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Time to adjust to the pre-expansion home stretch

Matthew Rossi

Whatever you have left to do in Cataclysm, get it done now -- you have two months. Are you working on heroic Dragon Soul? Figure out whatever your hurdle is and get it done, my friend. Mount farming? Working on arenas or rated BGs? You can expect the season to end within that two-month framework -- significantly before it, I would wager.

Heck, you probably have less than two months, really. Once the pre-release patch hits, we're going to be looking at whole new game systems to adjust to. New hit and expertise, hunters' needing expertise, no more spell penetration, new PvP power and resilience stats, new talents ... Women and men of Azeroth, the tide has turned. The Cataclysm is no more.

For people who've more or less done everything they wanted or needed to do and who were cooling their heels waiting for the new expansion, this is pretty much the unalloyed anticipation time. But for people who have things left -- bosses to kill, mounts to farm, that one piece of gear that just won't drop -- you now have an end point set out for you. After Sept. 25, you'll be leveling through Pandaria and the new dungeons, possibly PvPing in the new BGs, getting to 90 so you can run scenarios and get your own farm. You'll have things to do. Cataclysm will go the way of Wrath, The Burning Crusade and vanilla WoW -- stuff you may visit but that you're not likely to come back to very often.

The end of the end of the world as we've known it

The period before the release date is always one of mounting tension for a lot of us. How much time do we have? Eventually, if you get your stuff done before the release date is announced, it becomes something else. How much longer do we have to wait? This varies for everyone. This time around, I actually got my Savior title as a Horde player, cleared heroic DS, then transferred to Alliance and a more relaxed raiding schedule, and got it again with a new group.

Well, I didn't actually get the title again; that would be silly.

Still, I'm effectively done with Cataclysm. I have the titles, the mounts, the BiS tanking gear. The next two months will be farming for a few elusive drops, getting some other folks their titles, and trying to get my DPS set up to speed for grinding. I know I can grind as prot, but I really prefer doing quests as a DPSer. It's just who I am. It's pretty much where I was going into Cataclysm, but this time I should know where I'll be tanking once I'm max level. This doesn't mean I don't feel a little wistful saying goodbye to WoW's most controversial expansion.

Say hello to the new, boss

I'm on record as liking Dragon Soul. I admit that it has faults, but almost all raids have faults. In general, after the misstep of tier 11, I felt like Blizzard hit their stride with Firelands and Dragon Soul this expansion, and I had a good time raiding in both raid dungeons. I'm looking forward to seeing tier 14 up close with my guild and enjoying the idea of getting to hit the progression reset button, but I won't pretend I'm not going to miss what we've had. I remember feeling this way before Wrath launched -- anxious to see what was coming but knowing I would miss the BC dungeons (which turned out to be absolutely the case, and to this day, I love those places).

Still, this is what we were waiting for. We know when we'll be traveling to those exotic shores. You have six resets before all raiding ceases, before absolutely no one cares about Tol Barad, before your chances of getting those last Cata dungeon achievements become a lot slimmer for a long while. If you love current Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance, run them while you can before the new versions are here. We all know what we're waiting for and how long we're going to have to wait.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

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