Finally someone gets it!

Recently my guild, Wyrmfoe, got itself into the Cataclysm Beta. I’ve been in about a week and met up with a few interesting issues but it is Beta, if it isn’t broke it will be.

I wanted to start off with an overview of the new Cata starting zone Vas’jir. The area is for 80 to 83 and takes place almost entirely under water. At the center of the lore in the area are three major factions – The Earthen Ring, The Naga and the Minions of the Old Gods. The zone takes place fully under water and features some wonderful new quest designs, beautiful zones, more lore than you can fit in a tuna can, and for us hunters sweet new creatures to tame… or wish we could tame anyway.

So grab your diving helmet and take the plunge behind the cut.

Your adventure starts in Stormwind, in the new and improved Trade District at the Hero’s Board. Yep… there is a big ass board with potential jobs waiting for you to take a gander. A Hero’s Call: Vas’jir will send you down to the harbor and begin a rather unique experience – A fully scripted and voice acted cut scene that takes you to the new zone. The event is timed so you can walk up to the soldiers talking, them lining up… it feels very immersive and its rather awesome so I’d suggest giving it a shot when this goes live. The voices are varied and new, the scene is hilarious and awesome and well you just have to do it. It’s a lot better than your average ‘Hello Hero go talk to this guy further in the zone’ and start questing. You really feel a part of the action which is a great step forward.

You might wonder if you’ll be running for a bubbler or making breathing pots to take up space in your bags but this isn’t the case. The first quest you get is to gather reagents to earn a buff called ‘Sea Legs’. This allows you to breath under water and if you are walking along the ocean floor you move at 60% speed – Mount speed. You look like you’re running on the moon but it beats swimming to the surface.

If you have an issue swimming… don’t go here unless you need to find the dungeon. I’ll confess to playing Star Trek Online for a little while and well it’s a 3D environment so learning the WoW controls for such movement isn’t too bad. My depth perception sucks but if my shots light up to fire whatever made them do so is itching to be shot. I’d suggest practicing swimming or better yet practice on your flying mount in Northrend or Outland. The same mechanics you use there apply to movement in Vas’jir. I know this entire zone is going to have bones to pick with a lot of people. I’m already seeing it in game and on the forums but seriously it isn’t that bad. Just need to work on that spatial awareness and when in doubt stand on the ground.

The first chunk of quests involves acclimating to your new environment, finding fellow alliance NPCs and surviving in the briny depths with the Naga trying to kidnap you at every other backstroke. You also get a new vehicle quest down there at Shallow’s End which in the end gives you a sea mount – the Abyssal Sea Horse. This quest is easy if you can follow gigantic instructions in the middle of your screen. The mount only works in the zone and underwater but comes in very handy. Several quests actually let you do them while mounted on the beasty as well which is very nice. Other quests there involve battling to the death with Gnaws (the quest is even called Dun-nant Dun-nant given by everyone’s favorite ‘troll’ Budd ), riding sharks and sea turtles and of course fighting other players to kill some mobs that only spawn in one spot on the whole map. The last one isn’t as fun and believe me I’ve mentioned it several times in the suggestion tool when it works.

Each questing hub (read cave) has dry land to stand on and usually an underwater flight point. These flight points do not coincide with the two flight points on the surface. The shortest flight by the way is out of Ironforge as it is the closet city according to the flight paths to the area off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms. Each of these hub caves have big yellow, purple and white tube worms around the mouth of the cave and further into the quests they have the Argent Tournament Big Ass Flags posted so you know which one is Alliance and Horde. There are also submarines to each of these later on caves and the Gnomish one screams Jules Vern. If that’s not enough… there are giant squid and monstrous tentacles all over the place later in the zone.

Quest Highlight: Attunement to the Battlemaiden

About mid way along the very directed quest lines is a discovery quest. You find on the ocean floor a broken trident and a Farseer of the Earthen Ring asks you to attune to it and the previous owner. This chain allows you to delve into the past of the Naga and their battle against the Kavdir in their very city. Each encounter allows you to access more abilities, learn more about the area and the current state of affairs for the Naga and the presence of some of Azeroth’s most gruesome creatures… and I don’t mean the Undersea Vikings. This chain was a lot of fun to do and reminds me of the quest chain in Icecrown where you get to be Arthas for a few of his most memorable battles on his way to becoming the Lich King… including fighting Illidan. (PST… go find it!  )

3am Fun: Return to the Surface

Along the way before you discover the last main quest hub (haven’t found a new one in beta yet the quest I need to finish is borked) you get a set of rocket boots to shoot you to the surface from the sea floor. Things to keep in mind…

-Look up first before you use it!

-Avoid potentially landing on anything (see #1)

-Set your view distance to max

-Que up Elton John’s Rocket Man

Case and Point… Rocket Elf

Quest Giver: Humphrey Digsong

This poor dwarf has buoyancy issues… and if you start talking to him BOY Howdy is he happy to share them with you. Feel free to pause the vid to read it all its entertaining. They certainly haven’t spared much on the depth of the zone. (yar har pun)

Sorry for the lower quality, Fraps doesn’t want to not lag and give me better fps

Impression:

This zone is beautiful, dynamic and very new. The breadcrumb quest to get there makes you feel a lot more of a part of things than the simple ‘go talk to this guy after getting on the boat/thru the portal’. From that point on its one thing after another with a great breadth of quests, lore, adventure and fun right to the end. I really can’t get over how beautiful this zone is… I can’t. So far my favorite little sub-zone is the Coldlight Chasm. It’s just gorgeous. The quests clearly point you along the way and phasing is done wonderfully every step of the way. All in all I look forward to questing here when it goes live, not just because I know everything now but because it was just a total blast. The only issue I have so far is the spawn rates of things and of course the stupid stupid Ophidiophobia quest. Also do make note that the quests are very linear… you start the first one and it points you everywhere you need to go. You can’t really skip many of them here or you won’t get pointed to the next destination. This might be an issue might not be; however, it will follow a great story and feels quite epic.

Also watch out for Whale Sharks… meet the new Fel Reavers of the sea. The Cynical Brit tried to take them out and well…

Yeah… not an easy basket of fish and chips…

I hope to have more up for you as soon as Beta stops crashing on me when I log in… rather annoying.

Have a good week!

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