World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Preview and Screenshots

The guys at NZGamer have slapped up a preview of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, which appears to be based on their time during the most recent beta test phase.
Choosing a hunter, the first thing I noticed was that I start with a pet! No more level ten learning how to catch your first pet quest required. Sure, you can't actually control it until level ten but it's pretty smart, does loads of damage and holds agro incredibly well. It also behaves like a "defensive" mode hunter pet from live WoW, so you don't need to worry about it running around agro-ing things.

Something else that's new is that my weapon of choice (in this case, the heirloom bow) no longer needs ammunition! No more wasted bag space, no more embarrassing situations in heroics where you're suddenly meleeing the boss due to lack of preparation.

Probably the biggest change, though, is the removal of mana from the Hunter's toolkit. Now, like a pet, the Hunter uses focus (very similar to a Rogue or Cat-Druid's energy) to power their various attacks. Arcane shot, for example, uses 50 focus. At the early levels focus takes a loooong time to come back (about 2 per second) resulting in very careful selection of mobs to actually use any focus-powered shots on. Presumably this will change as talent points or other skills are learned throughout the levelling process because, as it is, it seems underpowered.

My little Goblin is now level 11 and has already completed some 99 quests in the Goblin starting area. As many as that may sound (and there are plenty left, it seems) the time absolutely flew by thanks to the incredibly innovative and fun experience that the Goblin starting zones represent. I'm not going to detail every quest (having certain things happen right in front of you for the first time is a thrill I don't wish to deny you) but I am telling you right now - you simply MUST experience it. I don't care if you're anti-alt or are "on a break". When you get the chance, play through the Goblin starting area.
And if you're looking for some new screenshots, there's a large batch on offer at Hooked Gamers.