Quick Start Guide to Cataclysm

The earth has been scorched and broken. The scars of Deathwing run deep across the land and the Azeroth of old is no more.

It is the time of the Shattering!

This is the time of the new Azeroth. The zones of the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor have been remade; the quests of levels 1-60 have been updated and there are new cooking and fishing dailies in Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

But the Shattering is an interim phase of the update and many of the awaited features of the full Cataclysm expansion are still a few weeks off. These include:

  • The new races of Worgen and Goblin
  • Increase in levels from 80 to 85
  • Flying mounts Eastern Kingdom and Kalimdor
  • Profession level increase from 450-525 (Illustrious Grand Master)
  • Guild leveling
  • Archaeology secondary profession
  • New zones 80+

To help get you started once Cataclysm hits the servers, I’ve put together this quick and dirty guide that should answer some of the questions you may have with the new release.

New Worgen and Goblin Races in Cataclysm

Many players will opt to create either Worgen (Alliance) or Goblin (Horde) alts when Cataclysm goes live in December. You’ll be able to quickly level each race very easily in their respective starter zones: Worgen start in the city of Gilneas (1-5) and Goblins Kezan (1-5). Once you reach level 5-6 you’ll pick up quests that lead you out of the starter zones and into wider Azeroth.

Tip: make sure you visit a trainer at this point and pick up a gathering and crafting profession. You’ll now find a professions trainer listing all professions in the towns adjacent to all the start zones. You’ll start to make gold from this point on.

Leveling Increase to 85

Once Cataclysm hits the servers the leveling cap for players will be raised from 80 to 85. Players can gain XPs by simply gathering and performing the new daily fishing and cooking quests in addition to questing and grinding. Tip: you’ll level faster if you once more stay rested between playing sessions.

Flying in Azeroth

The cool new addition to Cataclysm is the ability to use flying mounts in both the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. There is also a huge increase the number of flight paths throughout Azeroth, greatly reducing the travel times between key areas and zone (providing you have the coinage).

Flight Master’s License

Players with existing flying mounts will first need to obtain a ‘Flight Master’s License’ to be able to fly in Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdom and Deepholm.  The license is available at level 60 and costs 250 Gold. Flight trainers in the major cities can teach this spell including new flight trainers in Stormwind City and Orgrimmar. You’ll find them beside the existing flight masters. Tip: this spell is only available to those players who have purchased the expansion.

Illustrious Grand Master Professions

The level cap of the professions has also been raised from 450 to 525 with the title ‘Illustrious Grand Master’. Players that wish to gather the new Cataclysm material will need to have reached a skill level of at least 425. Gathering Ore, Herbs and Hide in Cataclysm will also lead to an increase in XP’s. Tip: max-out your Grand Master professions to at least 425 and better 450 level of skill before entering the new zones of Cataclysm.

Guild Leveling

Your guild will now receive experience through member participating in dungeons and raids enabling a guild to rise in levels and to gain achievements. Guild members will automatically be rewarded with perks. A great time to join a guild!

The Secondary Profession of Archaeology

An additional secondary profession of Archaeology has been added to Cataclysm which allows players to discover Artifacts scattered throughout Azeroth. Players will be able to Survey ‘dig sites’ that appear on the main map as a highlighted red zone.

The mechanics of surveying are very simple: upon entering the area of the ‘dig site’ and clicking the Survey icon, a telescope appears (theodolite) with a flashing light on top which indicates how close the player is to a hidden artifact. Players then walk in the direction that the telescope is pointing. The telescope quickly fades requiring the player to repeat the ‘survey’. For each survey, the flashing light will change from Red to Green, indicating that the player is in the right area. Eventually the artefact will be discovered and materialise. The process is repeated until all artifacts in a zone are found.

Discovered artifacts are placed in a ‘Journal’ – not in your inventory. Eventually, enough artifacts will be studied allowing them to be ‘unlocked’ with rewards such as Vanity Pets, Mounts and other ‘toys’.

I predict Archaeology will be similar to Fishing – players will either love it or hate it, depending on their temperament.

Trainers for Archaeology can be found in all the major cities – ask a guard to point the way! Tip: pick up Archaeology early on and start to explore the dig sites. Once you get the hang of surveying the rest is a piece of cake!

New Cataclysm Zones

There are some beautiful new zones in Cataclysm:

  • Mount Hyjal – level 80-82
  • Vashj’ir – level 80-82
  • Deepholm  – Level 82-83
  • Uldum – 83-84
  • Twilight Highlands – level 84-85
  • Tol Barad (Outdoor PVP area )

The Earthen Ring  Shrines – Portals to the New Zones

The Earthen Ring is the new faction introduced in Cataclysm and are responsible for maintaining the balance of elemental forces threatening to destroy Azeroth. The Earthen Ring have established portals to the new zones in both Stormwind City (in the lake just outside of the city wall to the east), and in Orgrimmar (Valley of Wisdom on the upper level). Portals become available to players, depending their advancement on various quest chains and on their level.

How to Get to Mount Hyjal

Players can enter Hyjal via Moonglade, by way of a series of quests obtained in the major cities, pinned to the Hero’s Call (Stormwind) and Warchief’s Command (Orgrimmar) billboards. Players in a hurry can simply fly there!

Having completed the quest chain a portal becomes available from the Earthen Ring  earthshrines in both Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

Mount Hyjal is adjacent to Winterspring, allowing players to ride from Dark Whisper Gorge.

Tip: Getting to Mount Hyjal via the quest chain is the best route for players wanting the complete Cataclysm experience. Quests completed in this zone will quickly increase XPs and move players to the next level.

How to Get to Vashj’ir

The underwater zone of Vashj’ir is a large zone made up of many subzones. To get there, pick up the quest chain posted on the Hero’s Call (Stormwind) and Warchief’s Command (Orgrimmar) billboards. The cinematics are great fun and take you to the watery kingdom of Vashj’ir.

A portal becomes available from the Earthen Ring earthshrines once the opening quests are completed. And no, you can’t fly there!

How to Get to Deepholm

Once players reach level 82 a quest opens up at the Earthen Ring earthshrines just outside of Stormwind City and in the Valley of Wisdom, Orgrimmar (on the upper level). The quest leads to a portal that takes players to the Maelstrom. Without giving away the plot and some great cinematics, players are eventually transported to the Temple of Earth in Deepholm.

Having completed the opening quest chain the Earthen Ring maintain an open portal back to Deepholm from the earthshrines.

How to Get to Uldum

A quest chain to Uldum opens up from level 83, located in faction areas of the Temple of Earth. The chain leads to Tanaris and finally into Uldum.

Uldum is geographically adjacent to Tanaris and can reached by a flying mount.

How to Get to the Twilight Highlands

The Twilight Highlands is now an extension of Khaz Modan, east of the Wetlands and can be reached by land or flying mount. Head for the Dragonmaw Gates and towards Gim Batol, which is now a 5 man, dungeon instance.

How to Get to Tol Barad

Tol Barad is the new outdoor PVP area. Players wishing to visit the area need to be at level 85 and should visit the earthshines present in Stormwind City and Orgrimmar.

I hope you have found this short guide helpful? Leave me a comment if you think I’ve missed anything. Enjoy the new Cataclysm!

Marcus Ty