Immersion and Lore in Cataclysm

World of Warcraft Insider has a spoiler-laden look at "immersion and lore" in the upcoming WoW expansion Cataclysm, by which they mean "questing, cutscenes, art and zone design".
What's really amazing to me is how well it all hangs together and expands. Events you won't even see until level 80 inform and affect everything you do leveling up in Darkshore and Ashenvale. Figures like Malfurion Stormrage and Queen Azshara make their appearances; you stand against the Twilight's Hammer and the machinations of the Old Gods; you're far from a passive figure as other, older heroes do the work. Likewise, you Horde aren't left out. The Barrens (North and South now) and Azshara give you plenty of big names to encounter and epic deeds to fulfill (trust me, you'll love catching up with Azuregos). You get swept up in the conflict between factions, whether you're a Forsaken trying to push into Gilneas or a worgen trying to push them out, and each side does its level best to appeal to the player and get him or her deeply immersed in the story. Frankly, I think it works. My tauren started loathing the very sight of worgen after 10 minutes in Silverpine, not a day after my worgen had run through the starting area and wanting to scream bloody vengeance from atop a pile of undead.

The immersion is only aided by how events seem to spiral ever more tightly into near-total collapse. The dangers of Hyjal, as Ragnaros and his minions set the mountain ablaze, escalate into a full-fledged catastrophe. Every quest seems like staving off destruction, and you make deals along the way with forces inimical to your goals and have to accept those consequences. Vashj'ir combines sweeping underwater vistas and first person reveals of the history of the naga with nail-biting conflicts with little hope. Deepholm presents you with the higehest stakes imaginable, as you're forced to try and ally with Therazane to save both Azeroth and the elemental plane from total collapse while dealing with the legacy of mortals slaying Theradras for mere trinkets, a loss that has embittered the very elemental lord you need.