Cataclysm features only 5 new levels compared to the previous 10. However, the amount spent at each level is longer, and the new zones themselves are much more polished than before, allowing for a very enjoyable leveling experience.
As soon as players log into Cataclysm after installation you should find yourself in your capital city (Orgrimmar/Stormwind). While both Horde and Alliance players have a choice of starting in either Hyjal or Vashj’ir for leveling, it is recommended that Horde players choose Hyjal, and Alliance Vashj’ir.
First off, you will want to train Azeroth flying from the flying trainer for 250 gold, so that you will be able to use flying mounts in Azeroth and Deepholm. This trainer can be found up the elevator at the second level of Orgrimmar near the flight master, and at the Gryphon Rider location in Stormwind.
Next, If you are a Horde player, start off by accepting the 2 quests from the Warchief’s Command Board, in front of the newly-placed Grommash Hold. The Board can be found in either the Valley of Strength, or the Valley of Honor. These 2 quests will be the starting points for either heading to Hyjal or Vashj’ir, whatever your choice is.
If you are an Alliance player, start off by accepting the 2 quests from the Hero’s Call board in Stormwind, found in either the Trade or the Dwarven District.
Follow either the mini-map quest arrow, or use the map to locate the quest turn in, and proceed to do the next few small quests, until you end up in your zone of choice.
After you complete the main quest line of a given zone, you will gain a quest line which leads you to the next area to level in. That is, once you complete either (or both, if desired) Hyjal or Vashj’ir, you will get a quest line which leads you to Deepholm, and then Uldum, and finally Twilight Highlands. You will also be able to find the teleports to every new zone from your capital city, each time you complete the intro quests into the new zone.
While Cataclysm deviates from World of Wacraft’s previous expansions in its redesign of old zones and a major overhaul of basic gameplay, it continues the tradition of new high-level zones. Although the number of zones is slightly smaller than the WotLK and TBC expansions, the actual quality and amount of work put into making the zones appears higher. Each zone has a distinct feel, story, and design to it, making it fun to play not only for leveling, but also for max level gameplay. There are a total of 5 new high level zones:
High level areas
Hyjal (80-82) – This is the zone that could only be entered through the Hyjal raid during the TBC expansion. It has received a major overhaul and looks quite different from its TBC days, with upgraded and much more sophisticated textures, and of course a completely new storyline. Hyjal is the Horde-favored starting area for leveling, following the WotLK design feature of giving players a choice of 2 starting areas, instead of 1.
Vashj’ir (80-82) – This is the underwater-continent home of the Naga race, which consists of 3 smaller zones. Vashj’ir is significant for being the first-ever completely underwater zone in WoW. Vashj’ir is the Alliance-favored starting area for leveling, due to its much closer proximity to the Eastern Kingdoms continent.
Deepholm (82-83) – Deepholm is the Mid-level zone of Cataclysm. Located in the Earth Elemental Plane under the Maelstorm, Deepholm is the home of the Earth elementals and their leader, Therazane the Stonemother. Deepholm is also significant for acting as the prison of Deathwing (Dragon Aspect), the primary antagonist of the expansion, which he breaks out of and as a result causes the Cataclysm itself.
Uldum (83-85) – The fourth high-level zone. Uldum was the creation of the Titans (the race which created life on Azeroth itself), and has been opened up due to the Cataclysm. Featuring Egyptian-like architecture and environments, Uldum is populated by the Tol’vir race of humanoid tigers, also created by the Titans to watch over Uldum. Uldum is arguably the most interesting and fun zone of the expansion, due to its incredibly intricate and well-done design, as well as an interesting storyline.
Twilight Highlands (84-85) – This is the highest level zone of the game, which players should typically start sometime after reaching level 84 (depending on how far you got in other zones in terms of questing). Located to the east of the Dwarf-controlled Wetlands, the Twilight Highlands are the heart of the Twilight’s Hammer cult, the followers of Deathwing and the Fire Elemental Lord Ragnaros. The Highlands house Grim Batol, an ancient dwarf city fortress, which is rumored to contain Deathwing himself.
WoW new Cataclysm dungeons
Cataclysm introduces a total of 7 new 5-player dungeons, each with a heroic mode as before in WotLK (in addition to heroic modes of Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep). It is recommended that players visit every new instance as they level up at least once, in order to gain equal or higher experience as questing from completing both the instance and quests inside, as well as to get prepared for the heroic versions of the instances later on.
Where as normal versions of the new instances can be typically done without much difficulty, the heroic versions require players to constantly use CC (crowd control) during typical trash pulls, and execute moderate to high-level difficulty strategies, along with strong DPS and healing, during boss fights. Below you can find a quick overview of the new dungeons with some general information.
Blackrock caverns guide
The Caverns feature a total of 5 bosses:
- Rom’ogg Bonecrusher – When the boss pulls all of the players to him, you must quickly kill the Chains holding you, and get out of melee range, as he will cast a high damage ability able to one shot even the tank.
- Corla, Herald of Twilight – This boss fight is all about controlling the “evolution” of the 3 adds. There are 3 beams chanelling into the 3 adds, which transform them into elite dragons when they gain 100 stacks from the beam. To counteract this, have 2 DPS stand in 2 of the beams, and allow the 3rd beam to channel. Keep in mind that you do not want to get 100 stacks of the beam either, as it will transform you into the same dragon, and you will become hostile to your party. Dps the boss until the first add becomes transformed, and quickly kill it. From here on, you can choose to either allow the other 2 adds to transform and kill them as well, or simply keep rotating people into the beams to prevent the stacks from reaching 100, while you dps down the boss.
- Karsh Steelbender- Have the tank pull the boss into the fire in the middle of the room for a split second, and then pull him out. This will put a debuff on the boss, which increases his damage taken from players. Keep refreshing this debuff by having the tank move the boss into the fire and moving out as fast as possible.
- Beauty- Start out by carefully pulling and killing the core hound pups in front of Beauty. Make sure to not kill the pup in the back, behind Beauty, as this will cause her to enrage and likely wipe your group. Other than that, Beauty is a straight-forward tank-and-spank fight.
- Ascendant Lord Obsidius – This is also a pretty straight-forward fight. The main thing is to have a single player kite the 2 adds of Obsidius using slow abilities. Have other players drop slowing abilities as well, as these adds will often switch aggro. The boss will switch places with his adds from time to time, so make sure to turn around and follow him. Healers should also try to dispel the debuff the boss places on players.
Throne of Tides guide
Throne of Tides contains 4 bosses:
- Lady Naz’jar – This boss has 2 phases. In the first phase, simply DPS the boss and make sure to interrupt the Shock Ability she casts, and move out of blue water torrents. For the second phase, 3 adds will spawn, and the boss will stop attacking. CC the caster adds (left and right side) and kill the middle Melee add. You can also choose to have the tank pick up all 3 and kill them. After the adds die, the Boss will continue attacking you. She will repeat the add phase 1 more time. The key to this fight is controlling damage through CC/interrupts.
- Commander Ulthok – Have the tank move the boss away every time he drops a Dark Fissure, and stay out of them yourself. Have a Rogue/Hunter take off the enrage on the boss if you have either of the classes. Finally, Ulthok will randomly pull players to himself and deal damage to them, so have your healer watch out for this and instantly heal the player.
- Mindbender Ghur’sha – In this fight, you will first have to damage the Draenei Shaman being mind-controlled by the boss. Make sure to interrupt his Lava Bolt cast, and move away from his Earth Shards cast. After you damage the Shaman far enough, the squid controlling him will leap off and start the second phase of the fight. For this phase, the major ability to look out for is the mind control. The squid will jump onto a random player and use them to attack you. Simply attack the player until the squid disengages and continue killing him. Make sure to also stand out of the toxic fog he will drop, and dispel (or spellsteal) the Absorb Shield he puts on himself from time to time. The Shield will heal the boss for all the spell damage he takes, so make sure to get it off ASAP.
- Ozumat – In the final boss encounter, you will assist Neptulon the Tide Hunter (the Elemental Lord of Water) in defeating the squid you saw earlier in the dungeon. Start off by AOEing down the Murloc adds, and taking out the elites that come out and attack Neptulon. When Blight Beasts start to drop down, avoid the black areas of the room, and stay away from the beasts, while you kill the ranged elites (Sappers). When the Mind Sappers are dead, you will all grow to a giant size. Target the Octopus (Ozumat) up at the side of the wall and quickly dps him down, ignoring the Blight Beast adds.
Stonecore (82-84) – Stonecore is the instance located in Deepholm, currently controlled by the Twilight’s Hammer cult (followers of Deathwing). Stonecore features an arguably higher difficulty than the previous instances. The trash pulls in the beginning and the final boss, in particular, can be tricky for new players. The most important thing to keep in mind for the beginning trash pulls is to CC as much as possible, and leave Millhouse Manastorm for the end of the trash pull, as he will run away after you damage him sufficiently. Alternatively, you may also damage him first.
Stonecore has a total of 4 bosses:
- Corborus – This boss has 2 phases. In his ground phase, the fight is pretty straight forward. Have your healer dispel the Dampening Wave debuff (It absorbs healing) off the tank, and then dispel it off the rest of the group when the boss goes underground. For the underground phase, stay away from the earthquake-like animation on the ground, and aoe down the adds that spawn. Rinse and repeat.
- Slabhide – Move away from the shadows on the ground (they signal where a rock fragment will drop) and stay out of Lava pools. Keep in mind the rock fragments block Line of Sight, so your tank/healer may have to move to be in line of sight of each other.
- Ozruk- Have your tank with his back to a wall. The tank (and any melee DPS) will have to move away from the boss whenever he casts Shatter or Ground Slam. Casters need to watch for Elementium Shield and stop dpsing for its duration.
- High Priestess Azil – Interrupt the Force Choke, and stay away from Gravity Wells on the ground. Low-hp adds will run in a few times during the fight. You can choose to either aoe them down, or pull them into the gravity wells, by having the players with aggro run behind the wells. Finally, watch out for the Boulders which the boss will throw when she teleports to her Altar. You will see images on the ground which indicate where the boulder will land.
Vortex Pinnacle (82-84) – The Vortex Pinnacle is the lowest level instance in Uldum, and houses minions of the Air Elemental Lord Al’Akir. Located far above the ground, in the Air Elemental Plane, Vortex Pinnacle is undoubtedly one of the best-looking and most creative instances in the new expansion.
A few important pointers to keep in mind for Vortex Pinnacle, is that if you fall off the edge, you will be picked back up by a wind. Furthermore, you will have to use the Wind Vortexes located throughout the instance, in order to travel between platforms.
Vortex pinnacle dungeon guide
Vortex Pinnacle has 3 bosses:
- Grand Vizier Ertan – Have everyone stack on the boss for the entire fight. The healer will have to drop AOE heals when the Tornadoes around the boss move in, but other than that, this is a straight DPS fight.
- Altairus – The main mechanic of the Altairus fight is that players need to always have their back to the wind which blows and switches direction constantly throughout the fight. In order to do this, simply look at which direction the wind is coming from, and move into a position where you can have your back to it. Whenever you have your back to the wind, you will gain a huge haste buff, where as when you are not positioned properly, you will have greatly slowed attack and movement speed.
- Asaad – Very easy fight. Simply run into the lightning field created by the boss when you see the yellow text shows up across your screen, and wait until the boss stops AOEing to move out. The boss will cast chain lightning throughout the fight, so make sure to not be stacked whenever you are out of the lightning field.
WoW (HOO) Halls of Origination dungeon guide
Halls Of Origination (84-85) – HoO is an ancient Titan facility (the same race which created life on Azeroth) located in Uldum. Just like the other 2 Titan facilities in Azeroth, Uldaman and Ulduar, HoO is populated by creatures made out of stone and metal, the direct creation of the Titans themselves. HoO is also significant for having the most bosses out of any other Cataclysm instance.
There are a total of 7 bosses:
- Temple Guardian Anhuur – DPS the boss until he throws up his immunity shield. Have 2 DPS drop down to the bottom, one to the left, and one to the right, and push the levers, in order to turn the shield off. Interrupt the Hymn which the boss is casting, and go back to DPSing him down. He will throw the shield up once more later in the fight.
- Earthrager Ptah – Very easy boss, simply stand out of the spikes which the boss casts and have melee attack from the side to avoid the cleave. When the boss disappears, kill the adds, and proceed to kill the boss when he reappears.
- Anraphet – Stand out of the purple beams/circles which the boss casts, and have the healer dispel Nemesis Strike off the tank. When the boss turns to Omega Stance, simply heal through the AOE damage.
- Isiset <Construct of Magic> – When the boss casts Supernova, have everyone face away to avoid the blind it causes. When the boss splits up into 3, focus on one mob and kill it to make the boss return.
- Ammunae <Construct of Life> – Dispel Wither off players, and kill the Seedling Pods that spawn periodically throughout the fight.
- Setesh <Construct of Destruction> – DPS down the portals which the boss spawns, and have the tank pick up all the adds that come out of the portal. Do not kill the adds, simply have the tank kite them around the room while you kill the boss.
- Rajh <Construct of the Sun> – Simply stay out of the all the fire the boss casts, and stay away from the boss when he leaps to you, and interrupt the Sun Orb cast.
Grim Batol dungeon guide
Grim Batol (84-85) – Grim Batol is the last 5-man dungeon of the expansion, located in the Twilight Highlands. An ancient Dwarven city-fortress, Grim Batol is currently occupied by the Twilight’s Hammer cult, and the Twilight Dragonflight, the servants of Deathwing.
There are 4 bosses in the instance:
- General Umbriss <Servant of Deathwing> – A pretty simple fight. Just move away from your current position when the boss targets you with Blitz, and make sure to have the tank healed up to 90% every time the boss applies the Wound attack.
- Forgemaster Throngus – Stand out of the cave in (falling rocks). This boss is all about his weapon choices. There are 3 possible weapons which the boss can choose, all with their different abilities. The Mace will cause the boss to pick up a random player and cause heavy damage to them, so heal the player up quickly. Have the tank kite the boss during the Mace phase as well and don’t stand in the fire. The Dual Swords phase is the high damage phase, so simply heal through it and dispel the tank’s debuff if you have mana. The Shield Phase will have the boss target a random player and breath fire at that location. Simply hide behind the boss when he casts the shield, and move accordingly.
- Drahga Shadowburner <Twilight’s Hammer Courier> – DPS the boss, and make sure to kill the Fire Elementals that spawn ASAP. The boss will jump on a nearby dragon when he reaches low HP, so you will have to DPS down the dragon first before finishing him off. Continue to kill the Fire Elementals (they explode for huge damage when they reach their random targeted player), and finish off the boss when the dragon flies away.
- Erudax <The Duke of Below> – When the boss casts Shadow Gale, you will have to move into the small circle in the middle of the Gale to avoid AOE damage. The circle will spawn in different locations every time, so look out for it. Dispel the Binding Shadows debuff off players, and DPS down the adds that come in after every Gale quickly, as they will spawn whelps which will likely wipe you.
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