While it may or may not hint to the release date of the next expansion, a listing on Amazon has pegged the release of a hardcover novel by award-winning author Christie Golden entitled World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm. While that might seem like one colon too many (insert snickering here), the self-explanatory title actually sounds pretty cool. What sounds uncool, however, is that it's a prelude. Meaning before.
If you're reading into this as much as I am (generally not a good idea), that could mean that the Cataclysm expansion will ship after August 31. After all, you'd think that Blizzard's marketing team would want a book that reveals what happens before the Cataclysm to actually launch before the expansion hits, right?
Well, not really. The Arthas book, which focuses on the Lich King, was released long after Wrath broke out. In short, the novels follow a completely different schedule from the game even though they all share the same lore. So I made you fret over absolutely nothing! You didn't fall for it? Ok, so I made myself fret over absolutely nothing. The book is available for pre-order at $26 on Amazon and should be chock-full of lore and hopefully explain a lot of what will change during the expansion.
Considering how a lot of people (well, okay, at least Alex and Daniel) geeked out over Golden's Arthas novel, this book promises to be a good read. At any rate, we can probably expect it to be free of super-powerful, hackneyed, Mary Sue-ish, self-projected characters like time-traveling dudes who shack up with the hottest girl or multi-racial scions who can wield all kinds of magic. I mean, it's a freaking black dragon, man. It's kind of hard to mess up something innately awesome as that.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.