World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Closed Beta Begins

Check your inboxes and Battle.net accounts, World of Warcraft players. The closed beta test for the next expansion to Blizzard's ultra-mega-super-popular MMORPG has begun with invites going out to "a wide range of players from around the world."

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Our focus with Cataclysm has been to build on the knowledge we've gained through the previous expansions to deliver the best, most compelling World of Warcraft content for our players to date," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Gathering focused feedback during the beta test will go a long way in helping us reach that goal when we launch Cataclysm later this year."

I recently got a chance to go hands-on with the two new races and their new starting zones prior to E3 2010. You can read my preview while you wait for your invite. The expansion will raise the level cap to 85 from 80, add the two aforementioned playable races, and loads of content across the entire game world.