While I can’t yet speak for any of the other new zones in Cataclysm since I haven’t had the time to get to them just yet, I have been in awe since entering Mount Hyjal and finishing up questing there in the past couple of days. Never before in WoW have I experienced a good 125+ straight quests that have been so enjoyable.
It makes sense to start at the beginning, with the starter quest that leads into the zone — Warchief’s Command: Mount Hyjal or Hero’s Call: Mount Hyjal. Either quest takes you to Moonglade, and from there on an Emerald Drake ride to the new zone. Immediately, you’re bombarded by imagery of the terrifyingly huge Deathwing and his favorite new pal Ragnaros, who appear suddenly right in the path of your flight.
But either Deathwing doesn’t care enough about one solitary drake to attack, or he’s too busy scheming to leave his dirty business aside — because you survive the sighting and even live on to warn the heroes at your side and then start down the path to assembling a team that can take down the fire lord.
You’re presented with this very clear objective from the start, and spend most of the rest of the time in Hyjal finding a way to make it happen. There are a few scant quests thrown in along the way that seem less connected to the overarching plot than others (bear tossing, anyone?) but overall, there were very few times throughout the zone that I felt I wasn’t somehow contributing to the good fight. And, to be honest, most of the time I felt like a rabid fangirl who had fallen into an epic battle with some of my favorite characters from Warcraft lore.
Click through for more commentary along with a massive photo gallery of the Hyjal experience, from start to finish.
First, the team had to be assembled. This is where my reading of War of the Ancients not too long ago really paid off. I knew the trilogy would be very important to the Cataclysm lore, but as it turns out, it is even more central than I had thought.
Your character is tasked with reviving the ancients who were once-thought to be lost since the War of the Ancients: demi-goddess Aviana and the wolf ancient Goldrinn; You free the turtle demi-god Tortolla from his captors; And team up with the likes of Malfurion Stormrage, Ysera and the Green Dragonflight and even Cenarius. Each of the ancients has their own fight to win before they can commit to the greater cause, and you champion each of their battles. There even were a couple of times that I had to laugh out loud to the pitting of beasts against each other — Beast Wars fashion Core Hound versus Raptor; Good turtle versus Evil turtle; Green drake versus Twilight drake.
Another comical moment — rescuing the great War of the Ancients commander Jarod Shadowsong from the clutches of ogres by causing a riot at a Twilight camp’s “Graduation Ceremony.”
With Ragnaros lurking nearby, intent on destroying the great and magical world tree Nordrassil, and with beautifully phased content throughout the zone, I was definitely feeling that sense of urgency to battle on.
An unexpected cut scene only added to that urgency as the team finally comes together — and soon thereafter, it’s finally time to pay Ragnaros a visit. The event has you helping Cenarius, Malfurion and Archdruid Hammul Rimtotem on beating back the fire lord to the dark depths from whence he came. You’ll definitely want to get in on this action. I viewed the event a few times. Because I could.
And I thought that was a fitting end to Hyjal questing — the zone had opened with the appearance of Ragnaros, and concluded with the epic battle to beat him back. A full circle experience.
After finishing up the questing, I had leveled up to 82; gained a few achievements; run my first Cataclysm dungeon (Black Rock Caverns); earned a new companion pet; scored a couple of gear upgrades (plus a couple of vanity items); gotten in a lot of skinning skill ups; and gotten the hang of using one of my favorite new skills for leveling – Recuperate.
Now that you’ve heard about this epic journey, take a look through the gallery below that chronicles the adventure. And share your own thoughts on this questing experience below.