In three hours, Cataclysm, the third expansion to World of Warcraft, launches in the UK. I'm going to liveblog the whole thing, from server restart to our first log-in, through to the first dungeon, and my inevitable early death when we go to bed at around 4am. To say I'm excited is to understate just how much I've been looking forward to the launch of this. I'm PC Gamer's biggest WoW nerd, and the leader of our ridiculously awesome, 416 character World of Warcraft guild.
You are not prepared for the multiple nerdgasms that are about to follow.
Don't stand in the goo in Throne of the Tides.
Apologies for the lack of updates - I wanted to get a bunch of playtime under my belt.
So - it's good. But I think how good it is is masked by a) the speed of levelling at 80+, and b) the sheer number of players burning through the opening zones right now. Of the 45 odd players in our guild who've started on the content tonight, around half have hit level 81 in their first hour and a half. Combining an hour with questing with a dungeon run, got me to 81 in pretty short order. I'm actually pretty worried now that I'll have seen most of Cataclysm's top level quest content pretty quickly.
The guild XP system is super-fun. We've hit level 4 tonight, but we've had a lot of very good, very smart players online throughout.
Blackrock Caverns is going to kick the face off any inexperienced groups. There are a couple of mechanics in there - about interrupting and blocking streams of energy, and meteor's that spread damage among an entire group, that are going to be brutal at heroic level, in quest greens.
For the US contingent who have yet to play, a couple of words of advice.
1) The Goblin and Worgen starting areas were far quieter and easier to play through on our server, probably because the raiding guilds here all want to get into heroics as soon as possible. If you want a quiet life, start a goblin now, then come back to Hyjal and Vash'jir tomorrow morning, or at the weekend.
2) Do the dungeons. They're loot pinatas. We got three or four trash blues in one run, even before you take into account boss drops and quest loot.
3) Enjoy it. It's bound to be another two years before the next expansion. This is it between now and WoWExp 4.
Finally - England won the cricket. Wahey.
How have you found the expansion so far? Let us know in the comments.
PCG is now level 2, and rapidly climbing to level 3. I think we'll hit four tonight.
Blackrock Caverns is fun - and it's left us with a third of a bar of XP. The bosses are pretty tough though - please do read the tactics before you attempt it with a PUG. You'll also need to find the entrance before you go - it's about midway up Blackrock Depths.
Ross is in. BRC is on. Screens soon.
Come on Ross. The world is waiting.
PCG is now 33% through the first guild level. But it looks like we'll hit the experience cap shortly. We've looted 300 gold, and we've got 35 players online. We have one honourable kill.
We're waiting for Ross so we can go and bust open Blackrock Caverns.
Profession training: done.
Ooh, the first quest you get in Org shows you an awesome video of the Maelstrom. And Thrall is waving his arms about. This is quite exciting actually.
I'm in. Hoooooooly shit.
The success box is a little bit of a failure.
ZOMG! I HAVE A DIALOG BOX THAT READS SUCCESS.
23.28 Cricket update, powered by the ghost of Ross Atherton
Rain has not stopped play. England need to get five wickets today to win the second test.
We're starting to filter in now. Everyone except me. I hate this game.
We have a Ghostcrawler exclusive. He can use a pen.
BUT HOW DOES HE HOLD IT IN HIS CRABBY CLAWS?!
Ohh, we've got about 10, nearly 20 players in now. They say it's everything they ever imagined. Maybe even better.
Two players have handed in their 25 dailies, and we're about 9% into our first guild level. We're going to break this guild levelling thing tonight. Whoop.
Deathwing is a smug twat. Let us in, you bast.
We've got two in. Well done Belimwar.
GUILD FIRST: FOOSFIGHTING IS IN. WHAT'S IT LIKE FOOS? IS IT EXACTLY HOW YOU IMAGINED?
Let us know if you've got in in the comments. Or if you haven't. I can't cope with this. I think I need sedating.
Don't panic. Here are some cosplayers from the London launch event to cheer you up.
I like to think there's now a giant hole where the authentication server once sat. Something the size of Un'Goro crater.
No we're not. I think the authentication severs just exploded.
We're on. Connecting. ZOMG.
Nothing is happening. We've been trolled. Mon.
This would be an amazing time for a rickroll.
Who the hell is going to be reading this. I might as well write to a wall.
100 seconds. I'm ill.
Bored now. Want Cata please.
Other tales of PCG preparation. Six players have bandied together to fish their faces off, in the hope of securing a cooking world first.
THIS IS WHAT IT'S ABOUT, PEOPLE.
We're almost there. Darieth, of the WoW guild, presents a checklist of stuff you should do immediately before you go off questing. This is what he's planned. He is quite organised.
Step 1: Hand in Daily Quests. Darieth has prepared a full quest log of 25 daily quests which he can hand in immediately on launch, giving himself an immediate XP boost.
Step 2. He'll immediately hearth to Orgrimmar, where he'll learn the new enchanting recipes, and any new tailoring patterns.
Step 3. He's also gathered the materials for 25x "Enchant Bracers" , thus immediately levelling his enchanting to 475. That means he'll be able to immediately disenchant any green drops from quests and dungeons.
Step 4. He's going to take our five man group in a mole-machine to Black Rock Depths, where we'll immediately try the new Blackrock Caverns.
Darieth is quite well prepared.
26 minutes to go. I think I'm going to be sick.
It's settled. We're going for Blackrock Caverns immediately. If you want to follow our group, here's a good rundown of the bosses, tactics, and loot .
There are now so many players clustered around the flight trainer in Org, it's starting to get a little city. And there are so many spell effects going off, you might just disconnect.
The anticipation is starting to hurt now.
Ah, here's what's going on. At 11pm, you'll be messaged in-game and asked to re-log. If you've installed the Cataclysm content, and are all patched up, you'll be able to access the new content immediately .
So, basically, it's a race to log back in.
Anyone know where I can buy an SSD at 10.30pm?
Man-nappies are in place. The one feature I'm nerding over right now is the Guild Advancement system - essentially guild levels. It's a weird one because, even in beta, the rate of guild XP progress went up and down, and there's no information I can find to show how quickly a guild is expected to level. One of the reasons I want to stay up so late is to be around for when our guild get their first level. I've worked out that we'll get around 12 achievements as soon as the system goes live, and I think that might be enough to get us part way. The rest will depend on how players in the guild quest, and achieve.
The complication is reputation. As you quest, you'll earn guild rep. The guild rep lets you buy special rewards, like fancy battle standards and heirloom levelling items. If you leave a guild, then you won't lose the rep until you then join a new guild.
Guild XP, from what I understand, is pretty easy to earn. Guild rep is far tougher to earn. There's a good walkthrough of how it all works on WoWWiki.
The real reason you want to level your guild? Because you can ride this as your mount. It's the Horde guild only mount. DO WANT.
One hour to go. Time for a five minute AFK to prepare the man-nappies.
The thing we haven't quite figured out is how the new content will appear. We'd expect a server restart at midnight, but there's no note on the login screen or launcher saying that they'll occur. It might be that the new content will just open up without any drama.
I kind of hope it doesn't. I'd like the drama.
Inside UK launch central, a band is playing. You're probably not prepared for the epic lute.
Oh god. I'm having a crisis. Do I jump into the dungeon finder first, or go level in Vash'jir, or help a guildie powerlevel cooking in the hope of a guild first?
I'm so ashamed.
It looks like Blizzard's internet golems are struggling with the high volume of traffic right now. Don't expect to be checking out the Armory tonight, they've taken the community site offline. All that's available is the manage your account page , for registering keys.
While you're waiting, you should take a glance at MMO-Champion's fantastic Cataclysm resource . Of particular personal interest is the professions panel. Don't look at the boring tailoring or alchemy stuff. Check out the Engineer goodies. In particular the amazing Loot-o-Rang . Hell yes. Do want.
PC Gamer has spies everywhere. Including at the World of Warcraft launch event where professional forum troll and internet legend Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street is entertaining children with tales of when he once nerfed a Paladin so hard, he actually turned into a Shaman.
Nerd joke. Here is pictoral proof.
I've got a couple of questions I'd love to get answered by the guys reading this.
First: what are you intending to do first. Are you levelling a goblin? Getting to 85? Going for a poke around the new world? Or just powerlevelling cooking?
Secondly, how did you buy the game? Digitally, or are you getting it from a shop? And are you getting a Collector's edition?
Two hours and counting. Slashinator just pointed me to this bit of comedy: about forty characters all grouped around the flight trainer in Orgrimmar, waiting to immediately buy Azeroth flying.
They are quite well prepared.
I've just been whispered by a few guys in-game asking to join the PC Gamer guild, which makes think this is a prime recruitment opportunity. If you want in, whisper Teem on the Horde side of EU-Steamwheedle Cartel. If you join us you get to meet awesome friends like this lot. All classes welcome.
For the next couple of hours, I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to go and do first. It seems like it would be fun to immediately jump into the first new level 80 dungeon - Blackrock Caverns. I reckon it'll give a giant dose of XP, and a few nice blues to help in levelling. Dungeons tend to drop greens quite quickly, and they should be a quick route to replacing my raid gear.
Man, I can't wait to replace my raid gear. My stupid Tier 10 druid hat is stupid.
So, the current status is this: the game is on-sale in high-street stores at midnight UK time. However, the Cataclysm is actually going happen at 11pm UK time. If you want to avoid the cold and be ready to go for the launch, you can buy it digitally from the EU Battle.net page , but it's kinda offline right now. It's also £5 more expensive to buy it digitally, as opposed to ordering it from Amazon. What a rip.
Thankfully, our friends at Blizzard (Hi Jonnie, Hi Ross!) have snuck PC Gamer a bunch of Collector's Editions in the post. So we're good to go.
If you're in the US, the game launches at midnight Pacific Standard Time .
Are any of our readers going to the UK or US launch events? If so - let us know either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comments, and we'll get a few shout-outs going.