Cataclysm Bucket List Part 1: Things To See
Recently Cynwise and then Aralosseien have made “Bucket Lists” for Cataclysm in which they detailed the remaining goals they’d like to fulfill on all of their characters before Mists of Pandaria is released. While I have a second post in the works going over my goals for my toons, I wanted to offer some general thoughts first about some aspects of the expansion that you may have skipped over, and which are worth another look before we end this chapter of WoW.
1. Quest all the way through Vashj’ir. That’s all the way, to the end of the questline.
Somewhere along the way, Vashj’ir got a bit of a bad rap (I was in no way responsible for helping with this). If MMO Champion’s statistics on the subject are correct, only 70% of level 85 characters did enough of the questline to get their Subdued Abyssal Seahorse mount – and that’s only a dozen or so quests in! A lot of players tend to skip over it when leveling for a variety of good reasons. During 4.2, it especially didn’t make sense to take a toon through Vash’jir when you could level from 80-82 in Hyjal since you would need to do the majority of the quests there to unlock the Molten Front dailies and get your free epics.
As I’ve returned to that zone on alts after hurrying through all of the quest chain on my druid at launch, I’ve started to realize just how immersive and interesting the lore is there. Blizzard is unlikely to attempt an underwater zone like this again, and while it can be a little frustrating and (for me) disorienting at first, once you get used to the feel of the place it’s a total blast. The lore, the scenery, and the epic storyline all make it worth the time you’ll spend feeling like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, totally disconnected from all society.
2. Roll a low level Horde toon. Roll a low level Alliance toon.
There are hundreds of new quests and some truly amazing questlines in the revamped 1-60 experience, but we often put so much effort into leveling as fast as we can that we don’t stop to pay attention to the details along the way. If you haven’t done both the Worgen and Goblin starting areas, try them – even if you delete the toon once you’re finished. If you haven’t seen the changes to many of the classic zones (Darkshore, Silverpine, Redridge, the Plaguelands – just to name a few of my personal favorites), you are missing out on a ton of lore and on some of the biggest parts of the Cataclysm experience. Create a new toon and remove the Dungeon Finder tool from your bars. Spend some quality time questing, and don’t worry about out-leveling a zone too quickly. Remind yourself that you’re there for the story.
So, I’ve heard that it may be possible that not everyone cares about this feature quite as much as I do. But even if you don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about with the addition of Transmogrification in 4.3, give it a try. Take a look at your character and ask yourself, “What would he/she want to wear?” It’s a fun exercise in the smallest aspect of roleplaying, and can still be enjoyable even to those who don’t usually RP.
Plus, gathering up the pieces you need to make a great transmog set can mean running old content with your friends. It’s always fun to see how far you can push your limits with old content – some guildmates and I did Ulduar 10 with 2, 3, and 4 people over the weekend. (Yogg might not have required 4 people had a certain rogue not “accidentally” started us in the Yogg +0 Keepers version of the fight.)
(Used as a verb here, because I call searching for herbs “herbing” and searching for mining nodes “noding.” I’m an affront to all English majors, I know.)
Thanks to the recent changes to the number of fragments you get at each dig site, archaeology is much easier to level than it was at the beginning of the expansion. It only took me a weekend of focused effort to max out my warlock and I got some nifty cosmetic trinkets out of the deal. Most importantly, as Squelchy detailed in his latest post, archaeology is a fantastic, organic way to see Azeroth. I love how many unusual and scenic views I come across as I fly all over the world on my way to my next dig site. It’s easy to be cynical and think of it as a boring time sink, or to just hop on a taxi to go from one site to the next. But take some time out to do the flying yourself and get ready to snap a screenshot or two. I’ve mentioned before that I think flight in Azeroth is the best gift that Blizzard’s ever given us, and it’s not for the convenience – it’s for the view.
5. Poke your head into the Throne of the Four Winds.
I know that at least half of you won’t agree with me on this one. Throne had terrible loot and only two bosses, so it wasn’t high on the priority list for a lot of raid teams once they killed Al’akir and got their “Defender of a Shattered World” titles. But Throne is a truly beautiful instance. The art design, the music – it’s a huge departure from all the usual fire and darkness we see in most raids, and so it feels like a very unique experience. If you can get a few willing friends together, I really recommend heading back out to Uldum and giving this place another shot. The Al’akir fight is significantly easier now than it was at launch, and will be doubly so with our new 4.3 gear.
What other suggestions do you have for Cataclysm experiences that everyone should try before we move on to Mists of Pandaria? What were your favorite aspects of this expansion, particularly things that may have been overlooked by the majority of players?