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Cataclysm Bucket List Part 1: Things To See

January 9, 2012

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.

3. Transmogrify.

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.)

4. “Archaeology.” 
(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?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. January 9, 2012 11:08 pm

    Such a great suggestion with Vashjir. I know I avoided it like the plague for a while, but after completing it for Loremaster I was really really glad I did! I think a lot of people skip over finishing Twilight Highlands as well once they get to the Earthen Ring quest hub, so I would recommend pushing forward there as well! Also, as Alliance Redridge is a must-quest!

    Achievement-wise, I would suggest actually reading through all those books on the Well Read achieve. They are a lore nerd’s dream, and also a great introduction to lore for beginners. 🙂

    • January 10, 2012 7:16 am

      I’m guilty of mostly skipping Highlands on my alts, at least once I get them to the point that they unlock the Wildhammer quartermaster. I guess I enjoy the early part of that zone and then slowly start to lose interest after the whole craziness of the Wildhammer wedding. It’s hard to top that. 😛

      I would *love* to do Well Read on any of my characters someday. I think the only thing that’s kept me from making it a higher priority is that it doesn’t come with a pet or a title, and I tend to be motivated more by achievements that have some kind of cosmetic reward. I always said (before Archaeology came out) that Well Read should reward you with a “Professor” title.

  2. January 10, 2012 7:06 am

    I have to contrast my comment with Gladly’s: I ran through all of Vashj’ir, too. And I still hated it. Mind, there’s some decent quests in there. But in all my subsequent alt runs through Cataclysm content, I went for Mount Hyjal, always.

    • January 10, 2012 7:14 am

      Hah, interesting. What did you hate about it? The questing experience itself or the way the zone was built? I’ll confess – I had a very difficult time getting acclimated to that sort of 3D environment the first time I quested through there.

  3. aralosseien permalink
    January 10, 2012 7:35 am

    Oh, Vashj’ir. When we started the 80-85 grind, we decided Vashj’ir over Hyjal because underwater seemed so new and exciting. It was a great zone, full of beautiful views and fun quests but it took SO LONG. We kept finishing a quest arc and thinking “Is this it? Are we done now?” and it wasn’t never the case. When we eventually DID finish it, I’d really enjoyed it but I would never feel the urge to go back there again.

    I actually talked the S.O. into doing the worgen starting zone with me yesterday and he had a whale of a time! Both the new levelling experiences were great fun and no-one should miss out on those.

    Gladly is right, the Well Read achievement is chockful of lore and I’ve only done a bit of it. I made a throwaway promise to write up a guide for it, months ago – maybe that’s something I should get on with 🙂

    Like the post, will link this and the next part in mine!

    • January 10, 2012 5:53 pm

      Thank you for the link! 🙂

      I agree that Vashj’ir is a particularly long zone – maybe longer than it should be. And, I’ll admit, I have only recently gotten the urge to take some other toons through there after basically avoiding it since the first month or two of Cata’s release. I understand not wanting to do it more than once, but I *do* think it’s doing at least that first time. 😀

  4. Cymre permalink
    January 10, 2012 7:46 am

    I was so excited when I first heard about Vashj’ir since I love the underwater stuff but when I actually started leveling in the area sometime after getting the seahorse as part of the chain I was kind of over it. I did manage to go back once I was 85 trying to get all the zone achievements done but it just wasn’t as much fun as I expected long term which was a shame. Because of that I missed out on the whole storyline of Neptulon, etc before stepping into the dungeon.

    I did enjoy flying over old familiar areas just to see how different things were. In fact it was one of the first things I did.

    • January 10, 2012 5:54 pm

      Every time I think I’ve seen everything I can possibly see on Azeroth, I accidentally take some strange path to get from one dig site to another and end up finding a weird lake, or abandoned house, or unknown NPC who I’ve never seen before. 🙂

  5. AliPally permalink
    January 10, 2012 8:02 am

    There are too many quests in Vashjir, and too many of them are of the ‘kill 10 Naga’ variety. If they were to remove some 30 or so quests I think it would be a lot better. Also Budd. I hate Budd. No, he is not funny.

    • January 10, 2012 5:55 pm

      I agree that Vashj’ir is probably a tad long, though I still enjoyed it. Fortunately, the vast majority of the zone is Budd-free once you get past the first stretch.

  6. January 10, 2012 8:09 am

    I must be a weird little snowflake then because I loved Vashj’ir. It’s so beautiful and some of the later quest chains, especially the Naga Battlemaiden one are awesome. I tend to do Vashj’ir first and then zip through the Hyjal stuff for the Molten Front dailies at 84ish to avoid Twilight Highlands.

    Hate the Worgen/Goblin start zones though, I start feeling really claustrophobic a few quests in but there’s no escape 😦

    • January 10, 2012 5:58 pm

      I love the Battlemaiden questline as well and can’t get enough of all the beautiful views throughout the zone. I’m also a huge fan of the Nespirah quests.

      My main issue with Worgen/Goblin isn’t that I have to do the linear questline the first time – it’s that I have no choice but to do it again every other time I roll a Worgen/Goblin character. I realize that’s probably a difficult thing to program, but I agree – I don’t really want to feel like I can’t get out of Gilneas until I’ve done the whole thing.

  7. Epick permalink
    January 10, 2012 10:30 am

    I switched mains at the end of wrath and have been slowly working towards another Loremaster title (I know, a little ridiculous). As part of that I’ve done most of the 1-60 zones post cata.

    As a horde I strongly recommend: Stonetalon Mountains, Western Plaguelands and surprisingly the Badlands. I believe the Alliance storylines in these zones also got a major overhaul.

    Most zones take no more than an hour with a lvl 85, and all of the zones that I’ve done are much improved from their previous incarnation.

    I also enjoyed going through Vashj’ir to experience the zone much more than when I was leveling in the zone on another character.

    • January 10, 2012 5:59 pm

      I rolled a Horde character a few months ago because I wanted to hit a few places and Stonetalon Moutains were high on the list. I still need to check out the Horde side of the story in the Plaguelands and Badlands, but you’re correct that the Alliance storylines got a lot of lore love in Cataclysm as well.

  8. January 10, 2012 11:14 pm

    This bucket list is a great idea! I agree that Archaeology is a great way to see Azeroth and also encounter lots of rares. I hope that Archaeology undergoes some changes next expansion so we can get more “fun” things like cool clothing or on use items, because the weapons and trinkets get kind of outdated and not much fun. I think I might have to do a bucket list too … when I finish making all these “gifts”.

    • January 11, 2012 7:23 am

      Can’t wait to see your bucket list! 🙂 It really would be nice to have some fun, transmogrifiable (new word!) outfits that you could get from archaeology in Mists of Pandaria. Perhaps some weapons as well? I’m sure they’ll have to come up with a few new rares for Mists, so I’m crossing my fingers we get something neat like that.

  9. Kol permalink
    January 11, 2012 3:43 pm

    I’m hoping we go back and to To4W and the rest of the T11 raids. D and Kol never got around to doing them when they were, strictly speaking, relevant.

    • January 11, 2012 5:36 pm

      I know there are a lot of people who still need Throne to get their T11 titles. Hopefully we can find enough interest to make that happen!

  10. Mittenz permalink
    January 11, 2012 3:47 pm

    Was hoping for some new ideas for myself, but the only one I haven’t done is finish archaeologising. I started it at least!

    • January 11, 2012 5:37 pm

      Glad to hear you’ve already covered so many of my favorite parts of this xpac. 🙂 If I might recommend one more thing, if you like PvP at all I’d suggest trying any of the locked brackets. I’ve recently stopped a priest at level 70 and I’m really enjoying running BC heroics with at-level groups and stepping into the locked battleground brackets. The queue times are a little longer than they would be for an 85, but they’re not at all unreasonable.

  11. Rah55 permalink
    January 11, 2012 4:04 pm

    I too loved the lore of the quests in Vashj’ir and particularly the Battlemaiden quests. Riding in the sub was fun too. It did seem like a while before i got back to the beach, but totally worthwhile! Maybe I can get someone to help me kill the shark, just for the sake of it!

    You have inspired me to start leveling another Hoarde character and to return to the low level alliance toons that have been sitting ilde. Thank you. Might even (gulp) try Archeology some more??? At least until MoP I would say.

    • January 11, 2012 5:39 pm

      I hope you enjoy your low level questing! I loved the submarine quest at the end of Vashj’ir … except for when it bugged out and got me stuck down there with no cut scenes to progress itself. I *hope* that’s completely fixed by now. 😛

  12. shelly permalink
    January 11, 2012 6:06 pm

    Now that I think back on it vashj’ir was fun but the problem with it besides being very long is that it throws in the third dimension while also having overhangs, caverns and kelp in the way all the time. Most of the travel is hard to complete a second time if you don’t have the auto transport anymore.

    • January 12, 2012 7:28 am

      Yeah, getting used to the layout of the zone can certainly be a challenge. The quests try really hard to show you exactly how to get to the next place, but they don’t always succeed.

  13. July 2, 2012 10:33 am

    I would finish quest zones and do things for lore if the lore was at all interesting to me. Blizzard has just never been good at telling a story imo. However they are very good at mechanics and adding an almost never ending level of depth to perfecting your skills. We all play for different reasons I suppose 🙂

  14. RevenantCommunity permalink
    July 22, 2012 12:45 pm

    I can imagine Vashj’ir being fun when you’re not level eighty and pulling three enemies at a time without an escape, haha.

    As for questing, I take an extremely long time to level because I have to read and complete every quest I see… unless it’s exceptionally horrible (that farmer in the outlands with the boars… my god)

  15. August 16, 2012 3:00 pm

    I did Vashj’ir on Fey, despite the bugs (yes, early, while it was still buggy). I’m still stuck with a throne of tides quest that bugged as a result (turn in at the end of the instance, but it bugged out (since fixed), so I’d have to run the instance again to complete the quest). I started to run it on Ashila after that – but she got distracted by the herbs, and is still part-way through because I kept going herbing instead of finishing the quests. 😛


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