Oh man, flamebait! My favorite! My opinion is that it's a little from column A, a little from column B. While there's still content in WoW that requires a significant amount of skill and dedication, most of the content is much easier than it was in The Burning Crusade (which I think was more difficult than vanilla WoW). On top of that, I do think that average skill level is higher now than it was in vanilla WoW. Players are better at multitasking with their abilities, they understand base mechanics better due to there being more reliable game resources out there, all of that sort of thing. So yes, the game is easier, but we're also better at it.
However, that doesn't mean there's no hard content in WoW. Absolutely not, because there is. The problem is that the hard content is incredibly gated and tucked away, and is made less intimidating by the fact you can do most of the hard stuff in 'easy mode' first. Anub'arak in Trial of the Grand Crusader is hard. Super hard. But if you can almost nap through the fight in the normal mode of the dungeon, the bite is taken away. Fights that are truly difficult in hard mode don't form a reputation for being hard, because they're ridiculously easy on normal mode. Everybody says, "Anub'arak is so easy!" when they really mean Anub'arak's normal mode is easy. Kind of silly. I'd like to see more of the hard content be like Algalon: Legitimately hard, no matter how you approach it.
Blizzard could certainly make the content as hard as they want, so player skill isn't going to make or break the difficulty of the game. But I think that the average skill level is higher now than it was two or three years ago, and it's something they take into consideration when designing encounters.
"Any word on flying restrictions in Cataclysm, like Cold Weather Flying? Or will we be able to fly anywhere from 80?"
No word yet. At least, none that I can remember. This is a question you should write down and ask us again once the Cataclysm beta starts.
"Will there be a Shattrath/Dalaran equivalent in Cataclysm? I don't remember if they mentioned one or not. I have a long list of reasons why I'd love to go back to just using the home cities again, including lag, lag, lag, lore, lag, lag..."
We're going to be using our original, faction-specific capitals in Cataclysm. Orgrimmar/Undercity and Ironforge/Stormwind will be the big sexy hubs again. There will be neutral quest hubs, like Deepholme and all of that sort of thing, but the capital cities will be faction-specific again.
"So, now that the Queue is "Ask a Beta Tester", "Ask a Lore Nerd", and "Ask silly questions", is there anything else we need to know about? Will you be coming home late at night with lipstick on your collar?
Does Mrs. Queue need to be scared?
Please, Queue, think of the children!"
Never fear, Nayr! Ask a Beta Tester will be its own spiel when the Cataclysm beta kicks off... probably. Maybe. It depends on if they both have sustainable popularity or not, hopefully they do. Ask a Lore Nerd and The Queue have been folded in together because both columns were basically the same format, and suffered equally from community burnout on current content. It's really hard for us to answer pie-in-the-sky questions like, "Do you think Tirion Fordring will become the new Lich King and implement player housing in 2013?" We don't mind throwing a "Maybe!" at a question now and then, but it was getting a little crazy. So by combining the two, hopefully we'll have a better product in the end.
Ask a Beta Tester will probably (key word is probably) come back on its own for the Cataclsym beta, and go away again when it ends.
"It appears that the dominant bad-guy faction in Cataclysm will be the Twilight Hammer. I've seen a couple of these tribes in remote places, like northern Silithus or BFD, but never anything really extensive behind their origins. Is there any current quest lines I can do in-game to get caught up on this faction's lore?"
The Twilight's Hammer clan was originally a clan of orcs (and ogres) from Draenor, which had Cho'gall (the first ogre magi) as its chieftain. After the various "holy crap orcs are storming through the dark portal halp" wars, the Cho'gall dropped off the map and the clan evolved into something a bit... different. The Twilight's Hammer clan twisted into something of a cult, where people of all walks of life following Cho'gall's teachings and worshiped the Old Gods. This is why you'll find them wherever you find an Old God's taint, like Silithus, Blackfathom, Ulduar, and now all over the place in Cataclysm.
In the comic, Cho'gall is back in action and resurrecting C'Thun while mutating into some freak... thing. When Deathwing comes back, he's sort of going to be a herald of the Old Gods, so the Twilight's Hammer are going to be his pets, more or less.
Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW.com crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column! Leave your questions in the comments and we'll do our best to answer 'em!