Monday, November 29, 2010

Cataclysm is Coming

We are now officially only one week away from Cataclysm's release, so it is time to nail down your plans for the opening days of the expansion.  Some people may elect to race to level 85 as quickly as possible, either to simply get straight to the new endgame or to compete for prestigious Realm Firsts.  Others might be planning to take their time, soaking in all the new content.  Still others may still be unsure of what exactly they want to do come Cataclysm.

For my part, I have a couple goals for the expansions early days.  At one point, I had toyed around with the idea of racing to level 85.  My best estimate is that a competitive run from level 80 to 85 would take me about 36 hours of marathon play.  I seriously considered it, but have decided against it for a couple reasons.  First and foremost, I'm not as young as I used to be.  At one time, a 36 hour gaming marathon would have been no big deal.  I could have managed it without excessive fatigue or headaches and could have bounced back after just a few hours sleep.  These days, however, I could see the process becoming agonizing.  I would also probably render myself useless for the next week.

Another reason I have elected not to rush to 85 is that I really do not want to trivialize all the new content.  I was in the beta and toyed around with it enough to know that there is a ton of fantastic content coming our way in Cataclysm.  Blasting through to level 85 would make that content more of an obstacle than an experience.  I remember racing to level 70 when Burning Crusade was released and, when I was done, being stripped of any desire to go back and actually experience that content.  Further, I was so burnt out from the process of getting to level 70 that I was not all that into raiding for the month or so that followed.  I plan to learn from that lesson in Cataclysm.

Now that I have gone over what I will not be doing in Cataclysm, I guess it is time to write a bit about what I actually will be doing.  Just because I will not be racing to 85 doesn't mean I do not plan to do any racing.  I hope to race to max out my Herbalism and maybe, depending on how things are going on December 7, to max out my Alchemy as well.  That way I can land (or at least compete for) a "Realm First" Achievement without losing a whole day and my sanity.

After my profession blitz, I plan to approach Cataclysm the same way I approached Wrath of the Lich King.  I will gradually quest and instance my way to 85.  When WotLK came out, I pledged to read every piece of quest text as I pushed to 80.  The result was one of the best leveling experiences I have ever had.  For anyone who is interested in World of Warcraft's story, I would encourage you to make the same promise to yourself.  You will be setting yourself up to really stretch the value of Cataclysm and also to have a rich and fulfilling leveling experience that will have you good to go when you reach endgame.

What are your plans for Cataclysms early days?  What is the first thing you will do come release?

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