Today we're going to go on a journey, not of distance and miles, but a journey of the mind. Today I shall take you with me on a stream of consciousness trip through the Cataclysm beta. You will vicariously experience the first moments of the beta and leveling through Mount Hyjal.
This, dear friends, is even better than a beta invite itself. Partially, yes, because you will get to skip over the grueling slogging through bugged quests, the endless searching for new pets to tame, the constant World Server Down messages -- all this, you'll experience in just a handful of words rather than living the hours of pain. Seriously, though, as you're reading, just imagine getting booted out every hour or so (sometimes a dozen times in an hour) and seeing World Server Down when you try to log back in.
Oh, and this post contains spoilers. But, you know, it says Cataclysm beta in the title. When you see that, just always assume that there are spoilers, OK? OK.
Logging into the beta for the first time is awesome. What to do first? Target dummies! Must do some testing ... Wait, no, have to visit a trainer first. I have no talents. Either way, to Ironforge!
Hmm, which spec should I start off with? Wha -- OMG! Was he flying?
/mount flying mount
I'm flying in Ironforge! Woooooo! Can I fly in the channels? Oh yes, I can! Stay on target ... stay on target. Hey, why'd that dismount me? The gryphons fly through there on their way in and out, why can't I? So I can fly anywhere except the holes specifically made for the gryphons to fly through? Hmph. Okay, back to business. Pick up MM, spend some talents. Oh, those suck. That sucks, too. Whatever; let's hit the dummy.
Target dummy testing
Hey, where's my Trueshot aura? /bugreport. POW! Look at that Aimed Shot! Oh, yeah. So that's how Scorpid Venom works, very nice. Wait, why isn't that proccing? /bugreport. Now let's see how focus regen works. First we need a baseline test, so gotta remove all of my gear. Getting some weird looks from people here. Why is it that so much science in WoW requires being naked? Or is that just science in general? Or just me?
Okay, focus regen down, now how is haste affecting this? Let's take some video for frame-by-frame analysis of timing. Oh, 1-second global coodown, that's nice. Now what happens if I change the rotation to this ...
[Fast-forward through five hours of target dummy testing and bug reporting and suggestions.]
OK, time for a break. Let's look for some pets.
Quest for new pets
I heard a rumor about Redridge, and there it is. Fox model is adorable! Well, he's still just a wolf, but better-looking. And more cunning, probably. As cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning.
Need to find new pet families, not just pet skins. Maybe there'll be something in that new Gilneas zone. Wait, where the heck is that? Hmm. I don't see it on the map. What continent is it even on? Maybe someone from WoW.com will know ... Ah yes, they do. Let's see, head to the flightmaster and -- wait, what am I doing? I can fly here now!
/mount flying mount
Normally I'd have to go around that way to get to Gilneas, but as the crow flies, I can just cut straight across that big bay north of Dun Morogh. Let's see, fatigue bar, huh? No problem, it's not that far, and I have a 310% speed mount. Going good. Fatigue at half, but there's the shore in the distance, I'm good.
Aaaah! Dismounted? No! I'll never swim that far in time. Well, maybe. I don't need to reach shore, just get out of the fatigue area. Come on! Paddle, ya wee dwarf! Paddle like the wind!
Damnit. Spirit rez. Oh hey, this is Gilneas. Nice, that was a totally intentional shortcut is what that was. Hmm, can't fly here at all. Ground mount away. New zone should have some new pets -- certainly that mastiff the worgen start with, at least. Ooh, this place is kinda cool, all barren, rocky landscape with some Stonehenge standing stones and ... wait. There isn't a single mob or critter anywhere, for miles, for this entire mini-zone. Oh, and now it's raining. Actually, this looks kinda cool, I should get a screenshot. Oh yeah, that's badass, Frostheim the lone horseman. Er, ramsman. Well, ramsdwarf. Yeah that sounds right. I should write an article called The Ramsdwarf.
Bored now, this zone is clearly not done. I'll poke around on the elf continent some.
[Fast-forward through two hours of criss-crossing Azeroth.]
Interesting, Barrens is now South Barrens and North Barrens. Maybe that's where they're hiding the new pets. Let's see, giraffe? Still not tamable. Kodo? Still no. You know, this place looks just the same. What's North Barrens look like? Maybe it's all new, and a new place is the logical place to put the new pets. Oh yeah!
Oooh, big fissure separating the zones. Nice, that's lava flowing at the bottom of the canyon. Aaaah! Dismounted? Quick parachute cloak deploy! Phew, that was close. Still drifting down into the lava, though. Oh, but there's some rocks I can run to and maybe not get burned. I wonder if North Barrens is a starting zone, and maybe they aren't allowing flying in any of the starting zones?
Oh good, the rocks are safe. OK, so now I'll just find a ramp out of here. That looks promising. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. There's has to be a way up somewhere. Dammit. Dammit. Wait, I can't go the other way because of that cliff. I can't climb out of that end, and all the sides are too steep. I'm trapped. Dammit. /report bug. Stupid elves, letting the Horde come onto their land and shoot innocent dwarves out of the sky into inescapable canyons of lava.
Forget pets; that's too many hours of my life wasted. I need some XP. Yeah, then I can learn some of the new abilities. Let's see ... We can go to Mount Hyjal. Sounds sweet.
Leveling in Hyjal
Hmm, druids. Maybe this was a bad idea. Oh, the World Tree. Huh? I thought I burned that down or something over in Grizzly Hills? Must have been a different World Tree; hard to keep track of all the fruity stuff those druids worship. Oh, there's the secret to soloing in beta: Aimed Shot / Chimera Shot BAM you're dead. Running back and forth endlessly; now I remember why I despise leveling and questing so much. Go here, kill five of those, bring me six of these, and -- hello!
Why Baron Geddon, so strange to bump into you again after all these years! I see the druids have you trapped there. Perhaps you remember my companion, who routinely pulled you to your certain doom? Hey, do you mind if I snap a shot of the two of us together for old times' sake?
Ahhh! Holy crap, you still have that ability?!
/walk back to body and rez
Well played, baron, well played. Moving on, then.
Blah, more druids over here? Really, druids just can't do anything for themselves -- gotta get the hunter to do it for them. Blah blah blah, we love animals but we're too scared to go in the fire and save them ourselves. Sounds like a druid. Dang, it's difficult to click on the stupid bunnies and squirrels. That's annoying. Kill some stuff, click on some stuff, rescue some more animals. Fill out quest surveys. Oh look, bears, nice. Pets are all bugged today, and mine can't be summoned or anything -- have to tame a new one. What? Untamable? Come on, even pets that we can already tame, I can't tame. Stupid druids pacifying the bears. If you really loved animals you'd be a hunter and have them for pets. Wait, what? Rescuing bear cubs from the trees and ... OMG! Cub tossing! Best. Quest. Ever.
Interesting, the entire burned forest is regrown. That's some nice use of phasing there.
Oh, look! Burning pigs! And they're considered beasts. /Beast Lore. Untamable. Dammit. Oh hell, no! Aerial jousting where you have to manually flap your wings and dodge falling debris. There's a reason no one plays that game anymore. Worst. Quest. Ever. Oh great, and no quest survey for this one. Well, I'll just manually complain about how much it sucks then. /suggestion
New mini-zone, and time to pretend to be an evil cultist. That, I can do. This is a long quest chain, dang. Hee hee, quest giver is hiding out in the outhouse. Oh god, no -- there are what? Seven people lined up waiting for the one quest object to spawn and it's taking forever. One guy trying to make everyone form into a line, everyone else just clamoring to click when it spawns. Minutes tick past. It finally spawns. Ninja dwarf! I got it. /suggestion for that quest. God, that will be horrible on launch, and I think you have to do the quest to move forward in the chain.
Oh, adorable corehound pup! I shall feed it and love it and send it into pit fights against wee raptors. And it appears that I am at the head of the class of evil recruits. They even want me to give the graduation speech ... of evil. If all you do are evil things and give evil speeches in service of the Old Gods, at what point are you actually a bad guy? I mean, I can say I'm doing it all for a good cause, deep undercover, but how can you tell that I'm just faking?
Oh, there's Ragnaros. Hey buddy! Remember me? Yeah, you're going down! Again! Just let me figure out how to get down there -- I've got some story to go through first. Sit tight. Questing questing questing. Okay, finally, go in the portal and fight Ragnaros.
Seriously? Alone? I mean, okay, at level 80 I can solo Rags, but I figured that was just because it was "too soon, Executus." It's a little anti-climatic, I think, to fight Ragnaros all by my lonesome with just a handful of NPCs to help. I mean, he's the Firelord, and that should mean something. Well, let's see how it goes. Hmm. Where's Ragnaros? Where's the NPC I need to talk to? Time to go in general chat for some insight. /crosses self. Okay, confirmed that it's bugged for most people. I now need to bleach my eyes. /leave general.
Well, I think that's it for Hyjal, yes. Possibly it continues on past Ragnaros, but I'm at a roadblock now until the quest is fixed. That Stormwind NPC still asks if I want to go to the underwater Vashj'ir zone. Should I say yes? Go beneath the waves, yes, and a whole underwater world filled with delightful new creatures and adorable snails yes and manta rays yes and yes I said yes I will yes.
Scattered Shots is the WoW.com column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. See the Scattered Shots Resource Guide for a full listing of vital and entertaining hunter guides, including how to improve your heroic DPS, understand the impact of skill vs. gear, get started with Beast Mastery 101 and Marksman 101 and even solo bosses with some extreme soloing.