaming landscape as a whole? One neat innovation that other online games have picked up on is the (language of rest.) During beta, when the rest system first got introduced, it was the reverse of what it is now. When you were rested, you got 100% experience, and when you were tired, you got 50%. It felt very punitive -- you were (punished) for playing longer. This is in games all over the place -- some game developers really tend to punish players, and it's never made sense to me. By the time World of Warcraft launched, we had changed the language of that system -- it's the exact same system, but instead of being 100% experience when you're rested and 50% when you're tired, it's 200% and 100%, and the player perception of that change is so significant. It's a fantastic system that represents the spirit of Blizzard.

I also don't think that raiding content has been done this well. I'm sure at some point, someone will do it better, but it's been a huge part of the success of World of Warcraft. End-game content has never been done like this before -- that's a back-of-the-box type legacy. I think that the quality of our content just reflects the fact that the time has passed for making excuses for MMOs. When MMOs were in their infancy, we'd hear comments like, (it's an MMO, so it's okay that it's buggy. It's okay that it doesn't make sense. It's okay that you don't know how to play the game very well.) That excuse is gone. I have a lot of fond memories of Ultima Online; it's a game that I and a lot of other people played and loved, an extremely memorable game, but I don't know that you're going to see a game like that ever again, just because of the lessons that it taught.