Throughout Wrath, I spent the vast majority of my time in game on my max-level main character, with just a few hours /played on alts at various stages along the road to being forgotten. With the onset of Cataclysm, however, I found myself motivated to level an alt to the level cap for the first time. After a few days questing, I succeeded in bringing my up-and-coming alt from Un'Goro Crater to the quest leading into Hyjal.
Thanks to the time spent on my main, my fresh lvl 80 alt was well-resourced. In addition to carrying pots and foods, I stormed into Hyjal wearing heirloom chest, shoulders, weapon, trinkets, and even a spiffy new heirloom cloak. I was ready to rock, and having come straight from Icecrown, I expected to be able to pull two to three mobs at a time without exerting much effort.
As it turns out, Hyjal is not Icecrown. I soon found out through a process of trial and error -- well, mostly error -- that I could barely survive one mob without popping cooldowns and potions. My response? "But Cataclysm content wasn't this hard on my main!"
Once I completed a few quests and received my first upgrade as a reward, I realized what the problem was: My gear was 100 item levels too low. Aside from my heirlooms, my alt was wearing blues and greens from questing in Icecrown -- ilvl 174 gear, at best. The mobs were much more difficult on my alt because he wasn't wearing anything remotely close to the ilvl 264 gear my main had brought!
What gear were you wearing when you took the plunge into the new Cataclysm content, and how did you fare? Do you feel the new zones are well-tuned for characters coming straight from leveling in Northrend? Is the ilvl jump from 174 to 272 too drastic or a necessity?