At Blizzcon just a few minutes ago, Blizzard announced the name of and nature of the new expansion: CATACLYSM.
- New races, Goblin (Horde), Worgen (Alliance).
- Azeroth is shattered; looks like Wetlands might be gone forever, so hurry up and get that red whelpling!
- With the redesign of Azeroth, we'll finally get to fly there since the "new" landscape won't have the 'shortcuts' that previous ones had.
- New class/race combos. I have seen many theories of how this may or may not fit into lore, and in most cases they make sense.
- New secondary skill - archeology? I didn't see that coming anywhere.
- Heroic SFK - what about others? ETA - the website makes it clear that MANY old-world instances will have heroic modes now (Our GM just pointed out in email that we'll probably be bouncing off those entrances, too).
There are those that are upset that their precious lore of old has been upended. While I am no fan of retconning, there is one thing to keep in mind: today's reality is tomorrow's lore. When the world is broken, a lot of things can change. Also, we're running into the end of compelling lore threads here. There are one or two other loose ends (emerald dream, etc) that need resolved, but, really, this thing needs to move forward at some point.
I think it's clever to use the breaking of Azeroth as an opportunity to revamp the landscape. It is a very elegant solution to a problem that has no doubt been giving them fits for a few years.
I have no clue on timelines or anything else, but I can say that I am very much looking forward to this.