Farewell to Cataclysm

With Mists of Pandaria a little under a week away from raising the level cap and bringing us new content to explore, I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on all things ‘Cata’ and share some of my experiences with you all.  I know that many seasoned players feel the Cataclysm hasn’t lived up to its potential but I hope at least some will try and take some positives out of it so that they, like me, can look back upon it with fondness whilst treading a new path through Pandaria.

I was still levelling my first character when The Shattering tore Azeroth apart and witnessed firsthand the devastation Deathwing wrought when he blasted his way out of Deepholm.  I was one of his victims.  I logged on to find that I had been killed in a brutal attack on Menethil Harbor whilst I slept.  The landscape had been changed forever.

I struggled back to Stormwind to find that Deathwing had not forgotten the human capital on his rampage across Eastern Kingdoms.  The park had been laid to waste and a new graveyard was needed to accommodate the vast numbers of those who fell in his wake.

My time in WoW was just beginning in earnest…

I reached level 80 and was ready to embark on the next stage of my adventure.  I raced through levels 80-84 and enjoyed the gimmicks of the underwater Vashj’ir and Indiana Jones themed Uldum.  My first WoW goal was in site; Twilight Highlands and the level-cap beckoned.

Hitting level 85 passed with relatively little fuss actually.  I don’t know what I was expecting but I got a few ‘Grats’ in guild chat and that was that.  Maybe a parade or an audience with the King would have been more fitting of this accomplishment.

Heroic dungeons were the next on the agenda and the guild I was in at the time liked to hit them a lot.  I chose my running mates carefully from the guild and found myself geared up in no time.  I was keen to check out my first raids that I neither out-levelled nor out-geared.  Sadly, weeks of wiping on the trash before Magmaw in BWD followed and I realised that if I wanted to experience the end game content fully, I needed to look outside of the guild.

I began running BWD with a regular PuG and eventually downed Magmaw on my birthday of all days.  My first current raid boss was finally overcome and it felt epic.  Real life issues prevented that group from progressing much further sadly but I was hungry and decided I wanted more raiding.  I was invited to join Lost Hope on a few raids and immediately felt at home.  This was a group of people who shared my ambition to clear content.  Progression was tough but worth the effort as we fought our way through the normal modes.

Firelands arrived with much excitement and I was invited to take up an officer position in Lost Hope as well as shared raid leading responsibilities.  As the weeks drew on however, although we continued to make progress,  some members of the raid team found their enjoyment of the instance waning and numbers dwindled.  We picked up a few waifs and strays in trade chat and continued on as best we could and finally Ragnaros went down (with a little help from Immortalis tactics).  It was clear though that we were going to struggle in the final tier without new blood.

A couple of new recruits joined the guild but the numbers were still dropping.  It was then that I was invited to join Immortalis for a raid.  I was nervous.  I hadn’t been tested at the highest level.  What if I couldn’t cope?  It went well, kind of.  Luckily the group were more than capable of carrying a bungling hunter along for the ride without too much trouble and before I knew it I was a “Destroyer’s End”.  My heart was pounding; this was why I got into gaming.

In the weeks and months that followed I was fortunate enough to be involved in many nights that got the adrenaline pumping; Immortalis’ first kills on 5 of the 8 heroic bosses in Dragon Soul, including Spine and Madness, as well as our first kill of Heroic Ragnaros.  As a result, the raid group are all sporting their rewards from the tier 13 glory achievements and most have their mounts from killing Heroic Deathwing.  Immortalis sit proudly in 4th place on the realm in raid-progression with all encounters beaten before the next expansion.  That is most definitely to be something to be proud of and I can say I was part of it.  Need I mention the 5 Dragonwraths and 1 Fangs of the Father?

As I said at the beginning, perhaps Cataclysm didn’t live up to expectations for some people but it was my first expansion and thus will always hold a special place in my heart.  I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of the raid nights as well as the more chilled out evenings spent running dungeons, working on achievements or even grinding rep.  Everything in Azeroth is more fun when you do it in a group.  I would like to thank Blizzard for the opportunity to meet so many great people and players.  Thank them for the highs and lows of kills and wipes.  Thank them for stretching me, making me a better player and most of all thank them for Immortalis.

I would encourage you to post comments about the things you’ve enjoyed this expansion.  Share your memories of the 3rd World or Warcraft expansion and prepare yourselves for the 4th.

Farewell Cataclysm and welcome Pandaria.  For Cenarius, the Alliance and Immortalis!