Cataclysm (event)

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The Great Divide, one of many fissures in the land caused by the Cataclysm.
This article is about the event known as the Cataclysm. For the expansion, see World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

The Cataclysm[1][2] (also called the Great Cataclysm[3], the sundering[citation needed] or the Shattering[citation needed]) was a worldwide disaster that struck Azeroth following Deathwing blasting his way from Deepholm into the world. Earthquakes, volcano eruptions and floods followed in his wake, reshaping the face of the world.

It is also the era in which the stories of Cataclysm took place[4] and ended with the death of Deathwing.[5]

For the players, the Cataclysm was introduced on November 23, 2010 with Patch 4.0.3a.


After the war against the Lich King, War Against the Nightmare and the uprising of the shamanistic Earthen Ring, the world of Azeroth was threatened by the Elemental Unrest.


Main article: Patch 4.0.3a (world changes)

The coastlines of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms shifted, flooding some old lands and exposing new ones. Whole parts of the world, like Thousand Needles and a large chunk of Tanaris, ended up underwater. In some cases, tidal waves caused by the Cataclysm flooded or destroyed coastal settlements like Auberdine, Rut'theran Village, and Feathermoon Stronghold, forcing their residents to relocate — usually inland. Even far from the coast, fires, avalanches and lava eruptions changed some areas beyond recognition. The Barrens was split into two.

The tectonic shifts blocked some old routes, like the one between Badlands and Loch Modan, and opened some new ones through previously impassable mountains. The Cataclysm also damaged an ancient titan device previously hiding the Uldum complex, exposing access to it from Tanaris. The island of Kul Tiras was shifted out to sea by shifting tectonic plates.[6] Zandalar has been severely crippled.[7]

Far out in the ocean, the Wandering Isle experienced what Chen Stormstout described as horrible waves.[8]

The Cataclysm brought the Elemental Plane closer to Azeroth, bringing the world in direct conflict with the elemental lords — including Ragnaros, who, upon his return, assaulted Nordrassil, prompting Malfurion Stormrage to organize a defense of Mount Hyjal again.

The goblin island of Kezan and the self-isolated nation of Gilneas suffered greatly from natural disasters, leading directly to events that affected the existing balance between the Horde and the Alliance respectively, redrawing the political map of the world. Mount Kajaro on Kezan erupted, forcing an evacuation by the goblins. Earthquakes damaged the Greymane Wall that had protected Gilneas by land and a coral reef that protected them by sea, opening them up to invasion by the Forsaken and the rest of the Horde. Large chunks of of the lands near the sea also ended up underwater in a manner of seconds.

During his last battle, Deathwing tried to summon the final Cataclysm. After the Aspect's death, Thrall concluded that the Cataclysm is over.

The mists around Pandaria parted because of the Cataclysm.[9]


  • Although Dustwallow Marsh was not very updated and changed (only a highway added) in the game, the Cataclysm somehow affected the area lorewise.[10]