Technically, there is no center of the universe that we know of. If there were it would be difficult to calculate. Most teenagers believe that their lives are the center of the universe, hasn't changed much since I was that age.
In Wrath, Dalaran served as a temporary center of the universe. It's location was on the same continent as Naxx, then Ulduar, ToC and finally Ice Crown Citadel. Like Shattrath it was a sanctuary, which mean that Alliance and Horde could co-exist in peace and even, if they were lucky, get married at the local Elvis chapel of...oh wait, that's Las Vegas.
Dalaran became THE place to hang out and troll the chat channels. We all love our trolls, admit it! It became the launching pad to all our activities. We had portals to all major capital cities so we could easily traverse the world (every 30 minutes at least) with ease. It had our portal into Wintergrasp, a place where some people seem to want to win with a little too much "excitement", if you know what I mean. (More on that subject another day, let's just say that I have issues).
Dalaran contained what would be our favorite vendors...GEAR VENDORS. Oh my gosh, gear...I need gear...I want more gear...what gear can I buy for 25...what gear can I get if I downgrade my...gear...oooooohhhh baby, gear!!!! (I know not all of you are gear whores, so don't take too much offense to my cheeky remarks).
For so many of those and other reasons, Dalaran was THE hub of the whole world.
Where will all the trolls and gear whores and gold sellers live in Cataclysm?
Where will all the reasonable, fun loving, enjoyable, friendly, sensible, intelligent, self-sufficient players hang out and prepare for raids in Cataclysm?
I...HAVE...NO...IDEA. What role will Dalaran play in Cataclysm? They will still have portals to many places around the world, so I suppose that it will still be of use to many people. Will it still be in Dalaran that we must go to find our Tier Gear Vendors? Or will we be able to find gear vendors in the major capital cities?
I realize that I have more questions than answers, so if somebody in the beta can enlighten me I would appreciate it. But let's assume, for a second, that you will be able to go to Stormwind and find your Tier 13 Gear Vendor (/moanwithneverendingjoy), or Ironforge, or Orgrimmar, or Undercity, or wherever. Let's assume that your needs can be met in every capital city and not Dalaran, where would you go? If you're planning a raid at Grim Batol's Bastion Twilight, you may want to gather your mats at Ironforge (if your Alliance).
The new zones are all over the world, they are not nicely fit into one little continent anymore. As a result I think that we'll all be seeing more of the world than we've seen since Vanilla. One day you'll be in the new zone over by Sithilus, the next in the Twilight Highlands by the Wetlands. Gilneas one day, the Lost Isles the next...and so on and so forth. We must travel to the new dungeons at least once, but raids will not be in the same place. They will be scattered and will require more travel.
Thank goodness for flying mounts in Azeroth, right? I, for one, am not disappointed by this change. In Wrath every raid was no more than the zone right next to Dalaran. When raids were done your friendly mage puts up a portal to where? You guessed it, Dalaran! But when we're done raiding Blackwing Descent, where will we ask our mage to send us? Mages will have to be patient, take requests individually or a few at a time. Will all of us build a home in the ruins of Lordaeron? Will all of us wish to return to Stormwind only in time to flame the next troll? Where will we go?
Will there be a new center of the universe? Or, as the real universe tells us, will we set up shop as clusters of galaxies and stars and planets; clusters of gnomes, dwarfs, trolls, blood elfs, etc. Some here and some there but never like the old days of Dalaran? Or will we be stubborn and nostalgic as we remain in Dalaran to see ICC crumble and think of our own exploits that hasted its ruin? Will we be forced to stay in Dalaran even though all the exciting new adventures will no longer be found in Northrend?
It's all very curious to me, I don't really know what to expect. Maybe that's why there will be two trade districts in Stormwind, in anticipation of an increased population? Whatever happens I'll be a part of some cluster. Maybe I'll just put my Warlock in IF, my Shaman in Darnassus, my Priest in Stormwind and my new Worgen will roam the wild. One thing is for sure, I'll be seeing you around the world a lot more than I did in the past. Just hope you don't get in my way or I'll have my little Warggie eat your heart!