After the previous weeks run through three instances, the group had all ascended to level 85. That left us with some choices as to how to proceed.
The minimal completionist path was to at least take on the Twilight Highlands long enough to get to Grim Batol, the last normal mode instance in Cataclysm, before heading off to Pandaria. The argument for this would be that we could at least say we had “done” Cataclysm by some very basic measure.
The “onward and upward” path would take us directly into Mists of Pandaria, bypassing the remains of Cataclysm. Cata becomes a “fly over” expansion, and we are in and out in the minimum time. And why not? Pandaria has more than enough group content to keep us going at least out to the inevitable group summer hiatus, and probably enough to last us until Warlords of Draenor finally makes its way to us.
And then there was what I will call “the middle path” in our discussions. This was the idea that we should take our time at level 85 and knock out some or all of the heroic-only five person instances that were included in Cataclysm. I was all excited about the idea of Heroic Deadmines back in August 2009, it might be reasonable to follow up on that and see what came of it. Pandaria isn’t going anywhere, and Draenor isn’t close. Why not hang around in Cataclysm for a while?
In the end, the argument for the middle path hinged on a bag. Specifically, the Tattered Hexcloth Bag.
We are, as always in World of Warcraft, suffering for lack of bag and bank space. And the promise of 24 slot bag as a quest reward from Zul’Aman, one of the level 70 raids converted into a five person heroic instance for Cataclysm, was like the lure of shoes to Lee’s army before Gettysburg. We will go a fair bit out of our way for that.
Plus there is the allure of this instance, and its companion Zul’Gurub, as large, sprawling affairs that could eat up a whole evenings adventuring. We would view that as a good thing. (And I know some people are unhappy about the conversion of these raids to five person instances, but it looks awesome from where I sit as somebody who only does the five person group content.)
The only hitch is that the two converted raids are flagged as “Level 85++” and, frankly, we just aren’t that good.
So the amended plan for the middle path included a brief foray into Pandaria to get that first round of gear when the time was right. We didn’t think we would need it for Grim Batol, but it would help with Heroic Deadmines and would likely be a necessity for the converted raids. We would hold off on the Pandaria thing as long as possible.
And then Earl was away this past weekend and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, so we went into Pandaria early. Go us.
Our roster for the evening was:
- Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
- Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
- Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
- Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS
And we all had the lead-in quest for Pandaria, so we headed off to meet up with Sky Admiral Rogers.
Musings on the intro to Pandaria after the cut. If you have been there, you are pretty much excused for reading further.