Cataclysm 101: What to do first in Cataclysm

Cataclysm has already gone live in Europe, and it's only hours away now for those of us in North America. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what you need to know to hit the ground running when Cataclysm content becomes active on live realms? If you don't, we're here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions that have been asked about starting the Cataclysm experience.

How do I learn to fly in old Azeroth?

You can get your Flight Master's License in Outland or Northrend, but the much better options are Stormwind for the Alliance and Orgrimmar for the Horde. Horde players want to talk to Maztha and Alliance players want to talk to Bralla Cloudwing. Wowhead has excellent maps for finding both of them.

Which zones do I go to first to level in Cataclysm? How do I get there?

You have the option of going to either Hyjal or Vashj'ir. Which you go to is purely personal preference. Stormwind and Orgrimmar have breadcrumb quests for both. Either the quest will be offered to you immediately upon logging in with a pop-up style quest prompt, or you will need to go to your city's Hero's Board/Warchief's Command Board.

Deciding to go to Hyjal will route you through Moonglade to gain entrance to the zone -- don't worry, going through Moonglade won't take as long as you think. You won't need to hoof it the whole way.

Deciding to go to Vashj'ir will send you to your respective faction's nearest harbor. In the case of Stormwind, you go to the Stormwind Harbor. In the case of Orgrimmar, you will be sent to the new dock in Durotar.

I'd like to pick up archaeology before I head out and level. Where do I do that?

There are archaeology trainers all over the world, but we'll focus on Stormwind and Orgrimmar, since those are going to be your central hubs in Cataclysm. Alliance players need to head into the Stormwind Keep to talk to Harrison Jones. Horde players need to speak with Harrison's nemesis, Belloc Brightblade. If you're having difficulty finding them, the simplest tip is to ask a guard. They will put a convenient little flag on your map.

I want to run the new dungeons, but I can't seem to queue for anything. What's the deal?

As of Cataclysm, it's required that you discover a dungeon in person before you can queue for them. Right at level 80, your only real instance option is Blackrock Caverns, tucked away in Blackrock Mountain. If you plan on running instances while you level through Hyjal and Vashj'ir, you may want to swing by Blackrock Mountain before you depart.

WoW Insider's YouTube account has a few videos on how to find some of the Cataclysm dungeons. All of these videos are linked below. Do note that in the videos where the guide is a ghost, it is not required that you be dead to discover the instance. Graveyards are just convenient landmarks ... and let's be honest, you're going to die in these dungeons. Knowing how to get to them from the graveyard is a good thing.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.